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* Posts by Mephistro

1016 posts • joined 8 Oct 2007

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Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone

Mephistro
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Devil

Re: Constitution (@ Phil Dude)

"I see the random downvoter is back."

"Random downvoter"? That was brylliant! ;-)

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Big Data's being held back by little talent, says Huawei head techie

Mephistro
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Big data's being held back by...

...the structure of reality, including -but not limited to- Chaos Theory and Information Theory. Both the complexity of the analysis required and the amount of noise grow exponentially with the size and complexity of the datasets.

Snake oil, indeed. It all probably began with some suit's wet dream of getting rid of 'experts'.

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'Broken code' costs Yelp half a mil in child privacy dust-up with FTC

Mephistro
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Dura lex sed lex...

... so, from the amount agreed in this settlement, it's clear this has nothing to do with "lex".

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Credit card cutting flaw could have killed EVERY AD on Twitter

Mephistro
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Facepalm

$2,800???

And it's the biggest prize to date??? How many security specialists/hackers have discovered similar flaws and decided to keep them secret, because either they consider these amounts a pittance and an insult, or they reckon they'll be able to gain much more by selling these flaws to the highest bidder or exploiting the flaws themselves?

Twitter are a bunch of cheapskates -like most other companies with similar bug hunting programs- and this will bite them in the ass sooner than later.

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Apple Watch will CONQUER smartwatch world – analysts

Mephistro
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@ AlBailey

"It's not so far back in the past that mechanical wristwatches needed to be wound up every night..."

Yes, but those watches vanished almost overnight when better options (batteries, self winding up,...) were made available. Having to recharge your watch every night is a big step backwards, imo.

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BBC Trust candidate defends licence fee, says evaders are CRIMINALS

Mephistro
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Devil

(if you have Silverlight installed, you can have a look here)

Or better yet, remove Silverlight!

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Verizon hit with $7.4 MEEELLION fine for slurping users' privates

Mephistro
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Whoa, what a fine!!!

The fuckers probably sold the data for dozens of times the amount fined. The customers data is out there and said customers will keep receiving spam related to this for decades. The bureaucrats responsible for this ridiculous settlement should be hanged from a beam!!!.

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Cave scrawls prove Neanderthals were AT LEAST as talented as modern artists

Mephistro
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"pre-human ape-men"

This description of the Neanderthals was fashionable until the nineteen fifties. Nowadays, most anthropologists reckon the Neanderthals to be our equals, intellectually speaking. If they were still alive today, we'd probably classify them as just another human race (whatever that means).

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Alienware injects EVEN MORE ALIEN into redesigned Area-51 gaming PC

Mephistro
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Re: Slanted hard disk bays???

Thanks for your answer. I thought that the structures to the left of the box - just behind the front panel - were HD housings, but I'm not sure of that and I wasn't able to find other images displaying the HDs.

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Mephistro
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WTF?

Slanted hard disk bays???

Read some time ago -in the time of RLL HDDs - that this kind of design would cause more wear and mechanical problems in the HDDs. It would seem that Alienware is sacrificing durability in exchange for prettiness.

Is this really a good idea? Or is this beast using only SSDs? Inquiring minds want to know...

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Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case

Mephistro
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Devil

Obligatory reference:

“Do you know the one about the chap applying for a job in the Foreign Office? ‘Look here, Carruthers’ they say, ‘we like the cut of your jib, but we can’t overlook the fact that you’ve done a spot of time for buggery, arson and rape. . . .’

‘Perfectly simple explanation,’ says Carruthers. ‘Loved a girl who wouldn’t let me diddle her, so I banged her on the head, raped her, shafted her old dad and set fire to the house.’

‘Okay, Carruthers,’ say the selector chaps. ‘We knew there’d be a reasonable explanation. Here’sthe deal. Keep away from the girls in the typing pool, no playing with matches, give us a kiss and you

can have the job.’”

From "The Night Manager" by John Le Carré

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Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids

Mephistro
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Happy

Re: Just the tip of the iceberg

"How many are yet to be discovered?"

At most, the remaining quarter of Koreans ;-)

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Best shot: Coffee - how do you brew?

Mephistro
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On the matter of 'camp coffee'

When I was a young lad and went camping with the family, the traditional way of making coffee in the bush was something like this:

- Put a pot with water over the camp fire and wait till the water begins to boil. Retire from the fire and wait for ~three minutes.

- Put 1 spoon of ground coffee per cup inside a CLEAN (this part is important ;-) cotton sock, close with a knot and put the sock into the hot water for another three minutes.

- Apply gentle pressure to the sock using a spoon, so as to help the coffee free more of its essence.

- Pour, add sugar and/or milk and enjoy.

The grown ups always would compliment the quality of the beverage made this way, but as they usually drank the thing mixed with whisky or orujo and I wasn't allowed back then to drink coffee, I never was too confident of the method until I was a few years older and was allowed to drink it. Yep, it was good.

Nowadays, I manage with one of those 'moka' machines and an 'espresso' machine for 'important occasions'. I like Nespresso coffee, but the costs per cup are a rip-off.

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What a pain in the mass! Euro craft Rosetta to poke its probe in 10-BILLION-tonne comet

Mephistro
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Pint

Re: when giving figures like this

"The linked ESA blog entry noted that it was “1×10^13 kg” — i.e. 10 Pg = 10 Gt = 10 billion (short scale) tonnes."

He he, you got me there. That's a secondary effect of posting at ~5 a.m. and under the influence of insomnia.

Anyway, I think that this somehow strengthens my point, i.e. that the use of the word billion in some contexts, without an indication of which scale is being used, is quite confusing. The use of derived S.I. units instead of the base ones (tonnes instead of kilograms) only worsens the problem.

Anyway, this one is on me ;-).

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Mephistro
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Re: Mephistro (@ Mike Belll & Diodesign)

"Billion is always 1,000 million."

Not for about a third of the Earth's population, including some English speaking countries. From the relevant Wikipedia article: "However, in most of these (English speaking) countries, some limited long scale use persists and the official status of the short scale use is not clear."

I'm only asking for more clarity in the articles. If you don't want to specify which scale is being used, then at least use exponential notation or write the whole number. Not a great deal, is it?

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Mephistro
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Re: when giving figures like this

"...set of standard SI prefixes which one could use to unambiguously specify..."

True, but:

a) Readers need to perform some mental arithmetic. Some will, some won't.

b) It's only useful for SI measures. Talking about, e.g., 'tera-dollars' or even worse, 'tera-times' sounds freakish, at least to me.

c) The article used 'billions' without indication of which scale was being used.

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Mephistro
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"...a mass of 10 billion tonnes..."

It would be nice for Elreg to specify whether they're using 'Short Scale' or 'Long Scale' when giving figures like this, or alternatively use always the same one. (In this last case, my vote goes for Long Scale).

This time they are using Long Scale, i.e 10 billions = 10^13.

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Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?

Mephistro
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Re: Rising spectre

"Was ectoplasm involved?"

"Or was it wind"

Both things, sometimes simultaneously. The horror! The horror!!!

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Mephistro
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Angel

"Ghosts are also a hot topic for Brits, with Rossendale Council answering questions on how many times it had paid for an exorcist, psychic or religious healer ..."

You all may scoff at this, but it's a real problem!. I personally have been haunted by a ghostly apparition every morning since I was twelve. Watching your bed sheet elevating by itself when you aren't yet totally awake is a distressing experience!

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Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report

Mephistro
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Thumb Up

Re: Is it a false economy (@Tom 7)

Related anecdote: in my first job, shortly after V.A.T. was introduced in my country, I had to explain the accountant honcho how to calculate the original price from the price+V.A.T., because he was doing it consistently wrong. Didn't get much sympathy from him either. :-)

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Visual Studio Online goes titsup as Microsoft wrestles with database

Mephistro
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Another day...

... another cloud SNAFU.

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Anonymous threatens to name cop who shot dead unarmed Michael Brown

Mephistro
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"Because vigilantes are never wrong..."

Vigilantes usually sprout in areas where there is no justice. Not saying that that's a good thing, just that that's the way things are.

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Whoops, my cloud's just gone titsup. Now what?

Mephistro
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"then that would be 525600 minutes"

I think the author meant a 99.99 percent or 9,999 per 10,000. Agreed with the rest of your post, though.

I'd also like to call fellow's commentards attention to the fact that the cloud provider is not the only possible source of downtime for the customer. Screw ups by the telcos probably will cause localized outages more often than the cloud provider does.

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BANGKOK-BLOCKED: Thailand's dictators 'ban dictator sim Tropico 5'

Mephistro
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Facepalm

Re: Too good to be true?(@ silent_count)

Tropico 4 wasn't a crappy game at all, it was real fun to play. I would buy also this new instalment if the game didn't require a DirectX 11 graphics card. Throwing away a rather good two years old graphic card and spending more than one hundred bucks to purchase a new one just to play a game seems a little excessive, no matter how good the game is.

I'll probably buy it in two years, from the offers bin, for ten €. This was a really stupid decission by the developers, IMO.

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Home-grown Xiaomi crushes Samsung in world's biggest market

Mephistro
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Re: BEFORE he died?

And staying always in an urn!

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NASA tests crazytech flying saucer thruster, could reach Mars in days

Mephistro
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Re: Questions for rocket scientists:(@AC)

"a photovoltaic panel working at 40% efficiancy shouldn't be able to collect 5000x more energy than a reflective sail working at 90% efficiancy."

Use both. A toroidal mirror-sail concentrating lots and lots of sunlight in a smaller solar panel (or another different device for energy production, e.g. a stirling engine) and you have the best of both worlds. That is, if the results obtained insofar are not a rounding error. Crossing my fingers on that part.

With a little bit of luck we could be sending fecking tourists to Mars in a few decades!!!

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We sent a probe SIX BILLION km to measure temperature of a COMET doing 135,000 km/h

Mephistro
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Re: Impressive and I'd expected it to be *much* colder

"...the comet has some kind of internal process going on."

I'd put my money on some amount of radio isotopes in the inside. It could even have a liquid core and some primitive life.*

What puzzles me more is the crust of dust, as every time the comet goes near the Sun said crust should be ablated. I hope Rosetta carries some means to ascertain the composition of said crust.

*Both these hypotheses have been stolen'borrowed' from some of Gregory Benford's books. ;-)

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REGULAR FISTING is GOOD for your HEALTH, says respected surveyor

Mephistro
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Devil

So, fisting prevents the spread of E. Coli?

Sounds legit. ;-)

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CIA super-spy so sorry spies spied on Senate's torture scrutiny PCs

Mephistro
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Happy

Re: Doesn't Utah still have firing squad as a method of execution?

"I'll pay for the bullets and I already have a shovel."

Cut the middleman and execute them with the shovel!

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'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter

Mephistro
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Re: @ AC (was Expect nothing less (@ JeffyPooh))

"DasBomber has to actually confirm them as followers so simply following him will not give them access to his tweets."

Or, alternatively, ask the 'concerned citizen' for a copy of the tweets in question, or a re-tweet.

"and I suspect a prolific tweeter tweeted more than just a few."

Disingenuous. They only needed to read the ones relevant to the issue, not his entire posting history.

"They phoned him and he agreed to the time"

If you think he was given any chance to disagree to the time, you may also be interested in purchasing this little bridge, really cheap...

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Mephistro
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Re: @ AC (was Expect nothing less (@ JeffyPooh))

"And since only confirmed followers can read the tweets how do you propose the police checked the facts?"

Easy peasy. They create a tweeter account, or use one they already had, then 'follow' DasBomber, then read the tweets at leisure. Five minutes work at most.

"so presumably there was a lot of tweets to put into context"

No, just a few of them. A one minute read, if the plod had chosen to go that way.

"The phrase "several hours" is also ambiguous and open to interpretation"

Yeah, at least two hours, beginning at 1 AM, for fuck's sake!

"The cops who did this did their job"...

... poorly.

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Mephistro
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@ AC (was Re: Expect nothing less (@ JeffyPooh))

"Once something like this (alleged bomb threat) is reported to them they do not have the luxury of being able to just ignore it no matter how credible they think it is"

Sorry to disagree, but if there was an easy way of checking the facts -e.g. reading the tweet- before bothering an innocent citizen, they should have done that. On top of that, why the heck did they have to 'interview' him for several hours? Stupidity? functional illiteracy? Incompetence? Sadism?

The cops who did this should be reprimanded, at the very least.

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Mephistro
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Meh

Re: Expect nothing less (@ JeffyPooh)

"..they'd have kicked the door in without warning, and shot everyone..."

There are lots of shades of grey*. The situation you describe would be pitch black, what the cops did was ~50% grey, and what they should have done -i.e. read (and understand) the entire fucking tweet, and don't bother the author of said tweet- would have been pure white.

*: Sorry

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Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins

Mephistro
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Devil

Re: If only they'd let Jesus into their hearts

"JC still existed before he was born though, it's an important aspect of the orthodox trinity."

Wut??? So Mary was kind of a teletransport machine?

I prefer the other version: "Joe, you aren't going to believe this, but..."

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Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate history' story made into TV series

Mephistro
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Thumb Up

I love alternate realities...

... mainly because they highlight aspects of 'real history' (whatever that is ;-) that are usually left aside. In this genre, TMITHC is one of my favourites, up there with "Bring the Jubilee". I'd also recommend a newish novel, "Mysterium", that describes an America withering under the boot of an Inquisition-like religious institution.

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US judge 'troubled' by Apple's $450m bid to end ebook price-fixing row

Mephistro
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Re: This looks like an exact clone of...

"How is that a new trick?"

New for Apple. And I don't mean necessarily that they didn't know the concept before, just that they didn't dare to use it, perhaps afraid of the PR backlash or the judges reactions. It would seem that nowadays they don't give a shit.

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Mephistro
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This looks like an exact clone of...

... the agreement in the "no poaching agreement" case against Apple. And I'll say the same thing I said then:

This agreement is an insult to justice.

It would seem that Apple has learnt a new trick. To boot: negotiating out of court agreements that are good for the lawyers but not for the plaintiffs.

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Debian Linux, Android share a bed in upcoming distro

Mephistro
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Re: Who invented permissions transparency?(@ Eulampios)

Oppsss... sorry, I forgot this:

"An API bug which was fixed in the latest versions of Android. Bugs happen, can't see the nightmare in that either."

In the real world, given the way Android updates reach the customer's devices, fighting an uphill battle against the phone makers and the telcos and the crud they both install, I'd be surprised if more than one in ten handsets out there are correctly patched.

Perhaps you're right, and this is not a security nightmare. It's just the frecking Hamburger Hill! ;-)

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Mephistro
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Re: Who invented permissions transparency?

"you can't deny an app access to your GPS hardware You will be able to with SELinux soon."

Which has nothing to do with what we're discussing here. Actually, in my first comment, I expressed my hope that this VolksPC distro would fix this particular issue. And that would be a good thing, as Google doesn't seem to have too much interest in fixing it.

However, don't install an app if it requires something you don't wanna give it or it doesn't need it it for what it is supposed to do.

That's precisely what I do. On the other hand, 99.9% of Android users have no idea of what said permissions mean, and just click through the installation notices. And that, added to the fact that most apps are closed source and the review process by Google isn't exactly too thorough, gives a -...wait for it...- security nightmare.

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Mephistro
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Re: Who invented permissions transparency?

"2) (various guid's) permissions that you could see before installing"

Apples and oranges, Mr. Eulampios.

The apps you install in Android are -mostly- closed source. The permissions are given in an 'all or nothing' basis, so, e.g. you can't deny an app access to your GPS hardware, your mic or your contacts, even when that particular app doesn't have any conceivable reason to access said elements. Not much transparency here, I'd say.

1) apps run under separate uid's

Which somehow doesn't prevent said apps from leaking data to other apps, as has been already reported in Elreg and other technical forums.

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Mephistro
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Re: what's that?

"Can you specify what this nightmare is? Thanks in advance."

From the top of my head:

Lack of fine grained permissions control.

Bugs in some apps allow their data to be accessed/modified by other apps.

Is that enough for you?

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Mephistro
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"...by running both Linux apps and Android apps in native mode."

If, while they're at it, they also fix the nightmare that is Android permissions and security, they can count me in.

If they don't, well, one of the main reasons for using Linux is security, and adding Android to Linux would totally invalidate this reason.

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Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops

Mephistro
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Devil

A low-priced version of Windows 8.1 dubbed "Windows 8.1 with Bing"

They should have dubbed it "Leprosy with Syphilis". It sounds far better! ;-)

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Japanese artist cuffed for disseminating 3D ladyparts files

Mephistro
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Joke

Re: Manco

That must to be the reason* there weren't any Japanese players in WOW Spanish servers, as 'manco' is also the Spanish equivalent of 'noob'. Probably all of them committed seppuku after their first error in a raid.

* That and the language barrier, and the lag. ;-)

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German government orders local CIA station chief to pack his bags

Mephistro
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FAIL

Re: Mephhead Ole. Jule A mild reaction (@ Master Bullshit)

" In his post. Trying reading before bleating, mmmkay?"

Again, he wrote "... jailed and charged ...". Who's bleating, Matty?

Oh, hell!. I'm trying to reason with Matt. That's a waste of bandwidth. I'm really really sorry.

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Mephistro
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FAIL

Re: Mephhead Ole. Jule A mild reaction (@ Master Bullshit)

"but that's not what the original indignant poster demanded, they want jail without charge or trial"

Exactly where does the 'original indignant poster' demand jail without charge or trial? What he actually wrote was "... jailed and charged ...". .

Another low quality straw man argument from Matt. Colour me surprised. ;-)

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Mephistro
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Devil

Re: Ole. Jule A mild reaction (@ Matt Bryant)

"the correct chain of events would be charged, tried, then if convicted, jailed"

No. For serious crimes and with some evidence the suspect is put in custody -i.e. 'jailed'- until a judge assesses the case and decides on escape risks, bailout and such.

And I'm glad to see you don't like the way they do things in Guantánamo.

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Mephistro
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They should have sent the ambassador packing too.

Now, THAT would send a clear message!

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NSA dragnet mostly slurped innocents' traffic

Mephistro
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Re: Oh, well... (@ Bernard M. Orwell)

I had figured out that much, but the vetting process is very subjective, and prone to lots of false negatives and false positives.

Another issue is that people changes over time. They acquire new relationships, new relatives, new vices and even new mental issues. In order to counter that, the vetting process should be continuous, and include all the vetted analyst's family and relationships. Which sounds like just another recursive security nightmare. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

In my opinion, due to these and other circumstances, mass data slurping can't be made 'safe enough'. The guys that set up this massive surveillance system should have known better. Or maybe they just didn't give a shit.

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Insecure AVG search tool shoved down users' throats, says US CERT

Mephistro
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Re: KM Player installs -- is it ever anything but a way to trash your PC?

"(and any of my computers that I let family or friends use)"

Easy peasy. Create an account without admin rights for your family and friends, and protect the admin accounts with a password only you know. That won't totally protect your important accounts from zero day exploits and/or some viruses, but it's a step in the right direction and will save you lots of sweat.

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