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* Posts by John H Woods

1194 posts • joined 14 Nov 2007

Nokia's 41Mp Lumia 1020 'launches' in UK - but hoi polloi must wait

John H Woods
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Re: Megapixels are not everything

Nokia know this -- they are using the additional pixels to improve image quality, not to acquire 120MB RAW pictures. Their lens and assembly is of high quality, too, they are not just trying to bamboozle people with more megapixels = better.

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'NSA PRISM spies' shake down victims with bogus child-abuse vids claims

John H Woods
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Re: "Ceratin"

Quite possibly done on purpose. Scammers do not want to waste time with people who are sufficiently clued-up to catch on before they have fallen victim, and it has been suggested that poor grammar and spelling are de rigeur in order to ensure people who will be more difficult to con do not engage.

"In choosing a wording to dissuade all but the likeliest prospects the scammer reveals a great sensitivity to false positives."

http://research.microsoft.com/pubs/167719/WhyFromNigeria.pdf

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NIST denies it weakened its encryption standard to please the NSA

John H Woods
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Re: Infidelity

Indeed - the only practical solution is to find a new partner. When you discover your partner has been unfaithful, the only thing you know for sure is that you can't tell when they're lying.

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Parallels pledges roll-back fix after silent 'trojan' freebie install triggers punter outrage

John H Woods
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I'm not entirely sure...

... that this wouldn't count as an offense under the UK Computer Misuse Act. I seem to recall that it is also an offense to perform an act on a computer that would impair its safety even if it is not deliberate, but merely reckless as to whether such an impairment is caused.

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Cavemen innocent in MAMMOTH MURDER case: DNA evidence

John H Woods
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fandom: "Isn't it kind of counter intuitive? They thrived when there was little food and died off when it was abundant."

If a species that is adapted to survival when food is scarce, some evolutionary compromises (for instance, slower metablolism) could easily make it less competitive when food is more abundant.

"Anyway, didn't elephants evolve from mammoths or are they only distant cousins?"

I would say close cousins might be a better analogy, but wikipedia has what seems to be a reasonable family tree here.

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Torvalds shoots down call to yank 'backdoored' Intel RdRand in Linux crypto

John H Woods
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Simple h/w device?

Can't we get USB devices to produce random numbers from some kind of quantum noise - shot noise or something? Is it possible to devise a circuit that is both too simple to contain a backdoor but fast enough and random enough to act as a cryptographic RNG?

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Sexism in IT: starting at school

John H Woods
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Sexism in IT: starting at school

Anyone else spot this? https://www.usenix.org/blog/my-daughters-high-school-programming-teacher

I was pretty horrified.

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'Beat the lie detectors' trainer sentenced to 8 months in jail

John H Woods
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Sceptical

In the UK polygraphs appear to be the reserve of reality TV shows. I was particulary amused by Jeremy Kyle using polygraphy to determine which of 7 people had stolen some money, assuring us that the "Lie Detector" was "90 to 95% accurate". I don't believe that for a moment, but even if it were, the chances of any 7 tests being accurate is less than 70% at best and could be worse than evens.

I can understand how they can be used as interogation tools, but the idea that they can be used in evidence simply smacks my gob.

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Don't tell the D-G! BBC-funded study says Beeb is 'too right wing'

John H Woods
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They would say that, wouldn't they?

I know many people who consider the BBC to be biased against their own political leanings - the leftwingers think it is right wing, and vice versa. It also seems likely to me that a person with strong political opinions is more likely to view an approximately neutral stance as further down the spectrum of bias against their own views. And for this reason, I understand that many might be suspicious about someone with an acknowledged political axe to grind creating a report, certainly I'm tempted to agree with the first poster about commissioning the Pope to write a report on atheists.

Nevertheless, evidence is evidence, and I think we need to surpress our instinctive reactions somewhat and challenge the report with further evidence rather than simply dismissing it with a 'they would say that wouldn't they" argument. In particular, the statement quoted does seem to have some basis in truth:

"On the issues of immigration and the EU in 2012, out of 806 source appearances, not one was allocated to a representative of organised labour," the study concludes. In coverage of the banking crisis "opinion was almost completely dominated by stockbrokers, investment bankers, hedge fund managers and other City voices".

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Samsung Galaxy S4 Active: The mobe for CHUCK NORRIS TYPES

John H Woods
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399 ...

at Carphone Warehouse .... tempted

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Give us a break: Next Android version to be called 'KitKat'

John H Woods
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Re: The Nestle Kit-Kat Chocolate is far too sweet

Have you ever tasted Hershey's though? The first time a US friend gave me some, presumably expecting me to have a "wow" moment, I thought I had been given joke chocolate. Nestle is hardly the height of chocolate but in my opinion it beats the waxy texture and soapy taste of Hershey pretty much hands down.

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Fukushima sends Japanese IT to the cloud

John H Woods
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Re: Meltdown

Hear bloody hear!

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Boffins confirm quantum crypto can keep a secret

John H Woods
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Dave ...

... for endless repeating signals from the past.

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Indian government to bar politicians from using Gmail for official business

John H Woods
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Re: Strange goings on

Never has a problem with me mailing truecrypt containers to people, using the subject "call me for decryption instructions" - so maybe some mailserver just objected to the .zip extension?

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Behind the candelabra: Power cut sends Britain’s boxes back to the '70s

John H Woods
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Re: Power Cuts

For a brief moment, I felt like I held the world's most powerful remote control in my hand.

I had almost exactly the same experience. Had not read in the local rag that the council were going to switch off the streetlights. Went out to walk the dog at 10 seconds to midnight and tripped on my extension lead on the path - and all the lights in the town went out!

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Siri: 'STOP trying to strap me to your forehead. It won't work'

John H Woods
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Lots of people in IT ...

... knew that it was failing from the grapevine - for goodness' sake, it was even in Private Eye - how can they claim to not have known?

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Women in IT: ‘If you want to be taken seriously, dress like a man’

John H Woods
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I always try to make sure ...

... that my clients know that I can "do stuff" before I risk turning up to the office on rollerblades. I still wear a suit - haven't had too many tumbles with sartorial consequences - but I'm not a hugely ambitious skater.

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Selfie twerks its way into the dictionary

John H Woods
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Trollface

Miley (n.)

A young woman who is sexier before she's supposed to be than she is when she is.

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Three axes data-roaming fees in SEVEN countries

John H Woods
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axis/axes

No; I was expecting a nice infographic.

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Thought the PC market couldn't get any worse? HAH! Think again

John H Woods
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Fracking resolution.

If you want to sell laptops, stop pissing about with ultra low res "HD" screens and give us something worth upgrading to. It's not the only reason the tablets are kicking the arse of laptops, but I'm sick of seeing all new laptops being announced with last decade's screens.

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Boffins' keyboard ELECTROCUTES Facebook addicts

John H Woods
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Re: Ignores behaviourist research

peredur: "... or perhaps redirect to a really boring site"

More boring than FB? Last I looked, PylonOfTheMonth was no longer being maintained.

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Nokia's India threat letter: 'It's cheaper to make phones in China'

John H Woods
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But...

James51: "The whole 'they have poor people but have a space programme too, bad kitty' arguement always annoys me."

It will hold less sway when we stop giving them aid, in about 2015.

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Botched court doc outs Google as respondent in national security flap

John H Woods
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writing this ...

... whilst still laughing my ████ off.

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Gambling addict IT boss gets 7 years' porridge for £19m swindle

John H Woods
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I agree...

... this is weird: we are talking of a minimum of 35+ transactions a week and it took 3 years for them to cotton on? I also really cannot understand how the approvals system could be set up so that the only limit applied was a ceiling on individual transactions. If I were a shareholder I would also be wanting to hold some of the senior management accountable for this - are we sure it didn't require someone higher up to look the other way?

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UK mulls ban on tiny mobiles to block prison smugglers

John H Woods
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Simple solution ...

... just ban crime, then nobody will have to go to prison in the first place.

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BOFH: Backup server's failed? We have a backup backup server

John H Woods
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Boss Types

"And so it goes. I'm generally happy with a Boss who either wants to know nothing about the hardware and is happily ignorant OR with a Boss who wants to know every little technical detail and is able to provide intelligent insight into our activities, but a Boss who wants to know everything and yet still be ignorant is pushing the envelope as far as my patience concerned."

To enable one to select appropriate employment, all organizations should have X:Y:Z ratings (like NPK values for fertilizer) to measure these three categories.

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Did a bunch of bankers fax a stranger's sensitive privates to YOU?

John H Woods
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Facepalm

I got a good fax...

... from Orange. It was the proceedings of a disciplinary sacking of a member of staff for breaching a customer's privacy. It contained full details of the customer who complained, the staff member concerned and transcripts of several very sensitive meetings. Unbelievable.

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Step into the BREACH: HTTPS encrypted web cracked in 30 seconds

John H Woods
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Re: what is he saying?

"It isn't definitely going to happen, but there is a definite chance that it will". Sounds a bit light on information to me, because I don't think anyone would claim there is a zero chance of it happening. If he'd quantified it, even very approximately, it would have been more useful.

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SAP boss cops jail time plea after Lego barcode bust

John H Woods
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Re: "dish liquid"?.....

It's for cleaning parabolic antennas

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Roses are #f00, violets are #00f. This witty code is a boffinry breakthrough

John H Woods
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What's yellow and equivalent to the axiom of choice?

Zorn's Lemon

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Plods probe death threat tweets to MP - but WHO will rid us of terrible trolls?

John H Woods
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There goes another word...

We all used to know what 'trolling' meant and it did not mean making threats of aggression, sexual or otherwise.

Conflating the two is a serious mistake, not entirely dissimilar to the current conflation of the issues surrounding "sexual material that children might see" with "sexual material in which children are seen": the former arises from the law of unintended consequences (of having a free and open Internet); the latter is a hideous crime already covered by existing legislation. Nevertheless, in both cases, some people attempt to use the existence of the absolutely indefensible latter as a reason to take draconian against Internet freedom, by banging on about the former as if it is somehow related.

One of the lessons in Orwell's 1984 is that by altering language it is possible to create tramlines of thought which are very difficult to leave, and therefore those who control the language control - to a large extent - the minds: threatening someone with rape is trolling; threatening someone with rape is a terrible thing; trolling is a terrible thing; trolling should be banned. Of course no-one should be convinced by such invalid enthymematic logic, but the sad fact is that many voters cannot even dissect such arguments - and if the popular media continue to refuse to help them in this regard or, as in this case, actively assist the political class in maintaining the confusion, we are all going to suffer.

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Bugs in beta weather model used to trash climate science

John H Woods
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Headmaster

Re: If it's "not ready for prime time" ...

El Reg has an agendum? But surely if agenda can be usefully translated as 'to-do list' then it can also be singular - I have a to-do list. I'm pretty sure established English usage means 'an agenda' is acceptable now, even if it wouldn't have been for the Romans.

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Siemens to throw CEO overboard after profits slashed a FIFTH time

John H Woods
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A bit of a ...

... job blow?

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Hey, Silicon Valley milky drink fans: Starbucks intros wireless charging

John H Woods
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Almost there ...

If Starbucks could just look after my internet and power requirements, I'd be happy to make my own coffee --- as long as I was allowed to turn the roaster off when I wanted, rather than burning the beans for hours, as per policy.

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Kiwis rally against 'snoops' charter' law

John H Woods
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I came here to say the same thing. It's significant when politicians say stuff like that because it either shows that they are tragically stupid, or that they think we all are - either of which being sad state of affairs for an elected representative.

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Apple drops hints about future low-cost iPhones

John H Woods
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Hypothesis

"If there are lots of other tablets selling, I don't know what they're being used for."

If I want the mobile version of a website I'll ask for it in the URL and don't want it assumed on the basis of my user agent string, which is consequently set to masquerade as a desktop. Maybe I'm not the only one?

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Leap Motion Controller: Hands up for PC air gestures. That's the spirit

John H Woods
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If i'd invented this ...

... I'd be focussing on all those areas where being restricted to 2D can be problematic - modelling tools such as Blender and some of the game level creation kits (like Bethesda's GECK).

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Burger-rage horse dumps on McDonald's: Rider saddled with fat fine

John H Woods
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Re: Damn horses

I completely agree that pedestrian walkways and cycle paths should not have so much horseshit on them that you cannot easily walk or cycle on them - which is what you appear to be suggesting. But it's difficult to take that seriously if you think horse shit is more offensive than dog shit - surely you can't be serious?

A person riding a horse, although they should avoid areas where droppings will cause a problem, can absolutely not be expected to clean up! What do you suggest ... get off, scoop it into a giant rucksack and get back on? A reasonable size horse drops several kg per hour, cannot safely be expected to stand quietly unless tied - and also may not be that easy to get back on if you aren't near a mounting block.

If you have a problem with the horses producing the "obstacles", have a word with the riders about taking a different route. Suggesting they poop-scoop (except within about 50m of the yard gates) is likely to fall on deaf ears, for a very good reason.

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French boffins: Regard, our record-breaking long, fat, wet pipe

John H Woods
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Can I really be the first to say ...

Ceci n'est pas une pipe?

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SIM crypto CRACKED by a SINGLE text, mobes stuffed with spyware

John H Woods
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I'm surprised that single DES was still considered acceptable recently enough to be in cards like this - IS2R that 3DES was being advanced in the late 1990s as a result of single DES being considered vulnerable (although, IIRC, that was mainly because the key length was two short).

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Windows desktop VDI

John H Woods
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This is a very interesting discussion -

- maybe a different format (IRC chat, G+ hangout etc) would be a useful way for a few of us to get together and thrash out a few ideas?

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John H Woods
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How about this ...

I'd be tempted to try something like this - you can do one old windows machine at a time.

  • Clean cruft from hard disk, defrag, use GPARTED or similar to get it to work on a single partition with just a few GB spare
  • Install some stable Linux on your server, Debian or Ubuntu 12LTS should be fine
  • Install VirtualBox on that server and see if you can run your old machine successfully as a VM - you'll either convert the raw disk partition to a Virtual Disk Image (my pref) or use the existing raw image with the appropriate VMDK settings
  • If that works, try running that vm image headless, and connecting to it with RDP
  • And if that works, back up that image, nuke the original machine it came from, and install a lightweight linux with an RDP client.

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CONFIRMED: Driverless cars to hit actual British roads by end of year

John H Woods
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Re: Next headline

"Need?"

What I said was we need to be able to start working on it. Not that we need to be working on it, just that some of the laws forbidding automatic control of brake and steering need to be relaxed for us to make cars even safer.

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John H Woods
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Re: Next headline

Driverless cars will, of course cause accidents. But the bar has been set very low by human drivers. AI cars do not need to me very much safer before they are saving hundreds of lives per year.

I don't care how brilliant you think you are at driving - an automatic warm-body-detected-autobrake would require no actual AI worth speaking of. But it could brake a car from 40 to 20mph in the time that a human would require to see the person, move the foot from the throttle to the brake, and begin to press on it. It would be stopping the car even before a top-gun fighter pilot could have reacted, let alone Joe Average Driver.

I see this legislation as opening up the way for increasing automation of driving - it doesn't have to go immediately to fully driverless in all circumstances, but we need to be able to start working towards it.

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John H Woods
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Re: Funny you should say that

"Anyway, I drive an old but high end BMW (bangernomics yay!) and a similar spec Audi. I let people out at junctions just to confuse them."

Me (although in a little A3 cab) too ! I stopped for a cyclist yesterday and he looked *really* confused. My wife pictured him at the cafe where all the MAMILs (middle-aged-men-in-lycra) hang out: "Hey this Audi stopped for me on a single track road and waited for me to pass" Chorus: "No! Don't be stupid, what do you take us for? Have you been drinking? .. etc."

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Apple needs help: iWatch, 'Retina' iPad mini delayed until 2014?

John H Woods
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Re: tagged

You may have hit the nail on the head - the demographic for identical watches is probably the same as the one which wears Star Trek costumes to parties....

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Man sues Apple for allowing him to become addicted to PORN

John H Woods
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There need to be 3 possible verdicts for a civil suit

Plaintiff wins, gets costs & possibly some damages

Plaintiff loses, pays own costs, may have to pay other sides costs, but not necessarily.

Plaintiff judged such a fuckwit that they have to pay other side's costs + massive fine for wasting courts time.

We have the same problem here (in a less extreme form) where no-win, no-fee suits against public organisations such as the NHS are effectively risk free, and where the costs of settling are less than the costs of going to court the organisations just swallow the bill. Which means the taxpayers do.

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UK.gov fines itself harshly for hurling NHS records to the winds

John H Woods
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Re: Hypothetically speaking

"How long will it take me to securely erase that many hard disks using the Guttman method?"

Even Guttman would say that this is irrelevant (used to be here: www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/secure_del.html but it's not loading today). One or two passes of random overwriting would be fine. Of course it would take you far too long to extract the disks, load them into DBAN stations and queue them all through sequentially.

So - don't do it! Before unplugging a desktop from the power and the network to cart off to the store room, boot from a DBAN USB stick and leave it chugging on the desktop. The machines should be wiped before they even leave the users desks.

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