31 posts • joined 11 Mar 2007
Unless this ballot is closely policed by the EC, Microsoft will find a way to "influence" the decision about what goes on the ballot, and how it is presented. Even if the EC did police it, there is a huge issue as to how the information will be presented. Alphabetically? Look out for browsers being (re-)named AAA or A1, just like taxis. Market share? This is just playing into Microsoft's hands. Security? Cue lots of legal battles, not to mention a new career option of "company-sponsored hacker". The EC is stuffed if it does, and stuffed if it doesn't.
Surely, in order to be consistent, the EC has to police the choices, either directly or through some made-up body, it has effectively made itself into the sponsor of every web browser out there, and any new ones. And for what - most users don't have a clue that there are other browsers, what they do, nor do they care, as long as it works. I'm not covinced that half of them actually know what "browser" means. Computers are a commodity now - the vast majority of home users just want it to work straight out of the box. Unless someone (Microsoft, the manufacturers - who?) bundles every browser available at a given time into the installation, it still needs a browser to download a different browser! Maybe the EC has an idea of mandating a "micro-browser" of its own that will just go one of a list of browse (and do you want government-mandated software on *your* machine??).
Finally, I may be dim, but why is this important? If the challenge was to the effective market domination by Windows, I could understand it. People pay money for Windows, not the browser. Isn't this the equivalent of the EC complaining that Notepad is bundled with Windows?
Paris, 'cos she knows when she's been stuffed!
Only two thoughts I haven't seen so far:
As so many have said, this is needless, intrusive technology, with no advantage to the end user. The only thoughts I've had so far that no-one else has mentioned are:
1. If it is based on wireless tech of any description, what is to stop manipulation of the signal? From simply masking the signal (from a Faraday cage for part of the day, or radio-jamming), to actively intercepting the signal and changing it (we all know it will be possible), it is open to abuse.
2. People living in cities will be at significantly greater risk of being cut off (accidentally, legitimately, maliciously, or through equipment failure), and especially those living in flats, and to a slightly lesser extent terraced houses, which I reckon, in the UK, disproportionately means those lower down the socio-economic scale. People in larger houses outside high-density areas tend to have more chance of generating some, and maybe a significant proportion of, their electric (roof area and garden).* Flat dwellers/terraces have little (roof area to dwelling ratio very low, no gardens). This means that my semi with front and rear gardens cushions/protects me (if I have invested in micro-generation)** from the risk of being cut off in a way that some people will not be able to have.
Flames, cos nothing sparks riots quicker than a lack of power ...
* I am tending towards the idea that gas in the home will soon be a luxury/unavailable, so electricity will be the only option.
** Unless the meter craps that up as well - though I'm sure a switch in the line somewhere to divert around the meter will be an easy fitting.
Must repond to two commenters ...
... First, Kevin Farquharson. It is difficult to tell if there is irony there, but just in case there isn't, I have to tell you that, if this was introduced anywhere I had kids, there would be one more car journey!* Under no circumstances would any child of mine be subjected to this.
Second, Francis Fish - if I remember correctly, redheads are (partial) evidence of Norse, not Celtic, ancestry.
* Unless, of course, the school decided to use electronic tracking too, in which case home-schooling would become the default ...
For me the killer argument is ...
... coverage of Formula 1 without adverts! Utter bliss, and worth the £12 per month to me.
@ AC above
There hasn't been a biometric technology ever released where the inventors thought about who *couldn't* use it. The industry measures biometrics, at least in part, by the Failure to Enrol Rate (FTER) - that is, the percentage of people who could not put the biometric (whichever it is) on the system. However, they NEVER include people who do not have whatever bit of body is needed (finger, eye, whatever) - this is the "outlier" population, members of which are referred to as "goats". The FTER only includes those who *have* the relevant bit, but couldn't enrol ...
... Oh, and then governments buy them for major rights-affecting applications like ID cards and passports without realising (or caring) that they haven't been tested on people that have no way of using them.
... keeping comms open so that the "security" forces know what is happening is good. Mobile phone mikes can be used as eavesdropping devices, so Terry doesn't even have to be making calls! And how accurate is cellphone tracking theses days - a few yards? Basically, when the bad guys are using a device that gives you lots of information, why discourage them?
Reminds me of a joke ...
... Policeman patrolling a lover's lane notices one of the cars has the interior light on. He goes over, notices a male in the driver's seat concentrating on a video game, and a female in the back seat leafing through a copy of some gossip magazine. Puzzled, he knocks on the drivers window, which the male winds down.
"Excuse me, sir*, can you tell me what's happening here?".
"Yes officer, we're just whiling away the time."
"Oh, right. How old are you, sir?"
"And how old are you, madam?"
"When will you be 16?"
"Oh (glances at watch), in about 20 minutes ..."
*I heard this joke a long time ago - I am very aware that the chances of being called "sir" by the current Robocop wannabes is highly unlikely, as is the chance of the teenagers calling the policeman "officer".
But seriously, now for a little game. Under current laws (in whichever country you are in), which of them would be prosecuted, for what, and what penalty would they get?
The current plan is ...
... arse about face. If public transport is the answer (to what problem? Weeellllll I'l leave that up to you), then get it built first. As people become enlightened and voluntarily move on to this wonderful mode of transport, revenues will go up without having to have ridiculously high fares (small profit, large sales), and the need for congestion charging goes away. Everyone is happy then, aren't they? Sorry, what's that you say? No cameras, therefore no guaranteed revenue stream direct to the council from motorists actually trying to get to work ... or the airport (wait til the revenues start decreasing there!!).
Sarcasm aside, if there is no viable alternative to using the car, then this is just theft from the car user. The infrastructure MUST be there first - and whose fault was it that it was run down? Oh yes, central government with the deregulation of local transport and privatistion of the rails. What a bunch of shortsighted, self-serving turdspurts ...
Civil libertarians ...
... believe that not being dead is a necessary, but not sufficient, requirement of truly living. Unfortunately, there are a great many people who believe the contrary - that any life is better than being dead. Overcoming that is the problem we face.
... seems to have been f***d up for a while. Visited in Feb or March this year, tried the quite amusing thing, but it never sent the stuff to my e-mail. Now I wonder who actually got it ...
@ AC (Man or Woman? Ape or Human?), is there any evidence that biometrics can't tell the difference between apes and humans?
I was going to be kind ...
... and say that it isn't usually the journo that writes the headline -- but then I read the story*. Oh, dear. Yep, Moult is an idiot, and a vicious, rude, offensive one at that. She should be next to Jackie Smith when the revolution comes ...
* Story in the sense of a minor fact dressed up in fantasy, not journalism.
By the way, am I the only one to notice a lack of TheManFromMars this week?
@Speeding never killed anyone By Anonymous Coward
You are the idiot. As I've said before in these pages, speeding does not kill. Inappropriate use of speed may lead to death, but it does not, with certainty, kill, but aht isn't as catchy, is it? The vast majority of motorists in the UK , and by that I mean five nines (99.999%) never injure anyone, let alone kill anyone. If speed (or speeding) killed, we'd all be dead, because of the speed with which the earth moves! To be really picky, it isn't speed, but acceleration that can lead to death or injury ...
@ Max Locke
I have read your response twice, in the hope of catching the irony, but I can't see it. You may therefore be a troll, in which case I'll regret responding. But, just in case you are serious, then I have to call you a moron! You are basically saying that a legitimate government can never make a bad law, and that any law must be obeyed. To use an old jurisprudence example, your argument says that if the government passed a law saying that all people with blue eyes must be killed, that law must be followed. Do you begin to see the folly of your contention? It is entirely possible for a law to be legitimately passed that it would be absolutely morally wrong to obey - this porn legislation is an example, as it crosses the correct boundaries between state and individual behaviour.
Now, go away and play somewhere else.
"The fact that Mosely is who he is changes things IMO." - Are you REALLY saying that people should be held to account for the sins of their fathers? Where do you stop?
""Nazi-themed S&M isn't insulting" maybe not to you, but it is to me." - So what? What happens behind closed doors is absolutely none of your business. Your comments are typical of the current victim mentality of, "I am the only one who can decide what is wrong, and if it upsets me, someone must pay" that has created the current tyranny of the moralistic (note: NOT 'moral') that can get adverts pulled because a few people complain.
As others have mentioned, speaking as a motorsport fan of nearly forty years, there are some very good reasons for getting rid of Mosley from the FIA, but this is nothing to do with it.
On a legal basis, the judgment is consistent with previous cases on wide dissemination, but that doesn't mean it is right. It essentially means that there is an advantage for the publisher to get it on the internet, so that there will be no injunction possible.
I have favourite performers, but I'm not so stupid as to buy even from them unless I know there is at least something on there that I like. For instance, I'm a great Kate Bush fan, but I paused a long time before buying the most recent album, because I was unhappy with the first single released, and waited until I heard more. If I didn't like that, then the album would not be on my shelf, as it is now. Those previews came from the radio (BBC), but I'm more and more getting tempted to use download sites to check out new acts before buying, because radio programming is generally so much up the arse of the record companies that it is rare that anything new and good (in my, necessarily subjective, terms) is aired (Mika, Duffy, Amy Whorehouse??? - utter bollocks). Where would I find great bands like Camper Van Beethoven (okay, a bit old now, but new to me) if friends didn't lend me ripped CDs so I can buy the stuff I like? This is all a bit subjective to this point, but there has been a saying in English for a long time - "Don't buy a pig in a poke" (i.e. don't buy what you can't examine). We have long been expected to do this with albums, and it is unacceptable.
On a different topic, I agree with Billy Bragg that the actual producers of the music (writers, performers, producers) are entitled to fair remuneration for their work once they have an audience - if you like it, buy it, go to the gigs, buy merchandise, whatever. However, it is now time for the musical artists to take their talents away from the piss-artists of the record companies. Unfair contracts, poor royalties: why put up with it when good results can be gained with home recording, and the internet can be used to reach a world-wide audience? Build up an audience, then, if REALLY necessary, use solid figures to have the whip-hand over the companies. The biggest, longest lasting bands (Beatles, Bowie, Floyd, etc) did this, though by gigging, not the internet.
Just my two-penn'orth...
The Humber Bridge ...
... has its own site, too <http://www.humberbridge.co.uk/>. Not as exciting as the Millau viaduct, and has Hull at one end - there is no justice.
There is no ...
... "Dark side of the Moon" - there is only the side we can't see from Earth! Full moon = sun on the side we can see (dark (or night) on the side we can't); new moon = shadow on the side we can see (light (or day) on the side we can't). Full night at any given point on the Moon is about seven Earth days.
@ Andy Davies
Brilliant!!! I'd never actually thought of that. It has the ring of truth that cannot be denied...
There is no problem with proving your identity - it is what humans (and most other animal species) do. The security in the current system is that there are a number of different systems, not connected to each other. This is security in diversity. If one system breaks (or is broken), the others will - hopefully - not have the same problem. Uniform ID systems allow too much information to be gathered so that any beach is the same as just publishing all your life's details on the internet. Jeremy Clarkson learned how painful that can be!!
Flexible working stuffs the need to car share...
... because I just arrange to get into work (when I need to go) in plenty of time, giving me time to check e-mails, etc (like an earlier contributor, I too work in the ivory tower). I can then decide when to go home (sometimes even popping into a cafe/pub for a non-alcoholic relaxer) allowing the clones to piss off home and out of my way.
With regard to cost, the petrol for my Subaru Legacy estate (and I get around 27 to the gallon) is cheaper than the public transport costs, which would take three changes, either bus, train, or tram. Also, the time saved is more than significant - 30-45 minutes in the car in the morning, usually less in the evening (12.5 mile journey). On public transport, the morning trip is about 1.5 hours (if everything runs), and in the evening it is about 2.5 hours (thanks to the bus to my house from the interchange conveniently running once an hour after 6pm, and leaving 5 minutes before either the bus or the train gets in from the city in which I work).
In actual fact, I do appreciate that public transport will always be slower than personal transport, but it could be better. I spend a lot of time abroad, especially in one of the ex-Iron Curtain countries, and the public transport is just wonderful - cheap, on time, frequent, and regular, especially around cities. There is even building of new lines going on (as in many EU countries)!!!! What we did to deserve the heap of crap we have now, I don't know, but I'll vote for the first party that pledges to re-nationalise the railways, build new lines and buy new rolling stock, let councils have control of the buses again, oh, and insist that large containers of goods are not carried on the roads. That is a promise!!
@ Paul Warne
"Perhaps we could arrange for all the morons above who think it is acceptable to use any form of mobile telecom equipment, be it hands free or hands occupied, to be called at home or at work randomly over the next year or so" -
This would include police officers, ambulance staff etc on radios, presumably? Think before you write. I don't necessarily disagree with the sentiment about mobile phone use in the car, but there is usually an exception to every rule.
"As for the "speed up England" comment, perhaps that person's mind will be changed with great speed, involving a concrete wall and no one else."
Oh, dear, that again. I've just about got this argument down to a fine art now, so here goes:
1. "Speed" does not kill, despite what half-arsed government campaigns tell you. If speed killed, those who said passengers on Stephenson's Rocket would instantly be killed would have been vindicated. The guys and gals who have ridden on the Space Shuttle would be no more. So, let me say it again - Speed DOES NOT KILL!
2. Let's be a little more precise, and allow that what the government (and you) really mean is that "speeding" kills, i.e. that exceeding an arbitrarily set limit will kill someone. This is obviously falsifiable, as many people (probably the large majority) exceed these speed limits every day, and hardly any actually cause the death of anyone. Millions of miles travelled at speeds in excess of the arbitrary limit, and very few deaths. Some people (the emergency services, for instance), are expected to travel faster than the arbitrary limit in order to do their job. Therefore, speeding does not necessarily kill.
3. To be accurate, what we should be saying is that "inappropriate use of speed may lead to a situation in which death or injury may be caused to yourself or others".* However, this isn't as catchy, is it? It also allows that there are shades of grey - experienced drivers can do a lot more speed safely than a newly qualified one (in general), and modern cars are more than up to the job of dealing with higher speeds.
As a driver, cyclist, and pedestrian, I would rather have people driving with their attention on the road, driving smoothly, and looking for hazards, yet perhaps going over the speed limit, than driving with their eyes on the speedo and having absolutely no idea what is happening around them, yet thinking they are driving safely because they are doing the limit.**
* Most accurately is that it isn't speed in any form that kills or leads to injury, it is actually acceleration, but most folks don't have the physics to understand that.
** When I took my first driving test 25 years ago, I failed for "not making adequate progress", i.e. not going fast enough ...
Isn't a likely reason for this ...
... that most people don't want Vista enough to bother using hookey copies?
Just sent this to my MP ...
... via http://www.writetothem.com. Please feel free to use it as a template:
I am extremely concerned about the loss of data from HMRC. There is something fundamentally wrong with the whole system:
1. How was an entire data dump to removable media even possible without at least several layers of security and permission?
2. Why was sensitive information sent in unencrypted form (this would apply regardless of the means used (see point 3 below)?
3. Why was physical transfer of data disks necessary? It should have been possible to send this directly via a network (though see point 4 below).
4. What does the National Audit Office want the information on 25 million people for? (I have one legitimate answer in mind, but I want to know yours).
5. Why was a courier service with a known lousy record chosen for this service? What was wrong with supporting the Royal Mail?
Beyond these questions on the specific incident, there are three others:
a) Will you support a full investigation of this incident, with penalties including prosecution under the Data Protection Act ?
b) Will you support the creation of a government-funded compensation and assistance scheme for any victim of identity fraud if it can be shown that, on the balance of probability, their data came from this database?
c) Do you still support the creation of a national ID database in the light of the incompetence shown here?
@ Anonymous Coward (Nov 7th)
<<we listen to all you self appointed civil-rights watchdogs point fingers and blame as soon as you find out someone they had in custody kills people in a terrorist act.>>
If there wasn't enough evidence to charge them, they should be out. Torture (and holding incommunicado for close questioning for months at a time *is* torture) only ever gets the answers the torturer wants. Longer periods of detention probably will make the charge figures look better, but only because innocent people will confess to whatever it is the torturers want to hear.
<<Just because you're not important enough to be told every little bit of the case file, not trustworthy enough to be allowed to see what evidence or methods of collection were used to bring these folks in>>
But I am - I am a citizen of the UK, and there should be no secrets from me. I have an interest in knowing what is being done in my name, and why, when it affects other people's rights, and my ability to assess what my government is doing, unless a proper war is declared.
<<doesn't mean that there isn't a damn good reason to lock these people away.>>
In that case, charge them and put them before a court. The court has powers to protect all sorts of information, so sensitive information can be kept away from the media.
<<Lawyers have made sure that no state secrets will survive any trial. Anything that agents have worked hard to uncover, rings of racist jihadist b@stards setting up their mafia-like networks slowly being exposed by undercover operators, will be blown wide and publicly open, so further investigation becomes impossible.>>
But that is the problem - I only have the word of the police and the security agencies that these people exist. There is nothing that I can reliably call independent evidence (and I am a university researcher - I know how to read reports) that there is any risk to me or anyone else that is bigger or more likely than it was before the Twin Towers (which wasn't even in the UK!!). I lived through the Irish situation, where there was a known and significant risk to the public, with far more information available than there is now. However, on the topic of Ireland, the disgraceful practice of internment seems to be a hint at where some people would like us to be heading.
<<Common sense would tell you that there's more to any story than your drive-by media reports. but there, as here, the "free" media is only free from it's government interference. Nothing says they can't and aren't bought. A prince who owns a set of 747 jets wouldn't have trouble influencing an editor or owning an entire outlet would they?>>
Common sense means nothing to me - it is common sense that the Earth is flat. Give me evidence, and give me a *proportionate* response. Panicking about the influence of 747-owning princes is not helpful.
<<People need to pull their heads out. If you can be so suicidally paranoid about your own government and businesses, why can't you try to apply that same attitude towards all other nations' government interests and businesses?>>
I don't understand what you mean. I *am* paranoid about other countries and their companies, especially those from the USA!
<<Or is it easier to follow the herd and follow the well paid and trendy naysayers who pave the way for their boss's visions at the expense of yours?>>
No-one is considering my point of view exactly *because* they are following their boss's. Freedom comes before policy, and people before government - who in power is saying that?
Fear is a useful thing in the short term. When you start defending otherwise indefensible policies because you are afraid, you are no longer thinking for yourself. In order to analyse a situation, you need reliable data and an open debate. We are not getting that, and fear, as demonstrated in your post, is the driver of all policy. In that case, I trust no-one who is telling me anything.
<<I for one will be happier knowing that crimes are being solved and prevented by good intelligence.>>
So, you believe that crimes weren't solved and prevented before DNA testing? I've got news for you - they were. They were even solved and prevented before fingerprinting. Yes, some crimes go unsolved, but they still will. The database might prevent some petty crime, but not spur-of-the-moment or serious crime.
Any database will eventually provide more noise than information. Fingerprints and DNA are left everywhere you go. If samples were taken from every crime scene, the evidence would become more and more circumstantial, because all it shows is that an individual was there, along with many others. The noise issue can be used by a serious criminal who thinks ahead: find a source of random DNA, such as the vacuum cleaner bag of a public place, and scatter it around the crime scene. For better cover, make sure that there is evidence that you were in that public place (easy with CCTV coverage these days). Even if the criminal's DNA can be isolated, there is no DNA evidence against them!
Whoops - I think I hear the helicopters. I may be some time ....
Freedom implies criminals.
The headmaster at this school really sounds as if he needs an invitation to the equivalent of the Nuremburg trials!
To those (few, I note), that are using the "databases keep crime down" argument, you may or may not be correct. As far as I know, there is no country in which there is a genuine zero crime rate, partly because in the pursuit of that zero crime rate, more "crimes" are invented so that it is all but impossible not to break one - the subsequent fear makes the population fearful of when they will get caught, and therefore, they are not free. Only those who consider themselves free will break laws in any system. In essence, any specific crime prevention policy is a reduction in freedom. Softening up children to accept the giving away of identifying data with no real reason, such as school dinners or library books, with the argument "you don't have to do it, but you are excluded from this aspect of society" is in essence nothing different from the "voluntary" membership of a small group called the Brown Shirts somewhere in Europe in the 1930s (where was it again? - just can't seem to remember). Instead of instilling trust and responsibility, this country is relying on suspicion and fear. True freedom is not freedom from crime, but freedom to decide not to commit crime because it is wrong, not because you might get caught. A free society accepts that there will be some crime, and makes arrangements to deal with it in proportion to the damage that is caused.
It is a bad day when China begins to look like an attractive proposition because of the relative state of civil liberties ...
Climate change, CO2 and human activity
Oh, boy, am I sick of the climate change lobby! There IS almost certainly climate change happening - that is what climates do. If you want to stop it, get rid of the atmosphere. CO2 may or may not make a difference - the graphs can be interpreted several ways, at least one suggesting that CO2 *follows* climate change, rather than causing it. In any case, the anti- technology brigade seem to keep missing out that life on Earth has survived, and indeed flourished, in far higher atmospheric levels which had no relation to technology because humans hadn't come close to evolving yet (leaving aside the possibility of other tech-developing species which are now our lizard masters, a theory that holds as much water as the man-made climate change argument).
However, let's pose this challenge to the climate changers - if you lived about 11000 years ago, would you be for banning the use of fire, or spears, or (insert relevant stone age tech here) because the climate was changing, the ice sheet was retreating,and there weren't as many mammoth, woolly rhinos, sabre tooth tigers, (insert favoured species here)? Why is climate change bad, whatever the cause? There is conservatism, there is rank stupidity, and there are the lunatics that have taken over the asylum.
Sorry to be picky...
... or not! Speed doesn't kill, nor does speeding. If the former was correct, those doom-mongers who said passengers on Stephenson's Rocket would die would be correct, or all astronauts would be dead, (or all life - do you know what speed the planet is doing?), and if the second was correct, every time you went a fraction over the posted limit, someone would die. More accurately, excess *acceleration*, not speed, causes damage - the greater the acceleration, the more damage. However, this is too confusing for the average politician, police chief, or Sun reader, so lets be fair on them, and say that "Inappropriate use of speed leads to a greater risk of injury or death". Not quite as catchy, but it does move the emphasis onto responsible driving, instead of the current situation which involves trying to drive with one eye on the speedo and the other trying to supply enough information to anticipate what the blonde in the Micra with the makeup bag open, the 7.5 tonner driver with the phone clamped to his ear, the party of schoolkids playing chicken, and the driver of the German car (any make) are going to do next!
This does seem to be an odd decision - work is work. At the very least, if the employer regards there being a problem and has informed the person through disciplinary procedures that their traffic will be monitored, then that should be enough. Every now and again, everyone uses the works phone or computer for non-work business, and this should be recognised and allowed, but what this woman was doing seems like abuse, and she should not have been rewarded for it.
There is a huge difference between the experience the previous poster mentions, and the majority of claims. The first, on the basis of the statements made, would be classed as bad work practice by any standard, and deserves to be persued. However, too many cases are being brought by people with a chip on their shoulder and an eye on a compensation cheque. Having the p**s taken out of you for any one of a million things is part of being in a group - it isn't harrassment, it is acceptance. That is where people should grow up and accept that their feelings are not the most important thing. If they can't do that, they are incapable of working as part of a team, and should leave.
I'll be convinced when...
... the first electric car finishes in the top ten - no, twenty, to be fair - of a proper motorsport event - rally, race, whatever. Alternatively, I'll be seriously impressed when an electric vehicle can replace a petrol/diesel commercial vehicle in like-for-like work (NOT milk-floats!). Until that day, I'm ICE through and through.