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* Posts by Alexander Hanff

47 posts • joined 31 Jul 2006

BBC Trust to hear open sourcers' iPlayer gripes

Alexander Hanff

Re: Microsoft paying BBC? BBC paying Microsoft?

You silly little person. You really have no idea do you?

It is not about being paid with cash, there is more than one way to skin a cat. Firstly, services like the iPlayer effectively lock people in to using microsoft windows if they want to use the service. This secures Microsoft's market share. Secondly, Microsoft negotiate license deals with large corporations, the BBC is a large corporation, it is very likely that this deal will be seen favourably by Microsoft next time the BBC need to renew their corporate licenses with Microsoft and although there will be no way to prove the BBC get a reduction in their license fees (because there is no set license fee to compare it against), it would be more than a little surprising if they didn't.

There are also many other ways both parties can benefit from the deal which don't involve a direct monetary relationship.

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Alexander Hanff

Re: Money Again

Tim,

Please cite a source where the BBC have committed themselves to launch players on other platforms. It simply isn't true, their original stance at the beginning of the year was to provide support for Mac within 2 years (nothing about Linux) but this was recently changed from providing definite support to simply reviewing the situation every 6 months, with no deadline or even official plan to provide support for any other platform.

As for DRM with regards time limits on copies, who gives a shit about US law, in the UK where we live and the BBC exists, OUR copyright law does not place any such restrictions on private copies. Under OUR copyright law we are legally permitted to copy for the purpose of time shifting, there is no 7 day limit in OUR legislation, so there is fuck all the content providers could do legally if people do keep the content more than 7 days.

Furthermore, read my previous comment regarding upcoming changes in our Copyright Law regarding format shifting, which would make current DRM systems unlawful.

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Alexander Hanff

re: Reality check, Copyright and OSDRM

Mike,

Even if DRM does happen at the monitor level, that still won't stop people being able to view content since the hardware will rely on flags in the stream to enforce the DRM. These flags can be removed and will be, so if the monitor doesn't know that something is supposed to be protected it won't prevent viewing it.

DRM does not work period, it can always be circumvented because you don't need to view the stream to remove the DRM (and in fact I can't think of any ripping software that does require streaming during the processing stage). Even using a tool as simple as mplayer you can break the video into single jpeg frames, edit any nefarious hidden flags in the output out of the images and rebuild the video from the result into pretty much any format you want.

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Alexander Hanff

DRM will be unlawful soon anyway

Given that the government have announced a commitment to alter UK Copyright Law in 2008 to add an exception for format shifting, this would effectively make DRM unlawful, as it would prevent people from exercising their legal right to format shift under the new exception.

So one has to question why the BBC have not only pissed off all the non windows using license payers, but have decided to use a system which will effectively be outlawed within 18 months anyway. The BBC should at the very least provide services which do not breach UK law and they don't even seem to be able to do that.

The entire debacle lacks any intelligence either from a long term perspective or a consumer/license payer rights perspective. Whoever made the executive decision at the BCC to make this microsoft and DRM only, should really be sacked as it is going to cost the BBC untold millions to correct these issues, if indeed it is possible to correct them at all.

The only logical solution I can see at the moment is for the BBC to scrap the project completely and even that is not without its problems as they would then be accountable for the huge waste of public money they have spent on this cock up and are unlikely to get away without some form of official government review for misappropriation of public funds.

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Alexander Hanff

Hmm guys you are posting the wrong petition

You should be posting this one as it already has ~10 000 signatures.

http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/iplayer/

I will add my 2p worth as well since most of the comments regarding this article so far are ludicrously stupid.

The situation is very simple.

The BBC is funding this project with License Fees. Therefore all license fee payers should have the right to access the service, irrespective of their operating system. It doesn't matter a crap if it is broadcast TV or not, I pay for it, therefore I have the right to access it, period.

Linux and Mac may well be minority systems, however, that minority runs into 100s of thousands of users in the UK alone, which equates to 10s of millions in License Fee revenue. So they are basically defrauding the British public out of 10s of millions a year by refusing to allow -all- license fee payers to access this service.

As for those who said a Linux and Mac player will be coming, no it won't. Not under the current system, and you are bloody fool if you think it will. BBC have made no commitment to bring the service inline with other operating systems, all they have done is said they will review the decision every 6 months, which means they will do nothing in reality.

The content providers will -never- allow the BBC to release this service to Linux/Unix users, the same as they have refused to allow the same people to legally play DVDs they have purchased on these platforms. Even if a cross platform DRM system was used, the content provider would still not allow it. DVDs already have DRM built in in the form of CSS yet the content providers have refused to license a player for these platforms and in fact have resorted to using DVD authoring techniques on top of CSS which openly go against the DVD Standards to deliberately cripple non licensed players, that is how strongly they feel about NOT allowing us to use content/media we have payed for.

They are the facts, whether you like it or not.

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Sick to death of the bloody iPhone? Click here

Alexander Hanff

Made my week

Best video EVER.

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Is your phone free?

Alexander Hanff

Re: Still an iPhone

Actually this release doesn't support 3G it is a limited release aimed only at developers with a very limited number of phones available. The public release will be 3G and will have a camera and wifi.

You should also note that the Neo1973 has built in GPS.

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UK going to hell on hardware, eco group warns

Alexander Hanff

Utter carp

In the last 12 months I made a purchasing decision for our family home to replace CRT screens with LCDs. So far I have replaced 2x 21" CRT Monitors and a 32" CRT TV with LCD technology. Why did I do this? Because of the significant reduction in power requirements.

My 2 19" LCD monitors use less power than 1 of the previous CRT monitors I used, in fact when the monitors are in standby they use less than 1W each and when in use they use only 70W each. Our 32" LCD TV uses only 120W (a massive reduction on the CRT TV which as I recall used over 300W).

We also use energy efficient lighting in all rooms and downgraded our microwave from 850W to 750W.

My new mobile phone only needs charging every 4-5 days compared to my previous mobile phone which needed charging every 2-3 days.

We have an energy efficient Fridge Freezer and Washing Machine. We also dry all our clothes outside and do not own a tumble dryer. We wash up by hand and do not own a dishwasher. We also have a boiler which only heats water as we need it, as opposed to a large tank of hot water controlled by a thermostat.

As a result our power consumption has decreased significantly in the past 12 months by upgrading our home appliances and entertainment systems to more modern, less power hungry equipment.

This report is nothing more than a moral panic. The public should be encouraged to embrace new technology as in the majority of situations it is far more energy efficient. The energy saving from switching to LCD from CRT screens alone is of major significance.

New technology replacing old is a good thing, I can't think of a single domestic appliance or entertainment equipment that has not been significantly improved over the past 20 years with regards to energy efficiency.

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Tories offer record industry cash for righteousness

Alexander Hanff

Time to Vote green

I was actually considering voting for Conservative in the next General Election. Not because I agree with their policies, but because I am damn sure I will never make the mistake of voting Labour again.

If the Conservatives are planning on extending Copyright there is no way I will vote for them. I will have to either renew my membership with the Lib Dems or start to consider one of the smaller parties like the Green Party.

Hopefully Conservative won't manage to get back into parliament before 2030 which should give me a chance to legally download all the classics from the 60s and 70s once they enter the public domain under the existing copyright laws.

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O2 gets UK iPhone deal

Alexander Hanff

Can you guys make your mind up please?

How can I berate iBoys effectively if you post 2 articles in the space of a week which totally contradict each other?

Last week you claimed that the EU iPhone would be on 3 different providers including Vodafone and that it would be 3G.

This week it is 1 provider and Edge/2.5G

I spent the better part of the time between the two stories, doing my geek duty and rightly mocking the US iBoys for their inferior deal, and whereas I appreciate that I now have the opportunity to mock EU iBoys even more because they spent a week getting their hopes up and soiling their underwear with iMan juice, it does mean I have to, rather regretfully, make a tactical withdrawal from my US front lines.

So please, try and prevent contradicting yourselves too much.

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UK.biz: recruiting talent the number one IT problem

Alexander Hanff

The UK is bursting with talent

There is no lack of talented IT professionals in the UK, it is just most of us are out of work because no-one will hire us or because we have had to leave a position after companies have failed to pay us our wages.

I wrote an entry on my Blog about the problems for IT Professionals in the UK last year, you can read it here:

http://users.livejournal.com/_paladine_/?skip=20#item4337

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Waste computer edict finally hits UK

Alexander Hanff

The caption is wrong

I think you made a typo in the caption, it reads:

"Charity says don't junk kit, send it to Africa instead"

I believe you meant to type:

"Charity says don't junk kit, send it to Alex instead"

Thanks

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DVD ripping to be rendered impossible?

Alexander Hanff

This would be unlawful in UK

The British Government have announced that they intend to make changes to UK Copyright Law in the near future to add an exception for personal copies for format shifting, so people will be permitted to rip copies of any media they own in order to playback on different devices.

This would effectively make DRM and other copy protection systems in the UK, unlawful as it would prevent the public from enacting their rights under the law.

So bring it on...

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Two year old's IQ on a par with Hawking

Alexander Hanff

Utter Fud

It is literally impossible to measure the IQ of a 2 year old. Furthermore, 152 is not even particularly high, 165 is considered genius level. Finally, people's IQs drop as they get older. This news story is utter crap and whoever is putting this poor child through this public circus should be shot.

As someone who spent his entire childhood under the watchful eye of multiple psychologists because I have an exceptionally high IQ, I know how damaging this can be for a child. She isn't even 3 years old and already a public spectacle, leave the poor kid alone.

Oh and for the record, if Hawkins' IQ is only 152 that makes me smarter than him by a long way and it makes a lot of people I went to school with smarter than him as well. I was shipped off to a special government school for gifted children, the majority of students there had IQs well over the 150 mark.

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DrinkorDie warez leader jailed for 51 months

Alexander Hanff

As David said

It is more than a little scary when a US Judge, who is supposed to be an expert on the law, is unable to distinguish between "theft" and "copyright infringement". I hope he appeals based on these grounds.

The judge has just set a dangerous precedent.

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Open sourcers rattle EU sabre at BBC on demand player

Alexander Hanff

Re: Jeremy E Cath

Firstly, your comment about a few dozen Linux users and couple of hundred Mac users is highly insulting. There are 10s of thousands of Linux users in the UK, possibly even more Linux users than there are domestic Mac users, so keep your bigoted views to yourself.

The fact remains that we all pay our tv license fee and irrespective of whether you or anyone else in these comments feel we are relevant, we should be afforded the same rights as every other TV license payer in the UK.

The chances of there being a Linux friendly system in the next 24 months are incredibly slim given that they have already admitted that the system has been setup in this way to deal with DRM and there is no way DRM will be forced onto the Linux community any time in the near future and even if it was it would be optional. If the BBC are being forced to use DRM to license this content there is no way the Copyright Police would -ever- allow a license for a platform where the DRM is not compulsory.

Furthermore, we -all- pay our license, so why the hell should we have to wait for 2+ years longer than windows users to access this service? This is wrong, period, and the second this service becomes available for a single segment of the population, I personally will suing the BBC for a refund of my TV License, I would suggest everyone else who is being excluded does the same. A class action suit by 10s of thousands of consumers would soon put a stop to this ridiculous situation.

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Alexander Hanff

Linux users pay a license too

I don't own a windows machine, neither do I own a Mac, so neither windows media player -or- realplayer are acceptable formats for me. I use Linux exclusively for everything I do and I own several Linux machines.

I DO pay a TV license the same as everyone else in the UK, therefore I have the right to access any service the BBC provides, just the same as you Microsoft Windows users do. Using a format which excludes 10s of thousands of license payers is totally unacceptable.

Linux is gaining market share rapidly. Currently Ubuntu Linux is outselling Windows Vista on Amazon, and yes I did say outselling. It seems people are more willing to pay for a free operating system than they are to buy Microsoft's Vista, and the version of Ubuntu being sold was only released in April, several months -after- Windows Vista, yet it is outselling Vista despite Vista's head start in the market. Microsoft's market share is shrinking every day.

The BBC have a commitment to ALL their license payers, since we are the reason they exist in the first place. Therefore the BBC should be forced to provide services which are accessible to everyone, irrespective of their choice of operating system.

To all the people who previously responded with their bigoted opinions and short sighted experience of the OS market, shut the hell up. Just because you use Windows it does not give you more rights than me or any other non windows users in the UK.

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iPhone variants on the way?

Alexander Hanff

One Word

OpenMoko

(see: http://www.openmoko.org )

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UK MoD reveals Watchkeeper spy-drone numbers

Alexander Hanff

Don't believe all the anti UK defence propaganda

I don't know why people keep claiming I think we should buy US drones, I never said any such thing. I would be just as much against that as I am against the current situation.

Firstly, I don't believe there is any value or indeed any need for these drones regardless of where they come from.

Secondly, my argument has been that if we are going to spend money on these things, they should be developed 100% in house from scratch.

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Alexander Hanff

Re:Yawn

Wrong wrong and wrong again. Absolutely everything you just typed was rubbish. As for wikipedia it is blocked in my router. I am a social scientist and an academic, I just also happen to have a huge interest in politics and a true understanding of a democratic system -is- (which is clearly something you don't have.). The MoD is totally accountable. As for costs being a national security risk, again utter shite, since the majority of the costs for these toys falls under the category of intellectual property and NOT physical costs, there is no way to ascertain what the parts are from the costs, and even if there was, it would make no difference.

Anyone who wants to buy these drones can, if I wanted to buy one and had enough money I could, the same as movie stars buy tanks and military jets, it all just comes down to money. The aviation police probably wouldn't let me fly it, but they couldn't stop me buying it.

And there-in lies the rub, you can't scream National Security about a product if you are buying a product from a 3rd party (or multiple 3rd parties as in this case) since the national security has already been breached as people NOT under the control of UK law have intimate knowledge of our defense systems (such as these drones).

However, if we developed our own drones within the jurisdiction of the UK law and without the intervention or collaboration of non domestic sources, then National Security wouldn't be an issue would it?

You, along with 99% of the rest of the UK need to wake up and smell the damn coffee. The only reason you think the MoD are not answerable to the public is because you have been brainwashed into thinking they aren't, the same as most of the entire population has been brainwashed into an apathetic state of utter ignorance with regards to how a democratic system is -supposed- to run. Democracy is supposed to EMPOWER the people yet we as a nation have forgotten that, we have let the Lords and the Party Politicians blur our vision with a veil of fog blinding us from the basic principles of our democratic state for their own vested and material interests.

YOU are the perfect example of this, everything you said wreaks of the foul, noxious disease that has grown to epidemic proportions here in the UK. You are welcome to your opinion, but I would warn you that it is not your opinion, but merely the ignorance which is the inevitable side effect of the disease.

Politicians and public facilities will never be answerable to the people who control them if those people never even attempt to exert their control. So you go back to your 9-5, your hegemonic media, your tranquil bubble of ignorance. I will continue to see with open eyes, I will continue to fight for my rights, I will continue to educate the masses in an attempt to dissolve the fog that blinds you all and I will continue to call the government and all their minions to account for their actions. I will not disempower myself as you have, I am a free man, my thoughts are free, my mind is free and my heart is free. I refuse to allow apathy to steal my world.

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Alexander Hanff

RE: Cost Figures

I did read the first 2 paragraphs but after that I gave up as it was painfully clear that your "figures" are utterly unsubstantiated. Show me REAL figures, I am not interested in sweeping generalisations that have zero facts or sources to back them up.

You just wasted what 10 minutes? typing nothing but utterly unsubstantiated claims. Come back when you have some real facts with real sources to back them up.

As for your comment:

"Detailed figures are unlikely to ever appear in public because a) they're not the sort of thing that can be released and b) you have to have something to compare to if you want to know if something is 'cheap' or not. (Not that I'd have such things anyway, but I'm familiar with how this kind of program tends to work so can guess at stuff)."

Utter bollox, it is public money that is being spent, we have every right to demand a complete cost breakdown and the MoD have zero rights to deny us that information. They can't even hide behind national security because cost breakdowns have zero impact on National Security.

The MoD belongs to me, you and every other citizen of the UK, they are answerable to me, you and every other citizen of the UK and they have ZERO independent rights. They are a public facility, nothing more and as such they have a responsibility to tell us EXACTLY how they are spending mine, your's and every other citizen of the UK's money. They also have the obligation to JUSTIFY that spending when questioned about it.

So instead of just talking crap, get ME, YOU and EVERYONE ELSE in the UK the REAL facts and figures. I want a complete breakdown of -all- costs so I can decide for myself whether I believe it is appropriate spending of public money.

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Alexander Hanff

Re: Minor Points

Well if you are so confident that they are worth £15M each, show us the facts to prove it. Outline all the costs including raw materials, manufacturing equipment, factory real estate, labour, logisitics and electronics etc.

The damn thing is nothing more than a hi tech radio controlled toy. There is no justifying 15M quid for something like this, it simply doesn't cost this much at all.

As for your comments about it being limited markup, again, utter tosh until you provide figures to back it up. You would have to make the damn things out of solid gold and have them hand made by <insert deity> to justify the pricetag.

There is absolutely no way this sort of spending on a toy can be justified. It doesn't break any new technological ground, avionics are not new, they are a tried and tested technology for over 100 years, same as all the other technology in these toys, nothing new, just existing tech bolted on. You can come out with as many big words and phrases as you like, but it is still full of shit until we see the actual raw numbers.

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Alexander Hanff

Value for Money?

I think not. There is no way you or anyone else can convince me that these drones are worth 15M each because they aren't. The raw materials to build the things will be a ridiculously low percentage of the final cost. Even the technology attached to the things can't be valued high, not in todays markets with high tech manufacturing being incredibly cheap per unit.

Basically we are paying for the intellectual property, not for the drones. I daresay the actual drones cost less than 100k to build, its not like they are made of platinum or anything.

So here we go, 800M of tax payers money that could easily be used elsewhere and be more beneficial to the public than spy drones.

I would be suprised if it wouldn't cost less than 800M to develop our own drones and build twice as many.

Why do people see these things as value for money when clearly they are nothing more than gold leaf pocket liners. I wonder how many members of the government have "concerns" invested in Thales.

Spin me as much yarn as you like, you will never convince me that this type of military funding is in the best interests of the British people.

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UK government tunes out debate on DNA database

Alexander Hanff

Do you feel lucky punk?

If the police can shoot an unarmed man 8 times in the head at point blank range for carrying a backpack and then get rewarded with an all expenses paid holiday with their families, how safe do you feel if your [OMGITSUNDISPUTABLEEVIDENCE] DNA is found at the scene of a serious/terrorist crime scene?

Do you feel lucky?

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Britney's new album title - can you help?

Alexander Hanff

Fan of single word album titles...

So how about "Sinead"

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Hundreds of records unlawfully intercepted by FBI

Alexander Hanff

What a suprise?

And to those people who say governments -don't- abuse their powers over civilians, I suggest they go take a long walk off a short pier.

I would like to draw attention back to the fingerprinting children in schools issue, a debate which many people claimed was fine for reasons such as "If you have done nothing wrong what do you have to worry about" and the overwhelming and naive view that governments don't abuse their powers.

How many more times do situations like this need to make it to press before people open their eyes and see that things are horribly horribly wrong and that their rights are rapidly dissolving into the quagmire of a police state?

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Police will share data across Europe

Alexander Hanff

Astounding

Even our own data protection systems are nothing but a toothless stuffed ferret. ICO has no power to manage our own national privacy issues let alone opening up these systems to other countries. It has become painfully obvious that this is going to be nothing less than a dog's dinner of a balls up.

We have a situation in the UK where ICO have zero enforcement power, they have the right to slap companies on the wrist and they have the right to request a visit to inspect data retention systems, but that request can be denied by the intended parties. So what hope can we possibly have of ICO protecting our information from abuse by Law Enforcement and other Government departments both in the UK and EU?

I will be glad to finally get out of this fucked up country and move to Canada, although sadly I feel the only real escape from the global police state that is growing rapidly more powerful, will be the release that death has to offer.

And yet still the apathetic sheep of the world (yes you can read that as the public) continue to live in their short sighted little bubbles.

This is seriously fucked up.

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UK mulls drink-drive limit cut

Alexander Hanff

I am against drink driving but....

I find the stats to be somewhat flawed. Just over 150 more youths involved in drink driving offenses over the past 10 years could easily be accounted for by the fact that there are more cars on the road now and there are more 17-19 year olds in the community due to the baby boom of the 80s and 90s. Cars have become cheaper to buy (second hand cars certainly) so it stands to reason more 17-19 year olds will have them, which could be the only reason for the increase in stats.

I personally haven't touched a drop of alcohol in over 5 years and certainly agree that drink driving is a problem, but if they are going to make significant changes to the legislation, they should at least do it honestly without resorting to representing statistics in a dubious manner.

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Orange rapped for 'unlimited' broadband

Alexander Hanff

re: Letter?

My partner is also dyslexic so I understand how difficult itmight be for you. I will put up a letter template on my blog (http://blog.paladine.org.uk) sometime in the next 24 hours along with links for fiding your MP's address and also the address of the Parliamentary Ombudsman.

You should contact your MP in the first instance and if you are unhappy with the result you then take it to the Parliamentary Ombudsman.

As for unfair terms in contracts, I do recall reading something about ISPs being exempt for some stupid reason. You can find the information on Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts on the DTI's webpage.

It should be a fairly open and shut case against the ASA though, because clearly the packages being offered by the ISPs are not unlimited, they all (yes every ISP in the UK offering ADSL Max products) have incredibly restrictive FUPs it is impossible to argue from a logical standpoint that these products are unlimited. We just need to raise enough hell about it to get the ASA to pull their fingers out of their asses.

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Alexander Hanff

Time to take action

Seems obvious to me that ASA are not doing their job, quite why is anyone's guess but it wreaks of corruption. I will personally be putting a complaint in to the Parliamentary Ombudsman, I suggest everyone else does the same. I will also discuss with my MP whether it is possible to take legal action against the ASA for negligence, if it is, then there could be a class action waiting in the wings.

But certainly -everyone- can make a complaint to the Parliamentary Ombudsman so don't just sit there whining about it, DO SOMETHING! If the Ombudsman suddenly receive 30 000 letters in a week from irate members of the public because the ASA are not doing their job, you can damn well be sure they will do something about it, just dealing with all that mail is going to cost them a small fortune and take up man hours they hadn't planned or provisioned for.

It amazes me how often people whine about these situations but they do absolutely NOTHING about it. It takes 15 minutes tops to write a letter and writing letters is -the only- way to take action nowadays. You can't protest anymore by gathering in the streets, you can't send anthrax to them in the post anymore or you are a terrorist, so hit them where they fat public money budgets are. Use up their budget so they can't go out on ISO 9001 "Quality Circles" (which basically mean an open bar in an expensive hotel for a weekend under the guise of reviewing and streamlining procedures), kill their christmas dinner/bonus funds, hit them where it matters.

They are not allowed to throw letters away, they have to read and respond to every single one. Letter writing campaigns are by far THE most effective way to protest in the modern world. So quit whining, put pen to paper and remove your finger from your ass. Until you do, you are nothing but a waste of air.

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Albanians swipe Bush's wristwatch

Alexander Hanff

Feed the World

Given the chance that government officials will be sporting expensive brand watches (like Rolex) this could become a new method for helping to deal with world poverty.

I expect the lucky family who acquired Mr Bush's watch will be able to sell it for enough money to feed their entire extended family for what? about 5 years?

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TV ads too loud, industry watchdog says

Alexander Hanff

About fucking time

We have a 17 month old child and I have written several complaints to Sky about the excessive loudness of adverts. It has got to the point now where instead of watching something live we record things on our Sky+ box and then watch them so we can fast forward through the commercials to avoid them and their excessive volume.

Of course on my MythTV box it is even easier because it has commercial flagging and will even remove commercials from recordings if I want it to.

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Microsoft waves in Minority Report-style computing era

Alexander Hanff

Patents

I wonder how many illegal patents Microsoft have filed for this technology so far.

Someone made a rather sweeping claim in this thread that we are all Apple loving MS hating bigots (or something to that effect). Not true, I hate both Apple and MS and I hate them both with a passion, so much of a passion in fact that both Apple and MS products are completely banned from my house (and Sony too but thats another story, well actually its the same story just a different company).

The fact of the matter remains that MS have not invented or innovated anything here, it is old technology that people have been working on around the world for like 20 years. The only thing new here is the multitouch and even that has been developed by various other (see some of the other comments here for links) people before Microsoft.

I would like to see it running on a vertical display surface with XGL+Compiz but oh yeah, I forgot, we can already do that for a couple hundred quid as opposed to thousands.

MS Innovation? Funniest thing I have heard today, but then it is only 5:50am so plenty of time to see a politician talk or watch Beadles About yet.

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Home Office moots 'Precrime' agency for future serial killers

Alexander Hanff

re: "Minority Report"

You are assuming that such a system doesn't already exist in the US. Lets see, you have Echelon for a start, then the FBI, CIA, NSA, DHS, then of course there is all the fuss over illegal wire taps reported for the last year in the international press; to name just a few of the surveilance agencies and systems in place in the US.

Are you saying you honestly believe that there is no national system currently being used? I would be very very very suprised if there wasn't. Just because you don't know about it, it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

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NASA blows whistle on Antarctic Y2K (+5) meltdown

Alexander Hanff

More FUD

Funny how independent research labs and scientists across the world have shown that the temperature in Antartica is actually decreasing (particularly on the eastern side of the continent).

Yet more FUD from people with an alternative agenda...

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Software piracy rates remain stubbornly stuck

Alexander Hanff

We are all terrists

Using the same logic BSA use to determine the financial losses caused by piracy, anyone who is not in law enforcement or the military is a terrist. Since we are not directly contributing to the irradication of these ev0l terrists, we must be terrists ourselves...

(spelling for comic relief)

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Alexander Hanff

Expect their figures to increase

Now MS have stated Linux is breaching it's patents, I am suprised that the BSA has not included companies using Linux as using unlicensed software yet...

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Info Commissioner audits HBOS

Alexander Hanff

Makes you think...

Currently on the front page of El Reg there is a story about the new EU super biometric database and how it will not be freely available to the police. It states in the article that access will be monitored by each country's relevant data protection agency. In the UK that would be ICO. Does this mean that if the police decide to start abusing the system ICO will tell them off twice and then be able to do nothing?

Hmmmm

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Alexander Hanff

Just Say No...

Stage 1

ICO: "Mr Bank, it has become apparant that there may have been breaches of the DPA within your organisation. Is this going to happen again?

Mr Bank:"Of course not Mr IC."

Stage 2

ICO: "Mr Bank, in our last discussion you promised not to break the law anymore, but we have evidence that suggests you still are. Please stop."

Mr Bank: "Oh I am sorry Mr IC we are so busy counting our profits that we don't have the time to invest any of it into best practise training. But I promise it won't happen again."

Stage 3

*KNOCK KNOCK*

ICO: "Mr Bank, we see you are still breaking the law, do you mind if we come in and have a look around?"

Mr. Bank: "Piss Off"

*SLAM*

Stage 4

ICO: "Sorry you had your identity stolen and your life ruined Mr Customer of Mr Bank. As for the life savings you had stolen and all the credit that was taken out in your name, I can't do anything about that, that would be a different government department. However, I have visited Mr Bank to give him a stern telling off and investigate his company policies with regards to Data Protection, but he wouldn't let me in."

*CLICK*

*BANG*

ICO: "Mr Customer of Mr Bank? ..."

Alternative Scenario:

Youth swears at a machine in the vicinity of a police officer and is immediately issued a fixed penalty notice.

Rather a long way to get to a point, but why is it normal members of the public going about their normal everyday lives, are more accountable to the law than the companies that exploit them?

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Immigrant data protected from EU police

Alexander Hanff

Well Dodgy

Given the other article on El Reg at the moment regarding ICO's Audit of HBoS, there are some concerns here.

This article about the EU Biometric Database states that each country's relevant data protection agency will regulate access to this database and monitor it for misuse. But it is obvious that the ICO have zero power as outlined in the HBoS article. Even if the database was abused, ICO have no power to do anything except tell the responsible parties off. Which is hardly going to deter any future abuse of this system.

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US forces to block YouTube, MySpace on DoD network

Alexander Hanff

botnets

They would have much more bandwidth if they could secure their networks in the first place. DoD networks are riddled with compromised machines running on botnets. Go figure.

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Greens demand boycott of Lockheed Martin census trial

Alexander Hanff

Ian Cope said in reply to Berry's article that the boycott was "short-sighted and irresponsible"

And using a US military contractor is not short sighted and irresponsible?

Pot, Kettle, Black.

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Dell Linux is go

Alexander Hanff

Interesting Times Ahead of Us

One thing I haven't seen anyone mention yet is the potential this creates for an IP patent war.

Dell may have pleased 100s of thousand of Linux users today with this news, but you can guarantee they have pissed off 2 other parties:

1. Microsoft will be pissed off. Not only have Dell undermined the launch of Vista and brewed distrust in the IT industry as a result, but now they have decided to offer machines with the evil Linux preinstalled.

2. Novell are also going to be very pissed off, because Dell have chosen Ubuntu instead of Novell. I don't need to go over the rocky ground of Mark Shuttleworth's reputation among the Novellsphere but clearly with that in mind you can see Novell would be less than impressed with this situation.

Now comes the crux. When you mix a nice little stew of contempt brewing from MS and Novell who just last year announced an agreement not to pursue each others customers for alleged IP infractions under patent law, this could end up quite a dirty afair. Given that Dell have not gone with Novell, they are not covered by the arrangement between MS and Novell potentially leaving them open to frivilous litigation from both parties.

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Alexander Hanff

US or International?

Is this going to be another US only deal like the XP instead of Vista deal?

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Stolen laptops fuel industrial espionage fears for UK software firm

Alexander Hanff

Market Leaders?

Interesting, I worked as a trainer and consultant for a US based software company who provide fuel management software for the major oil/petroleum companies (globally). They could be classed as market leaders, but I have never heard of the so called market leader referenced in this article...

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Sony PlayStation 3

Alexander Hanff

What about the negatives?

I have to say I wasn't impressed with the review it merely scanned over the media hype and gloss already out there from Sony. I would have expected El Reg to be more cynical and get into the crux of the whole situation.

For example, there was no mention of the racing game which was reported last year to be released with 0 tracks and 0 cars. This meant that if you bought the game on the High Street you couldn't even play it until you spent even more money downloading the tracks and cars.

You also let Sony off way to easy. This is the company that thinks since most people don't know what a root kit is, why worry about installing one on their computer. This is also one of the companies that was found guilty of pricefixing. This is also one of the companies that have sued over 20 000 consumers for file sharing. Lets not forget that they also have less than ethical factory environments with insanely long hours for their underpaid staff. Did I mention DRM yet? Sony are one of the main pushers of DRM in the world, not to mention the vast sums of money they spend lobbying congress and other governments to bend legislation in their favour at the cost of consumer rights. They were one of the main campaigners for new laws in the US which have harsher mandatory jail sentences for having the latest Britney O'Conner^WSpears in a shared folder on their computer, than for killing someone.

Easily one of the -the- most evil companies in the world and you give them a glowing 95%? I expected much more from you guys, I really did.

Alexander Hanff

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Microsoft needs 'off switch'

Alexander Hanff

Microsoft seem to have it backwards (again?)

Professional software testers demand salaries upwards of £30 000 per year, yet here is Microsoft with 3 000 000 testers demanding no salary.

Now granted, the average user may not be the same calibre as a professional software tester, but even at 30% the quality level of testing that is a £30 000 000 saving in Microsoft's wages bill.

What they should be doing, is paying people to test their software, not charging people to do so.

Of course the other problem is, as Microsoft have shown in the past, despite the huge testing pool they have to beta test their products they still can't get it right. How many 100s of thousands of bugs reported during beta testing will actually be fixed for the final release? History tells only a small percentage followed by years of security updates and services packs which will eventually lead to the end of the product cycle (when the next version of Office after this is released) seeing a product that is STILL not clear of bugs and security issues.

If they are going to charge people for the downloads, maybe the 3 000 000 beta testers should start billing Microsoft for their time? I am sure after the recent antitrust action in Europe, Redmond would be more than happy to foot a $50 000 000 wages bill for their testers.

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