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* Posts by Mark Simon

125 posts • joined 31 Jul 2006

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Australia's opposition backs warrantless metadata collection

Mark Simon

Just to be clear …

By “warrantless” do we mean “unwarranted”?

In any case, technically, this would truly be “within the bounds that people would expect”. It just depends on which people are doing the expecting.

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Microsoft issues less-than-helpful tips to XP holdouts

Mark Simon

Re: Linux?

Small slice of the consumer computers [sic] population?

Linux, on the other hand, powers the majority of web servers and routers, which is why the Web is still working. Definitely worth targeting, I should have thought.

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Dell charges £16 TO INSTALL FIREFOX on PCs – Mozilla is miffed

Mark Simon

Re: Sounds about right

… so why aren’t you using the “mindless MS Windows fan” icon?

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Apple 'hid AUD$9 BILLION' from Australia alone: Report

Mark Simon

Yes, but … what goes around …

Assuming that we are talking about what is technically legal, it’s surprising how much sympathy Tax department is suddenly getting.

We are taxed on practically everything, and denied many legitimate tax deductions (such as travel and spectacles). Paying taxes has become a competition to see who can con the most out of the other.

When the government does get their cut, they squander it on poor and inefficient infrastructure, mismanagement and general wastage. When they actually get something working, they then charge us extra for the service.

Most of us grumble, not because the government is being deprived of their rightful share, but because we haven’t been able to achieve the same success.

In any case, tax is only one of many ways of contributing to the community. Given that Apple’s profit is less than 100%, for every dollar spent on an Apple product, money has contributed to wages, manufacture, rent and other costs paid to others. Third party accessories and equipment also benefit.

Sure, potential tax money from Apple is not insignificant. But it’s only a small percentage of the flow on financial benefits to the rest of the community.

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China in the grip of a 'NUCLEAR WINTER': Smog threat to crops

Mark Simon

Sharing the Blame

A lot of China’s industry is exported to the rest of the world where we low prices are so important that we don’t care who suffers and how.

It is absurd to think that importing goods from overseas more cheaply than manufacturing them locally is not a distortion of reality. In this case, it is achieved by poor wages and working conditions, unreliable quality control, and a disregard for the environment.

The medium to long term consequences may well include higher prices as manufacturing and food production in China gets trickier.

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Microsoft asks pals to help KILL UK gov's Open Document Format dream

Mark Simon

Preferred format?

“… the vast majority of citizens and businesses already use OpenXML as their preferred document format …”

This must be some strange usage of “preferred” that I was previously unaware of.

OpenXML is a default format more honoured in the breach than in the observance. Even Microsoft can’t implement it properly. The vast majority of citizens and businesses haven’t heard of OpenXML, and certainly haven’t made a conscious decision that would be required to make it a preferred format.

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NBN to be built even if cost-benefit analysis shows no ROI

Mark Simon

Beside the Point

The Gummint is in a poor position to talk about ROI. The whole point of government, if it’s doing the job, is to provide services, using the money it has hijacked from the tax payer.

Highways, bridges, sewerage, hospitals and other services including a decent communications network all require a coordinated effort, which is what government should be providing.

If the tax payers have indicated that they want broadband, then that should be sufficient benefit for the cost involved.

Now let’s see the Government justifying the rest of the financial black hole that is the day-to-day business of running themselves.

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Fiendish Internet Explorer 10 zero-day targets US soldiers

Mark Simon

This should be a non-issue!

Nobody needs to run IE any more, especially if you’re sitting on top of the sort of technology which the US military is supposed to have.

Everything they say about military intelligence is true …

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New Doctor Who's new costume newly REVEALED by Beeb

Mark Simon

By Autumn, do you mean Spring?

For those of us who are at the Antipodes … Or is this another time warp?

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Mystery 'doughnut' materializes in front of Mars rover: 'OH MY GOD! It wasn't there before!'

Mark Simon

Re: Like, oh my god!

… and we were like, dude, where’s my donut and they were like no way and were were like yes way and they were like noooo way!!! and we were like yessss way!!! and they were like aaawesome!!! …

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Coffee a memory enhancing drug, say boffins

Mark Simon

Re: I think someone needs a coffee.

… can’t remember …

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Online shopping tax slug not worth the effort: National Australia Bank

Mark Simon

Won’t make much difference …

It’s not just the price difference which attracts buyers to overseas. It’s the fact that local suppliers don’t have the stock, or the range, or the understanding to justify wasting your time trying to buy locally.

Local retailers shooting themselves in the foot here. They are positioning themselves against potential customers, and wondering why customers don’t fall over themselves to flock to their stores. Perhaps they might take an interest in becoming more competitive rather than making everybody else less competitive.

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Report says Microsoft has divided CEO list into possibles and probables

Mark Simon
Headmaster

More than one probable?

I don’t know much about how CEO short lists work, but I should have thought that to be on the probable list, one would have a better than 50% chance of success.

How can you have more than one probable?

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Big Content says Pirates of the Caribbean do their worst in Australia

Mark Simon

Self Inflicted

I’m not the only one who could have saved the MPAA a lot of time and angst byt telling them that region encoding is not only evil, it is self destructive.

I have legally bought DVDs from 4 different regions and do not appreciate being told that what I have done is immoral or illegal.My DVD player doesn’t care, and neither should anybody else.

My computer, on the other hand, is being much more fascist about it, so I need an unlocked copy. My preference is, of course, for a legal copy, but what is one to do if the only option is an illegal copy?

MPAA, if you are reading this, the solution is really really easy: unlock DVDs, price them more reasonably, make them more available, and sit back and rake in the increased revenue.

What sort of moron makes their products increasingly harder to buy and harder to use, and laments over how hard it is to sell them?

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Doctor Who's 50th year special: North American theater tix on sale Friday

Mark Simon

Re: You know what?

Maybe, but wouldn’t Christmas be a more suitable time?

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Americans shift gaze to cheap(ish) iPhone 5c, rest of world slurps 5s bling

Mark Simon

Is this one of Apple’s marketing errors.

Apple is wildly successful, but there are some marketing disasters in its history. The Apple 2GS, the Apple 3, the original portable Mac, possibly the Lisa, and the Newton, to name a few disappointments.

Most people I know buy their iPhone on a plan. The cost difference between the 5S and the 5C is little enough, but spread over the life time of the plan, it becomes trivial. I haven’t yet worked out why you would even consider a 5C … ?

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RUMBLINGS: Apple pondering 'Touch Cover keyboard' for iPads

Mark Simon

Protecting your iPad

Actually, it was thinking of trying to squeeze my iPad into a Surface cover. That way nobody will be tempted to steal it.

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COFFEE AND DANISH HELL: National ID system cockup forces insecure Java on Danes

Mark Simon
FAIL

Don’t They Read?

Here in Australia, you need Java for any online transactions with the Tax Office.

How many more IT departments are there that still believe that Java is the right way to secure a transaction?

The irony is that using Java requires some technical know-how on the part of the user, either keeping it up to date, or, in this case to work around it. Those with the know-how already know that Java is a flawed solution.

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Windows 8.1: Read this BEFORE updating - especially you, IT admins

Mark Simon

Is this the only way to get people onto the Windows Store? By bullying them?

After this we will hear about how popular the Store has become …

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Diamonds are forever POURING down on Jupiter, Saturn - boffins

Mark Simon

“And we think we're pretty certain.”

So, we’re not absolutely sure we’re certain, but we may be somewhat certain. We think.

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MS Word deserves DEATH says Brit SciFi author Charles Stross

Mark Simon

MS Word shows signs of not having to compete

I gave up on MS Word some time ago. LibreOffice does what I want to do better, but it could stand a total re-think on word processing.

The problem with all word processors is that nobody has put much thought into changing the way we think about word processing, so we’re still trying to do what seemed magical decades ago.

MS Word’s biggest failure, as with the rest of Office, is that all of the changes make it harder to use than ever before. What normal users want to do is trapped somewhere between the new features and the new interface.

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Mark Simon

Re: Douglas Adams'...

http://www.smartquotes.info/douglasadams.php

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McDonalds tells fatties to SUPERSIZE THEIR BRAINS

Mark Simon

Not meaning to be cynical, but …

“This is the latest step in our ongoing efforts to enrich the lives of families”

Specifically which families are to be enriched is not mentioned, but I suspect it’s the families of McDonalds share holders.

“Books are essential for inspiring children to explore, dream, and achieve, yet far too many children do not have this basic resource”

Of course, we assume that the target market is those who can’t afford or can’t be bothered with real books, but have the money to spend on junk food and ebook readers …

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Microsoft wants to 'move beyond' the Cookie Monster

Mark Simon

What About Corporate & Government Privacy?

Normal human beings have long been able to avoid using IE, especially legacy versions. Some corporate and government diehards seem to be fixated on IE for their own systems.

How many will welcome built-in super-cookies which call back to their Microsoft Overlords?

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TWELFTH-CENTURY TARDIS turns up in Ethiopia

Mark Simon

Re: Strange

Being Dr Who, that shouldn’t pose much of a problem …

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Hang in there, Internet Explorer peeps: Gaping zero-day fix coming Tues

Mark Simon

This time for sure …

Getting IE to work properly is like Bullwinkle trying to pull a rabbit out of his hat.

And it’s funny because nobody uses IE any more, do they? What? Some moron in IT still thinks it’s easier to manage?

What I can’t understand is why a vulnerability that’s been known exploited for a month is called zero-day. Shouldn’t it be called –30 day?

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Apple's new non-feline Mac operating system, OS X Mavericks, ready to go

Mark Simon

Re: run out of cats?

And then there’s

Felix

Top Cat

Jinx

Tom

or, if you prefer,

hellcat

magnificat

or

catastropohe

catatonic

cataclysm

… the list goes on.

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A-D'OH!-BE: Adobe hit by 'sophisticated' MEGA HACK RANSACK

Mark Simon

Re: Good advice except that it's impossible — Not Quote Impossible

The difference is that you don’t normally publish your password safe on the Internet, and so it’s less likely to be compromised. A reasonably good password on your own machine should be reliable.

The real problem is when you entrust your passwords to others who can’t or won’t look after them properly.

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NSA's Project Marina stores EVERYONE'S metadata for A YEAR

Mark Simon

What about the rest of us?

It is reassuring that the NSA has promised to protect the privacy of US citizens. As for the other 96% of the world’s population, we’re apparently all legitimate targets for spying.

Maybe I shouldn’t have said that. You don’t know who’s listening …

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Microsoft announces iPad amnesty for fanbois

Mark Simon

Re: LOL

Even if all Surface RT users take up the offer, that won’t cost Apple much …

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Microsoft, Nokia and the sound of colliding garbage trucks

Mark Simon

Microsoft has clearly lost its way

No one would have accused Microsoft of being a genuine innovator, but clearly Microsoft has completely lost its way and has nothing left but to buy into someone else’s market.

The problem is Microsoft is clearly trying to play catch-up. No new ideas, no new markets, just desperate to buy into a market long ago dominated by more innovative companies.

It seems that pushing an operating system nobody wants onto a phone which people are abandoning en masse has already proven to be a failure. I can’t see how being bought by a company which is massively losing the confidence of its users could possibly be a winning strategy.

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Indian government to bar politicians from using Gmail for official business

Mark Simon
WTF?

Oh, the Irony

Given how much out-sourcing goes to India, they’re worried about their precious data being in foreign hands? This may well be a hint to the rest of the world.

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Bill Gates's barbed comments pop Google's broadband balloons

Mark Simon

Unfair Criticism

"When you're dying of malaria, I suppose you'll look up and see that balloon, and I'm not sure how it'll help you," Gates observed. "When a kid gets diarrhea, no, there's no website that relieves that."

That sort of criticism leveled at Google could just as well be leveled at Microsoft. Google does IT, not medicine. Same with Microsoft, which is Gates’ explanation for why he didn’t do philanthropy earlier.

Not all Africans are dying of malaria. Some of dying of AIDS which might have benefited from a better education program. Some are getting diarrhea, for which some websites do indeed offer some help.

There are many different problems in Africa, as with the rest of the world. All contributions are welcome, even if they are not in your pet category.

As many predicted, Gates’ spending his vast fortune on philanthropy is not without strings. It makes him look like a saint and gives him the chance dig at others.

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Xerox copier flaw changes numbers in scanned docs

Mark Simon
WTF?

Re: 'this is simply unacceptable'

Yes, it is unacceptable. When text goes fuzzy, you know it’s unreliable. When it is substituted, then there is a real potential for disaster.

Publishing a disclaimer is also unacceptable. It’s simply an admission of guilt and does not of itself make the behavior OK. A photocopier which may or may not reproduce your documents correctly is just asking people to shop elsewhere.

Blaming the user is also unacceptable. Using a shared copier, you can’t expect all users to be aware of whatever settings may or may not have been applied by someone else. It might even have been the service technician.

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TypeScript 0.9 arrives with new compiler, support for generics

Mark Simon
Childcatcher

Just what the world needs …

Oh good. Just when we though it was safe to develop cross-browser web sites, another opportunity to fragment the the browser environment presents itself. It was getting boring writing code once instead of having to write it 3 times to accommodate Bloody IE.

For those who don’t yet know it, JavaScript is an advanced, powerful scripting language. Like all languages it has its quirks and foibles. Many of them are addressed in the next version. Microsoft’s approach is, once again, a destructive attempt to hijack the Web.

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Chrome and Firefox are planet-wreckers, IE cuddles dolphins

Mark Simon

Might offset some of the Energy wasted trying to get things to work in IE

Any web developer knows that to finish a web project, you need to get it to work in modern browsers, an then to try to get it to work in IE10, then in IE9 then in IE8, then in IE7 then in IE6 …

Not to mention that one reason we can’t all use HTML5 is because Certain Legacy Browsers can’t handle it.

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Signatures no good at protecting databases, says Juniper

Mark Simon

Re: Really?

The trouble is that there’s still a lot of code developed by third parties who have yet to get the message.

DreamWeaver generates PHP code that is notoriously convoluted and doesn’t used prepared statements. I’m not sure, but I have the feeling that PHPMyAdmin does things the Old School Way. WordPress seems to be OK, but I don’t know how many other popular CMS packages use them.

Of course, people who rely on off-the-shelf packages are not always best placed to implement a sophisticated defense such as is described. Still, slowing down and misleading attackers is not a bad thing.

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Bing uncloaks Klingon translator

Mark Simon
Headmaster

Hindu-Arabic?

Traditionally “Hindu-Arabic” is used to describe our numbering system (counting in 10s, using the digits 0 - 9), which was adapted from the Arabic world, in turn adapted from India.

Unless the service translates everything to a numeric code (possibly unicode?), perhaps “Roman” characters, which is used to describe the alphabet we English-speaking mortals generally use, is meant.

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Microsoft honcho pleads with media: 'Stop picking on us!'

Mark Simon
Holmes

Self Inflicted

Microsoft has had plenty of warning that the interface was going to be unpopular. All the pre-release reviews made that amazingly clear. Take away the start screen, and all you really get is Windows 7, only more annoying and harder to work with.

Microsoft deserves all the criticism it gets. Apple gets it for changing a connector or dropping scroll bars. Microsoft is in a global dominant position, and when it starts creating culture shock with every new incarnation of their OS, a backlash must be obvious.

Slowly, the world is getting smarter, and a few more people are beginning to work out that they don’t have to put up with Microsoft dumping whatever they feel like on paying customers. Microsoft’s pointless changes are making it clear that they have no plan, and no idea what makes a good computing experience.

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Student falsely IDed by Reddit as Boston bomber found dead

Mark Simon

This is why …

… a proper legal system includes the presumption of innocence, and must give the benefit of the doubt to the accused, no matter how “obvious” his guilt appears. That the crime is more horrific is no excuse; indeed, it makes it more important to nail the true culprit rather than take the easy option of settling on the first likely suspect.

This can be frustrating, and appear too easy on the guilty party, but what is the point of justice if it doesn’t protect the innocent?

The problem with crowd sourcing, and that includes gung-ho media reports, is that can bypass all the legal procedures developed to minimise this.

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Samsung vs Apple: which smartphone do Reg readers prefer?

Mark Simon

Support

I’ve been in IT for a very long time, and know how to rough it. After a while, you just want something that does the job without fuss.

The thing that hooked me on the iPhone was not just that the phone did everything I wanted, but the after-sales support.

I had a model with faulty GPS. I walked into an apple retail store, had it checked, and 10 minutes later walked out with a brand new replacement. Restored my backup, and everything was fine. With my previous phone (a Nokia),I would have to wait 3 days before they even looked at it.

That’s the total package that convinced me.

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Library ebooks must SELF-DESTRUCT if scribes want dosh - review

Mark Simon
WTF?

What’s the point?

Why should digital copies deteriorate? The royalty revenue will continue as long as the copy is available, and, if that is for ever, why should that be a problem?

Or should digital music also develop scratches after playing a few times, or digital video start to stretch?

What sort of moron comes up with these ideas? Do you have to fail an IQ test to run for government these days?

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Browser makers open local storage hole in HTML5

Mark Simon

Re: Cookie Size

Thereby missing the point.

HTML5 adds the concept of local storage so that more sophisitcated off-line web apps can be developed.

Writing a simple app in HTML, CSS and JavaScript is much easier and more portable than trying to do it with the more traditional technologies. What has been missing is the ability to store data.

The problem with true cookies is (a) by design, they are limited in capacity, (b) they are cumbersome in JavaScript, and (c) cookies are always sent back to the server. Off-line storage is easier to work with, and allows real data to be stored locally, perhaps permanently or perhaps you go back on-line and sync with a server.

Cookies are rightly used to store identifiers or perhaps unimportant user options. Off-line storage make the transition to creating a real web application.

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Microsoft finally ships Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7

Mark Simon
WTF?

What’s the point?

Windows XP users have always had the choice to upgrade to a better browser for free. Ditto all the other versions of Windows. And this was a long time ago.

All IE10 will do will be to make it safe for web developers to implement HTML5 & CSS3 features already available on all the other browsers.

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Kirk to beam up chat with ISS astronaut on Thursday

Mark Simon

Land of his birth?

“William Shatner to boldly go to the land of his birth”

Actually, as Kirk explains:

“I’m from Iowa, I just work in outer space”.

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Apple blocks Java on the Mac over security concerns

Mark Simon
Childcatcher

AusKey

If you run a business and need to deal with certain Government services, such as paying your tax, you need AusKey, which is their authentication system. AusKey runs on Java, which, if you’re trying to do this on a Mac is getting harder and harder.

I have lodged a complaint that the Australian government therefore requires you to compromise your machine, and that this certainly disenfranchises people who do not have the technical experience to install, maintain and monitor Java. Still waiting on a resolution.

Java is a nice idea, but it has proven to be flaky, impractical, antiquated insecure. Somewhat like the Australian Government, or at least its IT services.

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Australia puts digital frontier at heart of national security plan

Mark Simon
Paris Hilton

9/11 Decade Ending?

The most significant event in recent history which occurred on 9/11, as far as I recall, is the breaching of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989.

Unless Ms Gillard is confused about date formats, which, in Australia is the same as in the UK. In any case, if she meant 11/9/2001, that decade should have ended by now … ?

2
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Chinese spacecraft JUUUUST avoids smashing into Toutatis

Mark Simon
Pint

Punctuation

Shouldn’t the title be:

Chinese Spacecraft Zips, by Toutatis!

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Facebook won't pull unmarked police plates page

Mark Simon

Re Morons

"Not every criminal in Victoria is a moron" ...

Facebook user? Moron? Isn’t that an oxymoron?

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