* Posts by Jason Bloomberg

1135 posts • joined 8 Mar 2008

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Cognitive computing: What can and can’t we do, and should lipreading be banned?

Jason Bloomberg
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I think it might be full of stars

When the AI can be fed a post from amanfrommars and it can figure it out before I have given up trying to; that will probably be the day digital intelligence has overtaken wetware.

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Spaniard trousers €60,000 bank error, proceeds directly to jail

Jason Bloomberg
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Headmaster

Re: Justice for all

Making a clerical error is not a crime.

Taking money that doesn't belong to you is.

Not necessarily. Intending to permanently deprive someone of money usually is but just taking it very likely isn't. It depends upon intent, and, particularly in court, of being able to prove intent.

His mistake was burning through the money. If he had just said 'no; it's mine', and hoped they'd eventually agree and had kept it to pay back when that failed, it would have been much harder to prove intent to permanently deprive, much harder to convict.

His best bet would have been to say he took the money out of his account to keep it safe because he feared it would disappear as quickly as it appeared and insist the bank pay him for inconvenience and costs incurred looking after that money being as it was their mistake. He can threaten to, or actually, take them to court if they won't and also has a legitimate counter claim when they take him to court.

Not that I have any plans as to what I would do should a windfall hit my account :-)

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FORKING BitcoinXT: Is it really a coup or just more crypto-FUD?

Jason Bloomberg
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Re: Unsurprisingly, it seems someone has

Wasn't there also an earlier El Reg article noting some limit on bitcoin transactions per second?

It all seems to me like a typical pyramid scheme where the early adopters get rich while those last off the starting block are left holding the baby.

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Google robo-car suffers brain freeze after seeing hipster cyclist

Jason Bloomberg
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Laughing and punching stuff into a laptop

if ( count > 3 ) { RunTheFuckerOver(); }

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Scrapheap challenge: How Amazon and Google are dumbing down the gogglebox

Jason Bloomberg
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Rental

Perhaps we need to go back to the rental model again? That carried a cost premium but often not much more than the equivalent of a loan for purchasing over the same period, and did offer some scope for upgrading as new tech comes along.

That model disappeared as buying became far cheaper than renting. But then again, if we are having to buy new every few years, it maybe isn't so much cheaper as was expected.

Being with Virgin Media I still am effectively in the rental market as they retain ownership of the TiVo which is the "smarts" of my installation, so I can expect (or at least hope) they keep it working and up to date. I have the option of leaving if they don't, so it's in their interests to do so. I imagine it's the same too for other bundle suppliers.

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Hardened Linux stalwarts Grsecurity pull the pin after legal fight

Jason Bloomberg
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"in response to an expensive and lengthy court case"

Did they win or lose that case?

I am guessing they lost, failed to convince the court that what was happening was wrong, still maintain it was, and are now planning to throw all the toys out of the pram.

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Net neutrality: How to spot an arts graduate in a tech debate

Jason Bloomberg
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On the other hand...

Where would the most ardent "everything must be equal" supporter stand when their robo-surgery surgeon was battling a choppy video feed as the network was overwhelmed by users watching dancing cats on YouTube?

Where does the "net neutrality" argument go if people accept there are cases where it is right and proper that some traffic is given greater priority?

It is not in my view really about "neutrality" it's about not being deliberately and unreasonably deprived of something which you could otherwise have had. Let the surgeon have as much bandwidth as they need, but don't allow my ISP to throttle rival services so I have no real choice but to accept their offerings.

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Samsung smart fridge leaves Gmail logins open to attack

Jason Bloomberg
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Stop

But...

People have been using O2 Jogglers in their kitchen and on top of their fridges for ages as information and calendar displays and I imagine there are some people who have smart phones 'glued' to kitchen cabinets and elsewhere to do the same and similar.

If people want to do that, or manufacturers want to jump on that bandwagon and sell them what they think is 'even better', I don't see the problem with that. In fact it's one of the few areas where I see "smart" and "IoT" making sense, though I'd say it is not so much either as simply "connected".

As for criticising the "smart clock" I don't see any real difference between a clock which pulls the time from the airwaves or the internet or why one needs to disparage such a thing. Perhaps some people cannot see the advantage of a clock which adjusts its time to day of week, whether it's a weekday, weekend or holiday, and requires no adjustment as summer time starts and ends but I can. But no one has to have one if they don't want that.

Yes, there are security, hacking and privacy issues, but they are the same whether the connected device is in, on, or on top of the fridge or elsewhere.

I really don't think it's worth getting into a Luddite-like tizzy simply because one cannot personally see the use or benefit of such things.

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Spotify now officially even worse than the NSA

Jason Bloomberg
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Re: II thought El Reg was exagerrating

I had read some other reports on the new terms before wandering round to El Reg and it seems Spotify's 'defence' is they will only collect / use / exploit the information they acquire under some particular circumstances, where the user / victim has granted permission, but that's not quite what the terms themselves say. It appears to give them virtually unlimited scope to do whatever they damn well please.

I accept that it is sometime difficult to come up with terms to allow something without appearing to allow more than is intended but that can usually be clarified by having some statement of "but only when the user explicitly allows us to".

Spotify doesn't seem to have any of that. Just saying they won't doesn't mean they won't and particularly once given permission to do so.

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Geeks on quest for world's most pointless YouTube video

Jason Bloomberg
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Ridiculing and bullying

I do not believe anyone should be publicly criticising and ridiculing what others do, no matter how pointless or inane they find it themselves. The worst of it is that they are going out of their way to find stuff they don't find worthy and encouraging others to do the same.

Perhaps they will next run a competition to find those kids' drawings which really have no place on a fridge door and should never be carried in a proud parent's pocket?

It feels to me we are being surrounded by ever more hatred every day, and that's become a leading hobby for many, inspired by social media and those who see Katie Hopkins and other haters as good role models.

"Hate" has been a currency in America for a long while and it now seems it's an export embraced around the world.

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Oi, Google! Remove links to that removed story, yells forceful ICO

Jason Bloomberg
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Most criminals have the right to their conviction being spent. That's what the law provides for and grants certain rights of privacy which can be enforced. Those rights of privacy extend to non-criminals too.

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Enjoy vaping while you still can, warns Public Health England

Jason Bloomberg
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Re: Why should they ban them?

Most e-cigs seem to be from China, with dodgy CE marks on them and are doubtful electrically, let alone what they are actually doing with the chemicals put in them.

And probably still safer than real cigarettes.

And safer than a lot else too. That's the real joke about this desire for a ban.

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Intel's Compute Sticks stick it to Windows To Go, Chromecast

Jason Bloomberg
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Chromecasts are great for streaming and casting but they are not standalone systems. For digital signage use I am looking at Android TV/PC because of their low cost; about the same as Chromecast, more compact and cheaper than an equivalent Pi or an Intel stick.

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EE Harrier Mini grounded by errant Wi-Fi calling upgrade

Jason Bloomberg
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FAIL

And that's why some people never upgrade or update anything

The risk of living with security threats is often deemed better than risking the device being bricked or borked. Plus the inconvenience, time, cost and effort of trying to get things fixed when it does go wrong. And even if it does go well it usually means something changing for the worse with no way back to what one was happy with.

If we want users to upgrade we have to give them the confidence to do so along with being able to easily rescue themselves when things inevitably go wrong. Unfortunately that's rarely the case and endless stories like these simply convince people to turn updates off.

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Adulterers antsy as 'entire' Ashley Madison databases leak online

Jason Bloomberg
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Clusterfuck

I find it hard to know how to feel about it all. There has been wrong done by all parties, legal and/or moral. I find it hard to say anyone is more to blame, more wrong or any better than anyone else, and it seems everyone is going to pay the price in the end as punishing of those wrongs is pursued.

The only good thing about it all is that it should make an interesting case study for those discussing ethics and morality.

The real moral of the story is, as it always has been; don't trust others to keep your secrets secret nor expect the outcome to be as you would hope it to be.

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Android apps are flooding on to jailbroken Win10 phones

Jason Bloomberg
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This could be a win

After all; what else is ever going to tempt Android users into even trying a Windows phone? Maybe they'll find they like it, perhaps not. It's not like Microsoft will be any worse off than now.

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How many pre-loaded Win 10 PCs did disties have 7 days after release?

Jason Bloomberg
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Paging Mr Twain

"The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated."

Much as the anti-Microsoft, anti-Windows crowd would like to be right, only time will tell. There's far too much 'Microsoft didn't do this so it is a failure, will be a failure, was always going to be a failure'.

I would have thought it should be pretty clear that there aren't any pre-loaded W10 machines out there because that's the way Microsoft have decided to play it at this phase of the game, part of their strategy, not that they simply forgot or manufacturers are refusing to provide pre-loaded W10 machines.

El Reg seems to have gone from mere click-baiting to actively providing confirmation bias for those who want Microsoft and Windows to fail.

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Typewriters suck. Yet we're infinitely richer for those irritating machines

Jason Bloomberg
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Pint

Typewriters with backspace

Some electric typewriters did have backspace; they would remember what had been typed so they could backspace and type the same letter using the correction ribbon. The one I used had a short type-ahead buffer to minimise ink and correction ribbon use. Others had LCD line previews.

And for those reminiscing over Roneo; I will join them in raising a glass. And also to Banda, which allowed multi-colour print and easy free-form drawing.

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'Sunspots drive climate change' theory is result of ancient error

Jason Bloomberg
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Re: WTF

What is this 'statistical artefact'?

I have no idea. I would expect the experts to have described what it is somewhere but my guess is that it is about weighting; having something meaningful regardless of large or small spots, the same whether a peanut-shaped spot is counted as one or two.

If there was a change in counting methodology back in the 40s there should be a jump from one day to the next when it changed, and that jump will have stayed with us. There is nothing wrong in factoring that jump out so pre-change and post-change can be better compared.

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Bitcoin can't be owned, says Japanese court, as Karpeles sweats in cell

Jason Bloomberg
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Joke

Illegally trading unicorns.

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Samsung looks into spam ads appearing on Brits' smart TVs

Jason Bloomberg
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Chancers

One might suspect that Samsung keep trying these tricks just to see if they can get away with them, and just shrug off the complaints and the bad publicity they create, knowing most buyers won't know of the "bug" when they purchase and will think it's as it's meant to be and never complain.

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W3C's bright idea turned your battery into a SNITCH for websites

Jason Bloomberg
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For those wondering why?

http://www.w3.org/TR/battery-status

"The Battery Status API can be used to defer or scale back work when the device is not charging in or is low on battery. An archetype of an advanced web application, a web-based email client, may check the server for new email every few seconds if the device is charging, but do so less frequently if the device is not charging or is low on battery. Another example is a web-based word processor which could monitor the battery level and save changes before the battery runs out to prevent data loss."

That seems reasonable; no one wants a Windows 10 update to start just as a battery is going flat, and, just as it would be nice if local apps could take account of battery condition, why not the same for cloudy-based apps?

As long as there's an 'off switch' client-side or a means to override what is sent I don't see there's really a problem.

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Jason Bloomberg
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A real threat, but a minimal risk

The website can then reinstantiate users' cookies and other client side identifiers, a method known as respawning," the paper continues.

And if they guess wrong they will have planted the info on the wrong PC and they will ultimately be confusing and screwing themselves. There is no guarantee they will get it right, a lot of likelihood they won't, so few cases where it would work as intended.

It sounds to me like guessing who is knocking on the door by the style of the knock. That works a lot of the time with few people knocking with a consistent knocking style but falls to pieces when scaled.

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Hacktivists congratulate Daily Show's Jon Stewart via Donald Trump's website

Jason Bloomberg
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Re: @Winkypop ... Donald Trump

"Say what you will, he's more honest than most of the other candidates.

Or simply a brash personality chasing populist opinion?

Just because others are thinking it and he's prepared to say it; it doesn't make it any more right or even palatable. It does however fill column inches, much like Nigel Farage and Katie Hopkins.

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Hurrah! Uber does work (in the broadest sense of the word) after all

Jason Bloomberg
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Re: Potential topic for Worstal...

And what about getting the opinions of other experts who may have a contradictory view to Worstall?

I don't mind Worstall having his platform but I am not comfortable with El Reg becoming a Worstall vehicle, giving his perspective on such issues exclusively.

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Jason Bloomberg
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"The reason that economists don't like these sorts of rents is that of course Freidman wasn't doing anything economically valuable to collect that cash."

Surely the purpose of medallions, or having to be approved by the AMA or any body, is to ensure those being granted the right to practice their craft are the sort of people society wants practising those crafts. We don't want taxi drivers who will murder or rape us or surgeons who are slap-dash with the knife or prone to leaving their watch behind.

It may not be working that way, and it may not generate anything directly economically valuable, but it does (or should) serve an important and valuable purpose.

Of course; if one discounts everything else and only look at the bottom line...

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MORE Windows 10 bugs! Too many Start menu apps BREAK it

Jason Bloomberg
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Re: Ermmmmm

And it's a good idea not to venture out until terrorism and violence have been eradicated.

Of course it's always wise to assess risks before doing anything, and there will always be bugs in Windows 10 just as there will be bugs in every other OS, but how likely are those bugs and how catastrophic is encountering them?

It feels to me that insinuating it's a bad idea to upgrade to Windows 10 is driven by wanting to spoil the party and is mostly click-bait for those who want to push an anti-Microsoft agenda, would prefer people were not using Windows at all.

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Windows 10 on Mobile under the scope: Flaws, confusion, and going nowhere fast

Jason Bloomberg
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A Unified Experience

Trying to create a unified experience, having the same apps run on diverse platforms used in very different ways, was always going to be a challenge and a struggle getting there.

Especially for a company which is expected to keep delivering while in the process of change. The ideal solution might be for Microsoft to shut down, come back anew, without the baggage of the past, but that's not the real world. And if they did; everyone would be moaning about that wait for the single system which works perfectly across all platforms, delivers that unified experience as promised.

Microsoft are damned whatever they do. They have taken a quite bold step in a unified direction which may succeed or fail but it's early days yet. Things are not as unified, consistent or as desirable as they could be, nor as tailored to specific platforms as some would like, but at least they have moved to the first rung of the new ladder. The real issue will be whether, having got themselves a stable base from which to proceed, they can do that quickly and in a manner which keeps people happy, and achieves their unification goal. In the meantime there will undoubtedly be Version 1.0 issues.

Microsoft is dead. Long live Microsoft.

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Robot surgeons kill 144 patients, hurt 1,391, malfunction 8,061 times

Jason Bloomberg
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Re: How does it compare to human-only surgery?

There is also that rather complex issue that some surgery is baseline lower risk with a robot than with a human surgeon, a lot less risk in sliding a robot arm in there than their slamming a fist in and/or cutting a huge hole to get access.

If human surgery carried a 10% risk, robotic surgery carried a 5% risk, there's a whole lot of leeway for robotic surgery to go wrong before the risk approaches that of the human surgery.

Probably the only meaningful comparison is how many avoidable errors are made and of what severity.

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UK.gov makes total pig's ear of attempt to legalise home CD ripping

Jason Bloomberg
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Re: Compensation for what?

[i]If I buy a CD (do people actually still do that?)[/i]

I buy CDs to ensure that I have a legitimate source from which my rips come. I believe that's an important differentiator between "format shifting" and "piracy".

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Chopstick-collapsing Spam musubi

Jason Bloomberg
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I quite like Spam these days

Though, given its general healthiness level seems on par with eating a salt kebab, I don't have it that often.

When the urge takes me, sliced and seared spam (as per article) with round sautéed chips and a good dollop of mustard suits me fine, no need for Shusi-ising anything.

I quite like Spam fritters but couldn't make or fry batter to save my life. None of the chippies near me do them, and supermarket's two fritters for £3 is a price I am not prepared to pay. So I "just make and do", "keep calm and carry on", which seems quite appropriate in Blighty during the 100 year anniversaries.

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Ditch crappy landlines and start reading Twitter, 999 call centres told

Jason Bloomberg
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If you in a vehicle crash and can see bodies and people trapped in wrecks and someone asks you what service you need which are you going to pick?

It can be a confusing question, always stalls me for a second, probably my brain parsing "don't say something sarcastic".

I plump for "ambulance" then they are on the way and I can tell them to send the fire brigade if needed. The police always seem to turn up at an accident or any incident so guess it just pops up on their RSS feed (or equivalent) and they dispatch someone, if for no other reason than to marshal traffic.

One tip I have is to always carry one of those cotton hi-vis waistcoats in the car. Drivers will be more inclined to let you control traffic flow round / past an accident than if you try without. And it's safer.

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Smartphones are ludicrously under-used, so steal their brains

Jason Bloomberg
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Not new

It's not a new idea. But having one phone to control it all is as bad as having everything in the Cloud. If the phone breaks then everything is stuffed. In fact, why use the phone when everything could be a dumb device and hooked up to the Cloud? There is a reason most things have their own controllers built-in.

The idea of using the phone's abilities to control things isn't that bad though where the use case fits. People have been hacking routers, NASs and other kit to act as controllers for a long while.

I need a personal WiFi hotspot / captive portal which doesn't have heavy demands on it and an end of line Android phone looks set to do that job. A third of the cost of a similar Pi set-up, smaller and just as fast, no need to buy a WiFi dongle, SD card, power supply or case, battery management and UPS hardware included and it's got a reasonably good touch display, Bluetooth, camera and 3G connectivity if I ever need those. I am thinking of using another as a webcam.

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Norks execute underperforming terrapin farm manager

Jason Bloomberg
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We only have allegation of an execution of this guy; there is no actual evidence it happened.

The only thing which makes it sound more credible than allegations of past executions is that it's not as completely over the top as they usually are.

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Jason Bloomberg
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Re: Putting aside the absurdity of the punishment...

As Lester says, probably for food. Not that there's anything particularly wrong with that. They have been a delicacy in the past and even affluent westerners eat things which seem particularly disgusting to others; eels, oysters, frog's legs, snails, squid, snake, and the list goes on.

Apart from taste, texture and toxicity, an animal is an animal, food is food. Though I'd just stick to the rice side-dish personally.

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Furor rages over ICANN and Facebook's bid to publish home addresses of website owners

Jason Bloomberg
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I have several domains registered in my own name/address from long before I ever heard of the possibility of proxy registration - as opposed to my name c/o a hosting company - what did people do before these things were available?

They either did not put up their own web site or lied about their name and/or got a PO Box address, or simply stuck with their ISP or other provider services which gave them some sort of domain which used their username without revealing their true identities.

If it had not been for proxy registration anonymity I would never have put up my first site. It is bad enough getting death and rape threats for some innocuous comment when anonymous, downright frightening when those nutjobs have your full address.

Law enforcement can obtain full details of a site owner from the proxy registrars so there is no need to have it publicly known.

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UK TV is getting worse as younglings shun the BBC et al, says Ofcom

Jason Bloomberg
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You will have missed some good things then.

There might be a lot of crap out there but there are still some gems to be had. I won't say what because everyone's taste is different.

I don't mind paying my £145.50 licence fee because that works out at 40p a day and even the time-filling dross is worth that. I consider a laugh a week worth the £3 it costs and I can usually find more than one. I would be surprised if anyone could not find one show (Dr Who, Top Gear, Strictly, Eastenders, HIGNFY, etc) which made a good part of the licence worth paying. I have been particularly taken by Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell despite my hate of period dramas.

I also make my own entertainment but I also like to be entertained and don't begrudge the BBC the cost of catering for that.

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Get READY: Scientists set to make TIME STAND STILL tonight

Jason Bloomberg
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Having a single time is a nonsense

And we will eventually recognise that when the sun's coming up when we go to bed and are working through hours of darkness

If some people want a time system which is contiguous, without leap seconds, then fine by me. I can see the benefit of that, but in the real, physical world that is doomed to failure. It is no more practical than abandoning time zones and having everyone work to GMT, UTC or UTZ, or whatever it's called this week

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Bitcoin, schmitcoin. Let's play piggyback on the blockchain

Jason Bloomberg
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Shits and Giggles

I'm tempted to buy a Bitcoin, get a couple of wallets, then engage in continually making a huge number of micro-payments between the two just to see what happens.

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Microsoft sez soz over Windows 10 'freebie' balls-up

Jason Bloomberg
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Coat

Re: Iceberg ahead!

Not so much "too many versions" as a more simpler matter of who gets the Windows 10 upgrade for free.

Microsoft have been reasonably clear in who will get a free upgrade; it is for those who fall outside that where the confusion exists.

I thought, as some analysts had also suggested, that this was Microsoft's way of getting everyone onto 10, even if not automatically entitled to that, or were currently running older, pirated or unauthorised versions of Windows. The hard part being to do that while still holding an official position which rejects piracy etc and avoiding complaints that those who stuck with older versions were getting an unfair, better deal than those who had upgraded.

Whatever Microsoft chooses to do, someone will jump on that, find some reason to criticise, complain or fear-monger over, so it's a minefield for Microsoft at the best of times. No matter what Microsoft state, someone will read it other than it is, will read between the lines, and it then it goes on from there. With demands for completeness and clarity, with the degree of scrutiny Microsoft is placed under for every word, it is nigh on impossible for them to publish anything without that being pulled apart.

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Vicious vandals violate voluminous Versailles vagina

Jason Bloomberg
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Me...

If I had found it offensive and wanted to address that I would have created a giant inflatable penis and stuffed it up there. Then told them *that* was art while starting a campaign to demand it was kept in place.

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Why is that idiot Osbo continuing with austerity when we know it doesn't work?

Jason Bloomberg
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Re: all you lefties and champagne socialists should...

I say this as a Tory voting former Labour voter

It does seem the UK is relentlessly slipping to the right and the reason why deserves analysis. My feeling is it all comes down to encouragement and embracing of selfishness, tribalism and hatred. That can be evidenced by looking at the hate on social media and in news article comments.

I am a firm believer that Labour needs to steer to the left and educate the country as to why that is a good thing rather than moving to the right in the hope of chasing votes.

I would rather have a society which embraces all rather than one which seeks to divide and conquer, rewarding one faction at the expense of others.

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Jason Bloomberg
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I don't worry particularly about the politics on El Reg but it would be nice to see better balance with articles and contributions which counter Tim's particular point of view.

I think everyone would benefit from a comprehensive "why Tim's wrong" article even if they don't particularly agree with that perspective. We have had weeks of economic and political argument presented from a single viewpoint and that isn't healthy in my opinion nor good for El Reg.

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Don't panic. Stupid smart meters are still 50 YEARS away

Jason Bloomberg
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We will all succumb eventually

Either that or face ever increasing financial costs for not switching to a Smart Meter tariff - though they will inevitably present that as a discount for switching rather than as a penalty for not doing so.

Almost everyone has their price. My neighbour just switched to a Smart Meter because of the lower tariff; doesn't see the possibility of being hacked, cut off because of non-payment or rolling blackouts, as negatives against the money saved.

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Facebook tosses creepy Place Tips beacons at stateside retailers

Jason Bloomberg
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Re: They REPEAT don't collect any information

Indeed. It's no different to an app scanning WiFi for SSIDs, or getting the cell tower ID you are connected to, asking 'HQ' if the location of those are known and getting back a report that 'you are probably here'. Using a Beacon simply makes that a lot easier and more accurate.

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Power your temperature sensor with this BONKERS router hack

Jason Bloomberg
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Re: There's always

There's an apocryphal tale of one enterprising individual living near Brookmans Park Radio Transmitter who had wrapped transformer wire around their loft to tap the signal. So successfully that this was discovered as a result of the radio-dead shadow it was casting.

I expect there's similar tales surrounding every other transmitters but I do know BBC TV used to get them to lower its power when it interfered with outside broadcasts in the area.

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Festival tech: Charge your mobe while you queue for a pee

Jason Bloomberg
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Paris Hilton

Re: This is all wrong

A festival or any outdoor event should be an escape from daily life. It should be about enjoying one self not tweeting others about how much one is enjoying themselves.

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Gremlins in the first six months? It's the seller's problem – EU court

Jason Bloomberg
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Re: Nothing new

If the article had included a link to the case and/or judgement it would have better explained things -

http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/P_159405/

There seems to be a growing lack of source citation by El Reg reporters lately.

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Crafty fingering could let Apple Watch thieves raid your bank account

Jason Bloomberg
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Re: The scenario is far-fetched

There is value in a lifted iWatch even if it is not usable with Apple Pay. If it is that's a bonus.

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Grand Theft Auto maker lobs sueball at BBC over biopic

Jason Bloomberg
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Re: Law fail

My feeling is it might have something to do with the Micro Bit tie-in the BBC had already announced for this docudrama as part of their Make It Digital initiative. There may well be a feeling that GTA's reputation is being used to benefit the BBC and partners while Take Two are getting relatively little out of it.

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