* Posts by Michael Xion

137 posts • joined 5 Jun 2008

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Mega fatcat Kim Dotcom in deportation drama over SPEEDING ticket

Michael Xion

He did lie on his application for citizenship, but I doubt many other people have had their past gone through with a fine tooth comb like they are doing with him. So on one hand, he broke the law, but on the other it could be fair to say he is being targeted because of his subsequent actions.

He could also have made an honest mistake. Given that he fessed up to the hacking stuff, it seems strange that he didn't mention the speeding ticket. It may just have been that he didn't appreciate the full meaning of the word 'convicted' in the situation of admitting guilt by letter and paying a fine.

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The Walton kids are ABSURDLY wealthy – and you're benefitting

Michael Xion

Not sure if the same thing is available in blighty, but here in Oz we have products called Reverse Mortgages. Basically, the lender gives you the money now for a stake in your property, then when you kick the bucket, they take a proportion of the proceeds from your house sale to cover the loan and accrued interest. Can go spectacularly wrong if you don't set it up right (like the lender turfing you out before you die because the loan equals the equity in your house), but can be good if set up correctly. Quite popular with older people who have substantial capital tied up in their home, but little superannuation to draw on (a lot of baby boomers are in this situation due to the housing price bubble in Australia over the last 20 years).

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Dallas Buyers Club doubles down on Oz Torrenters

Michael Xion

Re: 2015: Close that barn door!

Actually, bypassing Geoblocking is not illegal (at least in Australia). As a breach of the Terms of Service, the most you can expect is for your account to be cancelled. There's a very good reason that iTunes, Netflix and HBO don't make it hard to get around geoblocking (which they could easily do) - they still get the money. Most estimates I've seen is that somewhere between 100,000 to 200,000 Australians accessed Netflix US via smart DNS or VPN before it launched locally, that's a hefty chunk of change. Particularly if you didn't have to pay for the licensing rights to that content for Australia.

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Michael Xion

Re: 2015: Close that barn door!

I agree with you on the whole mindset with downloading media. I work at a university and just about everyone I talk to downloads moves and TV shows via torrenting. These are uni students, academics and professional staff. The 'convenience' and 'but it's not available any other way' arguments just don't wash with me for most of them. If they can work out how to torrent a file, they can work out how to get around georestrictions for services like Netflix US, Amazon Prime or even iTunes US.

Even GoT is available as a legit download here in Oz (if you want to pay for a craptapulous cable TV bundle at about $50 per month).

At the end of the day, it's less about 'convenience' and more about price. I think a lot of people also rationalise illegal downloads by saying to themselves "well, the production has already been paid for, they've made their money from cinema/TV/cable sales, so what I'm doing doesn't really effect the bottom line - it's a victim-less crime"

However, there are still many issues with the availability of media and the actions of media companies that are compounding the problem. Even with ITunes US, Netflix US and HBO NOW (the combined cost of which is about $30 per month including a smart DNS service), I do find myself not being able to access certain movies, TV shows that I want to watch - but it's not a common occurrence given the wealth of other options available on those services.

One annoyance is that (particularly with ITunes), sometimes a movie is available to buy, but not to rent. I rarely watch movies more than once, just let me pay a reasonable rental fee (reasonable for me being about $5, what I would have paid a few years back for a new release rental DVD).

tl;dr. The arguments supporting 'illegal' downloads such as torrenting are becoming less relevant, but the big media companies still have a way to go, and work to do, before all those arguments become specious.

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Google, Microsoft and Apple explain their tax tricks in Australia

Michael Xion

I have a better dream: politicians in prison as they're the ones who make the rules that allow the bankers and tax cheats to get away with it.

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Apple Watch: Wait a minute! This puny wrist-puter costs 17 GRAND?!

Michael Xion

Seems odd to limit access to HBO Now.

Kind of sucks that HBO Now will only be available on Apple TV. I'm happy, cos I have one so can now watch GoT legally from Oz (fingers crossed) without having to take out a cable subscription.

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You know HOOQ? We don't either. But it's bringing the Asia Pacific OTT fight to Netflix

Michael Xion

Cheap netflix

So, I should just get an Indian Netflix account and switch location to the U.S. then. Money saved as Netflix allows subscribers to switch to any global region.

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Turnbull says no need to future-proof NBN

Michael Xion

Re: Demand for Labor's FTTP network: 38% at 12Mbps, 38% at 25Mbps

Also, how many of those who took up the lower speeds mentioned were languishing on ADSL of less than 10mbps? From memory, the 'average' broadband speed in Oz is something like 7-8mbps. For me, and many of the people I know, upstream speed is the issue at the moment - something that FTTH can fix.

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March 24th: The day most Australian download allowances become inadequate

Michael Xion

Broadband cap shouldn't be a problem

I have ADSL with 9mbps/1mbps (roughly speaking) in rural Qld and a 50GB month quota. Most nights my wife watches movies on Netflix (US) whilst I play destiny on xbox one. We rarely hit the monthly allowance cap. YMMV, and yes, sometimes the movies stream in SD, and no, we don't have a bunch of teenage children also on our network (2 person household).

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How's this for customer service: Comcast calls bloke an A**HOLE – and even puts it in print

Michael Xion

Did I misread something here..

She called the customer service line knowing she would be charged $60 to do so! WTF. You have to pay extra to talk to a person?

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Turnbull says big telcos should subsidise bush comms

Michael Xion
WTF?

Oddly enough, the NBN is the cause of your problem

bear with me, this is a bit long...

I live in a rural area and about 10 years ago all we could get was 56k dialup. The government of the day introduced a program to provide fixed wireless in rural areas to make up for the deficiency of the network. We got an antenna on the roof and moved up to a 512k download speed. Unfortunately, the system was line of sight and trees grew in the way of the signal path, so it stopped working after a couple of years. In the meantime, Telstra upgraded the exchange to allow ADSL2+. Meaning I could then get 9mbps downlink (which is what I have to this day).

Back then, Telstra would upgrade exchanges on a rolling plan to ensure the service provided grew with the community. Once the NBN was mooted, this pretty much stopped. Nether Telstra, nor anyone else, was much concerned with upgrading the network when It might all get replaced or commandeered by the govt.

The upshot of this is that even though I live in a rural area, my internet speeds are better than many people I know who live in inner Brisbane (if they can even get ADSL) due to the poor state of the infrastructure and lack of upgrades over the last few years.

I should also point out that I live more than 3km from our exchange, so distance isn't the limiting factor. The limiting factor is the fucking government (of both political persuasions) stuffing around with the NBN rollout to the extent that if you don't have NBN, you're basically screwed.

tl;dr

NBN rollout has basically stopped any ADSL upgrades and everything is now getting congested.

My guess is that you are suffering from something akin to that, where your local exchange is at capacity and no more capacity will be added because of the NBN.

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Anonymous vows to avenge Charlie Hebdo massacre by blitzing jihadist sites

Michael Xion

Whose freedom?

So anonymous are going to defend freedom of speech by denying freedom of speech?

As an avowed atheist I have no truck with religion being used as the excuse for all sorts of heinous crimes and propping up dictatorships, and abhor the actions of the nut jobs in France over the last couple of days. But this does seem a bit contradictory.

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French Google fund to pay for 1 million print run of Charlie Hebdo next week

Michael Xion

Not all satire is good satire

For further reading:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-09/sparrow-we-should-support-charlie-hebdo-not-endorse-it/6007836

And (linked from the article above):

http://www.hoodedutilitarian.com/2015/01/in-the-wake-of-charlie-hebdo-free-speech-does-not-mean-freedom-from-criticism/

I'd never even heard of the magazine in question before the last couple of days, and I certainly agree that no-one should ever be murdered for expressing an opinion. Just putting these links out there as an interesting viewpoint. :-)

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Australia: even more empty than you imagine

Michael Xion

Re: Bumper Sticker?

I tend to agree. I'm lucky enough to live on a rural property (1 acre) on the Sunshine Coast hinterland (Qld). I can drive to work in about 35 minutes on country roads through gorgeous countryside (The Glasshouse Mountains). However, if I want to go further south to Brisbane, I'll inevitably get caught in the traffic snarl of the Bruce Highway (it's Australia, there's always something called Bruce). The biggest problem is that most of the jobs and infrastructure are concentrated around the capital cities, and certain regional centres. There is bucket-load of land available for people, but little infrastructure (jobs) outside of those urban centres. A forward thinking country would invest in something like an NBN or at least a decent national rail network to distribute those jobs around, but unfortunately the politicians in Australia seem more concerned about trite political slogans. I guess it's probably the same everywhere else :-(

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Turnbull: NBN won't turn your town into Silicon Valley

Michael Xion

Re: One simple point

Yes, and iinet are offering 50/25 for $75 per month which is $15 per month less than I'm currently paying for ADSL2+ at 9/0.7. If i could get those upload speeds I'd be happy. To be honest, I'd be happy to split the difference with Telstra and go for 4.5/4.5.

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Michael Xion

Re: One simple point

Would if I could. I'm on a rural exchange and Bigpond is all I get. My point was less about my needs than about moving Australia away from being a consumer to a producer of internet products. I'm well aware that Telstra throttle my upload speed for their own reasons, but the fact remains that the copper architecture is not capable of supporting high bandwidth for both up/ down for multiple premises.

I would happily go with a different provider for a higher up/down speed as it would likely be cheaper than what I am getting now ($90 per month for ADSL2+).

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Michael Xion

One simple point

Irregardless of all the political shenanigans and technical arguments in favour of different roll-out methodologies, I'd like to make one point.

I am currently on ADSL2+ and have a consistent 9mbps download speed. I'm quite ok with that, it suits my purposes adequately, for now. What does not suit my purposes is the crappy 0.7mbps upload speed. My understanding is that piss-poor upload speeds are pretty much universal unless you are on HFC or similar. The result of this asymmetry is that I cannot backup data to an off-site location or indeed reliably send image attachments to emails above a relatively small size.

For my thinking, what WILL make a difference is a high speed broadband rollout that allows everyone who wants to be both a creator and a consumer. At the moment ADSL (which is what most people have) is locking us into a nation of consumers. To grow a modern economy (ie not just digging shit out of the ground and selling it off), we need the upstream bandwidth to be able to produce and distribute. I am not confident that the MTM will have the congestion-free bandwidth to do that.

I'm sick to death of people trotting out arguments along the lines of 'we don't need FTTP because people will only use it for downloading movies'. Bullshit. I can already stream HD movies from Netflix over my current ADSL2+ quite comfortably. What I can't do is upload anything I produce back to the internet.

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Kiwi ISP 'Slingshot' stones geo-blocked content

Michael Xion

Or just use a DNS service to get around it

getflix.com.au works for both Australia and I think New Zealand. Costs $3 per month and lets me access Netflix and the US iTunes story no problemo.

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Should NBN Co squeeze a server into FTTN nodes?

Michael Xion

Re: Quit while you're ahead

All other things aside. I'm currently paying $75 per month for ADSL2+ that tops out at 7Mbps but most of the time only gives me 1-3Mbps on a 50Gb download cap. I'd be happy to pay $100 per month for a 30 Mbps connection and a large cap. Because of where I live, I only have Telstra Bigpond as an option. At least if the FTTH NBN had gone forward I may have had a choice of ISP.

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Vertical take-off and laughing: Space Harrier

Michael Xion

Re: Southsea Arcade

Ha, ha.. Good old 'Slots of Fun' at the Clarence Parade Pier. I was a 'Floorwalker' there in 1987 (9am - 11pm, mon to sat for £90 per week). .The job basically involved keeping an eye on the punters to make sure they didn't bump the money drop machines or shove wadded paper in the payout slots of the one arm bandits to later come and collect the winnings. Punch ups on Friday nights between opposing football fans were a semi-refular occurrence and most of the staff were pretty dodgy too. The space harrier cabinet had pride of place right at the front of the arcade and was pretty much the only decent game in there.

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Microsoft bans XXXXBOX gamers for CURSING in online combat

Michael Xion

Never encountered it

As someone who has logged 100s of hours on Halo and Battlefield multiplayer games, I can honestly say I've never heard any swearing. In fact I rarely hear any talk at all. Maybe it's because I play in Australia, I don't know. Meanwhile, BF3 itself has lines like "I'm getting my shit pushed in over here" and "fuck me, they're all over me" that are broadcast quite regularly, so this move from Microsoft seems somewhat hypocritical.

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Despite Microsoft Surface RT debacle, second-gen model in the works

Michael Xion

I work for a university in Australia and Microsoft are offering us Surface RT tablets for just over $200 apiece (without cover). I'm currently evaluating one running a preview version of the 8.1 version of the OS. It does have Outlook, but I can't get it to configure - I suspect it may be something to do with the corporate firewall. Anyway, if Outlook works on it, I'll probably get one as all other aspects of it seem fine. Speaking as an unabashed Apple user (iMac, Mac Mini, 2 Apple TVs, 2 iPhones, iPod and iPad in my house), the killer app for me would be the iOS remote app - then I'd sell my ipad ad buy a Surface RT.

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IT pricing inquiry sparks Game of Thrones for rights-holders

Michael Xion

Massive fail for foxtel.

As someone who is happy to pay for the media I consume, I downloaded all three seasons of GoT through iTunes. This deal will not make me take out an overpriced Foxtel subscription. I will investigate how to access GoT by getting around geoblocking. If all else fails, just about everyone I know gets GoT via pirated copies so I can still access it that way (but I'd prefer to give HBO my money).

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The toy of tech: The Mattel Aquarius 30 years on

Michael Xion

Re: Lame.

Actually, the controllers were pretty good. Each game came with a plastic insert that went over the keypad with colourful symbols indicating which keys did what. The round doohickey was a reasonably responsive joystick thingy.

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Michael Xion

Re: Amazing..

Seats, not sears. They need to allow post editing for everyone.

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Michael Xion
Thumb Up

Re: Amazing..

My family had an Intellivison in the early 80's. I think my parents picked it up second hand somewhere. Most of the games were a bit meh. But, it did come with a game called 'B17 Bomber' that was actually really good. You got to select missions over allied Europe. You could switch between 'sears' in the plane so when you were flying in you had to swap between the different gunner positions to fend off enemy fighters, plot the waypoints and act as bombardier over the target. It was pretty well done for its time.

I can't see a picture of a WWII bomber these days without hearing 'B17 Bomaaa' in a cheesy digitised American accent in my head.

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Author Iain (M) Banks falls to cancer at 59

Michael Xion

I've read all Banks SF novels, and the 'Algabraist' was hard (but rewarding) work. Try 'excession' for something a bit more straight forward(ish).

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NSA Prism: Why I'm boycotting US cloud tech - and you should too

Michael Xion
Happy

Re: You're late to the party

Ha,ha. That last line. I believe that's the exact reason the EU got the Nobel peace prize last year - hadn't gassed any Jews or invaded each others borders for 70 odd years.

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NBN Co hoses down 'scary Russian crackers' report

Michael Xion
Facepalm

Unleash the Newtork Beems! That'll fix it.

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How I nearly sold rocket windows to the crazy North Koreans

Michael Xion
Unhappy

Re: The military guide on the DPRK side overloking the DMZ

Never been there myself, but maybe it was one of the old gents in this picture:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-04-06/north-korea-issues-foreign-embassy-warning/4613432

That picture for me sums up a lot of the issues. Some gormless young ex-playboy being sheparded around by a couple of old soldiers who are still reliving the Korean War in their heads. Look at them. You can just imagine these old geezers thinking that as their clock winds down, they'll take the south with them into the long dark.

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'Australia's so big freight costs are high' claims don't add up

Michael Xion
Meh

Re: hmmmmmmmm

You almost had it. What you really need to look at is purchase power parity (I think it's called that). Up until a couple of years ago the exchange rate for $au was about 40p. So back then the relative salaries would have been much the same (multiply the uk wages by 2.5) to get the Oz equivalent. Yet, in the sometime frame the cost in native currency hasn't really changed ie a £10 DVD 3 years ago is still £10 now and a $30 DVD in Oz is still $30 now (roughly speaking). A better way to compare is cost of living (I think The Economist still produce a cost of living comparison based on the price of a Big Mac).

tl;dr. It's more than just exchange rates. You have to look at what the money will buy.

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Twitter patents sending messages, promises not to sue everyone

Michael Xion
Go

Re: I'm gonna start up my own social network

How about joining Facebook and twitter ......F*witter. Then all the F* wits will be in one place.

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Apple's marketing honcho Schiller attacks Android, Samsung

Michael Xion
Happy

Astonishingly useable

I don't usually buy into the whole 'my phone's better than your phone' gig, but I'm currently using an iPhone 3GS running iOS 6.1.2 and I never have a problem with it. Maybe you're holding yours wrong :-) or just need to upgrade the OS.

As its a work phone, I cold get a brand new iPhone 5 tomorrow, but don't see the need as the current one works perfectly. Battery life is as good as the day I bought it.

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Apple 'dismayed' to find over 100 kids building its iDevices

Michael Xion
Unhappy

Re: Quando, Quando, Quando?

Wow. I had no idea, but i should have suspected something like this. Thanks for posting the link.

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Backdoor root login found in Barracuda gear - and Barracuda is OK with this

Michael Xion
Happy

...firewall off port 22 completely.

I don't know much about networking, but I can't see that helping as the paragraph before that mentioned IP ranges with port 24.

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Happy birthday, Lisa: Apple's slow but heavy workhorse turns 30

Michael Xion
Thumb Up

Re: Pic 1, page 1

Ah, the old 'drunken mouse' after dousing the insides with rubbing alcohol to get rid of accumulated cruft.

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Gillard makes tech key part of re-election bid

Michael Xion
Go

Re: Smart phone apps

In my job I come into daily contact with people on centrelink payments (unemployed, single mothers, disability pensioners). I can't recall the last one I met with who didn't have a smartphone of some sort (apple, Samsung or HTC). Tech may be expensive, but mobile plans are easy to get with most people not realising how much they are actually forking out over time.

On a related note, a standard landline package from Telstra that includes most calls is $80 per month ($960) per year. You can get a SIM card with unlimited calls to all Australian fixed and mobile phones and 6Gb do data per month for $300 per year. Even if you bought an iPhone 4, you'd still be ahead in the first year if you did away with the landline.

In reality, smartphone apps for centrelink is a good idea.

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Annual reviews: It's high time we rid the world of this insanity

Michael Xion

Re: Ally 1

Ahhhhh, nope.

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Michael Xion

Re: Ally 1

Sorry, random comma in previous post. I'm on a roll here, where's my steenking gold badge? Am I there yet?

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Michael Xion
Devil

Re: Ally 1

They really should allow everyone to edit their own posts. Previous reply should have read ' can I upvote....'

Does this post add to my total? Can I just keep replying to my own posts? (looks like, i'm not going to be getting any work done today)

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Michael Xion

Re: Ally 1

Can. Up vote this 100 times so you get a gold badge? Nice one, off to gmail I go........

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Sandy Island does exist - on a 1908 chart

Michael Xion
WTF?

Re: The key may be in the name.

Also, looking at the map, Sandy Island is almost exactly on a cartographic line (not sure what the lines are - latitude?) that ends up intersecting Great Sandy Island (now known as Fraser Island). Hmmmm.

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Gangnam Style beats Bieber Baby, becomes biggest timewaste EVER

Michael Xion

Re: My manager at work...

Ha ha. I'm ok with gangnam style. Not a big fan of pop music, but its catchy and fun. One thing I can't stand is the innumerable tv/radio personalities that refer to it as 'gangam style'. There's and 'n' in there, use it.

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Unexpected curiosity cripples Molyneux app

Michael Xion
FAIL

Was fun until I connected.

Downloaded this the other day to see what it was about. Sent about 10 minutes playing the 'server busy, retry' portion of the game which was quite exciting waiting to see if it would connect, quite a sense of achievement once i got through. Once I got on the rest of the game was dead boring, mindlessly tapping at blocks and then all of a sudden the whole screen just clears.

Honestly, he should have just released the first part where you try to connect to the server, way more fun.

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At last, a bionic arm that passes the Beer, Egg and Looks Cool tests

Michael Xion
Happy

Re: awesomeness

+1 I was actually waiting for that myself

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Ohio voting machines have 'backdoor', lawsuit claims

Michael Xion

Re: @Xion

Ok, I'll bite <:-)>

I've never understood how 'electing' an official is inherently better than said official being appointed through a competitive process designed to select the best applicant (and yes, I know that the process can be subverted). I've also never understood why it's so important to know the political views of the local dog catcher. I can see why you would want a say in who is on the School board, but not why you'd have a school board in the first place (shouldn't the curriculum be set by professional educators).

Another poster made mention of the fact that if people can't complete a ballot with 30 choices, they shouldn't be voting. I'm sorry but western politicians, by their nature, seem to pander to the lowest common demnominator, so people of differing abilities will be voting. Additionally, given the low voter turnout in US elections, I'd have thought making the process as simple and efficient as possible would be in the interests of a truly participatory democracy.

And while I'm on the subject...what's with getting people to vote on a Tuesday? It certainly doesn't enfranchise those on minimum wage, working long hours who probably wouldn't be given time off work to vote.

PS if my local school was run by a 'Board', I probably would want a say on who's on the board.

I guess at the end of the day, every four years the same thing happens.....a bunch of horses run around in a circle in Australia and two blokes apply for the same job in the US. It doesn't really matter whether the winner is a horse or a human.

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Michael Xion
FAIL

why they don't use pen and paper

I looked into this during the whole kerfuffle back when Bush won over Gore. In Florida there were something like 30 (or more) individual votes that needed to be cast by electors on polling day. School board, dog catcher, police chief etc etc. given the volume of votes, it's no wonder they use machines like 'chads' to make the process a bit quicker. If they just restricted the voting to a couple of important things ( like for the president), they could probably use simple and secure pen and paper. The problem is all the other pissy jobs that people think they have to elect people into. Some times, too much democracy isn't a good thing.

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Slideshow: A History of First-person Shooters in 20 Games

Michael Xion
FAIL

Re: almost forgot

I think you may be right. Also, they spelt Bungie wrong in the caption. Ha ha.

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Apple's 13-inch Retina MacBook torn asunder for your pleasure

Michael Xion
WTF?

Cannot unsee.....

Ha, ha. Angry robot face is angry. Check out the first pic. I have to say the internal arrangement of parts is quite aesthetically pleasing.

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Twitter bows to subpoena, releases Occupy protester's tweets

Michael Xion
Flame

The real 99%

I followed the whole 'occupy' protest thing in the media and the '99%' claim always seemed dubious to me. I didn't see a lot of homeless people and south Sudanese refugees protesting in wall st. Obviously, you can't rely on media supplied photo and video to not be biased or to properly represent the whole range of people involved, but it just seemed to me to be a bunch of privileged westerners complaining that they weren't a member of the elites gravy train. That's not to say that there are good and valid reasons to assess how the worlds economy privileges a small elite over the bulk of the population, I just don't think those protesting we're far off the 1% themselves.

In respect of the Twitter issue. I always work on the premise that if you put it online, don't be surprised if it gets used against you. Some more detail on why the courts feel they need his Twitter posts would be good. My assumption is that it has something to do with 'incitement'.

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