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* Posts by skelband

1785 posts • joined 18 Aug 2008

PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users

skelband
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Growth

Can some economist type tell me why growth is the panacea for success?

I've never been able to quite grasp this concept. If you're selling a ton of stuff and making a decent profit, then what's there to complain about? As any fule kno, growth cannot be sustained indefinitely. It's impossible, yet market bods consistently tell us that if you do not have growth, you're in the shit. I don't get it.

Now, if your market is shrinking, that's surely cause for alarm.

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Boffins spot weirder quantum capers as neutrons take the high road, spin takes the low

skelband
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>Likewise, the particle/wave explanation fits because light acts as both.

My suspicion is that the "wave" and "particle" concepts are inaccurate and insufficient to describe what is actually going on. In essence they are analogies, and neither is a very good fit and certainly in my case cause confusion rather than clarification.

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skelband
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I'd like to put it out there that I'm not a quantum physicist, but...

It seems to me that when physicists come out with such convoluted and brain mangling explanations for stuff that they clearly have no intuitive explanation for, I have to wonder if they are really heading down the wrong path here.

Remember the contorted explanations that the "earth at the centre of the universe and everything spins around us" troop had to bend themselves around to explain what they observed? The theories got stranger and unconvincing as time went on, until someone came along with something so much simpler that the complexity just sloughed off. I guess this is at least what the string theorists are trying to discover here: something more fundamentally true that makes everything that bit simpler and consistent.

When doing physics at school, the wave/particle duality explanation never really convinced me as a viable hypothesis. Some vital piece is clearly missing from our understanding here.

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Thirteen Astonishing True Facts You Never Knew About SCREWS

skelband
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Re: Spanners Vs. Wrenches

Awww yeah.

As an ex-pat Brit living in Canada, it seems to me that everything mechanical here has to have a 2-stroke attached for extra noise. Other than the obvious that the country is big and there isn't often somewhere to plug anything electrical in, it seems to me that there is an addiction to noise here that is built into the psyche of the place, perhaps a US influence.

Oh and what is it about Harley Davidson bikes anyway? Why do some people feel that sitting on a mechanical fart machine is cool?

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skelband
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Re: Screws Vs. Bolts

> bolts with wrenches.

Or spanners.

After all, this is a UK site. :D

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skelband
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Headmaster

Point of Order

The second picture does in fact depict a screw, more correctly a "set screw".

Bolts have a threadless stem.

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Verizon to limit unlimited 4G plans

skelband
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Re: And yet...

> Why is it so hard for everyone else?

Because, particularly in the US, communications systems are so fragmented with bizarre peering agreements based on everything *but* the reality of how things really work make it terminally broken.

I see a great parallel with how health care is implemented. People whinge and whine about how expensive the NHS is, but you should see the waste and utter insanity of the equivalent in the US, all in the name of their version of the "free market". A typical tragedy of the commons scenario where no-one is even remotely concerned about the public good.

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Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source

skelband
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Is there a Microsoft parallel to Godwin's Law?

That's gotta be the post of the day.

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Will the next US-EU trade pact prevent Brussels acting against US tech giants?

skelband
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Re: I don't see what the size of the offended party has to do with it.

> Because large corporations wrote this thing. It's going to be setup to work for large corporations with teams of lawyers on staff. In the same way a corner shop can't assign their trademarks to a postbox in a tax haven the way Starbucks can.

I fear that you may well be right. I was speaking of the principle rather than the practice.

As a general rule though, I prefer small government over large where possible. That's because as a Brit, we've been f*cked over so may times by our lords and masters, that we instinctively suspect any restriction of our liberties. (It's also one of the reasons why I think in the US, they are less guarded about the abuses perpetrated against them and others by their own governments: they have less first-hand experience of it). Trouble is, more and more multi-national companies are running things through their proxies, the government, which is one of the reasons why we have such big government these days.

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skelband
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I have to admit to being in two minds on this.

On the one hand, I like to think that the arbitrary power of governments should be limited somewhat where law breaking is not actually involved. That governments can act for some indirectly related purpose, which negatively affects businesses lawfully carrying out their business is something that I would rather not see. If law breaking is being done, then all bets off, for example, the abuse of a monopoly position. However, also for example, if trade barriers are put up for entirely political reasons, that detrimentally affect importers, then they should have some recourse.

On the other hand, we have many legitimate reasons why governments have to act, such as times of war, or in "tragedy of the commons" type situations where the greater good is being served.

Add into that mix the various times we have uproar over increased bureaucratic meddling in the economic affairs of nation states by the EU, and the situation is far from clear cut.

Personally, I don't see what the size of the offended party has to do with it. All businesses big and small can be impacted by the whims of government to meddle in our affairs. It makes a great headline to whip up hatred of large muilti-nationals and I can certainly see these entities being in the best enomomic position to make use of these new clauses, but perhaps there should be some legal recourse (within a reasonable framework) for decmocratic governments to be held accountable for the aftermath of their failed or ill-conceived policies.

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Cops nab suspect using CREEPY facial recog system

skelband
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> They get a photo of someone committing a crime. They plug that into an enormous database of pictures. They come up with someone who by pure chance looks very similar to the criminal.

Hah, yes this was exactly my thought. The bigger the database of faces, the bigger the problem.

I guess the only way I think to mitigate it is to use the same technology to find a set of "innocents" with the same similarity to use in the line-up. That way, the identifier must be absolutely certain of the culprit to be able to make a selection. That and ensuring that it is only use to identify possible targets for further investigation where additional, more certain evidence is required.

As long as the possible failings of this technology are understood, I can see this being a good thing as long as it doesn't make for lazy police work.

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LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs

skelband
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> Also note - the libressl developers do NOT consider themselves ready for prime time in any OS. They would be the first to tell you that.

Agreed. I guess my main point, echoed by you, is that the devs have made no claim about the readiness of LibreSSL for general use and this is doubly true for Linux.

My understanding however, is that this PID test on fork is not required or used on OpenBSD anyway. I could be wrong on this point.

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skelband
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Facepalm

As has been commented elsewhere on this issue, the furore kicked up by this event is rather dumbfounding.

LibreSSL as I understand it, is OpenSSL currently stripped down to the bare essentials required for OpenBSD.

They are fairly happy with what they have now *for OpenBSD* and have opened it up for re-porting by others. The fact that a Linux-specific issue has been found is principally due to the fact that LibreSSL is not currently ported properly to Linux. That there will be issues in this process is pretty much guaranteed, even if there were some issues that were originally "fixed" in OpenSSL.

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British cops cuff 660 suspected paedophiles

skelband
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Re: for some definition of paedophile...

> And I think both homosexual people and BDSM crowd who have long had to struggle to convince outsiders that paedophilia isn't a part of their scene don't particularly want you trying to re-associate that.

Who is trying to associate gay and BDSM people with paedophilia and why would they do that?

The only connection that I made in this respect is the extent to which all these groups are castigated in society and the similar arguments used by their detractors to denigrate them. Personally, I think this is a problem for society rather than any of these particular groups.

Any other connection that you think I draw is entirely of your own imagining.

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skelband
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Re: for some definition of paedophile...

> You are aware that in the UK looking at cartoons of underage figures that are a)Cartoons and b)Not human is already a criminal offense.

> You weren't.

> Well ignorance of the law is no defense.

Err, yes I did and I don't think it is right.

Not sure what your point is or were you being sarcastic?

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skelband
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Re: for some definition of paedophile...

> You've entirely shifted the goalposts from what you argued and what I challenged.

No, what I argue is perfectly easy to comprehend. Sexual abuse and looking at child porn are different. One is clearly abuse and one clearly isn't. I don't know what it is about this that you don't understand.

The main justifications trotted out about why looking at child porn should be illegal are twofold:

1) The existence and desire for child porn is fuelling the abuse of children to satisfy that need. There may be some validity to this argument. But it is a total abdication of trying to solve the core problem of abuse. Just because someone looks at child porn doesn't mean that they purchased it and therefore fuelled the problem. There is an assumption of guilt. Additionally, the law as it stands in the UK includes images that are not linked to child abuse at all, such as cartoons.

2) "People who look at child porn are perverts" and therefore should be jailed/put on a sex offenders register because we can't trust them. *THIS* argument smacks of exactly what used to be said about homosexual people. The psychology of paedophilia is not an exact science. I personally can't understand why someone would be aroused by a pre-pubescent child. However, there is a metric shitload of other things that people are turned on by that don't "do it" for me and I would never, ever be so arrogant as to label those people perverts.

Since manga and anime is so popular in Japan and, increasingly the rest of the world, I would not be so bold as to say the "childlike" images often portrayed are child pornography. However, many would and I worry that increasingly these people are getting their way.

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skelband
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Re: for some definition of paedophile...

> Aside from "how" being a very qualitatively different thing from "to what", there's the clear and obvious difference that sex between adults can be consensual.

You are conflating the abuse of children with looking at child porn. They are not the same thing.

You may argue that the creation of child pornography is child abuse, and for the most part this is certainly true.

But if all child abuse were stopped tomorrow, there would still be gigabytes of child porn out on t'interwebs.

If the problem of child abuse were to be solved tomorrow, then clearly if you consider that child abuse is the core issue, looking at child porn, although unpleasant to you, should not be illegal.

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skelband
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Re: for some definition of paedophile...

> Congratulations - you just associated BDSM with paedophilia. And a million kinky people who'd been trying to disassociate their interests from real world abuse and harming of children place their faces in their palms once more.

Is paedophilia in the strictest sense something that should be against the law?

As long as it doesn't involve the abuse of children, why would it ever be deemed illegal?

This is the real problem with having laws that are not centred squarely on the behaviour that is deemed antisocial, we have comments like this.

If a person likes to look at children and drawings/photographs of children in the privacy of their own home to gain sexual arousal and as long as no child abuse is ever committed, then where is the crime? Just because *you* think it is wrong doesn't mean that it is for everyone else.

Exactly the same arguments used to be trotted out about homosexuality: "I think sex with a guy is gross, so there should be a law against it." It makes just as much sense in that situation as it does here.

Dealing with child abuse is a hard problem to solve. Making laws about peripheral activities that don't involve children directly is evading the hard question about what we do about the abuse of children (and of anyone else for that matter.)

Abusing children is already against the law and has been for decades and the penalties are stiff. Yet we *still* have child abuse. Criminalising *other* people not abusing children is not going to solve this problem.

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skelband
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Re: for some definition of paedophile...

> Not to mention that if you find images of children being abused to be titillating, you most likely have some serious psychological issues.

Maybe yes, maybe no.

Lots of perfectly healthy people out there enjoy very healthy sex lives involving violence, such as flogging and queening and the like. Doesn't make them "bad" people.

That's not even going into the fetishes enjoyed widely in the Japanese community involving women that look suspiciously like little girls.

Sexual fantasies can seem very bizarre and disturbing to other people. It's a normal mental condition that most people experience from time to time.

As long as they stay fantasies, there is no problem when children are involved.

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skelband
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Re: for some definition of paedophile...

> it has a delicious Minority Report to it. But pumping up the stats is good for the bill...

This is the key point.

I'm all for identifying people that are potentially in need of "help" but I'm not a big fan of what more and more is little more than thought crime.

Throw the book at child molesters and abusers, but looking at pictures being a crime is a step too far.

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OK, EU chiefs, 3 years of copyright wrangling - let's get it sorted. Now this white paper... DOH!

This post has been deleted by a moderator

When the robot rebellion comes, this Jibo droid will BORE you to death

skelband
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> and a feminine massager,

Sorry, not really seeing it. Aren't feminine massagers usually long and smooth, and vibrate somewhat?

You might just as easily say it looks like a hairdryer, electric pencil sharpener or a mini blender.

Doesn't sound quite as *racy* though does it.

Not everything white and plastic and in the same picture as a woman is a dildo, don't you know?

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Microsoft not good enough for you, eh? 'Next Steve Ballmer' drives to Google

skelband
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So this guy's moving from a car manufacturing company to one of the world's largest technology company.

So he's obviously well qualified. Perhaps he'll be able to help them build cars, so I guess there is that.

Think I'll try my hand at brain surgery. They use computers, right?

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Female! ex-Yahoo! coder! says! female! boss! fired! her! for! refusing! sex!

skelband
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Re: Digital Sex

> When I saw this story on the Daily Fail, it seemed most of the comments were devoted to confusion over the term "digital sex".

Clearly it means that fingers were involved.

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New Doctor Who episode leaks online as proper trailer debuts

skelband
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Well, there appears to be a dalek involved. And probably cybermen.

Big f*cking surprise.

Oh, and Clara is still there? I used to hate Donna Noble with a passion, but they actually managed to find someone else more irritating. Don't get me wrong, Jenna Louise Coleman is pretty hot but I find the part she plays is just really annoying.

I remember a time when Dr Who writers had imagination...

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ISPs 'blindsided' by UK.gov's 'emergency' data retention and investigation powers law

skelband
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> For the purposes of the definition of "telecommunications service" in subsection (1), the cases in which a service is to be taken to consist in the provision of access to, and of facilities for making use of, a telecommunication system include any case where a service consists in or includes facilitating the creation, management or storage of communications transmitted, or that may be transmitted, by means of such a system.

It is my imagination that the above seems to say "a telecommunications service is defined as any service that offers telecommunications"?

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'Dread Pirate Roberts' suspect's bid for freedom fails

skelband
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Re: prove that from day one he wanted to deal in drugs

> They do not have to prove that was his intention from day one

Actually, they do. The judge was quite explicit about it:

“Ulbricht is alleged to have knowingly and intentionally constructed and operated an expansive black market”

"Constructed" is the key word here. They do have to prove that it was his intent from the start.

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It's alive! Space hackers fire up zombie Sun probe's engines

skelband
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Re: @Skelband

> What you're looking at is a pair of fluid tanks linked to a pair of pressure tanks linked by a set of valves. In extreme cases just a couple of tanks with the pressurant separated by a bladder in the same tank. The liquids ignite on contact.

That's about as simple as it gets.

With all due respect, I think that's a bit of an over- simplification.

That's the mechanical bit at the back end. There's also a receiver, a power source that evidently still works. There are servos to operate the valve presumably.

Fair dos, they have to keep it as simple as possible and a few decades ago, that was the only option anyways.

I still think it's pretty awesome/

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skelband
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> It's the first time the ISEE-3's engines have been fired since 1987

That's friggin' amazing in anyone's language.

It's been drifting round in the cold of space, for years, probably got hit by high-energy this and that.

And it still starts up first time :D

That bought a smile to my face.

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Would it be BAD if the Amazon rainforest was all FARMS? Well it WAS, once

skelband
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It's early, yet most of the comments so far seem to be quite reasonable and measured.

Not your typical "The world is going to end" or "nothing is happening" polar opposites that we usually see.

Refreshing.

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Bill Gates asks telcoms standards boffins to define future of money

skelband
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Re: Tough innit!

> Or tied to nothing at all, unless you count the governments word as something that has value.

And as we have seen for years in the US, the answer to that is resoundingly no.

Basing the currency on something "hard" like gold or silver puts a limit on the amount of money that can be created by government thereby stopping them printing it ad infinitum like the fed is doing day after day.

The inflationary effect of that is basically making everyone poorer, but of course that has a disproportionate effect on the middle class and the poor as their wages and savings get devalued faster than their wage can grow to keep up.

If I was a cynical man (and I am), I would say that is was deliberate.

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skelband
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> Did you read the fucking article?

This is all about getting an edge into developing markets to milk financial transactions through charges.

Worse off? Depends on your perspective.

Mr Gates is a business man and he knows a good thing when he sees it.

Cash is what we should be all returning back to especially for more local business transactions.

It's cheap, anonymous and can be lost only through inflation.

Relying on the banks is cowtowing to the "man". As far as I'm concerned, the "man" can go f*ck himself.

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skelband
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Facepalm

> Two-and-a-half billion adults in the world don't have bank accounts

Yeah, 2.5 billion people that manage to live their lives without some government being able to track their every financial movement.

Can't have that can we?

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'Disruptive innovation' is nonsense? Not ALWAYS, actually

skelband
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Re: Sorry, Bell Labs...

> This is a highly-specialised meaning of disruptive

Indeed, but wasn't the whole point of the original article about how entrenched incumbants cannot innovate radical, disruptive changes because it would destroy their cosy status quo? Newcomers don't have anything to lose.

I would argue that digital cameras were immensely disruptive especially to the likes of Kodak, a manufacturer that was big into the core technology but lacked the managerial will to move with the times, a rather excellent example of the genre.

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skelband
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Re: Sorry, Bell Labs...

> I would suggest that the transistor was the single most disruptive technology of the 20th century.

In what way? Sure, it enabled whole industries to exist and made a lot of money for a lot of people.

But which existing incumbants did it affect other than valve manufacturers?

I would differentiate disruptive from transformative in this respect. Also, I would differentiate society (customers) from industry (manufacturers).

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skelband
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Re: Sorry, Bell Labs...

> It seems the laser, transistor, Unix, C, C++, Hamming codes, CCDs, wireless LANs, fiber optics, and 32-bit microprocessors were completely non-disruptive technologies. So much for your seven Nobel prizes and two Turing Awards.

Interestingly, although these are innovative, they are not disruptive.

I suggest that perhaps Tim didn't make that distinction very well in his article although I do agree with the main thesis that newcomers can only disrupt incumbants.

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VC who wants to split California REVEALED as Silk Road Bitcoin slurper

skelband
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> Still amazes me that US citizens accept a law in place which allows the seizure and sale of goods based on someone accused of commiting a crime, before that person is even convicted.

I wondered that myself.

So if he is acquitted, does he get all his BitCoins back?

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Sorry, chaps! We didn't mean to steamroller legit No-IP users – Microsoft

skelband
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> If No-IP had been pro-active instead of re-active, MS wouldn't have had to take them to court in the first place. Those guys aren't innocent in all of this, remember.

Jesus, they are a DNS service for Christ's sake. Do we sue Yellow pages for all the criminal organisations that happen to put an entry in the book? Engage some fucking brain cells.

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Microsoft's anti-malware crusade knackers '4 MILLION' No-IP users

skelband
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Is there something missing from the story?

I'm not sure where Microsoft comes into the picture.

Why did the domain names get handed to Microsoft? Were they stolen?

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Hey, Marissa Mayer: Flexi working time is now LAW in UK. Yahoo!

skelband
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> If they thought it was, they wouldn't need to be forced!

I think you're giving middle-managers far too much credit.

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What a whopper, LG: Feast your eyes on this 77-inch bendy TV

skelband
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Re: Plasma

> the "cartoon" look of LCDs

I must admit that I thought this when I went looking for my 55"er. The LCD TVs in the shop all look utter shite: non-existent skin tones, plastic looking people...until you realise that there is actually a setting they activate for shop use that makes the output utter rubbish.

I nearly didn't get one just on that basis alone. Most LCDs have a "shop" mode which increases the contrast to get them noticed in shops. If you switch it off, a good LCD looks really rather nice. Sounds to me a bit like compression in audio to make it sound louder, which also makes it sound shitter.

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Retiring Reg hack explains how bass playing = tech reporting

skelband
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Always sad to hear of Reg Hacks moving on.

We may agree, disagree and outright insult each other from time to time, but there is a special kind of community at ElReg that us commentards really appreciate.

Good luck for the future!

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Warrantless snooping on American man was LEGAL in terrorism case, rules US judge

skelband
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Re: Now THAT is what surveillance is for

> It's certainly true that innocent people accused of terrorism have the right to a lawyer.

All people are innocent until/unless the trial determines otherwise.

For myself, I'm not that convinced that evidence obtained illegally should be automatically deemed inadmissible. That's a determination to be made by the judge as to how tainted he thinks it is.

But at the end of the day, if a police officer breaks the law, they should be prosecuted just like any other person. In this respect, I agree with Trevor.

It's really not that hard. If you think you want to intercept someone's communications, you ask a judge. If that process is too slow and to unresponsive, you optimise the process, not subvert it entirely.

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skelband
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Re: Now THAT is what surveillance is for

> Would-be terrorist tries to become operational and blow up children and families at a XMas event, gets caught by surveillance and sting operation.

You have the benefit of hindsight.

Before the trial, he was a presumably innocent man accused of a crime.

It is a crucial trap to declare *after the fact* that it was all OK because as it turns out he obviously did it.

If a disgruntled police officer murdered him before the trial, is that OK because they later found that he was guilty? Well he deserved it after all didn't he?

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skelband
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Re: Special Needs

> What ever happened to the good old malted milks.

Ah. "Cow biscuits" as the kids used to call them.

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You're inventing the wrong sort of tech for bad people who want to buy it. Stop it at once

skelband
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> That’s why they have to resort to crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, appealing directly to the public for investment.

I was actually more interested in this particular comment.

I was not convinced as to why he thought that this was particularly a problem.

It is certainly true that a lot of worthwhile endeavours are being funded via this route.

It seems to me a far better fit for this kind of thing.

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EXPOSED: Massive mobile malware network used by cops globally

skelband
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Unhappy

Jesus H F*cking Christ.

That is all.

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VMware seeks patent for IM chats between servers and sysadmins

skelband
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Facepalm

Reputation

I guess a lot of companies feel obliged to get themselves a bulging set of patents to look good to their shareholders but you have to wonder what kind of message this kind of thing is sending to the industry at large.

When you've got something interesting to say, I'm happy to listen, but on the other hand if all you have to say is bullshit, then it's better to keep it to oneself.

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YouTube in shock indie music nuke: We all feel a little less worthy today

skelband
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Re: @ratfox

> That puts the onus on the content provider to protect himself from Youtube.

That's always been the case. Copyright infringement is a civil offense in most jurisdictions, because you're only guilty if a copyright owner objects. You have to assert your rights under copyright. Yes, everyone is protected, but you have to assert your rights against others.

It's like asking the police to stop all "intruders" entering houses. How are the police to know who has permission to enter my house and who does not? They don't have permission because I say so, but I do have to say so.

Most copyright owners assert their rights within the work itself or with accompanying documentation, but with an upload site it is impossible to pre-emptively block works that have not had copyright asserted in a way that it would be reasonable for YouTube (or Dropbox etc) to comply with. This is especially difficult these days so many professionally produced independent videos appearing that are being freeing distributed.

YouTube do have the means to identify works that are copies and once copyright has been asserted, they must comply.

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Google spaffs $50 MILLION on 'get girls coding' campaign

skelband
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Re: Encouragement?

> Apart from the "I've got mine, f**k you" mindset?

Some modern so-called libertarians have very illiberal beliefs such as anti-socialism and stronger property rights. I can't think of anything as antithetical to liberty.

I consider myself a strong libertarian, but some of the bollocks that is spouted in the name of libertarianism is profoundly anti liberty. Those that truly believe in liberty oppose big government and over-reaching laws. That is not necessarily anti-socialist, although socialist-leaning governments do tend to get larger and authoritarian in their scope over time if there are not sufficient boundaries.

The American ideal is profoundly libertarian. Problem is, the US has been anything but for many years and becoming less so as time goes by.

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