* Posts by Mark McNeill

89 posts • joined 29 Apr 2009

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Sick and tired of modern Windows? Upgrade to Windows 3.1 today – in your web browser

Mark McNeill

That reminds me, one of these days I must get around to sending a cheque for $15 to Eric Patev of Rockport MA for my license for HP Calc.

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Mark McNeill
Linux

>> I always associate Windows 3.11 with dental work.

Oh, the jokes just write themselves.

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How to help a user who can't find the Start button or the keyboard?

Mark McNeill
Linux

Sounds like me, when "Microsoft" calls to tell me that my Windows is faulty and they'll fix it if I give them access.

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UK govt sneaks citizen database aka 'request filters' into proposed internet super-spy law

Mark McNeill
Black Helicopters

Re: does this mean

Be that as it may, I'm going to cc my MP into all my emails from now on, and invoke the Wilson Doctrine if Theresa May wants to read them.

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Spanish town trumpets 'Clitoris Festival' thanks to Google snafu

Mark McNeill
Paris Hilton

"nip further slips of the tongue in the bud"

What you did there. I see it.

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Top cops demand access to the UK's entire web browsing history

Mark McNeill
Black Helicopters

Script needed...

...to make everyone visit every site on the internet. They want data, give them data.

(Yes, I know, it's not difficult to think of practical objections to this, including but not limited to physical impossibility.)

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PETA monkey selfie lawsuit threatens wildlife photography, warns snapper at heart of row

Mark McNeill

Re: Edited for objectivity

>> He most certainly has. You're doing that thing where you don't like the reality, so you invent a new one.

It's very tempting just to say, "What has been asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence" and leave it at that, because that would be enough of a response to your post; but I think we can go a little further.

I'd better say at once that I don't have a dog in this fight at all; you have no reason to think that I do, except on the very iffy grounds that I disagree with you. My entire career has been spent in the arts: copyright is essential to earning my living. All that should incline me towards a reality which favours David Slater; but the truth is that I've seen nothing, either in your posts, on his website or in the various news reports, which show to a reasonable degree of certainty that he had sufficient artistic input in the photos we're talking about to get copyright on them. I've raised a couple of obvious points in my previous posts to support my thinking, and I've been given no reason to reconsider them.

I'm naturally wary of articles which repeatedly take as a certainty just what we should be investigating: I remember that's what struck me about your article here a year ago, and that's what struck me strongly this time around. So since you've attacked my objectivity in your post, it seems to me only fair to query yours. You're an investigative reporter: how do you know, and know more definitely than your legal advice ("Slater may not fulfill all the conditions, but he probably fulfills enough of them" - it seems unwise to go farther than your lawyer, but that's your business), know to the point that people who simply disagree must be remaking reality, that Slater should take the copyright for these photos? The evidence to persuade you to this degree of certainty must be very persuasive indeed: what is it?

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Mark McNeill

Re: Edited for objectivity

>> I think you may be conflating two separate incidents here, either directly or because newspapers (whose goal is to sell, or get hits for the online versions) have previously conflated them. At one point, David Slater unwisely left his camera lying there and the monkeys absconded with it and his guide ran after them and got it back. In a separate incident, he set it up a tripod and stayed close to it.

We can certainly assume two incidents, and equally certainly the papers of the time that I've seen refer only to the first; which is very understandable from a journalistic POV. But we just don't know whether the relevant pictures were taken during the first, shall-we-say-unintended shoot, or the second, shall-we-say-with-some-input shoot. Two things make me doubt that they came from the second: firstly, the backgrounds change (and I've seen some blurry forest-floor shots and out-of-focus monkeys in there with the nice ones - it would be interesting to see the whole shoot). Secondly, as I said, his statement on his website is pretty carefully written: I'm sure if the relevant photos came from the second, controlled, shoot, he would explicitly say so on his website. He doesn't.

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Mark McNeill
WTF?

Edited for objectivity

I think we can safely dismiss PETA as trolling: they know what the law is, and they just want the publicity.

David Slater's case for ownership, which Andrew here accepts without question, is much more interesting. Last time I saw this issue come up here, I wrote this - http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/2280395 - and I haven't seen anything to change my mind since.

The reason at least two versions of the shoot are around is that Slater's own account seems to have evolved over time: and in a way consistent with making ownership of the images as credible as possible, once ownership was in doubt. Originally, he was quoted as saying e.g. "One of them must have accidentally knocked the camera and set it off... He must have taken hundreds of pictures by the time I got my camera back, but not very many were in focus..." which strongly implies that these photos weren't intended, and that he wasn't in creative control at the time. Now, his account on his website - which is written very carefully, understandably enough - describes their taking photos without his control, and later his setting up the camera on a tripod, and keeping a hand on the tripod as they took more photos; assuming the photos in question were taken during the second batch, which he presents as intentional and under his control, his claim to copyright would be stronger. Were they? I don't know, and neither does Andrew Orlowski; but the changing backgrounds of the photos seem to show that they were taken when the camera wasn't on the tripod.

The question of whether this case would have any bearing on camera traps is a red herring (and I can't help wondering if it's deliberately intended to drum up some allies for Slater): as the sidebar says, Intent matters. Copyright is assigned according to the creative and intentional input, and is not assigned according to who happened to press the button. Camera operators don't own copyright in Hollywood films, studio assistants don't own copyright in the photographs deliberately set up by their employers. If you deliberately set up a camera such that it frames a scene and is triggered by something passing through it, your intent and creative input give you the copyright. "Composition and intent" are in no danger from this case, because those are the criteria which Slater hasn't demonstrated he's fulfilled; although you wouldn't know it from reading this article.

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Get whimsical and win a Western Digital Black 6TB hard drive

Mark McNeill

<whispers> "...and here... we are so lucky to witness... this magnificent creature... googling a potential mate... A dance as old... as Life itself..."

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Microsoft replaces Windows 10 patch update, isn't saying why

Mark McNeill
Linux

Re: And according to a rumour

No rumour, that's covered in their EULA:

We may automatically check your version of the software and download software updates or configuration changes, including those that prevent you from accessing the Services, playing counterfeit games, or using unauthorized hardware peripheral devices.

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Wait, STOP: Are you installing Windows 10 or RANSOMWARE?

Mark McNeill
Stop

"Windows 10 is familiar and easy to use".

Yeah, like that's going to fool anybody.

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Don't want Windows 10 FILTH on the company network? Step this way

Mark McNeill
Paris Hilton

Re: Windows 10: man updates PC, wakes up to find porn slideshow on repeat

At least he'd put them on the computer himself. Xscreensaver on Linux/OSX may include Webcollage, which creates a screensaver from random images off the internet.

Paris, because she'll turn up if you wait long enough.

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Snapper's decisions: Whatever happened to REAL photography?

Mark McNeill

The linux crowd

"For good and bad medium format enthusiasts have always been the "linux crowd" of photography."

That means large format photographers are, what, BSD? (May be relevant: I was told that beards were a bad idea for large format photographers, because, erm, hairs and other bits were more liable to fall on the film when loading darkslides.)

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CURSE YOU, 'streaming' music services! I want a bloody CD

Mark McNeill
Pint

Just an idle thought

Given the plethora of plugins for digital photography to make photos look like antiques, has anyone ever done one to add vinyl-type surface noise to digital sound recordings?

Pint icon for John "life has surface noise" Peel there.

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Cracking copyright law: How a simian selfie stunt could make a monkey out of Wikipedia

Mark McNeill
Stop

What was your case again, Andrew?

I'll try a more objective approach. I've changed my mind a couple of times on this, but this is where I've ended up.

We can throw out all the little-guy/$BIGCORP stuff as a fallacious appeal to fairness. The law as written, or as decided in the courts, is under no obligation to treat somebody kindly because the other guy's bigger.

"Slater has been obliged to hire legal help costing thousands of pounds to defend his work, arguing that Wikipedia’s continuing publication harms his livelihood."

His livelihood has certainly to some degree been harmed; but that doesn't mean he has any case.

"The law isn’t hard to understand."

Heh. And coding is easy, and any damn fool can design a bridge. Of the three criteria supplied, Andrew Orlowski doesn't say which he thinks Slater actually meets to a degree which would satisfy a court.

"If he checked the angle of the shot, set up the equipment to produce a picture with specific light and shade effects, set the exposure or used filters or other special settings, light and that everything required is in the shot, and all the monkey contributed was to press the button, then he would seem to have a passable claim..."

Note the conditional If. Slater's quoted as saying - before copyright became an issue - that monkeys stole his camera while he was absent: "He must have taken hundreds of pictures by the time I got my camera back, but not very many were in focus. He obviously hadn't worked that out yet." I think he would have a very hard time arguing that he had creative control over the process, if we believe this earlier version. His later version of events contradicts the earlier, to some degree: adding a description of intent and setting up the camera; which, if we believe it, would give him a stronger case.

"Slater made choices such as choosing the location, the equipment, where it was placed – in front of the monkeys – and choosing what to keep and discard."

Location and equipment would very likely fall under the non-creative "sweat of the brow" element in US law; I don't know what weight UK copyright law would put on it. As to "...where it was placed..." it was moved by the monkey, as we can see from the various photos which have been released, so I can't see that being persuasive. "...choosing what to keep and discard..." is a creative act in forming e.g. an anthology, but I've never heard of that conferring copyright on a single image. If I do an image search and choose a number of public-domain images, I might own copyright to the selection, but for me to gain copyright to a single image by simply choosing it from a selection would be perverse.

"Whether you're on Team Slater or Team Jimbo, it's going to court"

Is it? Do we know that?

I hope he's receiving legal advice along the lines of "Firstly, what will you gain if you win? - a few thousand? It's not worth the risk of pursuing. Secondly, you'll be asked about your various versions of what happened, and how they square with all the photographs obtained. Are you comfortable with that?" Obviously it would make an interesting case for some organisation to take up on his behalf, but I haven't heard that any have done so; which may be telling.

I may well be utterly wrong about all or some of this, which should go without saying; but I don't see that Andrew Orlowski has made any form of actual case in law; as opposed to "$BIGCORP is being selfish!"; which is after all what $BIGCORP has always done.

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Windows XP fixes flaws for free if you turn PCs into CASH REGISTERS

Mark McNeill
Linux

And so the countdown begins

"... it'll keep desperates getting XP updates until 2019."

Ladies and gentlemen: I give you 2020 - the year of Linux on the desktop.

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It's official: 'tweet' an English word – not just in the avian sense

Mark McNeill
Coat

Re: Status

I don't know why; it's a perfectly cromulent word.

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French spies do a Barbara Streisand over secret nuke radio base

Mark McNeill
Black Helicopters

This morning's idle thoughts

USA: Good morning, mes petits singes capitulards, may we count on your vast historical experience in South East Asia, and parts of your secure communications infrastructure, to aid us in our little bagarre with North Korea? Is it that it is that you perhaps maintain a secure worldwide communications network link for NATO operations, which in the event of an attaque nucléaire on any NATO member would be required to assist under Section 5 of the NATO treaty? Would it be deranging you to just make certain that it's still there, in full working order, and most particularly that les geeks et les militaires de la Corée du Nord can be utterly unaware of its existence?

France: But yes, my old, nothing of more easy. Its secrecy total is assured... Name of a pipe! We must take of the measures incredibly foolish directly!

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Star Trek phaser sells for a STUNNING $231,000

Mark McNeill
WTF?

That's geeks for you

For that sort of money, they could have bought eight and a quarter of Marilyn Monroe's bras.

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It's the Peer 2.0: Martha Lane Fox now a crossbench baroness

Mark McNeill
IT Angle

Re: Her dad is a laugh

I like that he acted as a historical consultant on Oliver Stone's overblown film "Alexander", on condition that he was allowed to take part in the cavalry charges.

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Mark McNeill
Facepalm

Off to a flying start

I'm a great fan of her dad [a Classical historian who likes Alexander the Great and hates garden gnomes], but confessing that she shouldn't have publicly announced her title in advance and saying it was "just tweet to old school friend" does rather imply that she doesn't quite grasp the whole Internet thing.

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Apple design bloke Ive finally honoured properly - with Blue Peter badge

Mark McNeill
Trollface

I can see why Apple and Blue Peter are a good fit

Children have been making things for them for years...

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'Bah, this Apple Shop is full of APPLES'

Mark McNeill
Pint

Cider: it just works.

Drink different!

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Greedy Sky admits: We crippled broadband with TOO MANY users

Mark McNeill
Devil

Did OK for a long while, but pants now.

SWMBO is addicted to Sky TV, so when we moved I signed up for their broadband: for six years or so it was cheap and almost perfectly reliable at 12-13Mbps, but since Christmas it dropped to less than 2Mbps. As it happens, BT Extra Wizzo Fibre has recently become available: so in a month or so I'll be able to moan about that instead.

Spawn of Satan because Murdoch. Yes, we're still paying him for the telly. Yes, I am ashamed.

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Nipper's toy train enjoys journey to edge of SPAAAAACE

Mark McNeill
Thumb Up

Brilliant!

The animations made it.

[Couldn't help thinking that the B3TA version would have had Stanley dying of hypoxia, though...]

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Review: HTC 8X Windows Phone 8 handset

Mark McNeill
Thumb Up

Re: Strictly off topic

Many thanks, I can sleep now. Blimey, not been that way in years.

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Mark McNeill
IT Angle

Strictly off topic

I suppose it might infringe somebody's privacy, but I wish yo'd identify where you took the photographs; I /know/ I know where that is, but I just can't bring it to mind. That's a Chesters coach, so it's very likely not too far from Manchester; but that's all I've got.

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Scottish Highlands get blanket 3G coverage

Mark McNeill
Devil

Reading the article was a relief

I was afraid from the headline that, erm, the Scottish Highlands would be getting blanket 3G coverage. One of the great selfish pleasures of my trips to the remoter parts of the Highlands is that people know there's no way of getting in touch with me.

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Windows Media Center EPG has SWITCHED OFF, wail Euro users

Mark McNeill
Thumb Up

Another vote for MythTV

Except when the local freeview transmitter decides to renumber its channels. Again. [Not that that's a MythTV problem, exactly...]

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What's THAT, you say? Apple MIGHT be making a NEW iPHONE, iOS?

Mark McNeill
WTF?

Can't believe you didn't just ask

I read the article twice, and there's no mention of you asking Apple for comment.

I mean, you never know: Apple might have told you all about it, if you'd only asked.

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The Lord of the Rings saga lies hidden deep in your Mac

Mark McNeill
Headmaster

Re: Is also available

And in Mint, Mythbuntu & Crunchbang. Oddly, there are a couple of misspellings in the version quoted here - Ellesar for Elessar passim, for instance - and more typos in the versions I have to hand, e.g. Lorian and Osgilliath.

I mean, these things are important.

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A history of personal computing in 20 objects part 2

Mark McNeill
Thumb Up

Re: Osborne...

Portable as a suitcase full of bricks, they said at the time. Didn't bother us, we never moved it.

We ran a business on that machine for ten years or so, until clients started demanding Word-format files. I don't recall it ever crashing.

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Apple unveils iPad mini, upgrades its big brother

Mark McNeill
Meh

Your cut-out'n'keep guide

Shortly after launch a hardware issue with ##### will arise, which Apple will ignore until the swell of protest becomes too great. Some time later Apple will punish customers for %%%%ing with their tablets, sparking a well-worn debate about the walled garden and ownership of their device. This will last almost until the release of the next Apple tablets, which will be &&&&&er than their previous ones.

[In the meantime Android will suffer a @@@@@ lapse and ***** issues. RIM will complete another orbit of the drain.]

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Confirmed: iPad 3 runs hotter than iPad 2

Mark McNeill
Holmes

Re: Gosh. Well, well, well

"And, well, the folk out there thinking of buying an iPad, don't you think?"

You really think so? A 5°C difference?

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Mark McNeill
Holmes

Gosh. Well, well, well

"...what iPad 3 owners already knew..."

And, given that iPad 3 owners are the only people likely to care...

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Pillow purveyor sews up Steve Jobs doll for fans

Mark McNeill
Linux

Far too cuddly to be Jobs

It's Alan Yentob.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2012/040112yentob.html

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Poynt

Mark McNeill
Stop

So if there's a difference of 10p a litre, and you're buying, say, 50 litres, you're saving a fiver. How far out of your way would you go for a fiver?

Oblig XKCD: http://xkcd.com/951/

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Black Ops has best videogame ending ever

Mark McNeill
Pirate

At least I learnt something from all this

Never pay more than 20 bucks for a computer game.

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Pentax Q compact system camera

Mark McNeill
Unhappy

Lag's too slow

I read in another review that the shutter response is average-to-long, so I wouldn't be able to use it for the sort of point-and-shoot photography that those old rangefinders were so perfect for. It's a pity, because it does look desirable otherwise.

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Millions face Megaupload data deletion by Thursday

Mark McNeill
Black Helicopters

@ Edward Clarke: You can beat the rap...

...but you can't beat the ride.

"If the data on the servers gets wiped then their whole case goes out the window. A criminal case requires a whole different level of evidence from the normal civil case."

I don't think they need to care much about a criminal case. They've got him in custody, they can probably keep him in jail for a few years during extradition hearings and pre-trial, they've destroyed his business, they're [possibly, subject to yada yada] three days away from destroying all the data on the servers. That sends a pretty powerful message even without a criminal conviction at the end of it: just look at what the other filesharing sites have been doing in the last few days.

"You can't put a man in jail (or I can't anyway) unless you're sure they're guilty."

Except, he's in jail.

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Well, burn my atomic-clock-powered new human renaissance platform

Mark McNeill
Trollface

Change your plane of existence

Not that big of a deal.

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Lumia sales fail to set world alight

Mark McNeill
Trollface

As a pose to

So how's the voice recognition on your phone working out for you?

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2012 CES will be Microsoft’s last hurrah

Mark McNeill
Linux

Because a stand staffed solely by patent lawyers might send the wrong message.

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Anti-piracy laws will smash internet, US constitution - legal eagles

Mark McNeill
Big Brother

No small print needed

In practice, action will probably depend on the clout and credibility of the entity making the claim. If your ISP gets a letter from $BIGMEDIA threatening them with legal action over your website, they'll cave quicker than you can say "fair usage"; if Universal or Disney get a letter from you claiming infringement, it'll be in the bin before you've even finished licking the envelope.

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Woz's key to success: Burn the tie, wear T-shirts to work

Mark McNeill
Trollface

O tempora o mores

It's "strait-laced", not "straight-laced". Strait means narrow or tight, confined, or strict. Straight means, er, straight.

Oh, and Woz, it's "want to", not "wanna". You'll never get anywhere using language like that.

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