* Posts by Intractable Potsherd

2463 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Goodbye Vulcan: Blighty's nuclear bomber retires for the last time

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Childhood Memories

*That's* what I remember! Thanks, kmac - I thought I'd been imagining that (or it was part of a movie I'd seen). Yes, truly wonderful ...

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Who wants a classic ThinkPad with whizzy new hardware? Lenovo would just love to know

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: I'm gonna get flamed for this...

I've been using ThinkPads as my main machines for so long that the Ctrl on a "standard" keyboard is in the wrong place ... :-)

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Intractable Potsherd
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@ Gritzwally

All the above plus the absolutely wonderful page back/forwards buttons (they are either side of the up arrow, making the direction key pad a full 3x2 grid). So few people mention these, but I don't know of any other keyboard that has them. If I could find one, I'd have one for the desktop too - it means you don't need to use the backspace key for going back one webpage, and there is a key for going forward to one already visited without going for the mouse.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: ME! Oh ME! MeohmeohmeohMEEEE!

All the above plus the extremely useful page back/forwards buttons flanking the up arrow. These are soooo useful for browsing without needing to change to the mouse.

(Currently using X61 almost exclusively for all work and pleasure purposes.)

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How swearing at your coworker via WhatsApp could cost you $68,000

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Retroactive

"It's like justice, only different." Just like the prosecution having the right to appeal a sentence for being too lenient (and yes, I know we have it here too - it doesn't make it any more just).

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Grumpy EU ministers agree shaky pact on new data protection law

Intractable Potsherd
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How hard would it be ...

... to say that all data about an individual belongs to that individual, and use (defined as analysis and action based upon it) of that data can only be done:

a) Where the individual gives full and free informed consent

b) Where primary legislation allows for it (primary legislation so that it is debated openly in the legislature) or

c) Where a warrant obtained from one - or some situations, more than one - judge?

Seems straight-forward to me - just needs some moral backbone from our supposed representatives (OK, so the Council of Ministers here consists of each Member State's Minister for the Home or Justice Department, meaning that the likes of Twathead May are there, so the current "compromise" is completely expected). The European Parliament, though, are starting to realise that they do have real power, so maybe we can pin our hopes on them.

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'Snowden risked lives' fearfest story prompts sceptical sneers

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: So Snowden, an NSA subbie bagged a copy of the MI6 agents in place ...

I thought my tinnitus was worse this morning, but it probably just the sound of lots of bullshit detectors going off (though, depressingly, not as many as there ought to be ...)

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Snowden is an arse clown @AC

Without evidence, you are to be assumed to be spouting utter shite.

That is all.

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Use snooped data in court? Nah, says UK.gov - folk might be cleared

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Thinking the powers that be have missed the point

The police still think that they are part of the prosecution process (from the days before the CPS when criminal prosecutions were brought by the police). Now the CPS exists, the police should be merely investigatory, working for neither side. Getting rid of targets based on crimes solved should be high on any government's list, and then realigning the police as an arm of the courts, with dispassionate investigation at their core.

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'Nothing to see here', says ECJ as Safe Harbour opinion delayed

Intractable Potsherd
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Would that be TTIP, by any chance? From the point of view of the individual, there is absolutely fuck all about that abomination which is any good.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Not surprised about delays..

I'd been thinking the same re: universities I work for, which both use Microsoft products for their cloudy stuff. There is a lot at stake here, and the true leaders* of the USA need to put pressure on before business evaporates.

* Big business

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The Martian: Matt Damon sciences the sh*t out of the red planet

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: xkcd

If only it didn't have Matt "One-expression" Damon as the lead, and Ridley "Prometheus" Scott* helming ...

* I know, he has done some great stuff, but "Prometheus" (and, let's be honest, "GI Jane", Gladiator", "Robin Hood" and "Exodus") suggests his time is well in the past.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Done before

"Welcome to Mars" by James Blish also covered this ground (though, if I remember correctly (it has been a while), he also fell back on indigenous Martian life to plug some plot-holes).

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Indie review of UK surveillance laws: As you were, GCHQ

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: The good news about Theresa May is...

Much as I loath Theresa May (and everyone else who has had the Home Secretary title for the last 30 years), it is clear that it is the Snivel Serpents in the Home Office who are behind all this. Previously sane(-ish) people like Jack Straw became indistinguishable from loons like David Blunkett and Theresa May. And here is the problem - get rid of the current holder of this sinecure, and the next one will be exactly the same. Any plans for changing this situation gratfully received.

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Cops turn Download Festival into an ORWELLIAN SPY PARADISE

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: So Download Festival are trying to go bankrupt?

"WTF would anyone even consider attending this any festival with this level of surveillance ever?*

* Genuinely sorry to those who go to festivals, but I have an absolute horror of these things. I cannot understand what the fun is is in standing in a crowd of unwashed, off-their-heads people in the cold and wet whilst someone pisses on your tent. Standing in the cold and wet is only to be done when rally cars are involved :-)

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Eugh

"The Number of the Beast!" Of course it is - it's a dog-tag!

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Screw you, ISPs: Net neutrality switches on THIS FRIDAY – US court

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: We need the FCC involved.

No no no - it's all a plot by Google! Dr Stephen Jones says so!

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Have your little dance now, children!

Stephen - you are to Google what Eadon (wherever he might be now) was to Microsoft, but without the humorous aspect. Unfortunately, that means you just produce noise.

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Facebook tosses creepy Place Tips beacons at stateside retailers

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: FUCK OFF!!!

"Location services... and Bluetooth on." Does this mean Bluetooth simply needs to be on, or does it need to be discoverable? Are there really enough people stupid enough to have location services and Bluetooth set to "Broadcast Widely and Accept Anything" to make this worthwhile??

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The watts in a box that kept West London's lights on

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Nowhere else in the UK would this happen

Just to add to the evidence that the OP is talking utter bollocks, here in a small, unregarded village in Fife (seriously, you've never heard of it) wind brought down a tree onto an overhead powerline, taking out several houses' electron supply. Power company workers were there in less than an hour, with a genny in place sometime in the hour after that. It was really impressive how quickly everything just worked.

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EU digi-chief to meet ministers and sort out the net neutrality thing

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Socialism a nasty word?

There aren't enough upvotes in Europe to give this the credit it deserves!! Well said, and have one on me!

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Google: Our self-driving cars would be tip-top if you meatheads didn’t crash into them

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: givig way to emergency vehicles

"Google cars can identify emergency vehicles, for example, and automatically give way in a fashion many fleshy drivers are irritatingly unwilling to do."

If they can do this properly, then it will indeed be a good example of programming. Pulling over is only part of the job. Doing it in the right place (e.g. not just before a blind bend or bridge), and at the right time (so that other road users don't start overtaking you) is just as important.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: AI is hard @ toxicdragon

Now compare those speeds with, say, Dakar!

However, the use-case for self-driving cars is never going to be competition - it would be more boring than F1 ...

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: To those here hailing the arrival of Google cars

Actually, I sort of agree with you. Once being able to drive is no longer a near-necessity, it will be easier to increase the standards of the driving test so that it is more rigorous. People who are currently forced to do something they don't want, or don't have the innate ability, to do can still have the freedom that comes with car ownership without needing to pilot a couple of tonnes of metal. That is all to the good.

However, regarding your comment about people who have driven hundreds of thousands of miles without an accident - I'm one, and I know many others. I don't class myself as an excellent driver, and I am not as good as many of my friends,but I have the intuition, the skills and the ability to anticipate the road. I also know when I am not well enough to drive, and so make other arrangements - something I'm very lucky to be able to have (I won't be forced to lose a day's wage, or my job, by not turning in).

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Intractable Potsherd
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I'm not sure about the insurance premium thing myself. I have a feeling that auto-driving cars will be adopted by a large percentage of the people who cause accidents - those who drive only because they have to. The ones who actually hate driving, but for whom the alternatives are poor. The ones who really aren't paying attention, or don't have sufficient confidence (how many readers here know at least one person who will not drive off their "usual" routes? I know two - neither of them will drive on motorways because they don't like merging with other traffic, nor will they drive in the nearest city (despite a perfectly good ring-road and well-managed traffic)). The ones that would rather be texting/talking/working than driving. The ones that our motorcycling colleagues complain about.

Good drivers will be good drivers regardless, though they (we) will die out because people won't have chance to develop the skills.

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US court agrees $563m settlement over CRT anti-trust allegations

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: I'm surprised

How do you think this case would have been brought if not for the lawyers??

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Passions run high in EU parliament debate over air passengers' privacy

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Wait a minute...

I think it was the European Commission, not the European Parliament, that handed over PNR to the USA.

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Hackers steal files on 4 million US govt workers

Intractable Potsherd
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Bet Gary McKinnon is justifiably unbearable right now, "I TOLD YOU YOUR SECURITY WAS CRAP"

FTFY :-)

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Forget black helicopters, FBI flying surveillance Cessnas over US cities. Warrant? What's that?

Intractable Potsherd
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"... today they are more interested in actual criminals." Citation needed.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Northolt Station Flight and more, the UK is doing this too... @ Forgetful person

"my life just isn't that interesting to interest anyone else". You missed the correct modifiers, which are a) "yet", and/or b) " as far as I know". You actually have no idea what your data-shadow has suggested to people who are trawling this stuff. Are you *absolutely* sure that your friends, their friends, those neighbours you know exist only because the car goes in and out of the drive regularly, or the woman in the corner petrol station you frequent aren't people of interest? What about the colleague you only ever speak to on the phone/by email?* If they are, then you might be. That is why sensible people are afraid.

*This is not an exhaustive list, and the specifics are for illustration only.

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India to Russia: 'Sod you, Vlad, we're going to the moon ALONE'

Intractable Potsherd
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Talk about missing the big picture ...

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Web tracking puts lead in your saddlebags, finds Mozilla study

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Adblock and NoScript

"Essential, but too much for the masses."

True. I've tried putting the AdBlock/NoScript etc on Mrs IPs computers several times. After a few days I have to take them off because it is "too difficult" to do what she wants to do, or she starts using IE instead (call me old-fashioned, but that just isn't acceptable). She does not understand how I can use the internet by setting permissions individually for each site every time (very few blanket exceptions for me - mainly temporary).

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Hacker uses Starbucks INFINITE MONEY for free CHICKEN SANDWICH

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Another day, another exploit

I was thinking exactly the opposite. Another extreme food-porn picture - too close, too clinical, too slimy. It removes more than it shows. I'll be glad when this fashion has gone.

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Heroic German rozzers rescue innocent lamb from sordid brothel

Intractable Potsherd
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Do the wellies go over the jackboots, or the other way round?

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Last flying Avro Vulcan, XH558, prepares for her swan song

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Alternatively...

The Midlands Air Museum in Coventry is great. We lived a few miles from it a few years ago - I had a season ticket! Mrs IP and I got chance to go in the Vulcan. Mrs IP is from a country that would have been on the target list if the balloon went up - she says sitting in the bomb-aimer's seat, knowing that someone had sat in it who could have completely destroyed her city and country, was one of the most chilling of her life.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: What a shame

My memories are from Finningley. I grew up about twelve miles as the Vulcan flies from the base. One of my earliest memories is going the airshow and seeing/hearing a mock scramble of two (I think). There were English Electric Lightnings too - I wonder if that's why I have tinnitus :-)

I was at X558s first display at Waddington a few years ago - wonderful, just wonderful. As the Olympi spooled up, I briefly saw a lot of grown men tear up - briefly, because I did too. Unfortunately, I've just looked at the show schedule for the summer, and I don't know that I'm going to be able to get to any of them - all a bit far South. But I'm going to try, dammit!

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Candlelit vigil planned to honour executed Newcastle cow Bessie

Intractable Potsherd
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In one sense, yes. I think it is a chance to make disquiet about police overreaction and use of firearms a bit more public. There is very little trust in the police, and this does not help their cause.

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Self-STOPPING cars are A Good Thing, say motor safety bods

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: A step in the right direction - road deaths

My personal opinion is the road deaths/injuries figure in the UK are within the bounds of acceptability, especially while we accept significantly more deaths from other causes. However, has anyone ever tried to calculate the deaths/injuries that would occur *without* cars? My gut feeling is that any reasonable estimate would show that things would be HUGELY worse.

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Look out, law abiding folk: UK’s Counter-Extremism Bill slithers into view

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Seems straightforward...

Just as a thought - what would "active tolerance" be, anyway?

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: I am an extremist

Whilst hoping that this is just going to be a storm in a tea-cup*, I can't help thinking that there are going to be some people who have said "Nothing to hide, nothing to fear" are going to find out that the rest of us that added "... yet" were on the right side of history. The implication of Cameron's frankly unbelievable statement is that what was legal yesterday will become illegal - still yesterday.

Seriously, what harm is extremist speech to the population of this country? Why can't it be met with sensible speech from others?

* I know - incurable optimism is a curse

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Traumatised Reg SPB team barely survives movie unwatchablathon

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Only able to make 1/3 of a comment.

Having just seen "Prometheus"again, I'd definitely put it as worse than "Battlefield Earth". Nothing is good, from the impenetrable "plot", through the beyond-wooden acting, to the complete disregard for any intelligence the audience might have. Adding this into the watchfest would have resulted in serious brain damage to the team ...

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Theresa May: Right, THIS time we're getting the Snoopers' Charter in

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Marsbarbrain @Matt Bryant - Willfully-dim Godfrey @ Graham

I'd forgotten about PoliticalCompass. I've just redone mine: Economic Left/Right: -7.5

Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -8.31. I'm further to the bottom left-hand corner than Gandhi!

It is safe to say no political party in this country represents my views, and when I say I'm not a Labour luvvie, I mean it!

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: now they have a "mandate to govern".

It has been pointed out many times that the form of voting that wasn't accepted in the referendum was not proportional representation. I'm a long-term supporter of PR and I voted against the alternative vote crap that was on offer.

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Even Uncle Sam admits: US patent law is whack

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Intelligent Design

From a presentation I gave yesterday:

There is virtually no evidence that patents have stimulated innovation. There is a hoary myth that the Industrial Revolution was encouraged by IP, but his does not stand up to scrutiny. Of the names that stand out from the Industrial Revolution, many of them never took out a patent. Charles Babbage 1830, denounced patent law as a "system of vicious and fraudulent legislation" which deprived the inventor of the fruits of his genius, and "a fraudulent lottery which gives its blanks to genius and its prizes to knaves".

Many of the important inventors of the Industrial Revolution did not like the patent system, and chose not to use it. Papin, Davy, Hales, Faraday, Priestley, and Rumford refused to take out patents as a matter of principle. "When one loves science," wrote Claude Berthollet to James Watt (one who did patent things), "one has little need for fortune which would only risk one's happiness". Isambard Kingdom Brunel never took out a patent, and was actively opposed to the whole idea of patenting.

A researcher called Petra Moser looked at all British exhibits selected to be displayed at the Crystal Palace in London in 1851: only 11% were patented, and of award winners (the crème de la crème of all exhibits) less than 16% were patented. The proportion of American exhibits that were patented was not much different (14.2 %).

Economic historians have found some examples of what Robert C. Allen (1983) called "collective invention"; the main actors in technological innovation freely shared information and claimed no ownership to it (see also Alessandro Nuvolari 2004). Within the technical committees of the Society of Arts, people shared ideas and "sharpened minds" with others engaged in similar occupations. In the Netherlands between 1869 and 1912 there were no patent laws, and there was a huge growth of innovation during that time.

It is long overdue that the entire IP system is overhauled, and the influence of China, India and South American countries will accelerate this need. Making consumers liable to IP by restricting what they can do with goods they bought will also lead to revolution. Attempts at tightening the Western view of IP will lead to alternatives being set up, until it becomes irrelevant.

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NSA spying is illegal? Then let's make it law, say Republicans

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Laughable

"No one cares about you unless you are a criminal."

Prove it.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Am I the only one who read it ...

Exactly - if there are no attacks, "surveillance works but you never know when there will be an attack so we need more powers!" If there is an attack, "surveillance failed and so we need more powers!"

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Why don't you rent your electronic wireless doorlock, asks man selling doorlocks

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: IoT Doorlocks... @ Dave 126

"Think of users with arthritis, for example."

This is becoming an issue for me, as rheumatoid arthritis is starting to make life tricky. However, as long as I can manage by making sure the doors fit properly and the locks operate smoothly (oh, and make sure I don't have Yale locks fitted), I'll be okay. I'll also look at the existing options before turning to dodgy electronic solutions.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: IoT Doorlocks...@ Credas

"The problem they have is that they're trying to flog a solution to a problem that hardly anybody thinks they have. And an expensive solution, at that."

Whilst I think you are correct, I can't help but think about televisions and the importance of renting in their success. TVs were a solution to a problem hardly anyone thought they had. They were expensive and complex pieces of kit which, certainly at the beginning, were barely fit for purpose. That they are ubiquitous these days has a lot to do with rental companies that would let you have reasonably up-to-date tech for not a lot of money*. This meant there was a steady turnover of TV/DVRs which probably drove development, at least to some extent. There may well be something in the rental idea for new house tech, though I won't be adopting it for some time, if at all.

*If I remember correctly, my parents didn't own the TV in our/their house until well into the 1980s. Once every two or three years the old one would be taken away, and a new one installed. Our first two DVRs were certainly rented, and I think the only reason mum and dad went for purchase was because the rental company they used went out of business.

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Pacific nation accidentally does good thing in web crackdown

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: And as we all know...

"before Farcebook...there was absolutely no way at all to communicate over the Internet."

This ^^. I have never understood how Facebook is better than email/IM - now maybe all these people will find out that there are better ways to communicate without spaffing their words to all and sundry.

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NSA-restraining US law edges closer to reality, leaves just 6.81 billion under mass surveillance

Intractable Potsherd
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If there had been *more* surveillance ...

... then those two gunmen in Dallas might have been stopped before they ... injured a security guard.* Oh, and because they shred a flat (so probably no mobile comms), we need to have live microphones in everyone's house, car etc. You can't be too careful, you know!

* Is it just me that finds the timing somewhat suspicious?

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