* Posts by Intractable Potsherd

2377 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Forget Snowden: What have we learned about the NSA?

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: What we've learned...

No. What we've learned is that there are some in the population who have bought the whole "the world is a REEEEEEAAAALLLYY dangerous place" story, and will excuse the State anything in the pursuit of perpetrators.

I'd rather have the small risk of something bad happening. Let's face it, the sort of crime most of us* will ever come across is not the sort that this kind of intelligence will ever pick up - petty vandalism, picked pockets, burglary, minor offences against the person. By all means, if the police have a suspicion that there is a conspiracy to commit a major crime, then they should do their jobs as they always have - work out who is likely to be involved, persuade a judge to give a warrant for proportionate intelligence gathering, and then, in the event of an arrest, gather sufficient evidence to persuade a jury that the suspects actually did it. That is the rule of law. Treating everyone as a suspect simply for being alive is wrong.

* and the overwhelming majority of us will never experience any of these anyway

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Intractable Potsherd
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@AC

If what you say is true, how about giving us silly folk that haven't spotted this some real information?

I bet you can/will not.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Old News ...... @Titus

Thanks for the reasoned reply, Titus. I wish the Reg comments allowed a bit more real exchange of ideas.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Civil servants can't be trusted to stay in their remit and will always try to widen their remit.

I *do* understand the world we live in. There aren't enough "terrorists" to make any difference to the majority of us.

You cite the London incident - there is absolutely no evidence that random data-gathering made any difference whatsoever. There are so few potential bombers that, without specific intelligence, the wholesale hoovering of data will make no difference (or only if extremely lucky) at all.

Placing the whole population under scrutiny is a crime against the people. The state is acting in a way that says "we do not trust you", and, despite what you say, it is not lawful to spy without due cause. The alternative is to accept that everyone is a suspect merely for being alive. That is wrong, and someone needs to be held to account for it.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Old News ...... @Titus

What else would you consider it prudent to stop doing in order to avoid over-reaching security? Don't write anything? Don't read anything? Don't buy fertilizer? Don't drive? .... The trouble with your argument is that, no matter what the "security"* services do, you will say "Well, what do you expect? Just stop doing <whatever it is the snooping bastards have been caught doing>!"

We agree on one thing - the world is as it is, and this is what is happening. We differ in that I don't just shrug my shoulders and say "Well, what do you expect?". I want to change things so that there is strong protection (even to the point that the occasional bad thing happens) of individual privacy, and a respect for the population. I also expect that the rules of diplomacy are followed, and that foreign leaders, especially those who are supposed to be "friends", are not spied upon (unless they are at risk from an existing target).

There *is* such a thing as the moral high-ground - it is time we got back to it.

* I don't actually feel secure by the existence of overreaching spies. It is time we engaged in a national debate about exactly who the security services should be protecting.

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LG's curvy telly and Samsung's Galaxy camera seen in the wild

Intractable Potsherd
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I have the compact Galaxy camera, and it is a great piece of kit. If I were in the market for an SLR (which I'm not - too big to carry around easily) I'd certainly consider one of these.

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Gadgets are NOT the perfect gift for REAL men

Intractable Potsherd
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Pasta-maker

Ah, yes - the only "tech" I've ever bought for a woman that was appreciated (she had asked for it specifically, and went with me to make sure I got the right one).

Completely wasted on me - pasta is pasta is pasta. It is a flour and water paste in different shapes. There is (in my opinion) no difference between the cheapest dried stuff from the bottom shelf in Morrison's and the stuff my wife spends hours making (and then giving to people as presents ...)

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Don't buy me tech; please!

There is a lot of truth to that. In the past, I have tried to be as specific as possible about what I want (having been hedged into a corner by the "but you can't buy your own present" non-argument). It was then my fault because the sales-monkey had, for whatever reason, not just handed one over (pre-internet shopping, of course), and the standard birthday argument ensued because I *had* got what I wanted :-(

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Best. gift. ever.

I've asked for that several times. It is about as popular as telling people that I don't care about birthdays (see comments above from other posters).

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: I am not making this up @ Ben Tasker

"The worst thing you can buy, is an Iron ..."

As my dad found out many years ago. Mum had been saying that the old one was not working properly, and so he really thought this would make a good present for her birthday ...

Trouble is, he didn't learn - I remember the (apparently) seven-day frosty atmosphere after he got her a new chip-pan after complaints about the old one!

Did it sink in with me, you might ask? Well, probably not, given the receptions to a satnav, an MP3/4 player, and a pair of hiking boots over the years (not for my mum, though). I now insist on either a) a very clear statement of what she wants or b) it is going to be something soooooooooo useless and expensive that the argument is going to be as big as getting something useful (and probably cheaper) anyway. I refuse to buy silly fluffy monkeys just to "show I care".

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Universities teach us a thing or two about BYOD

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Security deserves more attention. @ukaudiophile

I didn't downvote you, but you are are half-right, and half-wrong. Distance learning works for *some* people. Having the option is important.

I can never agree with you that "humanities, arts and others ... have no tangible return or use). Learning is valuable in and of itself. You seem to be one of those that think history (for example) is a pointless subject, whereas, say, engineering isn't. I'd say that you let your prejudice get in the way of clear thinking. That doesn't mean to say that I think the current policy of channelling thousands of people into university courses is necessarily good, but I think that people should have access to education (broadly defined) throughout their lives.

However, remember that universities do not only teach - there is a vast amount of research going on, and so premises must be available.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Eduroam, and similar @Matthew 3

"... most academics respect the skills and experience of their IT staff ..."

Well, true in many cases. Personally, the IT folk are high on my list of people (departmental and central) to make acquaintance with within the first week in a new place - partly because I enjoy the company of techies, but because I want to show my respect for them by talking to them before I have anything to ask of them. The same isn't the same of all my academic colleagues, some of whom still regard IT as an unnecessary evil ...

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Security deserves more attention. @Phil W

"In most UK Universities the academic staff get any devices they need for their work provided to them, so BYOD isn't necessary."

I don't know where you get this idea from. Of the many jobs I've had in universities (lecturing and research), only one supplied me with a laptop for the work (which I was more than happy to use, even though it was a bottom-of-the-range Toshiba laptop). All the rest required (and still require) my own IT provision.

I'm intrigued what those who advocate a supplied-IT approach in universities would like to see? The only other option is to supply thousands of staff and students every year with standard equipment, creating a huge inventory and attendant stock-taking and replacement cycles. Alternatively, are you advocating that all students/staff must only use local desktops, (which shows you don't have a grasp on how learning works these days - distance-learning is a fact, guys and gals)? My current university is some 400 miles from where I live, and I need to be able to work when I'm not actually at my (non-existent) desk. So, seriously - what is your answer?

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Dead STEVE JOBS was a CROOK - Judge

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Use the fines to prop up physical book publishers/sellers @Dan Paul

Whilst I have some sympathy with your post (I love book shops, and I miss "real" libraries), I cannot entirely agree with you. Literature is literature is literature, regardless of the medium. No doubt there were people that claimed the only "real" way to read a book was on parchment that umpteen monks had slaved away on for years, and that this printing lark was devaluing the experience. However, it doesn't matter whether it is produced with ink-particles or electrons. The ideas are what matter.

Yes, there are issues surrounding the resilience of ebooks compared to dead-tree books. If there is an apocalypse, hopefully some of the dead-tree books will still be around to help the survivors at some point - it is interesting how many post-apocalypse stories have the wise man guarding the old library - whereas we cannot sensibly expect anyone two generations after whatever disaster to have any clue what the strange devices that do nothing were for. However, I'm not sure that is any reason to shore up the modern equivalent of buggy-whip manufacturers (also more likely to be useful, post-apocalypse, than cars).

Your argument that ebooks can be recalled by the publisher flies in the face of reality. Any book you think might be banned is available through less-offical channels somewhere, and if it isn't, it would be five minutes after news of a recall was published. I keep several local copies of every single ebook I have, and I an far from the only one. The other advantage of ebooks is that there are a lot of potential sources of samizdat print copies in the event that they are required.

TL:DR - you are over-reacting, I think.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Loss leaders - @DougS

I'm not sure that it can be established that Amazon is doing anything illegal,* otherwise Apple and/or others would have started there, rather than do something that any sensible lawyer would have told them sailed very close to the wind. Amazon are, unfortunately,** sailing far enough from the wind to be unassailable from any legal point of view.

Had Apple and the book companies not had the "most favoured nation" clause, than this would not have come to court. That decision is what showed intent to distort the market unfairly, and this seems to be an inevitable decision on the part of the court.

* I assume by "illegal" you are suggesting that Amazon has been "dumping"? There is no evidence of that available, at least at the moment.

** I say "unfortunately" because it is never good in the long term for one company to have a massive share of the market in anything.*** Amazon has, so far, not used its weight to act contrary to the interests of the consumer, or, really, the producers (at least, no more than any other outlet would). Nonetheless, I'd prefer to see an effective competitor from somewhere, even though I do use Amazon for about half of my media (all types) purchases.

*** The logic of capitalism requires that monopolies are the end product in any market. It amuses me when people who claim to be "free-market" advocates talk about invoking anti-trust law, thus requiring state intervention!

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Apple surrenders in 'app store' trademark suit against Amazon

Intractable Potsherd
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Bad week for Apple.

They've just lost the ebook price-fixing case too. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23259935)

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: contempt-of-court type sanction where the judge can just fine @ Tom 13

"... the judges also make money when the litigants bring these cases."

No, they don't. Judges are salaried employees who would be paid regardless (it isn't as if there is competition for cases). There isn't any extra for hearing certain types of case.*

* As far as I know, but California is a funny place ...

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Radar gremlins GROUND FLIGHTS across southern Blighty

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Good

I'm appalled at the Luddism shown by supposedly techy types. Air travel is one of the greatest inventions of mankind, and you complain about a bit of noise (I grew up on the flight path of Vulcans, and recently lived on the path from Birmingham), and would happily move back to live near a proper airport (Dundee doesn't count ...)

NIMBYs are the lowest form of social life.

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Android sig vuln exploit SEEN IN THE WILD

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: So effectively...

"..you're saying that Apple's walled garden approach is the only way to be secure?"

No, sabroni - the only way to be secure is not to use any mobile phone at all. Slightly less secure is not to use smartphones at all. A bit further down the list is to use a smartphone but don't download any apps from anywhere. Just a little way down is to use a reliable store, regardless of supplier. Perhaps twice that last distance is to use an unauthorised app store. Even then, you are barely 5mm down a 10cm scale of "risk".

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UK Post Office admits false accusations after computer system cockup

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: just wishing @Disco Dance Donkey

"What's the punishment for providing false evidence?"

Providing false evidence, if found to be culpable, is known as "perverting the course of justice". It is a common law offence, and carries up to life imprisonment ... I don't know of any cases where the maximum has been applied, but the clear fabrication of lies by Huhne and Pryce only got them eight months with two months served inside.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: No systemic problem?

Quashing of any criminal proceedings is high on the list as well. There are people with undeserved criminal records - arguably as bad as the financial implications.

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Hack biz rivals or hire cyber-warriors and we'll shut you down, warns EU

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: "fail to prevent staff" ?

Yep - it does look like we are all now extensions of our employers, who must now monitor every IT activity we do. The concept of "private time", or time when we are not the responsibility of our employers just went out of the window.

This is going to lead to some popcorn sessions, I think. Better get the armchair ready.

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France's 'three strikes' anti-piracy law shot down

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: I'll bet this shitze don't fly

Ahhhh, ignore it, ratfox - it is just one of the usual IP trolls that come here every time to post from the same script. I'm don't know exactly who employs them, but at least one will show up every time.

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Barnes & Noble chief walks as Nook ereader stumbles

Intractable Potsherd
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@h3

At what price *do* you expect customer service to be included? I'm old-fashioned enough to consider that any customer deserves service, regardless of what is being bought - a 50p tap washer customer is the same as a £100 tap customer.

Your attitude makes you part of the increasingly poor delivery of service, since you think that price is directly proportional to deserving of service.

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Your own £19 Pocket Spacecraft could be FOUND ON THE MOON

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: message direct from their favourite social media...

Lunar environmentalists must be the silliest form of life anywhere ...

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Snowden: US and Israel did create Stuxnet attack code

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Err

I suppose it would be wrong of me to suggest the same fate for you, for exactly the same reasons?

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Reply Icon @ Anomalous Cowshed

You have a very depressing take on life. Fortunately, there are always a few outliers who know that the country is more than what the bastards in the background say it is, and want to do the right thing. These people should be treasured, not vilified.

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US public hate Snowden - but sexpot spy Anna Chapman LOVES him

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Surprise, surprise

Keep your nihilism to yourself. Wish for your own destruction if that is how you feel, but not everyone else's.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: of course

And there is another of your problems - one generation blaming another, and fragmenting society.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Incorrect asumption about US Public opinion.... @ AC

It is "thinking like an American" that has led to the current situation. If you'd held back from interfering in world politics post-1990, we wouldn't be in this situation.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: What a jerk

And you already know my opinion of you. I gave you a chance to justify your opinion last week, so that you could join in a proper discussion, and you didn't bother. You are no better than a troll.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: @AC 1336h GMT - It's all good @ andreas

+500 upvotes.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Dear Mr Snowden @ James O'Shea

You talk about insane when defending the country that has significant numbers of people that believe that the Earth is 6000 years old (or whatever), and that an old bearded guy in a bath-towel created it?

You might want to work on that argument.

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Texas teen jailed for four months over sarcastic Facebook comment

Intractable Potsherd
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In an educated country, the "LOL" shouldn't be needed - no-one would even think to take it seriously.

You can draw your own conclusions what I'm suggesting about you, AC.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: The land of the free. My rse!

Is it ironic comment by the script-writers that has Sheldon Cooper as being from Texas??

("Big Bang Theory" reference, for those who don't know)

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Texas ADULT

Lest those in the UK feel smug, remember that two ten-year-olds were tried as adults in the British courts (Robert Thompson and Jon Venables). Our Texan cousins aren't even close to that - frankly appalling - decision.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: We would love too.

Good riddance. Could you work on leaving the planet, too? You wouldn't be missed.

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Run for your (private) lives! Facebook's creepy Graph Search is upon us

Intractable Potsherd
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No, the British Nationalist Party (BNP) are a far-right organisation. Far-left is associated with communism, which the BNP most definitely don't support.

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Samsung Galaxy S3 explodes, turns young woman into 'burnt pig'

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Only a matter of time, and lack of protection. @OP AC

You sound like one of those elfin safety idiots that want to make life difficult just to gain a minor gain in safety. Mobile phones are supposed to be ... well, mobile. By the time all those "improvements" you mention were incorporated, we'd be back to the brick-phones of the early 1990s.

I can't tell if you are being serious or sarcastic, but I downvoted you just in case you *are* a genuine safety elf, because if human history had been plagued with safety elves, we wouldn't have had fire or the wheel ...

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Intractable Potsherd
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My first thoughts as well - is it the original battery, and, if not, is it a genuine Samsung replacement?, followed by does she use the original charging mechanism, and has she "personalised" the case? These are relevant and important questions, even though any tech has a finite failure rate, and a completely genuine, properly cared-for battery has a chance of catastrophic failure.

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Of mice, the NSA, GCHQ and data protection

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: How SWIFT works

For these purposes, EU and EEA are interchangeable. No need to be picky.

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Investors: Oh Samsung. You need to smash those records HARDER

Intractable Potsherd
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It is terrifying that the economy is in the hands of such panicky, unrealistic, people as analysts and investors.

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UK data cops to Google: You've got three months to sort out privacy

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Correction

No, hamster isn't right, either - have you ever been bitten by a hamster? They hurt and draw blood very effectively. I'm not sure what member of the animal kingdom would be a suitable descriptor for the ICO - watch-earthworm? Watch-woodlouse? Maybe we have to go to other branches of evolution. Watch-fungus, maybe?

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What 80/20 really means: One big failed customer will kill you

Intractable Potsherd
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I have never understood why "loyalty" is such a dirty word to big companies (unless they are talking about loyalty given to them). Loyalty is one of those things that tends to magnify effort, but it seems to be something that, as soon as idiot bean-counters reach a certain critical mass, goes straight out of the window.

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Win 8 man Sinofsky's 'retirement' deal: $14m shares, oath of silence

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: @Intractable Potsherd

Thanks, dogged, for the reply. It is interesting to follow the comments about Win8. I have no personal axe to grind (or hammer to ... whatever one does with hammers): Win8 won't be going on any machine of mine in the near (or far) future - I think it is a step in the wrong direction to make a "one size fits all" OS that needs fiddling (even if it is one extra click, which really it isn't) to make it work in the way I want. The default should be old>new, not the other way around.

Clearly, there are a lot of people that don't think this is trivial, though.

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Going lo-tech to avoid NSA snooping? Unlucky - they read snailmail too

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: hmm ...

Doesn't the effectiveness of this require the (extremely odd, in my opinion) addition of the sender's address on the envelope, as in many mainland-European countries? It isn't common in the UK to do it, and so the information to be gleaned is limited.

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Upturned boat sails to Shed of the Year title

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Always be suspicious...

Having a shed doesn't mean actually having an actual construction down the garden/allotment. As long as a man has a room he can call his own, it is an honorary shed. Not as good as a real one, but it allays suspicion sufficiently.

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Mastercard and Visa block payments to Swedish VPN firms

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: But who leaned on Visa/MC ?

No - make the companies angry, and they will go after the source for you - much more effectively.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Who are Masercard & Visa? @ Steve Davies 3

It is interesting to watch these things. There are so many corporations that seem to be wings of the US security agencies that a whole new view of things is opening up.

Snowden tells about snooping > more people think about secure comms > credit card agencies make it difficult to use them. Coincidence? Probably not.

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Patriot hacker 'The Jester' attacks nations offering Snowden help

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Destroyed All Braincells That guy @ Matt

Given your usual comments on hackers, i.e. all scum, should be found and imprisoned etc, you seem to be dangerously close to the "enemy of my enemy is my friend" fallacy!

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