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* Posts by Robert Long 1

1068 posts • joined 15 Jun 2009

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OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts

Robert Long 1
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Noone Looks at Old Code

Part of the problem is complacency with old packages. There's an assumption that code that's being run for years "must" be bug-free, so less effort goes into checking it.

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Snowden lawyer PGP email 'crack' flap: What REALLY happened?

Robert Long 1
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Patriotic?

"US security experts with a patriotic – generally pro-NSA – perspective"

Trampling over the constitution and ignoring everything that the country is supposed to stand for is patriotic now?

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Revoke, reissue, invalidate: Stat! Security bods scramble to plug up Heartbleed

Robert Long 1
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That's "TDD", not "TTD". How appropriately ironic.

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Robert Long 1
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"I notice that Microsoft have a TLS reference implementation written in F# that has been mathematically verified."

Yeah, well, who verified the model used to verify it? Or the program that ran that model? There's no perfect system. I see TTD leading coders into all sorts of complacency issues every day because they forget that the same error-prone people who write code also design and write tests.

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Robert Long 1
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Is this really as bad as it sounds?

Okay, the attacker gets 64K of memory which may contain passwords and other important stuff. That's bad, sure. If the attacker then asks for another 64K is there any guarantee that they get a different chunk of un-zeroed memory?

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Jeff Bezos reveals Amazon's brutal scale in annual letter

Robert Long 1
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No mention of tax?

But then I suppose there's no entry in the company's accounts for that either.

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Running OpenSSL? Patch now to fix CRITICAL bug

Robert Long 1
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Re: And this is why you cannot trust open source

"How does one pressure the FOSS community to conduct regular, professional security audits?"

By emailing them? I mean, maybe you have a direct line to Bill Gates or something but by and large multi-billionaires don't really give a toss about your concerns. What are you going to do about it? Take the money back off him?

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Furious MyCloud users descend on WD website as borkage continues

Robert Long 1
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Gee

I put all my files on a computer I have no direct access to, owned by a company I have no control over, using infrastructure I hire from a faceless multinational. How could anything ever go wrong with that?

Welcome to the cloud - computing like it was 1967 all over again.

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Hyper-V telling fibs about Linux guest VMs

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Why won't you DIE? IBM's S/360 and its legacy at 50

Robert Long 1
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Re: Too early for a Godwin?

"I wonder why it is that many articles and discussions about the history of IBM (and mainframes) avoid the subject of their part in the holocaust?"

I wonder why it is that many articles and discussions about the history of Boeing (and long-range passenger travel) avoid the subject of their part in the burning 100,000 civilians to death in Hiroshima and Nagasaki simply to intimidate Stalin?

Because it's not relevant? Many, many US companies made money selling stuff to the Nazis (the US being the only non-Axis country to increase exports to Nazi Germany); Norway sold them iron ore which was used to build tanks.

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Right, Turkey – elections are over. You can use Twitter again

Robert Long 1
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Re: What is the fuss?

"Twitter didn't brake any laws in Turkey, which is why the Turkish Courts overturned the Turkish governments decision."

That's not actually the reasoning, in fact. The decision was that the government doesn't have the power to order a block. Which isn't really that clear as a point of Turkish law, but in any case the point remains that blocking an website which is breaking the law is not that big a deal and should be seen as perfectly normal, just as it is for citizens to be restrained from breaking the same laws.

If the law is the problem, then that's a whole other issue.

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Robert Long 1
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What is the fuss?

If Twitter or any other company breaks the local law then why would they not be banned from conducting that business? Is there some magical feature of Internet companies that makes them immune to the law that other companies have to obey (apart, that is, from them being American)?

Try setting up a shop selling cocaine in your local high street and see how long is is before Mr Plod blocks your users' access.

OUR government should be blocking Google, Amazon and the rest of the Internet's tax avoiders.

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Hey, Michael Lewis: Stop DEMONISING Wall Street’s SUPERHUMAN high-speed trading

Robert Long 1
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Re: Several problems with this article

"All of this comes down to your idea that an unfettered market is a good thing, which I flat out disagree with and cite... well, large chunks of the last 100 years as evidence."

I see your 100 years and raise you 6000.

The free market divides people into two teams and then incentivises both teams to find ways to break the market.

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Robert Long 1
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Professional gamblers need expect no sympathy from workers

The stock exchange is all about trying to get something for nothing, paid for and underwritten by the poor, so sod the lot of them; they're all scumbags.

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GNOME 3.12: Pixel perfect ... but homeless

Robert Long 1
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Re: Desktops

I'm STILL running Windowmaker on all my Linux machines and I still can't see any reason to change. I just have ten virtual desktops accessed by the function keys and I've divided the applications I use into ten themes (Art, Web, Office, development etc) and docked them on the appropriate desktop. I change the dock on a desktop about once ever 18 months; possibly less often.

As far as I can see, GNOME desktop is a total waste of developer effort that has never delivered anything of interest to either the power user or the semi-mythical granny user. What actually is it even trying to do?

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No, Minister. You CAN'T de-Kindle your eBooks!

Robert Long 1
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"in likelihood unconstitutional"

I do wonder in what sense the statutory instrument itself is constitutional. I know the history of the thing goes back to HenVII, but in the wake of Will&Mary, was the statutory instrument still actually legal?

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TV sales PLUMMET. But no one's prepared to say what we all know

Robert Long 1
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"But it was always thus. Nobody in the real world (ie excluding millionaires) consumes for itself, they consume because newer products offer more than the existing equipment, or because the old stuff has worn out. "

You are ignoring the forced consumption for the sake of it. The government is constantly worrying about deflation and have many policies designed to avoid it because deflation means lack of consumption. GDP is a simple-minded measure of consumption and when did you last hear any economist celebrating a fall in that?

What these all those policies come down to is forcing consumption and waste. On the other side of the fence are the manufacturers who also fear deflation and need us to buy new shit when we shouldn't have to. Partly this is done with fashion and other psychological tricks but a lot of it is done by planned obsolescence.

You might think you don't consume for the sake of it, but the post-War economy is founded on the fact that in fact you do and in fact are not given the option to do anything else.

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Middle England's allotments become metric battlefield

Robert Long 1
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Re: Enter the metric pole?

"Metric is easy to do calculations in."

Not really, unless you avoid all division and round everything nicely. The imperial system evolved to be easy for people to do calculations in. Specifically, it was used by people otherwise unschooled in maths let alone geometry.

There are some decimal relations in the imperial system. For example, 1 cubic foot of water was 1000oz (50 pints) and a gallon is 10lbs of water (160oz) but the underlying non-decimal sub-devisions tend to make up for the shortcomings of the decimal system in these cases.

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Reg tries out Google's Chromecast: Yep, we even tested smut sites

Robert Long 1
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Re: Argh! If you are going to do a review - DO THE RESEARCH FIRST!

"If you had opened Netflix for example or even YouTube you would of seen a Chromecast button IN the video player for that service which upon clicking does something quite magic, it tells the Chromecast "hey you - go off and fetch this URL" which it then does."

Something my TV already does without paying £30 to install Google spyware on my computer.

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Robert Long 1
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What?

It costs £30 and I have to use it with Chrome while Google record everything I do with it.

What's my motivation again?

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Reality check: Java 8 finally catches a multi-core break

Robert Long 1
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Re: Only 6 years after C#...

"It's not just a better Java.

It's a much better Java."

Yeah, but then so was Smalltalk-80

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NASA: Earth JUST dodged comms-killing SOLAR BLAST in 2012

Robert Long 1
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Really?

Has there ever been any substantial damage on the ground from one of these things? We keep getting warnings and supposed near-misses but is there any actual evidence that we should care?

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Byzantine Generals co-boffin Lamport bags CompSci's 'Nobel prize'

Robert Long 1
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Oh

I had no idea he was known for anything other than the ghastly LaTeX package ("All the inflexibility of Word with the complexity of TeX").

I hope his other stuff is better.

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China's annual TV smear segment drags Nikon's name through the mud

Robert Long 1
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Shock horror

Fascist government turns blind eye to own social problems while hitting out at foreigners. Whatever next?

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Windows hits the skids, Mac OS X on the rise

Robert Long 1
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Re: eulampios IMHO, It would be fair

"Just being a masochist or couldn't you afford a Mac?"

Given the price/performance/reliability relationship of a Mac, perhaps he's just not a mug.

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What did you see, Elder Galaxies? What made you age so quickly?

Robert Long 1
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Re: Run that by me again...

"But it still takes longer because it has further to travel, and the expansion covers the ground already covered as well as that yet to cover. "

You're not grasping the implications of time dilation on light. The light left point A and arrived at point B. Point A and B were 12billion light years apart, and always were from the PoV of the light. The expansion of the universe was included from the instant of the photons' creation as spacetime is 4D, not "3D+a sequence of events".

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Robert Long 1
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Re: Run that by me again...

"12 billion light years = 8 billion years?

Is that right? If so, why?"

No, because light always travels at the same speed relative to the viewer. If space is expanding as it crosses then rather than the speed dropping the wavelength changes. So, if the galaxies appear to be 12b ly away today the light left them 12b years ago.

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US govt: You, ICANN. YOU can run the internet. We quit

Robert Long 1
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Re: What if ICANN goes renegade?

"What if ICANN goes renegade?"

Well, look around you: you can expect bogus top level domains with ill-conceived names to be created without any thought to the legal problems they will cause down the line (".london"? Which London?) simply in order to be auctioned off for big bucks for people who neither understand nor care about hierarchial composition of domain data nor the destabilising effects their actions will have on the Internet. After all, if they make a mess guess who's going to be paid to fix it? It's a job for life.

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Don't be shy, we know you've got .NET code. Why not run it on our Linux cloud – Red Hat

Robert Long 1
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Re: Why downgrade?

"It's people like you who give us Windows users (and the industry in general) the bad reputation is has"

To be fair, that has more to do with Microsoft. Unless the AC is Bill Gates.

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Robert Long 1
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Well, you know

Almost every enterprise customer has a member of staff with a sexually transmitted disease too. Doesn't mean we should be encouraging it.

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Nutanix photo-bombs VMware's selfie with delayed patent release

Robert Long 1
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Funny guy

"The mere fact that it was granted means it has been examined by the USPTO for prior art and was more than worthy to attain patent status"

He should be on the stage. Preferably the first one out of town.

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Dell charges £16 TO INSTALL FIREFOX on PCs – Mozilla is miffed

Robert Long 1
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Hold on..

They're charging to run an automatic install program, but if I ask for a machine without Windows they don't give me a discount for them not having to run an automatic install program? How very odd...

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Microsoft asks pals to help KILL UK gov's Open Document Format dream

Robert Long 1
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"Show me the documentation where Microsoft are appealing that .doc is used instead of ODF. Until then, this is just click/anti-microsoft-troll bait."

MS, and you, know that allowing the monopoly closed format means that no open format will gain traction in a world where the vast majority grew up surrounded by that monopoly format. So they don't need to say that .doc would be used instead of ODF, because it's bleeding obvious.

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Robert Long 1
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Cry all you like

But this is a done deal. There is no chance of ODF making it through this tidal wave of lobbying. The fiasco with ISO showed exactly how easy it is for Microsoft to buy their way to a rubber stamp and that's what will happen here: the decision will be to "prefer" ODF but "accept" MS formats, which means that nothing will change and MS will continue to get free money from our government and libraries and schools for doing precisely bugger all squared.

It's a nice gig if you can get it.

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Facebook gobbles WhatsApp for SIXTEEN BILLION DOLLARS

Robert Long 1
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Re: I may sound stupid but.. @Robert Long 1

"Destroying a competitor isn't a difficult thing, it's just counterproductive. The goal is to manage your competitors into a position where they are forced to take the market segments you don't want."

Which is the same thing as having a monopoly in whatever market you're actually interested in. I don't really see what you're getting at unless it's the idea that no company can hope to dominate every market for every service or type of good. But I don't think anyone believed that anyway.

As to the drunken lunatics called "VCs", in my experience ALL they want to hear about is how quickly you can get to market and eliminate/block the competition. But that's hardly surprising since none of them know what they're doing (or they'd only invest in good ideas, right?) and think the best way to make a quick buck is to become the "only option" in whatever area you're pitching to them about.

"There are many, many other reasons as well, but without industry validation through the existence of a competitive marketplace your future is limited and isn't scalable."

This is idealistic. From the point of view of hindsight it's true that monopolies are almost never as productive as a healthy market (which is a rare thing in itself) but from the point of view of the people in that monopoly at the time it's very likely to be easy money and when they retire to their private Caribbean island it won't bother them if the company collapses ten years later. Industry validation never paid a penny into Bill Gate's bank account - by the time there were serious competitors in the OS sector he was already the richest man in the world.

"Unless you are in an industry where prices are capped by the government being the only player in any given space is quite possibly the worst position you could possibly be in."

Yeah, and winning the lottery doesn't automatically make you happy. But it'll do in the meantime.

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Robert Long 1
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Re: I may sound stupid but..

"What's the benefit of owning WhatsApp from Facebook's perspective?"

It's a pretty basic characteristic of market capitalism that the best use of capital is often the buying up and subsequent elimination of competitors (ask any mafia boss).

The idea of a free market is that you get two teams and give both an incentive to find ways to prevent the market from operating freely. A very efficient way to do that is to reduce your "team" to just one member. So we get cartels, trade unions, and monopolies on the selling side and co-ops on the buying side all trying to find a form of collectivism which stacks the market in their favour. Inevitably, it all collapses and the government has to step in to prevent mass unemployment and/or starvation.

So we have the cycle of boom and bust that we're all familiar with and which every government of every party says it has a solution for.

The real solution is.... only kidding, there is no solution. Although a government that stops pretending that there is a solution and instead just pays attention would help.

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Official: British music punter still loves plastic

Robert Long 1
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Re: Not quite ubiquitous any more

"in that case they don't conform to the Red Book standard - hence they can't use the CD logo most likely I suspect"

I did mention that in my post - they do not have the logo. In the end they were so cheap I couldn't be bothered with the hassle; I just stopped buying music unless I could physically see the disc box. I've seen some of Warner's responses to complaints about this and knew they wouldn't give a fuck what I thought.

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Robert Long 1
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Not quite ubiquitous any more

Warner "CDs" are not, in face CDs and do not carry the CD Audio logo. They otherwise look like CDs and cost the same as CDs, but they don't play in most computer CD/BD drives and so can't be used as a hard backup for the files you listen to on your mobile playing device of choice, or of course on the computer itself.

I've been stung twice by this scam (and the discs did not even play in some standalone CD players) and as a result I don't buy CDs online any more as it is very hard to find out if the disc is made by WB or one of their many imprint publishers.

This has been going on for years now.

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'No representation without taxation!' urges venerable tech VC

Robert Long 1
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Re: Yawn

"Besides, Jezus is famous for being the *only* son."

Funny, my Bible says he had 6 brothers and at least 2 sisters. Of course, the sisters don't rate names but that's old time religion for you. Not sure where female bishops fit into that world-view.

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Facebook adds 50+ gender options: Stalking your 'Friends' just got more LGBT-friendly

Robert Long 1
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Cut-off point

Surely at this stage a simple text box would be better. When you try to keep 58 minorities happy it won't take long for #59 to complain.

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Broker accuses FAST of scaring users off secondhand software

Robert Long 1
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Re: It can be a grey area ...

"Agreed, support in my mind (if it comes with a product purchase) expires with resale, like a car warranty."

I don't see any reason to take that line. Certainly the support for the original user should end but if you've been paid to support a specific unit for some length of time then you've been paid and who gives a toss where that unit is today, or tomorrow?

Software isn't like a car, no matter how much Bill Gates and the other copyright dinosaurs wishes it was.

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UK spooks STILL won't release Bletchley Park secrets 70 years on

Robert Long 1
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Re: Post war operations

Yes, just like we gave the Yanks everything on the basis they would give us all they knew. Turned out, they knew nothing (they claimed). Same deal with the jet engine and the supersonic jet.

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Snowden leak: GCHQ DDoSed Anonymous & LulzSec's chatrooms

Robert Long 1
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Re: DDOS

"Well anonymous were opposing the government, that makes them terrorists"

Oh, that makes Ed Milliband a terrorist too! I have to say that I'm not very terrorised by him.

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HARD ONES: Three new PC games that are BLOODY DIFFICULT

Robert Long 1
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Wimps

Back in the 80's, Sundog deleted your saved game when you died and we loved it for it. Just having to replay the current level is nothing.

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Bored with patent trolls? Small fry - prepare for the Design Trolls

Robert Long 1
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Re: haha, good one

"Why should they spend £72,000 and get nothing in return?"

Who says they should get nothing in return? The NHS is a vast buyer of drugs and they could afford to cut out the drugs companies and still pay the researchers well to do the research, and generic chemical companies to do the mass production. With the results publicly owned and not subject to massive markups to cover the drugs companies' marketing (which is most of their costs) we would be quids in as a nation.

The current system is just a scam to drain cash from taxpayers to the super-rich and the ridiculous patent system is supported by lobbyists on that basis.

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Robert Long 1
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"And worst of all, someone, somewhere might be unfairly accused of being a copycat,"

The whole point of patents is to allow you to sue anyone regardless of whether they copied you or not, so if that's a worry just scrap patents. Which should have happened a long time ago (about 1450, I reckon).

"Quite what happens if academic researchers come up with a clever design they want to commercialise isn't clear. Maybe he thinks they shouldn't?"

Well, maybe he does think that. I know I do; such research should be public domain and used to improve the living conditions of the public. Imagine how much better the world would be if the drugs research done in universities was freely available.

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Amateurs find the 'HOLY GRAIL' supernova – right on our doorstep

Robert Long 1
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Stand well back

Anybody here know how far away a supernova like this would have to be for the human race to survive it?

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Amazon patents caches for physical goods

Robert Long 1
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Re: Nothing here but a group of bitching haters.

"Is there nothing positive at all about Amazon?"

Not that I'm aware of.

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Robert Long 1
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Er..

Isn't this Argos' entire business model? Each store has a selection from the catalogue "out back" based on what the managers think will sell in that locale.

Oh, well.

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Hey, G20. Please knock it off with the whole tax loophole thing - we're good guys, really

Robert Long 1
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"We believe that enterprises operating long-standing business models, subject to established international tax rules, should not become subject to altered rules on the basis that they have adopted more efficient means of operation." -> "We paid good money to our lawyers to evade that tax and we don't want the hassle of doing it all again".

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