Feeds

* Posts by Robert Long 1

1139 posts • joined 15 Jun 2009

NSA alleges 'BIOS plot to destroy PCs'

Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: Sadly Trevor

"Accordingly it is possible or even likely that the intercepts were proper and the attempt at secrecy was aimed at protecting intelligence sources and methods."

So, keeping the intelligence secret trumps having a trial? That could never go wro...oh, it already has.

3
0
Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: @ Trevor_Pott

"The enemy is you, and everyone else who thinks that the progress of civilization is measured in the amount of benefits that government delivers,"

Did this make sense in your head before you typed it? Did you think that complaining about the NSA is about wanting MORE government intervention? Do you think that government intervention is only good when it does harm? Or are you a hopeless idealist who thinks that a state of having no government would be anything other than hell on earth? Basically, WTF are you talking about?

7
0

Neither Snowden nor the NSA puts CIOs off the cloud, it's just FUD

Robert Long 1
Silver badge

NSA are people too

The NSA is an organization of people. People can be corrupted (quite easily, on the whole). Therefore, what the NSA learns about your company by downloading the contents of your cloud can and will be sold to a competitor. That's just a fact of life.

6
0

US Supreme Court to preside over software patents case

Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: Note to El Reg Authors

"The US is not the only place to have a Supreme Court. So why not put the country in the title?"

Here's a better idea: we shouldn't copy the US model right down to the name of the court especially when our highest court isn't in fact supreme.

0
0
Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: Another 5-4 decision

"Under the designation of 'person' there is no doubt that a private corporation is included [in the Fourteenth Amendment]. Such corporations are merely associations of individuals united for a special purpose and permitted to do business under a particular name and have a succession of members without dissolution."

Which is total nonsense, of course. There is no logical reason to say that a group of people is the same thing as another person. That's the sort of thing only a lawyer could say with a straight face.

2
1

IBM hid China's reaction to NSA spying 'cos it cost us BILLIONS, rages angry shareholder

Robert Long 1
Silver badge

"The information they didn't reveal was the drop in china sales. They didn't have to go into why, but they are on the hook for being able for reasonably foresee it."

Well, if they made more from the NSA than the Chinese sales were worth then they're in the clear. Not to mention the long-term shareholder value that derives from just generally maintaining a good relationship with the US government.

1
0

Snowden latest: NSA stalks the human race using Google, ad cookies

Robert Long 1
Silver badge

"Paranoia pays off again"

The computer is your friend.

1
0

Hey Linux newbie: If you've never had a taste, try perfect Petra ... mmm, smells like Mint 16

Robert Long 1
Silver badge

"Seriously, does anyone really use any Linux desktop for any productive (as in paid) work ? May I ask why "

Well, it works much better than Windows for basically any serious task (I know Windows users don't believe this). And in particular, if you're a developer for all those web applications that run on Linux servers it's really useful to have a copy of the live stack on the machine you're writing the code on.

The hard side is having to interact with people that still use Windows.

6
0
Robert Long 1
Silver badge

"To quite my oldest: dont care what it runs as long as I can use Facebook and Twitter..."

When (s)he leaves home, buy her/him a Chromebook. Less remote support needed."

If all they care about is Twitter and Facebook, I'd just have them adopted; even less remote support needed :)

8
1

Snapchat seeks to muzzle 'third founder' leaks in lawsuit over who invented it

Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: Errr

"That only applies to jurors."

This might be a difference between the UK and the US, actually.

0
0
Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Not being allowed to discuss ongoing court proceedings is an automatic restriction; you don't have to be told, although your lawyer should have mentioned it.

1
0

NSA collects up to FIVE BILLION mobile phone locations daily

Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: Guilt by Coincidence

"I don't find it incredible at all. They were specifically authorised and ordered to do what they did. They were led to believe that they were preventing a terrorist atrocity."

Utter rubbish. They could see that the information they had was wrong - the guy was sitting in a t-shirt reading the paper. There was nothing and nowhere he could have been hiding a bomb. The fact that they lied their guts out afterwards ("he acted suspiciously"; "he jumped over the barriers"; "he ran when challenged"; "he was wearing a bulky top" etc etc.) is clear evidence that they knew they'd done something wrong and were covering up.

The whole lot should be rotting in jail; perhaps if they had been then the London riots might not have happened.

0
0
Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: Guilt by Coincidence

"By the Law of Truly Large Numbers, it's only a matter of time before some innocent gets identified as an "associate" of a terror group merely by a coincidence of cell tower usage, and then gets permanently banged-up in Guantanamo."

You're a bit behind the times, guilt by coincidence is already an accepted part of the justice system here. Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead on the Tube in 2005 by police because of the coincidence that he came out of a block of flats at the wrong time (specifically, while the surveillance officer was having a piss and couldn't see who came out). Ignoring the fact that there were literally dozens of people that might have come out the door, the officer radioed in that his suspect had left the building and was on his way to launch a terrorist attack.

Once he had been executed without even a warning, let alone a trial, the police invented various stories about his "suspicious" behaviour and bulky clothing, all of which were shown to be lies by CCTV footage. The government eventually said that it was Charles' own fault because he had overstayed his visa by a couple of months and gave out a bunch of promotions to those responsible.

4
0

SHOCK! US House swats trolls, passes patent 'extortion' bill

Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: End software patents, everywhere, immediately.

"Some form of software patent MUST exist somewhere because copyright is not enough to protect a TECHNIQUE which can be defeated with a clean-room copy (remember how Compaq cloned the IBM BIOS)."

You say that as if it were a bad thing. It's not.

8
2

The only way is Office: UK Parliament to migrate to Microsoft cloud

Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: Malice or incompetence?

Assume it's malice. Generations of 30-year-rule revelations have shown that it's a safe bet.

11
0

Confessions of a porn site boss: How the net porn industry flopped

Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Pussy Riot

"Even my cat could do Bit Torrent. It brought easy porn piracy to the masses."

The world is clearly in debt to your cat.

6
0
Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: usually finished off with a full on facial!

"Isn't that all porn since time time immemorial?"

No; it used to be a "special" sub-category as little as 12 years ago when I first had access to a web connection at Uni. There's an interesting study to be done on how mass-access to porn has so quickly impacted social norms. Blokes expect to be allowed to come over their partner's face even on a one-night stand behind the pub bins, young men and women have been conditioned to think pubic hair is strange or even repulsive, and surveys are showing, for example, an increase in girl-on-girl experience of over 400% in just ten years. Anecdotal evidence is that there are increasing numbers of men who can't actually relate to real sex because it's so unlike the porn they have seen since they were in their early teens.

I'm pretty sure much of this is directly connected to the wide availability of hardcore porn and its effects on (particularly) young males' expectations of what constitutes normal sexual activities; but there are other factors, including increasing sexual equality and freedom as well as exposure to more cultures, and more extremists of one kind or another too, via the Internet. As I said, there's an interesting study waiting to be done on this and the recent channel 4 doc "Date My Porn Star" certainly hinted at the darker side of all this albeit with a very small sample size.

12
1

Recommendations for private cloud software...

Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: Recommendations for private cloud software...

"We've looked at setting up an FTP/SFTP/SCP server for our vendors to upload files to, but so far none of them have really worked out."

I'm also wondering about this. An area where clients can upload via scp is not hard to set up and there's lots of "sftp"UIs that even non-techy people can manage to use; meanwhile the simplest of cron jobs can clear out old files and an admin can remove the user's login entry if they need to be locked out.

Given the listed requirements, basically everything you need appears to be bundled with a standard Linux server.

1
0

Chester Cathedral smites net in Wi-Fi SMUT OUTRAGE

Robert Long 1
Silver badge
Boffin

Re: Another technical fix for a social issue

"There were three gifts, not necessarily about three wise men."

I think you'll find the whole thing was made up about 100 years after whatever events actually happened (i.e., a normal jewish woman had a normal jewish baby in completely normal circumstances and about 30 years later it became a very successful jewish preacher who ran afoul of the local government and got strung/nailed up for his trouble).

11
6

VIOLENT video games make KIDS SMARTER – more violent the BETTER

Robert Long 1
Silver badge

meta-study

Yeah, they're ALWAYS really accurate, and American psychologists are the first people I would go to for advice on emotional issues (because I like being prescribed drugs to shut me up in lieu of actually, you know, trying to understand what the problem is).

0
1

Sysadmin job ad: 'If you don’t mind really bad work-life balance, this is for you'

Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: ..I don't need to apply..

">Shackleton also managed to get his men back alive

Only because he happened to bring along the greatest dead reckoning navigator in the history of human kind (of course the dude was a Kiwi)."

A big part of being a great leader is picking great lieutenants, of course, and being able to manage them so they can use their talents to the full. You only have to look at the recent history of British Prime Ministers to see this (admittedly by negation).

3
0

Doctor Who Episode One: Through a glass. Darkly

Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: Memory and Money

"Bit like going metric for measurements"

Indeed - two systems which had stood the test of time for a thousand years of use by completely uneducated peasants and many later engineers were swept away as the wonders of comprehensive education produced legions of people unable to cope with anything they couldn't count on their fingers. Ironically, being replaced by metric and decimal, systems which are much more troublesome for day-to-day usage. Now that's progress!

1
0

Ten top stories from New Who

Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: Ok, but....

"The wonderful first appearance of River Song."

Oh, Jesus. Not River Song. Fan-fic wank at its very worst.

0
0

Instagram Act: UK.gov's latest copyright landgrab stymied - for now

Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Well, not quite

"Without copyright, everyone can profit from your work except you"

Actually, you're just no more able than anyone else.

IP is an invention of lawyers, not a right. That doesn't make it inherently more or less desirable, however. It's certainly not property in the normal sense, but it embodies time spent in creating it which creators expect to recoup by creating a false scarcity via the courts. Personally, I think this can be a good thing and I think it can be made into a bad thing too.

0
1

Vint Cerf: 'Privacy may be an ANOMALY, now over'. And it's no secret I think that

Robert Long 1
Silver badge

In other words

"People are stupid".

But, said tactfully.

4
0

Bitcoin price SOARS after US SENATE hearing on 'legit' currency

Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: Hot potato?

"Bit Coin only has value as long as two parties agree that it has value and then does a barter between bit coin and the other object."

So you're saying that Bitcoins are just as good as gold, then?

1
0
Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: Good

"I don't understand why currency should be taxed.. Is it not the goods that you buy with it that are taxable ?"

It's a bit abstract, but you would not expect tax to be levied on swapping a chicken for a cat, say. So in that sense, it's the currency transaction which is taxed. Whether that's just because it CAN be taxed and barter can't is a moot point.

1
0

London businesses to signal UNSWERVING LOYALTY to capital with .london domain

Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: If they are so stupid to not understand the hierarchial system.....

"Why couldn't Icann tell .london to sod off and pester nominet for london.uk (who I would hope would say no - maybe offering london.city.uk etc.)"

Because this sort of shit was ICANN's idea in the first place. Yes, that does mean that the DNS is being run by people with no interest in running it properly.

0
0

Sony's new PlayStation 4 and open source FreeBSD: The TRUTH

Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: And this is news? @Kebabbert

"It is a fact that these large companies simultaneously, all together, bet on immature Linux with a bad license, instead of mature FreeBSD with a more suitable license. "

Quite a lot of that isn't fact at all, in fact.

2
0
Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: Another win for the open-source world

"FreeBSD allows Sony to freely loot open source developers work without giving anything back to them. "

Exactly. FreeBSD give support to companies who oppose open source (and everyone else, of course, but you could do that with a different license). Companies using BSD as a basis for code they keep locked up is no win for anyone other than their shareholders.

1
1

WHO ate all the PIs? Sales of Brit mini-puter pass 2 MEELLION

Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: @Robert Long 1 21:31

"Ah - no point asking you for proof then, obviously."

You could just go and look. Schools have these things called "extra curricular activities" or "clubs" where a lot of unofficial things happen - like skateboarding, singing, chess, and computing - under the eye of teaching staff who are interested in the subject. Yes, even in comprehensives!

So it might not be "official" in the sense of centrally collated data at the DfE but it's hardly secret either. Maybe you should try leaving the house once in a while.

0
0
Robert Long 1
Silver badge

"And yet how many are in schools being used by kids to learn how to code?"

Plenty. Just not officially.

8
0

Your kids' chances of becoming programmers? ZERO

Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: So fix it!

"But one finds that about 'artists' (or musicians, or poets, or ... computer programmers), they are incapable of understanding that not everyone thinks like they do - and never will."

That's because it's bollocks to say that not everyone thinks the same way - they blatantly do. Only the softest of soft shite pseudo-scientists claim that we're some strange amalgamation of unconnected alien brains inexplicably trapped in near-enough identical bodies.

"His solution was to get together a group and go around all the schools and play jazz to them. He claimed that all that was needed to love jazz was enough exposure to it."

Almost certainly true, if it were primary schools. Popular music proceeds in fads caused exactly by the fact that people like the things they are exposed to early on, fashion operates similarly and so does the "fine" art world. People like what they're used to, by and large, and that means they have a very strong tendency to like what they get used to first, when they're children.

I do wonder if some of the people on this thread actually spend any time with real people or just read about them in Nexus magazine or something.

0
0
Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: So fix it!

""Leaving out people with actual mental damage of some sort or another, everyone's pretty well on a par at birth."

Not true. Just...not true. The evidence overwhelmingly supports the 'nature' over 'nurture' argument. It has done for the last 24 years."

I'm just going by what I see in the real world. Maybe your evidence should too.

""Being really good at something is mostly a matter of doing it, and that's mostly a matter of motivation. Which is why you can, in fact, teach it."

You state this like a truth, but it's bullshit. Do you think someone can wake up one morning and say, "I'm going to write a number one hit single, or paint a masterpiece." Do you think the only thing that stands in their way is 'motivation'? "

Yes. Totally. If someone wants to paint a masterpiece all they have to do is devote 10-20 years to mastering the technical skills and thinking - really thinking - about what it is they want to say. I don't think it's any shock to realize that most people are not in fact motivated to do that. But it is theoretically doable. Ask any artist.

There is a huge opportunity cost, of course, but that's not a question of ability either.

The same applied to programming, mathematics, athletics, or almost any human activity you can name. Pretty well anyone can be extremely adept in any field they really want; being the best is a bit harder, of course ;)

""Art" is the act of connecting "the sublime" with "the mundane" in an understandable format. Please present me with an infallible approach to this, and I will be a very happy man."

I hope you are happy now, as the above is indeed infallible - although as I said, it is not the road to success in the art world, which is a different set of skills from merely being a good artist.

Come back in 10 years and let us know how you are getting on.

0
0
Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: So fix it!

"It takes a certain kind of mind to do anything - we could teach all kids to paint, but most of them would never become artists or even be able to get a job as an artist because they would clearly lack the required level of skill."

This is not true. Leaving out people with actual mental damage of some sort or another, everyone's pretty well on a par at birth, and that includes all but the very rarest of artists. Environment and parental concern for earning power may lead most kids away from art but the ones that stay with it and do will would be more or less random, there would be no actual mental difference with those that were discouraged. Being really good at something is mostly a matter of doing it, and that's mostly a matter of motivation. Which is why you can, in fact, teach it.

It's perhaps true that Leos and Vincents would still be rare, but anyone can be a talented artist if they want to be and financial success in the art world is even less about specialness than it is about politics and brass neck.

1
11

Android mobes outsell iPhones, but Apple gets MORE PROFIT THAN ALL

Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: Junk business

"Perhaps because those who buy to use the tech, rather than buy to have the tech, tend to choose iPhone?"

Or maybe people that buy iPhones don't have any friends to, you know, phone, so they just browse the web all day?

5
3

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Who’s Who: a Reg quest to find the BEST DOCTOR

Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: Tricky

Davison/Davidson. If he wanted me to remember how to spell his name then he should have done more than stand around alternating between looking concerned, constipated, and offended for four bloody years.

4
0
Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Tricky

1 Troughton

2 Tennent

3 T Baker

4 Pertwee

5 Smith

6 Hartnell

7 C Baker

8 McCoy

9 Davidson

10 Eccelston

I've left McGann off as I've still not watched the flaming movie or listened to any of his audio episodes. I would say that I'm rating performances here and not scripts. Davidson and Eccleston never seemed to me to even know what it was they were playing; which of course could be a script problem too. Of the list, I would say I actually positively liked everyone above Davidson. My first doctor was Pertwee.

4
2

Are you experienced? The Doctor Who assistants that SUFFERED the most

Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: There's a difference

"Because there were too many timey-wimey things happening at at that point in time in NY and even sending a telegram there to change history after they found out the date of their death by looking at the gravestones thus making it a fixed event in the present could push the universe over the edge."

So, skip forward to 1940. And the date on a gravestone says nothing about when a time traveller died any more than it tells you who, if anyone, is in the grave.

Total shite writing. Moffat persists in the notion that a program about a time traveller is all about time travel in the same way that travel programs are presumably supposed to be all about airports. Which is all the worse when he makes plotting blunders the size of the ones in Angels Take Manhatten which has to be the worst Dr Who ever recorded.

0
1

Bitcoin mining rig firm claims $3m revenue in just FOUR DAYS

Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: Huh?

"Saddam Hussein was very rich and decided to do just that. He announced that he was no longer going to sell oil in dollars.

Within two months the tanks were moving..."

Two months plus 3 years.

0
0
Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: I really don’t understand?????

"Currency is based on its value, a coin represents a value which is determined by its 'worth' (in the UK it used to be a pound weight in gold, hence the name) "

It was a pound of silver, actually. And a troy pound at that (gold and silver are still traded in Troy ounces). Newton accidentally destroyed the value of silver as a currency by pegging the value of gold to a fixed ratio of that of silver while he was in charge of the Mint, but the theory of silver-based coinage hung on for a while even after that.

0
0
Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: @Robert Long 1

"Superior in every way?

When someone can filch them and be impossible to trace inclines me to award the superiority badge to the bag of brass implementation for trading tokens."

I did say for online purposes. They're certainly no easier to steal than "real" money or plastic. My wife's credit card details were stolen recently and used to buy things in the US. While we didn't lose anything from it, someone (ie, Visa) did and that happens all day every day without anyone claiming that credit cards are worthless.

0
0
Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: Huh?

For a currency to work it must be basically impossible to forge, so each bitcoin must be very strongly protected in terms of signing, and that signing process must keep up with computing power. So strong that it would be impossible for any one outfit to produce enough bitcoinage to be useful, so the process is farmed out to, well, anyone that wants to do the work. Their reward is the same as goldminers': they have the coinage in their hands "wholesale" and then they spend it on things, putting the bitcoins into general circulation.

Just like goldminers, there is a financial cost involved. When people say that you can't mine bitcoins with a GPU anymore what they actually means is that doing so would cost you more in electricity than the coin would be worth. You could solve that by using, say, solar power but even then the difficulty will eventually increase until the depreciation in value of your equipment will balance the value of the coins made, so each new generation of bitcoin mining machines goes from profitable to obsolete in a more or less predictable curve of profitability during which the coinage supply gets boosted.

Like gold, bitcoins have no inherent value (i.e., you can't eat them) so their value is simply as a limited, verifiable resource to use as an exchange token (but not too limited otherwise not enough people have them to make trading practical) but unlike gold they are easy to transfer electronically around the world in an instant or two. If it were not for the question mark of quantum computing, bitcoins would absolutely replace all "real" currencies online (as well as gold offline) pretty well immediately as they are otherwise superior in every way.

3
4

Microsoft advertises Surface, Excel with maths mistake

Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: The gift that keeps on giving

"ExFAT is patented so as to be impossible to implement if you don't pay the tax. "

And, of course, the fact that there was prior art a mile long didn't affect the validity of the patent at all.

1
0

NO! Radio broadcasters snub 'end of FM' DAB radio changeover

Robert Long 1
Silver badge
Joke

Typical

UTV says "No"!

2
0

BitTorrent awarded distributed storage patent

Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: is this novel..?

"I think that that's a good indication that it fails the obviousness test."

I'm pretty sure the USPO doesn't use the obviousness test any more. Basically, they take the view that if it were obvious someone would have patented it already therefore if it's not already a patent it's not obvious. This was the tack they took to justify the patent for using cookies to identify returning users and linking them to an account on Amazon, which is pretty well exactly what cookies were invented for.

1
0
Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: is this novel..?

"Well if they do they have not patented it, but im sure it could suddenly become prior art with a smothering of gold in a hand"

They've never published the code; would that be a problem for the US patent office or not? (There's no point reading the law on the subject as the USPTO makes it up as it goes along, I'm just curious about what they've done in the past).

0
0

Tim Cook stands firmly behind pro-LGBT, anti-discrimination law

Robert Long 1
Silver badge

Re: Nice to see America catching up to the rest of the civilised world.

""We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" seems like a nice place to start. I read that in a declaration of independence somewhere."

Yeah, the guy that wrote that (Jefferson) had plenty of time to get the words right, what with all the slaves he owned getting the other work done for him.

2
0
Robert Long 1
Silver badge

What about women, Stan?

Does the US have a national law against sex-discrimination yet, or is that rolled into this bill?

0
0