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* Posts by Robert Long 1

1199 posts • joined 15 Jun 2009

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

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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Those NSA 'reforms' in full: El Reg translates US Prez Obama's pledges

Robert Long 1
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Lies and the lying liars who tell them

"This program does not involve the content of phone calls, or the names of people making calls"

Of course it does. Does he think we're children or something? The NSA collects all the data it can, and that will include contents of calls; names of people making the calls will be so automatic that probably no one in the organization knows how to turn it off.

All my life, US intelligence leaks and denials have followed the same pattern:

1. Someone claims that the services collect/do X

2. Services deny that they collect/do X

3. Someone proves that services do half of X

4. Services admit that they do that half of X but would never, ever dream of doing the rest of X and that half of X is a totally different thing from X and that means, therefore, when they said that they don't do X they were technically telling the truth and were in no way hiding the fact that they did half of X, which they really (honest) would have admitted to if directly asked, so it's your fault for not specifically asking if they did half of X

5. Someone proves that services do all of X

6. Services admit that they do do X, but rarely

7. Someone proves that services do X routinely

8. Services refuse to talk about X any more

"X" can be following people; assassination of foreign leaders; framing people that they "know" are guilty; sending people away to be tortured; stealing industrial secrets and passing them on to US companies; bugging phones without warrants; hacking computers; or arresting and locking people up based on the sole evidence of that person's enemies.

And it doesn't matter who asks them; they will happily lie to the President and Congress because the services have 100% faith in themselves. The totally believe that they are the Good Guys and that anyone that doesn't agree with them is either weak-minded or outright Evil and therefore they do not have to account to them in either case.

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PGP wiz Phil Zimmermann and pals tout anti-snoop mobe – the Blackphone

Robert Long 1
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Re: pointless

"If you want to conceal the metadata, then yes but if you want to conceal the actual conversation, then it would appear to be fit for purpose."

I agree, although there is a flaw in that proof is not needed if you're dragged in front of one of the secret "courts" that our governments now run. In that case, the metadata will probably be enough (and, to be fair, they'll probably lock you up even without that much evidence, as so many people in Guantanamo have discovered). The fact that we're being governed by secret organizations is at least as big a problem as anything the terrorists are doing not least because these secret organizations are largely responsible for recruiting and motivating more terrorists. Without Blair and Campbell's minuteless meetings of "Intelligence Heads" there would have been no 7/7 bombings in London.

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Oh those crazy Frenchies! Parisian cabbies smash up Uber-booked rival ride

Robert Long 1
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Re: Most Valuable Single Asset.

"If the government issued more of these pieces of paper, their cost would go down and we'd have cheaper housing;"

Yeah, because it's the government that's FORCING the builders here to put up the most expensive, lowest quality housing in western Europe.

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Robert Long 1
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Re: You heard it here first: Cartelization works!!

"Brands and customer discernement should "enforce" things nicely, thank you very much."

They never have before.

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Remember when SimCity ABSOLUTELY HAD to be online? Not any more – fancy that!

Robert Long 1
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Re: DRM is usually defective by design

"But a review is a review and - you simply cannot review something you can't review."

Here's how: "This game didn't play."

Here's a similar one for a book: "The pages were blank".

TV programme: "There was no picture or sound".

etc.

These are all perfectly valid reviews of a PRODUCT. A blank book is a product which you can review even if you can't read the story that was supposed to be there.

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Think your brilliant app idea will earn some big bucks? HAH. You fool

Robert Long 1
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Dead Givaway

"Furthermore, of paid applications, about 90 per cent are downloaded less than 500 times per day and make less than $1,250 a day."

So, the Gartner consultant that wrote the report is on $1250 per day, then, I take it? Anything under that isn't worth bothering with.

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Google stabs Wikipedia in the front

Robert Long 1
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No impact

I've automatically added the string "-side:wikipedia.org" to all my Google searches for years now. Massive improvement in the quality of results; it's always a shock when I use a strange computer and the top result is always some random dribble from the unemployed wikiwhackers.

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Sinclair’s 1984 big shot at business: The QL is 30 years old

Robert Long 1
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8 too many

68000 = great processor; one of the best ever.

68008 = total dog of a crippleware part.

That was the turning point for the design and it never had a chance after that decision.

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NSA refuses to deny spying on members of Congress

Robert Long 1
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Re: It’s different when it’s happening to you.

"So effectively you're suggesting we need National Service brought back in but instead of training in the army, you literally serve your country by representing it?"

That's one way of looking at it, yes. Interestingly the democracy in Athens put a big emphasis on military service and even people like Socrates had to do their bit on the front line, carrying a wounded Xenophon to safety on his back on one occasion.

Anyway, I would be very much in favour of a jury system instead of elections or as cap'n suggested, as a limiter on the elected nutters' powers.

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Robert Long 1
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"Those who think metadata collection is spying will interpret the answer as "yes","

And those who think that they're just collecting metadata will believe anything.

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Robert Long 1
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Re: It’s different when it’s happening to you.

I think, however, that Adams was more accurate or at least more pertinent to our system of government when he said that "power attracts the corruptible". We see that all the time. If you're a bully, join the police; if you want to kill people, join the army; if you want bribes and backhanders, become a politician. Other people become these things too, of course, but by and large it is the ones who are most obsessed that get the promotions and they tend also to be the dangerous ones. People with self-doubt or morals have less time to devote to exploiting their positions for personal gain.

To put it another way: the specific system of politics is not the problem; the problem is the politicians and the type of people who want to be politicians. That's why the quality of leadership never really improves despite thousands of years of supposed progress in political "science". It's still just pot luck and the best we can say about democracy is that we get to roll the dice more often, but they are the same dice.

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Time travellers outsmart the NSA

Robert Long 1
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Boffin

Don't be stupid

If they found the evidence and published it the time travellers would just jump back and erase the evidence. You need to be much smarter than this to catch them.

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How the NSA hacks PCs, phones, routers, hard disks 'at speed of light': Spy tech catalog leaks

Robert Long 1
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Re: hahahaha

"No, it's a fascist dictatorship without rule of law or freedom of expression, which shamelessly supports other genocidal dictatorships and tries to engulf surrounding countries, without even trying to pretend it's interested in freedom or democracy."

Yes, and if it was called "China" then our elected representatives would be fighting to be the first to make deals with it and slobber over its leaders to make trade deals.

So, while what you're saying is true, it is easy to forget that the depiction of such nations is almost entirely controlled by the US and what suits its foreign policy objectives. It is a case of not thinking enough moves ahead in the global chess game to see any difference between Russia, China, and the US just because the last one pretends to be a democracy. It's just another military-controlled country who's main objective is not to "sober up" but to portray the correct image of the rest of the world in order to allow the leaders of that military to continue to binge themselves on the taxes of the masses.

In the end, the only thing that matters to the powerful is staying in power; the specific flag they wrap themselves in is irrelevant.

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Worried OpenSSL uses NSA-tainted crypto? This BUG has got your back

Robert Long 1
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Re: open everyone's letters and photocopy them and store them

"What they have admitted to gathering is the meta data."

Yes, and of course we all believe everything they say.

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Robert Long 1
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Re: You have to put it into snail mail context for people to 'get' it.

"if you suggested that some secret agency should open everyone's letters and photocopy them and store them indefinitely in some giant filing system on the off chance you may have written something that might incriminate you, there'd be absolute uproar."

Yet that is what is done, and has been done since at least the early 1980s when the NSA started opening ALL mail going across US borders. Meanwhile here in the UK the secret services have been copying all the letters printed in news papers from before I was born and almost certainly have had access to the NSA's data about postage from here to the States (at least). You can be sure that all the regular posters here have a file on them, together with their real names and email addresses for future reference.

People in power have one common goal: to stay in power. They don't even have to be bad people, just people with mortgages and kids and bills that their salary for being a member of the NSA or MI6 pays for; they don't want the budget cut - quite the opposite.

Of course, some of them ARE bad people and it's important that they are dug out and dealt with otherwise you end up with a situation like the Catholic priesthood or London's Met where the denial of anything being wrong makes the organization more and more attractive to criminals to join until almost the whole thing is rotten. I particularly remember some cardinal saying "it's not as if paedophiles would do seven years of seminary school just to get access to kids, is it?". Complacency like that is a gift that just keeps giving.

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How much did NSA pay to put a backdoor in RSA crypto? Try $10m – report

Robert Long 1
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Re: unlike in the UK....

"... correction: Russia and America saved the world (i.e Europe) some 70 years ago."

correction correction: Britain and Russia saved the world but had to buy in much of the equipment to do it from the US. The US made a huge profit on the deal; indeed the US is the only country to make a profit out of either world war and managed to do it in BOTH.

When you save the day by hiring mercenaries, you don't normally give much credit to the mercenaries.

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Robert Long 1
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"I'm sorry, where in the pledge of allegience is there any mention of American supremecy?"

The bit where it mentions that America is God's own country. It doesn't take much to then transfer the supremacy of God to his country.

Ironically, of course, America is far more powerful than the god in question who is a lot less substantial than a submarine full of nukes.

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Ho, ho, HOLY CR*P, ebuyer! Etailer rates staff on returns REJECTED

Robert Long 1
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eWho?

Never heard of them before now; so I guess this has worked out okay to some degree.

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Parents can hide abortion, contraception advice from kids, thanks to BT's SEX-ED web block

Robert Long 1
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Re: So...

"It's a parent controlled filter. Only the adults in the house can turn it on - it's off by default. It's only censorship if choosing not to go in the library is censorship."

You have a point, but the fact that the filters are broad classes and AFAIK there's no list of what each category covers means that someone somewhere is deciding what gets filtered and how to justify that filtering and they're doing it in secret.

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