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* Posts by Robert Long 1

1180 posts • joined 15 Jun 2009

'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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Italy's 'Google tax law' could fall foul of EU discrimination rules

Robert Long 1
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Re: Oh Boo Hoo

"Stop all the whinging and snivelling and get yourself onto the backs of your elected incompetents and get the tax law changed. "

Why would that matter? What these companies are doing is already illegal - making accounts of false "internal" trades which serve no purpose other than reducing tax liability - and SMEs do get tried and fined for exactly this. But Google and Amazon don't, and never will so long as politicians allow themselves to be hypnotized by their "big name brands".

The truth is that Amazon and Google could vanish tomorrow and by February we'd wonder why anyone cared.

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Robert Long 1
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Re: Keep your stinky fingers off productive capital

"A "cash injection" for a bottomless pit of incompetence and graft is not a "measure" - it is utter waste."

While true, it has no bearing on the specific issue of tax fairness. If the government was being run well and efficiently it would still be wrong for rich multinationals to be allowed to avoid paying tax while normal smaller businesses and individuals are not.

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Vodafone dodges UK corporation tax bill - AGAIN

Robert Long 1
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Re: Interest in debt is their own fault

"So this is for those, like Robert Long 1 who doesn't seem to recognise that a turnover tax is essentially a cost addition and will be paid by the consumer "

Why do you think I don't realize that? That's exactly what I want: the company tax to be paid by the company's customers. At the moment I'm paying Vodafone's tax despite not being a customer.

Why is this so hard to understand?

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Robert Long 1
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Re: Interest in debt is their own fault

"Thinking its ok to put people out of business for the sake of robbing the survivors blind is a poor strategy for collecting more tax, creating jobs and in general."

What are you talking about? All I'm saying is that it is fairer to tax the actions of all companies than to tax some and not others and expect the ones that are taxed (and private individuals) to make up the shortfall.

Why should I pay more tax because Vodafone don't pay theirs? I'm not a Vodafone user (I specifically left them because of this).

As for taxing turnover, that's what normally happens. I can't reduce my tax bill because I bought a new car this year, so why should you as a company owner reduce your tax because you bought new equipment?

The whole system is wildly over-complicated and needs radically simplified. If that means that companies go bust instead of working within the system, then that's fine and hardly an odd idea.

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Robert Long 1
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Re: Interest in debt is their own fault

"Barmy - how would that work if a company sold £1m of computers but only made 2% margin and you charge them 5% tax on their turnover?"

They would go bust. So what?

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Robert Long 1
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Re: Interest in debt is their own fault

"And then even someone like you could see that taxing a company is really just taxing its customers (and employees)."

The problem is that the current system is really taxing everyone even if they are not Amazon customers, for example. Even someone like you can see that when we let them off with billions it means EVERYONE has to pay more to subsidize their profit margin.

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Robert Long 1
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Interest in debt is their own fault

No reason why I, or anyone else, should be helping them out of a hole they dug.

Tax turnover and eliminate the loopholes at a stroke.

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Picture this: Data-wrangling boffins say they have made JPEGs OBSOLETE

Robert Long 1
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Will it matter?

This only makes JPEG obsolete if it's not patented; otherwise it's worthless. But the story doesn't mention it either way.

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No anon pr0n for you: BT's network-level 'smut' filters will catch proxy servers too

Robert Long 1
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Facebook

So is this going to block Facebook's murder vids or just stuff that doesn't have a huge bankroll behind it?

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NSA alleges 'BIOS plot to destroy PCs'

Robert Long 1
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Re: @Wzrd1

"That can only be true if you ignore stuff like supplying arms to the UK & donating huge sums of cash to the Nazi party."

That's "selling" arms to the UK. You won't get any help from the US defending freedom unless there's $ to be made in the process.

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Robert Long 1
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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.

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Robert Long 1
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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?

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

Robert Long 1
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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.

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US Supreme Court to preside over software patents case

Robert Long 1
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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.

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

Robert Long 1
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"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.

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

Robert Long 1
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"Paranoia pays off again"

The computer is your friend.

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

Robert Long 1
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"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.

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Robert Long 1
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"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 :)

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

Robert Long 1
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Re: Errr

"That only applies to jurors."

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

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