126 posts • joined 17 Jun 2009
Re: Domestic purposes
I'm not a lawyer (although I've had quite a lot of dealings with them for reasons that aren't relevant here) but I don't think that this would stand up. The c.29 Part IV, s.36 "Domestic Purposes" exemption is stated as follows (from legislation.gov.uk):
"Personal data processed by an individual only for the purposes of that individual’s personal, family or household affairs (including recreational purposes) are exempt from the data protection principles and the provisions of Parts II and III."
As I see it, there are two important points in there.
First, it stipulates that the data is processed by the individual, not by a third party on their behalf. I suspect that the letter (and intent) of the act probably wouldn't be construed by a court as permitting some third party - and certainly not an organisation of any sort - to carry out data processing on the individual's behalf. At least, not without a specific contract between that individual and the organisation in question (by which I refer to a more formal and direct contract than any that may be implied by someone simply opting to use a free service available to all).
Second, it stipulates that the individual may carry out processing "only for the purposes of that individual's personal, family or household affairs (including recreational purposes)". While it could possibly be argued that someone wanting to monitor the tweets of a close friend or relative because they are worried about their mental state may fall into the realm of "personal, family or household affairs", it would probably also be argued that such processing would only fall fully within the remit of the Domestic Purposes exemption if the person being monitored had a demonstrable familial or personal connection with the person doing the monitoring (and, if the lawyers wanted to push the point, was even aware of it and had given some form of consent). In the absence of that, it is difficult to see how the "personal, family or household" affairs clause could be deemed to apply. Since, in the case of the Samaritans app, there is no mechanism to check or demonstrate that such a connection exists between the person being monitored and the person doing the monitoring, it is hard to see how it can be seen as falling within the remit of s.36.
In any case, I'm sure that determining any of this in a court would be a bit of a legal bun fight that would earn a couple of barristers a tidy few grand. And I still suspect that the exemption would ultimately be found not to apply (mostly on the first leg above, but also quite possibly on the second given the app in its current form).
Re: quite right - 1st world problems.
Yes, and here in the UK, Google has to abide by the DPA just like everyone else and, if you serve them with a Section 12 notice, they have to act upon it and stop processing any information about you. Which is the whole point here - it applies to Google, it applies to anyone or any organisation who holds or processes personally identifiable information and, given what Samaritans Radar is trying to do, it very probably applies to them too.
Furthermore, when you use Google, you know full well that they will be taking the information that you provide and using it in the various (and, perhaps, sometimes nefarious) ways that they do. However, you don't know what the Samaritans Radar app is doing since it isn't YOU who opts to use it or have your tweets monitored by it.
So...10 out of 10 for a nice idea on the part of the Samaritans, but minus several million for good thinking and all that.
Re: I can't believe a journalist wrote this story.
...and I can't believe that you actually read the article or that anyone could be myopic enough to miss the point quite so spectacularly as you have done.
However, in the interests of spelling it out, if the bizarre scenario that you describe were to arise, then El Reg would, indeed, be obliged to comply. Or, failing that, to take the matter up with the Information Commissioner or other relevant authority or even, in the extreme case, to mount a defence in court on the basis of wider public interest, etc. It's the law, you maroon. That's how it works. Or don't you think that El Reg has to abide by the DPA too?
More importantly, any public pronouncements reported by the Register are just that - reported. No further automated data processing operation is performed on the content of those pronouncements. Articles are written to discuss particular subjects and, in some of those articles, comments made by relevant and/or connected persons are reported verbatim (give or take the occasional typo). At most, the writer of an article may offer their own opinion as to meanings (hidden or otherwise) but that is not the same as performing any kind of data processing operation on the original information.
The scenario is, therefore, completely unlike what is done by the Samaritans Radar app, which does perform some kind of automated data processing upon the original tweets. Which is why it probably does fall within the remit of the Data Protection Act, regardless of the public nature of those tweets. The Samaritans, worthy and worthwhile as they are, can't just wave their hand like some kindly old Alec Guinness and say "We don't believe the DPA applies to us in this case. This is not the data processing system you're looking for." If they want to do the kind of thing that they're trying to do with Samaritans Radar, they're going to need to dot the i's and cross the t's with the Information Commissioner's Office to ensure that they are complying with the relevant legislation. And, if they do fall within the remit of the DPA (as they may well do), then they'll need to respond to things like Section 12 notifications correctly.
Now look what you've done. I'd always promised that I'd never use a facepalm icon for anything I read on the Internet - regardless of how dim it may be - because it seems a bit rude really. And now you've gone and made me do it. I hope you're pleased with yourself.
Actually, I almost got it right without following the link. Except I thought the 'D' stood for 'Daft'.
Re: No good any more
No, you don't understand. The psychos who would be willing to nuke a city just 'cos it got in the way or because it was eying up the girlfriend, spilled the pint, etc? That would be us. Prepared to release a deadly chemical plague across a continent? Us again (if you pay enough and we have the antidote). Prepared to strap people to chairs and force them to watch back-to-back episodes of Eastenders, Big Brother and Hollyoaks for hours? Still us. Strapping headphones to people's ears and forcing them to listen to One Direction, N'Dubz and Ed Sheeran on repeat? Yes, you guessed it, us yet again.
Basically, you just have to make sure that you're the ultimate psycho's psycho at all times. Job done.
Not always easy, I grant you. And a bit downright odd as modern foreign policy goes. But we have a fine history of being both creative and inventive. We just need to channel it in the right way.
Re: No good any more
Actually, the "HM Terrorists" idea could have legs you know...
Drop the whole Geneva Convention/Human Rights thing and just become the ultimate mercenary state. Hire out our armed forces to whoever needs them the most (and pays best). Become the world's biggest bunch of utter bast...er, you-know-whats.
"Hey Uncle Sam? Got a problem with terrorists in <insert foreign state name here>? No worries, for a mere several billion in untraceable readies, we'll get in there, flatten the place and get out again, no questions asked."
New passports with really scary looking covers, nationality listed as "HM Terrorist" and taking the Stewart dynasty's old "Nemo me impune lacessit" as a new motto (with the agreement of the Scots of course, who still get to join in and play the game whatever the result on September 18th).
Once we have a few successful and sickeningly violent operations under our belt, it might get to the point that no other terrorist nutter in the world would ever want to mess with us. We'd be the equivalent of the little bloke in the pub who no-one particularly likes, but who is never given any bother because absolutely everyone knows "Don't mess with him - he's a total psycho! He once bit someone's kneecaps off and spat them back into the poor fella's eyes!" etc. etc.
Insane? Me? Whatever makes you think that...?
Re: What would happen if Chuck Norris took up Morris Dancing?
Look, I deliberately didn't mention the Stick and Bucket Dance. I thought we'd all agreed?
"Going up Camborne Hill, coming down..."
I voted that there needs to be an extra poll to ensure that Morris Dancers get included.
But then I thought...hang on, if Morris Dancers are included then there's no need to continue the exercise since it's obvious that they would win. After all, anyone who can get up at crack of dawn on a May Mor-i-ning and dance right through the town hitting themselves with sticks, all after spending the previous night down the pub consuming countless pints of Spindle's Old Neuron-Dissolver until chucking-out time are obviously the world's ultimate Special Forces unit. They're so hard they don't even need to sneak around (unlike those cowardly softies the Ninjas), they can probably outdrink (and outsing) the Pirates and, as for the aliens, they'd probably still be standing there wondering WTF was going on when they suddenly found themselves with a hefty chunk of oak or yew shoved through their brain/neuronal nexus/whatever-they-think-with. Not to mention the terrifying noise from the accordian/squeeze-box/shawm/crumhorn/etc. that will disorient all enemies.
Yep, definitely Morris Dancers if you really want to be on the winning side I reckon...
Third-party ad scumbags
Thankfully, there appear to be one or two iOS browser alternatives that block this now, but it's high time that Apple did something to block that behaviour entirely. Google too, if Android is still vulnerable to it.
In any case, given their propensity for such irritating behaviour, is it any surprise that these worthless lickspittles would flog anything that they can find to the highest bidder? Or just hand it over to the Government for the merry hell of it.
Scumbags. If Shakespeare had been around today, he'd probably have written "The first thing we do, let's kill all the advertisers..."
Actually, one of the statutory aggravating factors for sentencing for most offences (might be all offences - I'm a little rusty) is that the offence was carried out under the influence of alcohol.
...the greatest Quatermass spin-off of them all - step forward and take a bow the inimitable:
As presented, performed and plinged by Messrs Milligan, Sellers and Secombe.
Probably not going to win many supporters with this, but...
...I'm actually reasonably happy with T-Mobile/EE. Even allowing for the price hike, which was slightly irritating but which - in the grand scheme of things - isn't all that much to get your knickers in a twist about. I've got two phones on contract with them and, while I will certainly be shopping around when renewal time comes up next year, I'm not going to get all hissy and try to get out of my current contract over a piddling price rise.
The reason that I ended up on their network was because the last time my renewals came around, they offered a far better deal than any of the other usual suspects, particularly as far as mobile data was concerned. Moreover, I have found that - compared to my previous provider - they do seem to have a network that largely works in most of the places I tend to spend my time. It even provides a reasonably good 3G service in areas where my previous network struggled just to provide a 2G signal.
Of course, what I really want is someone to provide widespread trouble-free 3G and 4G coverage for a really dirt cheap price and to give me a nice pair of shiny-shiny new phones to play with every 12 months. But that's unreasonable, so you just take what seems to be the better of the assorted options available at any given time. So far, I'm not particularly unhappy with these T-Mobile/EE chaps and am even prepared to give them brownie points for some things, but we'll see what deals are on the table next year.
On the one hand...
...the Bong! adventures do provoke the odd chuckle.
On the other hand, they're also a bit cringe-worthy given that I've met real people who do seem to talk and think like this in all seriousness. Of course, that's always assuming that the word "think" isn't a misnomer for whatever process is going on in their vacant and echoing skulls.
Anyway, I like to call them the "Techno Wizards And Talents". Usually abbreviated, of course...
Re: Watch the trend...
Well, there's been a lot of talk about a female doctor, so Bieber would fit the brief on that score.
Actually, I don't need to read up about paperless DD, being familiar with the process and having set up a fair few myself over the last couple of years. However, in every case where I have set up such a DD, the organization originating the request has gone to reasonable lengths to confirm that I was, indeed, who I claimed to be and was permitted to do what I was doing. Also, in each case, my bank contacted me to confirm the details once the DD instruction was set up but before any funds were allowed to be taken. So I'm afraid that in my book someone on the charity side or the bank side still dropped the ball on the Clarkson charity DD thing and should have had an ear-bending for it. Either that or he needs to get himself a better bank.
Oh Good Grief...
I can't believe that I'm doing this...
It's Jeremy Clarkson boys and girls! Do you really think for a fraction of a nanosecond that he was being at all serious? As someone has already pointed out, he was paraphrasing Liam Neeson's character in Taken. Even though I haven't seen the film or know much about it, I still got the reference and was pretty sure that he was most likely just making bit of a joke of the whole thing.
And as for the bank thing, well he actually had a bit of a point there if you ask me. Simply publishing his bank details should NOT have allowed anyone to set up a direct debit or perform any other kind of transaction, other than paying in. Either the charity itself or Clarkson's bank seriously dropped the ball on that one I think. Certainly if any of the banks that I use had allowed a direct debit to be set up (or any other withdrawal to take place) without my signature or some other formal confirmation of my identity and wishes, I would have been down the branch straight away tearing the manager a new one.
So, yeah, it's Clarkson. He's a bit of a gobsh!te, plays up his anti-environment, right-of-centre persona to the hilt and is a popular target for the PC, right-on and left-of-centre brigades - many of whom seem to get themselves rather hot under the collar by taking him far too seriously and literally.
Following a recent house move, we found ourselves with no TV reception at all. The house has an aerial, but it's either broken, disconnected or the household wiring to the aerial sockets is all defunct. The house also has two satellite dishes attached to the wall, but they've both had their cables cut at the dish end. Meanwhile, the neighbours inform me that TV reception is rather poor in the whole area anyway, due to a large industrial plant sitting a few hundred yards away, right in line of sight to the nearest transmitter.
The practical upshot is that in spite of having at least 5 or 6 things in the house that are capable of receiving a FreeView signal (for example) we've now gone a month with no TV at all. So the number of boxes, etc. sold certainly bears no direct or simple relationship to the number of viewers, as has already been pointed out by others.
Meanwhile, on a purely personal level, we don't miss it a bit. I'll admit that I am considering getting a BluRay player with built-in Smart/IP TV for the occasional thing that we might want to watch on iPlayer or 4OD or whatever, but finding one that covers all the UK streaming TV services seems to be tricky (iPlayer is common, but 4OD, ITV Player, etc. are harder to find all in the same box). Although, the fact that we haven't even used iPlayer, etc. very much on the assorted computers in the house suggests that we're not really all that bothered anyway. Aside from the occasional DVD, the various TVs no longer get used and it does seem to have improved our general quality of life and ability to get on and do other, more interesting things.
In fact, I'd even go so far as to recommend the experience
Re: Quartermass - Goon Show Style
Oh, I'm glad that someone mentioned that. It's far and away the best Quatermass ever.
"I knew it! We're all descended from Irish Jews! Oy vey!!"
"Yerrrsss mate. 'Orrible brown fing crawlin' up the wall. It was a weasel. An' all of a sudden it went..."
[Sound FX: Pop!]
And other such gems. Quick nurse, the screens...
...what I want to know is why Pierce Brosnan isn't on the list?
...when I saw the title of this little article, I said to myself "I bet it's bloody Trusteer trying to push more of their unnecessary shiteware again".
Hey, guess what? I was right. Any ZeuS/bank phishing scare story always seems to come straight from the Trusteer PR desk.
Sorry guys, but I decide what AV, firewall, IDS and other security software I use. And you're not it, even though you're trying to get most of my current banks to push your crap in my direction at every available opportunity.
In spite of their name, I just don't trust those jokers at all. If they spent more of their time and effort actually developing a decent product that competes in the open market, rather than sucking up to the banks to persuade them to foist this crap onto us and then dropping a monthly/bi-monthly ZeuS scare story out of their corporate-wannabe PR-sehole, maybe I'd think differently. But until then, I wish they'd just bugger off.
Re: Merely a case of extending the logic of Corporate Web 2.0
I'm not on Facebook (can't stand it) but if their Ts & Cs are similar to the boilerplate legalese that a lot of online services use, people posting stuff there won't have given up the rights to their material - they'll still own the copyright, but will have granted a royalty-free, unlimited, yadda-yadda licence to Zuckerberg's minions to do whatever they like with it. From a practical point of view, it's not much different, but it is better than something that explicitly gets you to hand over your IP rights completely.
I seem to recall that one or two sites ran afoul of this kind of thing in the past (Picasa? LinkedIn? Maybe others?) although I still don't think any of them went to the point of asking you to hand over your IP altogether. And they did change the wording of their Ts & Cs as a result of people kicking up a stink about it. It will be interesting to see what happens here...
I'd try that myself if I thought for a moment that any of the banks I use could get their heads around it and not cock it up.
...do they inject something into the bank's website, perform some kind of MITM attack when you next access online banking or do they send you an official-looking email saying "Please update your phone number"?
The first is unlikely I would have thought - they'd need to be very good, know the ins and outs of all the assorted banks' onling banking systems and then continually evade whatever security measures are in place. (Which one would hope are slightly better than average - although we all know that I could be wrong on that score.)
The second is easier to achieve, but would have to be done extremely well and be able to mimic each bank's website very well (unless the following also applies...)
The last one will only work on those who are prone to using computers with their brains disengaged.
In any case, this kind of "Oh noes - look at this scary bank malware" tale isn't all that new, coming as it does from a company who seem to have spent the last couple of years busting their gut to get their bloated shitware pushed on to customers by most of the UK banking fraternity. And so we get to the nub of the problem - one of the groups of people whom I do not trust and whose software I would not install on my machine are...Trusteer! And certainly not when I've already got things AV'ed, firewalled, NAT'ed and anti-malwared up their wazoo with other products that I trust more.
I must still be half-asleep...
At first reading, this actually sounds like some kind of measured and balanced approach to the whole copyright issue as it pertains to the Internet. Or, at least, more measured and balanced than pretty much anything else that anyone has come up with so far. If the trial goes ahead on the basis described here, it will be interesting to read the results when they come out.
OK, so there's the whole account holder/infringer question (as pointed out by David 45), but it does look like there's someone out there who is trying to come up with something vaguely reasonable and workable. Of course, the devil's always in the detail - we shall just have to wait and see what happens.
Oh, and for the avoidance of doubt in the mind of the reader, I will say that I sit in the middle when it comes to the copyright issue. Having had some involvement with creative stuff and dealing with people ripping off products, I believe that the people creating things do have a right to be compensated adequately for their work and that it isn't OK just to go round copying stuff and sharing it out willy-nilly. On the other hand, I'm not a huge fan of people like the RIAA, MPAA, etc. nor their tactics in the copyright arena. I'm also a firm believer in fair-use doctrines and the principle that, if you've bought it, you can do pretty much what you like with it for your own personal use.
Never let it be said...
...that medical types don't have a sense of humour. Whoever came up with the name for that association (and corresponding abbreviation) deserves some kind of award. Only a little award probably, but an award nevertheless (they can always make it look a bit bigger with implants later).
...only a complete numpty would choose a Beemer as a company car.
Oh, hang on, you'd have to be a bit mental to choose a Ford as well.
And that, m'lud, is where the analogy breaks down.
Actually, unless you do silly mileage and choose something with a fairly low CO2 emission, or are happy to taking a stinking great hit from dear old HMRC, you'd probably have to be a bit mental to take a company car at all nowadays, wouldn't you? I'm fortunate enough that the last one I had was back in the good old days when company car taxation was based on a percentage of the list price of the vehicle adjusted down through three simple mileage reduction bands whereby you could get into the mid band at the very least if you had a bit of nouse. Add to that the fact that the people I worked for at the time used a hire/lease company that offered a huge range of different cars and the net result was that various folks ended up blatting around in Subaru Impreza WRX's and such like - immense fun to drive, but still fairly practical and remarkably gentle in terms of the tax hit. In fact, much easier on the pocket (and definitely lots more fun) than most of the normal rep-mobiles and just about any of the "luxury" brands.
Sorry, sorry, I'll put the rose-tinted glasses away.
Back on topic, Apple's price reductions may not be astronomical, but if you were thinking of maybe adding something Mac flavoured (particularly that MacBook Air that was mentioned) to your household computing collection, you'd still be a bit daft not to take advantage of Friday's fun and games. Even it if is only a hundred dollars (or a hundred quid or whatever), better off in your pocket than theirs, no?
Alternatively, if you absolutely hate, loathe and detest all things Apple and want no truck with those hellspawn, then that's fine too isn't it? Nobody's going to hold a gun to your head and force you to genuflect madly in the nearest shiny-shiny Apple Store are they? Just chill guys - use whatever floats your boat. (Full disclosure here - yes, I do sometimes work on my dear wifey's MacBook Pro or 8-core Mac Pro, both of which are very nice. I also have an iPhone and an iPad myself, but I use PC's at the office, have a Windows XP laptop at home, my music PC is a big Win7 64-bit box and I can't remember offhand how many Linux boxes I have - I think I've only got two now, but it may be three, they just don't tend to get used much any more.)
It's all just good fun really isn't it?
...on the one hand, I can see where this article is coming from and largely agree with a lot of what it says.
On the other hand, it uses the word "mature" at one point, implying that the IT or sofrware development industry may have reached that level. I'm not sure that I agree with that. I also don't really agree with the term "software engineer" either (even though I've been saddled with the title myself in the past).
Why the nit-picking? Simple. On most of the products and projects that I worked on over the years, the last words that I would have used to describe the processes used or the end results were "mature" or "engineered". Admittedly, this was often in spite of the best efforts of the designers and developers to try to make them that way, but the painful truth was that most things ended up being best described as "shoddy lashups that should just about work so long as the wind doesn't change". This was usually as a result of badly managed user requirements, incompetent project management and a general cocked-up-ness in the whole way in which the software industry goes about what it does. But that's to be expected - the industry is still very, very young and has had to come a long way in a very short time.
However, as far as "mature" or "engineering" are concerned, I think that the IT industry still has a long way to go. Yes, a lot has been achieved and we can all be proud of doing some pretty amazing things over the years, but if the civil, chemical and mechanical engineering communities were as "mature" as computer and software development, we'd all be spending 90-odd per cent of our time rebuilding collapsed houses, running away from flood waters released by failed dams, admiring the pretty colours from exploding chemical plants, falling into rivers off wobbly bridges, scanning the sky for plummeting blazing aircraft and picking up all the gaskets, pistons and camshafts that our car engines scatter across the road every time we drive them more than 50 or 60 yards.
I'm always a bit puzzled about these "it costs so-and-so much to make" sort of teardown reports.
Mainly because I'm curious about where they get their cost figures from. Do they actually know what Amazon (or Apple or whoever) are paying their suppliers for components, etc? Or is it based on what the person producing the report would have to pay if they shopped around their suppliers or local box shifters or whatever? Or is it based on some kind of industry average/minimum data for particular components (or types of components).
The main reason I wonder about this is that, unless the cost data is coming from the first source (i.e. the people who actually really know what they're paying to have these things made) then the entire report is just so much speculation and hot air really. And while I'm sure that it is possible to get the information from the primary source (by fair means or foul), I also know that such financial data and details would normally be regarded as "Commercial - In Confidence" (or similar) by most companies (and their supply-chain partners) and isn't normally disclosed.
I'm more than happy to be enlightened if anyone can tell me where the numbers are coming from and whether there's any point in actually believing a word of these things.
...considering the earlier comment about the 3D nature of icebergs, we need a volume measurement.
Although I suppose the Paris could still be used. Not sure which bit of Paris you'd measure the volume of, but I'm sure the trusty Reg comment folks can come up with some, well, er...interesting(?) ideas...
Neat idea, but...
...he could at least have tried to get the two iPads lined up at the same level on his front and back. Plus the lighting issues, etc. already mentioned. And, of course, the most important way in which this fails to convince - there's absolutely no impression that you're looking through an actual hole, the edges of which are surrounded by assorted gore, guts and chitlins.
So, overall, more sort of Teletubbies than Death Becomes Her really...
Still, got to give the chap points for at least trying...
Normally I'd pretty much agree with you. In fact, with hindsight, I do indeed feel like a bit of a tit for buying that useless pile of junk without checking it out in more detail in the first place.
Having said that, just look at some of the other comments here or take a quick skim through the fairly large number of reviews out there on the 'net complaining about the increasingly poor quality of Seagate's output in recent years. I've pretty much lost count of the number of internal (IDE, EIDE, SCSI, SATA, whatever) and external (USB, Firewire, NAS) disks that I've bought over the years from various manufacturers and, you know what, the only two that I've ever had bother with were from - you guessed it - Seagate. The first one (a 500GB USB drive) I just put down to the normal statistical run of bad luck. However, the GoFlex Home unit that I bitched about at the top of the page was, undoubtedly, the poorest such product I've ever made the mistake of spending money on. Not a mistake I intend to repeat and one that I will happily continue to recount as a cautionary tale to others - regardless of whatever the merry hell you or anyone else thinks.
Of course, YMMV and caveat emptor, etc. etc. In my case, the caveat involves avoiding most of Seagate's products in future.
If they're coming from Seagate...
...I don't bloody want them. Just watched a Seagate GoFlex Home 2TB network drive (that never worked well at the best of times) just die completely after 10 months of relatively light usage (relatively light because it was so damned useless in the first place).
Without a doubt the most shoddy, damned awful piece of shite product that it's ever been my misfortune to own. If anyone is thinking of buying one, just buy a bunch of A4 notepads and a lot of pencils - you'll be better off. If that's the best that Seagate can do, then any future 5TB drives will probably be best employed as door stops.
A product launch that makes umpteen journalists, industry analysts and self-important tech bloggers look like a bunch of clueless arses who really don't know what they're talking about?
Come on - even the most dedicated Apple-haters have got to raise a congratulatory pint to Cupertino for that one...
My horrendous American oilburning 4x4 can manage something very close to that 0-60 time, even though it weighs a couple of tons. And, in spite of having all the styling and beauty of a breezeblock, it still isn't as utterly, hopelessly fugly as this thing. It also isn't French and it's rather good at not getting stuck in snow or on muddy fields.
To be fair, I was probably a bit bonkers to buy that car (what with the cost of fuel, tax and what have you) but it still makes far more sense as a mode of transport than this mixed-up crapmobile.
...should be a dead giveaway. I mean, what reasonable parent would be dim enough to call their daughter "Randi"? You can imagine the scene in countless clubs, bars and other sundry social occasions...
"Hi! I'm Randi!"
"Waa-heyyy!" or "I bet you are!" or "I'm a bit excited myself!" or "OK, my place or yours?" or <insert endless litany of Carry-on movie or sub-Bond-script repartee here>.
Very silly name.
The problem is...
...if you go down the road that you're following, based purely on simplistic dictionary definitions of words (which are themselves malleable things) then everyone either ends up having to believe absolutely everything or absolutely nothing.
You're right that I can't prove that there isn't a god. However, based on the current evidence, I can be fairly sure that there isn't one. Not absolutely 100% rock-solid certain, that's true, but pretty damned sure nevertheless.
There are lots of other things that I can't prove too. For example, I can't prove that the entire universe wasn't sneezed out of the nose of the Great Green Arkleseizure (thanks Douglas!). But once again, given the total and utter absence of any evidence of such an event, I can be pretty sure that that isn't what happened.
The point here is that I don't need any kind of faith to think that there isn't a god. I just need to look at the evidence and draw the obvious logical inference. Yes, I could end up being wrong, but in the meantime, I can be as sure about it as I am about lots of other things for which there is no evidence (moon being made of green cheese, etc. etc.)
Taking it one step further, if someone who does believe in a god then wants me to join in and believe as well, there's a really easy way for them to achieve that. Just show me some real direct tangible evidence. Or pretty much any verifiable, repeatable evidence in fact. Until they can do that, then I'm afraid that their sky fairy is, in all likelihood, still just a figment of their imagination. And I don't need to worry about it - no faith required (well, not on my part anyway).
Are you seriously suggesting that you can't work out why the Firewire 800 port is still there? Given that high-end iMacs and Mac Pros are fairly popular in pro and semi-pro audio and video work where external video processing hardware and audio interfaces can often be found sporting Firewire 400 or 800 interfaces as their connection method of choice? Until those external hardware manufacturers start moving more universally to USB2 (which they have only just got around to doing fairly recently in some cases) or USB3 (for preference in terms of speed/throughput) or Thunderbolt or whatever, Apple would be rather silly to remove simple Firewire support.
Of course, that doesn't mean that they won't be daft enough to do so at some point, regardless of whether it basically throws out a whole bunch of useful external hardware that their customers would still want to use.
Also, such usage tends to give some support to the argument that, as a straight-forward desktop PC for home, one of these is probably not the best value choice. (Note: contender for understatement of the decade there.)
Well, unless you really really like it and happen to be swimming in spare cash of course, in which case they're rather nice.
"within the parameters" is perfectly fine and has a very sound and proper meaning when used correctly. It's just incorrect usage of the phrase that presents a problem - particularly if that involves someone confusing parameter with perimeter (Egad!)
...while there may indeed be termination clauses, the one thing that the people who set this thing up on the Government side did right (to some extent) was ensure that there were also lots of penalty clauses for non-delivery. So much so that a number of the larger companies and consortia who worked on NPfIT in the early days almost ended up owing the Department of Health more money that the Department owed them. The delicious irony was that failures to deliver were often as much the fault of the customer as they were of the clueless senior managers and incompetent project management on the delivery side - but the penalty clauses still applied and there ended up being huge bun fights between accountants on both sides to work out who owed what to whom.
At least one major IT consultancy outfit ended up walking away from their nice juicy NPfIT contract even though it was rumoured to have cost them over £150 million quid to do so. And that was in actual losses that they made during the couple of years that they worked on this thing - not a loss of projected future revenues.
So while there will almost certainly be costs involved with shutting this thing down, I suspect (and fervently hope) that it would still work out much cheaper than keeping the damned thing going. Particularly since you're highly unlikely to get any kind of decent working system out of it at the end, whatever you do.
Of course, the ideal solution would be to pull the plug on the thing anyway and, if any suppliers come along whinging about it and invoking termination clauses, just tell them to jog on. I'm sure that most of the companies know that the project is just an albatross around their neck anyway...
Stop. 'Cos they should.
I second that...
...it does sound just like an individual hospital management system and most hospitals do indeed have them and, while no system is perfect, they do by and large work and work reasonably well.
@Brian Miller 1 - the NHS NPfIT was and is a colossal and stupid waste of vast amounts of taxpayers money. Like most Government projects, its requirements were poorly thought out and inadequately specified, largely being driven by political motives rather than any realistic assessment of what was needed or could (or should) be achieved. Its senior management, on both the customer side and the contractor/provider side was generally breathtakingly poor, ill-advised and technically incompetent. Make no mistake, the previous Government ministers and other officials who were involved in coming up with this hideous white elephant should all be taken out and roasted over a slow fire. And the current lot should be treated in a similar way if they don't immediately call a complete halt to this ridiculous farce.
During the first two or three years of the NPfIT (or Connecting for Health or whatever you want to call it) most of the technical staff that I worked with knew that the whole thing was hopelessly ill-specified, monumentally poorly-understood and most parts were extremely unlikely ever to work properly, if at all. The fact that one or two parts of it are now sort of working in a roundabout and slightly crippled fashion is just testament to the ability of some of the people who have served time on this almighty sow's ear. It doesn't stop the whole thing overall being a scandalous waste of time, money and resources.
And, like some of the other commenters here, I happen to know something about it 'cos I used to work on part of it. In fact, it was this project that led to me leaving the IT contract/consultancy industry altogether - the massive waste of public funds that it represented just conflicted too much with my professional ethics. Yes, I could have been on the gravy train for years with this one - in fact, I was for two or three - but in the end I got sick of not being able to face myself in the mirror knowing that I was involved in pissing huge amounts of everyone's money up the wall.
So kill it now. Kill it with fire.
No, I think he's probably right...
...it's just that the Dr Who writers are confusing "load of over-played, hokey, self-referential bollocks" with "plot".
Based on those first two episodes, the current series of Dr Who looks likely to join dear old Babble-On 5 and Star Trek: Cheap Skate 9 in the hallowed halls of science fiction TV series that should have been killed off before they took themselves too damned seriously and rapidly disappeared up their own bums.
Stop. 'Cos they probably should. Soon.
If I remember rightly, I think you'll find that the Do Not Track header was indeed a Mozilla idea, but Microsoft added it to their IE9 tracking protection features (and to their W3C submissions in this area) 'cos they liked it and thought it was a good way to go. As opposed to Google's version which I understand was/is rather more pally-pally with the content and ad network folks. Or something like that anyway - I'm sure there are articles here on El Reg that discuss it in more detail.
Whatever - the point remains that the idea for the DNT header was still Mozilla's. Microsoft just happened to implement it in IE9 before it appeared in FF4.
You took the words...
Go! Lots and lots and lots and lots of pointless arguing, name-calling, misinformation, personal dogma, utter balderdash and downright lies from both sides please. It won't be an El Reg Fukushima comments thread without it.
Rational thought optional, but not recommended (based on what we've seen on here over the last week).
And Lewis...you naughty boy you. You're just doing it to annoy them now aren't you?
And don't forget...
 Weary readers who did comment on another article that they really wished that all the argumentative buggers would stop making such a damned racket and just wait until some clear, reliably reported, verifiable facts (remember those?) emerged from the current godawful mess.
The aforementioned weary readers should probably just stop coming back in the vain hope that someone, somewhere might have said something apposite, useful or informative along the way. That really doesn't seem to be happening much, if at all. (Keeping on coming back is part of that whole human "triumph of hope over experience" thing I suppose...)
Let's all just agree on one thing shall we? Fukushima is just one very nasty part of a very nasty, massive humanitarian disaster for the people of Japan and, right here right now, no amount of pro/anti nuclear frothing and fuming about the subject is going to help them in any way whatsoever. It just makes the frothers and fumers look like they're missing the bigger picture and are, perhaps, being slightly silly.
No? Oh, alright then, suit yourselves and let the extended game of silly buggers continue...
It all depends...
...on whether you want to comment on the matter, bringing some interesting and/or new point or perspective to the discussion, or possibly providing pointers to other useful sources of information that you have found, or whether you just want to be another one of the countless wittering armchair pundits on both sides of the argument who seem to be more interested in furthering their own techno/eco-political viewpoint rather than giving proper rational consideration to what is a massive humanitarian disaster on all levels.
At the end of the day, the situation at Fukushima is bad, it certainly appears to be worsening and if it isn't brought under control the consequences may indeed be catastrophic. But on the scale of what has already happened and what is continuing to happen as a result of a truly massive natural disaster, that's just another particularly shitty aspect of an immensely shitty picture. As you quite rightly point out.
Unfortunately, balance and perspective of that sort seem to be alien to most of the mainstream media and a noticeable percentage of the people posting comments here (and elsewhere). Many of the comment threads attached to any onine reporting of Fukushima at the moment come across like a bunch of kids yelling at each other in a playground. I did hope that comments on The Register might be a bit better than most (and, I suppose to be fair, they possibly are). So I do keep on coming back and wading through it all to see if there is some new bit of real information that can aid my understanding of what is happening. But the constant pro/anti rehashing of the same old bollocks, based on many assumptions, much dogma and more often than not little real knowledge, does get tedious.
So to summarise, I don't have a problem with opinions, just with all the bloody stupid arguing about who lit the match (or whether matches should even be allowed at all) when the damned building is still on fire and bits of flaming debris are still falling down around our collective ears (so to speak).
(And, yes, I know Lewis Page didn't help, but if you've read The Register for any length of time, you know where most of the regulars are coming from and how much salt to add...)
Here's an idea or two...
Why don't Rik and Lewis just have a punch-up to decide whether the coverage of this on El Reg is going to be all BBC-style scary stuff or Nuclear-power-is-just-fluffy-kittens niceness.
Once that's sorted, can the rest of the world's journalists stop being such sensationalist gobshites and actually start reporting more actual facts and giving more coverage to other matters - including the other major issues in Japan such as what's happening with the rescue efforts, the situation with the refinery fires, etc.
And finally can the massed ranks of the commenters here stop having their self-obsessed, opinionated slanging matches on this topic and just STFU until some halfway decent facts emerge. Alternatively, if you're all so bloody clever and know so fucking much about it, why don't you get your sorry arse on a plane to Japan and go and help the poor buggers at the Fukushima plant.
On the plus side...
...we now have a shining example ('scuse the pun) of what happens when the blokes in the glass factory get hiccups.
(Or if you're the pedantic sort, what happens when the machine manufacturing the nice regular tubes for energy-saving bulbs throws a wobbler.)
What a stupid impractical fecking monstrosity...
Aren't they the folks behind Rapport - that dreadful piece of unnecessary, crippling bloatware that various UK banks are trying to thrust upon their online customers?
If so, I suspect that this bit of news is just a prelude to them trying to flog even more of their shiteware, this time ostensibly to protect people using mobile devices such as, oh I don't know, iPhones perhaps.
It's getting to the point where I'm almost beginning to prefer the virus writers, phishers and dumb skiddies to the AV snake-oil salesmen.
Let's face it...
...if the local terrorist cells _really_ needed that list in order to work out likely targets to attack, then they're probably too stupid to do anything other than blow themselves up by accident.
I mean, have you actually read the thing? If you apply the slightest bit of thought - even in the absence of any detailed local knowledge - most of it just looks like a list of bleeding obvious candidates!
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