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* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

3100 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

GIANT FLESH-EATING DEVIL CHICKENS roamed North Dakota

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Re: El Pollo Diablo* ?

It's a good job these giant chickens occured in places where the potato also grew. I know there was some nice giant vegetation back then, I really hope someone finds a fossilized giant 'tater.

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Re: the inoffensive, tiny chickens of today

Chickens will go as bonkers as any shark to the smell of blood and the taste of raw meat.

Why, oh why, oh why haven't the James Bond producers used this/

"Number 2, you have failed me for the last time!" [presses switch on desk, trapdoor opens]

What would Bond's line be, as he pushes a henchmen into the chicken pen, during his escape from the evil lair I wonder?

"Clucking hell!"

"What a fowl trick?"

"They were looking a bit peckish"

I'd better stop now, before I go pun-crazy.

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BOFH: On the PFY's Scottish estate, no one can hear you scream...

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Devil

Re: This would be funny except ...

But, but, but! You've got to have the green stuff in the plans!

Otherwise the architects all sulk, the poor dears. Then they get smears on their weird designer glasses, and get tear stains on their pristine hi-vis jackets.

Of course when the engineers get involved in the spec later, the green stuff might actually be made to work. With a following wind and a bit of hope. But that's OK, as then the beancounters come along, they'll take it all off the spec anyway. But none of us begrudge the effort, because a happy architect is worth all the wasted time and effort. Oh yes.

[But like the Murphy's, I'm not bitter.]

Hmmm, quicklime and a shovel you say? Forest up in Scotland? Hmmm. interesting. Checks diary... tappity... tappity... change meeting location... now onto the next... New meeting request accepted. Excellent! Books hotel in Scotland... do we need meeting facilities? Oh no, I don't think we'll use those... I plan by the green agenda. All meetings to be outdoors, to inspire us with nature... tappity... tappity... quicklime.co.uk? It's just possible you could save my life...

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Don't stare: SHRUNKEN Mercury lost 7km, but only 'cos it's COOLING

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Devil

Re: Extending the methodology

It also leads to some interesting speculations on the original size of the average male scrotum.

Oh dear. I really shouldn't have typed that, but I just couldn't stop myself. Is that a space-hopper in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me...

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Samsung puts ultrasonic echolocation cover on a smartphone for the blind

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On the other hand, many others could. And for them, a bigger screen is likely to be better than a smaller one - also for obvious reasons.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: I don't think those who can't see will mind that its not for big screens...

Very few blind people can't see at all. Total blindness is incredibly rare.

Admittedly there are also a lot of people with so little functional vision, that a touch screen would be of no practical use. But there are many conditions where a white cane or guide dog would be appropriate, but where people could still use large prompts on a screen. Or even read some text (if large enough).

Plus there are also plenty of totally blind people who use touch screen phones. Everything is hard when you're blind, so they just get used to dealing with it. I think the high cost and relatively low speed of development of the specialist kit, tempts them to use the mainstream stuff. So the RNIB recomment (or used to) the iPhone, and people get used to being very disclipline as to moving their fingers to select icons (which they've placed so know the layout of) - and using the audio feedback.

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Commentards Ball

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Re: Commentards Ball

I notice that certain staff members sneaked off early, in order to avoid their share of the drinking. Shame!

Or are the El Reg overlords a bit more evil than that, and it was their share of the tab they were avoiding...

However the noble editor (Dear Leader Kim Jong Page) took one for the team, and was still there propping up the bar, whisky in hand, when I had to run for the train.

Perhaps these modern hacks, just can't... hack it? I did ask whether journalism was still the drink-sodden profession of olden days. Most agreed that things had eased-off in recent years, but Lewis said that he'd come to journalism from the navy, so the drinking seemed positively light to him.

It was a fun evening, and I was grateful for the invite. I'm not sure if the Register got any business value out of it. All they've done is expose their poor put-upon staff to even more of the dregs of humanity than they usually meet at media events and trade shows.

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MtGox remedy worse than the disease says Kaspersky researcher

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Re: Le résumé de la situation

Here is the critical fault with fractional-reserve banking that rarely gets discussed. When someone deposits a good it is not because he does not want to use it. Nor does that good represent some idle resource until it is asked for. People who support fractional-reserve banking of both the centralized and “free” varieties are both of the opinion that deposits are idle cash and no one is harmed when a bank puts them to good use.....

Destroy all Monsters,

This is nothing to do with fractional reserve banking. Mt Gox wasn't a bank. It was an exchange or a broker. It wasn't licenced as a bank, nor was it regulated as such. Although it wasn't regulated as a broker either. It also didn't operate as a bank. It only had a fraction of the Bitcoins that it claimed to hold on behalf of its customers either through monumental stupidity and incompetence, or internal fraud. Or possibly both. Losing some of the money was probably inevitable in any complex company, but not noticing and continuing to lose all their assets was incompetence at best.

The reason that banks are allowed to get away with only holding a fraction of their depositors money in cash, is that they pay interest. Current accounts in the UK don't, but then they don't charge fees either (which is quite unusual). But people have savings, as well as current accounts. Banks need to expect people to spend the cash in their current accounts, over the month, but they wouldn't expect their savers to do so. And in fact generally pay higher rates of interest, if you promise to lock your money in a savings product for longer. Also banks lend cash (hopefully) they don't lose it. That loan is an asset. So although they've lent out the cash you deposited with them, they still have something to show for it (unlike Bitcoin). Often a mortgage, backed by a house, or a business loan with collaterol. Also they hold cash reserves, to meet withdrawal requests, and they have capital reserves (their shareholders' money), to cover losses and protect their depositors. Not that it's perfect. But totally different to Bitcoin. And anyone who lends a bank cash at interest is specifically asking the bank to invest it in something. Or thinks the banks are charities, that just pay interest out of niceness...

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'Hacked docs' prove MtGox has 1 MILLION Bitcoins, claim blog-snatchers

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Happy

Re: "Satoshi Nakamoto" = "Free Lunch"?

You can't make an omelette without breaking... metaphors.

Or something.

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Roll up, roll up for the Commentards' Ball

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Re: Will attendees be identified..

I'm Eadon!

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Bloody hell! You guys are patient, if you don't zap accounts where you've already rejected 375 posts!

What kind of cynical, embittered, angry mods must you be - if you've had to read all that. Suddenly it doesn't seem so safe meeting you... This is beginning to sound like a cunning plan to assassinate your more troublesome commentards.

I must check my posting history to see if I have blasphemed against the Vulture God.

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Re: Over an hour without...

Playmobil reconstruction, surely?

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Re: @ADJB

For proper cheap beer, available a short rail journey away, that's also incredibly strong... May I propose Brussels. Yummy food as well.

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Re: "Commentards don't HAVE balls"

Everyone could just have a label saying I'm Spartacus...

Or wear V for Vendetta masks perhaps?

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Devil

Exactly. I'd walk from Australia for the chance to drink free beer.

Although as I live in Blighty, that wouldn't be a problem in this case. And I'm not sure I'd walk to Australia, given some of what they sell as beer...

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a free and frank exchange of views.

Isn't that diplomat speak for a virtual fight? So the poster above who's suggesting you're going to gather all your critics in one place for some cattle-prod re-education may be correct after all.

Run AWAY!!!!

Or perhaps you should kill them with kindness. Go for another post-pub deathmatch, comparing deep-fried polonium against kebabs for half-life and lethality...

Surely this is an opportunity for another badge for commentards as well? To act as a memorial, when nostalically viewing their old posts from before The Cull.

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Re: Great idea!

Other drinks are available. Particularly as they're going to hold this beanfeast in that thar poncy London. So you could have a small sherry instead.

Or perhaps be more traditional and have a large gin...

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Apple to grieving sons: NO, you cannot have access to your dead mum's iPad

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Re: Well done

Denigor,

If you wish not to have your family see your private stuff after you're dead, then don't make them executors of your will. Pick a friend instead.

There's going to be private stuff when you die. It won't be embarrassing though, as you're dead, so won't notice. But that's why you pick an executor you trust. They then get to decide what to do with stuff, not random companies who just happen to be holding onto it at the time you happened to die.

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Re: Well done

Good Grief! What absolute fuckwits downvoted BongoJoe's post? There are 6 of you (so far), who need to seriously re-assess you pathetic fanboi attachment to a giant corporation that really couldn't care less about you. It's not like his criticism was in any way unfair, or unreasonable.

Yes, Apple make some very good kit. However their approach to the law in some of the countries they operate in sucks farts from dead cats (to borrow a descriptive phrase from a friend of mine).

If a death certificate and proof that you're executor is enough to open up access to bank accounts, then it should be damned well good enough for Apple. They really do need to sort themselves out, and stop being such idiots.

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Blimey! ANOTHER Bitcoin bleed brouhaha

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Re: Whereas if it was a bank doing these transactions @Ben

Mark .

Does this no look bubbly to you?

Bitcincharts.com

It certainly does to me.

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Re: Whereas if it was a bank doing these transactions

Paypal deals with "fiat" and has the same problem of being unregulated

Mark .

Paypal has a banking license. At least in Europe. Registered in Luxembourg.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Whereas if it was a bank doing these transactions

Well if a major bank had lost 12% of its assets, I'd expect them not to admit it in public. At least not straight away. They'd go to the Central Bank and try to organise a rescue. In good financial times that's traditionally been a consortium of banks loaning them the cash to survive - or someone taking them over. In times when the other banks are in the poo as well, the Central Bank will do the loaning, or the government takes them over.

What you don't do, is suspend withdrawals. Because then your dead. At that point it becomes your customers' top priority to run away from you, as fast as is humanly possible - taking their money with them, and sealing your fate.

So he's been commendably honest.

As Bitcoin doesn't have a Central Bank, they probably need some kind of co-operative mechanism between the exchanges. If they put a portion of their profits into some kind of slush-fund, they could bail out the reasonably well-run ones, in exchange for equity/loans and take over and try to save the crap ones. But that would require the exchanges to trust each other, which I suspect they don't - and some of them to be well run, which I suspect they aren't.

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Blighty teen boffin builds nuclear reactor INSIDE CLASSROOM

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Happy

Re: Does this signify a revival

Well I keep reading stories about the e-Cat. Maybe once a month at the moment? I believe you can now buy one. Though if you do, you aren't allowed to look inside.

Just in case you find you've bought a containerful of AA batteries perhaps...

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Seriously, you've got to love a headmaster willing to support this. And a kid willing to suggest it, then do it. Hooray for all involved.

I dread to think what his A Level experiments will be like. "Please Mr Headmaster, I only want to dig up the playground and surrounding main roads to build a small underground particle accelerator/collider."

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Re: Almost certainly a stupid question...

Indeed. When will we have nuclear powered aircraft and buses, like in that documentary series I used to watch. What was it called again? Ah yes, Tomorrow's World Thunderbirds.

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Happy

There's no chance of that. We just don't have the extinct volcano cones that can be turned into secret bases for it. Geology is against us - and therefore we will lose potential-top-evil-genius talent like this to foreigners, who have.

And don't give me any of that rubbish about his genius being used for good. He's playing with noocular, so there was no chance of that, even before the irradiation.

I hope the headmaster spent some of that £3,000 on a white cat...

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Bitcoin bank Flexcoin pulls plug after cyber-robbers nick $610,000

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Re: And yet...

Mark.

As the saying goes, 'the markets can stay irrational, longer than you can stay solvent'.

It's probably a bubble, because the current price of Bitcoin isn't sustainable. It's artificially boosted by 'investors'. When it stops being volatile, they'll have no incentive to stay. But because the Bitcoin market is so small, they have a disproportionate effect on the price.

So if you're in it as a cheeky high-risk investment, then good luck to you. I've no sympathy if you lose your shirt, and you've got to time it so that you aren't the last one holding the parcel if Bitcoin does collapse. Which it could well do.

But if you're some kind of utopian libertarian wanting to build an international medium of exchange not subject to government whims, then watch out. As the hot money may all bugger off at once - taking a lot of your cash with them.

Yet given that each low is far higher than the height of the previous bubble

That's not true either. Hasn't it been down at $20 within the last 12 months? Or was that a few months before? One of the problems with Bitcoin is we don't have any figures as to what the economy is. Another thing governments are useful for. So we don't know how much real trade happens in BItcoin, how much it gets used for drugs, and how much it's just being hoarded. Without that it's only guesswork that it's a bubble. But good guesswork when you consider that there are several people who've publicly said they're investing tens of millions of dollars into it, and yet daily turnover rarely gets even close to the million mark.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: And yet... @Tim

Bitcoin trading volumes are pretty low. So it's relatively easy to manipulate the price. Particularly if you make your transactions on days when trading volume is particularly low, as it's also quite volatile.

I also wonder about the stats. Is somone checking to make sure the exchanges aren't price-fixing, or mis-reporting?

Also when trading volumes are listed, is that for several thousand Bitcoins per day i.e millions of dollars? Or is it transactions per day? As last time I looked at Bitstamp's prices, it listed the last 10 transactions, and the biggest was for 0.3 BTC. Also those 10 transactions moved the price from something like $618 to $622, in a few minutes. So that's a nearly 1% change in price - on transactions totalling less than $1,000.

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Re: I'm telling ya..

But which state?

The state of denial. Which is the state most Bitcoin fans seem to be permanently in...

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Happy

My turn

Right. That's it. This is getting ridiculous! But don't worry! Help is at hand. I'm launching into the Bitcoin business myself. I admit, all my past scepticism was wrong.

Today I'm launching SpartaCoin. I can give a 100%, cast-iron guarantee that no scammers will get their filthy hands on our coins. It'll all be laid out in the Ts&Cs, fair-and-square.

I promise to steal all the cash and Bitcoins entrusted to our site myself. That way there can be no doubts, no worries, and no sick feeling of dread, as you see the website failing to load.

What are you waiting for? Get online NOW, and open your account on SpartaCoin!

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Hundreds of folks ready to sue Bitcoin exchange MtGox

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Devil

Re: ... Blood from a stone?

Captain Scarlet,

Yeah. The days of mining to get cheap Bitcoins are over. The way to do it now, is just to start up your own exchange...

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I ain't Spartacus
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I presume the lawyers must be charging a fee to 'register' with them for the case. I guess they feel that it shouldn't just be Bitcoin that can take the unwary punters' money, that's traditionally lawyers' work!

It's not like there's any realistic chance of getting anything back.

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Chillax, cranky commentards: Anger can KILL YOU

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Re: If this is true...

Actually I agree. The Daily Mail is a brilliantly put together product. It's designed to get its readerships' blood boiling ever so often. Along with news, celeb stories, human interest type stuff etc. I believe they've been the paper that's lost the least circulation consistently for the last decade. So they're doing something right.

Personally I hate reading it. Sadly a whole bunch of the editorial staff seem to have gone off to the Telegraph, and taken that in a similar direction.

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Devil

If this is true...

How come the entire readership and staff of The Daily Mail haven't dropped dead yet?

I guess we can answer for the staff. You can't have a heart attack, if you don't have a heart...

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Dark matter killed the dinosaurs, boffins suggest

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What do you mean emus are mythical! I've seen that fly-on-the-wall documentary in The Pink Windmill. Emus are real I tell you! Yes real!!!!

...Sorry, got to go... There's somebody at the door.

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Crack Euro banker team to probe whether virtual currencies should be regulated

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Re: Let's ask bankers

Nick Ryan,

There's no tangible asset behind any government debt. QE is just governent debt, which hasn't been sold to anyone yet. You unwind it, by selling that debt into the market.

QE was also used to buy corporate debt, but I think that was mostly in the US, and in short term bonds, so will get paid back quite quickly, as the Fed stops QE. That was basically identical to a central bank being a lender of last resort, but to other companies as well as banks. So it's reversible money printing, by design. In time, some of the government debt will probably get cancelled, but I'd imagine some will get sold to reduce market liquidity.

You need to remember that money isn't backed by assets either.

Bitcoins have no more "deflation", or perhaps more accurately "de-valuation" than any other currency

I'm not sure what you mean here. Bitcoin is deflationary, because there are a fixed number of coins. Thus as time goes by Bitcoins will buy more goods. That's the opposite to de-valuation, so it has less 'devaluation' than any other currency, not more, by design. This makes banking impossible. Because it costs more to repay a loan than the original loan was worth - as the value of each Bitcoin increases over time. Interest on loans is designed to protect the bank from inflation, plus to give them a profit. Without loans, you can't have investment. So you can't have a successful Bitcoin only economy.

In order to maintain the financial illusion that an economy is growing new money must be continually created

This is the wrong way round, mostly (I'm not a monetarist). Most money isn't notes and coins - which get printed. The money supply goes up when the economy is growing. Because the economy is growing. Money doesn't pool with the rich, because money keeps on circulating. Sure, some people hold on to physical notes and coins, but only a limited amount. Most people shove it in the bank, or invest on the stock market. The banks lend that money out, and the people who borrow it, spend it, and the people they spend it with bung it in the bank (or pay other people who do), and the banks then lend to different people. And the more people who are willing to borrow, the higher the money supply - but the banks aren't printing money, the money's just moving round. Because each time they lend, they have to have the money to lend with, which means someone's lent it to them.

Economics is weird. Money isn't what most people think it is. The job of banks is to recycle it into the economy. We're not on the gold standard anymore, so money doesn't just build up in rich peoples' safes.

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Re: Of course BT should be regulated...

Anonymous Coward,

That's all great. But totally beside the point. It would be great if government did less, taxes were lower and the economy worked better. Though only an idiot would pretend that there wouldn't be losers as well as winners in that scenario.

But we live in a democracy. And that's not what the voters currently want. So in the meanwhile, you don't get to opt out of taxes, just becasue you don't like what the government does with them. Tough shit. If you can't persuade people to vote to change the system your way, then deal with it, or vote with your feet and leave.

Oddly the rest of Northern Europe are pretty much all more socialist than us, and yet have better healthcare because it's semi-privatised. Though heavily government regulated and controlled. But if government gets out of healthcare totally, then there'll be no healthcare for anyone who's poor. Which would be immoral as well as having massively bad effects on the economy. Unless you want people starving on the streets, government can't get totally out of welfare either.

You need to address the real world as it is. Not some libertarian's dream. A mixed economy is what works best. It's just a question of arguing about how much government should do, what it shuld regulate, and where it should leave well alone.

However the private sector hasn't been covering itself in glory recenlty either. There's a notable lack of accountability and consequences there too. Which makes it pretty hard for an economic conservative like me to argue for moving to something more like the Belgian/Dutch model for the NHS - which means a mix of public and private hospitals, along with a mix of public and private health insurance.

By the way, do some research. Government spending isn't 80% of GDP anywhere (except maybe North Korea). It hit more than 50% of GDP in the UK after the crash, and part of that was due to borrowing/QE of £170-odd billion. But for the last 30 years it's been hovering around the lower end of 40-45% of GDP.

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Re: Let's ask bankers

Since governments don't "have" any money, they can keep their promise by doing one of 2 things - raise money through taxes, or print some more.

You missed one. Borrowing. Which is what most of them have been doing. Printing is unusual. Also QE isn't quite printing. At least not yet. I'm sure the Central banks will quietly delete the government debt they've paid for with printed QE cash, in a few years time. But they'll probably unwind some of the QE first, for form's sake if nothing else. Also it will be another way of mopping up excess liquidity in the markets without raising interest rates.

Anyway, except the crisis, no major world economy has been printing. Apart from a few half-hearted bursts of mini-QE from the Japanese Central Bank during their 20 years of stagnation/deflation. If governments had been printing for such a long time, rather than borrowing, we'd have had hyper-inflation. The reason I used the phrase 'real money' - is that I don't think Bitcoin qualifies, or should be taken seriously yet.

As for the Bitcoin fans who keep banging on about inflation, Bitcoin has built-in deflation, which is worse. That certainly means it can never be a fully-fledged currency, as it makes proper banking pretty much impossible.

The other big problem I see for Bitcoin is that it's international by design. Which is great for making international payments. But then what law regulates Bitcoin? And who regulates its institutions - i.e. the exchanges and design. What happens if some miners get onto the Bitcoin foundation board, and vote through changes that allow them to mint more Bitcoins? Who's to stop them?

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Re: Of course BT should be regulated...

Well there's two answers to that.

1. Taxes are necessary. If you want government healthcare, education, pensions, unemployment and sickness benefits etc., you gotta have taxes.

2. Bitcoin needs some regulation if it's going to be any use. You can't have a free market without some regulation. Without enforcable contracts, you can't do business. And without some institutions that you can trust, Bitcoin will remain a ridiculous vehicle for speculation and criminality. I'm well aware that some people use it legitimate purposes too. But anyone who uses it on anything other than a tiny scale at present is a fool. Unless they've got loads of spare cash, that they can afford to loose, and want to have something massively speculative in their investment portfolio. With the possibility of 100% gains in one month, comes the equal possibility of 100% losses.

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Re: Let's ask bankers

And how exactly do you buy your Bitcoins? Via banks perhaps? i.e. with real money.

Admittedly I do seem to recall there was a Finnish programmer who was getting paid in Bitcoins a few months back. I wonder if he still is? He'll have made a nice litle profit on his December salary. Shame about the 20% salary cut in one day in February though... And that's not the worst massive drop in the market that's happened in even the last 6 months.

The Bitcoin exchanges aren't banks. So they shouldn't be regulated like them. But they should probably be regulated like brokers. So if they're holding money (or Bitcoins) on behalf of their clients, they should be protected in a special account - that's separated from the trading funds, and the rest of the company. So they don't disappear if the company goes titsup.

Governments may be annoying, and tax people. But taxes pay for nice things, like healthcare too. And money laundering rules may also be annoying, but then money launderers are sometimes murdering bastards. And while it would be better if drugs were legal, they currently aren't. While that holds true, the people who trade in them tend to kill people.

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Font Change?

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Re: Font Change?

diodesign,

Thanks for replacing the toner, and making the text darker again.

It looks like links in posts are fixed again too. As they were an even lighter grey.

But the El Reg links for navigating round the site still seem to be in a very pale grey on a white background. They seem to be a mid-grey before you click on them, and then once the cookie is set that they've been clicked on, it's back to almost illegible pale grey again.

Have the people who fled Microsoft after the Metro disaster all wound up doing your web design? Colour and contrast = good. Even if doesn't achieve some designer's definition of elegant, clarity is its own kind of elegance...

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Cyber battle apparently under way in Russia-Ukraine conflict

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Aha I see .... their security systems were only prepared for the more friendly kind of aggressor who does not brazenly violate the law but asks politely whether he can invade your country, and certainly wouldn't tamper with your phone systems unless he had your explicit permission.

Dr Who,

I suspect Ukraine's cyber defence systems aren't very well funded. Their government finances would probably be pretty sad, even if their last few governments hadn't been horribly corrupt.

But I suspect the thing they weren't prepared for was their internal systems to be captured on day one of conflct. Normally planners expect a build-up to hostilities. Total surprise invasions are pretty rare, as there's normally a build-up to conlict, where both sides do a bit of negotiating. Or at least a build-up of tension. Which gives the defences times to get prepared, and the diplomats time to strut their funky stuff - and try to avoid trouble.

But in this case there was a bit of Russian unhappiness, followed by Russian mobilisation (or "military exercises"), and invasion on the same day. And Ukraine was at the second disadvantage of being in the middle of forming a government at the time as well.

It's easier to defend against an external attacker than it is to deal with one in physical control of some of your own networks. And that would be true even if Ukraine was a match for Russia's capabilities, which I severely doubt it is.

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Security researchers uncover three-year-old 'RUSSIAN SPYware'

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Re: Don't be daft!@ All names Taken

After he won the competition for Ukraine to join his customs union...[snip]...he saw his victory stolen.

If that really is a valid version of the Russian government's opinion then they need to grow the fuck up.

Firstly it's not a game. Secondly democracy isn't about elections. It's about legitimacy. It's about creating enough trust in the system that the losing side is willing to accept the result of their loss, and to accept the winning side as legitimate. The Ukranian government failed in this, due to being monumentally corrupt and incompetent. They also didn't help by using machineguns and snipers on (mostly) peaceful protesters.

Putin may not understand this, as it's what he probably would have done. But earlier in his rule (in his first terms as President), he was a lot more subtle about weilding power than he now is. He played more at being the democrat, and found it easier to rig the system. Probably because he was genuinely incredibly popular back then. Which I suspect he isn't any more.

The lot who are in power in Ukraine now would possibly have made the same mistakes, leading to Eastern Ukraine and Crimea splitting off anyway. But we may never know now, as Russia invaded first.

A lot of Putin's victories are pyrrhic though. Maybe he's happy if he destroys Ukraine, but when they have to default on the $30-odd bilion they owe Russia, he may be less happy. It'll probobably also take out a couple of big Russian banks - plus even more Russian money will flee to Cyprus, London, NY etc. Russia needs the West. Sure we may need their gas, but their economy collapses if they don't sell it. Equally their own population don't trust their economy, and won't leave their savings in it, and foreign investors are becoming increasingly less willing to get involved, as they keep seeing their money stolen. The Russian Central Bank has been going through about $7 billion of reserves a week, trying to keep the ruble from collapsing and causing massive inflation. That's probably going to get worse now. Remember Putin was popular for 2 reasons. Firstly that he stood for stability and growth in the once chaotic economy. And secondly for being a tough-guy nationalist. I rather suspect the second will look less peachy if it fucks up the first. As Clinton said, "It's the economy stoopid."

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Don't be daft!

Russia has an extremely competent and well funded spying agency. It also has some excellent computer skills, as well as quite a lot of effective cyber-criminals. Why would anyone be surprised if Russia was spying online, along with every other nation that's capable of it?

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MtGox: Yup, we're pretty sure your Bitcoin were stolen. Sorry about that.

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Re: No sympathy.......

Loyal Commenter,

Except if you buy your coins from a Bitcoin exchange, you'll be paying a lot more than 0.00000?%. Added to the risk that they lose,or steal, your money.

On the other hand, if I want to make a transaction with someone in euros, I could equally buy some Euros off someone. Which is an equally safe transaction as doing so with some random person in the UK, not via an exchange. As someone has to hand the cash or Bitcoins over first, there's no mechanism for simultaneous transactions.

On the other, other hand I can get a credit card. I believe that Halifax and/or Nationwide do one. Which has zero loading of exchange rates, and no commission on them either. So you get the straight inter-bank rate, at the time the transaction goes through. They of course take their 2% merchant fees or whatever. But then most merchants don't account for that individually, they set their prices for all transactions the same.

Then there's the other cost you ignore, which is the merchants' cost of turning Bitcoins back into real money. As most of their suppliers probably won't take Bitcoin yet.

Then you ignore fluctuations. Foreign currency tends to move by 1% on a really bad day. The pound might lose/gain a penny on the Euro every couple of months. Most days it moves in fractions.

Bitcoin can move by 10% in minutes. 20% in a day is not at all uncommon. So depending on when you buy your coins, your transaction costs could be truly enormous. Which means the merchant is going to have to charge a premium for Bitcoin.

Also your credit card costs you some money, but gets you insurance on all transactions over £100. And the change of chargebacks at lower amounts, if you get ripped off. Bitcoin doesn't.

I looked at one of the big Bitcoin exchanges a couple of weeks ago. They'd posted the last 10 transactions. Not a single one of those was for a while Bitcoin, it was 0.1BTC, 0.2 BTC etc. Over about a 10 minute period. The price had fluctuated between about $618 and $622. So the whole global bitcoin market was moved by nearly 1% in value in 10 minutes, on transactions of a total value of less than $1,000! That is an astonishingly unsafe market for retail investors to get involved in. Most people don't have the knowledge, or appetite for risk, to ever be involved in that kind of trade. Nor should anyone in good conscience advise them to do so.

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I ain't Spartacus
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So what this statement is telling us, is that Mt.Gox were incomptent with their custom Bitcoin wallet software and processes, their cash-handling software/processes and their accounting software and processes.

Perfect!

Or in other words, they've just admittwe that they're at least criminally negligent. And that's if we can get over our natural suspicion that they may have just stolen it. Which is always what comes to mind first to this ex EVE player.

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Ever get the impression a telesales op was being held prisoner?

I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Not a bad idea actually

Strangely enough, a lot of people in prison aren't looking at a thrilling and fulfilling career ahead of them. As a group, they tend to be worse educated than average - and are obviously going to be struggling to make up a nice CV and references. Given they're currently in prison. So the options aren't great.

But the alternative is a life of crime. Which probaobly pays even worse, has even less in the way of prospects, and tends to land you with time in prison. Some people are willing to work far worse jobs than call centres in order to try and get back to a normal life. It is in their interests, and society's, that we should try and help them to do so.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Not a bad idea actually

Solo,

If they yelled at the customer what'd the manager (jailer) do? Increase the term?

Sack them. Working on something in the prison that you get paid for, is something some prisioners want to do They can use the cash to buy stuff. Also it looks good when the parole hearing comes up, if you've been working at a skill that might lead to a job when you're out. The opposite is also true, if you've been chucked off a rehabilitation program, parole may not be as soon as allowed.

Prison rehab programs are mostly under-funded and over-subscribed. Prisoners are trying to get on them, and don't want to get chucked off. Some for the cynical reason that they want to impress a parole board, some because they want the cash, some because they're bored and some because they genuinely want to get rehabilitated. And probably some for all of the above...

Many prisoners do try to get back on track. Re-offending rates aren't just made up of career criminals who can't change. Some people get let out with no skills, nowhere to live, broken family ties and just fall back into crime. It's worth making serious effort to help people turn their lives around, because many will. And that saves a lot of grief for both them, and society overall.

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Microsoft to get in XP users' faces with one last warning

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Re: When you threaten Meetup, it's blackmail...

I suggest you learn the actual meaning of the word blackmail.

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Apple investors fall for CEO Cook's product-presentation prank

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Re: to all these multi-multi-paragraph writers

You too can be a multi-paragraph poster. All you need to do, is learn to touch-type. 50-100 wpm should get you a few paragraphs in reasonably quickly.

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