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* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

2743 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

You've been arrested for computer crime: Here's what happens next

I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Excellent stuff

Yes, the defence can hire computer experts too. In fact, lots of the consultants who work for the prosecution, also work for the defence. In different cases of course...

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Re: 3 of 19

I was thinking of conducting all my criminal activity on a Cray II. Or even a LEO, if I can get one. That way, they'll never get my computer into the evidence bags... No chain-of-evidence, no conviction.

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OK, maths wonks: PRIME TIME has arrived

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Headmaster

Oh dear. Double greengrocers' apostrophes in my post above. Shocking. Jaffa Cakes still rule though. I've got to go to the shops at lunchtime, now I'll have to buy some.

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Oreo's are horrible. Just more expensive Bourbon's with delusions of grandeur.

Bow down and all hail the mighty Jaffa Cake!!!!!!!

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Twitter to flog IPO shares at $26, eyes $2bn prize ... IBM will be pleased

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This sale could actually be a real success. Like the Facebook one was.

I actually heard a market analyst on the radio the other day, saying that Twitter's under-writers need to be careful on pricing, in order to not price it too high, and leave nothing for the market.

i.e. his advice to them was not to maximise the profit for their paying client (Twitter), but to sell the shares for less than the market was willing to pay, so the early 'investors' can sell at a nice profit. Which is lovely for the market of course, but not so much for Twitter.

By those lights, the early Facebook hoping-for-the-greater-fool buyers got screwed, and Facebook's owners got all the money that it was possible for them to get - which is a successful IPO in my book. Obviously not so good for the traders.

Obviously both valuations are totally bonkers though. Facebook might be worth a good deal, given all the captive eyeballs it's got, and the fact it makes decent profits. But over $100bn seems mad. Twitter doesn't even have profits yet, or the same kind of customer lock-in - so I don't see how it's worth all that moolah.

I'm so glad I stopped paying into a pension, and put my hopes of a non-catfood-eating-retirement elsewhere. At least it's not my money being wasted. I'm sure I can manage to bollocks-up my own investment without help from the professionals...

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We've invented the FONBLET, says Samsung

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Re: Yes, Invented.

ChrisInAStrangeLand,

I think it speaks well for Samsung management that someone came up with an odd idea, for the Galaxy Note, which probably seemed a bit odd, and they made it. And it turned out to be a success. So they went with it. I'm sure plenty of their phone models have failed, but given their profits from the phone division, they're obviously doing something right.

Apple's rigidity makes them vulnerable to someone doing to them exactly what they did to Nokia, if at any point they fail to adapt in a timely fashion, and someone else comes out with something even shinier than current top-end smartphones. In the meantime though, it probably maximises their profits - as Sammy and Apple basically hoover up all the profits in the industry between them.

As happens, it's not a moronic market segment either. Just because you don't want one doesn't mean it's not a valid product idea. I hate on-screen keyboards, but don't get on with the Blackberry style ones either. Therefore a stylus would be ideal for me. Although I don't send many texts or mobile emails, so have a smaller screened smartphone and do without. My phone is primarily for voice comms.

My friend who's a designer now has a Galaxy Note II. Because it allows him to photograph on site, sketch information on it, and email it to the office (or clients), all from one single device that's costing him about £300. A separate smartphone and 7" tablet for sketching would have been more flexible, but he preferred one thing to rule them all. For perfectly valid reasons.

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Re: Trying too hard to be 'cool'

Anonymous Sir or Madam, for that comment I salute you.

Reading excellent comments on El Reg... Happy Days...

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Cops: Bloke makes bet with wife. Wife loses - so hubby TASERS her

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Re: If

But a taser isn't a 357 Magnum. Aren't they classed as non-lethal weapons? I know there's some debate on the safety of the things, but they must be regarded as pretty safe, because there used to be a rule in the British police that you couldn't be issued with one, until you'd been stunned with it. It was part of the training. Don't know if that's still the case. But the lawyers in workplace health and safety would definitely have something to say if they tried that rule on the firearms officers...

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Horrific FLESH-EATING PLATYPUS once terrorised Australia

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Re: Someone get SciFi Channel on the phone!

And now, on SyFy it's time for 'The Platypocalypse'! Starring some alleged actors, wearing inadequate amounts of clothing...

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Google Helpout live vids: Helping you help us help ourselves, says web giant

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Happy

I wonder if it would be possible to make a service less useful than Yahoo Answers?

Oh well, even if Google's offering is rubbish, if it knocks Yahoo's lack of Answers down the page a bit, it can't be all bad.

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How the W3C met its Waterloo at the Do Not Track vote showdown

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Re: 105

CaptainHook,

Agreed. Facebook and Google in particular are waaaaaaay across the creepy line, as far as I'm concerned. But that's still a minority view. Most people are more interested in getting on with their lives, and don't wish to 'waste their time' by getting involved in politics or 'weird obsessions about privacy'. Right until their love for goat-porn is exposed to their families due to tracking/advertising.

Plus society and politics are usually pretty slow at catching up with technological change. The internet is still in it's Wild West phase, and I'm sure there's a few more years of that to go.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Is there actually any evidence...

Neil Barnes,

I can answer your question. Users want advertising. They've shown this by mostly refusing to pay for websites, when there was a free alternative with adverts.

Like any opinion poll question, you have to be careful how you ask it. I'm sure that if you asked people "do you like advertising" you'd mostly get a resounding raspberry. But, if you asked the same people 'would you prefer The Daily Mail online to be free (supported by ads), or would you rather pay for it' - you'd get a different answer.

Admittedly many might say 'yuck, I'd like the Mail to go out of business'... But the point stands. People put up with ads to get the stuff they want for free. It's a perfectly reasonable transaction.

The problem is that people in general aren't particularly bothered by what's going on (don't really think about it), until someone points it out in a way that they notice. Then they'll be annoyed. So the industry will walk a creepy fine line between what it thinks it can get away with, and what it would like to try. There will be scandals and campaigns. But I suspect that most people are happy to be advertised at, and even happy to be tracked (at least a bit), in exchange for free stuff that they value. How much of it they'll put up with, is still anybody's guess.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: A quick question

Tools > Options > Privacy tab > tracking is the first bit of the page, just click in the box you want.

Admittedly it's buried away and this is an interesting argument. MS turned it on by default, and took a whole load of crap for doing so. Presumably on the grounds that no-one is going to choose to turn tracking on. And default opt in is always the most convenient option for advertisers / Ryanair trying to sell you insurance / junk mailers / Google giving you their toolbar / Adobe giving you McAfee...

So Mozilla have it turned off. Chrome has it hidden behind an advanced settings hyperlink in the settings page, also off by default.

Of course the problem with all the browser makers turning it on by default is that the advertisers can then say that this wasn't a user choice, so we'll ignore it. So there's no easy answer.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Maybe the ad-block writers could have a 'block some' option where adverts that behave don't get blocked. It could train the others to start behaving if others are getting their ads served up.

That's surely one possibility. Say some of Firefox, Opera, MS and Apple got together and have a set of obnoxious advert tools. Then if enough users click on the 'kill this crappy ad' button, it gets blocked on all their browsers. Even FF with its 20% market share could have a big impact on its own. MS might get into trouble with regulators if they go it alone. It could even be a popular feature that pull users away from Chrome, and forces Google to join in.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: 105

Of course it does. Follow the money. A substantial amount of the internet is paid for by advertising. Including most of the shiny stuff Google do. Therefore the advertisers are going to demand a seat at the table. Therefore a compromise will have to be reached that doesn't piss off one side so much that they throw the whole deal up in the air, and piss all over everyone else's chips.

Given that only a limited subset of internet users seem to care about privacy, and not many more seem interested in bothering to learn the issues, there's a lot that the advertisers can get away with.

To quote Eric Schmidt, "There is what I call the creepy line. The Google policy on a lot of things is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it."

Which is a pretty good summary of the situation. Don't wake the twin sleeping giants of government or public. They're happy when they're asleep, they don't really want to have to care about this sort of thing. Therefore they get very grumpy if you wake them up, and force them to take notice by taking the piss too much. And then they may over-react and bugger-up your whole business by mistake.

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I ain't Spartacus
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The browser makers also have a lot of power here. At the moment, the anti-tracking / anti-advertising tools are a bit of a blunt instrument. I don't want to ad-block The Register, because I want to read your stuff, so I want you to get paid. But equally, I can't be bothered to turn on an ad-blocker, and then manually configure it to see ads from the sites I want to get paid. I've therefore decided it's only fair to accept advertising - rather than be lazy and block it all.

The same with tracking and cookies. It's a lot of effort, what with having to clear the Flash cache, the browser cache, and presumably when IPv6 comes in, regularly change the MAC address of your pooter that it's reporting

The browser makers could simplify a lot of this. They could play around with what info they give out in headers, what links they automatically follow, what images they download, how they respond to javascript tracking and how they accept cookies. And give the user back a lot of control for all the sneaky stuff that's going on. Although I guess Chrome has no incentive to do that, and Firefox do get a lot of their cash from Google - so will have to be cautious about pissing them off.

One thing that would be nice (and very easy) is a way to right click on an obnoxious advert and kill it. Like the O2 ones that the Register was running a while back, and said they couldn't cancel because they had a contract - and O2 took an absolute age to fix. Adobe don't want to give you tools to turn that shit off, because they're crap, but Firefox could easily do it. Either a one-off thing, or just a one-click way to kill the Flash Plug-in, if Adobe won't play ball in some way.

There's likely going to have to be a deal at some point. There's a whole bunch of people holding the nuclear option on each other, so if they don't deal, someone's going to press it. Governments may choose to get involved, which will almost certainly fail - but could do so by buggering up the market totally. Browser makers could nuke the advertising market instantly - if they were really pissed off. Facebook, Google and social networks have loads of info gathered through log-ins, so might feel that going on an anti-advertising-tracking campaign could suit them - as they get their creepy info a different way. Or the consumers could go rogue and start boycotting the creepiest stuff (in reality whichever high-profile target missteps and gets noticed), and force change.

It's all fun and games, until someone loses an eye...

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Big Beardie's watching: Alan Sugar robots spy on Tesco petrol queue

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Happy

Re: scanners

In which case, expect to see adverts for death-star thermal exhaust port covers and 'get well soon son' cards. Possibly also moisturising cream ads, both him and the emperor could really have done with some of that...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Balaclava anyone?

Sad replying to myself I know, but the idea popped into my head because of yesterday's article, and I can't help it:

What adverts do zombies watch?

Braaaaaaaain's Faggots.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Balaclava anyone?

No, not army style face paint. Actor style... Just make yourself up to look 40 years older, or optionally like a zombie, and enjoy all those creepy adverts for sweets and funeral plans.

What adverts do zombies watch?

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Facebook fans fuel FAGGOT FURY firestorm

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Re: Talking about Rugby can cause embarrassment as well...

Then again, we all know that you get up to some pretty odd things in the scrum...

Anyway they have a position in American Football called "tight end", so they're in no position to comment.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: This is disturbing

Tips for confusing visiting Americans:

1. As well as not worrying when told there's faggots for tea, due to it not meaning what might you think, do not be alarmed if an English person offers you spotted dick afterwards...

2. Elgin Marbles is a fun game for all the family to play. There's a permanent game run at the British Museum every day.

3. David Cameron had a fag at Eton. It doesn't mean what you think it means.

On second thoughts...

4. We're very glad that you noticed our confusion over Orson Scott Card's 'Ender's Game' - and changed the name of the Aliens to the "Formics". Shall we say there would be a good deal of sniggering at the back in cinemas had you kept the original the "Buggers".

5. London Underground encourages its passengers to strike up lively conversations, in order to while away the monotony. In fact, it is considered rude to not make eye contact, or discuss such pleasantries as the weather, on a crowded tube train.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Could've Been Worse

Worse than that, if he says he's about to roast faggots...

Or do you boil them? I've never been tempted by them. Despite that advert, "Brain's Faggots. So good, you'll wish you tried them years ago." It took me a while to work out that Brain's was the trade-name, rather than the ingredient... And while we're at it, you can keep your mushy peas as well!

I want proper, honest, food like toad-in-the-hole...

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Facebook tests sinister CURSOR-TRACKING in hunt for more ad bucks

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Re: Sorry to be so blunt...

I've clicked on a lot more ads since getting an iPad. Come to think of it, I've clicked a good few since getting a phone with a browser as well. Small screen + touch controls + large fingers = ooopsie.

Particularly when El Reg run those ones that fill the whole background of the page, so you go to scroll downwards, leave finger on too long, and get a press instead of a swipe. I hope I've made a small contribution to the El Reg hacks' beer-fund...

I'm not normally an online ad clicker. I can only remember clicking on one deliberately in the last few years. Which was a Microsoft Office 360 one on here, as I was planning to look up the prices that day anyway - and it popped up at just the correct time. I have deliberately looked at the Facebook ads, and been shocked by the low quality, from such a well-known site. At least half the ads on there seem to be scams (of various sorts) - and if I were a legitimate advertiser, I wouldn't want to use Facebook because of the association. The chances of your ad turning up next to one of those 'work from home for an hour a day and earn $1,000', or 'get free iPhone' types are extremely high. Not to mention all the 'diet secrets', body-building 'honest it ain't drugs but a supplement' ones, and the Thai/Russian brides.

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I ain't Spartacus
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I think my mouse tends to sit somewhere to the vague right-hand side of the screen. So it would pretty much always be hovering over Facebook adverts. Or at least it would if I logged on more than once every 6 weeks...

I use the mouse wheel to scroll, so the only time the mouse moves, is when I'm moving it to click on something. At which point I click on it, unless interrupted.

Maybe Facebook are hoping that this is the case for most people. A large majority being right-handed. In which case they can blame the advertisers. They can say, our users were hovering over your ads, ready and waiting to click, but your ads were so shit - they just didn't bother. We're doing our job, sack your ad agencies...

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Nokia wins UK patent spat: Quick, let's boot HTC One out of Blighty

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Re: How can...

I wonder if the reason Qualcomm only bought a US license is that it's for the CDMA stuff. There weren't many people using that standard, other than the US were there? But some recent phones have had the hardware for both built-in, to save having 2 products. Just a thought, anyway. As it could explain why no-one thought to check on the licenses, as there ain't no CDMA to talk to in Blighty.

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Everything's going to be all white: Google Nexus 5 mobe expected Friday

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Devil

Re: Who Wrote this article?

That's way overpriced and under-specced. Good grief man, it can't even make a cup of tea!

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I ain't Spartacus
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It's also doubly-impressive because I was at the cinema yesterday and I saw an advert for the Snapdragon range of processors. Obviously, having seen the little dragon flying through the air I now must have a phone with one in!

Other than Intel, I don't ever recall seeing a chip advert before. Except from McCain... I can't imagine many mobile users are going to notice it, given you'd have to read the spec sheets to know if you've got Qualcomm inside.

I have to agree with you though, those specs don't look half bad at all, particularly from something that's going to be around £250.

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Badges for Commentards

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Re: @drewc

Mr Auditor - or can I just call you Evil,

I believe that it does have to be 2,000 pure Evil Auditor upvotes, and not anon ones, or ones from a previous username (if you've ever changed it). Similarly for the 100 posts allows you html rule, they don't accept anon posts. They really have a thing about anons on 'ere.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: @drewc

Evil Auditor,

The ignore button never went away. Or at least I've always had it - and still do. Have they taken it away from everyone then? I'd be interested to know how much it gets used, although as they only gave it to about 10 people at first, it's unlikely to be much.

Silver badges are on 2,000 upvotes, and it's not net. So even if you manage to get 20,000 downvotes in the process, you still get to have the badge.

I'd like to see them award badges for downvotes too. Maybe just a brown one, for achieving your first 1,000. Or perhaps a halo above your badge for anyone managing to achieve a ratio of 10 up to 1 down.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: @Evil Auditor

Ralph B,

You've shattered my illusions now. I was just about to congratulate you for the new word predant: to correct someone before they've made the error. And now you tell me that it was just a typo. Boo!

Still, quite a nice one. As I know that in your reply to me, you will incorrectly use the word whom...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: @Drewc

Ralph B,

You've only got 10 minutes to edit. So you need to be watching pretty closely, and for your victim to be answering pretty quickly, and then for them not to see the change in time to edit their post. Plus they can always delete at any time.

I think your depraved commentard brain is running away with you... Although I'm sure someone will manage something amusing. For the particularly paranoid, there's always the solution of not replying to any post that's under 10 minutes old.

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I ain't Spartacus
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They gave the ignore button and ten minute edit to gold-badgers almost as soon as they handed out the badges. As a test apparently. So perhaps we're not the superior forms of life I supposed, merely the beta-bitches...

Then the silver badgers got the edit, months ago. Although weirdly I keep seeing it referred to as 5 minutes, can't imagine why they'd only get half the time. So I guess they've now rolled it out across the board. I suspect they've been meaning to for ages, and just not got round to it.

I've tested my ignore power, but never used it in anger, as I'm too damned nosy. It's not like I have to read more than the first few words of any comment, if it's annoying me.

I do remember being a Mod on a huge forum, many moons ago. And some of our more troublesome users would beg for an ignore button, as they didn't think they had the self-control to ignore the posts of the ones they didn't like. But then in my experience they'd probably put them on ignore - loudly telling them they'd done it - but then take them off ignore to see what was being posted behind their backs, then flame away regardless, ending with the loud promise to ignore them again.

I even got asked by some if we could control an ignore list for them. We didn't have that tool, but I found the ban-hammer to be quite effective at stopping people from flaming all over the forums. Until the ban ran out at least...

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Google in PRODUCT RECALL for its Glass spy-goggles

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Presumably you can buy your own nice shades, and simply attach the Google Glass thingy to them. Hence the product replacement. Which makes sense, as it seems pretty silly to provide frames with it, for the large percentage of the population who are already wearing them.

I quite like the idea of Google Glass, it could do some useful things. Except that the screen looks really really small. So I can't imagine how much you can actually read in it. As someone who walks a lot, a sat-nav display would be useful, as would being able to change tracks on a music player while both hands are full. For things like calls and texts, I'm happy to put down what I'm doing, stop and take the phone out of my pocket. And trying to read emails looks like a recipe for walking into a lamppost.

One of the most useful things I can imagine would be for reading small text or signs. But given how poor my eyesight is, I'd imagine I'd need glasses to read the Google Glass screen, so might as well use them on the label in question. Although being able to point at train station departure board, and have some sort of OCR cleverness tell me which platform to go to and where it is would be lovely.

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DON'T BREW THAT CUPPA! Your kettle could be a SPAMBOT

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Coat

Now you've deleted your original post, so my reply doesn't make sense any more... Should I delete that, and move it down here?

Or perhaps I'll just mention that film: Samovar Spies Is Missing

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I ain't Spartacus
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Happy

What's a Russian urn?

About £4 an hour...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Where's my tinfoil hat...

I shouldn't worry about them, they're the least of your troubles. Your hoover and your digital camera are conspiring against you.

When you're being blackmailed with that incriminating photograph, don't say I didn't warn you!

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I ain't Spartacus
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Happy

Ooooohhh! Saucer of milk for Mr wolfetone...

I'll have you know I'm already very braced. It's the adverts I'm now getting for whipped cream and marmalade that I'm most worried about...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Oh dear. I've just bought a teasmade...

Perhaps I now understand why the light on the clock is so alarmingly bright. Low-light cameras are expensive.

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Do Not Track W3C murder plot fails by handful of votes

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We are indeed at the mercy of the advertising industry. And there's a legitimate amount of tracking they can get away with, that most people won't mind. And of course we have inertia, where no-one can be bothered to spend actual time and effort to deal with something as abstract as privacy.

But things can change. Society can go from thinking one thing to thinking the opposite very, very quickly. Given the right kind of scandal. And suddenly a company's cushy market can collapse overnight. So what the advertising companies need to be careful of is taking the piss completely. You want to fleece the sheep, not skin it. That way, there'll be more fleece for you next year.

It probably won't happen. But there are circumstances which could lead to a browser maker like Firefox nuking large amounts of the online advertising industry by implementing blocking, cookie control manageable my mere mortals or something. OK Firefox take a load of cash from Google, and are less of a player now Chrome's overtaken them, but Microsoft aren't a big online advertising player, and have all kinds of incentives to piss on Google's chips...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Google are one of the biggest browser makers. I think you'll find this is no coincidence.

Just as they went into mobile OS design in order to defend their dominant position in advertising (amongst other aims), they also went into browsers to protect their core business, as well as to ensure compatibility with docs.

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In a meeting with a woman? For pity's sake DON'T READ THIS

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Re: What bugs me...

Miss Jamie Jones,

I can see your pumpkin. Fnarr, fnarr! But you don't get to see it, as El Reg won't allow you to put yourself on ignore. Just like the bastards won't let you downvote your own posts...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Speaking of rudeness...

so all they end up with is tannoy, static and children's screams.

That seems perfectly OK to me. An appropriate soundtrack to most meetings in fact...

You can hope that this sound signals and imminent attack by reavers which will at least put an end to the misery of the meeting. OK, there's being eaten alive as a downside, but having once got up at 3am, to catch an early flight to get to a meeting that started at 08:45 and didn't end until 17:00, this would have been a blessed relief. Just to enhance my concentration it was of course a workingpower [spit!] lunch. I wouldn't have minded if it was urgent and vital, but it wasn't, and could have been sorted in a 2 hour meeting with some follow-up conversations, or 2 meetings. Apparently I was important enough to fly over for the meeting, but not so vital to company survival that my full concentration was required. Then I hopped back on a plane, and was home by 10pm. Just in time to eat some dinner and get a restful night's sleep for tomorrow's work.

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Coding: 'suitable for exceptionally dull weirdos'

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Happy

Presumably in Coding Adventure, Hal and Roger have been sent in search of the lesser spotted furry geek, in order to capture a breeding pair for the Bronx Zoo.

Looking back on those books, I really wonder that social services didn't get involved. Surely there must be some sort of child labour rules that outlaw sending a 15 year-old and 12 year-old hunting dangerous wild animals on their own. It makes sending kids up chimneys look positively benign...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: I've said it before

James Hughes 1,

I'm a little concerned by your use of language. I find the word cockwomble to be extremely derogatory towards womblekind. In fact, I'm reluctantly forced to the conclusion that you may even be a womblist.

Just you come down to Wimbledon Common and say that - then me and my mates will give you a proper kicking. Both underground and overground.

As for the rubbishy piece you were commenting on, I'm sure we can find a use for it. Orinoco believes that many copies will be discarded, probably halfway through reading, and these will make an excellent shelter for him to snooze under.

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How very dare you! Willard Price was my favourite author when I was 9.

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Vulture 2 paintjob: Four-year-old nipper triumphs

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Re: Distress?

The queen could have Chuck Norris any day of the week. When she takes off the ceremonial gear, and puts on her fighting crown, she's the terror of Glasgow's toughest pubs...

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Re: Distress?

The Queen owns the whole world, and therefore all swans. She's just too polite to mention it.

I think it would be fun if she re-styled herself as Queen of France though. It was George III what dropped it, and he was bonkers, and it would be amusing to see the French reaction.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Pint

Thank you El Reg

It's very kind of you to say that I deserve some slap-and-tipple...

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Why Bletchley Park could never happen today

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Happy

u

The amount of toilet paper used by the government is (or was) an official secret.

Quite bloody right too! If people knew how much toilet paper we were getting through, then the terrorists would be able to measure exactly how scared we are at any particular time...

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Re: No war

In a real war people know who the enemy is and what victory looks like. Bletchley Park staff knew that why secrecy was paramount and looked forward to they day they could all stop doing it.

Magnus,

Except that the people involved in Bletchley Park kept the secret after the war was finished. When that same technology continued to get used in the Cold War - even though that wasn't a real war either.

And it isn't all bullshit. There is a real problem with international terrorism. It may be used as an excuse by governments and intelligence agencies to hoover up more power and money than they possibly should. But even that's no easy call. They're going to get blamed when there's a terrorist attack, as has happened with every major recent attack, for failing to stop it. And they're going to get blamed when they gather too much data in trying to do so.

There is no perfect solution. But denying there's any problem at all, is just plain silly.

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