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* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

3296 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Official FACT: Gadgets are giving YOU a wrinkly 'Tech Neck'

I ain't Spartacus
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I happen to enjoy having a permanent slouch.

theodore,

I knew you'd say that. I had a hunch about it...

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Booze and bacon sarnies: A recipe for immortality?

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Happy

Re: George Foreman - hero!

I've got the original George Formby grill...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Test subject

Mmmm beef dripping. That was so yummy when I was a lad. Maybe because I didn't get it at home, only at a couple of friends' houses (whose Mums were more old-fashioned than mine). I've not tried it in years though, as I suspect it would be horrible now.

Almost all nostalgic food trials I've done in the last few years have been horrible. Crisp sandwhiches (prawn cocktail Walkers) didn't work, Dandelion & Burdock is horrific and makes your teeth furry, Spangles and Chewits are icky and cream soda tastes over-sweet and bitter simultaneously.

Admittedly eggy-bread (french toast) is still the food of the Gods on a Sunday evening. You can feel it doing your arteries good.

I also don't think I've ever had bacon sandwiches with anything other than tea, water or fruit juice. Perhaps that needs to be tested. What's the appropriate drink? Beer, a chilled white wine, a robust red?

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Google Glass: Reg man tests tech specs

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Re: I'm not letting Motorola scan MY ring!

I doubt you will want to considering their price, although I have supplied said devices no-one uses them as they prefer guns.

What a dilemma for the Rapper about town, who wishes to do a drive-by barcode scanning. Does he for the bling ring, or the big gun?

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Speech recognition

Why do you have to say "Go Glass" in order to get a menu up, that you move through by stroking a touch pad on the side of the device anyway? Why not just tap the touchpad to get the menu?

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Innocence of muslims.

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Stop whining. If they don't want to have comments on a topic, it's their bloody website. And given they have to moderate it, I don't blame them.

Shame. I was still under the impression that religious debate was not an offence.

It's often offensive though. And of notably low quality on here - as the smug self-satisfied more-scientific-than-thou brigade so often decide to grace us with their wisdom.

Those are the threads that I like to skip, as a user. Back in the days when I was forum Mod on a big internationall site - they were the ones I read with my finger on the banhammer.

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MtGox accepted new customers JUST DAYS before collapse

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Just losing his visa probably isn't that much of a problem. Especially if he isn't one of the losers from the collapse of Mt.Gox.

The point is that for Bitcoins to work in the long term, there needs to be some sort of assurance that you can't just easily steal stuff and get away with it consequence free. Maybe they can come up with some web-of-trust way of doing this all digitally and online-y, without involving government. But I suspect regulation is the only way this is going to work.

Of course, regulation may kill Bitcoin anyway. Given that you have to pay exchanges to convert into it, and then out to real currency for whoever you're buying from, I don't really get the point of Bitcoin. Any legal transaction can be done just as easily and cheaply with PayPal or the right (no foreign currency loading) credit card. But then maybe people are trying to avoid government and operate illegally. I suspect that the libertarian / anarchist / tinfoil hat supporters of Bitcoin are just going to have to realise that they aren't a good fit with the more criminally minded ones.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Happy

In the good old days of castles, wasn't one of the favourite tricks of your common-or-garden ninja to pop up through the toilet in order to get to the target?

I suppose that's not really possible with modern plumbing. You'd need to very small ninjas to get through the pipes, perhaps you'd call them a thingja?

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I ain't Spartacus
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Trollface

You don't mind if I steal your idea do you, and launch BooHooCoin?

Or would Waaaaaa!Coin be better?

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Hmm

Why assume the corruption of government and big corporations, when the corruption of individuals is equally likely?

It looks pretty easy to set up in Bitcoin-land, and pretty easy to steal. It's the digital Wild West after all. And many of the users like it that way. But I suspect that's because they haven't thought too hard about the implications of getting out from under the yoke of government.

No government = no law = no police = no courts = no binding contracts = theft and fraud as well as the sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll some ar after.

We may find out soon how much law applies. Given Mt.Gox was seemingly playing with serious cash. If they've really managed to lose 6% of all Bitcoins in existence, then Bitcoin has serious problems - and is unworkable in its current form. However much its proponents may whine about narsty ebil gubbermint and fiat money / fractional reserve banking - neither of which any of them seem to comprehend the meaning of...

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I ain't Spartacus
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I don't want to accuse anyone of fraud. Particularly on someone else's website. But that caught by surprise thing is hard to believe.

To be fair, it's a difficult dilemma, when a business is in serious trouble. If you own up to how precarious things are, your customers and suppliers may all bugger off, putting the final nail in the coffin. But you can't just keep building up the credit, hope for the best, and screw everybody else who loses. Though many people do.

In this case, there are rumours that they were trading insolvently for ages. It would be interesting to know how much of that supposed internal document was real - given that they've confirmed some of it was.

I think I'm going to continue my comparison between EVE Online and Bitcoin. Most of the big disasters from various 'banks' in EVE weren't out-and-out fraud. Some people managed to be good for long enough to build a reputation, and then steal the lot - but that's hard to pull off. Some went down due to bad investments - because there was no way they could enforce loan re-payments, any more than their customers. Also a lot expanded, and the new people who came in to 'help', were only after what they could steal.

Seemingly in most cases, when the bank went down - they didn't honestly stop, or try to carry on trading and recover. They converted into Ponzi/pyramid schemes, traded on and hoped for the best - or they just said "sod it", closed down and kept whatever money was left.

Which is why no-one uses banks in EVE any more. Even the honest ones all ended up in thefts. It'll be interesting to see what legal comeback there is over Mt.Gox. I don't know Japanese business law, but the organisation was holding millions in cash, let alone the Bitcoin funny-money. And yet they had an ongoing fraud, and seemingly on checks, or proper auditing.

What the Bitcoin pushers forget, is that you can't have a free market without regulation. However many insults they throw at governments, without contract law markets just aren't sustainable. Once you have something valuable, you're guaranteed thieves and chancers.

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Energy firms' security so POOR, insurers REFUSE to take their cash

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Trollface

It's funny, but I had no problems getting my Bitcoin exchange insured by Lloyds...

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NASA could have averted near DROWNING TERROR in SPACE

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Re: Could Not Have Prevented

I mostly agree with you. If they'd taken out the drink bag and squeezed it, they might have seen there were no leaks in it, and kept checking. Although that doesn't necessarily account for all the valves and tubing going to the drnking nozzle. And they probably don't have the tools onboard for a much better analysis than that.

But it is dangerous to assume that because you have a known problem, all problems of a similar type must be that known problem. And this is another reminder of that. Now we have two known problems that cause water leaks in the helmet.

I hiope no-one takes any blame, but everyone learns something.

They just need to act more like the idealised version of air safety than medical safety. Far better to place as little blame as possible, learn lessons, tell everyone and retrain. Rather than have a blame culture with financial penalties that leads to even more cover-up than organisations are normally prone to.

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Re: Hoover in space?

Well, in his blog, Parmitano did say that he nearly used the space vacuum cleaner. He decided that if the water got to his mouth, he would open the emergency release valve on his helmet, and hope that some of the water would escape and the rest freeze, thus temporarily closing the valve for him (in case he couldn't).

But he said he decided this was a definitely last-ditch thing to do, and never quite got to it. Even though he had to find the airlock blinded by the water, and with no working radio to call for help.

In space, no-one can hear you scream. Or even go "glub, glub, glub. glub, erk."

I know they pick people who don't panic easily to be astronauts. But it's one thing staying calm, when you're doing what you've trained for. It's another staying calm when your nose and eyes have filled with water, you're just waiting for it to get to your mouth, you can't see or hear, and your alternatives are drowning or asphyxiating in a vacuum.

Do NASA do an award for The Big Brass Balls of Calmness?

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Pine trees' scent 'could prevent climate change really being a problem'

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Happy

Yes, but remember not to use pine-scented bleach...

Talking of which, I found some Christmas mulled wine spiced bleach in Sainsbury's this Christmas. I really do wonder what marketing people are on sometimes.

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First 'production-ready' EUV scanner laser-fries its guts at TSMC. Intel seeks alternative tech

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The problem occurred when some idiot offered the shark dolphin and chips, during a production run. Being always hungry, the shark nodded, thus ruining its aim, and frying the machine.

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MtGox has VANISHED. So where have all the Bitcoins gone?

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Re: Were people really stupid enough to use MtGox as a bitcoin wallet

A banking account with a positive amount is just a very risky loan given to the bank...

Destroy all Monsters,

Not quite. A bank account balance (liability) is backed up by a corresponding bank loan (asset) on the banks' books. Plus a UK bank has at least 7% of it's total liabilities in its own assets - and the ability to borrow against this with the Central Bank.

If that all fails, then there's the bank guarantee.

You mention Cyprus. But no-one in Cyprus lost any amount of cash less than the €100k (or was it €80k) deposit guarantee. They did discuss doing it, but didn't.

Even there, you can lower that tiny risk, by sticking your money in a bank in a country whose government is able to bail out its own banks without help. The problem for Cyprus was it had too many bank desposits for the size of its economy, and required a bail-out from the EU/IMF/ECB. Who were fucking about, and trying to make up an economic policy that would get Angela Merkel re-elected, rather than one that actually worked.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Pronunciation question

So is MtGox SUPPOSED to be pronounced like "Empty Box"

Only if you're a rubbish ventriloquist...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Were people really stupid enough to use MtGox as a bitcoin wallet

TheOtherHobbes,

The banks have to agree their liquidity reserves with the Bank of England (Prudential Regulation Authority). Which is apparently 30 days of their net funding requirements under stress conditions, so I'd assume that's going to be whatever the BofE decided when it set up its stress tests, applied to the banks' figures.

Mark Carney is going to reduce this to 80% of that 30 days needs, in order to allow them to make more loans. As there's been a battle for the last 5 years between governments telling banks to lend more to boost the economy, and regulators telling banks to build up more reserves.

As they still have to have over 7% capital reserves, they can use the repo market to get cash, if required, or give the BofE sufficient assets to get cash from them.

Mt.Gox has apparently lost far more than 6% of its Bitcoins.

However the bit that you and Destroy all Monsters have missed is that Mt.Gox is an exchange not a bank.

When a bank is short of liquidity it's usually because they've lent too much money out - and therefore don't have the cash on hand to meet requirements. Normally this is no problem, because they've got loads of assets (the loans they're slowly getting repaid), it's just that they can't meet their immediate cash requirements. So they put up an asset (loan) as collaterol, and borrow the cash. When the global repo market froze up during the financial crisis, Central Banks took on this role - as they're designed to do in emergencies.

An exchange has to hold cash for all its accounts, because it doesn't make loans. So if it's giving out loans, or trading with its clients' cash, it's commiting fraud. One, because it's trading without a banking license, and two, because it doesn't have its customers permission to use their money in such a way. Particularly as it's not paying them interest, so they'd be taking risk with no reward.

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Re: And yet we're still to believe...

Like I say I fear that this is just the tip of the iceberg and the good ship SS-Bittanic is heading for a massive crash.

I think you've got that a bit wrong. But with just a bit of re-ordering, we should be able to correct it.

The SS-Bittanic has in fact hit the iceberg (and not just the tip of it). Now it's just a question of how long the pumps can keep up with the incoming deluge. And who gets to the lifeboats first - and therefore who there isn't room for, and gets to go down with the ship.

Would you trust a bank with your cash, without a government deposit guarantee? I suspect that many people would have said yes 10 years ago. Not many would now. Now add in the far smaller resources that BitCoin exchanges have - which means they're not really equipped to fight off the hackers, let alone their own staff.

I guess this is what happens when amateur hour hits the big time - and there's real money involved.

I saw a comment from someone recently who said better to get ripped off in EVE Online, at least that's got spaceships.

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MtGox MELTDOWN: Quits Bitcoin Foundation board, deletes Twitter

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Oh dear. Looks like Mt.Gox is no more. The site has disappeared and the cat appears to be out of the bag on their long-term hack / losses. Or possibly internal scam, but that might just be the ex EVE player in me talking...

I think I disagree with you on Facebook though. They make substantial profits and have the sign ups of the parents of all the teenagers that may be thiking of leaving it. The parents could well stick around. So they might well end up with 20 years of life.

Of course, the valuation might go down. $100 billion for a company that's making single-digit billion profits is somewhat over the top. I can't see it growing all that much. But the only thing likely to kill it is Zuckerberg going nuts, and bankrupting it buying other companies. He's un-sackable, as with only 20% of the shares, he's got over 50% of the voting stock. I suppose that's entirely possible. He doesn't look like good CEO material to me.

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Pony up: Botnet succesfully targets Bitcoin

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That's a lotta coins!

I didn't realise there were quite that many thingycoin things going now. What exactly would motivate someone to expend scarce computing resources and electricity, in order to mine junkcoin? 'Tis very strange. Also odd to assign monetary value to them, as I bet you can never actually find a buyer.

On the other hand maybe some, or all, of them will work. It's a free market out there - so if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Therefore I propose that El Reg get off their arses, and get busy coming up with all their users really want. No, not spaceplanes or better forum software. We want none of such flim-flammery. Give us VultureCoin!

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MEPs demand answers from EU antitrust chief about planned Google search biz deal

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Re: "Get back here and explain your actions to us"

Matt 21,

What I mean by bailouts, is something that'll work. Not a short-term sticking plaster to keep the Euro going.

In my opinion the Euro is still doomed at the moment. Not that it won't survive, just that without massive amounts of luck, they're going to have to do something new to make it work. Otherwise Italy, Spain, Greece, Cyprus or Portugal is going to be forced to default/leave.

The Cyprus bail-out was the most shocking. The Eurogroup deliberately destroyed the Cypriot economy to make a point, and all over a paltry couple of billion. Not that the Cypriot or Greek governments come out of this well. But the Greeks were given loans and no cash. Because of which their economy is now 25% smaller. If they'd been given loans to keep them from defaulting, and about €5-€10 billion a year for 2-3 years, they'd have had a bad recession, instead of virtual economic collapse and depression. But the electorates in Germany, France, Finland etc don't see Greece as us, but as them. I don't think you can share a working political system under those circumstances. That's why Scotland may be better off independent. The discussions about 'our oil' that I hear, lead me to think that many Scots now see the rest of the UK as a separate entity in competition. If that's the majority view anyway.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: "Get back here and explain your actions to us"

but...... Our government agreed to the reduction in veto powers

Matt 21,

That's rather the point Cameron is trying to make. His government didn't agree to the largest reductin of veto power, and yet there may be nothing he can do about it. A big chunk of vetos went with Lisbon, under Labour. Another lot went under Maastricht, in Major's time, but the Conservative party of 2010 would probably have voted that treaty down.

The EU is fundamentally undemocratic because of this. The saying is that no Parliament can bind a future Parliament. So if you didn't like ID cards, you could have voted Conservaite of Lib Dem at the last election, and got rid of them. Even if the scheme had already come into force. Whereas if you don't agree with QMV on banking reform in the EU now, you're shit out of luck. There's absolutely no-one you can vote out of office to get it replaced.

That would need treaty change, and every EU government has to agree to get that, so even if something so pissed off the 500m voters of every EU country that they voted out their current governments - if Luxembourg were happy, they could stop it (with a population of 100,000).

Obviously it's hard/impossible to make the EU democratic. Basically because it's a bunch of separate states, with a necessarily odd institutional structure. But the more it gets involved in everyday politics, the worse this will seem - as the voters realise they have no power to do anything about it. Which is why public support for the EU has collapsed across Europe during the Euro crisis.

I think it's also becuase the electorates don't feel they've got anything in common with each other. Which is why there's been no proper bailouts in the Eurozone - just loans to keep the ones in most trouble from having to leave. German taxpayers for example, don't see why they should pay for Greek welfare.

The UK worked becasue our taxpayers mostly do see each other as all in it together. However we're probably over-centralised - and if the Scots really feel that they can't control the UK government they may vote to bugger off, and get a more local one that they can.

On the Competition rules, I don't know when they went through. The Parliament is no longer the rubber stamp that it was before Lisbon. It's got quite a bit more power now. But pretty much any EU rules from before 2007 had minimal input from the EP. It was all stitched up by the Commission and the Council of Ministers.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Oh my dear god no.......

Big_Ted,

This is nothing to do with Microsoft.

Just like Google can offer whatever browser they like with Android or Chrome OS. Or Ubuntu for that matter. This is because they haven't been ruled a monopoly, or accused of abusing said monopoly.

In search on the other hand, Google have a monopoly, and are being accused of market abuse. Where MS aren't. Hence the deal with the Commission, as the alternative is going through the process of being accused, and maybe convicted.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: "Get back here and explain your actions to us"

I don't think you really understand the EU. It's a lot more complicated than that.

Some things (many more than before) are now decided by majority in the Council of Ministers.- so the UK does not have a veto. On a few key areas, all countries still have one, and can exercise it.

Secondly I don't think the Parliament has the power to do anything about this decision. They can quiz Commissioners, but they often can't overrule them. They can't sack individual commissioners, for example, but they can sack the whole lot at once. The whole commission does get a vote, so they can overrule this decision, but neither the Parliament nor the Council of Ministers can stop it.

It's an odd structure, for an unusual organisation. Most of the power lies with Council of Ministers still, but the Parliament is getting more power. It has a veto in serveral areas now too. Only the Commission can propose legislation though. And the Commission gets executive power in various areas, so that it controls Competition policy for example - and has a pretty wide brief on what it can do, and no-one can overrule it, except the European Court of Justice.

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Retiring greybeards force firms to retrain Java, .NET bods as mainframe sysadmins

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Re: As Nelson Muntz says

My brain insisted on reading that as Nelson Mandela.

I was confused for a few moments, until sanity re-asserted itself. One of these days I really must learn to read...

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I ain't Spartacus
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I suspect this is a big problem. Companies have been using the same people for years to keep the stuff maintained. Probably paying them quite well, as when they threaten to leave, it's suddenly realised how much of the system documentation is in their heads.

But not bothering to renew the resource by taking on anyone young. You can always poach a greybeard from someone else. So why bother getting 20 year-olds in, who you'll have to pay to train? Now they're finding out the answer.

Sainsbury's tried to outsource all that messy mainframe stuff a few years ago. It was a horribly expensive mistake they had to reverse. The problem is that your stock control and POS stuff is complex, interlinked and totally vital to a retailer. If you're out of stock of the thing someone needs, they'll often go to a shop that does have it - and then buy the rest of their shopping their too.

A smaller retailer I used to work for went for the worst of both worlds. All the COBOL type people were contractors. Great for the headcount, but I suspect it meant that there were no permanent employees with a picture in their head of what the mainframes were actually doing. Which is madness. It seems pretty brave to have no in-house control of systems that if they fail would destroy the business in a month.

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Chihuahua TERROR: Packs of TINY hounds menace Arizona

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Does it still talk after they've cooked it and rolled it up in a tortilla?

Indeed it does. It says, "after eating this, you're going to feel Ruff!"

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Another U.S. state set to repeal rubber duck ban

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Re: Did I miss something?

No. You'll find this is just the increasing Morris-isation of news at work. Later there'll be a TV report from Barbara Wintergreen, which will explain the whole thing.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Happy

Another gin & tonic sir?

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Badges for Commentards

I ain't Spartacus
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When I click on your username, I only see 324 posts - joined Feb 14 2013.

So I suspect you changed your username on Valentine's Day last year.

Also upvotes for anonymous posts don't count. Neither do ones for a different handle.

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"This topic is closed to new comments"

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Re: @diodesign - "This topic is closed for new posts"

Don't trust them! Their logo is a vulture. It's all the clue you need, that they plan to devour you. There is a conspiracy - they're just trying to lull you into a false sense of security, so you'll take your tinfoil hat off!

And The Register never landed on the Moon either. They faked it in Playmobil, and it was only because the camera was so blurry that no-one but me noticed.

Why will no-one believe me!!!

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Google's paid link settlement plan will lead to fresh wave of abuses, claims Euro rival

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Re: Idiots

This is partly a market failure. The problem here is 'free' stuff. Lots of stuff on the internet is 'free', because it's being paid for in a different way. Often by advertising. This leads to market distortions - and can cause problems with innovation. It's hard to charge for a service when others give it away for free, cross-subsidised by another part of their business.

Google have an massive monopoly in search, and a lesser monopoly in advertising. Which then makes it hard to decide what the market is, who the competitors are, and how to balance harm to the operation of the market against the benefit to the consumer of getting free stuff. For example Google have used an advertising monopoly in order to out-compete other software companies on selling a phone OS. They've then cleverly leveraged that to make themselves an income in selling books and music, taking a cut of app sales, continuing to improve their mapping service, building an international WiFi location database, improving local search, getting traffic info etc...

What someone has to be watching is that they're not abusing their dominance in one market, to screw over competitors in another. For example the search monopoly gives them a dangerous amount of control of the internet.

So in an ideal world the Competition Commissioner is keeping a beady eye on them. Keeping them a bit nervous and careful. Trying to come to rulings quickly, so the competition aren't dead before the remedy happens (MS lost €1bn, but that did little good to Netscape). And hopefully not screwing up, like Sky and the football rights. Where the EC did something to 'protect competition', which meant that the customer ended up having to shell out £10 a month extra, in order to receive a service they'd already been getting - but now from 2 different suppliers.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Care-o-meter: LOW <-[]----------------> HIGH

Destroy all Monsters,

Google have a monopoly in search. That gives them massive power. Which they can very easily abuse. Which means that competitors might get strangled at birth, denying us shiny services that might make society better.

Therefore, Google have to be watched. Which is the job of the EC Competition Commissioner. They may decide that vertical search and general search are so similar that they're really the same market. In which case Google have the search monopoly from being just plain better. In which case, nothing to see here, hooray for Google, carry on chaps.

However they may decide that specialist search engines are useful, and are a separate market. In which case, hold up Google - you're abusing your monopoly power. Stop it, or get fined to buggery.

It's technical, difficult and messy. There's probably no perfect answer. But it's bloody important that the question gets asked!

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Re: Idiots

Foundem may or may not be crap. That's down to the market to determine.

The point at issue here is that there are several markets in play here. And that Google may be able to use its dominance of one (vanilla search) to control others, mapping, local search, price-comparison, specialist search, etc.

We know from earlier cases that although Google used to say that their search engine was purely automatic (that it was a set of algorithms and nothing else), that this isn't quite true. That Google can and do make manual adjustments. Obviously they also use user-feedback now, so the better sites should get more clicks, and slowly move to the top of the list. So to take the example of Google shopping, how do we know that Google don't have a sneaky little bit in the code somewhere that says, if the customer searches for price comparison on something, make sure the Google shopping comes out top? Even though Googles shopping thingymajig has been rubbish for years, from back when they brilliantly called it Froogle onwards.

So if you decide that price comparison is a different market to general search, then Google aren't legally allowed to use their monopoly in search to advantage their product in price comparison. That's what anti-trust/anti-monopoly laws are for. And is why Microsoft are about €1 billion poorer (and the Commission up by the same), even though Internet Explorer was free.

This is really important in an area where network effects are so important. The more people who use mapping software (with GPS and traffic jam tracking), the better it gets. Not that I'm saying Google maps isn't good, but it may be that by pushing people to it, Google gained an unfair advantage. I don't believe that, I think it was by investing large amounts of time, doing a good job, and creating a smartphone OS and giving it away free.

But Google's shopping service is unloved, uncared for and rubbish. Or at least it was last time I looked at it. And yet it also appears at the top of searches.

You might spend a lot of time and money creating a specialist hotel search site. Only for Google to come along and destroy your market, by denying your traffic. The problem here is that it's very hard for legislation to tell who's an SEO-abusing, link-farming parasite, and who's a brilliant company getting screwed. But the law has to do something to protect the market from Google dominance. So a balance has to be struck. Which is very hard if there are 5,000 hotel search sites - as it would be a bit unfair to force Google to put theirs on page 17 of the results. Equally it's an abuse of market dominance for them to put theirs top.

Google do have a point on relevance though. If I search for a particular local restaurant, I don't want to be redirected to a local resto search site that doesn't have a listing for the place I searched for. On the other hand, there might be a local resto search site specific to the city I'm in, that doesn't currently have the resto I'm looking for, but would be highly relevant to me if it were good. So I'd want the perfect search engine to flag that up for me anyway. So there's no right answer here, whatever the EC (or Google) do.

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Re: But the move has stirred up criticism among high-ranking EC officials

Given the kicking that the EU recently handed Microsoft, that's a rather unlikely conspiracy theory you've got there.

The charitable interpretation here is that Almunia wants the deal done before the commission gets replaced in a few months. Hence he's in a hurry. I don't really know why, as a settlement in a pretty technical area with Google hardly strikes me as a great legacy. But who knows...

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Computer expert and broadcaster Ian McNaught-Davis dies at 84

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Re: The Old Man Of Hoy

Mr C Hill,

Thanks for posting that Old Man of Hoy link. That was absolutely brilliant.

Watching people broadcast live, on shonky equipment, in a roaring gale, on a vertical cliff face and sounding so relaxed is amazing.

This is one of the great things about the BBC. Every so often, somone has a really stupid idea. Which is usually either insanely difficult, or right at the technical edge of what their equipment can achieve. And then they wander off and do it

Admittedly the equipment is so much better, cheaper, lighter and more versatile now - so probably nothing is as hard as those early days of TV.

It's funny, I didn't remember McNaught-Davis at all when I read the article. But I clicked on the link anyway, because of fond childhood memories of the Adventure Game. And knew his voice. Although I'm sure they cheated. I thought you were only allowed to use the green cheese buns once...

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MtGox claims to have a fix ready for Bitcoin withdrawal woes

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Re: Bubble has burst ..... ?

nor does it have anything to do with tulips, which don't share any useful properties of a currency

in April the bubble burst to around $60, but now it's at $600. I'm not convinced how an increase of 10x in less than a year is a bubble bursting

Mark .

Which is it? Is Bitcoin a currency or an investment? If it's an investment, then a cycle of oft-repeated price spikes (bubbles) is no issue at all. Jus invest wisely and take your profits when appropriate.

But you also say that tulips share none of the useful properties of currency with Bitcoin. Bitcoin has very few of the useful properties of currency. It does however share many of the non-useful properties of weird bubble investment with the stories of tuplip mania.

I can't give you timescales and values. I do think Bitcoin will fail. I may be wrong. It's certainly proved pretty resilient so far. I also don't think it will go mainstream. It's too hard to use. And you can already move your money around with credit cards and banks for less cost and hassle than Bitcoin causes. But it's too volatile and deflationary to work very well as a currency.

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Re: Bubble has burst ..... ?

Only on MtGox. Because people are presumably selling cheap to get cash out - as they can't get the Bitcoins out. The other exchanges seem to be pricing around the $600 mark.

Not that I'm saying BitCoin isn't a rubbish idea, or supporting it or anything. I had a look at one of the stats sites yesterday, which indexes multiple exchanges. And it looks like a transaction of 0.1 BTC can change the global market price by about 0.5%!! Sticking 1,000 transactions through in an hour, rather than the more usual couple of hundred, can move the price down by 5%.

If you get a zero loaded for foreign transactions credit card, then 0.5% spread over the current market exchange rate is probably more than you'll pay. For much larger transactions than 0.1 of a BitCoin too. And I certainly never paid 5% on transactions between my UK bank account and my Eurozone one, when I used to live over there.

So given BitCoins are a massive risk, and are crap as a way of dealing across foreign currencies, I struggle to see what the point of them is.

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SMELT YOU LATER: Apple announces conflict-free status

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Re: This is all well and good

I think the relevant parts of Dodd-Frank haven't come into force quite yet. But it also may be that it won't work anyway.

So this system will be the bit that mostly works. And the Dodd-Frank one will be the vast paper-shuffling exercise, where the bad guys manage to bribe the right people to get the required stamp on the right form, and so pass Dodd-Frank. And then hopefully still fail to sell their stuff, because of the smelters.

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Syrian Electronic Army slurps a MILLION reader passwords from Forbes

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Facepalm

Re: I made the Forbes list !!!!

Ooops-oh-dear. Whooosh! *ahem* Nothing to see here!

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I ain't Spartacus
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Happy

Re: I made the Forbes list !!!!

So own up then. Was your password, "password"?

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Astonishing?

lambda_beta,

No. Don't get into that arrogant, childish, thing about how the IT literate are an elite, and everyone else is stupid. It's not really what Don Jefe said anyway. Admittedly the IT literate are an elite, when it comes to IT - those are the skills you've chosen to have after all.

The problem is that most users don't give a fuck about computers. It's not that they can't understand, it's that they're busy doing other stuff with their lives. Also they come up against a particular computer problem maybe once a year, so are bound to forget the answer. Skills you don't regularly use get rusty.

I have a friend, who's the perfect candidate to be good at computers. He's got good maths and engineering skills - a decent memory, and an organised mind. But he's a designer. He likes to think in terms of space, aesthetic and colour. He can look at a problem from unusual angles, and is able to translate a client's vague, inexpert ramblings into a stunning piece of hand-built furniture. Or re-design the interior of a house. Last time I fixed his computer and tried to explain how to solve the problem he said, "don't talk to me about that technical stuff - I understand wood."

Yet, if you give him a complex, interlocking problem involving esoteric fixings, weird shapes and mechanical loadings in order to make his pretty wooden stuff work - he's up for the technical challenge. He's happy with plumbing, or fixing a motorbike. He came round to dinner at my new flat, and was able to solve the space problem in my kitchen / living room in about ten minutes of me failing to describe exactly what I wanted. Simultaneously coming up with the idea, describing it to me and sketching 2 new bits of furniture upside down, so I could read it from the other side of the table.

My Mum is similar. A dangerous incompetent in charge of a computer. Uninterested by why it went wrong, just wanting email to work now. But she has a masters degree in her subject and her skills are still in demand, as she's just started a new consulting gig at 75. Can she remember her password? Maybe, maybe not. Can she help solve the behavioural problems of disabled kids and pilot their parents through the hideously complex legal and bureaucratic minefield of the education, legal and social security systems? Very probably. Society is far better served by her spending her time doing that (or just being a granny), and me fixing her pooter.

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From 0 to ERUPTION in 60 days: You thought that volcano was COLD?

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Re: Impressive.

Which suggests that some bore holes drilled into ares normally solid could act as safety vents and turn a Krakatoa like eruption into a a (very) large number of dribbles.

That's all very well. But I've seen various documentaries on both film and TV where people start drilling into volcanoes, or the centre of the Earth. And invariably, every such project ends in earthquakes, fireballs and megadeath, or the break out of demonic hordes.

So I'd prefer my volcanic eruptions to be left as nature intended. And to be very very far away. Which is why I choose to live in boring old Blighty.

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Happy

Ouch!

If the peanut butter in your fridge is at 750°C, then your fridge has probably malfunctioned. It may even be on fire...

Also, biting into the subsequent peanut butter sandwich might be quite painful. It would be almost as hot as biting into a Pop Tart*.

* Or napalm covered in cardboard, as I once saw them described. To be fair, the cardboard is covered in sugar...

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London calling: Date set for launch of capital's very own domain name

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Re: domain name explosion

I can maybe see something like .bank taking off. If they do it properly. A TV adveritising campaign, funded by really high registration fees - and regulation of who's allowed to sign up.

Then you could get the message that if a website doesn't end in .bank, it's probably fraud.

But as I suspect that most people don't know how domain work, and don't know which dot the bank should come after, they'll probably happily click on www.scam.bank.ru/all-your-money-belong-to-us, thinking they're totally safe.

So I withdraw that. .cymru / .wales and .scot are probably fair enough. And given the weird way banks chuck their secure sites over so many seemingly random sub-domains, it'll make me feel a bit happier if there's a .barclays or a .natwest.

But this is just going to lead to confusion, or rather more likely, disinterest. The public won't notice. In the same way that paying millions for car.com did not a business make in the dot.com bust, I suspect that paying hundredds for something.car will fail just as badly. If more cheaply...

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Re: Rise of the idiots

I have a regular email correspondence with a friend. About Headlines Chris Morris must have written. A few recent ones are:

Dead Recluse Eaten by Own House Cats

Helpful Badger Unearths Medieval Graves

Husband Dies After Rape By 6 Wives

WATCH: Decapitated Snake Bites ITSELF

Those last three are from the Huffington Post...

"the priests who say they need to pack a piece to keep the peace" - straight off The Day Today

Tearful skin-beaters say good bye to the BumChum - Low-end throb monitor now handled by BC Gigster

German shoppers slug it out with salami - Parmesan 'dagger' contributes to trolley-rage casualties

Thanks for those last 2 El Reg...

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Re: What a load of old pony

Spoilsport...

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Russian cybercrooks shun real currencies, develop private altcoins

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There must be a pretty small community of people who all know each other. Or they're putting a lot of trust in what are by definition other criminals.

Even in a small group of people who know each other online, some people can build up trust over time - but if the motivation is right, might decide it's time to leave the community. With a big pile o' cash...

Back when I played EVE Online there were many banks - and an EVE stock market. I believe this is no longer true, due to the repeated scams and failures. I knew (online and voice only though) one of the medium-sized bankers. Who I think ended up stealing several tens of billions of ISK. I think he decided the workload was too high, and/or fancied a change. Paid back all the investors he knew in-game or was in an Alliance with, then kept the rest. I think 1 billion ISK buys you about £30-£40 of subscription - so reasonably serious monetary value. At the time there was still a market on eBay, I'm not sure if that's true anymore.

Anyway the fun and games over Silk Road looks very familiar. Silk Road 3 gets dubiously hacked.

That's all where there's no comeback though. If the cyber-crims are tied in with scary types with guns, things might be different. At least if their real-world identities are known, or can be found out.

Stealing virtual money (with some realy mometary value) from gamers is rather different to stealing virtual money from criminals.

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