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* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

3100 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Asus will bung 'Nexus 7 2' fondle-droids on Blighty's shelves this month

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Re: Specs make the iPad Mini look REALLY crap.

Perhaps iPad users run things other than benchmarking software and as a result are blisfully unaware that their device is "slow".

I don't believe anyone has accused the iPad, mini or otherwise, of being slow. They're not. Well my iPad 1 never recovered from the update to iOS 5, which slowed it to a crawl sometimes...

Anyway, the problem with the iPad Mini is that it's got a pretty low resolution screen by modern standards. Lower res than the much smaller iPhone. And it's very expensive in comparison to Android tablets at nearly half the price, which have better screens (the most important bit of any tablet).

Personally I'm starting to think disloyal thoughts. I'm not planning to upgrade my iPad 3 this year, maybe I'll get tempted next. But I'm rather tempted by a Samsung Galaxy Note of some description. Sadly they seem to be marketing them as premium - and matching iPad prices. But I think the pen is mightier than the (bluetooth) keyboard. I find handwriting recognition is so much nicer than an onscreen keyboad.

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ULTIMATE cuppa contenders prepare to go mug-to-mug

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Re: You just don't get...

MrT,

Now you've gone and done it! You've woken up the Hobnob Taleban! The most vicious combatants in the biscuit world...

I'm not sure I even dare to say that I find Hobnobs to be mediocre. If I had to dunk in tea, it would be a ginger or chocolate coated digestive, but I tend to find the biccie spoils the tea.

My actual favourite biscuit is the Jaffa cake - and that's not even a biscuit. So what do I know?

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US federal judge: Yes, Bitcoin IS MONEY

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Re: "It can be used to purchase goods and services"

Is that why the supermarkets introduced self-service counters?

I'm always finding unexpected items in my bagging area...

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E-reader barons file FCC plea to opt out of disabled-friendly regs

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Re: Everything should be as accessible as possible.

Should Ballet dancers wear lead weights, ear plugs and distorting dark glasses?

Yes! It would make them far more accessible. At the moment, they keep out-running me...

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Re: Simple. If it can connect to the net, it is subject to the law.

Shadow Systems,

There are plenty of devices out there that can do the job of text to speech from ebooks, as you say. And do it better. So why saddle the ereader manufacturers with having to do this? If it really did cost an extra $20 per device, that's hundreds of millions wasted on shoehorning extra tech in to a device that's still not going to be very suitable. Unless you want to argue they should be forced to add keyboards or Braille input as well...

Accessibility needs to be a trade-off. A compromise has to be made somewhere between the extra costs of accessibility on society, the rights of people to equal treatment and people's desire to keep some of their own money for themselves and not get taxed to buggery. Most changes impose costs.

Personally, I'd suggest that it would be better for everyone concerned to just tax all ereader sales at $20 and use that cash to buy every blind person in the US a more suitable device. Which I don't think would be a particularly good idea either. But probably better than forcing accessibility on an unsuitable device. An iPod touch or iPhone would be far better. I don't know the state of Android accessibility, but I do know that Apple have made some reasonable efforts, and are working on improvements.

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British ankle-biters handed first mobe at the age of SEVEN - Ofcom

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Joke

20 other kids following you around the playground every day begging for a mere minute of donkey kong action!

You can get put in prison for that you know!

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Re: Mine aren't getting phones yet

Or being shown the stout metal 'money-box' for your savings, on the wall in the cupboard under the stairs with the slowly rotating numbers on the front...

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Re: You obviously don't

If you want one, I'm sure you can get one on eBaby...

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UK plods cuff another bloke in Twitter violence threat probe

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Re: High-profile women gets protection from police

Afraid you're dead wrong there. Both legally and morally.

I admit that I think people should keep a sense of proportion, as its mostly obvious that these threats aren't serious. However, I also accept that not everyone is as relaxed about what life throws at them as me. And no one should have to put up with death threats. If you make 'em, you've only got yourself to blame, should you end up in prison.

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Re: Not new

I've seen genuine, nasty, stalking as a follow-on to online abuse. But that was a forum for ex-pats, and anyone who's worked abroad knows that ex-pats can form small, incestuous groups that make gangs of teenage girls look stable, balanced and mature.

On Twitter it's a different kettle of fish. But then celebs do get stalked and attacked every so often by nutcases. So you can understand them getting a bit twitchy.

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Re: High-profile women gets protection from police

There's a significant difference between saying "you're fat, ugly and horrible" and "I know where you live, I'm coming to rape you." One is rude, and the internet is full of it. One is unacceptable, and if you get nicked by the plod for it, then tough shit. Similarly with, "I've planted a bomb outside your house to go off a 10:35".

Not that they're necessarily credible threats of course. But while I would probably ignore them, I don't think people should have to put up with that sort of thing, and it's been illegal for centuries to threaten people. So you can't claim to be surprised, or that because you were online you thought it didn't count.

Oddly the last time someone threatened me, it was a bunch of nuisance phone calls at about 1am. And the threat was that "your ears are coming off." "I'm going to come and get you, your ears are coming off." I made the assumption that someone might have been drinking... But then I'm a 6' tall bloke who's often asked if he plays rugby, with the muscles (and the belly sadly) to match.

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Re: And?

Ah well, you see the internet is news. Many journalists and editors really do seem to want to be cool. And down wiv da kidz. And da kidz iz doing da internetz all da time (sorry, I'll stop that now). Plus it's mysterious and scary. To many ordinary users it's all done by witchcraft - and it's a jungle out there! To journos the internet is slowly putting many of them out of business, while also giving them news-gathering opportunities that they couldn't have dreamed of twenty years ago.

So teenage girl gets bullied is an old, old boring story. Teenage girl gets bullied online! Exciting! Teenage girl gets bullied online on foreign-owned website: Ban this sick filth now! They're probably swan-eating asylum-seeking foreigners too! And you know you can't trust the water, and the waiters don't speak English...

And of course the Twitter threats story is obviously news, as it's happening to actual journalists. That's real people that we know that is. So it must be news.

I saw a headline on the Torygraph of some commentator suggesting that Twitter is one of the few places where rich lefties meet the great unwashed, and it's a bit of a culture shock for the poor dears. Which is probably a bit harsh, but with a grain of truth.

Not to minimise the importance of the death of the poor kid. I was looking up some medical information the other day, and got curious and went on to the forum of a group for my visual impairment. Had a nose round, as you do, and they had a forum for teenagers. It reminded me just how bloody awful being a teenager can be - especially if you've got a disability that makes you stand out from the crowd. Don't know why they just don't paint target on your school uniform really... Would save time all round. Although I'd already 'dealt with' the issue of bullying by the time I was at secondary school - and anyway boys tend to be much less cruel than girls. A punch in the face beats getting sent to Coventry for a month any day.

Thinking about it, I used to live in Coventry - so that sentence is true in both senses...

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Xerox copier flaw changes numbers in scanned docs

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Re: The problem is much more pernicious...

We should remember that 200 dpi is typically used as a normal resolution for everyday office document scanning and smaller fonts are very common in the "small print" parts of normal business documents ...

Damn! So are you telling me that I need to check that clause in the small print with my home insurance provider? I knew that it was too good to be true when I read, "in the event of a fire, you will be temporarily re-housed, and we will also provide hot and cold running call girls, plus unlimited pizza and beer."

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Re: This is a KNOWN FEATURE... READ THE MANUAL...

It is totally unacceptable to put onto page 107 of the manual, in normal mode our product doesn't actually work for its stated purpose.

If they put that on the front page of both the manual and the marketing materials in say 30 point type, then it would be acceptable. Otherwise not.

Actually even then it wouldn't be. What part of copy do these fuckwits not understand? If the damned thing doesn't work on one of its settings, then that setting shouldn't be available. Or should only be available to be set by the installation engineer or local IT department, after sufficient warnings to people who understand what they mean, and may have actually seen the manual.

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One, it's called normal mode. I presume that's in the sense that many companies don't do a 'small' drink, you have regular, large, extra large.

Two, it's a bloody photocopier. And it should be damned well copying! The people who didn't read the manual here are Xerox. It's supposed to copy stuff, not randomly substitute other stuff. Failing to resolve an unclear area is perfectly acceptable, and that's down to the user to deal with.

You shouldn't have to read the manual to do something basic like make a copy of a document in normal mode. If you want to do double-sided, stapled, enlarge, multi-coloured and sorted documents, then a manual may be required.

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They don't recognise us as HUMAN: Disability groups want CAPTCHAs killed

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Re: DUMP CAPTCHAS

At this point we'd have to rename it from CAPTCHA to KAFKA.

Working out a suitable backronym for this, I leave as an exercise for the reader...

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Re: I use CAPTCHAS

RW,

Firstly I'd like to disagree with the sentiment involved in your post. So long as we don't greatly have to inconvenience society in order to be inclusive, we should do so. There's obviously a trade-off once things become more difficult and expensive - and that's where a process realistic of negotiation needs to take place - which is hopefully the role of politics.

There's no excuse, or reason, for marginalising large sectors of society. Particularly as computer aren't a hobby. They're a vital in many jobs, as well as being a medium of access to various services.

Secondly I'd like to point out your error of fact. Computers aren't fundamentally devices with visual-tactile interfaces. The ones you use might be, but many others aren't. For example look up the Braille-note, which is a 'laptop' with braille keyboard and output device. Which has a tactile interface, with optional spoken output.

Complete speech interfaces have been commonplace for years now, and are getting to be rather good. Plus you've got Microsoft's Kinect and equivalents - which can track gestures or eye movements.

Now I'm happy to admit that the internet has a lot of content that's visual, either video or pictures. But a great deal of it is also text, plus big chunks of audio - and various other formats. For example El Reg. There are pictures and video all over this site, but apart from an odd video podcast, none of it is vital to the articles, so someone could perfectly happily get 99% of the sense of this site by screen reader or braille display.

Now if we return to the topic of the article, we find that CAPTCHAs are extremely unpopular even for people without visual impairments. Thus a discussion of alternatives seems like a pretty reasonable idea, and while we're doing it, considering the convenience of as many users as possible makes sense.

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Re: a joke?

I don't think it was. The post about it being a joke may have been a joke though...

The sure way to check would be to follow the link, but I hate those link shortening services that won't let you see where you're going until you've got there - it's too late, and the drive-by exploit is taking over your 'pooter. So I don't click on them. Looked pretty spammy though.

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Re: a joke?

El Reg mod all new posters for a certain number of posts, before allowing them real-time posting. So either some spammer is patient, or a moderator just hit the wrong button...

Weirdly their report post button seems to have disappeared.

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Re: I use CAPTCHAS

Two words: Screen reader. Or if you want different ones: Visual impairment. Which was rather the point of the article. Pictures resolve a small amount of annoyance for people who can already solve CAPTCHAs, but do nothing to solve the problems for many of the people who struggle with them.

Also, if it's a limited database of pictures, implemented by a commonly used piece of CAPTCHA software, then yes, the bots can solve it. By having access to the same list of pictures and answers. So the arms race would continue and the pictures would have to start being obscured and buggered around with, to stop the bots recognising them...

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Re: DUMP CAPTCHAS

NightFox,

You an evil, evil man.

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Re: Which two are the lions?

The article is about people with visual/hearing impairments struggling to deal with CAPTCHAs? If your screen-reading software can tell a lion from a cat, so can the bot.

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Re: Passwords and Security gone MAD !!

I don't think you understand the problem that CAPTCHA is trying to solve. Which is spammers spamming legitimate forums to buggery.

I'm on a forum run by my favourite science fiction author, with probably 50 regular posters, and I'm sure many more lurkers/occasional posters like me. She had 100 bots apply for accounts in one weekend this month. She doesn't use CAPTCHAs. That's an absolute load of work for a forum admin on a small forum to get through, and I don't want her nixing bots, I want her to hurry up and write more books.

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I ain't Spartacus
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If you click on the wheelchair symbol, you get an audio CAPTCHA. I've no idea what it said, or whether they were even numbers of letters. The sound was so distorted I didn't even know when it started or finished.

The visual game was good. For most people, but then most people can already do CAPTCHAs. However it added some relatively fine motor-control to being very hard to see, so added a few more people with disabilities into the mix of people who won't be able to make it work. Back to the drawing-board I'm afraid. Next time, hopefully with less scripts and crap required to run it?

Plus, I might like the taste of a remote control on my sundae? Or hate cherries?

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Slow down

They are truly rubbish. There's obscuring noise, otherwise the bots would just use speech recognition, which is nearly as good as OCR nowadays.

I can barely read visual CAPTCHAs but the voice ones are worse. And I've got above-average hearing, and experience mixing live music, so I was quite surprised by that.

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wowfood,

Don't know if you've got any other condition, besides nystagmus. But I recommend alcohol. I did try to get my doctor to prescribe it last time I visited...

It's a side-effect of my eye condition, not the main problem. But I can see better after one glass of life-giving booze than before, as it's a muscle relaxant. Of course after ten...

The problem with most of those puzzles is that they're machine-solvable. So if they go into common use, the spam bots will simply be re-programmed to defeat them. I was trying to think of some way of working with jokes, but everything I can think of requires a database of questions for the CAPTCHA, at which point the spamming bastards just need to replicate (or steal) it and they're good to go.

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How's about just asking the question, "are you a spamming bastard?" I'm sure they wouldn't lie, because that would be naughty. After all, it works on visa forms, where they ask if you were a member of the Nazi party...

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I ain't Spartacus
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I've seen "what colour is the text?"*, or "what is this a picture of?". Ridiculously easy for a human.

Richard 81,

CAPTCHAs are already pretty easy for a human, so long as they can see properly. The whole point of this article was that if you can't see properly, they're ridiculously hard. And the audio versions are even harder.

Screen-readers tell you what text says, they aren't designed to tell you what colour the background is. Anything they can identify, is going to be equally easy for the spammers to spot.

Admittedly it might make things easier for someone like me, who has usable vision, but struggles with the text in CAPTCHAs.

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dan1980,

That post is far too reasonable and thought through. How the hell did you get access to these forums?

I've always hated CAPTCHAs. It's a rare time that I can get the buggers on the first go. I have very severe sight problems. Sadly the audio ones are even harder to decipher, and I've got pretty good hearing. So I just merrily go through a few (swearily if I'm being honest), until I get one right, like house drumpBty or somesuch. The nonsense words are particularly hard for me, because there's no context, so if there's one letter I can't read, then it's impossible to guess. Whereas if the u in house is unclear, I can get it from context.

Unfortunately the same problem applies to OCR. If it's unclear about one letter, it can go to word tables, and come up with a probability for what word it'll be. Hence making it easier for me, is probably going to do the same for the bots.

Actually I think this is the first time I've properly thought about the bloody things, and despite the fact that they're hateful, annoying and discriminatory - they're also quite hard to replace. Email confirmation isn't going to stop a well-written spam-bot. Anything that's commonly used, and available for people to just bolt-on to their site is going to be worth the spammers writing a counter to. And there's always the problem of paying peanuts to people in web cafes.

Someone suggested a simple astronomy question for their local astronomy site. Which works by security through obscurity. As soon as that solution became commonplace, bots would be written with a database of easy astronomy questions. Anything that a test can get me to look up, the spammers can also do.

Anything I can think of that's more human is even harder to make accessible. Things like cartoons, or puzzles are going to be much harder to bung through a screen-reader - and I'd have thought any questions can be looked up as easily by the spammers as the customers. Or at least put onto the spammers database, as fast as they go on the questioners database.

Perhaps the answer to spam is identity confirmation before you're allowed to register a domain, and then vigilantes with baseball bats? There are more of us than there are of them...

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Flippin' tosser: Sun's magnetic field poised to SWIVEL on it - NASA

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I'm sorry, I can't come to work today, my current sheet has gone wavy.

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Horrific moment curvy mum-of-none Mail Online spills everyone's data

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My date of birth is 29th February. I always fancied being a leap-baby. Except for restaurants, where there's a chance of getting cheap dinner vouchers, in which case I pick one near to the real date.

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Re: Best get off that high horse....

El Reg did report themselves to the ICO a while back, when they had a data breach. I wonder what happened? Perhaps the were sentenced to doing Community Service in the Playmobil space program...

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Re: Can't tell if trolling or just stupid

If you see something in the news, and can't believe that it's genuine, or else humanity must have gone mad, you just need to believe harder. It is genuine. It's also possible that humanity has gone mad. Or always was...

I call this the Chris Morris effect. Every day I see more headlines that only Chris Morris could have written. As time goes on I have gradually realised that 'The Day Today', 'On the Hour' and 'Brass Eye' weren't satire, they were in fact media training material that got broadcast by mistake.

It's paedogeddon out there.

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Reporting spam/abusive posts

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Reporting spam/abusive posts

You seem to have disappeared the 'report' button from posts. Or Firefox is doing something funny? Quick check in Chrome and IE suggests not. Are you updating/removing this feature, or is something up?

Just saw a spammer who got through (which you're very good at avoiding normally) and couldn't do anything about it. In case it's still there by the time anyone reads this: link to post

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Big blue Avatar movie spawns THREE SEQUELS

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Unhappy

Re: Translation

Don't mention the Hobbit! My bum is still numb, and I saw it months ago!

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Hundreds of UK CSC staff face chop, told to train Indian replacements

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Re: Training your replacement.

Ah, but then you used NSA, which is also a keyword likely to be on their filters...

Adding in the use of both NSA and filters, and the deliberate obfuscation of a priority word, I wouldn't be surprised if the black helicopters aren't circling your house right now!

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What happened to Eadon??

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Re: What happened to Eadon??

Trevor,

This should be interesting. Is this one to start a topic on El Reg Matters, or is discussion going to be launched with an article, in order to get all the commentards involved? You get a much smaller set of us on the non-article forums.

I can imagine it's time for a re-think. Unless I'm mistaken the volume of voting and comments has gone up massively, even in the last 6 months. For example, it was only early this year that I hit 2,000 upvotes (I wondered if my badge would turn silver), and it's now 4,300. Voting's been going for more than a couple of years - so this looks like acceleration. There also seem to be a lot more 100 post topics than there used to be.

I used to moderate on a forum for an online game, with a million users. Although most of them never posted. I don't remember ever being upset by a post on there, although I guess accidentally clicking on links to that bloody Rick Astley song counts as mentally traumatic... I've always hated those link-shortener sites since those days, as they won't let you plug the link into their site and see where it goes, before you play Russian Roulette and click on it. Hence the Rick Astley pain.

Admittedly we didn't have article authors in the same way, so there wasn't the same personal target for bile and spite. There was a game-dev forum, but I didn't moderate that, I'd imagine it suffered from those problems. I never saw a death threat, and I believe El Reg have had to put up with several of those, mostly my job was stopping the bickering getting unpleasant (for which the Scottish forums were a nightmare) and swearing (for which the Irish were worst). And spam.

Obviously you've got the legal issues as well. You don't want to be sued for something written by a commentard, and I believe there's more of a risk of that as you moderate.

As well as laying out what El Reg is thinking the options are, I think we also need to know what problems it is that these changes are meant to solve.

For example I wouldn't recommend changing policy to get rid of swearing. There's not too much on here, so I don't see it as a problem. But it opens a moderation minefield. However, if other users see that as a problem (some who browsing at work), then you'll be forced to get into it. Oh what joy...

If you're worried about not getting bad stuff off the forums quickly enough, then you could give certain users a bit of moderating-ligtht powers. Just give them a 'report post' button that temporarily hides it, until El Reg staff have had a chance to look at it. Should be easy enough to take away if they abuse it, or over-use it. Non-employee moderation is something a lot of forums do. However, I've not noticed too many bad posts, given the rough-and-tumble that is normally allowed here. But if there's a lot being modded, it may be an option to reduce the workload of paid staff, let more through and catch it afterwards.

Hmmm. Think I've gone on a bit here. So I'll shut up. Perhaps El Reg should introduce punishments for posts that are too long? Eek! Shouldn't have suggested that...

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Ye Bug List

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Re: Invisible comments?

If it's forget the blackjack and hookers, then I can see it. I'm afraid your attempt to build a cloaking device, for the invisible stealth-shed, appears to have failed...

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No more top three comments below story? :(

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Re: No more top three comments below story? :(

I'm glad they killed them. I've seen others post on here to the same effect. Of course, now they have, the people who liked them complain. I guess you can't please all the people all the time...

My reason for not liking them is that the comments appeared out of context. Also, the first comment to get a few votes would stay on there, and get many more (either up or down), due to being in prime position. Not that I care too much about that, but I've noticed more comments with huge numbers of votes than before - and I suspect that's down to the top comments thingy.

However, they do seem to have made the link to the comments less prominent in the page design.

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Re: Killed the golden goose.

Erm, a little calm and sense of perspective might be in order here. All comments are still present and correct. They just haven't got the top few listed, out of context, where the voting becomes a self-reinforcing process. Get the first few, get to be visible, get more afterwards. Not that the voting matters, but the out of context bit does.

As for getting moderated on advertorial, it depends what you mean. The Reg do run a few sponsored articles, they're normally marked. Just don't read them. I don't blame them for controlling the comments on those, seeing as that's part of how this site is paid for, and the users are getting it free - what's to complain about?

Unless you're one of those whiners (of which there are many) who call the author a shill when he's nice about a company you don't like. In which case, again, it's their house, their rules (as their forum rules say). I've seen plenty of discussion of products, saying they suck, so I assume that's not too heavily moderated. If people are calling their author's names, then tough shit if they get modded.

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El Reg have done their badges a slightly odd way, which Drewc said they were thinking of changing. They've set it up to check if you've made 100 posts in the last calendar year - to give the badges, but what computer can give, computer can also take away. So if you fail to post 100 times in a calendar year, then you will be unceremoniously de-frocked.

A quick check of your posts confirms this. If you click on your username, it lists all the posts under it, and I think they do about 50 to a page. Go to page 2, and the bottom 10 or so are from before August 2012. So you must be a bit under your 100 quota. Get back in those salt mines! The El Reg staff will give you a good whipping, and I'm sure you won't make the same mistake twice...

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Highway from HELL: Volcano tears through 35km of crust in WEEKS

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“The study provides one more piece of evidence that it’s possible to get magma from the mantle to the surface in very short order,”

So when can scientists arrange for this to be delivered to my barbeque at say 7 o'clock each evening, on sunny evenings only of course, ready for me to put on the dinner?

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You're doing WHAT with friends? Zynga sues Bang With Friends maker

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Re: Until they sued them...

Either that, or the app makers motivation is to build the perfect list of people who want to get all goey with their friends (who don't agree), then release a new app called Blackmail With Friends, where you have to pay them not to reveal all.

Hmmmm. This gives me an idea - how do I sign up to write Facebook apps?

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Jurors start stretch in the cooler for Facebooking, Googling the accused

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Re: Punish Thought Crime vs Real Crime

How's that Daily Mail subscription coming along?

By the way, rapists and murderers should get early release. In order to make prisons governable you have to be able to control the prisoners. One good way is to give them a longer sentence than you expect them to serve, and then give them time off for good behaviour. Thus if they don't behave, they don't get to leave early. So long as the sentences are designed right, this needn't be a problem. You may also wish to consider rehabilitation of prisoners before returning them to society. Unless you want to bring back the death penalty, or build many more jails and go for whole-life sentences.

One alternative is the US system, where loads of people are on long sentences with no possibility of parole. And they have incredibly violent prisons. Now obviously prisons are full of criminals, so this is going to happen, to some extent. But if people have no hope of release, then your only real threats are solitary confinement. Unless you want to introduce punishment beatings or something.

As a final point perverting the course of justice is a serious crime. And should be treated as such. Interfering with a defendants right to a fair trial is damaging to both the defendant (obviously) but also the processes that make society work. As well as the collateral damage of causing expensive re-trials, and putting witnesses and victims through the wringer a second time, because of it.

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Re: Oh Please

Are you serious?

Yup. It's dead serious. I've served on a jury. You can find someone guilty and they can get sent to prison for years. If you aren't taking that seriously then you're both a total idiot and a liability to the rest of society.

Banning someone from Googling the accused is no more ludicrous than checking for their name(s) in the tabloids, yet how many people did that before the internet came out?

Indeed, the above mentioned idiots and liabilities to society did used to check stuff out in the papers. Despite the fact that they are told not to. And now they search online, despite the fact they are told not to. Although online is worse, because at least the UK papers have heard (and sometimes comply with) sub judice rules. Also, the papers may not always be accurate, but they're doing a good deal more fact-checking than random bloggers.

There are rules of evidence for a reason, in order to give people a chance of a fair trial. You, as a juror, have to accept that you only get limited information. You usually don't get previous convictions for example. You have a role to play in a complex system, and it's your job to do it fucking properly. So some poor sod doesn't end up locked up when they shouldn't be. Also so the victims don't have to come back to court and go through traumatic testimony a second time, because you've buggered up the very expensive and complicated trial, and it has to be done all over again.

It's not rocket science. You're told what you have to do, and it's your job to do it, as best you can. To go all high-fallutin, its your duty to society. One of the things that makes a decent society, is a fair (ish) legal system. And while no system is perfect, at least juries allow ordinary people to be involved and hopefully keep things sane. With legal checks-and-balances to try and avoid lynch-mob-rule. The only way to ensure the system doesn't turn into a totally self-interested closed shop is to grab ordinary bods off the street, and get them to serve on juries. Which is inconvenient, but necessary. Society would be worse without it. And in my experience, you can be forced to serve on a jury, but they're mostly pretty easy-going about letting you avoid it, if you really want to.

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Galaxy S4 FIREBALL ATE MY HOUSE, claims Hong Kong man

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Oh yes, I nearly forgot the Rembrandt on the wall as well...

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NASA Van Allen probes discover PARTICLE HURRICANES

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Re: Excellent work

Wzrd1,

Ah but there's an advantage to the battleship armour thickness spaceship walls. It gives us a perfect excuse to go for the 'Project Orion' approach to spaceflight. Then we can get pretty much anything we want up there, and deal with nuclear proliferation, by 'recycling' old warheads.

Caveat: Now I like development as much as the next man. And I hate Nimbyism. However, on this particular occasion, I really must protest about the idea of Project Orion being launched anywhere near my house. I get these terrible headaches you see, and the last thing I want is something making them worse...

I can't decide between a smiley face and a big explosion icon. But I think I'll go for the smiley face, because big explosions are fun. When they're not happening to you.

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You MERCILESS FIEND... you put that audio file on AUTOPLAY

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Re: Talking about accessibility...

'deaf semaphore'

Sometimes I despair of people on the internet, I really do. I tried to type something rational about the above comment, but I've lost the will to live.

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Re: Evil idea #21

Ah the sound of a door opening quietly in the distance, and then a piglike snuffling and grunting getting slowly closer...

Happy memories of playing Doom in the dark, with my first experience of 4.1 sound. You had to learn to look over your shoulder on the screen, not in real life. Happy days.

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Assange™ names a Senatorial stand-in

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Re: Smoke and mirrors

You really are deluding yourself if you consider what is in the press or published on the internet as total truth,its all smoke and mirrors designed to hide events and change whats written in the history books.

Arachnoid,

Take off the tinfoil hat old chap. I wouldn't disagree too much with your statement if you removed that word designed. Then we could agree that truth is hidden, very complicated and incredibly hard to pin down.

Wikileaks didn't really reveal anything we didn't already know. The diplomatic cables confirmed that sometimes diplomats and governments don't say what they really think about foreign policy - and also often negotiate with unpleasant regimes. Say it ain't so! You ought to have had that figured out once you started doing history at school. There's no excuse for not already knowing that by the time you're 18.

The Afghan war logs showed us that civilians get killed in wars. Sometimes by accident, sometimes deliberately. Again, you should have known that already. I don't recall a single case being highlighted of NATO screwing up and killing civilians that was covered up.

So what truth has St Julian unveiled to the world? That some guys who fly Apache helicopters make tasteless comments as they shoot at people milling around with guns (and it turns out an RPG), because they were afraid they had an RPG, and so might get shot down, and were covering it with bravado. Again what did that reveal? Other than Wikileaks point of view, by calling it 'Collateral Murder', and worryingly dodgy ethics by editing the version they put on Youtube...

Truth is complicated. We don't know everything. We should be sceptical of government, media and also historians and internet comments. As I said, you shouldn't need Assange to tell you that, not once you're past 16, or at the very latest, 18.

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