* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

4888 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Meet the original Big Data, TED Talk, Thought Shower Futurist

I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Comment

The minutae of the lives of politicians is documented. And has been for years. Even if much of it is secret. Their private lives have been known and more-or-less public for years. But lots of their professional lives get released under the 30 years rule, so historians at least can look at it. Even if us mere mortals have to wait for the biographies to come out to find stuff out. Plus of course the partial information they put out in their autobiographies (usually soon after retiring) and what they themselves spaff onto Twitter and their websites.

New Labour did a lot more "sofa government" and spurned the committees with written notes to some extent. So we may have less on policy from them. Though that tendency seems to have been reversed by the next government, partly as a matter of policy, but also because they had to be more formal as a coalition. Anyway we've now got emails being archived, so even more crap for historians to trawl through.

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I ain't Spartacus
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But the creative output of most people has very little value. If you're one of those people, getting the output of other, more talented people for free is a net gain.

I'd imagine Orlowski is also talking about personal data here. As he's talked before about using something akin to copyright to allow people more control of their personal data.

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Sir Clive Sinclair in tech tin-rattle triumph

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Re: MEH! Yet another retro handheld

Ah, Daley Thompson's Decathlon Joystick Destroyer. Happy memories.

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Re: What Games though?

That and 'Blue Danube' from Elite and whatever the music was from Gauntlet. All of which I played for many, many, many hours. Gauntlet was the only tragedy though, given a tape load error when I'd got to level 92.

The other game I played which burned a soundtrack into my head was TIE Fighter.

I've not played a PC game in years, although if a new version of TIE Fighter came out, I think I'd be forced to buy a nice graphics card and a joystick.

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Patch ASAP: Tons of Linux apps can be hijacked by evil DNS servers, man-in-the-middle miscreants

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Happy

Re: Updated

Read it, patched it, stopped worrying about it quicker than it normally takes me to compose a double-entendre-laden comment.

So what you're saying is that you immediately jumped on it, whipped it out then it was all over in a few seconds?

Did the earth move for you?

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Facebook tells Viz to f**k right off

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Re: meanwhile....

What Chainsaw magazine provide vital consumer advice. Leave them alone!

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When asked 'What's a .CNT file?' there's a polite way to answer

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My experience too is that users just carry on blithely using the PC, however slow and awful it gets. Until their friend who can deal this thing is round, then ask for help.

In my Mum's case, she's a little more cunning. She invites me over for dinner. Then after we've eaten, she turns Eastenders on - and says, "I've got a bit of a problem with my computer..." At this point, I'm so eager to get as far away from the telly as possible, that I run to fix it.

Just found a weird bug on a laptop yesterday, where Windows Update decided that it was still October 27th, so has no done any updates since that day. I'm sure I'd notice not having had the computer update itself for that length of time, but nope. A whole bunch of new icons having been installed over the years by programs so the user couldn't find his preferred ones didn't seem to worry him either. Rather than just right clicking to get rid of them - he just found stuff some other way. Ten minutes of clickety-click and 2 hours of updates and reboots later - it's now back to how it was set up.

Just things like telling the system tray how many icons it can show seems to be beyond most people. Given that I've seen this sometimes taking up half a 22" widescreen monitor...

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Sick and tired of modern Windows? Upgrade to Windows 3.1 today – in your web browser

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Re: Ahhhhh Win 3.1 on a 386DX 40MHz with 8MB Ram

DX? Luxury. You flash bastard!

My first PC was an Ambra - IBM trying to do a cheaper consumer PC so as not to dilute their profits from business sales. VGA monitor, 386SX 25MHz - 2 MB of RAM and a huge 40MB hard drive. Bought in 1993 I think.

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Send tortuous stand-up ‘nine-thirty’ meetings back to the dark ages

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Re: Best manager I've had

A fondly remembered Belgian manager of mine used to do that. The restaurant in question was a lovely italian one, with the disconcerting name of l'Arsenic.

The only problem was that although there was no pressure to be back quickly, my boss did have a tendency to order drinks while we looked at the menu, and then a bottle of wine between two with the food. And you had to stop him ordering more with coffee. I had a warm office, and didn't wish to sleep my afternoons away...

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Devil

Re: Toilet meeting?

Now let me dump this idea on you, and see if it floats...

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Happy

Re: "giant aquarium"

"giant terrarium" surely?

Depends. If you're meeting management, or marketing, it's called a serpentarium...

For lizards in general (see HR), it's a herpetarium.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: "giant aquarium"

The kind of meeting I hated most, is the one they fly you out there for.

Everyone knows you're there and there's only that opportunity to collar you, you have nothing else to do and there's nowhere to hide!

You don't have a desk to go to - and I did this in the era before smartphones, so couldn't even sneak off into a corner and pretend to email.

Worse they feel the need to entertain you, so you get taken out to lunch by the same people you're meeting - and so the horror continues over lunch as well!

So you tended to step out of your taxi from the airport around 9ish, get ten minutes of small talk and bad coffee - then 3 hours of meeting, followed by lunch (with a side order of more meeting), and then at 4 more hours of lovely afternoon meeting - followed by taxi back to airport.

I'd have been grateful for a lack of chairs in those meetings, as it would have kept me awake. After the projector's been running for all that time, the meeting room starts to get toasty-warm, and your 3-4am start begins to catch up with you.

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Happy

Re: So when do we actually get time to work?

Surely if you were a proper agile programmer, you'd be able to climb/run fast enough to evade the progress meetings?

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Firemen free chap's todger from four-ring chokehold

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I'm sure the codpiece industry would be grateful as well...

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Building automation systems are so bad IBM hacked one for free

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Re: Sadly unsurprising

And if it's running something more important than People Pods, like an industrial environment or the a/c to the server room, somebody could do some serious damage...

I'd not thought of that. You could have a new security term ADoS. A DDoS is a distributed attack, an ADoS is an Aircon Denial of Service.

It all depends on how integrated stuff gets. At the moment most kit has built-in protection. So servers will shut down on over-temperature, meaning your kit doesn't cook. Though I suppose that not all the kit will come back up again, so it's still bad. And you lose service.

Electric motors last a long time when they run, but suffer stress on start-up. So you can kill a pump by turning it off and on repeatedly. But to combat this, many industrial electric motors have run-on timers, for example most water pumps will run for a minimum of 2 minutes.

Heating systems contain electronic controls to stop the boiler if things go over temperature or pressure. But there's also a hardware backup, the emergency temperature and pressure relief valves. This limits what you can screw up even with control of a BMS.

Many tall buildings have an anti-vacuum system on the pump - to avoid water hammer damage on restart. Some also have automatic anti-vacuum valves, doing the same job in hardware.

If people come to rely on electronic sensors and controls, and then further come to rely on the BMS to operate these, then I forsee a problem.

Fortunately the building services industry is too fucked up for that. Design is done in silos. No one talks to each other. Purchasing too - often the people who buy the equipment now will save 10% on physical kit, even though it costs them more in labour than that saving - because they're bonused on saving purchases and don't even talk to the site engineers.

As manufacturers, we don't talk to the BMS people, who treat their whole field as a black box that only they understand (and charge large amounts to commission). So all they get is volt-free connections giving a fault/no-fault signal. Even with pumped systems on timers they don't often manually tell the pump to switch on, rather they open a valve, that causes water pressure to drop - activating the pump that way (on its normal controls).

Incoherence and incompetence will save us! Hooray!

...Sorry, I was trying to be hopeful. Think I blew it at the end there...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Sadly unsurprising

Ledswinger,

It does depend on what's hooked up to a BMS though. We sell kit that only has a one-way connection. So we don't have to worry about security. We just output a few different kinds of fault flag, with a different connection for each. So the BMS can't screw up our kit's controls - which can only be done with physical access.

Except we do have some variable speed stuff that takes information from the air-conditioning on how fast to spin the fans. So you might be able to do some damage by continuously teling it to change motor speeds.

You can do lots of damage with direct control of pumps and valves. If I have control of a pump and a single outlet several floors up in a high rise building, then I can create a vacuum in the sytem, turn the pump back on and create massive water hammer - and spike the pressure up to way more than the pipes will stand. If you've got a pump operating at 10 litres/second at 5-10 bar, then that's an awful lot of water spraying around everywhere. And lots of pipe joints you're going to have to go and fix. You can also knacker electric motors by rapidly switching them on and off - if people have disabled their normal protection when giving control the BMS.

Not to mention the gas system and boilers.

I remember writing something ten years ago, when were looking at using wireless sensors/controls. Saying that it was too scary to do, and that wires were cheaper and less hassle. Giant water tanks and concrete basement plantrooms tend to bugger up your signals anyway - but the security problems are just as bad - particularly given that's an area we have no experience or expertise in. And neither does anyone else in the industry.

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Twitter CEO Jack's off to the settings page, adds robot-sorted tweets

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Re: 320 million?

*making "a" facebook and twitter doesn't really sound right, but i have no idea what the correct term should be when i can't be bothered to refer to them separately.

I would suggest: excreted.

As in, the marketing department have excreted a TwitFace.

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South Korea abandons manufacturing enclave in nuclear North

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Re: Lets just hope ...

I'm pretty sure it was the North that closed it last time. Can't remember if it was over the report into the sinking of the South Korean Navy ship, or the incident where the North shelled the South, and they returned fire.

At that point, the South Korean government went to quite a bit of trouble to keep the place open. The road was cut off, so it wasn't able to work, but they left some of their staff there to watch over the machinery and keep stuff ticking over.

I guess they've given up on it. It was pretty much the last vestige of the Sunshine policy, of being nice to the North, in hopes of better relations. As far back as Clinton, the US government often got frustrated in that they tried to negotiate with the North - but couldn't even get the South to agree with them on policy. Let alone China. Fat boy seems happy with just relying on Chinese trade to keep the place going - although he keeps pissing them off as well. It'll be interesting if China ever decides the DPRK aren't worth the hassle - or gives them up as a bargaining chip for something they want. I doubt the regime could survive very long without oil, but what would it do about it?

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Norks stabilise non-threatening space speck ... for about five minutes

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Devil

Re: Dirty bomb

What, you mean he's put his porn stash into orbit?

I guess that's one way to hide it from the wife...

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I ain't Spartacus
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That shouldn't worry him, bearing in mind that his Grandad is still President. Kim Il Sung is Eternal Leader or something, and so the DPRK are the only country to have a dead head of state. Crazy place, crazy guys...

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Official UN panel findings on embassy-squatter released. Assange: I'm 'vindicated'

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He's Ukranian.

I'm sure he'll still take the vodka though...

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I ain't Spartacus
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A nice piece here that covers diplomatic asylum - and how it only applies to the Latin American states that signed up to it: linky

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I ain't Spartacus
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We're signed up to the Vienna conventions on diplomacy. Which I believe are universal.

South America have a different tradition. Partly because El Presidente keeps having to make a run for it, as yet another group of unhappy colonels sieze the radio station and shoot-up the palace. So he jumps into the nearest embassy, they then keep him safe until either the coup collapses, or it's certain they've won. Then they negotiate safe passage and exile, for whatever ministers were also quick enough on their feet.

Sanctuary in embassies is also recognised for political dissidents, journalists and the like.

But few countries outside South America have signed up to this. The UK diplomat I read stuff by (Charles Crawford) says that the Foreign Office are actively hostile to having people seek asylum in the embassy. You're there to get a specific job done, which is keeping channels open between governments, and this gets in the way of that, and can make relations extremely awkward.

My impression from their report was that they spent a lot of time talking about Assange's fear of being sent (refouled) from Sweden to the US - and that neither the UK or Swedish authorities have taken account of Ecuador granting him political asylum. This they seem to be claiming gives him some special status which trumps our laws, hence he should be packed off to Ecuador forthwith.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: The USA has won ...

4) What's wrong with you?

I'm pissed off with liars. And a continual polluting of public discussions with bollocks. And people who refuse to learn, when this is pointed out to them.

Assange was accused of rape. That's what the Swedish EAW says. This was covered in Assange's appeal. It's also rape under UK law. All the crap about "sex by surprise" or "Sweden's system is different and just looking at a woman funny over there counts as rape" gets repeated on every single discussion of this. It's bollocks. He's accused of rape. Plain and simple. Look up the judgement of the Court of Appeal if you don't believe me.

He's accused of attempting to use physical force to have sex, after being refused sex without putting on a condom. He then allegedly relented, put on his condom and carried on. But then had sex again after she'd fallen asleep without condom. Both of those are sex without consent, or "putting his willy where it wasn't wanted" - and both count as rape under UK law and Swedish law.

Assange and his legal and PR teams have been caught lying about this repeatedly. And so his supporters do too. Then refuse to be educated. Hence my little rant.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Thanks to the UN tribunal

It's a really weird decision, in many ways. It starts off with a statement on their website, where a bit of the press release has been copied and pasted twice. They had the complaint in September 2014, decided in December 2015! And so two months later seem to have screwed up the deadline.

There's then a statement from the chair of the tribunal that their decision is legally binding. At least in the sense that it's based on international law. Huh? Are they a court? I'm not sure they're even all lawyers! So what it actually is, is a legal opinion. Hopefully based on the law, though their press statement makes bugger-all sense, and doesn't say why they've come to the decision. Other than Sweden's lack of diligence in pursuing the case.

I tried to read the full document, but it's incredibly badly laid out. You open the nice Word document, and get an error message, followed by this horribly formatted thing in columns.

And rather than laying out their decision, it covers the submissions from each party. Sometimes with comments. I got bored halfway through Sweden. The even weirder bit is that it comments on the Swedish stuff, saying where it's failed to cover points made by Assange's team, but in the bits on his submissions doesn't say where they're batshit insane, or actually have a point.

So one of their points is he was apparently in solitary in Wandsworth. For ten days. I'm assuming this is because you don't tend to mix celebrity prisoners with the general population, but didn't get to the UK bit, so don't know.

They then describe being out on bail as house arrest. He was under restrictive conditions, on a tag and not allowed to sleep anywhere else. But then he was accused of fleeing from arrest in Sweden, so he was definitely a flight risk. Given he later ran from justice to hide in the Ecuadorian embassy.

They complain about the length of his "house arrest". But that was entirely because he was appealing extradition. No mention seems to be made that this is a) his choice. And more importantly, b) proof that it's not arbitrary in that there was an ongoing legal process being followed.

There is some play of the fact that he's not actually been charged. I don't know if they've therefore decided that Sweden's legal system doesn't meet international norms. Because that's clearly an artefact of him fleeing Sweden before they could do their pre-charge interrogation.

There's then some comment on the fact that Ecuador have granted him asylum. And how this should be recognised, and therefore we should grant him safe passage to Ecuador to enjoy his right to that asylum. I'm out of my depth on international law here - so can't help. Does the deliberations of a proper court system (UK and Sweden) trump an embassy and government granting asylum - given that one uses public due process and the other is a private decision? Or are they saying that anyone who can get asylum from any government has a get out of jail free card? They may have covered it in the bit I didn't read.

They make the fair point that forcing someone to flee to an embassy for asylum by persecution is the same as imprisonment. But nowhere could I find that they'd said this was what had happened. I guess I'll have to read it again, at the weekend.

Their summary only says that Sweden should have acted faster. But doesn't say this wasn't possible due to Assange fleeing justice twice.

Which is the exact point that their one dissenting opinion made.

I've not seen much decent dissection of the report. Other than a bit from the Guardian here.

He also didn't find much justification for the findings, but hasn't had much more time to study it than me.

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Megaphone

Re: The USA has won ...

No one has ever accused him of "putting his willy where it wasn't wanted"

That is the very definition of rape. Your hero Assange is accused of rape. Get this into your thick fucking skulls! No more of this shit!

Sure, he may well be innocent. Though I'm struggling to maintain my normally strong belief of innocent until proven guilty after 5 years of this fucking circus. But the accusations are simple. They are clear. And for all Assange's lies, and his attempts to smear his accusers, the accusation is still rape.

Deal with it!

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Happy

Re: Won't make a bit of difference.

What happens if he's arrested by the Swedish Chef from the Muppets?

Preferably to the tune of Yakety Sax...

God, that's a mental image I'm struggling to get out of my head now. Sorry.

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The Mad Men's monster is losing the botnet fight: Fewer humans are seeing web ads

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I can't see banner ads

I just don't look in that area of the browser. It's not conscious, as I sometimes find there's a menu bar hiding up there that I need - and it takes ages to find. Website design is mostly very similar though. The top of the page is usually dead space, or worse - is flashing annoying crap.

And I'm not anti-advertising. I'm happy to enjoy an ad that makes the effort to be funny, or even just has a nice tune. Although I do want to punch the people who design the ones that try to stay in your head by being actively annoying - which just makes me dislike their brand.

I even don't notice most ads that appear as boxes within articles now.

I think this is partly because online ads are just so shit. With TV they sometimes make an effort. Online I can barely recall seeing an ad that was anything other than logo+picture+dull slogan. The only ones that are noticably different are utterly obnoxious and launch video without permission or fly shitty banners down over the screen so you can't see what you're doing. And even then, none of those that I've been forced to notice have ever been interesting or funny. And now I employ Flashblock to stop them doing it.

Finally the quality of online ads is awful. Supposedly respectable organisations will accept flashing ads that say, "click on this to win a free iPad." Or "take this illegal and probably dangerous pill to maigcally reduce your belly fat." Shameful! It makes the other advertising look shit by being associated with it, and makes the website owners look like dodgy fucking spivs.

The only online ads I click on are on the phone or tablet, when trying to scroll the screen leads to erroneous clicking.

This is a real problem, as so much of the interent is funded by ads. And yet it's such a hostile environment that the users are coming to hate them more and more.

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Who would code a self-destruct feature into their own web browser? Oh, hello, Apple

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Devil

A female goat is a nanny.

Hence the conversation...

Wife: What were you just doing online dear?

Husband: I was just looking for a new nanny

[meanwhile husband is mashing the delete browser history button]

Husband [under breath]: Phew! That was a bit hairy...

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I ain't Spartacus
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IE6?

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Sir Michael Lyons tells .uk registry Nominet: Time to grow up

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Devil

Re: Is it something in the water?

I suspect it's because they've got nothing to do any more.

Sure, there's a bit of housekeeping, and taking on new staff to replace people that leave. But they've all now got a nice steady income, and a bunch of more or less organised procedures on how to handle stuff. So what's left? International junkets to have arguments about changing things, or not doing so. And then looking at the pretty decent cashflows and thinking: How can I increase them and make a nice bonus for myself?

The devil makes work for idle hands.

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What's it like to work for a genius and Olympic archer who's mates with Richard Branson?

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Yes. Everyone knows that Excel is all the database anyone would ever need.

Oh God! The flashbacks! The nested ifs and vlookups. The brackets! The horror!

...whimper...

I remember the day I took over a "database" responsible for running a £20m budget. On Excel. It took me about 2 weeks with a whiteboard and a lot of paper and highlighter pen ink to work out what it did. A day to change the colour scheme from purple on brown, black on hideous flourescent green and the like. My eyes! Another 2 weeks to re-write it so it actually worked properly. Another week to test that I hadn't screwed it up. A week to put the data back in correctly. And a few weeks to fail to persuade my boss to buy some proper software to do it, or to get someone competent to make it into a proper database, using something a touch more robust than Excel.

I think it was a 200MB file, extensively linked to 3 other equally huge Excel abominations - and I know that some other people linked their stuff to it across the network. It was the sort of file you hit open on, then wandered off to make a coffee. Back in the 90s, when 1GB of RAM was something that happened to other people.

It worked though, but it scared me. Infernal audit were called in, and after two weeks pronounced that they couldn't find a single mistake. I suspect they just couldn't untangle the spaghetti and were bluffing...

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Microsoft's malware mitigator refreshed, but even Redmond says it's no longer needed

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Happy

Didn't you send Justin Bieber and Celine Dion to the USA? I think Canada has much to answer for!

Of course, we sent them Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan, so are probably not in the best position to comment...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: In my day, this was all fields

The Windows 10 shell, is nicer than the Windows 8 one though...

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Assange will 'accept arrest' on Friday if found guilty

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Re: Go and never darken our shores again

Bota,

Thanks for your reply. An interesting and well balanced New Yorker article: link here

As you say, Raffi Khatchadourian does address whether there was a war crime. I'll point out that he's a journalist, and so no more an expert on the matter than I am. Nor does he quote any expert sources to back up his opinion. But he does say:

Assange saw these events in sharply delineated moral terms, yet the footage did not offer easy legal judgments. In the month before the video was shot, members of the battalion on the ground, from the Sixteenth Infantry Regiment, had suffered more than a hundred and fifty attacks and roadside bombings, nineteen injuries, and four deaths; early that morning, the unit had been attacked by small-arms fire. The soldiers in the Apache were matter-of-fact about killing and spoke callously about their victims, but the first attack could be judged as a tragic misunderstanding. The attack on the van was questionable—the use of force seemed neither thoughtful nor measured—but soldiers are permitted to shoot combatants, even when they are assisting the wounded, and one could argue that the Apache’s crew, in the heat of the moment, reasonably judged the men in the van to be assisting the enemy. Phase three may have been unlawful, perhaps negligent homicide or worse. Firing missiles into a building, in daytime, to kill six people who do not appear to be of strategic importance is an excessive use of force. This attack was conducted with scant deliberation, and it is unclear why the Army did not investigate it.

The first attack is the one that kills the journalists and the armed group with them. The second is when they attack people that have gone to help after the first - some of whom I remember as being armed. The third attack is a Hellfire missile strike on a building that I don't remember from the video:

Assange had decided to exclude the Hellfire incident from the film; the attack lacked the obvious human dimension of the others, and he thought that viewers might be overloaded with information.

And I guess that explains why. So it's possible the bit they cut out does show a war crime. I'd have to see it. That certainly looks like a breach of the rules of engagement - at least it would be for the air force. But helicopters are counted as ground forces, so may operate under different rules of engagement. Air strikes tend to be either planned, or called in by ground controllers - whereas this helicopter was operating independently as a sort of flank guard for an operation a few streets away.

So thanks for the article. I learned something. I'd agree that the footage could have been helpful in improving the public debate, although I'd question the way it was used by Wikileaks. But it certainly wasn't an example of some sinister cover-up of major war crimes. And the fact that Wikileaks put the spotlight on a military incident that should have been investigated doesn't let Assange off scot free when he should be investigated for serious allegations of rape.

I'll end with a nice (and highly relevant) quote from the New Yorker piece:

a deeper question that WikiLeaks must address: What is it about? The Web site’s strengths—its near-total imperviousness to lawsuits and government harassment—make it an instrument for good in societies where the laws are unjust. But, unlike authoritarian regimes, democratic governments hold secrets largely because citizens agree that they should, in order to protect legitimate policy. In liberal societies, the site’s strengths are its weaknesses. Lawsuits, if they are fair, are a form of deterrence against abuse. Soon enough, Assange must confront the paradox of his creation: the thing that he seems to detest most—power without accountability—is encoded in the site’s DNA, and will only become more pronounced as WikiLeaks evolves into a real institution.

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Re: Maybe not Friday.

Remember, if you will, the video scens that Manning and Wikileaks published, of helicopter fire on unarmed civilians and journalists accompanied by commentry that indicated a total lack of concern.

Would that be the video footage called "Collaterol Murder" where Wikileaks edited out the footage showing the group they fired on were armed? Although to be fair they did release an undedited version at some point as well.

Also the audio was pretty unpleasant with the pilots treating it far to much like some video shoot-em-up. But even there, you can't have it both ways. When the gunner shouts "RPG", and it's obvious they believe they're being engaged by insurgent with a rocket launcher, you can't say that's somehow acting, given how unpleasant they're being for the rest of the time. A crime requires intent. Accidents are usually not crimes for that reason.

I don't know if journalists train for this, given that a big shoulder-mounted camera poked cautiously round a corner might look similar enough to a missle launcher to a scared soldier. On the other hand, standing up in plain sight is often going to be just as risky.

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Re: Go and never darken our shores again

He exposed war crimes.

Bota,

Got any evidence for that? I don't remember Wikileaks exposing any war crimes. The diplomatic cables were very interesting, but told us little new, I'm presuming most intelligent people already know that diplomats have to talk to some rather unpleasant people - and aren't always complimentary about everyone. We did learn a few useful things, though it probably did some mild damage to the process of diplomacy - there is often good reason why this stuff is done quietly. I'd say a score draw.

The Afghanistan stuff as I recall didn't reveal anything interesting. It talked about some incidents where NATO bombing had killed civillians, that were already known about. But did reveal the names of some low level intelligence sources, mostly villagers on the ground. Allegedly Assange is supposed to have said when asked to redact their names to protect them that they were informers so fuck 'em. Nice chap. That's not a score for wikileaks. They revealed potentially sensitive information on innocent people caught in the middle of a war (not of their making), and risked their lives for no significant gain.

And the only thing I can remmeber from Iraq was the "collaterol murder" video. Which definitely wasn't a war crime, since the people that helicopter engaged were part of an armed group. Admittedly they saw a camera poking round a corner, mistook it for an RPG, panicked a bit and fired. Either that or the pilots were bloody good actors. But there was no reason to think that they didn't genuinely believe they were about to be fired at by an RPG, and so they returned fire. That was an accident, not a war crime, by any sensible definition. Wikileaks then blotted their copybook by releasing an edited version, which edited out the bit afterwards where the group's weapons were shown, though to be fair they also released the unedited footage, so it's not like they were trying that hard to hide it.

So I'd say, he's not the messiah. He's a very naughty boy...

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Happy

Re: What are the odds looking like?

Are you suggesting he gets a blender and has himself liquidised? There are two problems with this. Firslty, someone might accidentally drink him. Secondly, I'm not sure if we've yet got the technology to put him back together again.

I suppose he could use it to make his case though, by having himself smuggled out in an Innocent Smoothies carton. OK, OK, I'll get my coat.

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Re: WTF?

Just done a quick bit of research. It's not a joke committee. It's stuffed with human rights lawyers, as you might expect, but the Aussie member for example was previously on the Australian delegation to the UN General Assembly. So has been an officially accredited Australian diplomat.

The only way I can imagine them justifying a decision that he's been arbitrarily detained is if Sweden have been telling porkies about why they haven't questioned him in the embassy. To be honest I still don't buy that, as I don't see why he should have any more rights than any other alleged criminal in the UK or Sweden. And that means you get arrested, when the police say you get arrested. And if you run away, then they get to chase you. Just because you've successfully hidden for several years, doesn't magically make that process unfair.

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Re: WTF?

It is bizarre. But then is this another one of those joke UN committees? Like when the Human Rights committee was chaired by Saddam's Iraq - where the members were voted on by the General Assembly?

Anyway the only arbitrary thing about the case would be if a politician or the police were to give him free passage. A court has ruled that he has to be extradited to Sweden, that decision has been appealed twice (or was it three times?), and upheld each time. He's appealed in Sweden against the process and lost in their highest court too.

I suppose the only other arbitrary thing would be a UN ruling. Given that they have no place in the judicial process. His only choices are to rot in the embassy until the 10 year statute of limitations runs out on the rape charges, then skulk off (possibly after a brief stay in chokey for bail-jumping) - or to go off to Sweden and face the music. And probably get off for lack of evidence - given there were only two people in the room at the time of each allegation.

I feel really sorry for the juries in rape cases. Having done a couple of stints of jury service, all on ABH cases, we had multiple witnesses and even some CCTV footage. And it was bad enough trying to piece things together from the often conflicting evidence. It was a pretty horrible feeling letting someone off that people thought guilty, becuase there just wasn't enough evidence. Then again it's even worse being responsible for sending an innocent person to prison.

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Happy

Re: What are the odds looking like?

I don't think he's got access to the roof. The embassy is in a block of flats, it's just a converted flat itself I believe. So he'd have to walk out of the embassy limits into the corridors to get up to the roof, where he could be arrested. Assuming the police have a seat in the warm inside, rather than standing out in the cold...

There is a balcony though, didn't he do a press confrerence from it once? But not sure if it's big enough for a glider. So a jepack is a better option, but probably a bit hard on the embassy's curtains...

As I recall they're also not on the ground floor, so tunnelling is a bit of a no-no as well.

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Re: Maybe not Friday.

You recall most of it wrong...ish.

Sweden took up the offer of interviewing him here, but only seriously last year. Partly I think becasue they got told off by a judge. I've no idea why the didn't try before. But it didn't happen anyway. They say because Ecuador and Assange were trying to impose conditions on it. Who knows the actual truth. They were trying to negotiate this before the statute of limitations ran out on the lesser charges in the Summer, and supposedly an interview was still expected soon after that on the rape charges, but nothing seems to have happened.

You're correct he's not been charged though. Apparently in Sweden you get a final interogation where they charge you. This was what he'd been invited to attend via his lawyer when he left Sweden for the sunny shores of the UK. The lawyer claimed in the court hearing not to have been told, and was then forced to admit he had been - rather embarrassingly. Can't imagine that went down well with the judge...

Finally, I don't believe the women involved ever withdrew their complaints. Unless there's something I've not read about (perfectly possible). But the Swedish prosecutors weren't going to continue the case at first, then I believe one (or both) of the womens' lawyers appealed, and they changed their mind. Don't know if that was because they thought there was no significant chance of a conviction, or something else though.

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Scottish MP calls for drone-busting eagles

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Devil

Re: It's a good job that a mostly wild fusking huge razor-clawed raptor flying about

Excuse me. There's a downside to a few annoying yappy little dogs getting eaten?

Oh sorry, did I say that out loud?

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Re: Genetic modifications?

Are you suggesting that the Russian Tu95 Bear aircraft is actually... A flying bear?

You'd need a pretty big GM eagle to take one of those out. I suggest a large flying hunneypot might be much more effective...

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Happy

Re: Anyone for kickstarting

No, but I've already begun work on my eagle-catching-drone catching drone...

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An owl got into one of our classrooms at primary school. Barn owl I think. Went in for a lesson, it decided it didn't like the look of a couple of dozen 9 year olds wandering into its bedroom and made a dash for it. They're not all that big, but when one's flying right at your face at full speed, it seems huge. I was the one standing in the doorway. As happens it was still on the rise, so scraped its talons across the head of the boy in front, and went just over the top of me.

I don't think he bled that much. I've no idea how it got in there. Certainly wasn't chasing any drones.

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Leak – UN says Assange detention 'unlawful'

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I can only imagine that they'll base it on a right to justice without undue delay. And they'll argue that Sweden should have interviewed him at the Ecuadorian embassy. They only seem to have made serious efforts towards doing that last year, as the statute of limitations on the less serious charges was coming up. Also after being somewhat told off by a Swedish judge for not getting on with things, but it didn't happen. Apparently Assange and Ecuador were making conditions, or possibly just Ecuador - so I guess the ruling will be on whether these conditions were reasonable.

I still don't buy it myself. I don't see why Assange has any right to special treatment. Sweden has a perfectly sensible process to make justice happen in a timely manner, which is to go through the normal process. Assange deliberately circumvented that, so I don't see why he shouldn't have to suffer the consequences of his own actions. He was happy enough to live in Sweden before allegations, so I don't buy some crappy excuse about how Sweden would hand him over to the nasty US suddently, but there'd been no risk of this the day before. And then to come to the UK didn't exactly show much fear of the US, given we have the worst extradition treaty with them imagineable.

I guess we find out tomorrow. Or it'll be one of those mixed judgements that says we should have done more to help the case along, and ignores his role in fucking the whole process up. Rights should come with responsibilities. And his is to man-up, and turn up for his police interview and possible trial.

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Happy

Re: It all depends

Only in the UN would a 5-person committee require 3 chairs!

That shows a dedictation to saving money unusual at the UN. 5 committee members, only 3 chairs, so do two of them have to stand up? Or do they lean on the edge of the table, like Channel 5 news presenters?

Or perhaps they start each meeting by playing some motivational music, then marching round the table to warm up, and when the music stops...

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13 CubeSats to ride mighty US lifter

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Happy

Re: Launch cost

Yuummm. Sweet and sour Hong Kong style pork, IIIIIN SPPAAAAAAAAAAAACE!

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