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* Posts by copsewood

521 posts • joined 24 Jun 2009

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Top level domain explosion could wreak MAYHEM on NET

copsewood
Boffin

So whose DNS is it anyway ?

If ICANN were able to dictate the design of DNS resolvers, presumably they could impose resolution of single label DNS queries such as http://nike/ or sales@nike into MX, A or AAAA records. But that isn't how it works. Designers of DNS software, and operating system library designers are very likely to choose to be less obliging for the security reasons described in the otherwise fine article. Tough luck on any marketing droid who reckons a $185K application fee will get them single label names if the software is changed to block resolution of these.

So how long would it take me to edit and recompile gethostbyname() to something which blocks external resolution of single label names if I don't want to let rich single label name marketing wet dreams to compromise my LAN ?

Another approach might be to have the root zone compiled by a more responsible party than ICANN. This zone is a very small file which doesn't change very often, and it doesn't take much effort to write a shell script making use of dig to enumerate the current version. All that would take would be for the relatively few engineers who develop and distribute DNS client and resolver software to agree on a better root zone provider.

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WikiLeaks sues Visa, Mastercard over 'financial blockade'

copsewood
Boffin

@James O'Shae: legal responsbility comes with monopoly

"Mastercard and Visa are private companies. If they don't want to do business with you, they don't have to."

My understanding of Visa and Mastercard is that these together have sufficient penetration in the market for financial networking services between banks that they are effectively a monopoly. With that comes legal responsibilities.

Your water company is probably a private company, but that doesn't mean they can cut off your water supply or block your sewers, unless they do so based upon objective criteria (e.g. non payment of bills) within the context of a legal framwork which regulates use of these powers. Much legislative and legal activity at the US federal and EU levels concern regulation of the powers of monopolies. Water, electric and gas companies tend to be regulated at the national and regional level. That's the reason for the existence of OFWAT, OFCOM etc.

11
3

Wallabies battle cattle farts

copsewood
WTF?

"all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind"

So says Solomon in Ecclesiastes 1:14 . This kind of research is meaningless, unless and until comparisons are made with methane release from alternative land uses. Methane isn't called marsh gas for no reason but that isn't a good reason to lose the biodiversity which comes from draining marshes. Wild animals fart too.

0
0

Moderatrix kisses the Reg goodbye

copsewood
Pint

I rated this article utterly terrible

Because I've enjoyed your witty comments and ... sensible approach to moderation, and El Reg will not be the same without you. You even censored me once, but on that occasion I guess I must have deserved it; I'm crazy enough to have once attempted to moderate an ancient and very long and vitriolic flamewar myself so I understand fully. Best wishes in your future endeavours and all that nonsense.

0
0

Spam volumes show massive drop - but why?

copsewood
Boffin

Try upgrading your end

No reason not to upgrade your server or encourage your server operator to upgrade to DKIM signing your outgoing messages http://www.dkim.org/ . No reason for your client software not to check DKIM signatures. Other than that maintaining and upgrading email infrastructure is hard work, and most of the world's email users don't even consider whether they would rather have their messaging data and attention be the commodity sold by the service providers to their data mining customers than pay a few quid a year for a service run in their interests. Oh, and the fact that you won't be able to reject unsigned messages for a very long time without losing messages you want. So long that there isn't enough incentive to push server operators to upgrade in preparation to being able to reject all unsigned messages.

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ICO orders release of (mostly useless) weather station data

copsewood
Holmes

@ac 29th June 2011 08:53 GMT

'In other words, the "creators" were not even attempting to commercially exploit the requested data.'

This is unlikely to have been the blocking issue. It is more likely that the data was provided by very many originators and aggregators, and copyright had been granted to UEA for specific purposes and uses, as opposed to for any use or onwards distribution. Prior to the overriding instruction by the ICO transferring potential liability for this to the government, it seems unlikely that the UEA could have provided data to other parties, assuming that they wanted to, without risking breaching copyright based on the agreements under which they have received this data, because it wasn't theirs to give. So how much student fee and research grant money do you think UEA should have spent in attempting to trace and contact thousands of data providers, paying their legal advice costs in attesting consent to the data transfer suggested to enable further peer review, when peer review had already occurred ?

"1. The emails where not private. They where sent and received using UEA equipment and had UEA email addresses on them. As such they belonged to the UEA. None of the senders or recipients of the emails therefore has any expectation of privacy with the emails."

You assume that Universities are like other empoyers in this respect. They are not. Many of my emails concern student assessment or involve counselling students about matters very personal to them, where they have reasonable expectation of privacy as well as constitutional rights guaranteeing this. The same issues cover research supervision especially where that supervision covers research degree activity. In many cases someone who is at the start of a research career is both a customer and an employee of the University in the sense they pay student fees and collect a reseach assistant salary. Universities consequently do not have the right to intrude into or publish staff or student emails without permission.

Many University staff contracts include free speech clauses, where part of the job involves developing independent views. As a consequence, private correspondence is also expected to stay private, because while a lecturer is accountable for what is said in public or published through normal peer review and critical channels, for private conversations to be able to result in the independent formation of views these have to carry an expectation of privacy.

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6
copsewood
Holmes

Hypocrisy and abuse of Copyright

Hunting with the hounds when it's about creators getting paid. Running with the fox when he can get away with liberally quoting private emails illegally put into the public domain following an offence under the Computer Misuse Act. Clearly Mr Orlowski wants to have his own cake and eat other people's.

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7
copsewood
WTF?

Why let lack of evidence get in the way of a conspiracy theory ?

The emails quoted out of context are likely to seem pretty banal to anyone who works in a messy research environment. Part of the process has always to involve critically reviewing the validity of your data and methodology - and that's what we see some evidence of here. Wish I could say the same for the approach taken by many journalists.

As someone who has observed how long it can take once a corporation decides to open source a significant in-house developed program involving code provided by multiple contributing parties, I can also well imagine why copyright can block public domain release of any substantial data collection coming from very many independent sources. This is very likely to be the case even if any one of the external contributors may be thought unlikely to object to repurposing the data or code provided (i.e. having the data made available to a third party for a purpose not covered in the original agreement) but one or more of very many data providers might, and the cost of obtaining permission from all sources attested sufficiently to convince corporate lawyers that the exercise is litigation risk free is substantial. So what benefit to UEA in this expensive exercise ?

It also seems pretty rich that a journalist who expends so many words arguing against any sensible reform of the outdated copyright system is willing to argue conspiratorial and fraudulent intent behind these logical consequences of the very system he supports. I'm sure UEA are fine about having the data released into the public domain once it's going to be the ICO which risks being sued. Now that the ICO has ordered the release, UEA can wash their hands of the potential risk and tell any copyright objector amongst the data originators to go sue the ICO.

0
9

Blow to the head makes people feel good about religion

copsewood
Pint

other research into positive psychological effects of faith

Carl Jung, while as a psychological scientist having to admit coming from an open minded i.e. agnostic position himself, was aware of the effects of faith and according to this link even recommended a faith-based therapeutic approach to alcoholism:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Jung#Spirituality_as_a_cure_for_alcoholism

0
0

Hackers pierce network with jerry-rigged mouse

copsewood
Linux

Could detect the environment

Presumably it's a question of the code embedded and it seems highly probable that this could be programmed to detect the OS and other aspects of the system on which it is run and tailor the attack appropriately. The user not being root doesn't seem a big problem either if it contains a zero day privilege escalation attack, or can run its intended malicious payload within the user login context. After all, the target is more likely to be the network than compromising just one machine on the network.

2
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Liverpool cops compulsively snooped footballer's record

copsewood
Holmes

Get a sense of proportion

Amongst any group of individuals with privileged access to data you're going to get some misuse of that privilege. How serious the sanctions are should be based upon how serious the misuse. Better to get younger inexperienced cops disciplined so they gain a better understanding of the issues over minor offences than have them learning how to cover up more serious offences. Looking up a record on a popular local footballer they shouldn't probably should not be a sacking offence. Using records inappropriately to get financial gain or cover up more serious lawbreaking should be another matter entirely.

Whether normal (i.e. imperfect) newly trained police officers become responsible or crooked as more experienced officers will depend greatly upon how such incidents are dealt with early on in their careers.

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1

Samsung NC110 matte-screen netbook

copsewood
Linux

Wrong OS

From reading the comments, it seems Linux and XP are the more popular OSs for this class of device. People reading a hardware review for a new netbook really need to know this, given the fact that XP doesn't play nice with all newer computers (incompatibility with BIOS or hard disk partitioning), sometimes resulting in failed installs blowing away other OS installations on intended dual boot setups.

0
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US patent reform jumps through second hoop

copsewood
Flame

license to print money

If the amount of money the patent office gets is based upon the number of applications, it doesn't take much economic analysis to show that the number of applications (i.e. funding) will be proportional to the number of successful applications. This creates a built in incentive for patent officers to grant rather than to refuse patent applications. Given that a patent is a monopoly, this is the same as giving the patent office a license to print money.

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Back to gaslight, coal and steam power - it's the future

copsewood
Thumb Up

I'd never have thought Lewis Page of all people

would admit to the possibility of surplus renewable power:

'There are various cunning schemes to manufacture synthetic "natural" gas or even petrol from CO2, using surplus renewable or nuclear power.'

0
0

Bitcoin collapses on malicious trade

copsewood
Mushroom

"regulated by an algorithm"

Very funny. The thing about the bitcoin fanbois I find most amusing is that they all seem to believe this. Bitcoin isn't regulated by an algorithm if not all clients implement the same algorithm. There doesn't seem to be much reason why they should if some players are capable of supplying bitcoin client software to others which is not as advantageous to others as the algorithms they run for themselves. That doesn't stop clients programmed to a different algorithm communicating using the same protocol, which seems to state 1CPU cycle == 1 vote, as far as validation of transaction blocks is concerned, but I'd be very surprised if all clients can do this with equal efficiency.

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1

New malware ferrets out and steals Bitcoins

copsewood
Mushroom

Bitcoin software is malware anyway

In what sense is software which destablilises the Bitcoin "economy" malware, if the concept of Bitcoin itself is malware ? Generating Bitcoins wastes electricity generating C02 which properly accounted currencies based upon issuer commitment (i.e. 97% or more of conventional money and LETS) do not require. If the Bitcoin design is a Ponzi from the start and has little purpose other than to transfer resources from con victims to drug dealers, the botnet herders who mine bitcoins and financial scammers it's a bit difficult to argue that stealing them is malware when the software which generates, stores and transacts them is malware from any sane perspective. Losers who get their precious Bitcoins stolen deserve no sympathy.

If the sooner this house of cards resolves to its lowest energy state the better, then the so called malware which helps that to occur sooner isn't the malware in question.

0
0
copsewood
Trollface

Yes you can copy bitcoins

If you are a botnet herder with a large enough botnet then you can vote whatever you like in bitcoin as the next valid transaction block. If you have more than 50% of the votes based upon 1 CPU cycle == 1 vote you win. Other possible manipulators would include Google and Facebook, but I don't think they care enough for these turds to want the bad reputation.

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Wireless networking without paying The Man, man

copsewood
Joke

Seem to remember a similarly public network standard

Which was also totally unencumbered by patents, had the most liberal of copyrights and was initially adopted by a small bunch of geeks and hobbyists. Seem to remember they called it TCP/IP or the Internet or something like that. Wonder whatever happened to it ? Can't imagine that without corporate IP lawyers buzzing all over it like flies round a turd it would have got very far.

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1

Man says he lost $500,000 in virtual currency heist

copsewood
Boffin

who creates money, bank or borrower ?

"I don't understand why the banks who have their billions as magnetic orientations cannot create money. "

More than 97% or so of money comes into existence based upon a believable contract by a borrower to pay it back to a lender, e.g. when you go out and buy something using a cheque overdraft or credit card, or buy a house with a mortgage. 3% or so is notes and coins, and even notes have a promise to pay in coins written on them.

Given that it is the borrowers promise which is the transferrable IOU I think it's clearer to think of the borrower as the issuer. A proportion of bank charges and interest exist to cover bank losses when the promise to repay isn't kept. Various monetary reformers insist it is the banks which create the money out of nothing in this deal, but where they are wrong is that what they call "nothing" is in fact a commitment to repay by other parties (which makes the indebted parties the monetary issuers not the banks). The concept of commitment backed money drives the conventional economy for the most part, and also works in LETS.

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0
copsewood
Boffin

Other monetary guarantors

"Only the state is big enough to guarantee a currency".

That depends upon your value of guarantee. My IOUs currently circulate within my local LETSystem , acceptable currently within a group of about 60 active participants. They are worth my help giving people lifts, the odd few hours carrying out various tasks or providing advice, second hand goods, home made jam etc. I've purchased and earned a few thousand pounds worth of similar goods and services over the last 10 years or so. It was never setup with the intention of anyone considering it a means of savings, (as opposed to exchange) but the fact remains that LETS credits earned when we started 18 years ago are still spendable with those actively participating today.

The state does have an advantage which we don't in the sense the state guarantees to accept it's own issued money as payment of taxes.

2
0
copsewood
Mushroom

What is truth ?

In Bitcoin world, as in the world of the Roman Governer of Palestine who asked that question of an alleged usurper, truth is what the powers that be claim it to be. In Bitcoin world the powers that be are those who can vote what truth is considered by the network to be, because they have more processing power than all the other players combined. Validating the next transaction block in Bitcoin is a matter of consensus, where a given number of CPU cycles == 1 vote. So it follows that in Bitcoin consensus is what BOFHs who can run programs through corporate clouds at the cost of their employers electricity bills, and Botnet herders who have more computers under their control than anyone else all at other people's expense, get to decide what the valid next block is going to be.

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0
copsewood
Boffin

bitcoins around for longer than a few days

I posted my views about Bitcoin in November: http://lwn.net/Comments/415118/ . However, the fact that this bubble has taken a few months to get as big as it now is doesn't mean it won't burst, and as far as I'm concerned, the sooner it bursts the better, because that means less attention will be taken from ethically based and sustainable monetary alternatives.

People who earned credits on my local LETS 18 years ago can still spend these with the 60 active participants today if they want what is on offer.

Ripple http://ripple-project.org/ is another very interesting concept, equally suited to transacting LETS credits and supermarket points as it is for paying in Pounds, Dollars and Euros, if the routing, concurrency and privacy problems are solvable. At the moment these technical problems appear difficult and intriguing, but I'm not aware of any fundamental reason why they should not be sufficiently solvable. Ripple also has the natural advantage of the IOU basis and all of the credit clearing being based upon existing trust and business relationships, and all transactions being traceable (at a pinch e.g. in the event of alleged fraud) through referral handovers within existing relationship chains, so the whole concept seems inherently reliable.

0
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Stand by for more big, windfarm-driven 'leccy price rises

copsewood
Facepalm

there's already plenty of potential storage

Existing dams in Scotland are capable of handling storage sufficient to take wind electricity up to 40% of UK demand. For the most part you don't need to pump water from one mass of water to a higher one, though that is part of the story. The other part is uprating the generators on existing run of the river hydro dams and allowing the water level to vary more. There are costs concerning repurposing these hydro dams and in respect of extra grid capacity. But that is before you need to build new dams or look at using spare wind electricity for splitting water into oxygen and stored hydrogen etc.

http://www.esru.strath.ac.uk/EandE/Web_sites/03-04/wind/content/conclusions.html

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1

Acer to dump 3 million laptops onto European market

copsewood
Linux

Acer Aspire One, just about working decidedly dodgy

Bought this about 2 years ago. Reloaded the OS 3 times. First time was to get rid of the braindead Limpus lite (well at least it proved Linux compatibility with all the hardware) and the other 2 times due to mysterious SSD corruption of the kind which never, ever affects the same rock solid Ubuntu OS running on spinning media. Keep a USB stick to reload the OS with it just in case now when needed. Had to get a travel mouse 3 weeks ago, because the trackpad thingie ceased to function altogether. Not very reliable, considering it gets used about 1 day in 4 on average.

1
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Apple bars WinXP users from iCloud

copsewood
Devil

Missing the point

Sounds a bit like Skype. All the clients to this whizzy service are proprietary and closed source software. Which means you have no way to know what it does, what information it collects about you or the use to which this data and network access are put. If I have no reason to trust a service which locks me in and imposes arbitrary restrictions upon me like that, why should I use it if better alternatives exist ? Open and published APIs and protocols are another matter, users of any OS are free to implement the software they need to access it themselves and if this is open source those who can read source code can verify what it does without needing expensive reverse engineering.

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Belching cattle apocalypse menace sniffed in cowpats

copsewood
WTF?

what's the alternative ?

Much cattle pasture used to be wetland. I'd be the last to argue against the biodiversity and wildlife refuge and refuelling for migrant birds provided by remaining wetlands. But methane isn't called marsh gas without reason. Other cattle pasture never was wetland, so was presumably either moorland, forest or grasslands or clearing grazed by wild animals. In a wild forest fallen trees generally rot, which presumably also generates some methane. So it's completely pointless arguing against cattle rearing based on methane production unless you know the comparable methane productions of alternative or previous land uses.

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Oracle cranks Red Hat Linux clone to 6.1

copsewood
Linux

cost of forking

"properly getting to know a brand new kernel would take them *some* time."

All the more reason for vendors developing and distributing variants to work hard enough to get their patches accepted upstream to become part of the mainstream kernel and then maintain them there. If they don't they are condemned to repeat the process of learning new kernels to apply the patch against every time the maintained target goes stale, a bit like trying to synchronise 2 spacecraft in different orbits. Doable, but expensive compared to planning the orbits so they synchronise in the first place. I suspect helping hardware manufacturers and others redesign internal engineering processes to achieve this is where specialists like Red Hat earn a growing share of their revenue these days.

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Oxfam's 'Grow' world hunger plan: More peasants

copsewood
Flame

fossil fuel subsidies massively understated

"The fossil fuel subsidies are all being paid out by more or less repressive regimes like China, Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia, to subsidise the consumption of petrol and the like."

That is unfortunately only a tiny part of it. Assuming the consensus on climate change correct, to the extent fossil fuel use increases incidences of extreme weather and damage caused, we're all either subsidising this through higher insurance premiums (insurance company actuaries are not driven by scientific opinion on this but by the hard data of claims) or through uninsured losses which don't get charged back to the fossil fuel mining and drilling companies or methane generating landfill operators. This is a similar argument to the costs of chemical industries in the Victorian era when these treated poisoning a fishery downstream as someone else's cost, but in the 20th century had to account for the management costs of cleaning up their act on their own books.

The externality subsidies of fossil fuel use far exceed the direct subsidies quoted.

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Canadian prof: Wikipedia makes kids study harder

copsewood
WTF?

@Gregory Kohs: you're searching in the wrong conference

Google (search terms: Congress 2011 Gregory Kohs ) suggests you're searching for her paper in 'the website for the 2011 Congress of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social ...' (the rest of the link was broken for me).

Brenna Gray's paper was advertised for presentation at ACCUTE 2011 on May 28th, with an abstract present on http://www.accute.ca/2011abstracts.html .

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copsewood
Headmaster

@Fuzzy: Tactical and enthusiastic learning

"Shows you how much respect they have for themselves, that they need some external motivation..."

Quite often students enrol on a course where only half the modules really enthuse them. The others are required either as prerequisite knowledge for modules in later years, or in order for the course to be considered to qualify the student in respect of its title. I see many students study what I teach enthusiastically, where they have a determination to acquire knowledge for its own sake. My problem with them is making sure they don't do this at the cost of neglecting other parts of their course.

In other cases the student isn't motivated by the content but by the need to pass or obtain the degree classification they would like to achieve. In this situation assessment becomes crucial as the motivator to get the students to do the work. So assessment strategy has to be core to teaching strategy. The fact that the second motivation plays a large part shouldn't take away any of the respect students studying for either reason should feel for what they are doing.

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copsewood
Headmaster

@Gregory Kohs: experiments in teaching and assessment

So long as the experiment was conducted in an ethical manner with the consent and involvement of her students no doubt critical evaluation of Dr Gray's work by others will follow. I imagine she'll have her colleagues and external examiners to persuade at the exam board or equivalent process at her University for starters, ( likely to be strongly influenced by assessment appeals if any of her students considered the process to be unfair). But why on earth shouldn't this kind of experiment precede critical evaluation and confirmation by others whether the results are repeatable given that experiment first and review later is how much if not most new knowledge is developed in practice ?

I shouldn't need to point out to you the academic value associated with the development of critical thinking in students. But how to expose students to this in practice ? It's a thought constantly on my mind as I assess too much undergraduate work sorely lacking in this area.

Isn't it possible that Dr Gray's motivation was driven more by a desire to develop critical faculties in her students than to appear to be ticking all the methodological rectitude boxes required within the perception of research-fund monopolising conference paper-mill habituees ? But what seems most absurd concerning your outburst is that given you expect Dr Gray to pass muster in respect of critical review, why on earth should she be expected to jump through arbitrary hoops of your construction in this regard simply because her initial findings suggest her student's work benefits from critical review also ?

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1

Wake up, Linux hippies: No one 'morally obligated' to give back

copsewood
Headmaster

mixed motives, sometimes unclear

If you have an overwhelming research interest in something, curiousity is probably the driving factor initially. Then there is the sense of benefit of acquiring knowledge. Then, if like me you teach or for others who engage in funded research, that knowledge becomes a salary. But it's very easy for others to ascribe selfless motivation to what is self interested here. You don't sell knowledge by sitting on it but by sharing it and that goes for source code. You don't really understand why you do these things at the start of an academic career. Linus's work was initially done while studying for an academic degree and I'm convinced this contributed greatly to his success in getting a degree in 1997 and he wouldn't have received his honorary doctorate 2 years later otherwise.

Similar work was done on Minix, Linus' initial development platform, in academia and for academic purposes. Linux wasn't developed on raw hardware. It couldn't have been developed on MSDOS. It was developed using Minix.

2
0

Google denies 'freeze' on manual search controls

copsewood
Boffin

link mafia

How to tell the good guys from a mafia who vote up each others sites ? Whatever automated means it is possible to use to detect such Mafia behaviour, the Mafia have an interest in reverse engineering and evading, to the point where mathematically, the part of the graph containing Mafia nodes is indistinguishable from the honest part, other than to the extent both parts have better internal links than links to the other part.

From that point onwards, Google have the choice of knowing and identifying their enemy or surrendering their business.

0
0

Zuckerberg labels Ceglia lawsuit a 'brazen, outrageous fraud'

copsewood

civil versus criminal standards of proof

Civil suits are won on the balance of probabilities. Criminal cases are won or lost based upon proof beyond reasonable doubt. If FB can win on civil grounds that doesn't mean the public prosecutor will accept there is enough evidence for a criminal case.

0
0

Vatican crackdown at Rome's Playboy Mansion-style monastery

copsewood
Devil

Seems a bit mild compared to Pope John XII

A man with a nasty reputation, whose controversial reign as Pope was from AD955 to AD964 .

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08426b.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_John_XII .

0
0

Bletchley Park completes epic Tunny machine

copsewood
Go

Excuse for a third visit sometime

I certainly enjoyed the first 2, and these were both days very well spent.

1
0

$8.5bn Skype goes titsup again - including website

copsewood
Gates Horns

Untrustworthy software supplier

Given the new owner and the fact that they are dropping support for the Skype plugin on Asterisk, I wonder how long it'll be before they drop support for Skype on Android and Linux PCs and notebooks. Until then, what kind of hooks their product updates required to run Skype on these platforms will do to integrity/security of the host platform will need careful debugging and network port monitoring to find out. Something you'd want to have a pretty good SELinux policy for. I'm regretting having an outstanding balance with Skype since I last went on holiday, if they drop support for any more Linux based platforms I'll want my money back.

Probably won't be the first enterprise which substantially drops in value following purchase by Microsoft.

4
1

Microsoft shareholder calls for Ballmer's head

copsewood
Gates Horns

Failure to compete

By making all of his company products exclusively tied into other company products they will either all succeed together or all fail together, but the latter is looking increasingly likely. Take the recent takeover and hobbling of Skype as an example, with Skype being prevented from providing Asterisk PABX support very soon afterwards. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. So how is Skype to compete now, with one hand tied behind their back ?

A sane CEO of this company would give the different product divisions complete independence from each other, allowing them to make technology choices in the best interests of their product development and customers, and would not require them to support exclusive non standardised interfaces and lockins with other members of the Microsoft product family.

7
0

Brit expats aghast as Denmark bans Marmite

copsewood
Heart

Babette's Feast

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babette%27s_Feast

Nothing to do with Marmite, but a wonderful film with a passion for good food explaining how restrictive tastes and suffocating superstitions of a Danish religious community are gloriously and sacrificially redeemed.

0
0

Fedora 15: More than just a pretty interface

copsewood
Linux

@batfastad

"But a serious question... do we ever think commercial software companies will start developing applications for Linux that aren't just an afterthought, feature parity with Win/Mac etc?"

Things you need to bear in mind here are what kind of commerce the software company is engaged in, and what kind of customers they are going after. If the software supplier is primarily service or hardware driven (or both) and their customer is technical, e.g. like an ISP or Google, then Linux is a very good fit as a delivery platform, because it's more than likely the software development platform. Google now have, I think, around 80% of their staff using Linux, and I think IBM were planning something similar last time I heard.

If the software company sells services or hardware as opposed to packaged software, there is little loss in giving away access to the source code, and much to gain in spreading the cost of software development. There are a few closed source packages ported to Linux, but it is the open source packages which can be kept more up to date and which don't restrict the user to particular supported versions, so closed source on Linux isn't a very good fit.

In one sense what we're seeing in the growth of Linux is a cultural shift, a bit like the way the music business is changing from one where money is made from packaged recordings to one where money is made from live performances. Software companies which have little revenue other than from sale of packaged software will have a hard time with Linux and have little incentive to support it - so while Linux isn't likely to take over the computer games market anytime soon, in relation to standard desktop platforms, for software development and for networking and servers, Microsoft and Apple have real competition.

0
0

Rapture postponed as world inexplicably fails to end

copsewood
Happy

@AGirlFromVenus - The Bible

Written in Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament, translating oral teachings originally mainly in Aramaic). Plus many translations into other languages, e.g. Latin, Arabic, English etc. Considering how many Trinitarian Christian churches in different places use it, the remarkable thing is how few disagreements over what it consists of exist.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_Canon

1
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copsewood
Stop

@MrCheese

"I just don't understand how so many who believe in god are so quick to believe in one man's random and provably dodgy prediction..."

Glad you used lower case for god there (which I take as subjective and misplaced), but given there are probably a couple of billion believers or so, you can expect a few dozen to be taken in by just about anything. Doesn't make the few who were taken in representative of anyone else. Perhaps you could find a UK denomination or any denomination of any size which were taken in ?

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_Christians_are_there_worldwide

1
0
copsewood
FAIL

one sided bet

The other side of this must be an even bigger fool than anyone can imagine if he's offering to give you money if you win, while he won't be around to collect if he wins.

2
0

Adam Curtis: The Rise of the Machines

copsewood
Boffin

power concentrates but isn't singular

To make increasingly complex pluralistic societies feasible, power has to become multiple by definition of what we mean by the term: pluralistic. It takes a primitive society to be singularly controllable by absolute dictatorship. In a more supposedly liberal context one way of measuring the concentration of influence over economic options is to measure the number of currencies, because each legal tender currency has a government budget/spend process bottlenecking much of the decision-making. In this sense the Euro experiment is a regression because it implies acceptance of European Bank control over the public budgetary process as the Greeks are painfully discovering. This all leads to grassroots types trying out various microcurrency experiments, but these tend to fail, partly due to lack of legality of such tender in payment of taxes. Those wanting more radical options need to consider the feasibility of increasing the number of currencies within which taxes can be paid based upon how many currencies people may want to use, see: http://copsewood.net/writings/kaytax.html .

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Microsoft fails to turn punters on to WinPho 7

copsewood
Linux

The ultimate competition

"Can you imagine how glorious it will be in the future when Microsoft are bankrupt ..." .

Personally I'd much prefer a Microsoft which lives and competes based on using and contributing towards an open source code stack available to everyone else to a dead Microsoft in these markets. Most of the Linux contributions come from major corps these days, such as Intel, IBM, HP, Sony, Google etc, so it's clear that freedom doesn't hurt their bottom lines. At least with Free Software (as in freedom), you can have genuine competition at every point in the stack. So if you don't like the Linux kernel you can have much the same functionality for the same application stack provided by Solaris or BSD. At the desktop layer you can have KDE or Gnome, or Unity etc. At the applications layer you can have Firefox or Konqueror or Chrome browsers, and there is competion for mail clients and office software and amongst server programs etc. Then at the distribution layer, if Ubuntu produces an overbuggy release, Mint and Fedora still work very well thank you. If you don't like Android there is Meego. There are always competitors waiting in the wings within this increasingly valuable ecosystem, and always will be.

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Apple to support reps: Don't confirm Mac infections

copsewood
Alert

Seen that

A Javascript running on Firefox looking like a virus scan telling me my Windows PC is infected and trying to flog me an antivirus program. Only thing is, my PC was running Linux at the time. Perhaps the crooks behind this scam now get information from the DOM or wherever to say what the host platform is.

Yes it's not that difficult to persuade many users who know nothing about how their platform works to download and install malware on it by using standard FUD marketing. Mac users seem to pride themselves on not having to know how their platform works. My 91 year old Dad seemed very anxious, when I told him his Ubuntu PC didn't need continuation of his previous Windows antivirus subscription, so I guess this issue will affect Linux on the desktop given the fact that it's being increasingly used by people who just want the platform to work without them having to understand very much about it.

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Linux kernel runs inside web browser

copsewood
Boffin

Security implications probably very significant

Once the next model comes out with a network adaptor. But, my (possibly wrong) understanding of Javascript is that this should only be able to network with the site your browser obtained the Javascript code from ? I can still see some very useful potential applications for that.

Other interesting security implications is that this will enable somewhat more serious fuzz testing of Javascript implementations. I expect to see some significant sandbox breakouts reported as a consequence, and intelligence agencies will of course be very interested in obtaining zero day exploits which don't get patched and which they can use for targeted client exploits.

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copsewood
Linux

don't know about emacs

That would be cool, but I've tried it and it runs vi just fine. I've also got the thing to compile a C program (tcc command) and to execute an ash shell script. It doesn't have any networking or ability to upload/download any files - so it's a closed world inside the emulation currently.

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Would putting all the climate scientists in a room solve global warming...

copsewood
Go

Plenty of knowledge, but incomplete

"I take from this that the human race knows the thick end of bugger all about how our planet's climate works."

No, because reasonably good estimates based upon the model we have (weather forecasting) can be made over the next 5 days or so. But climate is a very complex mechanism, and not all parts of it are understood yet and not all of the interactions are known. And we're probably a very long way from complete understanding. The knowledge we do have suggests strongly that we need to act in a way that reduces our risk of wrecking our own climate which requires development of climate friendly energy sources and use. Leaving or keeping 2/3rds of the world population in poverty isn't an option here either, because people in bad enough poverty will burn anything to keep warm or destroy any nearby forest in order to feed themselves, while people who are better off tend to have the means and motivation to care about their nearby environment. It's the same kind of issue which led in many places to localised pollution becoming sufficiently disliked that activists eventually got this cleaned up, e.g. you can now find fresh fish in the Thames not present 100 years ago, and you can also breathe air in London without many people getting ill.

In the past the rich have been able to externalise environmental misbehaviour, by siting toxic waste dumps where poor people live while keeping the areas where rich people live green. But global climate is the part of the environment in which we can't avoid all sharing our pollution. Localised solutions don't work here so this needs a global response.

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Mentally ill file-sharer had 'low self-esteem'

copsewood
Big Brother

@David Barr - two minds

I guess I thought the same way a couple of years ago. We've all seen the viewpoint from one side of this argument, because they have the ability to present it to us every time you see a film. We're also not likely to see a different view presented in the mass media before turkeys vote for Christmas.

But there was a time when nearly everyone copied freely what they heard by learning a song from someone else and singing it. Earlier someone with the patience, the time and pen and ink could copy a book, because that is how all books were copied, and it is how we have access to anything originally written in ancient times. You didn't have to ask permission from an author who could or couldn't be found. People still copy freely what they have read, heard and seen for the most part - the issue is whether we should continue to celebrate and encourage this or support those trying to prevent this because we surely can't do both.

There wasn't a corporate lawyer thinking he had a right to observe my childhood playground in order to stop me when I copied the Beatles songs by remembering them and singing them to my classmates. So what is it about the technology now in every child's hands that should take away natural rights to do what has always come naturally to us ? The more I consider the roots of where our culture comes from the less I support mass behaviour control by a vested interest in denial of this natural right. There is a fair way to compensate content providers without requiring everyone else to change i.e. by giving them a sales commission on all the content copying technology which their content helps sell.

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