* Posts by Dr. Mouse

1588 posts • joined 22 May 2007

Infosec bods rate app languages; find Java 'king', put PHP in bin

Dr. Mouse
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I have to wonder...

C/C++ is difficult to learn (relatively speaking) and develop with. Those who use it have generally spent a lot of time learning to use it correctly.

PHP & Javascript are easy to learn and develop with. People can "develop" with it just by copy-and-pasting from W3Scools and Stack, then modifying until it does what they want, without really understanding what they are doing.

So, is it a problem with the language or the the people using it?

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Microsoft encrypts explanation of borked Windows 10 encryption

Dr. Mouse
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Decrypted plaintext...

"Windows 10 is the best! You should use it!! We fix broken things on Tuesdays! There are ghosts here..."

Obligatory xkcds:

https://xkcd.com/1293/

https://xkcd.com/1032/

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GCHQ can hack your systems at will – thanks to 'soft touch' oversight

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Anon Cluetard Yawn.

Security services are often at a disadvantage. They could stop thousands of attacks, all of them in secret, but would still be considered to have failed because one succeeded.

That said, we do need effective judicial oversight of their operations. This means that open-ended warrants (or warrants issued by a minister) should not be allowed. A judge should sign off on every warrant, and it's purpose should be limited in scope and proportional to the risk.

International "hacks" should fall under this if there is a chance of them interfering with British people's data, but should also be subject to international relations policy and international law. What is GCHQ doing attacking Belgium, who are an ally? They could, in theory, take this as an act of war (or at least a hostile act), Britain launching an unprovoked attack on their infrastructure. We should work with the law enforcement and intelligence services of our allies, each sharing intelligence but collecting it under local laws. What I see is the opposite: Each country specifically attacking each other to get around local laws, then providing that intelligence back to the local agencies.

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Italians to spend €150m ... snooping on PS4 jabber

Dr. Mouse
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Is it just me who thinks this is an excuse for spooks to play video games all day?

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Don't forget...

How do you know of the need for Special Adaptations? :-P

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Sysadmin's former boss claims five years FREE support or off to court

Dr. Mouse
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Re: This does not happen just to sysadmin

As the previous commentard said, outrageous billing is the easiest way to get rid of these (or at least get paid hilariously for your trouble).

When I was at school, one of my friend's dads was a professor in a very specialist area. He was paid vast sums of money to do consultancy work.

One particular job he was offered involved an extended stay outside the country, and he did not want to do it. It clashed with family events and other commitments. Rather than telling them no, he quoted the job at an extortionate rate, 10x+ his normal (already very high) rates. To his astonishment, they accepted. The insane amount of money he was paid was adequate compensation for the inconvenience.

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Who owns space? Looking at the US asteroid-mining act

Dr. Mouse
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Re: I am surprised

Exactly! And here I thought "Team America: World Police" was just a comedy. They are not extending that to "Universe Police".

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BOFH: How long does it take to complete Friday's lager-related tasks?

Dr. Mouse
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Re: BOFH getting soft in his later years ?

In fact, I believe they were about to perform a 'live' test at the end of the story

Actually, I think it was the second live test/demonstration. They had just finished testing on the boss, and were moving on to the director.

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Brits learning from the Continent? Authority, digi gov wheezes and the Autumn Statement

Dr. Mouse
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Britain’s polite disdain for authority may be a core element of national character, but sometimes it has a price-tag.

Personally, I'm not sure it is just "disdain for authority". I think one of the main reasons people don't trust our government is that they have shown themselves to be untrustworthy. Whether it's slipping legislation in through the back door, fiddling expenses, or just generally not speaking the truth, politicians seem to find ways of proving that we cannot trust them on a regular basis.

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Samsung Gear VR is good. So good 2016 could be year virtual reality finally makes it

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Film makers?

So much of how we currently make films is predicated on being able to control the framing - which essentially is a refinement of plays which operate on a stage.

People may have said the same about TV/Film when it first came about. If this takes off, I expect the first step will be as a slight enhancement to current films. Instead of getting a single, framed shot, you become immersed in the shot, able to look around (a little) and feeling that you are actually there instead of watching from a distance, filling your entire vision. This is how films started, I believe, as an extension/evolution of theatre.

So, I predict the first VR films will still mostly control the framing, the main direction you are looking etc, but expand the frame so you feel immersed.

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IOCCO: Police 'reckless' for using terrorism powers on journo sources

Dr. Mouse
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What a crock of shit, I mean seriously, how can you break the law in such a disgraceful way

The unfortunate thing is that, as others have stated above, they didn't actually break the law, they "failed to follow guidelines".

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Duhfish So when the police break the law, it's called 'being reckless'.

The only way - the only way - to ensure that these laws are not misused is to write the laws to specifically restrict what is and is not allowed and under what circumstances and with what authorisation and to clearly lay down that actions that fall outside of those specific criteria are breaches of the law.

Exactly! Have an upvote!

Many of us have been arguing this for a long time. If a law is written to help combat terrorism or find paedophiles the powers that be should specifically restrict the powers to that use in the law. If they don't, we get abuses like this and many more. Of course, the police can still abuse them, but they would be breaking the law if they could not justify their use under the strict restrictions within the law.

Writing these laws with no (or so few) restrictions on their use is practically encouraging their use outside their stated purpose. It leads to public suspicion or the police, the politicians who approved the law, and the legal system in general.

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Uber wants UK gov intervention over TfL’s '5-minute wait' rule

Dr. Mouse
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First, Uber insist that they aren't taxis, right?

I guess it depends on your definition. In Leeds, all Ubers are registered Private Hire vehicles, which most people would count as taxis. I believe it's the same in London.

Also, Uber generally insist that they are not a taxi company, they are a technology company offering a (booking & payment) service for independent taxi drivers and/or companies.

Second, if there are no car owners in London then who do they expect will sign up to become Uber drivers?

There would be no taxis at all if there were no car owners. I presume he meant no private car owners, as in people who own their own car for personal use. There would obviously still have to be businesses (including self-employed people) who own a car for the purpose of their business.

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Dr. Mouse
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You put a <wait 300> in the booking routine so that the driver isn't despatched for the pickup for five minutes.

Erm, I don't see how that would work.

As far as I am aware, the process is:

- You request an Uber in the app

- The request is sent to taxis which are not in use, which see where you are and where you are wanting to go

- The driver either confirms they will take the job or not

- You are notified that the driver is on it's way

To insert a 5 minute delay would probably mean they have to just delay the time when they are allowed to "start the meter" until 5 mins after they accepted the job. So, the taxi would turn up, you would get in, then have to wait another 3 minutes before they are allowed to set off. I'm sure that would help London's congestion problems, wouldn't it?!

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Dr. Mouse
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The question then becomes: if one rules that the Uber app counts as 'hailing' a taxi because it is effectively the same thing from a customer perspective, then surely one should also rule that the Uber app counts as a 'taximeter' because, again, it accomplishes the exact same purpose so far as the customer and indeed the operator are concerned.

I would argue that using the Uber app counts as ringing to book a taxi for immediate use, as many people do. "I want a taxi now from A to B".

As for the taxi meter argument, I would say it does (or should) count as that. It calculates the fare based on distance & time. If Uber want to be treated as private hire, under the common-sense interpretation of the rules as I have seen them, they would need to adjust their business model to state an up front charge.

Although, to be honest, I don't know of many private hire vehicles round here (Leeds) which do that unless you insist on it (forcefully) beforehand. When you ask for a price, they say "it'll be about £X" then the driver charges you what he wants at the end of the journey. At least with Uber, I know the driver won't gouge me because I've had too many beers, and any "surge multiplier" is given to you up front. I used to keep £40 hidden away for a taxi home from the centre on nights out for what should have been a £10 fare, just because the taxis would charge a shed load extra because he could get away with it (and I was too drunk to care by then).

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Randall Munroe spoke to The Reg again. We're habit-forming that way

Dr. Mouse
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My copy arrived today

I laughed out loud just at the cover!

I can't wait to dig in, although it is not without risks. I read the introduction on lunch, then immediately had to send an email. Just before I hit send, I realised I had written it in thing-explainer style.... Quick rewrite needed, as it was being sent to an offsite developer!

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France's 3-month state of emergency lets govt censor the web

Dr. Mouse
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"Don't be sad, 'cause two out of three aint bad"

- Meatloaf

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Cat discovers GNOME desktop bug

Dr. Mouse
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Re: More proof

... that cats are awesome evil. (as if any were needed)

FTFY. The cat was not trying to get a bug fixed, just to crash it's owner's slave's computer to get fed/attention sooner.

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ISIS operates a crypto help desk – report

Dr. Mouse
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Encryption is once again coming under mis-directed fire in the wake of the Paris attacks as news emerges that intelligence services had wind of possible attacks in the French capital but were foiled as jihadis moved to crypto communications platforms.

Intelligence services are once again coming under correctly-directed fire in the wake of the Paris attacks as news emerges that their blanket surveillance methods have highlighted the need for crypto communications for anyone who wants a modicum of privacy, including terrorists and criminals.

FTFY

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Hold on, France and Russia. Anonymous is here to kick ISIS butt

Dr. Mouse
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"Killing of blasphemers and apostates, stoning adulterers to death, killing infidels in determined circumstances, being judged by religious and not civil law (essentially a merging of church and state) ... all of these are part of Islam, no distortions."

From what I understand (and I am no expert, but have researched the subject), all passages of the Qu'ran advocating violence belong to specific periods of war. This is just the same as when the Israelites had left Egypt and were trying to establish a place where they could be safe and free: They sacked cities, murdered women and children, in the name of god. If you then read further, once civilisation had taken root, the teachings become less violent. Taken in context, the Qu'ran does not support violence today.

Anyone who holds that a book written hundreds of years ago should still be used as a literal, absolute rule book... Well, they need their heads examining. I support religious freedom, as long as it is not forced upon others with different beliefs, and argue against the hard-line atheists as much as religious nutters, but beliefs need to adapt with evidence and society. As an example, I do not believe that evolution or the big bang theory are incompatible with Christianity. They could be how God created the universe, especially given how symbolic the Bible is in places.

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Dr. Mouse
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What if it turns out the leaders are criminal psychopaths manipulating their cohorts to bring about confrontation and destabilisation in society?

The leaders of our governments are generally psychopaths. It's a requirement to make it that far in politics without!

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Dr. Mouse
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The more I find out about Islam the more I am convinced that the world will never know any kind of lasting peace while ANY religions exist.

While they use Islam as a cover for their actions, the ISIS murderers are not Muslims. Their beliefs have been distorted, in the same way that all have over history.

The commonality is not religion, but humans. South Park summed it up quite well (in Go God God?). The whole world turned Atheist, yet there was war between 3 factions over with different answers to the "great question". Humans have always found ways to be shitty to each other. Religion is just one of the excuses used, as is race, gender, sexuality, nationality... It will be a long time before we stop this, if we ever do.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Good intentions, bad outcome

The greed of the 5-eyes and seeking more data collection has already sent many groups deep into more secure comms.

No! Really?! If criminals know their comms are being watched, they move to more secure methods?! Wow, we could never have seen that comming!

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UK citizens will have to pay government to spy on them

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Pay for the privilege?

inevitably ending up being a source of revenue for their incarcerators, and eventually being treated as such.

Ah, OK, I'd never considered it like that. I see your point. Thanks.

It doesn't necessarily change my mind completely, but I'll certainly consider that angle and adjust my views accordingly.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Pay for the privilege?

Could someone please explain why I get downvoted for my comment above?

I'm not being arsey, I would just like to know the arguments against.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Pay for the privilege?

people getting charged up to $70 per night to stay in prison.

I agree with the principal of charging people to stay in prison, up to a point. Why should the state pay for their accommodation, meals etc. when they would have to pay for that on the outside? However, the charges need to be reasonable, there needs to be the opportunity for them to earn enough to cover it, and the repayment terms on any debt once they left would need to be fair (as in not so onerous that it pushed them into more crime). Those with savings, investments, property or outside business interests should have to use them to pay towards the costs, too (as long as that doesn't end up leaving kids short).

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: 15TB?

I'm guessing his figure is based on the proportion of data seen in such a link.

Nope:

"on a one-gig connection... there would normally be 15TB of data a year going through it. Even if a small proportion of that is deemed "communications data," it will still amount to enormous quantities of data that need to be stored."

He is saying that a normal 1Gb link would see 15TB/year pass through it. Less than that will need to be stored.

I don't find it that surprising that the quantity of data is so low. People (individuals and companies) want the internet to be fast when they need it. They will spec the pipe so that it is fast enough for what they need when they want it to be fast, but it will be virtually idle much of the time. ISPs count on this, and view those who consistently max out their pipe to be "abusing" the service.

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BOFH: We're miracle workers. But you want us to fix THAT in 10 minutes?

Dr. Mouse
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"Yes. This is important! The board have all flown to Edinburgh with the Director so they can see our videoconferencing presentation in action!"

"And you just found out about this 17 minutes ago?!" the PFY gasps.

The Boss ignores him.

"Ah," the PFY adds. "So it IS as usual."

This section would be incredibly funny IF it didn't describe almost every job I had to do...

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The Edward Snowden guide to practical privacy

Dr. Mouse
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Re: VPN

If they're "all" (on a technical level) compromise

Although he mentions compromised implementations, the main concern is the legal vulnerability.

It is likely that the majority of VPNs out there have some sort of log of who is connecting to them and when. Only those which are set up specifically with privacy in mind, and whos admins and architects have done a thorough job, will have any chance. Even without this, there will likely be a record somewhere that you have connected to a VPN. While this won't immediately allow joining the dots between an individual and his communications history, it will allow a starting point if someone (e.g. the govt) wants to find out what you are doing.

In addition, it's likely that VPN providers are already watched with a higher priority by the security services. If you use one, so their logic will goes, you must have something to hide.

it doesn't bode well for the security of... TOR... does it?

There is a big difference with TOR. The whole design of onion routing is set up to avoid traceability. Your packets bounce around nodes, with each node only able to see the next and previous hop (if I remember what I read about it years ago correctly). Although there is suspicion that spooks control enough of the nodes to compromise the network...

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: So when

I would agree that it would be nice if it was at least be made available. It's not difficult or expensive to set up.

There is, however, a cost involved. Every request made over HTTPS puts a greater load on the web server. Depending on the traffic, content and method of generation this could be negligible, or it could be expensive.

Is it really that important for a news site to be on HTTPS? Does anyone post sensitive information here?

To go back to the article, it's up to everyone to weigh up their own risks level and take appropriate action.

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Untamed pledge() aims to improve OpenBSD security

Dr. Mouse
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This is OpenBSD

Ooops, sorry, my mistake.

one hopes that developers will start to check carefully what they are doing any why, rather than just asking for the Moon on a stick as Android devs seem to do.

&

The application declares what that it will need access to absolutely everything just in case, and the OS enforces that. rolls over

Server software developers tend to be more... thorough than app developers (in general). And sysadmins tend to be more protective of their systems than users are of phones. It's like the Android permissions system would be if both devs and users were conscientious and knowledgeable.

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Dr. Mouse
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What about program compatibility?

This is for the programme to use to help secure itself.

“Most programs can use pledge() with 3-10 lines of code,” he claims in the presentation.

So, it's simple to add. It's actually similar to the permissions model in Android, as an example. The application declares what it will need access to, and the OS enforces that.

I would expect that most applications with FreeBSD compatibility will start to use it fairly quickly, assuming it is as easy as claimed. The administrator will not really need to worry about it. It is just an additional failsafe to stop certain exploits from becoming usable, as well as something to warn about exploits more quickly: Admins will see processes dying due to broken pledges and will get on to the developers sharpish, rather than it being a while before they notice something was amiss.

In the end, it's just another tool for devs to use to help secure their programmes from attack.

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Riding on the memory bus: Micron brings out 8GB flash DIMM

Dr. Mouse
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Re: So this uses an already scarce RAM slot on the MoBo?

My thoughts were along similar but different lines: 8GB?

You can get an 8GB DRAM DIMM for little cost. OK, it's not persistent, but it's faster.

When I envisioned Flash DIMMs, I was expecting much larger capacities than currently available as DRAM.

There will be use cases, but I can't see them unless the cost is significantly lower than DRAM. Even on a server motherboard, the number of DIMM slots is often a restriction. A 32/64GB Flash DIMM, however...

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AMD sued: Number of Bulldozer cores in its chips is a lie, allegedly

Dr. Mouse
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Re: It's hard to see how this can succeed

There is no need, whatsoever, to put the word cores in quotes.

Bulldozer has 2 complete integer cores. If you are doing integer work, they work as advertised (albeit slower than Intel cores due to the lower IPC, not because of the shared bits). As the vast majority of workloads are integer, the shared bits make little difference in the real world. Many others have already stated this, and benchmarks have shown that they operate as complete cores on such workloads.

This contrasts with Hyperthreading, which does not have any extra cores, just an alternative set of registers which the core can flip to if one workload stalls (waiting for data etc.)

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UK's super-cyber-snoop shopping list: Internet data, bulk spying, covert equipment tapping

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Security Theatre and/or Snooping

I didn't think this bill was intended for use against "ordinary criminals". It's meant to be to protect us against terrorists that are so well-organised that they threaten the very fabric of our society, and nothing short of snooping on what we previously thought of as private communication is enough to combat them.

I agree. However, there we hit a stumbling block.

With this regulation in place, "terrorists" will move to using channels of communication which the government cannot intercept.

Let's take, for instance (and I don't know if it's included in this bill), the government's insistence that they should be able to access encrypted communications. The only feasible way of doing this is to make it a legal requirement that all encryption keys are lodged with the government (i.e. escrow).

Most law abiding citizens will abide by this. Most low-end criminals won't do anything about it either, as major encryption programmes will incorporate this functionality behind the scenes. But terrorists, organised crime, paedophiles etc. will keep their keys hidden.

In the end, all it will do is weaken the security of the normal person. The real targets will still encrypt in such a way as to deny the police/security services access.

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Companies need answer to Safe Harbour worries, says minister

Dr. Mouse
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The government urges the European Commission and US authorities to reach a swift conclusion on their negotiation of a revised agreement

There can be no valid agreement without serious changes to the law on one side or the other.

Either the US agrees to respect EU privacy laws for EU citizens data stored on their soil, and changes their law to codify this, or the EU weakens their privacy laws to allow for the US's laws.

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European Parliament votes to grant Snowden protection from US

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Talk is cheap

Because kidnapping high visibility people off the street of an ally with whom you have an extradition treaty is going to cause a huge international crisis.

I am pretty certain that the US (or in fact most nations) could make him disappear, or mysteriously suffer a tragic accident, without leaving enough evidence to cause such an international crisis. There may be strong suspicions, but no evidence.

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Raspberry Pi grows the pie with new deal allowing custom recipes

Dr. Mouse
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Joke

Re: Careful!

Not the first thing that came to mind for "American Pi"... What would one of the ports be for?

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Aussies' distinctive Strine down to drunk forefathers

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Cultural mix

Explaining the joke was supposed to be part of the joke...

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Cultural mix

Early convicts were from all over the British Isles, so had all sorts of accents. Clearly some hodgepodge of accents convicts got blended*.

FTFY

* See what I did there, I misinterpreted "blended" as a euphemism for "drunk".

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UK.gov plans to legislate on smut filters after EU net neutrality ruling

Dr. Mouse
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Re: "I think it's absolutely vitally important that we enable parents...............

"I think it's absolutely vitally important that we enable parents to have that protection for their children from this material on the internet," he told the Palace of Westminster.

We already enable parents to do this. There are a variety of technical solutions available which require little-to-no technical ability to set up. On top of that, the parents could, I don't know, spend time with their children, take an interest in what they are doing, and educate them about sexual matters.

It is not the government's place to do this. The correct way for them to handle it would be to educate parents on how to protect their children. A website, some TV ads, mailshots, access to free tools etc. would do a better and more ethical job than blanket censorship.

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Google lifts app price ceiling to US$400

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Why should there be any limit ?

I think, as AC stated bellow, they are probably covering their arses with the limit. Many people don't protect their store account, and a couple of clicks charge them whatever price for the app.

I think I'd go a different route: Allow the user to set a spending limit (possibly per transaction, maybe on a rolling week/monthly basis). Set the default fairly low. If a transaction will take you over that limit, a password is required. Possibly, for greater security, have a second stage of security for large purchases.

However, for app developers, there is another route: Require the user to buy a license key. For those few apps which need it, particularly business apps, it wouldn't be enough of a hassle to put users off, and they could do volume licensing deals etc. Also, Google wouldn't be taking their cut.

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Pimp your TV: Goggle box gadgets and gizmos

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Nice little roundup

Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of Balkanisation going on, sometimes in the name of consumer choice, which really just seems to mean you do need all those subscriptions, because everything's chopped up into smaller and smaller parcels and before too long "competition" will mean you can't watch a whole season of any sport on a single platform with one subscription.

This really irritates me, too.

Take a look at UK football. A few years ago, "all" you needed was Sky Sports and you could watch everything. Then, "competition" was brought in. You have ended up with several channels across which the games are spread. While techinically it is competition, it does mean that a football fan now needs to pay for Sky Sports, and BT Sports, and any other channels, so it costs them more.

For real competition from a consumer point of view, it needs to be that all the games are available on all the channels, and the consumer has a choice of which subscription to pay for. As it is, all "competition" has done is screwed more money out of the consumer.

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Apple ordered to write a $234m check to uni in A7 chip patent spat

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Very Appealing

Also the question is if universities (UW is not the 1st one to go after another business) should engage in this kind of practices.

The answer to this question is an overwhelming "Yes".

Let's get this straight. The uni developed a new method of doing something. They were awarded a patent on it. Unis generally license those patents to all-and-sundry for reasonable fees, and I'm making the assumption here that WARF would do the same. Universities then use this license money to fund education and R&D.

So, we have a "benevolent" organisation, who has innovated, noticed that someone is using this innovation, let them know that they need to license it, and been dismissed by the organisation. They have no choice but to take it to court, otherwise what is the point in having the patent? They were not asking for a ridiculous amount of money, Apple just did not want to pay.

Sometimes, lawsuits are necessary when all other avenues to reasonably resolve a dispute have been tried. This is not like the ambulance chasers. It is an organisation trying to reclaim what is rightfully theirs after all other avenues have been exhausted. If they didn't do this, they may as well have just released the invention to the public domain. Do you really think Universities would survive making no money from their inventions after pumping significant resources into them? No, they would abandon R&D and probably increase tuition fees to cover it.

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Apple may face $900m bill after A7 CPU in iPhones, iPads ripped off university's patent

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Oh the irony

they requested I sign a paper saying anything I developed belong to them, including any research I might perform.

This is fairly standard. At a uni, they are providing a lot of facilities for you. When I went, they allowed use for your own projects too.

If you have a good idea, it is often possible for you to talk to them and negotiate an exception, although they may expect something in return. You are paying them to teach you, not to help you found a new company, provide R&D equipment and resources etc.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Oh the irony

Universities often hold many patents. They do not often build products themselves from them. So by this narrow definition, you may see some relevance in calling them a patent troll.

However, Universities will normally license out those patents, even offering help in their implementation (for a fee). They will advertise them, not horde them looking for a payout later, and (AFAIK, I have never had to negotiate with them) their fees are generally much more reasonable. They do not just buy up patents from other people, but develop them in house.

In addition, the universities use the money from licensing to support their core businesses of teaching and R&D. The money is basically poured back in to developing ideas and minds.

Universities are (generally) not patent trolls. They are, in this area, R&D facilities pushing forward human knowledge.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Apple thieves - what a surprise

There is some theory that one among the thousands of people who independently came up with the idea should be able get a monopoly on its implementation. If something is so obvious that no-one writes it in a technical journal, it is proof (to a patent lawyer) that the idea is unique and valuable.

Many things seem obvious after the fact. In 1996, nobody had thought of it.

I think you may misunderstand the way engineering works. It is normally small steps, but the fact that it is a small step does not mean it is obvious.

Your example of the Thermos flask actually proves my point. If it was so obvious, why had nobody done it before? Just because you can look at it now and say, "Oh, that's easy, just take this piece of equipment, add this to it, and you've got something much more useful outside the lab" does not mean it should not be patentable. As long as there wasn't another lab tech out there who independently did the same before him, it's a perfectly valid patent.

Also, the theory is not that one among those who independently has an idea gets a monopoly. It is that the first person to come up with the idea gets a monopoly in exchange for publishing his idea.

EDIT: Forgot to add, as the idea was patented, it was also published. It probably can't be proven, but how do we know that an Apple engineer had not read the patent, or about it in some tech publication, or heard about it in discussions at University?

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Shocker: Net anarchist builds sneaky 220v USB stick that fries laptops

Dr. Mouse
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Re: WTF?

that's like picking up a floppy disc (remember them?) and putting it in the PC to "see what's on it". Ok.. maybe I'm paranoid, but I've seen viruses get passed around this way in the distant (a: b: drive era) past.

I remember the old floppy bombs... Lost a drive when a "friend" gave me a floppy and told me it had, erm, content I would have been interested on it. I wasn't happy, and nor was my dad (whose computer it was). Luckily, my "friend" offered to pay for a new one.

This seems like an updated version of that.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Net anarchist?

It would be interesting if you were a criminal. Leave one in the house, labelled as Accounts or similar. Cops raid your place, find the stick, plug it in and: ZAP!

All joking aside, this would mainly be useful for mischief. It's unlikely to do much more than kill a PC, and I could see a miscreant leaving a load lying around. I'm pretty sure there are some people who would pick it up and plug it in to see what was on it, and I'm sure more than one would try a second machine after it fried the first ("I wonder why my laptop isn't working, let'd try it in my desktop").

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Bungling Bonn burglar locks himself into house

Dr. Mouse
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Self-imprisonment

I have to say that, in modern society, I would not be surprised if he tried to sue for this.

However, it calls to mind a story my housemate told me. He was working at a fairly secure warehouse.

One evening, the manager received a call from the security company informing him that someone had broken in to the warehouse. He fired up the remote surveilance cameras, noted the burglars had come in through a sky light, and recognised where they were. He told the security company not to bother attending the scene, and he would be there at 7 in the morning to resolve the issue.

For the next half an hour, hilarity ensued in the warehouse, as the "burglars" discovered they were locked in a security cage. They tried to break through it, break the locks, and climb back up the rope, all to no avail. After this, they were seen yelling at each other for their stupidity. Once they had tired themselves out, all three sat on the floor.

In the morning, the manager arranged for the police to meet him there. He opened up and went to the cage they were held in. As he unlocked the door, the three lads filed out, not saying a word or looking anyone in the eye, straight into the waiting police van, in front of the onlooking crowd (many of them laughing because they knew what had happened) just turning up to start work for the day.

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