* Posts by veti

677 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

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Give ALL the EU access to Netflix, says Vince Cable

veti
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Re: That Steve Guy how about all content globally?

So... which clause, precisely, of which copyright act in which country, gives the rights-holder the right to restrict where their content can be accessed?

I can tell you the answer to that, at least as it applies in US, British, EU and Canadian law: there is no such right. It's been basically engineered into the law by DRM.

Copyright gives you the right to limit copying, distribution, performance and display of, and derivation from, your work. Nothing was ever intended to give you the right to say "this book can only be read if you're in Australia", or "this music can only be listened to on Sony headphones". Those are extensions to copyright, which take away rights from consumers, and we shouldn't stand for it.

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SO. Which IS more important to humanity: Facebook, or Portugal?

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Comparing apples to iPods

But the 'value' of a country is far greater than its GDP. GDP, in so far as it's anything, is the country's annual turnover, not its "total value". The equivalent figure for Facebook would be its annual turnover, which is a shade under $8 billion.

So Facebook is worth about 1/30 of a Portugal (what's that in Waleses?)

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Don't use Charlie Hebdo to justify Big Brother data-slurp – Data protection MEP

veti
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Re: ISIS needs to hire a PR flack

Oh, I read what you wrote. I just can't believe that you're not trolling, you really believe this drivel.

First, to your "analysis" (and may I say, seldom have I seen the first four letters of that word so richly earned, so kudos there). You are aware, I presume, that "radical Islam", together with its close relative "pan-Arab nationalism", was deliberately cultivated as a tool of foreign policy, first by the British during World War One, and later by the Americans in the pursuit of cheap oil? That during the 1980s, the CIA was arming the Taliban and the Reagan administration was helping to develop the Iranian arms industry? That George H W Bush and Bill Clinton both fostered the growth of radical Sunni factions in Iraq, with the aim of weakening Saddam and to counter the regional influence of Iran? To characterise these same people as "agents of... Soviet foreign policy" is pure deflection.

Second, exactly how much "leftist media" are you watching? Because the sources I see spend quite a bit of time talking about how horrible ISIS is. The idea that somehow the libruls are turning a blind eye to Islamist atrocities is purely a product of whatever meth-addled hallucinations you've been watching on whatever deranged media channel you do subscribe to - it's simply not borne out by anything in objective reality.

Yes, I daresay the BBC would get itself quite in a tizzy if, say, some deranged right-winger massacred several dozen schoolchildren at a camp in Norway. (I'm not sure what you're trying to convey with "utter shite to pay in the media", but there were certainly some strongly worded opinions on the subject. Are you trying to imply that there shouldn't be, that we should all be like, "meh, whatever" to these things?) But to imply that they don't talk about atrocities committed by muslims because they're somehow "in bed with" the latter - is quite simply, not something that could be said, with a straight face, by anyone who's been paying the slightest attention.

As to "the actual fact of Islam": yes, there are muslims who do terrible things, and we see them on the news. There are also non-muslims who do things just as terrible, and we see them on the news too, but for some reason less attention gets paid to their religion. (You know that, between 1980 and 2005, there were more terrorist attacks on US soil perpetrated by Jewish extremists than by Muslims, right? And both of these put together are hugely outweighed by the contributions of Catholic (mostly Latino - Puerto Rican, Cuban) factional groups.)

And there are the muslims I work with every day, who are generally above-average in terms of courtesy and conscientiousness, if not necessarily in intelligence. So which group should I judge? The ones I'm happy to have working beside me, or the ones the media, in its ever-more-frantic attempt to capture and hold my eyeballs, thinks I'm more likely to watch?

Not everyone who disagrees with you is motivated by political correctness (whatever that even means) or "leftist ideology". Some of us just resent being played for suckers by the military-intelligence-policing-industrial complex.

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veti
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Re: ISIS needs to hire a PR flack

What are you smoking?

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veti
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Re: Playing into Terrorists hands...

Believe it or not, you're not the first person to think "escalating the violence" is the answer to terrorism.

Among others who've tried it in the recent past: the Russians (in Chechnya), the Syrians, the Israelis, Papua New Guinea (in Bougainville), the Libyans...

At best (Israel) it's reasonably contained and you just get an ongoing war. At worst (Syria, Libya), you get anarchy. Somewhere in the middle is an option where you just plain lose (Bougainville, Chechnya). Strangely enough, the brutal murder, rape and maiming of large swathes of civilian population - doesn't render the survivors docile and friendly. Who'd've thunk.

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veti
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Sure, he could run. Anyone can run.

Since he wasn't born American, he couldn't take the job even if elected, and being a Green/Alliance (read: far-left by European standards) politician he'd net less than 0.5% of the votes even without that obstacle.

But run? Absolutely, you just have to talk him into it, then get him nominated in each state. (Come to think of it, I don't know if you even need the candidate's consent to nominate them. Probably varies between states.)

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DANGER: Is that 'hot babe' on Skype a sextortionist?

veti
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Terminator

Re: Some scams are deliberately stupid

I think scamming is a whole ecosystem, with entries at all levels of gullibility.

At the shallowest end of the clue pool, you get classic 419ers (yes, they're still in business - after all, a significant number of people received their very first email yesterday). This Facebook/Skype combo is a step up from that. At the deep end, you get what happened to Sony.

And in between, there's room for thousands of parasitic scum feeding on people of virtually all levels of intelligence, including a great many who delude themselves that they're too smart to fall for anything...

Think of it like - spiders, cats, badgers and people are all predators, but they prey on entirely different things. So the ecosystem has room for all of them.

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veti
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Re: For the love of all that's precious!

I don't know what you do with your Skype profile, but mine's publicly available, and I get essentially zero spam to it. Can't remember the last time I had a contact request from someone I didn't know. I think it happens a few times a year, and the frequency certainly hasn't gone up significantly since Microsoft bought it - probably the reverse if anything.

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Australia tries to ban crypto research – by ACCIDENT

veti
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"Legal exemptions for academics" are a stupid and corrupt idea. Basically, it means the government gets to license favoured people to break the rules it applies to everyone else. Hell, look at the countries that've implemented them...

So if I send an email talking about encryption to my friend in, say, Italy, I can be arrested for it, but if Dr Dingobum at the University of Norralorraklue sends the exact same mail to the same person, he's golden? Makes no sense no matter which way you think about it. It's just a way for the government to buy votes by granting special (withdrawable) privileges to a class of people that it gets to define.

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veti
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Re: re: henceforth to be kmows as...

I regret to inform you, they do have stuff they call "Marmite". It's a hideous abomination in the sight of any sensible interpretation of the Lord. Basically, imagine real Marmite with a generous spoonful of sugar stirred into every jar. Blech.

Imagine my joy when, recently, I found another product in the supermarket, in a proper Marmite-shaped jar, sold under the name of "Our Mate". And it's, approximately at least, the real thing!

If only we could get some decent British beer.

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UNDER A VEST: Man cuffed for smuggling 94 iPhones strapped to his body

veti
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Re: Metaldetector

Do you have to go through a metal detector to get from HK to mainland China? Serious question, I've never tried.

The thought that strikes me is, he just got greedy. 94 iPhones net $49k profit? Then 30 of the things - which he could easily have carried much less obtrusively - would have made over $15k, plenty to cover expenses with a nice little profit to spare - then he could have gone back next month to do it again.

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What do UK and Iran have in common? Both want to outlaw encrypted apps

veti
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https isn't "secure" in the sense that it can't be eavesdropped - never has been, isn't really designed to be. The only assurance it gives is that the server you're talking to is what/where it claims to be. So that's fine, under Dave's rules.

I think this is a great idea. Given that GCHQ is one of the world leaders in electronic snooping, if this provision is enacted, we'll soon have a list of the best privacy protocols available - it'll be all the ones that are banned in Britain.

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US kills EU watchdog's probe into EU cops sharing EU citizens' data

veti
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Re: @veti

You think if the CIA comes across evidence that someone is plotting a coup d'etat in, say, Spain, they wouldn't communicate that, PDQ, to the Spanish government?

That security.

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veti
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Boffin

What I assume is happening here is this:

The US isn't "playing by the rules", if by "the rules" you mean "the rules that were published when the agreement was put in place".

The EU secretariat knows this. It knew it before the agreement was ever signed. The US was never seriously supposed to play by those rules, they're only there to satisfy some local agitators on the Rightpondian side, but really Everyone Who Matters in Europe is quite glad of the added security they get from US spooks.

There are a handful of agitators in Europe who don't agree with this consensus. Some of them are genuinely idealistic, others are probably just interested in preparing the ground for their own political careers in their own respective countries. They occasionally make public noises like this.

Business will continue as usual for the foreseeable future. There is no plausible way in which the dissidents could break the governing consensus, and there's no even remotely conceivable way this could become an election issue in any European country, let alone all of them, so the political threat here is nil. The political opportunity, on the other hand...

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Dot-word domains 'a shakedown, designed to get money out of people'

veti
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So you're saying...

... that there is a case for dot-word domains that doesn't boil down to "a shakedown"?

What is it?

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If Europe is against US's Irish email grab, it must pipe up now

veti
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Re: Is the EU an interested party?

I would guess it's the other way round, and the US is probably leaning heavily on the EU to keep its mouth shut on the whole debacle.

"That's a nice economic recovery you've (finally) got going there. Be a shame if someone suddenly sold all their Euro bonds..."

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veti
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Re: Sloppy corporate structure. Sloppy security. Sloppy access rights

- No one in the US would have access to the data, except for support purposes

Well, that's a honking big loophole right there. If you have access to the data "for support purposes" - you have access, and you're subject to whatever the authorities tell you to do with it.

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Elite: Dangerous 'billionaire' gamers are being 'antisocial', moan players

veti
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Oh please. Do you come to El Reg for objective, balanced, purely factual reporting?

The sky on your planet must be a very interesting shade indeed.

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Stuck on a coding problem – should you Bing it?

veti
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Holmes

Re: Opportunity cost?

I suspect the answer is "because this is an eyecatching feature that's trivially easy to develop".

To say that VS devs absolutely must work through everything in their backlog in strict priority order - is just plain dumb. If your software has (a) a critical bug that affects 10% of users and will take six months to resolve, and (b) a feature request that will please 80% of users and take a week to provide, which are you going to do first?

If you answered (a), then you're crazy. You need revenue to keep you going through those six months, and you're not going to get it by putting your head down and doing what, from your customers' and competitors' perspectives, is indistinguishable from "nothing".

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veti
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Re: As long as Bing searches Stack Exchange

Interestingly, Stackoverflow's original mission statement was expressed in terms of its own placing in Google search results. Nobody mentioned Bing.

But these things can change, and to give Microsoft credit... they never stop trying.

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FBI boss: Sony hack was DEFINITELY North Korea, haters gonna hate

veti
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That's nice

Mr Comey can be as confident as he likes, and I hope that works out for him.

But if he's suggesting that other people's resources, e.g. US taxpayers' money, should be funnelled into action based on his confidence, then it would behove him to make others share that confidence.

Obviously he's trying to do this by spreading his "confidence" to other establishment bigwigs. It would be nice if he were required to actually persuade "the taxpayer" of what he's talking about, but sadly that's probably not necessary. "Sovereign rights for North Korea" is not a hill that American voters will want to die on, and who can blame them.

The bigger question here is: "so what?" What if it was North Korea? Exactly what sovereign interest of the American people or taxpayers was violated here? Sony isn't part of the government, is it? Then why should the federal government be out to avenge their wrongs? If Sony can identify the group that attacked it, let it sue them and the courts can sort it out, the way it's supposed to be; then the government can enforce that ruling once it's made. Until then, sit down and shut up.

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Elite:Dangerous goes TITSUP

veti
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The reason there's a certain level of - let's call it 'spite' - detectable in this reporting is because Frontier made this rod for their own backs. If there'd been an offline mode, then (a) a whole bunch of people would have been happier with the game at launch, and (b) another, presumably partly overlapping, bunch of people affected by a server outage would have been able to enjoy playing anyway.

"Server outages are normal", "all MMOs do this" - yes, but this didn't have to be an MMO. That was Frontier's decision, it was controversial, and it's not surprising to see people who disagreed with it - taking the opportunity to gloat a little.

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End well: this won't. European Copyright Society wants one EU law to rule 'em all

veti
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Re: Muddy Waters

"Harmonisation" has already happened, in 2001. Given the profound differences in copyright laws and rights between, say, the UK, France and Germany, it was a considerable achievement.

This proposal would take things a large, large step beyond "harmonisation".

Getting a trombone, a piano and a viola to play the same note? Not necessarily wise, but doable. But fusing them into a single instrument... now there's a challenge that just plain shouldn't be accepted.

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US watchdog boss pencils in net neutrality February showdown – report

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Big Brother

Does anyone else read this story as "we're still open for bids"?

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Why has the Russian economy plunged SO SUDDENLY into the toilet?

veti
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Re: A rewrite of history - I wonder why?

Sure, the companies can default or suspend payments. And that will effectively end their ability to function as companies ever again. Theirs, their owners', and anyone too closely connected with them. They can continue to operate within Russia, "paying" their workers with fantasy roubles printed by the state bank for the purpose, but those roubles will have rapidly declining value to buy anything imported. Basically, at that point you're back to Soviet-era currency controls.

How did the old Communist-era joke go? "They pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work."

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veti
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Re: So, Crony Capitalism doesn't work!

@streaky: that defence doesn't hold water.

If a bank goes under, that doesn't mean everyone who has money deposited in the bank loses out. That's what deposit guarantee schemes are for. In the UK, you're covered up to 85,000 pounds per banking license. So as long as you don't have more than that amount deposited with any one banking license, you're literally as safe as if the money were in the Bank of England itself.

As for the houses being sold - because the Evil Foreign Liquidator would just spontaneously orgasm at the prospect of a property price crash in the UK, where they now suddenly have substantial interests? Yeah - no. It's in nobody's interests, certainly not the person who holds the debt, to force borrowers to pay back their debts ahead of schedule. The most they'd be likely to do is raise rates, and at that point there's nothing to stop you taking your mortgage elsewhere.

RBS: " if it's shares are worth £5 each the taxpayer breaks even, any more they make a profit". Here's news for you: if you invest in something in year N, and succeed in selling your holding at the same price in year N+7, that does not make you a fiscal genius. To really "break even", the shares would have to reach around £10 (by the end of next year - and as more time goes by, the breakeven point only goes up). They're not going to do that.

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The Reg's review of 2014: Naked JLaw selfies, Uber and monkey madness

veti
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"JLaw"?

Is it just me, or does anyone else think "jlaw" sounds like a particularly tedious legal blog?

And then I realise it's a shortened name for some celebrity, and think "Oh good, I'm glad it's not just women who were hit by the nude photos thing. Though I'm surprised at Jude."

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El Reg's festive dating app guide, Pt. 2: The FEMALE perspective

veti
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Re: Online works

I met my spouse online 13 years ago. But not on a dating site.

The trouble with dating sites is, everyone there has one thing in mind. (Not all precisely the same "one thing", but close enough.) And it's enough to deter anyone from being honestly, uninhibitedly themselves.

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Shock! Nork-grating flick The Interview WILL be in cinemas – Sony

veti
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Re: All a marketing stunt?

I firmly believe that the original threat was genuine (in the sense that it was made by someone who loves the NK government more than Sony). And that prompted some spineless cinema chains to announce they wouldn't show this movie, bumping it probably for something with more explosions.

But how Sony responded to that, all the publicity we've seen since that happened? That, I assume, must have been entirely orchestrated by someone at Sony who subscribes to the view that there's no such thing as bad publicity.

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FCC: A few (680,000) net neutrality comments lost in 'XML gaffe'

veti
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Re: Aww democracy

The FCC is a democracy now? When did that happen?

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EU breaks 'legally binding' lobbying register promise

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Re: The EU has been captured.

And in the EU there are about twenty opposing sides, and a hypocritical press.

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Norks' internet goes TITSUP in possible DDoS attack

veti
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Here at the bottom end of the Pacific...

... my internet connection has been flaking out even more than usual over the past 3-4 days.

I'm pretty sure nothing in my home is being used to DDOS NK. So - coincidence, or collateral damage? It's entirely possible we share a router with the Norks somewhere upstream.

I'm suspecting collateral damage, just because it gives me someone to blame. Thanks a bunch, Obama. But of course I quite understand you have to avenge your paymasters at Sony.

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Space Commanders lock missiles on Elite's Frontier Devs

veti
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Flame

Re: It is Elite from 1984, only even more so.

The galaxy simulation on your computer might get "out of sync with the main one" - but so what? Why shouldn't I be allowed to play in my own little universe if I want to?

And solo mode manifestly doesn't do "everything people wanted". If it did, then this thread and this story wouldn't be here. One thing I want to do is play offline. Bandwidth isn't the issue - I have a very flaky internet connection, liable to drop for no discernable reason at random intervals. "Always on" connection requirements are inserting a point of failure that doesn't need to be there.

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veti
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Re: '84 version

I remember once activating the docking computer on the wrong side of the space station (i.e. away from the planet), and it tried to steer me through the gap from that side, i.e. right through the space station's roof.

Needless to say it was messy.

Manual docking - yeah, it was hard at first but there was a knack to it. Docking computers were a luxury, and occasionally a dangerous one.

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Now Obama seeks China's help to halt alleged Nork HACK ATTACKS

veti
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Euphemism city

"Request", in this story, should really be spelled "t-h-r-e-a-t-e-n".

China is NK's lifeline - without constant Chinese support, the country would have collapsed decades ago. Everyone knows that.

America "requesting China's help" here is a bit like - your neighbour's dog has been barking all night and keeping you up, so you point a gun at it over the fence and then "politely request" your neighbour to muzzle it.

I don't know if NK was responsible for the attack - the FBI and USGovt generally have lied way too often to be accepted at face value, without showing their work in detail, and in this case they're not doing that. More importantly, though, I don't see why a single cent of US taxpayer money should be spent avenging the profits of a private corporation.

(Of course, the answer to that is at opensecrets.org. Unfortunately that site seems to be down right now.)

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Android gives Google a search monopoly? Not so fast, says judge

veti
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How does that differ from the argument Microsoft were making about IE, back in the day? "Sure you can install Firefox or Opera, but few of our users do because they're perfectly happy with our product."

It didn't save Microsoft from antitrust action then, I don't see why it should be allowed to avail Google any better today.

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Microsoft says to expect AWESOME things of Windows 10 in January

veti
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Re: High school adjectives for business solutions

Where I come from, tags in a code repository are generally in ALL CAPS. It's just a throwback to the days when EVERYTHING was. Not sure why it's still so widely observed in this particular environment, but my best guess would be "no-one can be bothered to change it".

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UK cops caught using 12 MILLION Brits' mugshots on pic database

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Re: 12 million custody photographs

So you're saying that 20% of the population has committed at least one arrestable offence, and been arrested for it?

What proportion of such offences go unreported, or have no arrests made in connection with them?

Seems to me that if that many of the population are criminals, maybe the definition of "crime" needs some rethinking. Or maybe your arrest policies do.

The UK plod used to be some of the finest in the world. Not sure when that changed, possibly the miners' strike of 1984 had something to do with it, but we've come a long way since then.

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Uber surge pricing kicks in during Sydney siege

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Re: Capitalism at its finest

Much as I despise Uber, it does look like they did the right thing here, as well as they could.

What were they going to do - forbid drivers from entering the city? Impractical, how would they stop them? Or forbid them from charging more? - then how would they get enough drivers to brave the traffic?

Offering to foot the bill for people's outward journeys was an act of generosity that I wouldn't have expected to see from them. Goes to show, social media is good for something after all.

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Senator: Backdoor for the Feds is a backdoor for hackers

veti
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Holmes

Re: hmm

The threat isn't that great.

If the feds can't "mandate" back doors, they'll just have to go about other ways of creating them. Such as subverting the design teams making the products. You know there's always a zillion "reasons" to create a backdoor in any tech product, right? - and it's an exceptionally strong-minded company that turns down all those temptations. It would only take a slight weakening...

Or alternatively, it could buy them. Make a list of companies who co-operate and those who don't, and make sure those multi-billion-dollar gov't contracts go solely to the A-list. That wouldn't be difficult, heck it wouldn't even be underhanded, and it would be extremely effective.

Really, Wyden is trying to whack a mole here.

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Microsoft, rivals together fight US govt's cloud data snatch

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And when we do "finally come to realise" that, what do you think will follow? Bloody revolution? Insurgence of voting for startup pro-tech parties? Parliamentary debates 0wn3d by geeks?

Yeah, right.

The war for privacy is like any other war, it's fought in thousands of small engagements, and the end result is the sum of all those. If you cheer for the wrong side in this one, then you're cheering for the wrong side, period. There is no Sun Tzu here, there's no "grand strategy" that involves sacrificing this pawn as a step to the greater victory.

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How was your week? Was it as bad as Uber's? Here's what happened

veti
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Re: "You don't just say we're an Internet business and so rules don't apply to us."

What rules do Google and Facebook ignore, exactly?

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'I don't NEED to pay' to watch football, thunders EU digi-czar

veti
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I am 100% in agreement with Mr Robot on this, and I'm delighted someone with some public voice is fighting the good fight.

I'm fed up with not being able to access BBC programs just because I live abroad. There's no technical reason why iPlayer can't work for me, and I'm perfectly willing to pay a subscription if that's what it takes... but I don't have the option. There's no technical, legal or financial reason for this - it's purely a matter of "f*** off, you filthy foreigners".

Even the radio podcasts (which we are permitted, as some sort of sop) are subject to arbitrary removal from their servers, and invariably make a point of telling me how nice iPlayer is. Thanks.

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Keep your court orders to YOURSELF – human rights chief slaps US

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Analysis

OK, so to what extent is this:

(1) grandstanding for domestic political consumption (US-bashing, always popular)

(2) a serious attempt to start a debate about jurisdictional ground rules

(3) reflexive anti-American Eurocratic wankery?

Having read up on Nils Muižnieks, I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt and say something like 30/60/10%, but I may be being too generous.

Unfortunately, the affected parties in the US will have no difficulty portraying it as more like 40/10/50, which will give them all the justification they need to ignore it. (And Nils Muižnieks must know that, he's not an idiot. Which is why I didn't give him more credit in the first place.)

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MP caught playing Candy Crush at committee meeting: I'll ‘try’ not to do it again

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Re: I got pulled up for that at work once.

Who is going to give an MP "a dressing-down"? Who, exactly, is their boss?

Their party leader or chief whip? Nope, all they could do (at most) is boot him from the party. He'd still be an MP. And he won't do that over an issue like this, because of that saying about urinating into vs out of tents.

Their local constituency party? Closer. They could deselect him, but that wouldn't actually sack him from his job - just mean he'd have to work a bit harder come next election.

His constituents? They can, in theory, boot him from his job. Unfortunately the notice period is pretty long ("until the next election"), and there's no way of finding their aggregate opinion, or delivering it to the MP, before that time.

Really, the most attractive thing about the whole job is the lack of accountability...

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PlayStation Network blasted offline AGAIN. Just not Sony's decade

veti
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Headmaster

Re: El Reg Tombstone icon when?

Not quite. A more apt analogy would be "they tricked a bunch of chavs who had no idea where they were, and in most cases probably still, to this day, don't know they were there, into standing about in front of the door etc."

DDOS may not be Mission: Impossible level security penetration, but it's still a hack. (Not a hack of Sony, as such, but definitely a hack against them.)

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What a pity: Rollout of hated UK smart meters delayed again

veti
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Boffin

Re: save how much ?@ a_mu

And you haven't even mentioned the cost of storing and analysing 48 meter reads per day, instead of one every 3 months.

But there are legitimate cost savings to be made from smart meters. Easier to read means, well, lower reading costs. More reads means less billing on estimates, which means less financial risk, which is something electricity providers have to pay for currently. Easier to disconnect customers? - again, lowers the financial risk. More accurate consumption profiles? - aids enormously when the company comes to reconcile the bills they issue to customers with those they receive from the network.

There are even, potentially, benefits to the consumer. In Texas, for instance, if your credit rating is shot, you have no choice but to get a prepay electricity meter. In conjunction with "smart metering", you can get one that will send you a SMS when your credit is running low, and - and this is important - you won't be cut off until your credit actually runs out. With a conventional meter, you'd be badgered by your supplier, and you'd stand a real chance of being cut off before your credit runs out - if for instance your consumption dropped suddenly 'cuz you'd gone on holiday. (Yeah, it's a barbaric place.)

I'm not saying it's a great idea and we should all rush to embrace it. But there's a huge bandwagon that seems bent on demonizing smart meters. I just think there should be a little more balance and reason in the discussion.

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Social media data is RIDDLED with human behaviour errors, boffins warn

veti
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Re: No shit, Sherlock...

@Cipher,

When I start suggesting that anyone be given control of the internet, go ahead and call me whatever kind of authoritarian seems appropriate to you. But I made no such suggestion in the above comment, and it seems a bit previous to take that shot on that basis.

"Democracy and liberty are messy things sometimes, but they beat the shit out of totalitarian control." - does that mean we shouldn't draw or pay attention to the messiness, and seek for ways to maybe tidy it up a bit? Is any - not even 'attempt', but mere 'wish' - to improve the status quo automatically, in your mind, tantamount to "totaliarian control"?

The closest I've ever seen to "liberty" on the internet was Usenet in the 90s, and I loved it, but you know what? Here I am (and you, for that matter) posting on a proprietary, moderated site. I believe vestiges of Usenet still exist, but I don't even know how to use them any more.

From your comment and examples I gather you're an American. If so, you can rest secure in the knowledge that the first amendment makes it illegal for Congress to attempt to define what a "journalist" is, or to restrict any moron from being a publisher. I don't know what, if anything, Hilary Clinton had in mind, but 'providing a proper "gateway" for information on the net' has been an avowed goal of dozens of internet companies for decades (in the 90s, it was AOL, Yahoo!, AltaVista and others; now it's mostly Google, but dozens of smaller companies - including most media companies - vie for their own market segments in just the same way).

None of which helps in the slightest with the problem I'm talking about, because all these "gateways" have one thing in common - they're not paid (because nobody has come up with a business model for doing that), which means they have no incentive to exercise editorial judgement in the interests of their readers, rather than their advertisers or sponsors or the random personal biases of their editors. The closest is paywalled news sites, but in practice they're competing with 'free' news sites, with the inevitable result that they sink to, pretty much, the same level.

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veti
Bronze badge
Holmes

Re: No shit, Sherlock...

I was with you up until the last paragraph.

"We have bred a generation of gullible morons and put them in charge of us" - but the most powerful people in the world are still overwhelmingly in their 40s, 50s, even 60s. So this "generation of gullible morons" is - well, I don't know how old you are, but I for one disclaim any responsibility for "breeding" them.

I think what we've done is, through the internet, we've democratised both news and science. Now, anyone can put out a press release saying they've done $STUDY and found $RESULT, and get exactly the same coverage and attention as someone who, y'know, actually takes the trouble to learn about statistics and populations and controls. And "journalists" - they can learn this stuff themselves and spend time investigating the stories that are flung at them from all directions, or they can just publish what they're given and let the readers sort it out.

As Dogbert puts it: "You can work or you can get drunk, but the pay is exactly the same."

So we have junk studies reported by junk journalists, and - and this is the key thing that we've thrown away, with the internet - no "trusted authority" who'll make at least some effort, no matter how corruptible or misguided it may have been, to differentiate between meaningful and meaningless "news".

(The closest thing we have now is sites like El Reg, which make a name for themselves by putting a strong editorial spin on the news. That's great as far as it goes, but it's not inherently any more reliable than just republishing the press releases without comment. It sells better, partly because it requires more work, but it's no closer to "truth".)

Are people less critical now than they were at some hypothetical point in the past? I see no evidence for that. I see lots of people on the Internet being openly sceptical, and congratulating themselves on standing out from the sheeple. What I don't see is any evidence that these "sheeple" actually exist, or are anything like as stupid as they're widely assumed to be.

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'America radicalised me!' cries Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom

veti
Bronze badge

Re: Kim dot Blob is nothing if not inconsistent

He does have a working website - mega.co.nz. I haven't used it myself, but a colleague whose judgment I respect speaks very highly of it.

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