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* Posts by veti

523 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

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NSW to build federated ID management rig for staff, punters

veti
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So what exactly is the difference between an 'identity hub' and a 'password manager'?

Single sign-in for all government services? In glod's name, why? How often does an employee of the National Parks & Wildlife Service really need to access the servers of the Council of Law Reporting? Surely they won't have any permissions on that server anyway?

Apart from "funnelling millions of taxpayer dollars to Qubit, NTT, Oracle and Dataweave", can anyone clarify what the business case for this is?

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EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'

veti
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Re: Hiding information NOT an impediment to Free Speech? Seriously?

Bollocks. If you treated rulings like this in the US, you'd be locked up faster than you could say "contempt of court".

Google has to play by the law, and within the lawmaking process, be that "democratic" or not. It can have its say, campaign as loudly as it likes to change laws, but it can't just ignore them.

What it's doing in this case is misrepresenting the law in campaigning vigorously and aggressively against it, because it interferes with their private profits. And the EU commissioner is, quite rightly, calling them out, not for opinions or for their business model, but for bullshit. It's not "How dare you question our rulings!", it's "This is the system and you will play within it, or you can pick up your toys and go home, your choice. So grow up."

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veti
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Facepalm

Re: Dateline: Eurasia, 1984 + 30

So you're painting Google, of all people, as the sympathetic but hopelessly overmatched underdog versus an overbearing all-powerful state with the power to change history...?

I think my irony meter just exploded.

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veti
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Google already censors - sorry, I mean 'filters' - your search results in several ways. By your location, your search history, your browser and plugins, very likely by your personal browsing history. It uses these factors to rank the results you see, which means the "interesting bits" you really want are on, at best, page 13 of the results, and we all know no sane person ever goes beyond page 3 at the outside.

If you want a search engine that doesn't do that, try duckduckgo.com. I predict you'll be back to Google within the week.

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Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?

veti
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Re: Use a Harrier against the dragon!

Not sure what Transformers and Die Hard have in common, beyond the fact that they're both f/x ladled action movies... but I'd say you've watched just about enough of those.

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veti
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Re: Haha, amusing yes..

Re: simple answer to requests:

That's not an answer to an FoI request. An FoI request makes you trawl through a huge pile of documents and emails and answer the question "what have you discussed/said/decided/planned/thought about *this*?"

(Besides, to come up with that "10%" figure, you'd have to go through a whole feasibility study, project plan, and a whole pile more expensive activity. It'd take months, in itself, just to come up with a number like that, unless you pull it straight out of your backside.)

However, the FoIA contains an exemption for "vexatious requests", which are fairly broadly defined and it seems to me that authorities could get away with filing several of these in that particular bin, if they wanted to. Certainly the one about dragons.

Personally, I think the FoIA contained an own goal in making requests "free". The pre-existing Data Protection Act allowed organisations to charge a "reasonable" administrative fee for tracking down and handing out information - something like twenty or thirty quid - which I think is reasonable, while also enough of a bar to deter the most frivolous of these loons.

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Tricked by satire? Get all your news from Facebook? You're in luck, dummy

veti
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I used to underestimate Poe's Law too...

... but only last week, I was forcefully reminded just how much of "the internet community" is made up of people who are either 14 years old and don't know anything, or are completely lacking whatever genes are required to recognise "irony" when it beats them over the head.

(In case you care, here is the story in question. Check the first few pages of comments following. But it won't make a lot of sense if you don't know or care anything about New Zealand politics.)

Poe's Law. Learn it, love it, live your life accordingly.

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Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton

veti
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Coat

Re: Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton

Correction: The first time... as far as we know.

Sorry, did you need more mind bleach now?

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Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors

veti
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Re: Password fields need to be bigger.

And the reason why all these things don't work is nothing to do with lazy coding, or gullible management suits. It's to do with testing.

The basic exchange goes something like this:

Tester: "What's the maximum length and character restrictions of a password field?"

Manager: "From 12 to 4,294,967,295 characters length, 256 valid characters to choose from."

Tester: "OK, that'll take about... four years to test. Assuming a team of six, with full-time engineering support."

Manager: "Four YEARS!?"

Tester: "Well, first we have to generate valid passwords of several different lengths. Then make subtle variations on each one - characters transposed, whole words transposed, upper/lower case, varying amounts and types of whitespace, and about three dozen other variations I haven't even thought of yet. Then we need to enter all of them in several different ways - typing, Swyping, pasting from clipboard, entry from imported file, interface from 'ShIT' portal. Then Sam, she's hot on this sort of thing, will try to generate hash collisions..."

Manager: "You've got two people, and three weeks to test the whole site from soup to nuts."

Tester: "OK, then we can test passwords with a range of 8-12 characters, letters and numerals only, case-sensitive. If you'll give us an extra day, we can even let it reject common dictionary words and phrases with one or two added characters and try the hash-collision thing."

Manager: "No extra day!"

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Snowden leaks show that terrorists are JUST LIKE US

veti
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Coat

Did I read that right?

So, GCHQ violated some jihadi's copyright?

Presumably in an effort to make him blow his cover to claim for damages...

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Dolby Atmos is coming home and it sounds amazing

veti
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Thumb Up

Focusing on the positive

The good news here is, finally at least some of these idiots have given up on the idiotic quest to sell ever more pixels and stupider screen shapes.

So maybe those of us who don't feel compelled to follow every fad, can see a bit of stability in our TVs for a decade or two, and upgrade in our own time rather than driven by the annoying incompatibility of this or that.

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Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum

veti
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It absolutely could be used to prioritise emergency calls.

But then the problem arises, what happens when a tube train derails and 1500 people call emergency services all at once?

The congestion is going to happen somewhere, it's just a matter of who has to soak it up.

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Anonymous wifi the latest casualty of Russia net neurosis

veti
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WTF?

Re: New idea for some "malware"

... I may be missing something here...

You're proposing to write a program that users have to instal and configure voluntarily, whose sole purpose is to draw a crosshair on their backs for Russian spooks?

And your "at the very least" benefit is that it will also draw a crosshair on your back?

Your username is well chosen.

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veti
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What about forriners?

According to my mobile network, I can take a prepay phone with its own SIM, purchased with no identification whatsoever, and use that in Russia.

So will foreign numbers work to unlock a wifi spot?

I guess the answer to that will tell us, whether they just want to control their own population, or whether they're really serious about security.

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New twist in China Apple hardware ban riddle: THE TRUTH at last?

veti
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Turf

Apple probably didn't do itself any favours with China, by picking a fight with Samsung.

Yes, (South) Korea is currently US-aligned, but China's government is nothing if not long-termist, and they see Korea as, historically and inevitably, part of their empire. It may take another 20 years or 50 or 100, but sooner or later it'll fall back into, if not their direct dominion, at least their sphere of influence. Like Macau, or Hong Kong.

So it follows that a Korean company is, by default, their "client", even if it never says or does anything to seek that status. (And frankly I wouldn't be surprised if Samsung did do something on those lines.)

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London cops cuff 20-year-old man for unblocking blocked websites

veti
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Re: Sites are blocked....

Your argument is confused at best.

A site that hosts some material that happens to have been placed there illegally - is not, in and of itself, illegal. That's what 'safe harbo(u)r' means.

Viewing or reading certain images or words - has indeed been deemed illegal in the UK. But no-one (as far as I've seen) has alleged a kiddie-porn angle in this case, so that doesn't apply. And copyright law isn't breached merely by viewing a website - the UK Supreme Court ruled on that only last year.

The one contingency in which I might be prepared to concede that there may be a case to answer in this story, is if the guy explicitly advertised his service as helping people to facilitate unlawful copying, or access to illegal material. In that case he might be chargeable with some sort of 'accessory' tag. But if all he was offering was a lawful service that could, potentially, without his knowledge, be misused - then he's no more a criminal than the CEO of any ISP. Probably less.

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veti
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Flame

Re: Wrongful 'arrest' me thinks

Screw that. The guy was taken from his home or business and held against his will, under threat or duress. That's kidnapping.

Never mind damages, these 'cops' need to be in prison.

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veti
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Re: What law has been broken.

You can absolutely steal a copyright. Just file a DMCA notice for something that you don't own.

Some people do it for a living. The big publishers do it routinely. (Put a random file on a web server with the name of a current hit song, and see how long it takes.)

Seriously, nobody seems to believe how mind-buggeringly hypocritical these people are. They literally have no shame whatsoever.

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Help Australia's PM and attorney-general to define metadata

veti
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Re: and our beloathed PM

You think you've got it bad? See what passes for digital activism over here...

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African samba queen: Don't cut off pirates' net connections – cut off their FINGERS

veti
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I don't know who's responsible for keeping score, but for what it's worth - I haven't seen a Nigerian scam email in five years or more. From what I can glean from sites like '419eater.com', it looks like that particular business model peaked sometime around 2006-07.

So maybe they did.

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CryptoLocker victims offered free key to unlock ransomed files

veti
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Re: Maximum Penalties... @Mark 85

Contrary to what you may have seen in certain movies... drastic punishments should really be reserved for people who do something actively bad.

People who just screw up at their job, without malice, don't deserve anything worse than - at most - being fired. Anything else just creates an environment where no-one will even try to do those jobs...

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veti
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To protect against Cryptolocker, it's not enough to just have "backups". If all you do is copy your data files to an external drive, say, once a week, then your backups would likely be corrupted as well. What you need is "regular backups with full version history maintained".

I don't think I know anyone who has that kind of setup at home.

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Google's 'right to be forgotten': One rule for celebs, another for plebs

veti
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But that's the last thing Google wants.

Their goal is to whip up public sentiment against the European law and get it repealed. Everything they do, every announcement they make, every change to their home page, has the sole aim of "making the law unpopular".

To that end: the more links they delete, and the more fuss they can make about it, the better they like it.

If they offloaded the job to a public body of some sort - the public body would be inundated and requests would take months to be filtered, and - worst of all, from Google's point of view - the links that eventually get removed would be determined by some kind of publicly available criteria. And we all know how Google feels about transparency.

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HUMAN RACE PERIL: Not nukes, it'll be AI that kills us off, warns Musk

veti
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To those who mock Elon Musk's geek cred...

... remember that Stephen Hawking has been saying this for a while.

AI may be a threat or it may not, but if history teaches us anything, it's that complacency will definitely, positively, absolutely without doubt no saving throw, kill us all.

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Lawyer for alleged Silk Road kingpin wants all evidence thrown out

veti
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Lawyer does what lawyers do

Film at 11?

I imagine his hundred-page argument took at least a hundred hours, at at least $300 an hour, to research, write and deliver. He doesn't much care that it's going to be shot down.

If the worst comes to the worst, and the judge demands to know how the Feds located Silk Road's servers, surely there's a procedure for that evidence to be presented in-camera so that secrecy isn't breached. Assuming, of course, that the procedure was kosher...

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US cyber-army's cyber-warriors 'cyber-humiliated by cyber-civvies in cyber-games'

veti
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Holmes

Two possible responses

One: clearly, maintaining a full-time force to do this sort of work is a huge waste of resources. We don't have the expertise to train them, or the recruitment processes or the budget to attract the right kind of people. We should get the reservists to do this work instead, possibly rotating people into service for no more than one-month stints away from their regular jobs, so that they don't get marginalised to irrelevancy within their civilian work.

Or two: clearly, we need to massively upgrade our in-house military capabilities by paying more, expanding the pool of recruits, and buying newer, shinier kit and training for everyone. In short, we need to quadruple the current budget.

I wonder which way they'll go?

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Samsung sticks with CHILD labor shame fab: Zero-tolerance means 30% less trade

veti
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Re: Zero tolerance?

To put it more charitably, that would be "this supplier is about 30% culpable, but we're satisfied that they've improved".

To put it more cynically, it would be "we wanted to diversify our supply chain, and this was a way to do it without giving the supplier a reason to complain".

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veti
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I know this'll get reflexively downvoted, but...

The point of signing up to initiatives like 'Fair Labor' isn't to show how holy and spotless you are, it's a step towards uncovering abuses and stopping them. You can't hope to stamp out child labour until you've got, among other things, a rigorous definition of how to recognise it, a procedure for dealing with it, and a policy that says "henceforth, these things shall be done". Fair Labor helps its members to come up with those things.

So the fact that Apple's situation came to light after it made that announcement - isn't proof of hypocrisy, it's how the system is designed to work.

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BAD VIBES: High-speed video camera records your voice from trash

veti
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Boffin

Re: Laser eavesdropping

The countermeasure to eavesdropping from vibrating windows is to pipe music through the window frames. This process defeats that countermeasure, if (and only if) you can observe the object normally (i.e. at *exactly* 90 degrees to the glass) through the glass, so that distortion caused by refraction isn't an issue.

My next suggestion would be to combine the musical window frames with double-glazing where the two panes are not quite parallel to one another, so it's literally impossible to see through from any angle without some refractive distortion.

Where do I collect my fee?

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NASA tests crazytech flying saucer thruster, could reach Mars in days

veti
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Re: Brass?

Except for the part where it won't work if it gets too far away from the sun. I think that pretty much limits its potential for interstellar travel.

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BANGKOK-BLOCKED: Thailand's dictators 'ban dictator sim Tropico 5'

veti
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Too good to be true?

Are we sure about this story? It's not just a publicity stunt by the publisher?

OK, stories on other sites confirm the basic story - but all links point back to the distributor, who's (apparently) the only one to have released the story. No-one seems to have got a first-hand statement from the Thai gov't.

I'd love to know exactly what they said about it, and how many other games they said the exact same thing about at the same time, and what (if any) avenue for appeal there is (that the distributor is deciding to ignore, because as noted, you can't buy this kind of pubicity. Unless, I guess, you happen to have a friend in the Thai censors' office...)

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Microsoft: IE11 for Windows Phone 8.1 is TOO GOOD. So we'll cripple it like Safari

veti
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What happens to it when you scroll down?

The same as happens when it's at the top of the screen, of course. It stays where it is.

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veti
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Re: MS crippling IE

Websites don't have to "commit all sorts of internal atrocities" when they see a user agent belonging to IE. That's entirely the author's choice. And any author who wrote code for a generic "IE" user-agent, assuming that future versions would continue to support the same non-standard quirks as current ones - deserves all the s**t they get.

In 2011, when I rewrote our company's website, I found I needed 4 different stylesheets: one each for IE6, IE7, IE8, and one for (every other browser including IE9 and above). There was no IE-specific code in the last of these; if there had been, I'd have put it in a separate sheet for IE9, on the assumption that IE10+ probably wouldn't need it. What there were, were prefixed style rules, e.g.:

-moz-border-radius: 8px; -webkit-border-radius: 8px; border-radius: 8px;

But all those proprietary prefixes were only ever meant to be stopgaps. It's always been understood that, when a browser learned to support 'border-radius', it would use that rule and ignore the '-moz-border-radius' one.

So there's a perfectly clear, smooth upgrade path. Now as I understand this story, MS has decided that if there's a '-webkit-border-radius' rule, but no plain 'border-radius', then it will support the -webkit version.

As a developer, that strikes me as - bloody annoying, frankly. But from MS's point of view, I can see the attraction: it makes their browser look more like what people are used to.

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SOULLESS machine-intelligence ROBOT cars to hit Blighty in 2015

veti
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The market for taxis is - not completely dead yet, but certainly looking at a sharp decline.

But the average taxi driver isn't exactly rich, either in cash or free time. If significant numbers of them can even spare enough energy and petrol to drive slowly around the roads at 11:30 p.m. with no-one paying them, I for one will be astonished.

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veti
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Go

Re: AC:- I want a driverless car!

"With careful, intelligent planning and some thought, it could have great advantages. If it's just flung into the mix with no real plan, it could be a mess."

Yeah, and "careful, intelligent planning" is so much he government's forte. Oh, it would be local governments doing these things? Oh well, as you were then.

Seriously, "just flung into the mix with no real plan" isn't such a bad idea. Let the ideas evolve around it, once we have it. Presumably driverless cars will be subject to the same taxes (road tax, petrol tax, parking charges, congestion charges) as the rest of us, so why not let them find their own optimal usage pattens?

Sure, I can see problems. For instance, a lot of supermarkets in busy town centres will let you park for free for 90 or 120 minutes; I can see a driverless car abusing this by going and waiting 89 minutes in one, then moving a mile or so along and stopping in another for 119 minutes, then going back to the first... and so on, as it whiles the day away. That's an obvious abuse, and I'm sure it'll come up, and the supermarkets affected will change their policies or infrastructure somehow to deal with it.

But let it evolve naturally. Don't try to plan everything from the get-go, that's a recipe for (at best) paralysis, (at worst) a clusterfuck of NHS IT programme proportions.

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Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle

veti
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Re: They need to drop the gimmicks.

Quite the reverse. The Wii was a stroke of genius, it brought Nintendo a whole demographic that was more or less completely ignored by Sony and Microsoft.

The Wii U failed to follow up on that. It made the connection between individual player and device more intimate, not more casual - which means the Wii U is less attractive for group, party and casual play. Meanwhile, the Kinect is eating their lunch.

Nintendo needs to either forget about the Wii U and crank out some decent titles for its successful platforms, particularly the DSi and the Wii, or come up with a controller that beats the Kinect.

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Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?

veti
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Re: Cameron in the Shetlands

One thing you might be missing is that Cameron's party is officially called "The Conservative and Unionist Party".

To openly favour Scottish independence would, paradoxically, split the Tory party right down the middle.

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veti
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Re: I hope they do leave and learn hard reality.

Yes, because having a disgruntled and depressed neighbour with a historical grudge against you is such a good idea...

The Scots, lest we forget, routinely went to war with England until the two countries were unified, and even for a century or so after the union of crowns. It's not for nothing that they talk about France as "the auld alliance". The big selling point of the Act of Union (to the English - it didn't need selling to the Scots, it was their commercial interests who wanted it in the first place) was that it would put a stop to that sort of thing once and for all.

Yes, that's so something we all want to go back to.

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Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY

veti
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Happy

Re: Irrelevant?

I've often heard this "Firefox chomps up memory" complaint, but never experienced it. My current FF session has been running since at least Monday, it currently has 13 tabs open across 7 different sites and 4 different logins, and it's using about half a gig. That's typical, in my experience. Mind you, I don't use Facebook or Tumblr.

And I like Firebug. And I like the thought that not all my browsing history is sent directly to Google. If someone wants to track me across the web, they'll have to put together information from at least 3 or 4 different sources.

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Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins

veti
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Boffin

Re: One problem...

More than that: the pattern of dinosaur evolution leads me to suspect that there is a natural tendency, within evolution, towards more 'fragile' ecosystems. "Robustness" means redundancy, redundancy is inherently wasteful, therefore a more robust ecosystem will be out-evolved by a more fragile one.

So if the meteor had struck later, the situation would likely have grown worse, not better. And maybe we wouldn't be here today.

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OKCupid: OK, STUPID, YES we set you up with BAD DATES. On purpose

veti
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Black Helicopters

I would guess that's a subediting error, it certainly looks like one.

But it would be nice to have confirmation. Nicer still if El Reg could take more care in the first place.

On topic: this is pretty much what I said when the Facebook story broke. Heck, I presume El Reg is doing the same thing to us right now: it'll be studying how people click on links, setting its rules for deciding which stories appear in the "top 5", and in that 'bar' 3 stories down the main page, and in the sidebar, and it'll tweak those algorithms - assuming they are automated, not manual, which would make them even more manipulative - to get more eyeballs.

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Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov

veti
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Re: "fair dealing" -- @veti

That would fail under point (c) of the current draft, which is quoted in the start of this subthread:

"c) the extent is no more than is required for the specific purpose to which it is used"

"Yes, your honour, I really had to quote the entire movie in order to demonstrate that it's not worth paying for. No, I didn't need to add any more justifying commentary than that." - sorry but that's not going to fly, no matter how good your lawyer is.

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veti
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You have a strange idea of "fair dealing"...

Quoth Wikipedia: "Under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA), fair dealing is limited to the following purposes: research and private study (both must be non-commercial), criticism, review, and news reporting (sections 29, 30, 178)."

So basically, to claim fair dealing, you have to add context. Otherwise it's just what the lawyers technically call "ripping off".

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Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold

veti
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Pirate

Re: [no payment was supplied]’

"Everything" most emphatically is not available "for free or at very low cost".

It may be to you. But if I want to watch a vintage Dr Who adventure, it'll cost me at least $17 - even if I'm lucky enough that it's one of the tiny handful that's actually available at all. A single short season of a modern show, such as Sherlock, will set me back $30. And there's no legal way of getting single episodes from either one, so if I just want to watch the one episode, I'm SOL.

Or, of course, I can abuse my internet connection.

As it happens, I don't do that. Never have. I just go without these cultural treats. And that works for me now, because I'm at an age where I just don't really give a damn' any more. But a few more years, my kids will be facing this same choice, and I'm pretty sure they won't feel the same way about it.

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Microsoft: We're making ONE TRUE WINDOWS to rule us all

veti
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Re: One size fits none

Windows 8 is crap on the desktop, but it's fine on a phone. I haven't seen it on a tablet.

But "fits none" is unfair.

What bothers me is - wasn't this the whole idea behind Win 8? How come it's being re-announced now, two years later?

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Lawyer reviewing terror laws and special powers: Definition of 'terrorism' is too broad

veti
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Boffin

Re: He must have missed the memo

No. A little context here - does no-one remember anything from more than six months ago any more?

When these laws were passed, the tabloids' hate figure of choice was Abu Hamza. Since nobody thought they could convict him of "intimidation to coerce or compel", we just had to include the word "influence" in there.

Now he's been shipped off and safely locked up by our American friends, it's OK to relax the rules a smidgen. We can always reinstate them if another such figure starts whipping up the Daily Mail again.

And that's how lawmaking works in the UK. Has always worked, really. You may be familiar with the saying "hard cases make bad law"? It's literally true, and we're seeing it in action right now.

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Home Office threw £347m in the bin on failed asylum processing IT project

veti
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Re: WTF

Preach it, Tom 38.

My employer makes and maintains databases, which companies use to keep customer records. By the nature of our business, most of our clients are private-sector, but there are some exceptions (across multiple countries). And contrary to popular belief, given the choice between a public-sector and private-sector client to serve, nobody I know would choose the former, regardless of country.

There's a - not lack, exactly, but a strange arse-about-face quality to accountability, which means that decision making is invariably handed off to the highest ranking person around - i.e. the one least qualified to make a decision that affects the day-to-day workflows of the poor schmucks on the coalface.

There's an ungodly high turnover of decision makers, which means that decisions taken today can be revised, reversed or just plain forgotten two or three times by the end of the year.

Couple this with an insistence on rigid forms and procedures, and you have a formula whereby features have to be built, delivered and tested as promised, even long after everyone involved knows (and quite openly agrees) that they are useless. Because no-one has, or is willing to use, the authority to cancel or change them. That's about as motivating as you would imagine.

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veti
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Pint

Re: It just goes on

s/specially designed database/macro-infested spreadsheet, and I think you'd be closer to the truth.

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Report: American tech firms charge Britons a thumping nationality tax

veti
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Re: This is still a thing?

Believe it or not, you're not the only person who's thought of that. Yes, someone has done those sums too.

Turns out that once you allow for VAT, there's still a substantial gap. Not *as* substantial, obviously, but still well into double-digit percentages.

Why do you think the US tech industry lobbies for export restrictions on its own goods?

You're welcome.

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Motorist 'thought car had caught fire' as Adele track came on stereo

veti
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Coat

There's a correct way to do these things

I don't want my stereo displaying 'FIRE'.

I want that label to be on a little red button, somewhere below the A/C controls, which lights up when I apply either the brakes or the steering more suddenly than usual.

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