* Posts by veti

750 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

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US still hoarding zero-day app vulnerabilities, say EFF campaigners

veti
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Facepalm

So to sum up...

"... We'll only hold back vulnerabilities if we think they might be useful."

Pinky swear, presumably.

I love it when bureaucrats make promises like that. You just know they've had a Full & Frank Exchange of Views with a politician somewhere, and the bureaucrat has come out firmly on top.

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Put those smartphones away: Google adds anti-copying measures to Drive for Work

veti
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So, nobody's worried about "availability" then?

"Security" is important, sure, but is nobody worried about the probably-none-too-distant day when Google requires you to pay to renew your subscription to access the documents they're holding for you? To say nothing of the premium for whatever SLA you can be mugged for.

I smell "diversion".

As El Reg astutely notes, "copying/saving" restrictions are often worked around in practice, accompanied by ritual swearing from the users who are forced to resort to these hack jobs. (I guess the restrictions make management feel better, though I'd like to see some research into the time cost imposed on users by them.) If I were Google I'd have screen capturing and freehand-note-taking features on my product roadmap by now, to make sure users are still using Google systems when they do this...

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Why Feed.Me.Pizza will never exist: Inside the world of government vetoes and the internet

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Overriding economic interests

I suspect that domain names are one of Montenegro's biggest exports.

Another country in the same happy position (at least it should be, but I think they don't exploit it as well as they could) is Tuvalu (.tv).

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Google whacks CREEPY predictive search up to 11 in cheap Chrome OS beta

veti
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Headmaster

A concierge who follows you from hotel to hotel, and even home afterwards, is called a 'valet'.

HTH, HAND etc.

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Forum chat is like Clarkson punching you repeatedly in the face

veti
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Headmaster

Re: Dabbsy's article isn't about (was Huh? A new Godwin's Law?

Godwin's Law isn't about Nazis, or even talking about them. It's about escalation.

And to fulfil it, it's not sufficient just to mention the words "Nazi" or "Hitler". You specifically have to make a comparison involving one of them.

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veti
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Re: Service? Industry?

Of course the hotel wouldn't, and shouldn't be expected to, keep staff on unless they were paid to do so.

But really that just goes back to the BBC being cheapskate. What was the per-episode cost for Top Gear? You'd have a hard time to make me believe that it couldn't afford another 10 grand to the hospitality budget, without seriously denting its profitability.

It's fairly typical of Public Service thinking that the BBC is willing to pay through the nose for "talent", but try to get it to shell out a few hundred for a decent meal (I'm assuming you need to feed all 3 presenters, off-hours, in a remote location) - and you'll be up to your neck in auditors for the next six months.

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veti
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Re: Not on

I wonder how long before they can fill an entire channel with repeats of now-disgraced presenters? Stuart Hall, John Leslie, Jimmy Savile, Jezza...

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Hated biz smart meter rollout: UK.gov sticks chin out, shuts eyes

veti
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Re: @ zebthecat -- I don't get it at all.

So much paranoia. So little information.

Hackers turning off your power? Yeah well, all I can tell you is that with a worldwide installed base of almost half a billion of the things so far (reference), this doesn't seem to have happened yet. Maybe their security is better than you give it credit for.

Utilities turning off your power at whim? There are strict laws about the steps they have to go through before they're allowed to do that, and those steps are the same no matter what kind of meter you have. If they can bypass those with a smart meter, they could have done the same with the old kind. The big difference is that, by making the switchoff process simpler, it's easier for the utilities to follow an (auditably) consistent process.

"Keeping a few more folk employed"? That's pure Luddite logic. People who are employed doing a job that doesn't need to be done are effectively on corporate welfare, with the added requirement that they have to waste time (and petrol) still doing this non-work.

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Google Glass NOT DEAD. We're just making it 'ready' says chief

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Re: The media had it all wrong

So why has it taken Google so long to correct their "mistake"?

Sounds to me like they've only just made up their own mind, and now they're trying to spin it as "no, this was our plan all along".

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We need copyright reform so Belgians can watch cricket, says MEP

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Re: It is also a means for optimal distribution of works,

"Optimal" is always a weasel word, and I will automatically distrust anyone who uses it. Of course, I'll use it myself on occasion...

It's what you say if you want to make it sound as if you're advocating for something to be "the best it can be", but what you really want is to head off any discussion of what "best" means. In this context, I guess the question he's trying to avoid is "optimal for whom?"

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Pi(e) Day of the Century is upon us! Time to celebrate 3/14/15 in style, surely?

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Couldn't wait, huh?

Even by American date-writing conventions - next year's "March 14th" will be closer to accurate. Unless you're in the habit of rounding down from ".9".

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'There is NO SUCH THING as a safe site anymore' – security bod

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WTF is a "safe site", anyway? One whose owner you trust completely, who includes no ads, iFrames or other content hosted elsewhere, no tracking code, and who uses https:// - would be about as good as you could get.

But even they'd be vulnerable to having their domain confiscated by some asshat who claims that it "supports terrorism" or "is confusingly similar to my trademark".

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Sir Terry remembered: Dickens' fire, Tolkien's imagination, and the wit of Wodehouse

veti
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I'd say it's more apt than the comparison to "Tolkein"...

Both (Pratchett and Dickens) were passionate about injustice. Both could be, by turns, sharply witty and satirical, and interminably preachy, particularly in their later works. Both were hugely popular, celebrities in their own lifetime.

The only candidate I can think of who'd make a worthy third to that duo would be Mark Twain, but he's disqualified on account of being American.

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veti
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Re: Death

Death as a "comforter" is an old idea. Pterry's take on it was wonderful, but still just a new take on an old idea.

If you re-read 'The Colour of Magic', it's interesting to note that the Death in that is a very different character from what he became in the later books. I'm not sure if he ever completely forgave Rincewind for his unpunctuality.

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RIP Sir Terry Pratchett: Discworld author finally gets to meet DEATH

veti
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Re: Anyone for a Banana Daquiri?

You mean bananana. I'll be happy to get you one.

You haven't seen my stepladder, have you?

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veti
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This, exactly. Any author sufficiently talented to continue Pterry's work on the Disc, is also sufficiently talented to make their own setting without all the baggage.

Apart from the odd tribute story, I don't want to see any more Discworld.

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Diablo fingered in offensive ASCII art trial doc shock

veti
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What makes that particular goof so galling is that HMG keeps doing it - the same cock-up, time after time. The last story I can find is from 2011, but that references another incident about six months earlier, and I first remember it happening way back around 2000.

Seriously, what does it take to make them learn?

Or maybe it's deliberate, a way of "leaking misinformation to your enemies". Actually that sounds disturbingly plausible, it's about the level of subtlety I'd expect from the MoD.

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Clinton defence of personal email server fails to placate critics

veti
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Strange assumption

What seems odd to me here, is the baseline assumption that everything a high official does in office should be a matter of public record.

The US Freedom of Information Act became law in 1966. Since then, who hasn't had at least one "scandal" that centres on "the top dogs trying, often clumsily, to keep their laundry private"?

- Nixon - 'nuff said

- Ford, Carter - actually these two were pretty clean, and much good it did them.

- Reagan, Bush - Iran/Contra

- Clinton - Whitewater, Lewinsky

- Bush - misrepresentations leading to the Iraq war. See also "Snowden, E."

- Obama - Snowden

The US hasn't had a decent president since 1960. If the purpose of the FoIA is to improve governance, it's clearly not only "not working", but actually counterproductive. Just repeal it already and give the executive branch their privacy back. (That is to say, let them work under the same rules that Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt and Eisenhower worked under.) We'll all be better off if we don't have to spend months at a time fixating on this kind of crap.

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Should online pirates get the same sentences as offline ones?

veti
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Yep, that thought struck me too.

If you can't hack it as an independent composer, if you make a better living writing commissioned works - then maybe that's a fair reflection of your ability level, maybe that's just where you belong in the market. In the same way as failed artists go to work in advertising, failed novelists become journalists, failed astronauts become engineers, failed entrepreneurs become middle managers...

You're not alone in having to settle for something less than your dream. In the meantime, there's no shortage of new music being produced, so clearly somebody is willing to fill the gap you've left. And presumably they find it rewarding.

Meanwhile, learn to be content with the niche you've found for yourself.

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veti
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Re: Nothing is missing...

So, the least popular movies are not most commonly downloaded. And that proves... what, exactly?

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veti
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Re: The term "pirate" is a propaganda coup

The term "pirate" to describe intellectual property theft goes back further than you think. Further than the term "intellectual property", in fact. Certainly much, much further than the Internet.

Citation.

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Pro-ISIS script kiddies deface Dublin Rape Crisis Centre site

veti
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Re: Dublin Rape Crisis Centre

It has nothing to do with the Rape Crisis Centre as such. It's just a generic attack against anyone who's vulnerable to this particular hack. Purely opportunistic, like everything ISIS does. You don't think they sat down and picked that cafe in Sydney as the target that would cause the maximum impact, do you? It's just the first place some murderous nutjob happened to see.

The defacement didn't say anything about rape crisis centres being un-Islamic - probably, because the vandals neither knew nor cared what site they were defacing.

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One does not simply ask the inventor of the WWW what he thinks about memes

veti
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Re: Put the TLD first, but keep the dot separator

We have standardised on that date format. More than 25 years ago, in fact.

(Dunno what you mean by "Chinese", but that's beside the point.)

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Ban Minecraft? That's jive, Turkey!

veti
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YHBT

This has all the hallmarks of a fluff piece by Minecraft's (admittedly, excellent) PR department.

Deals with a game that's been available for a long time and already has a large established base in the country in question, and frankly sales have been flagging lately? Check.

No major Minecraft-related stories in the past two weeks? Check.

Based on one internal government document, not an actual process under way? Check. (How did this news "leak" out, I wonder?)

Instantly picked up by every tech media outlet in the world, including those who have hitherto shown absolutely no awareness that there is even a place called "Turkey", much less its censorship rules? Check.

No mention in any of those sites of what other games are already banned under the same rules? Ayup.

In fact, I can't find that list anywhere on the internet. There's a suspiciously similar story about 'Game of Thrones', but it seems that nobody, in the history of the internet, has ever bothered to compile a public list of things that are banned in Turkey. Which makes me think that maybe, nobody actually cares that much. Except when they're trying to sell stuff.

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Hated smart meters likely to be 'a costly failure' – MPs

veti
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Context...

UK consumers currently spend more than 100 billion pounds a year on electricity. It follows that if the meters save 2%, they'll pay for themselves in five years.

Is it asking too much for a technical news site to dig up a few basic facts and figures before posting flamebait drivel? Apparently.

Smart meters are a solved problem. This isn't string theory. What's missing in the UK's electricity industry is a central co-ordinating agency responsible for handling meter reads.

What happens in Australia is: meter readers have their own service areas, where they collect all the reads (regardless of what retailer each household is signed up with), they forward those to a central hub, and the hub then forwards the reads to the retailers responsible for each individual site. (Which means: if you switch suppliers, the guy who comes round and reads your meter - is exactly the same bloke, coming on the same day he always would.)

Rollout of smart meters in Victoria is well past the 50% mark already, and for the average consumer, it's done nothing but good. (Want to move house? Getting a meter read for the day you move used to cost you $50; with a smart meter, it's $15.) Meanwhile, the horror stories about malicious hacking, abuse of data, soaking people in radiation... have yet to be observed.

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Top Euro court ends mega ebook VAT slash in France, Luxembourg

veti
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Using commas in place of "and"

Irritating, pointless.

Note to El Reg subs: this is online. You won't run out of ink.

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We have no self-control: America's most powerful men explain why they're scared of email

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Re: Discretion

Yep. If you have no scruples and lots of money (which describes absolutely everyone namechecked in this article), you just pay other people to send emails on your behalf.

If you're even more of a slimeball (which again, I think can safely be said of everyone mentioned here), you also pay, or do other kinds of deals with, bloggers and twitters to say the things that you can't say because it wouldn't be consistent with your Nice image.

It's astonishing how well that works. Here in New Zealand we had a lot of fuss, just before the last election, of a book that documented our very own Nice Guy PM, John Key, doing the latter kind of deal with a particularly vicious blogger. After the story broke, Key's share of the vote increased.

I assume every US politician who's big enough that I've ever heard of them, is doing much the same.

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BACK OFF, spooks: UK legal hacking code should be 'resisted at all costs' says lawyer

veti
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Re: What I find most worrying...

I'm sorry to say that all this was also true of the world you grew up in. Police and spooks have been planting evidence on people since, probably, as long as there have been police and spooks.

And this is why we should insist on fair and open trials, and humane treatment of those who are convicted, no matter what they're convicted of. That's the hill we should be fighting on, here. We can't control the spooks - if we could, they'd be no use to us. But we can protect one another from being destroyed by them.

If we can be bothered.

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'If cloud existed decades ago, backups wouldn't have been developed'

veti
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Re: Typical bullshit

Given that "the backup processes commonly used today" often consist of "attaching an external hard drive to a USB port and copying stuff onto it", I think that claim is unarguable.

True, some people don't like "clouds" for one reason or another. But most people just want something that's quick and cheap, and they'll happily take the path of least resistance that achieves what their boss asked them for ("find a way to avoid losing all our data if our office suddenly sinks into a fracking well"). "Safe" or "secure" comes a very distant third, if that.

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UK Supreme Court waves through indiscriminate police surveillance

veti
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> Anon, WTF does this have to do with Communism? Or China, for that matter?

Or being a republic or "people's republic"? Nothing, obviously. I assume the first AC is saying "this is exactly the sort of thing we used to sneer at the commies for, who won the bloody (cold) war anyway?", but is (foolishly) disassociating the sentiment from Basil Fawlty.

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Lost WHITE CITY of the MONKEY GOD found after 500 years

veti
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"Ethnobotanist"?

As opposed to, what, a regular botanist, who presumably has no interest in such irrelevancies as "species" and "subgroups"?

Seriously, who makes these words up? And why?

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He can't give it away FAST ENOUGH: Bill Gates richest man in world again

veti
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Re: Most philanthropic American...

Hey, take a look at the picture at the top of the story. That "swimming pool" doesn't fill itself, you know.

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'The troll stats saddened me as a human, but didn't surprise me as a boffin'

veti
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I don't see how the FCC can police what happens outside the USA. Foreign ISPs are governed by foreign laws, it's up to our governments what our ISPs can do to us.

More or less, anyway. Although we can cite the FCC as an example worth following on this subject - but honestly, I'm not sure that's a road we should be too eager to go down...

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C'mon! Greece isn't really bust and it can pay its debts

veti
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Re: There was never a need for a combined currency all over Europe

@The Axe: Since the foundation of the ECSC, number of wars started between members of that, the Common Market, the EEC, EC, EU as it's varyingly been called?

Zero. Not a one.

Wars started, during the same timespan, between other countries who are not members? Quite a lot. Even involving NATO members. Even between NATO members (Greece/Turkey, over Cyprus).

The point of NATO is not to preserve the peace, it's to "keep the Americans in, the Russians out and the Germans down". Which means that right now, NATO is underperforming just as badly as the EU.

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Murky online paedo retreat: The Nether explores the fantasy-reality divide

veti
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Childcatcher

@x7

Theres no need for a new discussion - its already taken place over the years and reached a consensus.

That's an argument against ever changing anything. Once, not so very long ago, there was a consensus about treatment of homosexuals, which was very different from the one we have today. There was once a consensus about the status of women, which was very different from the one we have today. There was once a consensus about the desirability of associating with French people, which - well, actually maybe that one hasn't changed so much.

But just because society has "reached a consensus" is no reason to consider the question closed.

(And incidentally, this very thread is quite strong evidence that whatever society has reached, it's not "consensus", there is still significant dissent on the subject.)

(On a meta note, I find it interesting how many 'Anonymous' comments there are on this particular story.)

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Don't pay for the BBC? Then no Doctor Who for you, I'm afraid

veti
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RIP BBC

Bye bye "open broadcasts", where you can tune in with any device you like and be reasonably sure that everyone viewing the same channel is seeing the same thing. Hello encryption, private content, "personalised" content, your own little bubble where your masters can ensure you don't see anything that might alarm - oops, sorry, I mean 'radicalise' - you.

British governments have been looking for ways to censor the BBC for more than 50 years. "Reviewing the license fee" used to be the best they could do, but that was too crude. Then they moved on to "regularly reviewing the charter", which was always a thinly veiled threat. But with a system like this, they could stop pussyfooting about and just censor the programs directly!

It's a home secretary's wet dream.

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The Extreme Centre, Rise of the Super Furry Animals and The Kind Worth Killing

veti
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I didn't say anything about "true socialism". I think trying to distinguish between "true" and "false socialism" is a mug's game. All there really is, is "good-faith attempts to apply socialism", and the question that interests me is "if you make one of those, what do you end up with?"

The answers we've got from large countries in the early 20th century (USSR, China) - isn't very promising. Other attempts have been made, but I think Greece could be a uniquely valuable data point - it has all the advantages of being a well connected country, within the EU, with a reasonable democratic tradition, well developed economy, and a well established nation state (i.e. it's not likely to do a Yugoslavia on us). Most importantly: it might be well enough placed to avoid being treated as a pawn in a cold war between superpowers.

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veti
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You can use the USSR experience, if you like, to demonstrate that socialism didn't work when someone tried to implement it in Russia after the First World War. (Arguments about whether it was "really socialism" are missing the point, I think - the point is, earnest and well-meaning people tried to introduce socialism, and the USSR is what they ended up with.)

It's a long stretch from that, to convincing people that it can't be made to work in a much smaller, much more highly developed country almost 100 years later. (Because the USSR experiment was destroyed by embedded corruption; therefore it's the date of implementation that matters, because that's when the corruption was introduced, not the date of dissolution.)

Let's see. That's all I'm asking - let us see what happens.

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veti
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@Red Sceptic: hear, hear!

Politics isn't just about getting elected, it's not even just about doing what the public wants. It's about debating ideas - all the ideas, even really lame ones if they've got a noticeable core of supporters - so that anyone who chooses to participate, knows that they've been heard.

We need more people who are prepared to make an argument with passion and conviction. There are a substantial number of closet Marxists out there to this day, and the only plausible way you'll convert them is to let them have their champion - and see him lose, fair and square, on his ideas. Not shouted down or censored by the bigger boys, but engaged in public debate, conceding point by point until the violence of his rhetoric is disarmed.

It's the same with Syriza in Greece: I sincerely hope we'll get to see what a real socialist government can do in modern Europe. What I fear is that they'll be forced to back down by private, back-room browbeating from the Germans and their mates, and then their voters will see them as no more than just another bunch of sellouts - and that'll be basically the end of democracy in Greece (and very likely, neighbouring countries too) for two generations. What should happen is that the consequences of each action get talked and reasoned out, in detail and in public, the voters' wishes get respected, and we can all see what follows.

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veti
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Pirate

Re: Socialism: it's fun, try it!

Say what you like about Chavez - oh, you have. Fair enough, and true enough.

But he still did what his voters elected him to do. He gave capitalism a well earned kick in the nads. He stood up to the banks when they told him disaster would follow. Sure they were right, but he stood up to them anyway.

I just hope Syriza has as much integrity, I really do.

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WANTED: A plan to DESTROY metadata, not just retain it

veti
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Unfortunately,

... "what's no longer needed" is, the police will strenuously insist, an empty set. You never know when some tidbit of information from 1993 is suddenly going to turn out to be the key to a current investigation.

Personally, I think our only plausible salvation from police abuse of this system is police bureaucracy, which I would model as follows:

- Every time an officer runs a query on a database, force them to complete a 'reason' field referencing a case they're working on.

- Insist that results should be recorded only on dedicated police equipment (if that means buying everyone a brand-new top-of-the-line tablet every year, then fine, that's a small price to pay). Copying the results to any other media, including paper napkins or Post-it notes, should be a serious disciplinary offence.

- Program the devices to automatically delete any database query results after, let's say, 24 hours, unless the officer flags them as "interesting".

- Periodically, conduct an audit where you randomly review a handful of cases on the officer's tablet, and require them to justify the results they've flagged as "interesting".

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For pity's sake, you FOOL! DON'T UPGRADE it will make it WORSE

veti
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Re: Lock Apple and MS in a room......

@ JohnMurray: Windows 7 gives me days like that. Vista, before it, gave me whole weeks like that, so that's progress I guess.

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veti
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Re: surprise- a translation company doesn't understand IT

I don't agree.

You're an IT company if, and only if, "the thing that your customers pay you to do on their behalf" is IT.

Banks? Are not IT companies. I don't really care how my bank looks after my money, what kind of computer system it uses or if it does the whole operation with quill pens and pneumatic tubes, it's all one to me as long as I get the services I'm accustomed to, such as online banking.

Insurance companies? Same argument. IT is a means, not an end.

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Photoshop daddy: 'I’m not happy with body image issues it creates for a lot of women'

veti
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There has been some quite serious tweaking of the colour balance. Also look closely at the model's forehead.

That said - Mr Knoll is surely aware that "airbrushing" used to involve - well, actual airbrushes, right? Photoshop makes it less skilled and less messy, but he didn't create something new here.

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Net neutrality crunch poll: Americans want to know WTF it is

veti
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"The government is considering changing the rules that govern the internet. Do you know about this?

Do you think you ought to know about it?"

Yeah, no way is that a leading question...

I'm sure, if the rules were published, those 73% who want it to be published would immediately go and read them through in detail, and not in any way take their opinions predigested from their choice of talking heads on TV or talk radio.

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Former Mrs Dotcom hooks up with Xbox 'toyboy'

veti
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Dotcom is a troll, in the finest traditions of creative trolling. Yes he's entertaining, in the same way as it's entertaining to watch someone hypnotised into making a complete tit of themself in front of an audience. No matter how much I laugh, I can't shake a sense of shame for doing so.

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veti
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K.C didn't get where he is today by paying money just because he'd promised to do it...

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Ofcom: We got it right, but let’s have a licence consultation anyway

veti
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Re: Hmm yes..

I think the author has issues. Maybe an ancient grudge from when he was five years old, which he can't help but bring up from time to time.

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A cookie with a 7,984-year lifespan. Blimey, Roy Batty only got 4!

veti
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Re: Vital indeed...

@AC:

Adding the rule:

div[id*="cookie"] { display:none; }

to your browser stylesheet (you do have one of those, right?) should mean you don't have to see cookie warnings on at least some sites.

More rules in the same vein would take out more targets, but each one increases the risk of missing something that might actually be interesting.

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Vodafone didn't have a £6bn tax bill. Sort yourselves out, Lefties

veti
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"You'd expect the Daily Mail to get this right"?

Seriously?

Come on Tim, you're a journalist and pro-capitalist, you know how this works. The Daily Mail's job isn't to "get it right". Nobody's going to pay them to do that. If you want to see people trying earnestly to "get it right", stick to the Independent (and see where it gets you). No, their job is to say whatever is best judged to attract the most eyeballs over the medium term.

That's best done by using just enough truth, mixed with unheathly doses of populist bollocks designed to confirm the prejudices of their readers.

Not unlike El Reg, really.

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