* Posts by veti

1146 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

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Brit boffins get $800k for Los Angeles Twitter pre-crime tech

veti
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Yeah, except that's not what they're talking about at all.

If you read the article, it's about predicting that it's likely that a crime will be committed in such a place in such a time window, and putting a couple of cops there to deter it. That's really no different from having police line the route of a street demo or a carnival.

Of course there are obvious problems with measuring the performance of this model - a bit like Lisa Simpson's tiger-repelling stone - but actually, it's easier than you'd think. All you have to do is deploy it in some areas of the city for a controlled period, and measure the overall reported crime rates in areas where it is used versus those where it isn't. If there's a statistically significant improvement, then great. If not - oh well, it was only a million bucks, pretty small potatoes really.

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US Homeland Security launches IoT willy-waving campaign

veti
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Re: Empire Building

Nah, the Gestapo's full name more-or-less translates to "Secret State Police", which is clearly different.

"Department of Homeland Security" is, however, not that far away from a decent translation - allowing for some differences in usage and structure - for "KGB" (lit.: "Committee for State Security").

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TRUMP: ICANN'T EVEN! America won't hand over internet control to Russia on my watch

veti
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Re: All hail the new Golden Don!

No, we'll never get used to saying "President Trump".

Sniggering it, maybe. Sobbing, perhaps. Chortling, for sure. But saying?

Not gonna happen.

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veti
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Re: All hail the new Golden Don!

Next time someone asks me about Poe's Law, I'll point them to this post.

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She cannae take it, Captain Kirk! USS Zumwalt breaks down

veti
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Re: OK it looks small to radar

Try getting a field howitzer within 20k of it. Betcha can't.

The threat to warships on the open sea is from guided missiles, not old-school field artillery. If you can dodge a guided missile, you've got much better survivability than an armoured warship that has no defence against taking an Exocet amidships.

Of course there are plenty of scenarios where this isn't true, armour does still count - any brown-water operations, for instance - but the US Navy is not so small that every ship has to be able to do everything, they can afford to specialise.

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Lethal 4-hour-erection-causing spiders spill out of bunch of ASDA bananas

veti
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Re: Did someone ID the spider

Too right. F***ing foreign spiders, coming in taking up British homes and British spiders' jobs, and what does Asda do? It doesn't even know the spiders' names! How are we even going to know we've got rid of them?

This is what Brexit was for, the f***ing EU would never let us throw out the foreign spiders. Now we can control our own bananas!

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veti
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You're counting it wrong...

Bananas in Asda cost about 16p each. If someone at minimum wage can check 3600 per hour (one second each), that would cost 0.2p per banana. Perfectly feasible.

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Encryption backdoors? It's an ongoing dialogue, say anti-terror bods

veti
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Re: 1+1=3 !!!

"They can't do it perfectly for everything, therefore they shouldn't do it at all" is one of the sillier arguments trotted out here.

No security is perfect. That works both ways - no spying is perfect either. The goal isn't to eliminate the threat, no-one thinks that's possible, it's just to continually raise the bar. To make it harder to compete.

It doesn't have to be impossible to encrypt, it just has to be "hard enough to defeat a high enough proportion of those undesirables who might otherwise do it".

And how would you know when your encryption was broken?

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It's OK for the FBI's fake hacks to hack suspects' PCs, says DoJ watchdog

veti
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Re: Aww, the press shedding crocodile tears...

Yes, because "the Press" is a monolithic agency and past misbehaviour by any self-styled journalist anywhere justifies retaliation against all journalists everywhere.

AP's argument in this case is about the damage to their reputation. Not "the press as a whole", but "AP as a specific agency".

Let's take out the email/press angle, and think about a more, let's say traditional, type of operation. Suppose the Feds had dressed their agent up in overalls and sent him round to the house as a representative of "Joe's Plumbing", to investigate reports of a gas leak, and incidentally plant an old-fashioned bug while he was there.

Would we consider that "fair play" by the FBI, assuming they got a warrant first? I would.

But what if there is a real local company called "Joe's Plumbing" that does precisely that kind of work, and the agent had deliberately faked their logo, their stencilled van, their business cards, all without mentioning it to the real company? Don't you think that company would have cause for complaint?

I think the least the FBI owes the AP in this case is an apology, and probably a mutually agreed system for clearing/approving future operations of this sort in advance.

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Yelp wins fight to remain morally bankrupt

veti
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Re: My two cents worth

@Doctor Syntax: Pagerank is absolutely bankable, yes. But it's not the same as "reputation". It's effectively controlled by a single company, which can manipulate it any way it chooses and doesn't have to explain what it's doing or why.

Yelp and Google have an unholy deal that gives *ridiculously* high profile to Yelp's "reviews". I can only imagine that Yelp pays Google an ungodly amount of money for that deal, but I'll never know for sure and neither will you (unless you happen to be a high ranking exec at one of those two companies, in which case I assume you wouldn't be compromising your employer by commenting on here).

@IsJustABloke: you're making the point. You're going by a "reputation" that's determined by the reviews you happen to see. Guess what? - those reviews are not a fair sample. They're not "all" reviews for the site, and they're also not a "random" selection: they're a selection, written by people who may or may not ever have been within a thousand miles of the place, and chosen by editorial criteria that we don't know.

What we do know about it is that the "editors" will sell advertising to the reviewed establishment, on the basis that if they buy it then the negative reviews will no longer be seen.

That's a very, very different thing from listening to friends and family and people with actual reputation on the line.

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veti
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Re: My two cents worth

You're talking as if "reputation" and "reliability" were still actual bankable commodities.

Nobody cares any more. The closest we have to "reputation" online is Google pagerank, and guess what? - you can fix that by giving money to Google, which Yelp does in great profusion.

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US Marine Corps to fly F-35s from HMS Queen Lizzie as UK won't have enough jets

veti
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Re: US Marine Corps will be flying F-35Bs

General plea:

Can we please stop the gargantuan tidal wave of misinformative sewage that is currently passing for a "presidential election campaign" in the USA from infecting every comment thread on anything anywhere?

We get it, both your choices are awful. We know that neither one of them has ever, as far as documentary evidence can ascertain, told the truth about anything since the beginning of the campaign. We know that whichever one you support, electing the other will mean the end of civilisation as we know it. (Again. Pretty sure I've heard this same story every election cycle since at least 2000, but never mind that.)

So when someone digs at one candidate or the other - just let it go. You can't wrestle a pig and come out smelling of anything but shit.

This has been a public service announcement. Thank you.

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Brexit? We have heard of this, says Dixons Carphone CEO

veti
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Re: Hang on. ...

@Flocke Kroes: If the other EU members wilfully abuse the A50 process in the way you describe...

... that will prove, to my satisfaction at least, that the Brexiters were right all along, the EU has become an anti-democratic institution and deserves to be broken up by any means necessary.

It's an interesting paradox of Brexit that both Leave and Remain camps seemed half the time to be arguing each other's cases. But both were so incapable of elementary logic, and the 24 hour media was so hopeless at any sort of followup or continuity of argument, that they didn't even realise it.

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Nul points: PM May's post-Brexit EU immigration options

veti
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Re: How we leave should be ...

Back in the 80s, I used to hear a lot of "most Tories are old, just wait for them to die off and we'll have perpetual socialist government".

That reasoning doesn't work.

Very likely some "Leave" voters would now switch their votes if they could. But for all we know, there are just as many if not more "Remain" voters who would also switch. We don't really know, short of having another referendum - and even that wouldn't really answer the question, because if you signal the electorate that you're willing to keep on voting until you get the Right Answer, the voters will quickly change their behaviour to send another message right back...

Yes, the Leave campaign was full of shit. But so were the Remainers. Neither one would have lasted ten minutes in a decently-run high school debate club, let alone in Parliament; the only reason they could get away with a tenth of the bollocks they parroted was because the 24 hour media is constitutionally incapable of checking them.

This is a design flaw in modern media. It's a big flaw. And it's going to be the death of democracy if we can't do something about it.

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Making us pay tax will DESTROY EUROPE, roars Apple's Tim Cook

veti
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Re: I don't get it.

@ AIBailey:

"Tax avoidance of the highest order" is precisely what Apple's accountants and tax lawyers are paid to do, they wouldn't see anything troubling about that.

The question is whether they knew the Irish government was doing something that put it in violation of its own commitments. I think there's reasonable doubt about that, and I'll be astonished if it can be proven against them.

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veti
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Re: I don't get it.

@Bob Dole (tm): First, as has been explained, the EU isn't saying Apple has done anything wrong. They're saying Ireland has done something wrong.

It is possible that Apple, being a resourceful company with no shortage of lawyers, knew that Ireland was exceeding its authority in the deal it struck. But that's conjectural, and unless it can be proven, Apple won't be punished. Merely required to pay the back taxes it owes, with no penalty or even interest charges.

"EU member states continuing to lose sovereignty" is one of those... slurs, I suppose is the best word, that relies on not thinking too carefully about what "sovereignty" is. It's the kind of thing Putin's people have been saying a lot recently, in their remorseless efforts to undermine the EU (which worked a treat with Brexit). But "being told off for breaking the rules you've agreed to abide by" is not a loss of sovereignty.

The fact is that - thanks to Brexit - we're just about to discover whether or not EU member states still have meaningful "sovereignty". If Britain is allowed to leave with a minimum of fuss and without punitive retaliation, then sovereignty is as good as it ever was, for whatever that's worth. If not - then the EU has overstepped its legitimacy, and the Brexiters were right all along. I'll be agog to see which it is.

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veti
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Re: Just Heating Up My Popcorn ...

Presumably because Apple is loudly resisting the FBI's efforts to backdoor their kit.

(Ooh err missus)

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veti
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Would you take a job where the description of your duties said "do the right thing"?

Can you imagine how the reviews would go?

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Europe to order Apple to cough up 'one beeellion Euros in back taxes'

veti
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Re: Hehe

The referendum is over. Move on.

This has been a public service announcement brought to you by the Committee to Get Over It Already.

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An ethical Google won't break the internet, leaked EU report finds

veti
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Re: If we're going to create a new "ethical" copyright law...

The words we need to bake into the copyright law are "These, enumerated, acts are the ones you're allowed to restrict. Everything else is none of your goddamn business, and any attempt by you to limit it in any way whatsoever, whether legally or technically, will result in your work losing whatever legal protection it might otherwise be entitled to claim".

So for instance, you can sell a copy of a work, and you can prevent making or reselling unlicensed copies of that work. But if you try to, e.g., prevent the owner from playing it when he buys a new computer, or prevent him from playing it on a particular type of device, or because the playing device was purchased in a different country from the medium - bzzt, you're out, your work can now be hacked freely and serve you right if it ends up on a torrent.

Because copyright law doesn't give you the right to limit any of those things.

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IoT manufacturer caught fixing security holes

veti
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Re: Reflexive luddism

"Did I remember to lock the door this morning? Let me check."

"Little Johnny gets out of school at 3:15 every day, home at 4, an hour and a half ahead of either of us. Instead of giving him his own key (which he'll undoubtedly lose, sooner or later), how about he texts us when he's home and we open for him then? You can even check the camera if you're nervous."

"Hi, it's Jenny, I'm on my way back from Brazil and I need a place to crash in $HOMETOWN. Is it OK if I use your spare room? I'll be arriving about lunchtime, leaving the next morning."

Yep, I can certainly imagine wanting to control my locks remotely.

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veti
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Reflexive luddism

Mutter "smart" grumble locks groan real keys mumble solved problem simmer hiss get off my lawn.

But seriously: for once, I can actually see a plausible use case for these things, and I quite look forward to the year 2050 when they might actually be fit for purpose.

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Corbyn lied, Virgin Trains lied, Harambe died

veti
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So is that belief based on - anything, or is it just something you feel very strongly, like appendicitis?

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Paper mountain, hidden Brexit: How'd you say immigration control would work?

veti
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Re: Parliamentary negligence

Yes, but remember the regiments of fearmongers threatening what horrible things would befall if the vote was to leave?

Yes, the Brexiters were full of shit. But so were the Remainers. I don't see anyone really acknowledging that.

There is no recession.

There is no World War Three.

There is no brigade of vindictive EU governments out to screw us every way they can.

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Happy Anniversary: What’s new, what’s missing in Microsoft’s giant mobile update

veti
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Re: Skype on Winphone 8.1

My phone runs 8.1, and 10 hasn't even been released for it. I guess because it really doesn't have a lower hardware requirement than 8.1, despite MS's policy over the last few Windows releases.

When this handset croaks, I'll do what I always do: look around for a replacement and buy whatever looks good at that time. I don't do OS loyalty.

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Russia is planning to use airships as part of a $240bn transport project

veti
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Re: ...helium currently comes from natural gas..."

Hydrogen is better than helium for balloons in just about every way. It's lighter, providing more lift; the molecules are larger, meaning they will take much longer to leak out of the balloon; it's way, way cheaper and easier to produce; and unlike helium, the supply is a renewable resource. As for the fire thing - it was the fabric of the Hindenberg that burned, the hydrogen was incidental at best.

The only reasons not to use it are (1) it's a bit dangerous to store (much like any other explosive fluid), and (2) there's more profit in selling helium.

What bothers me about airships for long-distance transport is the speed. If the ship manages an airspeed of 60 knots, then a gale force or stronger headwind means your ground speed will be zero or negative. I've found it hard to find decent data on the subject, but from what I have found it looks like in the upper troposphere, wind speeds are at least that fast fully 25% of the time. That's a lot of downtime.

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Julian AssangeTM to meet investigators in London

veti
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Re: Ugh...

Ten years from now you'll be able to watch your pick of documentaries, and come out with whichever preconceived story the producers wanted you to.

If you really want to know "what the heck went on", you'll have to pay much, much closer attention than that. I'm not sure it's even possible at this point, short of applying to work at the Ecuadorian Embassy: there are so many shills and trolls on both sides who both have plenty of mud to throw up, to defame Assange on one side or muddy the issue on the other.

Neither side is making even the most cursory attempt to pretend to be fair or honest, and I don't see that changing in my lifetime.

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veti
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Odd. In every police procedural I've ever seen, the cops are forever bimbling all over the place, talking to suspects wherever they happen to be at the time.

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Breaking 350 million: What's next for Windows 10?

veti
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Re: Windows 10 did especially well

Windows 8.1 is Windows 9. Joke's on you if you missed it, it was the last "good" Windows release.

Really. If the 'Metro' thing annoys you too much, install Classic Start Menu. Then you'll have the speed and security of Windows 10, the control and customisability of Windows 7, and extended support to January 2023.

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veti
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Re: What's next for Windows 10?

If your business model relies on you being able to sell a fully operational PC for $300...

... how is that Microsoft's problem?

You want to serve the market segment of People With No Money? Good on you, best of luck with that, let us know how it goes. We'll be over here selling PCs for $1000, and we anticipate no shortage of customers at that price point.

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Defuse census outrage with independent oversight of data-handling

veti
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Re: Optional

As I understand it (and I admit, I had the same misgiving when I saw the article's terminology), it's not suggesting that the 'data broker' actually hold any data itself. All it has to do is provide a secure 'cloud' platform for other people to hold data, and give them the tools to manage access to it and the rules for using them. There's no reason why the broker itself would ever need to access that data - indeed, it'd be better if they have no way to decrypt it at all.

"Connecting census data with other records is unnecessary" ... yee-eess, unless you want to, y'know, USE the census data for something. Like projecting future road use, capacity for public services such as schools, parks, libraries, demographic projections - you know, the things that are the whole purpose of having a census in the first place.

You are, of course, quite right that there's no earthly reason why personally identifiable information should be stored with census data. Last time I filled in a census form I don't think it even asked for names, although I don't know what the Australian census collects.

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How many zero-day vulns is Uncle Sam sitting on? Not as many as you think, apparently

veti
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Re: Failure to responsibly disclose is one definition...

Nobody, and I mean that literally in the sense of "not one sentient human being in the entire history of ever", has ever tried to claim with a straight face that government agencies don't do anything shady.

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Australian spooks' email guide banishes MS Word macros, JavaScript

veti
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WTF?

Huh?

"Converting attachments to another file type" - and how exactly do you do that without opening the frigging attachment first? If they just said "delete all Office documents unopened" that would at least be coherent, even if it's not very practical.

Honestly, the best protection against macro viruses now is to be running an up to date version of Word. It won't run macros unless you, the user, explicitly enable them.

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F-35 targeting system laser will be 'almost impossible' to use in UK

veti
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Re: Wait until you see the next generation fighter...

You're missing the point. If you make it "cheaper", then you get less money. By definition.

Whose interest is that in? Certainly not yours. Nor yet the armed services procurement people, because their boilerplate funding proposal says "Whatever It Takes" - and the more they spend, the more important they are. Only the poor old taxpayer would gain, and they are so distracted by every other issue you can imagine that the chances of their vote being swayed by this issue are infinitesimal.

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Windows 10 Pro Anniversary Update tweaked to stop you disabling app promos

veti
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Re: @Ivan4 - Wow.

I'm not familiar with GNUCash, but if it's anything like ProjectLibre I can only be thankful for that.

Like OpenOffice and LibreOffice: it's only a substitute if your use-case involves the word "workaround" a lot.

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veti
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Re: Come on you MS Fans

Steam on Linux might one day take away the last excuse for home use. But it is not this day.

The list looks impressive, right up to the moment you try to search for a specific game you actually want to play.

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Airbus doesn't just make aircraft – now it designs drone killers

veti
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Re: Citation?

Espionage is "legal" in so far as it's not against the law of the country committing it.

The law of the country it's being committed against, however, is another matter entirely.

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The very latest on the DNC email conspiracy. Which conspiracy? All of them, of course!

veti
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@ Kumar2012

Immigration and Nationality Act 101(a)(42): err, that defines what a "refugee" is. The only 'religious test' established there is, it says it is possible to be a refugee if you are fleeing persecution on religious grounds.

I'm not clear what you're trying to establish with that reference.

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Did the Russians really hack the DNC or is this another Sony Pictures moment? You decide

veti
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Re: Tu use Hillary's own words...

"What difference does it make?" - well, if you're OK with Putin - who is at this point basically Lex Luthor - trying to influence the US presidential elections, then not much, I guess.

Me, if I were American I wouldn't care for that one bit.

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Tinder porn scam: Swipe right for NOOOOOO I paid for what?

veti
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Devil

Nunno, clearly what we need is a government-issued identity card. Isn't that just what the Home Office has been telling us since Michael Howard's day?

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She wants it. She needs it. Shall I give it to her or keep doing it by myself?

veti
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Re: @CrazyOldCatMan (Been there, done that...)

Since Scott Adams quite openly begs for his readers to send anecdotes from their office to serve as fodder for his strips - it's not entirely surprising that he seems to have spies everywhere.

That's because he does, in fact, have spies everywhere. In direct proportion to the level of his own readership among the employee base.

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Star Trek Beyond: An unwatchable steaming pile of tribble dung

veti
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Re: Nahh, the old Star Trek was for nerds...

Movie makers have been hijacking pre-existing franchises and dumbing them down for as long as movies have been a thing. Early example.

Moral: don't expect anything else of movies. Certainly not of any movie that has the word "franchise" attached, however tangentially. Artists are creative, they don't want to spend their time splashing about in someone else's imagination. Everyone associated with the Star Trek franchise since Gene Roddenberry died has been a bought-and-paid-for hack, nothing more.

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EFF declares anti-piracy DMCA unconstitutional in new legal showdown

veti
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I am so, so glad that someone coherent has finally stood up and said exactly what is wrong with DRM in general, and the DMCA in particular.

I made this point to the NZ parliament, almost ten years ago now, and it got translated into a clause that specifically excludes legal protection for measures that overstep their bounds:

for the avoidance of doubt, does not include a process, treatment, mechanism, device, or system to the extent that, in the normal course of operation, it only controls any access to a work for non-infringing purposes (for example, it does not include a process, treatment, mechanism, device, or system to the extent that it controls geographic market segmentation by preventing the playback in New Zealand of a non-infringing copy of a work)

... which is a legal formulation I'd like to commend to our American cousins.

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GOP delegates suckered into connecting to insecure Wi-Fi hotspots

veti
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WTF?

Shurely shome mishtake

More people shopped on Amazon than played Pokemon Go?

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Stack Overflow takes on technical documentation

veti
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Re: Excellent news

Well, yes... except that it presumably means Microsoft will now abandon all attempt to provide their own documentation, in the same way as they've already handed "support" over to online communities (including Stack Overflow, for developer tools).

It's just a cost-cutting exercise for them.

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Smartphones aren't tiny PCs, but that's how we use them in the West

veti
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Re: QR Codes are still around....

And there's the problem, right there. QR codes in the west have only ever really been used for advertising. We've become accustomed to seeing it as an invitation to "scan this if you want to see more ads".

Not very surprisingly, not a lot of people take up that invitation.

We've always seen it as a machine-optically-readable version of a URL. But it really doesn't have to be. It can convey (exchange) all sorts of information that's got nothing to do with web browsing, and it sounds as if the Chinese have realised this. Good on them.

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Fear not, humanity – Saint Elon has finished part two of his world-saving 'master plan'

veti
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Re: Well, here's your problem

I so want a 'semi-autonomous' car that screams 'DO SOMETHING' at me now.

Preferably in the voice of Plankton's "wife", Karen, from Spongebob.

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Windows 10 a failure by Microsoft's own metric – it won't hit one billion devices by mid-2018

veti
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Re: Bet they assumed Windows Phone contributing a few hundred million

I don't know how many times I'm gonna have to repeat this...

Windows on a phone is a really nice system. I, and many other users (as of last year, it had a double-digit market share in my country) greatly prefer it to either iOS or Android.

What Microsoft did that I don't understand was, stop making Nokias. The Nokia brand was by far its best ticket into the phone market. Whey they stopped shipping those, their sales went from "very low" to "virtually nonexistent". And how that can have come as a surprise to anyone, has me fair betwattled.

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Brit Science Minister to probe Brexit bias against UK-based scientists

veti
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Re: Can I just check I have this right..

Well, ideally, you'd be including a UK organisation because that organisation had the best people and experience for the work you want to do.

If it doesn't, then why include it? If the answer is "just to qualify for EU funding", then that would explain a lot about the generally glacial pace of EU R&D over the past 30 years.

On the other hand - if it does have that expertise, then you'd be an idiot to exclude it just because the political status of the UK is likely to change.

This is a positive thing, folks. It's one less factor distorting the award of money based on arbitrary political rules instead of - well, any real reason.

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veti
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Re: It's the law, isn't it

This is precisely the kind of thing that needs to be negotiated. You know, in the negotiations.

My suggestion would be, Britain continues paying its bit - maybe overpaying, slightly - for programs that include UK researchers and are already underway at the time of Brexit. When those programs eventually wind down, the payments stop and the government of whatever's-left-of Britain at that time can start running its own R&D subsidies.

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