* Posts by veti

801 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

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If IT isn’t careful, marketing will soon be telling us what to do

veti
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What's a "mutli-channel world"?

Have we finally been taken over by Dick Dastardly, or what?

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Grand Theft Auto maker lobs sueball at BBC over biopic

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Law fail

I'm sure Take Two is aware, or at least it can afford to pay lawyers who are aware, that using a trademarked name to refer to the product whose name it is... is not infringing on that trademark, no matter what you go on to say about the product or its makers.

Any guesses what they're playing at? Have they perhaps mistaken the BBC for some easily-cowed third-world production studio? If so, let's just hope they are mistaken.

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US Air Force launches not-so-secret space plane. Thanks Russia

veti
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Re: >or perhaps it's a sign that humanity can achieve more through cooperation?

The reason war drives development is, it gives people the incentive they need to co-operate.

Ironic, really.

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Google, Twitter search deal: Did micro-blabbing site gag racy tweets to satisfy ad giant?

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It's official:

... Google is the new Microsoft.

Have you ever seen a clearer case of "embrace, extend, and we all know what comes next"?

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Welsh police force fined £160,000 after losing sensitive video interview

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Re: Incorrect title

Because the use cases are not remotely comparable.

If you have a rule like that, then I would guess that several things are true in your world:

1. There is a standard encryption process that's normally applied to customer data. This encryption may be transparent to the user, and is certainly easy to use: you don't have to take special steps to apply it, and you probably don't even have to enter a secret password every time you want to access the information.

1a. Alternatively, it may just be unusual for you to have to view a particular piece of confidential customer information at length, repeatedly, over a period of several days.

2. It's unusual for data to be removed from the hardware and put on disposable media.

3. There is no requirement to permanently store sensitive customer information in precisely this (unencrypted, easily portable) form.

None of those conditions is true for police.

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veti
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Re: Incorrect title

I imagine that someone's promotion prospects have just taken a serious ding.

Which, in all honesty, is about the best we could hope for from a case like this. You can't go firing people just because they screw up - you need to show that they make a habit of it, and that they're at fault when they do it.

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Microsoft's certification exams: So easy, a child of six could pass them. Literally

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Re: Nice

As a general rule, your boss probably knows things you don't.

Hard to believe, I know, but if you think about it he's got to be doing something when he's not leaning over your shoulder pointing out typos. That "something" is, inter alia, finding out things that you don't know.

So your assessment of "inefficient and stupid" may not be correct. Of course it may be, but as a general rule, I'd say the probability of you being correct on a call like that is well under 50%. After all, the boss clearly knows enough to have a better job than you, for one...

So "refusing to do stuff just because you think it's stupid and inefficient" might work, occasionally. But for >90% of kids out there, it'll just make them unemployable.

Just playing the numbers: of course YOUR kid is exceptional, but is it wise to assume he's part of this particular minority?

Let's work it through:

1. The kid is sufficiently bright, perceptive and strongminded (hereafter 'SBPS'), and you tell him to conform. In that case he should have no difficulty seeing that you're wrong and shrugging off the instruction.

2. The kid isn't SBPS, and you tell him to conform. Then you've just done him a huge service by teaching him how to keep a job.

3. The kid is SBPS, and you support him in rebelling. Great, so he gets to learn Python. On the other hand, you've weakened his independence by making him rely on your support.

4. The kid isn't SBPS, and you support him in rebelling. Now you've made him unemployable.

Seems to me that "telling him to conform" is the smart and supportive play, no matter what you privately believe.

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Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – a true monster in the making

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Re: What a co-incidence

I've only played the first one, but was put off by (a) the skeezy card-collecting minigame, and (b) the lack of good options. That is to say, there were so many scenes where the sets of (things I'm allowed to do) and (things I'd like to do) overlapped only barely if at all.

Not surprisingly, the game's end result is horrible no matter which route you take. It's one of those rare endings that starts as a downer, and just gets more depressing the more you think about it.

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Reach for the popcorn: Obama opens personal presidential Twitter account

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Re: POTUS

Seems to me that there are far, far more important things than "his life or his family's" that he could endanger, with careless tweeting.

Some people's priorities are all kind of messed up, and I think that goes for the US Secret Service.

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Google sells .car, walks away from generic domain names

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So ".ogle" is still up for grabs then? Ooh, possibilities. An entire .tld dedicated to voyeurism and trolling Google. What could be better?

I wonder if anyone has dibs on "rusty.cars", "old.cars", "crappy.cars"...?

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Google Google GOOGLE! Cloud cloud CLOUD! These prices are INNNSAAAANE!

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Price cuts of "up to 30%"?

That's hardly world-bending news.

Wake me when it's "up to 90%".

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Lies, damn lies and election polls: Why GE2015 pundits fluffed the numbers so badly

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Re: Up the Pole!

The key advantage of FPTP is that it's actually possible for even quite exalted MPs to lose their seats. (Ed Balls, I'm laughing at you.)

Any system with a party list - basically makes that impossible.

Here in New Zealand we have constituency MPs and party lists, the idea being that if you're under-represented at a constituency level, you get 'top up' MPs allocated from the list. The loophole here is that there's nothing to stop you being both a constituency candidate and a list candidate. So when Winston Peters lost his Tauranga seat at the last general election, he carried right on being an MP because he's at the top of his party list.

Which got downright weird when he stood (and won) as a by-election candidate in Northland. Then, because he's now a constituency MP, the next person on his party's list got into parliament instead. Peters himself is still there, he's been there all along, but now he's no longer a list MP so that slot goes to another, completely unrelated person. I don't know how many Northlanders even know the name of the person they effectively voted into parliament - s/he certainly wasn't on their ballot paper.

Fair it may be. Transparent it isn't.

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veti
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Yes, Survation would've got a lot of publicity... but the likely effect of that would've been to make other news outlets less likely to commission them. (If they hadn't happened to be right, which for all we know was more by luck than methodology - they were probably the one-in-20 outlier that hits the extreme end of the 3% error margin. The methodological element that we do know about was their active decision to suppress the result.)

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veti
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Re: a 48 year-old writes

The "natural party of government" is an effective piece of Tory branding, no more. It appeals to the old-school authoritarians who to this day comprise a large chunk of its bedrock.

It's just as meaningful as it sounds.

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veti
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The trouble with that is, if you just take, say, 5% of the respondents who tell you "Labour" and assign them to another bucket instead - how the hell can you justify your methodology as anything more than "totally making it up as you go along"?

The best-case result from that would be one pollster applying a factor of 5%, another 6%, another 3%... and over time, one of them would come out closer to correct than the others. But of course the "correct" factor probably varies over time too, so basically you'd be back to square one.

No, I'm sure there's a methodology change that would correct the problem, but "just switching a proportion of the results because you assume one side is being under-represented" isn't it.

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veti
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I've been looking for this comment.

Think about the economic incentives here. Pollsters get paid when someone commissions a poll. That "someone" is usually a media outlet.

Media outlets get paid when they generate traffic. They generate traffic by telling an exciting, tense story.

So both these groups are incentivised to make the result look closer than it is.

I'm not suggesting they'd commit deliberate fraud to that end. But I'm sure that there are things about their methodology that they're not addressing, because it would be against their own short-term self-interest to do so. Survation's admission seems to confirm that.

The greatest evil in the world is advertising. If we could just find a way to end that, once and for all, then maybe our media would start to work for us.

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Microsoft springs for new undersea cables to link US, UK, Asia

veti
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Somehow, I take Microsoft's plans a lot more seriously than Kim Dotcom's.

So I assume New Zealand will have to wait another 40 years for decent bandwidth.

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'Rombertik' malware kills host computers if you attempt a cure

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Re: Sneaky Buggers!

Just what I was thinking: "That's not a virus, that's a screensaver written in GW-Basic".

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Windows 10 bombshell: Microsoft to KILL OFF Patch Tuesday

veti
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I've never quite understood that justification.

How much meaningful compatibility testing can a sysadmin actually do? Granted, they should have better-than-anyone-else knowledge of what software is in use within the company, but they know next to nothing of the day-to-day use cases for that software, let alone the edge cases.

Example: I use a piece of software that outputs documentation, using MS Word. When Office was upgraded from 2010 to 2013, this software broke. Not immediately - it only breaks when outputting a large (>300 page) document, and it took me several days of experimentation (and some months of exploring workarounds and compromises) to be sure of the cause. Sysadmins didn't have a clue about that, and I wouldn't expect them to - their role is limited to "giving me the option to roll back to Office 2010". (Which they did, when I moaned loudly enough.)

So sysadmins sit and test every patch in a Windows release? Yeah, right. Sounds more likely to me that they'll boot up every program once, then spend another hour on tech news sites looking for people whinging about functionality broken by the update.

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veti
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Re: Just like Windows Phone

Windows Phone 7 was released in October 2010, and supported until October 2014. That's four years, for those following at home. Windows Phone 8 was released in October 2012 - if you bought a Win 7 phone after that, you have only yourself to blame. So you should have had a minimum of two years' full support.

All WP8 phones can be upgraded to WP8.1, which MS promises to support until July 2017, in case you don't feel like taking advantage of the free upgrade to Windows 10 before then.

There's a lot you can criticise Microsoft for, but they do take extended support seriously.

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New Windows 10 will STAGGER to its feet, says Microsoft OS veep

veti
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Re: This:

I've been using Windows 8 for 18 months now on my phone, about 2 months on my desktop. (8.1, that is, of course.)

And I love it. On the desktop, the boot time alone is worth the upgrade. For the first time since DOS, I've got a computer that boots, near as I can recall, as fast as DOS did. (But unlike DOS, I don't need to choose between six different config settings at boot, depending on what I want to run today.)

It has no third-party AV or firewall, the internal tools do those jobs just fine. I've installed a couple of hundred gigs of software on it from downloads and discs, and never paid a dime through the MS app store. And I haven't yet found anything from XP days that won't run on it, with a minimal amount of crowbarring.

Just sayin'. Obviously haters gonna hate, but be aware there is such a thing as a contented W8 user.

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Kill all geoblocks says Internet Society of Australia

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Good luck with that

No, seriously. I sincerely hope the idea catches on. It strikes me as 100% correct.

But I have a strong feeling that the ink on the TPPA has been dry for at least a year now, and changes like this should have been mooted circa 2009 if they were going to have a chance.

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Airbus to sue NSA, German spies accused of swiping tech secrets

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Re: Easier way

On an engineering level - yes, I'm sure Boeing already knows how to do everything Airbus does (for statistical values of "everything", there may be some fringe technologies outlying for all I know, but I strongly suspect Boeing doesn't care about those). That's not the point.

The two companies are commercial rivals, not technological ones. Knowledge of Airbus's manufacturing processes, its bidding process, or its internal costs would give Boeing a very sharp edge in bidding for new contracts.

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Turnbull's Digital Transformation Office is actually working!

veti
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Underwhelming claim proves underwhelming thesis

"App matches guidelines that were developed alongside it" - isn't really evidence that the guidelines are "working", merely that at least one person in the organisation was paying some attention. (Which is, admittedly, something. But not a lot.)

I could write a diary of my work on a development project, then when I'd finished the project, publish the diary as "guidelines for development", and then behold! - my project would conform to my guidelines! But that wouldn't prove much about the general worth of those guidelines.

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Macroviruses are BACK and are the future of malware, says Microsoft

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"Nearly"?

"nearly 501,240 unique machines"?

That's an awfully precise number to be described as "nearly". Did they explain how they arrived at it? Couldn't they have said "around 500,000" and been at least as accurate, since clearly there's some assumptions going on here anyway?

But honestly... as surely Microsoft is well aware, any security that can be circumvented by the user, will be. Social engineering remains the oldest hack in the book, it's never been patched and it still works. Users have been extensively trained to click "Allow" for too many spurious alerts.

You've got to stop giving people functionality that will only be used against them. If that means they can't make their Word documents auto-populate, or perform a song and dance routine appropriate to the current weather conditions or something - then too frickin' bad, they'll just have to use another application if they want that to happen, which is what they should be doing anyway.

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This is Spartan? No, it's Microsoft Edge, Son of Internet Explorer

veti
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Re: "be available on one billion devices"

It's certainly possible.

Count in:

- All Windows phones sold in the past 3 years. That's in the ballpark of 30 million a year, so call it 90 million.

- All Windows PCs currently running Windows 7 or later. Practically, that probably means almost all PCs purchased since mid-2009. Given that the average depreciation period of a PC is considerably less than six years, that's probably well over 75% of all business desktops in the world.

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Range Rover Sport: Like a cathedral on wheels, only with comfier pews

veti
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WTF?

Is El Reg bidding to replace Top Gear now, or what?

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What is the REAL value of your precious, precious data?

veti
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Who owns data about me?

The European philosophy is based on the assumption that, by default, I own data about me. That's explicitly spelled out in the European data protection directives, and in parallel laws across the EU.

The American philosophy is that the data belongs to whoever takes the trouble to gather it.

The difference becomes stark when you consider this question, "how do you attach a market value to information?" If I own my data, then Google should be approaching me openly and asking how much I'd be willing to part with, and what I'd ask in return for it. That's why you now see those "cookie" notifications all over the web. But if the collector owns it, there's no need for them to do that - they can just set up their surveillance infrastructure and watch me all day long, and that's that.

But Tim, here, is conflating these two approaches. "Value to me" of my data - is for me to say. If I can't exploit it myself, it doesn't automatically follow that it's "valueless" to me. I don't anticipate getting a lot of money for my 1-year-old child either, but that doesn't mean she rightfully belongs to some hypothetical trafficker who could get a good price for her.

The "value to Google" of my data is something else entirely. Economically, it's almost certainly worth more to them than it is to me, and they can probably on-sell it much more profitably than I can, because they add value to it by combining it with data from a billion other people. But that doesn't automatically make it "theirs".

You might as well argue "the contents of your fridge would be more valuable to someone sleeping rough than they are to you, therefore they are the rightful owners of that food". No, they're not. That's not how "ownership" works.

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Google versus the EU: Sigh. You can't exploit a contestable monopoly

veti
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It's hard to make a case like this, because Google returns different results to different people. If I type "buy ping pong balls" into Google, the results I get will be quite different from the results someone else gets.

The difference depends on (a) where you are (which country), (b) whether you're logged in to any Google service, and (c) whether there are Google cookies on your machine (and let's face it, unless you've taken extraordinary measures to prevent it, there are). Google's rankings are kept opaque - purposely, because that's the only way it can work, but as always with secrecy, it makes abuse incredibly hard to investigate.

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veti
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Re: So....

Even at the height of the Browser Wars, Microsoft never had a monopoly that wasn't contestable. Linux first appeared in 1991: there was nothing to stop you from setting up your own computer manufacturing company, selling machines with Linux (or BeOS, or OS/2, or nothing at all) installed, and never paying Microsoft a dime.

It was only if you wanted to use Microsoft's product that you had to pay their tax.

How is that different from Tim's argument about Google?

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Crap ad app hack hole affects '100 MEELLLION'

veti
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Another good reason for Windows Phone

How many WinPhone apps have more than 100k downloads?

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Ad-blocking is LEGAL: German court says Ja to browser filters

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Re: Out of control

The trouble is, people have been saying that any time these 15 years... and yet here we are.

Experience, which knows more about this subject than you, me and everyone else here put together, says that these tactics do, in fact, work, for values of "work" that translate to "allow some filthy parasite somewhere to eke out a pitiful existence underneath whatever slime-encrusted rock they use to shelter from the searing light of day, when otherwise they might have to get out and actually do something constructive with their lives."

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Loose lips slip when Windows 10 ships: 'End of July' says AMD CEO

veti
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Re: What happened to waiting until a product was ready?

Yes, but then we invented "computers that can do more than one thing at a time" and "software that's too long to type in line by line from a listing in a magazine".

Complexity is the villain here, but it's inevitable if you want to be able to, y'know, actually do much of anything with the computer.

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veti
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Early, buggy release = fewer giveaways

Remember how MS promised that upgrades to W10 would be free to W7 and W8 users "for the first year after release"?

Releasing the new OS in a, frankly, barely-beta-worthy condition, may be seen by some factions in Redmond as a way to keep the takeup down, and thus encourage more people to... pay for the product later.

Yeah, it's stupid and it'll damage their already-tarnished brand still further. But because of the factionalism and infighting within MS, that's how it unfolds sometimes. This sort of passive-aggressive "compromise" is exactly how the brand became so tarnished in the first place.

Right now, I'm running Windows 8.1 - and contrary to all my expectations, I love it. Easily the best version since XP, beats the heck out of Windows 7. It'll take either unanimously stellar reviews, or the promise of a substantially enlarged support window (8.1 expires in January 2023 - extend that to 2027, and we'll talk) to persuade me to upgrade to 10.

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Ex-Windows designer: Ballmer was dogmatic, Sinofsky's bonkers, and WinPho needs to change

veti
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I don't get the hate

Windows 8.1 on a mobile is a perfectly lovely OS. As good as iOS, better than Android (battery life, basically, although I personally also prefer the interface). The only drawback, and it's a big one, is the shortage of decent apps for it.

I think its failure in the US market has been mostly about marketing. From what I hear, you just can't buy a Windows phone in huge swathes of America. Over here they're easy to come by, and they've got a respectable (double-digit) market share.

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Australia mulls dumping the .com from .com.au – so you can bake URLs like chocolate.gate.au

veti
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Re: Chris must need more cigars

Presumably some Australian off-license chain would register 'br.au', and then how they choose to sell the sub-brands is up to them.

At least, subject to the inevitable trademark suits from their rightful owners, obviously.

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Verizon to world: STOP opening dodgy phishing emails, FOOLS

veti
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Re: One thing is very interesting

There are plenty of valid reasons why the "reply-to" address may be different from the "from" address. And anyway, if you insist on making an issue of it, both of those headers are trivially easy to set to whatever you want.

What we really want to police is (a) executable attachments (obviously), and (b) links. There's been some progress on both these fronts. For instance, Outlook will no longer open a link embedded in an email just because you preview, or even open, the email - you have to either tell it to download external content, or click on the link manually. That's a step in the right direction.

Executable attachments are harder, but Windows 8 is making progress even on that front - Windows Defender and SmartScreen are pretty good, as far as they go.

But honestly, there's only so far you can go with technology. Microsoft is in a bind because it's committed - still - to the idea that you can do anything with a PC. (Unlike, say, an iPad, whose main selling point is that you can't do that, and therefore there's so much less to worry about.) That means that, sooner or later, the user must be able to bypass your security. And as we all know, if they can do it, they will.

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WikiLeaks reveals searchable trove of Sony Pictures documents

veti
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There's a lot of echo chamber on the Internet about the charges against Assange, but as far as I can make out "the truth", they're what we in the XML world would call "well formed", which is to say that there is most certainly a case to answer, the correct legal forms have been followed, and Assange should by rights be presenting his case to a Swedish court, not in the form of tweets and press releases.

As for "plenty of evidence" - rubbish. The UK is far more in bed with the US than Sweden is, and if Assange really feels the UK is a better shield than Sweden, he could simply request that the UK veto any re-extradition from Sweden to the US, which it would be within its rights to do.

(Usually at this point someone will mutter "extraordinary rendition". Which would be something to worry about, if only Assange weren't a public figure whose movements will be obsessively followed by a hundred journalists. If he suddenly disappeared from Sweden without due process - well, frankly the Swedish government would be lucky to make it to the end of the week.)

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veti
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Nice to see Wikileaks is still in business. Hard as it is to sympathise with Assange, it's a damn' sight harder to see any case for supporting Sony...

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Who runs this world? Sony Pictures CEO jokes about getting UK culture minister fired

veti
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Re: Totally unsurprising

This is true in every political system (at least, every one that's ever been used on any scale larger than a small village). Certainly not unique to the UK.

But you'll note the whole thing is a joke, and the respondent even points out that he'd need to be in Parliament before it could work. In that respect at least, the UK is significantly more democratic than, for instance, the USA.

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WHAT did GOOGLE do SO WRONG to get a slapping from the EU?

veti
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Re: Exactly.....@Mine's a Guinness

Why do so many people jump straight into commenting without reading the article?

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veti
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Re: but...

If you're looking for specs, manuals etc, then add those words to your search terms. Do you really need to be told this stuff?

If you're looking for best prices, on the other hand, that's a completely different search.

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veti
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Did nobody here even read the fine article?

It's not about being the best search engine. Google is that, for values of "best" that seem good enough for most people. No question.

It's about not being the best in other fields, then leveraging their search engine prowess to screw over their competitors in those fields. And if you doubt for a moment that Google has been doing that, I've got an internet to sell you.

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Life after Nokia: Microsoft Lumia 640 budget WinPho blower

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Headmaster

Fact check?

I don't know where you got your Nokia Lumia 520, but mine certainly features automatic brightness control. One of its best features.

Mind, I have often pondered how it works, what with not having a camera on the front. There's no apparent light sensor, either. And if it used the camera on the back, it would dim when laid down flat on a desk, and that doesn't happen. So there's something mighty suspicious going on in there.

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Aw, snap! How huge HTML links can crash Chrome tabs in one click

veti
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When did any Google beta ever end?

Serious question. As far as I can tell, Google software goes direct from "beta" to "retired", without ever entering a state varyingly called "stable" or "released" or whatever the heck lying term the company is trying to insinuate translates to "fit for purpose".

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veti
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Happy

Re: Just out of interest, how aggressive is Chrome's pre-fetching?

No.

HTH, HAND.

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Operation Redstone: Microsoft preps double Windows update in 2016

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Re: Windows-as-a-Service

Say what you like about MS, but they didn't get where they are today by being completely dumb...

I presume the 'as a service' pill will be coated with something really quite tasty, at least from the corporate point of view. Unlimited online storage, "free" Office bundles, access to a bunch of otherwise-paywalled resources...

As for the home user... I think their current plan is to abandon the Regular Home Non-Power User to tablets and phones. We've seen "Games for Windows", which was an effort to bring lots of formerly independent producers into their empire; from there, it should be relatively straightforward to ensure that the writing of AA-games for the desktop environment basically dries up.

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Most top corporates still Heartbleeding over the internet

veti
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What is a "top 2000 global organisation"

... and where do I apply to become one?

I looked through the linked PDF, and there's not a word that actually defines what the term means. Only when you get to the references, is there a pointer to Forbes.com's "global 2000", which I'm guessing means that's the answer.

And of course, most of those companies are multinationals. So these industrious hackers have been "testing" and discovering that servers in different countries, but belonging to the same companies, are in different states of patchedness. A server belonging to HyperGlobalMegaNetCorp in Germany is more likely to be patched than one in Australia.

So much for globalisation...

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Council of Europe: Don't spy on your staff, you naughty employers

veti
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Re: Uh ... duh.

Hey, it's your choice. You want me to bugger off for an hour to get my personal business done outside the office, or spend 10 minutes at my desk to accomplish the same thing before getting back to work?

Sensible companies don't care how much you "dick around online", so long as you get your work done to a satisfactory standard and timescale.

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veti
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Re: Just a little point.

It doesn't say "personal", it says "private". Totally different thing. Your business email is still private, unless you cc. it to other people.

Of course, it's entirely likely that anything you put in a business email will be forwarded and cc'd to an unpredictable number of other people without any further action or consent from you - that's to be expected, and if you suffer any harm from that, you were asking for it. But that's not the same as your employer actually clocking the number of messages and megabytes you send, to whom, when, etc.

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