576 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010
Re: If prices go up, we'll know who to blame.
Well, the question is really about whether redrawing the borders of a country, means automatically redrawing the borders of the EU as well.
The German precedent says Yes. The Spanish would also want to say Yes, they'd certainly want to exclude an independent Catalonia from the EU, and although I'm pretty out of touch, I suspect the Belgians would feel the same way. The Cypriots would also vote Yes to that, because they'd like to do a Germany themselves. The case of Spain taking over Gibraltar - if Britain remains in the EU then the question-as-framed doesn't arise, and if Britain left the EU then Spain would certainly want its repatriated rock to be part of it - so that's another Yes vote.
So happily, the principle lines up nicely with state interests.
Re: Interesting interpretation of the source that......
the UK is - "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" and we will still be physically attached to the landmass of Great Britain thus we are still part of Great Britain thus the passport is valid.... next.....
"You're voting to leave the UK, and hence the UK passport is still valid..."? Seriously, is this what passes for logic from the much-vaunted Scottish education system?
The UK passport is issued and backed by the government of the United Kingdom. If the government of the United Kingdom says it will no longer endorse a particular passport, then it's null and void. It would, in theory, be relatively easy for the UK passport office to simply cancel the passports of everyone who lives in Scotland. (Just ask Edward Snowden how that works.)
Then the Scottish government would really have no choice but to issue its own passports of some sort.
Re: for an IT site
Wales and NI are not kingdoms, but neither is Scotland, or England for that matter. There is no such title as "King/Queen of England" or "of Scotland".
These places are all formerly kingdoms, now constituent parts of the United Kingdom.
Re: If prices go up, we'll know who to blame.
This would be the first time an EU member state split, but there is still a relevant precedent: the reunification of Germany in 1990. There, after some negotiation, the merged state inherited the EU status of West Germany, lock, stock and beer barrel.
This is the same thing in reverse, and there is absolutely no plausible, principled or practical reason why "the bit that's voting to leave" should get any special treatment from the EU.
Re: Royal Mail??
Obviously, ScotMail will continue to deliver at a universal-service level at the same price within Scotland, and recoup the expense by a surcharge on mail addressed to England, Wales and NI.
I'm making this up as I go along, but to me that seems so natural that you'd be hard-pressed to convince me now that it's not the official plan. Give or take some window dressing.
Re: If they say yes...
The goalposts weren't moved in the 1979 referendum: they said "40% of the electorate" from the get-go, and the final result didn't get anywhere near that.
I believe the previous cavil was (rightly) calling bullshit on the claim that general elections don't get as high as 40% turnout, when they routinely score 60% or more (more like 75% in the 1970s). In fact, turnout in the referendum was significantly lower than in any general election before 2001.
Re: False claims: NZ is on the outer with its former Allies.
>I don't see where he claimed anything about when the software was written.
Well, then you need to reread the previous post, because it clearly says that the function was "designed in, and required at a time when NZ was part of ANZUS", i.e. before 1985, i.e. 30 years ago.
>He didn't say the "Non-Aligned Movement", he said the "non-aligned group".
Actually the post said "the Non-aligned group of Countries". Given the erratic capitalisation, I picked on the only identifiable "group" that might plausibly meet that designation. To claim that you become a member of one "group" simply by leaving another, is to be speaking set theory rather than English.
>Key is left of centre when compared to most other countries.
In the first place, . In the second place, Key is not a country. In the third place, what on earth does it mean to be "left or right" of a country? In the fourth place... oh, the hell with this. Please define your terms more carefully if you want to make claims like this.
Re: False claims: NZ is on the outer with its former Allies.
In so far as NZ has "reneged" on ANZUS, it did so in 1985. Are you really claiming this software was designed before then? And you are aware, surely, that the "Non-Aligned Movement" is an actual thing, with actual members, and NZ isn't, and never has been, one?
As for Key being left of centre, all that really tells us is something about where you (hilariously arbitrarily) consider the "centre" to be.
I don't get why he'd fly for 40 hours. You can get to Auckland from London in less than 30. From Rio, where Greenwald lives, my googling suggests he should be able to do it in well under 20 hours.
Unless he's counting the time he expects to spend flying back.
But "what did he think he was doing" - I imagine he's doing something he believes in (telling what he knows, or thinks he knows), and Kim Dotcom is paying his expenses to do it. That looks to me like the Path of Least Tinfoil to an explanation.
As for the Internet Mana party tanking - well, it started from basically nothing, so it's hard to say it's gone far downhill. What the whole episode tells us is that Dotcom, for all his genius for publicity, doesn't really know much about politics. Yet. He's practising, and I'm sure he'll learn.
Personally, I think both Dotcom and Colin Craig are deliberately trolling us. They're too entertaining to be genuine.
Re: Obvious industry shill is obvious!
The sad part is, the methodology may actually be fine. But because they won't tell us what it is, we'll tend to assume the worst.
So why aren't they telling us what it is?
Well, one obvious explanation is that it's all a sham and they're hiding the true results. But in my experience (15 years of tech journalism), that's actually pretty unlikely: people seldom put out press releases they know to be bollocks, because they know they'll be called on it sooner or later. So I tend to a different explanation: they're dumbing down the results to "keep the message clear and simple".
Some people are afraid that if they release too much information, people will start nitpicking and bickering over it. And not a few are so insecure in their own analysis that they honestly think that they're correct, but also can't quite rid themselves of the lurking fear that, given the chance, someone else will prove them a complete muppet.
There's a fundamental conflict between "making your point as clear and forceful as possible", and "treating your audience like grownups and showing them your work". The simple way to resolve that is to release different sets of information to different audiences, but that's frankly beyond some of these people.
Re: Be kind!
Objection! There's no sign of Google selling my personal information to the highest bidder. I believe Google probably is the highest bidder, for 99.9% of the population at least. If they sell our information, then they'd lose their advantage at serving us ads.
Also, this isn't about Android security - this applies to anyone who has a Google account, including old-skool desktop users.
All that tells you is what a frickin' backwater Australia really is, compared with Europe. Look at a global list of "most innovative" companies, and count the Australian names there.
Seriously, three of those five "companies" have fewer than 100 staff, and the top one has only been in business five years. It's easy to be "innovative" when you're nobody and no-one cares what you do.
I've formed a Theory that the general social level of mutual respect is directly proportional to national population density.
Basically, if you live in England, you know that no matter where you go, you're always going to be pretty close to your neighbours. You really have no choice but to get on with them, and you hope they'll treat you the same way.
Whereas in Australia and the US, in particular, it's hard for people to get rid of that weird fantasy about the huge open spaces where you can just go and live without depending on anyone else for anything. Of course not one in a thousand Australians could afford to do that, and most of those who could, don't want to... but they can all dream.
In England, that dream doesn't exist. Co-dependence just is, everyone's stuck with it no matter what. And that tends to make people more considerate of one another.
Re: Ok, how about some calculations Tim
These calculations are exactly the kind of thing that the 'Free Market' is, in theory, really good at making.
Yes, sure there's a cost to transport. But the point is, it's a cost, someone somewhere has to pay it, and it gets factored into the price of the delivered product. If the delivered product is still cheaper than locally produced stuff, that tells you that either (1) it really is more efficient, even with transport, or (2) the cost is being externalised somehow.
As a lifelong greenie, I have devoted my campaigning energies to trying to eliminate cases of (2). Once we've got rid of those, then we can figure out how to use resources with optimal efficiency. And then we can put these pointless and sterile arguments behind us.
So which half is the "duck", exactly?
The half with the razor-sharp teeth, or the huge ridge along the back? Most ducks I've seen don't have either feature.
Or are you thinking of the webbed feet? 'Cuz crocs have those too, y'know.
Re: Those that do not know History, are doomed to repeat it.
History is rewritten all the time, that's not a new trend. That's what historians do for a living. The more people try to make a living at it, the more rewriting will be done. Of course "political correctness" will factor into what gets written - that's just another way of saying "historians write in the language and terms of their own time" - but that's not the reason for doing it.
"History tells harsh truths" - well, yes. Lincoln did things that lots of people condemned, those people were called "confederates" and they lost, end of story. I see lots of Americans condemning Obama for using the US military to kill US citizens - well, Lincoln did that on a far, far larger scale, so presumably all those Americans would consider him the devil incarnate.
As for the Copperheads, they had a not-insignificant amount of blood on their hands by the war's end.
Who was "right" and who was "wrong" in these stories? You can argue that as long as you like, and because of the abundance of historians out there, who all need to make a career for themselves... you can find historians who will agree with you. But in the end, "right" or "wrong" is always going to be subjective, and who are you to judge the actions of someone who has to choose between killing a thousand people here or letting ten times that number die there?
If you're ever put in that position yourself, I hope you have the guts to act with at least a fraction of Lincoln's integrity.
Re: How do these thing save money?
Correct: meter reading becomes basically free. If you believe in competition, which the government claims to, then it follows that that cost saving will eventually be passed on to consumers.
There's a lot more benefits to the utility, too. For instance, it means they never again have to bill on estimates. That eliminates a lot of risk to them.
I completely understand the suspicion, but since I've worked in this sector, I understand the reasoning behind it. It's unarguable that smart meters will make the electricity supply industry considerably more efficient.
"Who exactly will reap the benefit of that" - well, that's another question, to be thrashed out between you, your utility, other utilities, the National Grid, the politicians, and probably several other stakeholders I haven't even thought of. But unless UK consumer groups are way more incompetent than I remember them as, you should be able to claw back at least some of the savings.
Re: Smart meter vs dual-tariff (Off Peak) meter ?
An old-fashioned dual-register meter has its peak and offpeak timing basically hard-wired, which means the definition of "peak" in your 40-year-old meter is now 40 years out of date.
Modern smart meters allow utilities to rewrite those definitions whenever they like, and also to introduce more categories ("shoulder" is a popular designation, also separate rates for weekends/public holidays that are neither "peak" nor "offpeak"), and also to monitor "demand" (i.e. the highest amount you ever draw in a given single half-hour), which is a big thing for them.
Not saying this is inherently good, just that the functionality is a lot greater.
Incidentally, they do also give cost savings even if you never change your electricity usage. It costs money to send a guy round to read a conventional meter every couple months, and that cost is multiplied manyfold if they have to make repeat visits, go out-of-hours etc (because no-one was there to let them in), then bill on estimates, with the added risk that entails... Smart meters put an end to all that, and they sharply reduce the cost of reading meters.
For comparison: in Victoria, Australia, where smart meters are now near-as-dammit universal, customers used to be charged about $25 to get a meter read when you move into a new house. Now the charge is about $5, which of course is still far more than it actually costs (approximately nothing, with a smart meter), but unarguably better for the consumer, and less error-prone.
Re: Criminals? Where
Yes, but the BBC doesn't call 'these people "criminals"'. The people it calls criminals are those who do watch TV without a license.
So your argument basically falls at the first fence.
Re: Not Establishment?
Nobody has ever considered themself to be part of "the Establishment". It's one of those things, like "conventional wisdom" or "politically correct", that you only mention at all if you're claiming to be against it.
At various times I've heard people argue, in all apparent sincerity, that William Rees-Mogg, Lord Reith, Robert Runcie, and the Queen were all "profoundly anti-Establishment" figures. It's as empty a claim as it's possible to make, while still uttering something that sounds like words.
Re: A question and a kudo
They're not fighting "City Hall", though. They're just fighting the government itself, which is not the same thing at all as "fighting the government backed by every powerful economic interest in its neck of the woods".
The Feds have an interest in seeing the ruling upheld, but they're the only ones who do. Pretty much everyone else will be on Microsoft's side.
I don't understand...
... Why is MS still releasing patches for IE6? Or any other version older than IE9?
I know, I know, "legacy systems compatibility blah blah", but that's what compatibility settings are for. Any IE version since 6 is capable of impersonating 6 for the purposes of accessing a site that can only be used that way, while still accessing other, presumably not so trustworthy, sites in its full glory.
And given that even WinXP, which is no longer supported at all, is capable of running IE9, I really don't see any reason for patching any version older than that.
Do you think new recruits at MS are given the job of patching older versions of IE as a sort of training exercise, before they're turned loose on anything more interesting...?
Re: BBC Worldwide
Believe it or not, BBC Worldwide would agree with the assertions that you're innocent until proven guilty, and there are many legitimate reasons to use VPNs.
All they ask is that ISPs should (and they even offer to share the costs of doing this) take steps to identify customers who are likely to be abusing the system. Then they send warnings and "education" notices. Before any kind of "punishment" is applied (e.g. bandwidth throttling), the user should have several opportunities to appeal, state their case, and the whole thing be reviewed by an independent authority.
If that's not enough safeguards, what exactly would satisfy you people?
(Cue downvotes, if anyone is still even reading this far down the hatethread.)
Re: Are Norton giving out updates for free, then?
Exactly. They're being paid to provide a service, and they're offering that service to customers on XP - then those customers have every right to complain, loudly, when they don't get what they pay for.
Unfortunately, the calculation has more factors than that.
Factor 1: the "intelligence community" in the US. This group is very, very pissed off at Snowden. And it's influential, because literally everyone from the president down depends on it to tell them what's going on. That's what it's there for.
Factor 2: one has to assume, there are plenty more potential "whistleblowers" within that bloated, ill-policed community. First there was Bradley Manning, then Snowden - how many other embarrassments might come out, if you go soft on them?
Manning, if you remember, was humiliated, dehumanised, subjected to the first "show trial" in the history of modern America, and eventually broken to the point where he actually changed sex, penitently begged the fatherland's forgiveness, and was shipped off to do 35 years in Leavenworth.
Now that's a deterrent.
Snowden has paid, but as yet he hasn't paid anything like enough to keep "the intelligence community" satisfied.
Re: direct flight
There are lots of flights, at least 4 each a day to Zurich and Geneva.
Unfortunately, the Chicago Convention allows any state to require any aircraft overflying its airspace to land, whether or not it's scheduled to. And once it's landed, they can search it.
Fortunately, that same convention forbids the use of military weapons against those aircraft, so it can't actually be forced down, at least in theory. But I daresay there would be severe repercussions from an aircraft refusing a lawful demand to land. At the very least, the airline would be denied access to that country's airspace for the foreseeable future, which would put a serious damper on their operations.
So really, the Swiss would have to get safe-conduct guarantees not just from their own government, but also from every other country on the flightpath. Which doesn't sound easy. And at this stage, the reassurance falls somewhat short of a "guarantee" even from the Swiss government itself.
Re: "the app. It now secretly downloads all of the phones pictures to my server"
Yeah, we have that on iOS and Windows Phone. I'd actually be quite surprised if Android doesn't already allow it, at least as an option.
But it doesn't help.
Because virtually every app you install demands a long list of services, in tiny print - it's a chore just to read them. And there's no way to allow them selectively - it's all or none. Why does "Flappy Bird" need to know my location? - well, obviously, it might help to serve me ads, but does it do more than that with the info? I'll never know. (Or so I hope.)
Basically, after installing the first dozen or so apps, you're already trained to - if you're particularly conscientious - skim through the list looking for anything grossly offensive, such as "address book", and if it doesn't trip your red-wire warnings, tap "Allow". It's very scary, what can slip under that radar.
Re: The final conclusion
Have an upvote.
This sort of cheap "individualism" is exactly what got us to this position. Distrust authorities? - then we'll take our information from whoever tells us what we want to hear, which means it's never been easier to "keep people in the dark". That's why 94% of Russians supported the annexation of Crimea, and approximately 50% of Americans thought Romney was on course to beat Obama despite every reputable poll saying the opposite.
The trouble with this "work it out for ourselves" mantra is that it contains the unspoken assumption (must be unspoken, because speaking it would immediately reveal how stupid it is) that everyone's aims are all congruent, or at least consistent with one another, so if everyone relentlessly pursues their own interests, the result is "best for everyone".
See Adam Curtis for a discussion of where that logic comes from and why it's fallacious.
Re: Has anyone noticed
I see wars and atrocities breaking out, but in terms of the costs in money and disruption and lives? - nothing in the past 70 years has come within an order of magnitude of World War Two. Volcanoes erupt, but they don't do anything like as much damage as they once did (think Pompeii). Ships sink - 193 people died on the Herald of Free Enterprise, but that's a small fraction of the number that died on the Titanic. Outbreaks of disease kill thousands, but none in recent history can even begin to compare in impact with pre-modern plagues. Even the much-hyped Global Financial Crisis of 2007 onwards wasn't a patch on the Great Depression of 1929 onwards.
So disasters getting larger? I think you're being deceived by perspective.
Re: Are "Apps" the real culprit?
The iOS app store is quite stringently policed. I've never seen an iOS app ask for access to my picture gallery, location, ID or any other personal info unless there was an obvious reason for it.
And Apple has already come up with a (pretty plausible, IMO) story of how the stuff was leaked.
Re: Why is Win 8 and Win 8.1 seperated?
I currently have Windows Phone 8, and I can't upgrade to 8.1. It's not available, in the app store or anywhere else.
So don't let anyone tell you it's users' decision not to upgrade. It's Microsoft and Nokia who are screwing this pooch, in collaboration with certain mobile phone networks whose names may or may not begin with 'Voda-'.
Re: Why is Win 8 and Win 8.1 seperated?
No, Win 8.1 is not to 8 as 7 was to Vista. Important difference: support end dates.
Vista runs out of "extended support" in 2017. Windows 7 support continues until 2020. Windows 8 and 8.1, both run to 2023.
And that's why I won't be buying a Windows 7 machine: nowadays, I expect a computer to last me more than five years. The hardware may be a little creaky, but my XP machine (bought in 2006) still runs Steam, Skyrim and every other app I care about. So long as I don't have to connect it to the internet (that's what tablets are for), I don't feel any great urgency to upgrade.
Re: Wake me when they actually do something
The problem with that scenario is in determining, to the satisfaction of a dispassionate observer, who was responsible for a cyber-attack.
With a conventional attack, it's pretty hard to disguise who's doing it, as Comrade Putin is currently demonstrating so amply. But a cyber-attack is, typically, completely invisible to most people, and even those who do notice it may have the dickens of a time to deduce, let alone prove, where it's coming from. And "who's sponsoring it" is a whole layer of obfuscation further even than that.
So really, this provision would be enacted - basically - at the politicians' word, with absolutely no question of independent verification.
The cruise missile you lob in retaliation, on the other hand...
Re: Don't shoot the messenger
Unfortunately, Google has been diddling our search results any time these 15 years. That ship sailed basically about the time the company was formed.
All that remains to talk about is what criteria they should use, and whether we (the public, through our political apparatuses) can or should induce them to change those rules from time to time - and annoyingly enough, that's exactly what this idiot is talking about.
Re: Illegal sites?
The very concept of an "illegal site" is pretty troubling.
A site that hosts, or links to content that is hosted, in contravention of the rights-holder's - erm - rights, is not illegal. Neither the host, nor anyone who visits the site, is open to prosecution from that fact alone. The UK Supreme Court ruled very clearly on that only last year.
Sites that promptly take down material when formally notified of its contravening nature, but still host an awful lot of dodgy material? - Heck, that sounds like YouTube.
What's an "illegal site"? What is a "pirate site"? I want some flesh on those definitions, before someone tries to criminalise my visiting one.
Re: Stating the obvious
I have a Windows phone, you insensitive clod!
I expect the pickpocket to put it back with a note reading "Hahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!"
Thank you for throwing yourself selflessly on the grenade of "looking, so the rest of us don't have to"...
"Celeb", I've long concluded, means "someone who isn't as famous as they think they are, or want to be". Genuinely famous people are called "famous", not "celebrities".
On the one hand, "vain, clueless, talentless types" are entitled to some expectation of privacy, and this kind of thing breaches it whether the photos are real or not. But on the other hand, I can't help but wonder if at least some of them aren't quite glad of the publicity - to the point, in at least a few cases, where they would've added their own photos to the collection deliberately, if they could work out how.
Re: Refunds are only sought for games that are not fit for purpose (i.e. don't run)
Unfortunately, the definition of "fit for purpose" isn't quite that clear-cut.
What if I start up a game that's designed to take 200 hours to play through, and precisely 1 hour in, it crashes? I try again, with the same result. And again.
Now I've got 3 hours of play logged on the game, but it's still pretty clearly not working. For some reason. That reason is more likely something to do with my own computer/configuration rather than the game itself, but either way I might feel justified in claiming a refund.
Re: Fed the scum?
Pretty sure Alsatians don't like pepper spray. Sensitive noses, y'know.
Good luck with that official complaint. Do drop back and let us all know how it goes, won't you?
Re: The author of this book is an internet cartoonist,
From your link:
So it looks like someone has listened to your complaint. Well done. Have a cookie.
I'm so glad someone picked up on that. I'd love to see someone troll him on it.
"As opposed to all those ancient methods of computing like, umm, point-and-click?"
Premium content clickbait?
Hmmm. It's hard to imagine that ISPs don't already store "financial information" about their customers. How exactly do they bill them?
The story here is still way too vague to make any meaningful judgments about. "Trace and identify the source of a communication" - well, a web page is a "communication", isn't it? - so that does imply collecting URLs, one way or another.
Please clarify what, exactly, I'd get out of it if I sufficiently bent my principles to subscribe to The Australian (and enrich Rupert Murdoch) to read this revelation?
Re: How Awful is it?
A much better work habit is... don't send Word documents to clients. Ever.
That's what PDFs are for. Even Microsoft finally relented to include "Save as PDF" as a native option.
Re: Not the first one …
That bastard. "Smart quotes" are one of the dumbest things about Word.
On-by-default, a way to guarantee that a Word document can't be translated into a web page without breaking in half the world's browsers. Simply imbecilic.
Re: CS Lewis' food for thought
Yeah, like C S Lewis knew about "good writing"...
Tolkien used a typewriter, and is generally considered to knock the pants off Lewis when it comes to prose quality.
Re: Big and not clever.
Little known fact about Word: those repeated-F8 taps still work, after all these versions. Tap once to extend the highlight, twice to select the word, three times to select the sentence, four times for the paragraph, five for the whole document (well, technically the whole *story*, I think).
I say "little-known fact", because I don't think I've ever seen anyone else using or mentioning that feature. But it's still there. So are, I think, most of the other keyboard commands introduced in early versions. In fact, my biggest single problem with Libre Office is that it doesn't support nearly so many keyboard combos, which strikes me as pathetic from a product aimed at a geek audience.
Re: Not WYSIWYG @ Primus Secundus Tertius
First: save yourself the trouble. No, the author has not "used themes and styles properly". Almost no-one does that, because it's so much easier not to. That's been a problem with Word since pretty much day 1 - I routinely deal with Word documents written by 50 different people, all software professionals - and barely 20% of those know how to use styles, or can be bothered to learn despite all the times I've tried to educate them.
Second, even if they did, what the hell is the point of changing all that at a stroke? What is the use-case where you'd want to do that? If the author is creating content for a specific audience, that has to go into a specific format, then that's what "templates" are for - give them one and let them get on with it. Anyone who's capable of using "themes" correctly is, automatically, also capable of using a template. If you really want to change all the styles later, you can write a macro for that (and store it in your own normal.dotm, so you can run it on any document you like, themed or not).
Third, what does that have to do with writing a novel anyway? Just how many subheadings and captions does the average novel include?
Personally, my text editor of choice is Notepad++. When writing a long book, I create separate files for each chapter and keep them open in different tabs. Easy enough to merge them when I'm ready.
While not disputing with the main thrust of your argument, there are some nuances I think you've missed.
One is that "macroeconomists", as a whole, and a fortiori those who get polled for a systematic survey, are under immense (political) pressure not to predict a recession. The reasoning is: a fall in business confidence can cause a recession, predictions of recession cause a fall in business confidence: therefore, for an influential economist to predict a recession may be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Hack journalists don't have that problem - no-one would dream of taking their predictions seriously anyway.
Another is that "macroeconomics" is not as monolithic a subject as you make out. A macroeconomist can build a model that predicts something like "If you raise interest rates by X over Y months, the impact on unemployment in 12 months' time will be Z". These models are, by nature, hard to build, harder to understand and impossible to test. But the thing to note is, it doesn't say "You must/must not raise interest rates now". It says "IF you do $ACTION, THEN $EFFECT will follow."
Translating that into a decision (whether or not, and when, and how, to do $ACTION) is a political judgment call, not an economic one. It's like - Google Maps can tell you how to drive from Chichester to Basingstoke, and looking at the route might help you to decide whether you want to bother, but ultimately that decision is still yours - you might decide to go through with it, for reasons even Google can't guess at, despite the downside of ending up in Basingstoke.
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