* Posts by veti

774 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

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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

veti
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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

veti
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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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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

veti
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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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You. FTC. Get over here. Google is INVADING our children's MINDS – anti-ad campaigners

veti
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Flame

rules that ban media giants from blurring the line between programming and product pushing.

Seriously? Have you ever watched an episode of 'Power Rangers'? How about 'Paw Patrol'? Those "media giants" are full of it. Blurred lines, I mean.

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

veti
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Facepalm

So to sum up...

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

Pinky swear, presumably.

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

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

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

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

I smell "diversion".

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

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

veti
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Overriding economic interests

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

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

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

veti
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Headmaster

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

HTH, HAND etc.

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Forum chat is like Clarkson punching you repeatedly in the face

veti
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Headmaster

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

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

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

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veti
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Re: Service? Industry?

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

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

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

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veti
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Re: Not on

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

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

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

So much paranoia. So little information.

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

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

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

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

veti
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Re: The media had it all wrong

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

veti
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Couldn't wait, huh?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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veti
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Re: Death

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

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

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

veti
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Re: Anyone for a Banana Daquiri?

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

You haven't seen my stepladder, have you?

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

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

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Diablo fingered in offensive ASCII art trial doc shock

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

Seriously, what does it take to make them learn?

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

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Clinton defence of personal email server fails to placate critics

veti
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Strange assumption

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

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

- Nixon - 'nuff said

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

- Reagan, Bush - Iran/Contra

- Clinton - Whitewater, Lewinsky

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

- Obama - Snowden

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

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Should online pirates get the same sentences as offline ones?

veti
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Yep, that thought struck me too.

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

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

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

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veti
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Re: Nothing is missing...

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

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

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

Citation.

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Pro-ISIS script kiddies deface Dublin Rape Crisis Centre site

veti
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Re: Dublin Rape Crisis Centre

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ban Minecraft? That's jive, Turkey!

veti
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YHBT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

veti
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Context...

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

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

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

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

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

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

veti
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Using commas in place of "and"

Irritating, pointless.

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

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