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* Posts by veti

478 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

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Lawyer reviewing terror laws and special powers: Definition of 'terrorism' is too broad

veti
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Boffin

Re: He must have missed the memo

No. A little context here - does no-one remember anything from more than six months ago any more?

When these laws were passed, the tabloids' hate figure of choice was Abu Hamza. Since nobody thought they could convict him of "intimidation to coerce or compel", we just had to include the word "influence" in there.

Now he's been shipped off and safely locked up by our American friends, it's OK to relax the rules a smidgen. We can always reinstate them if another such figure starts whipping up the Daily Mail again.

And that's how lawmaking works in the UK. Has always worked, really. You may be familiar with the saying "hard cases make bad law"? It's literally true, and we're seeing it in action right now.

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Home Office threw £347m in the bin on failed asylum processing IT project

veti
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Re: WTF

Preach it, Tom 38.

My employer makes and maintains databases, which companies use to keep customer records. By the nature of our business, most of our clients are private-sector, but there are some exceptions (across multiple countries). And contrary to popular belief, given the choice between a public-sector and private-sector client to serve, nobody I know would choose the former, regardless of country.

There's a - not lack, exactly, but a strange arse-about-face quality to accountability, which means that decision making is invariably handed off to the highest ranking person around - i.e. the one least qualified to make a decision that affects the day-to-day workflows of the poor schmucks on the coalface.

There's an ungodly high turnover of decision makers, which means that decisions taken today can be revised, reversed or just plain forgotten two or three times by the end of the year.

Couple this with an insistence on rigid forms and procedures, and you have a formula whereby features have to be built, delivered and tested as promised, even long after everyone involved knows (and quite openly agrees) that they are useless. Because no-one has, or is willing to use, the authority to cancel or change them. That's about as motivating as you would imagine.

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veti
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Pint

Re: It just goes on

s/specially designed database/macro-infested spreadsheet, and I think you'd be closer to the truth.

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Report: American tech firms charge Britons a thumping nationality tax

veti
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Re: This is still a thing?

Believe it or not, you're not the only person who's thought of that. Yes, someone has done those sums too.

Turns out that once you allow for VAT, there's still a substantial gap. Not *as* substantial, obviously, but still well into double-digit percentages.

Why do you think the US tech industry lobbies for export restrictions on its own goods?

You're welcome.

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Motorist 'thought car had caught fire' as Adele track came on stereo

veti
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Coat

There's a correct way to do these things

I don't want my stereo displaying 'FIRE'.

I want that label to be on a little red button, somewhere below the A/C controls, which lights up when I apply either the brakes or the steering more suddenly than usual.

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You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary

veti
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Pirate

Re: if i did buy it, can i get an instant refund when i dont like.....

“We can assert with some confidence that our own period is one of decline; that the standards of culture are lower than they were fifty years ago; and that the evidences of this decline are visible in every department of human activity." - T S Eliot, 1925

“What else, in the desolate waste of present-day culture, holds any promise of a sound, healthy future? In vain we look for a single powerfully branching root, a spot of earth that is fruitful: we see only dust, sand, dullness, and languor” - Freidrich Nietzsche, 1871

“to speak of the morals of our country, the nature of my theme seems to suggest that I go farther back and give a brief account of the institutions of our forefathers in peace and in war, how they governed the commonwealth, how great it was when they bequeathed it to us, and how by gradual changes it has ceased to be the noblest and best, and has become the worst and most vicious.” - Sallust, c. 40 BC.

"Everything's shit now. It was better when I was a lad." - every old fart ever.

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veti
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Correct.

I'm trying to work out whose fault this is. Is it the broadcasters, who for arcane reasons of their own, don't want to put it out within a day or so of its first appearance elsewhere?

Or is it the publishers, who want to stagger its release in different markets so that ... I dunno, they can tie in marketing events or something? Dang, if only there were some way of marketing a show in many different markets at once!

Seriously, does anyone know why we have to put up with this nonsense?

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veti
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Trollface

Re: People who can't see that word redefinition of Piracy is thuggery, are naive or thick.

"Piracy" has been used to mean "unauthorised use or reproduction of another's work" for approximately 200 years now. Check out what Charles Dickens had to say on the subject.

Your complaint makes considerably less sense than claiming that you're abusing the term "troll", which is really a mythological spirit that lives under a bridge/in a cave. At least someone who argues that - would have had a case, within living memory.

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Unbridled BONKING and rampant ROGERING at YOUR office!

veti
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Two thank yous

First, for the wit and wisdom of this clickbait. I often wonder what these studies mean when they say "prefer". If you put me in a laboratory, observed by six trick cyclists in white coats through a one-way mirror, and give me a choice between reading El Reg and rogering... I think you'll gain a comment or two. If you leave me alone behind closed doors with the same choice, the answer won't necessarily be the same. (But it might. It all depends, innit?)

And second, for having the consideration to post it as a single article, not split across two pages. More of El Reg could profit from your example.

Thank you.

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Will the next US-EU trade pact prevent Brussels acting against US tech giants?

veti
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Pint

The irony of it all

When Britain abolished slavery in the colonies (which happened in waves, but the biggest came in 1833), the government actually paid compensation to former slave owners.

When the US finally abolished slavery in 1865, there was no such compensation.

Now it's the US that wants governments to pay compensation for businesses that lose out when the law changes.

I guess the moral is that when people buy a government, they buy the most powerful one around.

Pint, because it's bloody depressing.

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Nokia emits Windows Phone 8.1 'Cyan' upgrade for Lumia gear

veti
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FAIL

Re: More messing about

That's like saying "Definitive knowledge of life after death is currently available to anyone who cares to kill themself."

Sure, the payoff sounds nice, but the price tag is... sufficiently intimidating that it significantly undermines the claim of a "free" upgrade.

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veti
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FAIL

More messing about

So months after 8.1 was "unveiled", and "announced", and released on everything but the phone, it's finally being rolled out...

... without Cortana? Wait, what? I thought that was the killer app of this upgrade?

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Huge FOUR-winged dino SPREAD LEGS to KILL – scientists

veti
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Re: Extra precise?

My thoughts exactly. If these winged hindlegs are so nifty, then how come they're extinct?

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Dungeons & Dragons relaunches with 'freemium' version 5.0

veti
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Re: Any suggestions

The "basic rules" version of 5th Ed looks like "back to basics" in many ways. Back to the 9 alignments, 4 base classes, no mention of multiclassing - although I'm sure about 800 more classes, each more overpowered than the last, will be offered in the "optional" supplements, due to start appearing any second now priced around $50 each.

I gave up on D&D after 2nd edition - 3.x was overpowered, particularly once the aforementioned supplements started appearing, and I never got to try 4 at all. I recommend Hackmaster.

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UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill

veti
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Trollface

Re: Is their a list ?

So... you're asking if anyone has retained a list of people who were against retaining lists of people?

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Microsoft's anti-bug breakthrough: Wire devs to BRAIN SCANNERS

veti
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Black Helicopters

Alternatively...

... you could train that same Bayes classifier to look at the code itself. That would probably be easier, all things considered.

Unless, of course, the goal is less to do with "spotting dodgy code" than with "reading people's minds".

Or maybe this is just thinly-disguised market research from Microsoft. Actually, that strikes me as most likely. What sorts of code do devs most like to work with, and if you give them a free choice of software, what will they pick? - now that's valuable data.

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New leaked 'Windows 8 screenshot': The Start Menu strikes back

veti
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Go

Every other edition...

From what I hear, Windows 9 is sounding like a nice release. It fixes what was wrong with Windows 8.

The tiled interface? It's not so bad. I have a Windows phone, and the interface has grown on me. At first I thought I'd miss the affordance given by "shaped" buttons in Windows 7 and earlier, but the truth is, those were never very consistently applied anyway. And sure the tiles have different looks/design styles, but how is that different from the icons on a start menu?

If the start menu is really back, and it gives you the option to do simple things like "run a command shell" or "shut down" without either remembering some arcane key combination, or waggling the mouse in a random screen location - I'm in. It's time I replaced my old XP machine anyway...

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Data retention saves Australia from TERROR says Labor MP

veti
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Flame

Video?

What is it with the fscking video links on fscking news reports nowadays?

Are you trying to exclude people for whom it's not convenient to watch a video right now? Or are you just trying to make it harder to quote accurately, or index what's said?

There's a perfectly good text record. Fscking link to that next time. Please.

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The final score: Gramophones 1 – Glassholes 0

veti
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Re: Nobody has figured out how to jam the camera?

Wearing clothes made of this stuff should pretty much do it.

You're welcome.

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Adobe Flash: The most INSECURE program on a UK user's PC

veti
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Re: BBC and YouTube without Flash?

YouTube has video in a large range of formats, it's the luck of the draw whether any particular vid you want to see is served as Flash.

This video claims to show you how to view almost all of YouTube without Flash at all. I can't vouch for the content, because ironically I can't view it on my current 'puter...

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veti
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People still use Flash?

I thought that died when the iPad came out.

No, seriously. What do we need it for anymore? There are dozens of video formats out there, and plenty of amusing cats/pr0n available in just about all of them.

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Call girl injected Google exec with heroin, drank wine, left him to die – cops claim

veti
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Black Helicopters

"After poring over Hayes' phone calls and emails, the cops identified Tichelman as a prime suspect"

What, a security camera recording wasn't enough for them?

I guess it's good that they actually had to "pore over" something, they didn't just call up the NSA and ask...

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'Dread Pirate Roberts' suspect's bid for freedom fails

veti
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Black Helicopters

They paid their taxes.

Sorry, did I say 'taxes'? I meant 'contributions'.

Although they did make sure that the treasury, and the country as a whole, got something out of them too. The Silk Road dipshits, on the other hand, just kept the money to themselves.

Crime 101: getting away with it - costs. Always.

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Today's Facebook fury: Coppertone-like baby pic ban baffles US mom

veti
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Re: This is why the music copyright term extension seemed pointless.

There's a difference between composer copyright and performance copyright.

Composer copyright, as you note, is the one with the very long timeframes (of lifetime + X, where X is stupid). Performance or recording copyright, however, was until recently still a relatively modest "date of recording + 50 years". After that time, you're allowed to make/copy an old recording as much as you like, so long as you don't try to re-record or perform the same music yourself (that would infringe composer copyright).

Recently, a bunch of aging musicians got together and realised they'd totally failed to make any pension provision for themselves, and the recording copyright of published works got extended to "date of publication or public performance + 70 years".

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Man FOUND ON MOON denies lunar alien interface

veti
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Boffin

Non-earth life, I'll grant, is entirely speculative. But the theory of evolution is about as unproven, at this point, as the theory of gravity.

The fact that there's no (sign of) life on Mars, doesn't necessarily extrapolate to the several million other Goldilocks-zoned planets in our galaxy. From a sample size of 2, we know that life evolved on one. The anthropic principle makes it impossible to extrapolate positively, but the sample size makes it equally invalid to extrapolate negatively.

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Panic like it's 1999: Microsoft Office macro viruses are BACK

veti
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I agree.

But I also agree with "the security guy". VBA is an exceptionally bad way to create or track 'metadata' or populate a spreadsheet. Heck, even Sharepoint would do a better job.

Well, it's OK as long as it's just for your own private use, and you'll export the results to some static format before sharing them with others - but in a sheet you pass around and share between others? That's like sharing a condom.

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veti
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Stop

Re: The macro virus would spread into a user's Office template files

I put my macros in normal.dot. That way, I don't have to try to put macro code in documents that I'm asking other people to open, which invariably leads to (at best) confusion, or (at worst) open suspicion.

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Would it be BAD if the Amazon rainforest was all FARMS? Well it WAS, once

veti
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Boffin

Re: Surprise?

It's not so much "arrogant" as "feeling like they have a right to survive". Most people don't want humans to be the subject of one of those extinctions.

Most people, I suspect although I don't really want to try the experiment just in case I'm wrong, would also be fairly resistant to the idea that several billion people should be wiped out in order to make room for the rest. And that's what "raising the sea levels back to the levels of the distant past" would mean.

Just because the earth, life and humanity (for values of "humanity") would all survive, doesn't mean there's nothing to worry about.

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Standby consumes MORE POWER THAN CANADA: IEA

veti
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Re: Speaking of Canada...

"Two systems with identical input and output" - really can't generate significantly different amounts of heat, if "heat" is part of the "output" you're looking at.

If you're talking about, say, light output, or computational power, then of course your statement becomes true. But irrelevant, because the more efficient system (assuming, of course, that the system as a whole isn't intended to produce heat as part of its primary functionality) is the one that produces less heat.

In equilibrium, energy out == energy in. That's basic thermodynamics. It doesn't matter if some components are producing more heat than others - if you're looking at your console (or whatever) as a black-box system, then heat is an excellent proxy measure for how much total power it's using.

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veti
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Re: Speaking of Canada...

Right. Thinking of my Wii - the only games console I've ever had - I'm pretty sure the standby mode doesn't consume much power, because of one simple test: when it's switched off at the box (LED turns red, as opposed to the orangy-sort-of-colour it turns when you just use the remote), the box actually cools down.

Same story for my home PC. When in Sleep mode, the fan isn't going, nearly all the LEDs are off, and there's no warmth coming from it. I'm not sure how much power it is consuming exactly - I know it's non-zero, because of what happens when there's a power cut - but I also know, from easily perceivable evidence, that it's only a tiny fraction of what it consumes when it's working.

However, the 'Internet of Things' would require connectivity to be maintained 24/7. And that will waste a phenomenal amount of power, if we're dumb enough to fall for it.

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Cyber-Senate's cyber-security cyber-law cyber-scares cyber-rights cyber-fighters

veti
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Re: Yet more unconstitutional remedies to unconstitutional treatment

@tom dial: the Supreme Court has consistently ruled that that clause binds the federal govt as well as state govts, by the principle of reverse incorporation. So yes, it is applicable.

And I find it frankly unbelievable that the politicians concerned don't know that.

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veti
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Pirate

Yet more unconstitutional remedies to unconstitutional treatment

"only applies if the supplying firm has evidence that the user is a US citizen"...

What part of "... nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws" do you people not understand?

You can't legally discriminate between subjects based on citizenship. Not if they're in the US, anyway. If they're abroad then fair enough, they're not within your jurisdiction so not protected by the 14th Amendment, but if they're on US soil then it makes no difference if they're American or Yemeni or even (*shudder*) Australian...

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That AMAZING Windows comeback: Wow – 0.5% growth in 2015

veti
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Re: There's not much wrong with windows

That confusion comes from the retailers, the phone manufacturer, and most importantly from the network operators. They all rely on confusing you, to keep you from comparing prices between rival offerings and buying something cheaper.

It's the network operators who really thrive on it, but the others play along because it's profitable all round.

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You 'posted' a 'letter' with Outlook... No, NO, that's the MONITOR

veti
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Surely, this whole story is a textbook illustration of why "just reboot" is the stock helpdesk answer for everything from lost websites to major earthquake damage. Granted, you'd have had to explain (again) what that meant and how to do it, but it would've got to the root of the problem a lot faster.

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HOLD THE FRONT PAGE: US govt backs mass spying by US govt

veti
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Devil

Re: Direct Opposition

Careful. You're dangerously close to the argument that "the government is the people". That's a philosophy that became very popular in Europe in the early 20th century, but fell rapidly into disrepute between 1939 and 1945.

Because if the government is the people, then it follows that there is no such thing as "loyal opposition" - you're with us or you're against us, you're either a supporter or a traitor.

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veti
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Black Helicopters

Re: Snowden off the hook

You're assuming that they're saying it was Snowden who's circulated misinformation.

I suspect his information was only too accurate, and the misinformation was circulated by the NSA. That's how they know there's a great deal of it...

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Lords try shoehorning law against REVENGE SMUT into justice bill

veti
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You're getting dangerously subtle, there. Yes, the situation is different - but in all probability it needs to be covered under the same law, because there's no hard and clear dividing line between the two, there'll be a continuinuinuum fading from "gloating asshole" to "outright porn".

When does the image become porn? Can a simple mugshot be porn? Or a full body portrait, depending on what the subject is doing/wearing? A decent silk could argue that, in the scenario you describe, the asshole is being "malicious" in the legal sense ("in the knowledge of... lack of power and with knowledge that it... would be likely to cause injury"). How would you draw a hard legal line?

I'd think a blanket law should cover the whole range, but include penalties for frivolous or malicious complaints, and let the courts decide case by case.

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veti
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Holmes

Re: A counter-service?

Yeah, great idea! Then we can have revenge-revenge-porn listings, where a disgruntled ex accuses you of posting revenge porn even though all you ever posted was a photo of the two of you, fully dressed, with your arms linked together in a pub car park.

Of course, then we can have another service for complaints about those people. And then it's turtles all the way down.

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veti
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Holmes

Re: Evil, or just stupid?

Obviously, you need to get a signed consent form from everyone in the video, stating explicitly that it's going to be published on an unspecified number of smutty websites and everyone concerned is OK with that.

Equally obviously, the real goal here is to outlaw almost all currently existing pr0n (for which this paperwork doesn't exist, because no-one knew they needed it before), thereby creating a huge boom in the market for new pr0n. The last time the industry had a bonanza like this was when rules were introduced requiring producers to certify the age of all participants. Now that one's worked its way through, there's a large bank of pre-existing pr0n that satisfies that requirement - how to get everyone to scrap that and order all new grumbles? Bingo!

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veti
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Re: We need more laws!

I'm pretty sure that murdering someone on a Tuesday is precisely as illegal, under the same laws, as murdering them on a Monday.

Unless what you want to see is a blanket ban on uploading any porn to the internet, that's not an argument you want to go down.

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Google Glass faces UK cinema ban: Heaven forbid someone films you crying in a rom-com

veti
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Re: Cinema (n.)

You forgot to mention "projected slightly out of focus and with the volume turned up too high to drown out the sound of the horror movie being shown next door, which can still be felt as subsonic rumbles through the popcorn-encrusted floor."

OK, I get the rest of it. But is it really asking too much of cinema owners nowadays to focus the fscking projector, at least once per movie?

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veti
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So, it's not enough to turn my cellphone off during the movie - now I need to leave it outside when I go in?

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Facebook: Yes, we made you SAD on PURPOSE... for your own good

veti
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Re: Just digging themselves into a deeper hole

How exactly does that differ from, say... every advertiser in the world ever?

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veti
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Stop

Re: yeah we're just going to select what posts you see mmkay

Facebook does this all the freakin' time. They make no attempt to hide it.

The average Facebook user has 338 "friends". If the average user makes 1 post per day, and you see (say) 15 posts when you log in, how do you think it selects those 15 out of the 338 available?

I don't know. My bet is, it's an algorithm that's constantly being tweaked, that takes into account the age of each update, number of likes, and how much you tend to interact with that particular friend on FB, among probably many other factors (such as how much they're paying FB to promote their posts).

And for a trial period, they introduced another factor into this algorithm - the "mood" of each post - and fed a differently-weighted version to each of two different subsets of users.

Seriously, I don't get how this is such a big deal.

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Amazon offers Blighty's publishing industry 'assisted suicide'

veti
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Devil

Can you use the words "hoist" and "petard" in a sentence?

For decades, publishers have been the ones dictating copyright law changes. They've been the gatekeepers to getting your book onto shelves and shops. Now Amazon is turning their own weapons against them.

Good for Amazon. (Although I'm slightly surprised they got there before Google.)

Bad for publishers, mind you, and probably bad for most authors - and readers. But I find it really hard to weep for publishers, of all people. The revolution is here, and as prophesied here's the wall with their names on it.

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Microsoft compliance police to NHS: We want your money

veti
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Black Helicopters

Re: So MS are threatening the sacred cow of British life?

Have you any idea how many full-time managers the NHS employs?

A better question would be, what the hell are they all doing for their money, if they can't even keep track of how many software licenses they have?

It's not that hard, every company I've worked for manages it somehow.

As to the "just use Linux" crowd - I don't think some people have even the remotest beginnings of an idea of how much bespoke, platform-specific software is in use in the NHS. (Actually, I don't think anyone in the world knows that, least of all those aforementioned NHS managers.) But I'm pretty sure, it's a lot.

Seems to me the real story here is "Top NHS management tried to cut costs by skimping on license accounting, so that politicians can bleat about how they're keeping costs down in the NHS". I'd just love to know if there's a paper trail that implicates a senior civil servant, or even a politician, in authorising this fraud.

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Who gives a F about privacy? New scorecard rates US pols on spying

veti
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FAIL

45%?

If that many people are getting an "A", I'd be looking at my grading thresholds.

Simply "voting against increased surveillance", however consistently, shouldn't be getting you an 'A'. For that, you should have to actively move or vote for legislation to reduce surveillance.

Those who do nothing but vote for the status quo (which is what "voting against increases" means), should be getting at best a B or C.

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Occupy Google: Protesters attack ad giant as I/O gets underway

veti
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Re: Praesumptio innocentiae

You pay NOT A THING! indeed, if that's the value to you of your privacy and control of your own data.

Who is your data being shared with? What would happen if Google decides to change its terms of service to consolidate one Gmail account per person? What's to stop them from doing that?

Like I say - Google goes out of its way to keep you from knowing the answers to those questions.

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veti
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Holmes

Re: Praesumptio innocentiae

For what it's worth, I concluded circa 2004 that I now trust Microsoft more than I trust Google.

With Microsoft, I pay money and I get a product. I know what I pay, and I know what I'll get for it.

With Google, I get a service. And for the most part, it's a good service. But what do I pay? That's the honking big question, and one that's literally impossible to answer. Not only do they not publish a price list, they go to extravagant lengths to keep it top secret.

Microsoft is expensive, no question - but at least I can go into that relationship with my eyes open. Google doesn't give me the option.

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