* Posts by veti

849 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

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Global spy system ECHELON confirmed at last – by leaked Snowden files

veti
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Re: Put a stop to it...

Until we can terminate those in power with extreme prejudice, and ensure those replacing the corrupt politicians will face the same threats, we will never see the end of corruption.

Doesn't work.

The Russians did it in 1917, and within a generation they had corruption on a scale the Tsar had never dreamed of. The French did it in 1789, and found a similar result. More recently we've seen it happen in Uganda, Zimbabwe...

The more "extreme prejudice" you apply to the old regime, the more devious the new ones will be. For all its faults, voting is the only way that has any chance of working.

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veti
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Re: Where are the OBEs?

Labour and Tories each have their own quota of honours they can propose people for.

Which do you think is going to propose someone who'd been a thorn in the flesh of both of them?

The Lib Dems are about the only party who'd even think of it, and I don't know if they still even have a voice...

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Hacking Trump: Can we not label web vandalism as 'terrorism', please?

veti
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Alarm and despondency

Historically, the people who've banged on endlessly about online security have been - not by coincidence - those who were looking to make a living out of selling it.

That means that everyone - users, network owners, the media - have all been taking advice on this subject from people who have a vested interest in talking it up. There is no-one who has a business model based on constructing a fair, balanced description of online "threats". There are only "people who want us scared too silly to count the money we're about to throw at them".

That, I'm convinced, is the reason why every little incident like this gets described in the most incendiary language possible. If the T-word hasn't been used yet, I'm damn' sure it's been described as an "attack", which itself is pretty alarmist language. If someone applies spray-paint to a roadside billboard, is that called an "attack"?

So thank you for this, it's a long overdue attempt to start a reasonable discussion on the subject.

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Windows 10 collects colossal 0.375 per cent market share in July

veti
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For statistical values of "no one", yes. The number of people in the Windows Insider program seems to be a closely guarded secret, but I'd be surprised if it's much more than a couple of million, worldwide. That compares with 1.25 *billion* Windows machines worldwide. So we're talking about less than 0.2%.

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Twitter will delete jokes after a DMCA takedown – but NOT my photos, fumes angry snapper

veti
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Who first posted it on Twitter?

This is Not Even Remotely The Same as the "retweeted joke DMCA takedown" the other day.

Seems to me there's a difference between "posting something you own on Twitter and having it retweeted", and "posting something that someone else owns and you don't have the authority to publish on Twitter, whether it's retweeted or not".

If you post something on Twitter, I'd say - as a purely lay commenter - that you shouldn't really have a leg to stand on when others retweet it. If it's not explicitly set out in Twitter's terms of use that that can happen, then it should be; and in the meantime, that's within the parameters of what you should expect. It's like posting something to USENET and then complaining that it's quoted in replies.

But if someone else steals your photo and tweets that, without your authority, then that's exactly what copyright law is supposed to protect against.

So for me, the question is who was the first person to put it on Twitter? If that person had authority to do that, then the photographer boned and server her right for being so careless. But if that person was acting unlawfully, then she's 100% in the right and Twitter should be taking down all instances of the photo.

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New EU security strategy: Sod cyber terrorism, BAN ENCRYPTION

veti
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Re: Oh drat!

"Electronics Letters" is a "rival" to El Reg?

I don't think you'll find much peer review going on here. And last time I looked, the comments section in EL was pretty tame compared with commentards here.

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Oh, Obama's responded to the petition to pardon Snowden. What'll it be?

veti
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Re: So?

Not really. Pardons are one of a very, very few things in US politics that are absolutely within the gift of the president and no-one else. If Obama were to say "he's pardoned for all crimes committed in such-and-such a timeframe, or relating to such a statute", then there'd be nothing the authorities could legally do about it.

That only leaves illegal options. Which, sure, are always options, but there's a cost attached to them.

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How British spies really spy: Information that didn't come from Snowden

veti
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Black Helicopters

96 "cyber-attack campaigns" - in two weeks...

... is the sort of figure that makes me wonder, what exactly constitutes a "cyber-attack campaign"?

I mean - sure, some of them are probably really dangerous. Some of them probably involve theft of personal or financial data. But how many of them involve DOSsing a web server for a couple of days, or defacing the website of a company that's incurred the displeasure of some script kiddiez? Can we see the (anonymised) threat assessments of these "96 cyber-attack campaigns"?

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Universal Pictures finds pirated Jurassic World on own localhost, fires off a DMCA takedown

veti
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I just tried 127.0.0.1, and it clearly belongs to an evil hacker. The bastard has all my files.

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Pirates also buy content legally, Australian gov study finds

veti
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Newsflash: lots of places don't have Google data centres

And it's going to take more than copyright reform to change that.

For instance, Google is very conscious of its green credentials; Australia is about the most green-hostile country on earth currently.

Then there's its government's constant attempts to censor and filter the net at every level. This is simply not the behaviour of a government that's interested in attracting that sort of business.

For Australia to pursue that sort of business would require a complete political overhaul. No mere "election" could bring that about.

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Arctic ice EMBIGGENS, returns to 1980s levels of cap cover

veti
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Re: Arctic sea ice extent for June 2015 was the third lowest in the satellite record.

@Panicnow: "damaging your brand!!!"?

I suspect you don't understand what El Reg's brand is.

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veti
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Re: No

All this is "clear evidence" of, is that Lewis Page is an accomplished troll who can reliably get The Faithful to click through and approve his articles without checking the sources.

If you could be bothered, you'd have noticed that the authors of this paper don't dispute that Arctic sea ice is in decline. What they do say is that it " may be more resilient than has been previously considered."

This is good news, but anyone who extrapolates from that to "therefore, AGW is bunk" is someone who is not even trying to pay lip service to logic, science or facts.

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The US taxman thinks Microsoft owes billions. Prove it, says Microsoft

veti
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Re: I hope this will be useful

I hate to break it to you, but no amount of income tax is going to keep your mother from dying. Maybe not this year, maybe not next, but sometime, and statistically speaking it's likely that you'll be alive to see her do it.

As for corporations: I'm perfectly happy with corporations not paying income tax. What matters to me is the money paid out to people, such as the corporation's owners. That's what we should be taxing.

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Microsoft to spoofed Skype users: Change your account passwords NOW

veti
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Re: Those tweets...

Yep, apparently scanning Twitter is considered the gold standard in confirming a news story nowadays.

You must allow, it's quicker than waiting for a spokesdrone at Skype to return our call. And such are the incentives of web journalism that when speed and accuracy conflict, it's poor ol' accuracy to get it in the neck every. single. time.

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Cyber-security's dirty little secret: It's not as bad as you think

veti
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I've often thought that all the usual suspects we see talking about security - are people who have a vested interest in talking up the danger. I've often wanted to see some counterpoint to the general wails of buy-me-buy-me-now alarmism.

But this? This is very disappointing material. Can't we do better?

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Adobe: We REALLY are taking Flash security seriously – honest

veti
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I got a brand-new, pristine PC about four months ago now. Hard disc completely blank. Installed Windows 8.1, then as much other software as I've (so far) wanted, all manually - so I'm pretty damn' sure that no version of either Flash or Java exists anywhere on it.

And so far, I haven't missed either one. Sure, occasionally - quite rarely - there'll be a video that doesn't play, in which case it might take me all of 30 seconds to find one that does. And that's about it.

Free yourself. Flash and Java are as bad as each other, and unless you're developing in one or the other - in which case you're part of the problem - you don't need either one.

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Natural geothermal heat under Antarctic ice: 'Surprisingly HIGH'

veti
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Re: Why measure now?

You try taking reliable and systematic geothermal measurements through a mile of ice using 1970s technology, see how far you get.

But with the pesky ice sheet out of the way, the whole operation becomes much easier. It's an ill wind...

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'Save the teachers!' 184 cryptologists send Oz Govt cleartext petition

veti
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Language of mass obfuscation

It's okay to publish crypto software, "except when the software applies to weapons of mass destruction"... huh?

Seems to me that if you can even tell what the heck crypto software is being used for, it's prolly not very good software...

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What do you MEAN, 'Click on the thing which looks like a Mondrian?'

veti
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Is it only me, or do "pop-ups" for anyone else quite often go down?

For me, when I right-click, the pop-up menu will go up when and only when my cursor is near the bottom of the current window. Any other time, it'll go down. This applies in Firefox, Notepad++, Adobe Reader and Word - all the applications I happen to have open right now - so I think it's not an uncommon rule.

And may I just mention, I hate the "burger" description. To me, that icon looks nothing whatever like a burger. Can't we agree to call it "stack of three horizontal lines"?

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Pirate Bay founders 'cleared of copyright crimes' in Belgium

veti
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Re: downloaded?

Yeah... believe it or not, you're not the first person to think of that. That defence was brought up the first time TPB was dragged into a courtroom.

And like it or not, it didn't work.

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Attention dunderheads: Taxpayers are NOT giving businesses £93bn

veti
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Re: The Truth of the Matter is this...

@tom dial: the Greeks did reach a primary surplus, quite a large one, from 2012 to 2014. It was purely their debt repayments that turned that into a deficit. And then came their current crippling depression. Any government that runs a primary surplus while it's got 25% unemployment is a government that's simply not doing its job.

But that is precisely the requirement the donor nations have laid on Greece. And while one can see their point of view - everyone wants to get their money back - I for one can't help but think, this is pretty much the same as the obligation that got laid on Germany in 1919. And I can't see the outcome being any happier.

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Boffin: Will I soon be able to CLONE a WOOLLY MAMMOTH? YES. Should I? Hell NO

veti
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Re: It's not a "should" question.

"Should" is still a valid question, and it's independent of "will".

Personally, I'd vote no. In my lifetime, we've gone from holding intelligent animals in zoos in too-small cages, whales and dolphins in captivity, to allowing them greater freedom and an environment closer to their natural one. If the mammoth is approximately as intelligent as the elephant - which seems fairly likely - then what sort of conditions would you keep them in?

What would it be like, being the only one of your species? Mary Shelley didn't think it'd be much fun.

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The END of WINDOWS EVERYWHERE! Is that really what Nadella wants?

veti
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Re: I think it's way too soon to be writing off Windows Phone

Nokia == Windows Phone to all intents and purposes.

Microsoft needs a "partner" it can trust - i.e. one that it owns, either in fact or in effect, if it's ever going to expand its footprint in the phone biz. No company that's free to make its own decisions is going to choose WinPhone over Android, not while the lists of available apps are so lopsided. To get more apps, you need more users. To get more users, you need to sell more phones.

And to sell more phones - well, somebody has to be making and marketing them.

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US police to throw big balls in criminals' faces

veti
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Re: Limited application?

Bouncing grapefruit: $2500

Mirror-onna-stick: $20

I wonder what the life expectancy of the ball is, i.e. how many times it can be used before it becomes unreliable?

Also, once police start using them as standard, what countermeasures crims will start to deploy against it? Off the top of my head: soot, oil or glue on the floor, smoke or steam in the air, or simply the suspect disguising himself as an item of furniture by putting a sheet over his head, should suffice in most circs.

But none of that really matters. The cops get a nice new toy to play with, the local politicians who pay their bills get to subsidise an American business that they've doubtless bought shares in, and everyone's happy.

If I were a cop, I'd be worried about why the ad emphasises "single-officer use". Am I to be expected to go into situations like that shown without backup, even from a single partner, now?

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Microsoft's magic hurts: Nadella signals 'tough choices' on the way

veti
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I'm going out on a limb here...

Making phones is not making a lot of money, but strategically it's never been more important. Phones (and even more so, tablets) now are in the same space that games consoles were in the late 90s, when they threatened to displace the desktop PC as the workhorse household computing platform.

And when they saw that threat, Microsoft invented the Xbox, and pumped billions of dollars over a decade or more into subsidising it, to head it off. It succeeded brilliantly. Consoles are now irrelevant to computing.

So if I were in Nadella's place, I'd be looking at selling off the Xbox division. Windows is - always has been, in fact - a superior platform for games. The Xbox is doing OK, but there's no longer any strategic reason to keep it in-house - if a sold-off Xbox division decided to start running Android or something, Microsoft as a whole would not be substantially worse off for it. Keep phones, junk consoles.

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Microsoft's new mission statement: It's all about doing MAGICAL THINGS

veti
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Microsoft goes magical

... at the same time iPhones start blue-screening...

Have Apple and Microsoft switched places?

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What is this river nonsense? Give .amazon to Bezos, says US Congress

veti
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Re: Proposal:

You'd be surprised what's already been achieved. (Link may not be appropriate for the workplace environment, I can't vouch for it either way.)

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veti
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Re: What the rules say:

Who wrote those rules? ICANN. Who agreed? Everyone who could be bothered. Who benefits? Well, obviously, there's some difference between that and "who expected to benefit", which is why we're where we are today.

This is nothing more than governments trying to say "It's our ball and it's our backyard so you play by our rules (which let us win), so ner!"

True, but I don't quite see the relevance.

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veti
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What the rules say:

It pains me to say this... but it does look as if Amazon is technically in the right here. On the basis of the rules published by ICANN, there is no basis for the referenced gov'ts to complain about this award.

On the other hand, there is the established rule that any gov't that feels sufficiently strongly can complain about anything, without being required to give any reason...

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As the US realises it's been PWNED, when will OPM heads roll?

veti
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Well, except that the plans and contract for the Denver VA hospital were drawn up and awarded under the Bush administration.

And the article you linked clearly describes Congress trying to micromanage the project by approving funding on a week-by-week basis, which is so obviously a way of sabotaging the entire project that frankly I'd be surprised to learn that anyone involved actually bothers to show up to work in the morning.

So no, the STFU comment stands.

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veti
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Re: US Federal systems PWNED

There's no hypocrisy there. They're not saying the evul furrners did anything wrong - that goes without saying. What they're saying is that their own people screwed up by not stopping them.

Likewise, they'd say that French intelligence f'd up by allowing the NSA to bug their president. The NSA did nothing wrong there, they did their job - French intel is supposed to stop them, so they're the ones who screwed up.

This sort of mentally diseased game theory is not even controversial in America - it's accepted wisdom that this is how the world is supposed to work. Anything else would be aberrant.

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veti
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Re: finger pointing @ Where not exists

Last I heard Congress are the ones who control the purse strings, so OPM works for them. If not, then why are they grilling this woman? If she asked for more IT funding and Congress denied it, then they've got no-one but themselves to try desperately to deflect blame from.

And Archuleta's appointment was confirmed by the Senate. In so far as this is her mess, they're as responsible as Obama. Sorry, but if you insist on sharing the power then you have to share the blame too.

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Tim Worstall dances to victory over resources scaremongerers

veti
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Re: Oi, reg! Show us some love.

If it comes to that, there's more to IT than the UK.

If Tim has time for a lecture tour, I'm sure there are thriving IT communities he could address in Monaco, Jamaica, Las Vegas, Amsterdam...

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Anakin Skywalker chased by cops, crashes podracer into tree

veti
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"Let go, Luke"

... was frankly never great advice for a pilot.

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It begins: Time Warner Cable first ISP accused of breaking America's net neutrality rules

veti
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"Peer"?

So now all ISPs have to agree to peer with any service provider who asks?

"Peer" implies a relationship between equals; ideally, upstream and downstream traffic is expected to be, to within an order of magnitude or so, roughly equal. The chances of "a streaming company" providing that sort of profile seem to me - slender.

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FCC hosts Reagan-off as it enters 21st century

veti
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Re: Republicans against it?

"What would be wrong with that" would be that the businesses concerned don't give enough money to the Republicans, in preference to the Democrats.

See, telecom utilities know which side their bread is buttered, and do the sensible thing, splashing money at both sides indiscriminately. But the internet sector has the bad taste to favour non-Republicans.

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No, Australian Small business AREN'T flunking out online

veti
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Re: 5 Areas for IT Growth

Meh, they're basically all the sectors that have money to burn. That's not the result of patient meticulous cost-benefit analysis, that's a list of rich sectors that the government is hoping to touch to stimulate the economy.

Australia's high-tech industry? is frankly negligible. Heck, New Zealand has more global players than Australia.

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Would EU exit 'stuff' the UK? Tech policy boss gets diplomatic

veti
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Re: Leaving the EU would be stupid.

I see it as:

1. CAP no longer applies to UK

2. UK farmers scream, and government promptly gives them their subsidies back. It's still cheaper than it was, because as noted, the UK is a net contributor to the CAP.

3. However, now the UK's gov't subsidies are in breach of WTO and EEA rules. The ensuing legal wrangle ensure that UK food exports are basically annihilated.

4. UK farmers scream again.

5. Most of UK farmland bought up at bargain prices by French farmers. It's the Norman invasion all over again.

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veti
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Re: Well, we're screwed then

Actually, the SNP vote in Scotland was less than 50%. (Barely less. But still "less".) So even if the general election had been the referendum, the result would still have been "no" to independence.

As it happened, the referendum had significantly higher turnout than the general election.

So statistically, it's quite possible that every single one of those SNP voters last month actually voted "yes" in the referendum.

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Sunday Times fires off copyright complaint at Snowden story critics

veti
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Re: Fight ! Fight!

The problem isn't "spin". The problem is lying. Please don't conflate the two.

Spin is when you tell the truth, but you tell it in a way that's advantageous to you. That generally means, put it in context that makes it (and you) look better. That sometimes takes a lot of imagination, which is why "spin doctoring" is a highly skilled trade, but it's not the same as lying.

Politicians telling barefaced lies and calling it "spin" just cheapens the whole thing, and that's what seems to be going on here.

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LastPass got hacked: Change your master password NOW

veti
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Re: KeePass

Yeah, that'll work, because I know so much more about system security than the people at LastPass.

Seriously: pen and paper. A pocket book of some sort. Post-It notes. Physical security is a well understood problem, we've been thinking about it all our lives for several generations now, we know when we've been breached. Digital security is not going to reach maturity in my lifetime.

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Nobel bro-ffin: 'Girls in the lab fall in love with me ... then start crying'

veti
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Re: And lo...

Thank you for a note of sanity.

If I had a buck for every comment on teh Intarwebz today that has completely, utterly and abjectly missed the point both of what he was trying to say, and simultaneously why he shouldn't have said it, at least not in the words he did... I could retire.

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Wikileaks publishes TiSA: A secret trade pact between US, Europe and others for big biz pals

veti
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Slight correction

Article 5, sadly, does not cover "spam". It covers "Unsolicited Commercial Electronic [Messages/Communications]".

Noteworthy here is the word "commercial", which is wholly redundant if you really want to stop spam: the only reason to include it is to allow for political, religious, criminal and other morons to spam as much as they like. A better word would be "Bulk".

I'm also disgusted, but not surprised, to see Australia is lobbying for a default "opt-out" spam regime, as opposed to the EU who, to their credit, are trying to mandate "opt-in".

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Latest Snowden leak: NSA can snoop internet to catch 'hackers' – no warrants needed

veti
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FAIL

Parsing the bullshit

"It should come as no surprise that the U.S. government gathers intelligence on foreign powers that attempt to penetrate US networks and steal the private information of US. citizens and companies,"

First off, what's a "foreign power" in this context? Because as I see it, the federal government employs 70,000 people in the State Department and God alone knows how many more in the CIA, who do that full time to every "foreign power", regardless of what they have or haven't been attempting to do. What exactly are you adding to the effort, and why?

Second, what's a "US network" and how do you "penetrate" one? If I type "http://www.nytimes.com/" into my browser, then I've extracted proprietary information from a computer that I'm pretty sure is physically located within the US: have I "penetrated a US network"?

Third, as I'm sure you're aware, to give US citizens within the US any greater protection than non-US citizens is unconstitutional. Read the 14th Amendment. (Incidentally, that's the same rationalisation that allows you to spy on everyone within the US: you have to be able to spy on foriegners there, and it'd be illegal for you to treat them differently based on citizenship.)

Fourth, what's a "US company"? Sony Pictures?

Fifth, in a world where people aren't supposed to use encryption, what exactly is "private information"?

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Dodgy colon bug is a total pain in the butt for Skype users today

veti
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I suspect it (like Chrome) is trying to prefetch the DNS entry associated with the URL, so that when the user does tap it, they can open it more quickly.

Presumably in this case, it sees the rogue colon, thinks "aha, a port", then either grinds to a halt thinking about it, or tries to run with an explicit NULL in a place where no-one ever thought there could be one.

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Fanbois designing Windows 10 – where's it going to end?

veti
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Re: Design by Comittee!!!

@Preston Munchensonton: they are making it a feature to toggle on or off. But there's a default option.

To criticise Microsoft, of all people, for not allowing for user choice seems about as wide of the mark as it's possible to throw, without actually tossing the missile backwards over your shoulder. There are more "user-specified options" with every version of Windows. Looking at my "Taskbar" options right now (W7), I see: "Lock the taskbar", "Auto-hide the taskbar", "Use small icons", "Taskbar location on screen", "Taskbar buttons ('Always combine, hide labels')", "Notification Area", "Preview desktop with Aero Peek". And that's just on the first tab (of three).

And then you can get (often, free) third-party extensions to add in yet more options (e.g. the start menu in Win 8). Try adding something like that to OSX, see how far you get.

Windows 8 tries to reduce the complexity, but it doesn't do it by taking options away - oh no. Nothing's gone. Nothing's ever gone gone. It's just hidden. For instance.

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Sorry we called you a fatty, say Kiwi spies to Kim 'Slim Jim' Dotcom

veti
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At least they're public

How many internal "secret" emails have you seen released by the DHS lately? Or GCHQ?

Incidentally, the link in the story seems to point to something completely unrelated.

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Queen's Speech: Snoopers' Charter RETURNS amid 'modernisation' push

veti
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Re: An appropriate quote...

Yeah, I know Nick Clegg is currently about as popular as a fart in an elevator, but he's the one who scotched this nonsense back in 2012.

Then came the media frenzy of "Lib Dems have rolled over for the Tories on everything, boot 'em out". So now here we are.

Me, I never supported the Lib Dems because of some gibberish about tuitiion fees. I was for their stance on civil liberties. But it seems that's a vanishingly small minority stance, and so it's being appropriately steamrolled.

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

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

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

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Grand Theft Auto maker lobs sueball at BBC over biopic

veti
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Law fail

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

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

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