* Posts by Mad Mike

1101 posts • joined 30 May 2007

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World's mega-rich tax dodge exposed: Meet the HSBC IT bloke at the heart of damning leak

Mad Mike
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Re: Didn't realise it was so long ago!

@Yet Another Anonymous Coward.

"But their level of evasion would have payed for teachers, nurses, etc

Your level of evasion would only have paid for an MP's lunch"

I don't disagree with your summary, but does that make it a worse crime? I'm asking a question and not postulating an answer. I'm asking people to consider if the severity of the crime is proportionate to the percentage you've evaded, or the absolute amount. I can see arguments both ways, but often with tax evasion, it seems people with a lot of money and who have evaded the most in absolute measure, but not necessarily by percentage, are massively pilloried compared to those who evade a large percentage, but smaller absolute amount.

Take for example a builder. He agrees to do some jobs tax in hand. He evades £5k in tax, but still pays £20k in total. Then, take a millionaire. He should have paid £400k in tax, but actually managed to evade £10k. Which is the bigger criminal? If they actually evaded the same amount (both £5k), do you not think the millionaire would get a much worse time of it and be more pilloried in the press? Is that fair?

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Mad Mike
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Re: Politcally created issue

@Roland6.

You're quite right, but confusing different things. In some cases, HMRC was asked to rule on the legality of some financial instrument and gave an opinion on the basis of the information they were given. Now, if this information proves to be false or the instrument isn't run in the manner described, then they can retrospectively withdraw their opinion (and therefore make you very open to legal action) due to the deviation between the two. This has always been the case.

However, HMRC and the government have to obey the law just as much (said laughingly) as anyone else and therefore can't just make up their minds what is and is not allowed on a whim. There has to be a law that says it isn't allowed. HMRC are merely being asked to interpret the law from their perspective and give an opinion. If you disagree with their opinion, you can still do it and it is up to HMRC to take you to court and get a judge to agree with their opinion and not yours. Now, for obvious reasons, the judge normally sides with HMRC, although there have been cases where this hasn't happened.

In the past, there was no law that said avoidance was illegal. Even if the sole purpose of the instrument was to avoid tax, it was still legal and this is what many accountants would play professional oneupmanship on. Who could come up with the cleverest way to stay within the law, whilst minimising tax. The law change has effectively said that unless you can prove the instrument exists for reasons other than tax avoidance, it is illegal, which is a wholesale change.

So, ALL ISAs are illegal in every way. They are setup with the sole intention of avoiding the payment of income tax on the interest earned. The difference is that government has said they like them and they're OK, so HMRC are ignoring it. However, a loan from a company that you never intend to repay (a common occurrence in the past and I believe similar to what Jimmy Carr was doing) has gone from legal to illegal!! Both are purely trying to evade income tax. One is legal, one is not. How come?

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Mad Mike
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@Richard Taylor 2

'I don't believe anything in Swiss law makes it compulsory to aggressively push tax evasion services and hide money from taxation authorities around the world. Now the spirit of Swiss laws is another thing.'

I think you're asking the wrong question. It should be; is there anything in Swiss law that makes it illegal to aggressively push tax evasion services (where it happens in another country)'? Now, I'm pretty sure the answer is no. I'd be pretty certain it isn't even illegal if the evasion occurs in Switzerland, as I suspect the law makes the person giving the return the perpetrator rather than their bank. However, that is irrelevant.

Therefore, in Switzerland, HSBC have not broken any laws. The only person who has broken any laws is the man who stole all the data!! Don't forget that it isn't illegal to incite someone to commit most offences (some like riot are). Even in the UK, I could incite you to file a false tax return, but I wouldn't be committing an offence as it is actually you (the filer) who has committed the offence, as the tax return itself states!! Indeed, one of the jokes about accountants is that when they make a mistake, the person whose finances they've messed up is found guilty and he has to seek redress from the accountant under civil negligence laws........

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Mad Mike
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Re: I'm way too poor to avoid tax @LucreLout

@Roy Blake.

Sounds like a perfect accountant to me. I've never been able to understand how accountants work out good will and such like in business accounts. Seems to be a means of adjusting profit up or down according to what you want the accounts to say. This sort of maths seems pretty par for the course with accountants.

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Mad Mike
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Re: I'm way too poor to avoid tax @LucreLout

@d3vy.

'No he is not confusing it, tax avoidance is avoiding tax, your earnings are declared but your tax liability is reduced, hmrc know that my gross income is x and I should be taxed x*.40 but because there are plenty of LEGAL ways to avoid tax they they actually tax me ((x-y)*.40) where y is my pension, cycle to work bike, student loan payment etc.

Evasion would be me earning 40k and declaring 20k pocketing the 30k difference.'

In Britain at least, this is simply not true anymore. There are ways of avoiding tax that are perfectly legal in every way except being a construct whose sole reason is avoiding tax. This was the legislation change (which is completely open ended and open to interpretation) that the coalition have put into place. Basically, it says that if the government/HMRC approve of it, it's OK, but otherwise it isn't. The new law says that any financial arrangement created solely to avoid (note the word avoid, not evade) tax is now classed as evasion. So, what about an ISA? The sole reason for an ISAs existence is to avoid income tax on the interest. Therefore, according to the new law, they are actually illegal. Anyone know of someone prosecuted for it? No. Why? Because it's approved of by the government/HMRC.

The new law is a completely opened ended farce, which is open to huge amounts of abuse. An accountants job is (in part) to minimise your tax liability, but with a law like that, it is very difficult to work out what is, and what is not legal. There is no longer a line, but a blurry non-mans land.

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Mad Mike
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Re: Didn't realise it was so long ago!

@F0ul.

I do find a lot of the pompous outrage in the press and amongst people quite funny. Most people (probably all) evade tax on some occasions. Completing some transactions in cash is simply one good example. People pretend that it isn't their fault as whether the person declares it or not is up to them, but in reality, they know and are complicit in what is occurring.

Whilst the tax evaded is large in some cases, the morality of it is surely a question of relativity. If you should have paid £2,000 in tax, but actually paid £1,800 (£200 tax loss), is that any better or worse than someone who should have paid £200,000 paying £180,000? The level of evasion (in percentage terms) is actually the same. However, the second will almost certainly attract far more criticism than the first. Is that fair?

Whilst I've always believed people should pay their fair share and accept the country can't function without tax and understand what they get back for it, those who do all the complaining are probably just as guilty of evading tax on occasion. Almost nobody is genuinely free of some culpability at some level.

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Mad Mike
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Re: Politcally created issue

@Tom 7.

Jimmy Carr is but one example and there are many, many more. Why one is pilloried and others are not is probably more due to the public perception and newspapers bent. Gary Barlow always has seemed a bit of a 'golden boy', whereas Jimmy Carr has always been a bit near the edge and told jokes in dubious taste etc. Does that make him more of a target? Maybe, maybe not. Does one give to the Tory party and the other not? Don't know.

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Mad Mike
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Politcally created issue

Not sure about other countries, but the UK has created this problem all by itself by implementing some very dodgy laws. Originally, tax evasion was illegal and tax avoidance was legal. You could do anything you liked to avoid tax using allowances, companies etc.etc. and it was all perfectly legal, even if its sole purpose was to avoid tax.

Now, the coalition has implemented legislation that says anything implemented with the sole intention of avoiding tax (note the word avoid), actually becomes tax evasion (again, note the word evasion). So now, financial constructs have to have a reason other than tax avoidance for their existence. Of course, the presence of products such as pensions and ISAs etc., whose sole purpose is to avoid tax and they approve of, doesn't strike them as a little odd. After all, why would you put money into an ISA rather than a normal savings account if it weren't for the tax free nature? So, this law basically makes it evasion to use any financial instrument not approved of by government, which of course, changes with the wind!!

Not only did they do that, but they also made the law retrospective, a practice that has become more common over the last decade or so, but used to be never done. I believe Tony Blair implemented the first such law. This means that even if the financial construct you used WAS legal at the time, at a later date it can be declared ILLEGAL and you can be fined/prosecuted etc. for using it!!

As a for instance. Jimmy Carr and his investment antics. The mechanism he used at the time it was created was perfectly LEGAL. Immoral maybe, but legal. It is only this law that has made that type of financial arrangement illegal and because the law allows backdating, it became not just ILLEGAL from that moment on, but since it was created!! Now, I'm not defending what Jimmy Carr did and it may well have been immoral, but there is a big difference between immoral and illegal. After all, can anyone honestly say they have never avoided tax (cash in hand etc.etc.). I suspect almost nobody can claim to be totally free of guilt.

So, what's the difference? Maybe it's simply down to the level of avoidance? A few quid, that's fine, but thousands (or maybe tens of thousands) and it becomes wrong? I don't know. But financial instruments that were perfectly legal at the time they were created and for many years since are now being declared illegal and people being chased for tax on them. Whilst one can argue about the morality argument, it does seem perverse to find someone guilty of an offense before it even became an offense!!

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GCHQ, police to team up to hunt down child abuse on the darknet

Mad Mike
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Scope and Definition Creep

The issue here is not the stated reason, but the potential for scope and definition creep. Protecting children is of course very important and never wrong. However, how long will it be before 'darknet' becomes any technology they don't like? How long until it isn't just child abuse material, but material politicians simply don't like.

When dealing with politicians and surveillance organisations, it's always what isn't mentioned you need to worry about, rather than what is.......

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Ubuntu's shiny 10th birthday Unicorn: An upgrade fantasy

Mad Mike
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Re: Meh!

"Where is all that money going to come from? Linux users are notorious freetards and don't even want to pay for their morning Coffee's."

Mmmmm. Nothing like insulting a load of people. Maybe Linux users simply like freedom and quality rather than being hemmed in my Windows? Maybe they like an OS that runs and runs well on older/slower hardware? I think jumping from free OS to free everything is rather a leap without additional evidence.

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Ellison: Sparc M7 is Oracle's most important silicon EVER

Mad Mike
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Re: Boastful bravado

Mmmmmm.

This is interesting as the chip seems much more like a Sparc T than a Sparc M. Guess they're either getting confused or mashing the lines together. Either way, they realised a while ago that 64MB of L3 for 32 cores is way too low for a big database machine and more like the ratios seen in the Sparc Ts, which then got a core drop to increase this ratio for Sparc Ms!! Having had experience of Sparc Ts running certain workloads, I can certainly say you have to be very careful with them as single thread performance really sucks. Critical thread helps, but then you loose a lot of supposed 'benefit', so go figure.

He also likes boasting about facilities that other manufacturers have had for years. As has previously been said, Power has had memory compression for years and has also had memory keying, which is similar to his memory protection. Overall seems like an awful lot of hot air and random boasting about anything and everything.

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US Copyright Office rules that monkeys CAN'T claim copyright over their selfies

Mad Mike
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Re: Too Late Now

Or maybe the picture isn't of the monkey who took it. The monkey that pressed the button could always have been pointing it at another monkey..............

In which case, the monkey should own copyright as clearly it has composed the photo etc. just as much as any photographer.

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Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7

Mad Mike
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Re: POWER8 disappoints

@MadMike

I have done comparisons between Oracle Mx and Tx chips and IBM Power x chips. I've also looked at the server design and resilience etc.etc. Been doing it for a while. Oracle chips do well in benchmarks, but it simply doesn't work through to reality, except for some limited applications. If you want to run huge instances (one of the reasons why Oracle push Solaris containers rather than LDOMs) doing a single workload (such as a huge BI machine), you might be able to make use of the performance. However, if you want to do more normal workload (such as OLTP), using a lot of partitions (or LDOMs), performance falls away rapidly. Cache size is one reason, but there are others. Using a lot of LDOMs, containers (to a lesser extent) and really working the threads up (again to a lesser extent) causes cache thrasing as the cache simply isn't big enough for the speed of the cores. Power chips have far fewer problems in this area and have much larger cache sizes which is one of the reasons.

If you want to run large numbers of partitions (or LDOMs) or generally anything that switches between threads etc. a lot, the Power chips do much better in real life. Yes, the benchmark figures are good, but don't translate into real life performance under many circumstances. We, run Power servers with VP to PP ratios of up to 10 to 1 with really good performance. Tx and Mx chips simply won't do this. It's been a well known problem since the beginning of these chip lines. The Mx chips lost cores in order to increase the cache amount for each core specifically to try and address this problem. And it worked, to a point.

The M7 chip design looks more like a T7 design, primarily due to the very large core count and low cache quantities per core. If it had been launched as a T7, I would not have been surprised at all and would have expected to see a M7 launched slightly later with fewer cores and bigger cache per core. But, that isn't what Oracle have done.

Also, have a look at the server designs and their resilience etc. You find an interesting story. I was very surprised to find out some time ago that a T3-2 server would DELIBERATELY reboot itself if a socket failed!! That's not resilience. This was to reconfigure all the I/O onto the remaining socket. However, if you design the implementation correctly, all I/O would be mirrored across the two sockets anyway, so I/O would be maintained. It actually rather seems like Oracle are putting resilience more into their software stack and not their hardware. In the event of a hardware fault, they expect to loose the hardware and simply failover to another instance through software.

The above is one solution to a problem, but it should always bee borne in mind that software is normally the least reliable part of the stack and therefore deliberately using that for resilience is arguably not the best. As a last resort, fine, but hardware surviving faults is a good starting point first.

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Mad Mike
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Re: POWER8 disappoints

Interesting. Why is someone using a userid almost identical to mine and posting stuff like this? Presumably, trying to pass themselves off as me. Of course, what the post fails to identify is that benchmarks are one thing, but real life performance is another. Yes, lots of companies like to compete on benchmarks (although only recently with Sun/Oracle), but they are really artificial. It's also interesting that the poster believes making the biggest (as in processors/cores etc.) is all that matters. The vast majority of the market simply doesn't want servers of this size, so it's largely irrelevant.

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Mad Mike
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Re: This explains IBM's $3 billion systems invest FUD

@Roo.

"Even if you ignore the L4 cache, the M7's caching scheme is in fact a step backwards for people who value single-thread performance."

Not just single-thread performance, but multi-thread as well. One of the primary uses of large caches is to avoid cache thrashing in the event of many threads (or partitions) hitting the same core over time and causing cache to be constantly refreshed from memory. The greater the multi-threading and the greater the partitioning, the more cache you need.

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Mad Mike
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Re: This explains IBM's $3 billion systems invest FUD

@Captain Server Pants.

Interestingly, it's not as clear cut as you say, depending on exactly what is working and what is not on the chip. If you only have say half the cores, but all the cache is working, that will help quite a lot. If some of the cache isn't working, that's not so good!! It just depends on what has failed. Not sure why you're picking on IBM for this either as just about everybody does it. AMD, Intel etc. have done it in the past. Indeed, in earlier incarnations of the T chips, Oracle/Sun used to sell processors with less than the normal number of cores. Now, I'm not saying if they were simply deactivated, or failed, I don't know. However, it's likely at least some were failed. At this sort of density, you're always going to get some failures and selling them at the lower end is quite a reasonable way of utilising them.

As you have said, all the current IBM Power 8 servers use 2 chip modules, but they are all the lower end servers and this has been the case for years. It's only when you go up the server line that you get the full chips being used. This is for very good reason. Firstly, it uses the 'slightly' faulty chips and also allows manufacturing issues to be ironed out early. That's why they launch the low end first.

Regardless of the rights and wrongs of how it's done, the proof is in the pudding and the performance per buck. If making it a 6 + 6 gives better performance per buck, then that's just fine.

P.S.

I strongly suspect that if Oracle attempt to manufacture the Sparc chip as mentioned, we'll see lower end systems with less than the full core count 'activated'. Attempting top manufacture chips at this density and core count (not to mention accelerators etc.) and some failures will occur. You either throw them away and absorb the cost, or do something else with them in the low end!!

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Mad Mike
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Re: Multi-core

@eldakka.

Very true to an extent, but there are plenty of systems which are heavily single (or low numbers of) threaded in existence today. Parallelism is coming more and more, but isn't fully there yet. Also, just because something is parallel doesn't mean it doesn't care about latency and other issues that parallelism can cause. Also, don't forget that some things are naturally parallel, such as OLTP systems. However, other workload is naturally not parallel and trying to turn it parallel causes (in some cases) a very significant overhead. It's getting better all the time, but parallelism isn't the answer to everything and causes it's own problems as well.

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Mad Mike
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Re: This explains IBM's $3 billion systems invest FUD

As has always been said; it's the whole path you need to consider. Getting cores faster is no good unless you can keep the data coming in faster as well. Faster memory, faster I/O, faster interconnects etc.etc. There's plenty of innovation going on all over the place.Cache sizes are way bigger on Power chips at the moment and they've opened up with architecture as well. Inviting other companies to create accelerators and the like that sit directly on processor interconnects etc.

Oracle are heading down the 'accelerator in silicon' route much faster than others.Not that others haven't done it, but it seems to be a much higher priority drive at Oracle. You can see the attraction. Their hardware is perfectly tuned to their software and gets advantages other hardware can't give. At the same time, they refuse to code their software to use accelerators etc. present in other brands of hardware. All about locking and from Oracles perspective is a win-win. However, it is only their version of Sparc they can do it with and their Intel/AMD deployments won't enjoy the same advantages, unless they can persuade Intel/AMD to play ball with them :-)

As to Itanium.................it rather seems to have fallen off the coupon...

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Mad Mike
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Re: Nice! -- NOT!

"One example is the similarity the M7 has to the Rock processor cancelled in 2009/2010. Rock was a 16 core CPU design made up of 4 clusters of 4 cores each. Very similar to the M7 which has 8 clusters of 4 cores each - coincidence? Hmmm!"

There's not necessarily any issue with using ideas from the past, brought up to speed with the latest technology. However, the design of this chip demonstrates one of the biggest problems for designers these days......interconnects. Any to any interconnects are always going to be best, but as the number of endpoints rises, become impractical. So, interconnect technology is likely to become one of the biggest drivers of processor/core speed. Used to be seen as mostly a problem in big (such as Power, Integrity etc.) servers with many processors, but as core numbers increase, is even becoming a problem between cores.

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Mad Mike
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Re: Nice!

Ah, liquid cooling!! Back to the old days.........

Not sure how much liquid cooling can help though. As the die gets bigger (and even at this density, it's going to be pretty big), it becomes very difficult to get the heat from the center of the chip. I've often wondered whether they'll start producing chips that have cooling channels through them rather than just around (or on top) of them. That would help a lot, but is fraught with difficulties. Might even allow them to cool (as in chill) the chip as well, with a suitable refrigerant.

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Mad Mike
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Re: Cache size

If, as said here, they're merging the T and M chips, I wonder if they'll offer sub-capacity offerings with less than 32 cores? Maybe reuse some of the chips with failed cores? Starting a server range at a single processor with 32 cores (and presumably an appropriate cost) is not really that viable and could loose a lot of good business. Unless, of course, they're only interested in people who want single boxes that size and bigger? Maybe push smaller users onto x86. One of the 'benefits' of the smaller T-series servers was that a small one could be purchased quite cheaply. I assume a single processor M7 server won't be that cheap?

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Mad Mike
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Re: Nice!

"Who knows what the wafer size is, but cooling something like that is going to be a challenge. Even with die shrinks and lower voltages, it's going to consume a lot of power and all that heat has to be drawn away somewhere."

I really wonder sometimes. How does a comment about trying to cool something like this get a thumbs down? Power and cooling is one of the biggest issues processor designers have to face!!

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Mad Mike
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Re: Nice!

Who knows what the wafer size is, but cooling something like that is going to be a challenge. Even with die shrinks and lower voltages, it's going to consume a lot of power and all that heat has to be drawn away somewhere.

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Mad Mike
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Re: Cache size

It's an interesting move. Given the way they released T processors before and then reduced core count to produce a M processor. Are they not going to produce M and T versions of this one? If they are, the T version should have something like double the cores!!

As to the latency being hidden by threading......one of the primary purposes of the caching is to prevent cache thrashing when running lots of threads, so the threading should make it even worse!! The early T chips showed that admirably.

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Mad Mike
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Cache size

Does anybody else think that 64MB of cache seems tiny for 32 cores and 8 threads a core?

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London cops cuff 20-year-old man for unblocking blocked websites

Mad Mike
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Re: Bail

@AC

"You don't have to be charged to be released on bail, the poilce can suspect you, confiscate equipment and question you."

True, but they have to suspect you of some crime. So, what is the crime they suspect him of?

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Mad Mike
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Re: What law has been broken.

@Alan.

"You can't be arrested for a non-crime, or for a civil matter unless you've broken a court order (in which case it's a contempt of court charge) .

Note that the actual charges proferred have not been stated and in all liklihood they never will be, because they woulfn't stand up in court."

I totally agree this should be the case, but as they have arrested the man in question, this would not seem to be true. After all, to arrest someone it has to be 'on suspicion of ..................'. So, what is the last bit? Otherwise, surely this is false imprisonment?

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Mad Mike
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Re: What law has been broken.

"You can't - Copyright isn't a document or some other tangible object that you have lying around anywhere therefore it is impossible to steal Copyright. Copyright violation... well that's quite a different matter but doesn't make for the right sounding propaganda."

Now, I'm all for FACT being violated. If they filmed it, I would even pay to watch it rather than download a pirated version!!

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Mad Mike
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Re: even if he did...

Ah, but has he tried to usurp the law in question? I think not. The law says an ISP must block these sites and they are still doing so. Therefore, no usurping of the law. The law does not say you can't see the sites, just that the ISPs must block them. So, being a non-ISP, what's he done wrong?

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African samba queen: Don't cut off pirates' net connections – cut off their FINGERS

Mad Mike
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Painful music

Perhaps cutting their ears off would be a more appropriate punishment. I assume they would only be caught a couple of times to render further pirating pointless. Unless, of course, they like feeling the vibrations........

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

Mad Mike
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Re: EVER NOTICE ...

"They aren't 'terrorists' they are Freedom Fighters."

Depends which side of the fence you sit. To those in eastern Ukraine, they're freedom fighters. To those in west Ukraine, they're terrorists. To the rest of the world, it's based on whether you like Russia at the time!!

The downing of the airliner looks like a terrible mistake. They didn't intend to do it. So, is it an unfortunate mistake by 'freedom fighters', or a terrorist atrocity? Depends on your viewpoint and who you support in that conflict. It's certainly true that an elected government was overthrown. Is the fact that the population could do that evidence that it was correct and the government needed to go or not? Isn't then helped by lots of other countries getting involved and interfering.

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Mad Mike
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Re: As Mad Mike says.

@Cynic56.

I think he means obvious to him. As both he and I have said.....it's a question of perspective and each individuals beliefs. I don't agree with everything he says, but that's his perspective on things. Right and wrong are not absolute. Something can be both to different people and that's part of the problem. It would be much easier if that weren't the case.

In times of yore, armies would meet on a battlefield, slug it out and a winner would (generally) emerge. Civilian casualties were light during the battle, but sometimes very bad afterwards as the winners went on the rampage, maybe as revenge. The beginning of the 20th century saw the turning point. Partly due to the weapons then becoming available and a change of belief, civilians became valid military targets. In a lot of way this makes sense. In a war, is there really a civilian? The populations of both Germany and Britain (and others) were making the weapons used by the soldiers. Doesn't that make them part of the supply chain and therefore part of the greater army. After all, if you degrade the ability of the army to get weapons, doesn't that help you? Are the farmers not providing the food for the army and 'civilians' making the weapons?

The line between civilians and military is well and truly blurred now and arguably during conflicts doesn't really exist. This was definitely so during WWII, so the mass bombing of Dresden (and other places such as Tokyo) arguably degraded their military through degrading their support structure. Does that jusitfy it? I'm not attempting to answer any of these questions, as its a very personal opinion, but it isn't anywhere near as simple a thought process as people try to make it. It's far more complicated than the straight yes/no answers the official accounts tend to give.

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Mad Mike
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Re: When did Britain lose its way?

@AC

"No, no he wasn't...also you need serious help if you really think that!"

I wasn't saying I believed that. I was simply pointing out that its a matter of perspective. Hitler was ELECTED. Now, some might question whether a degree of force was involved (brownshirts etc.), but he was elected. So, a good many people must have agreed with him and supported him and its widely agreed by historians that actually a lot of Germans supported him as he gave them a way out. So, clearly a large number of people, at least initially, thought he was 'freeing' Germany.

"No it doesn't it depends on whether you support the mass genocide of an entire race of people in an attempt to get the world to dance to your drum beat."

What a crass statement. Firstly, when Hitler was elected, the genocide was really something of the future and his hatred of the Jews (and others, which you seem to have forgotton) was not as extreme or as widely known. He also used the Jews as the reason for all Germanys troubles and a lot of the population agreed. Secondly, many, many countries have either carried out or attempted to carry out genocides. Not least amongst these is the USA of their native population. In fact, I would wager that if you go back in time, most countries have carried out a genocide or two, so stop thinking Hitler was particularly unique in this. Also, the sending of the New Model Army under Oliver Cromwell to Ireland could well be classed as this as well.

You also need to understand why he killed the races and groupings he did. Did he really believe that murdering them all would suddenly make the world 'dance to his drum beat'? I think not. At least one of the reasons was to find a common enemy for Germans to unite against. Germany was ravaged by internal fighting between the wars and used the Jews as a target for all their frustrations etc. and as a means of unifying the Germans behind him. Been done many times in history. Bearing in mind he tried very hard to hide the slaughter, he wasn't really using it to try and make the world do what he said.

What I'm trying to do is get people to think rather than knee jerk. Think about it from all perspectives rather than just the official history we're given, which is selective to say the least. Germany was in all sorts of troubles after WWI and a large part of that was the reparations it was forced to pay. Was that right? Official history in the UK says yes, but the Germans certainly didn't believe that. It's also interesting that after WWII, no reparations were forced, so maybe politicians had learnt something? It's pretty much agreed that reparations was one of the major reasons for the rise of Hitler and WWII, as it gave Germany nothing to loose in having another go!!

Your viewpoint is that these things were all bad and I don't disagree, but at the time, many would disagree with you. Do bear in mind as well, that Britain (and the allies) had plenty of evidence of the holocaust for some considerable time before it was acknowledged and arguably even tried to keep it quiet.

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Mad Mike
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Joke

Re: @LucreLout

@Lamont Cranston

"It'd be a terribly twee "revolutionary struggle" that never involved any "unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation"."

Sounds like LucreLouts 'freedom fighters' are actually just politicians. As they can't use violence, the politicial process is the only thing they can use!! I really don't like the idea of people like Cameron, Milliband and Clegg being thought of as freedom fighters.

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Mad Mike
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Re: I have argued for many years

@LucreLout

""Freedom fighters are simply people who commit terrorist acts, but you happen to agree with (or at least disagree with their opponents), whereas terrorists are those you don't agree with. It's about how it looks from your point of view."

If that statement isn't peak stupid, we're doomed."

By the thumbs up and down, I would say the statement is 'peak stupid'. Alternatively, the intelligent mind questions its conclusion based on the evidence before it.

" erm, no. South Africa calls Mandella a terrorist. He committed acts of terrorism. He was tried for terrorism. Convicted of terrorism. And imprisoned for terrorism. However much he may have felt his cause was just, he was still a terrorist. To his credit, he never denied being such."

Well, what a surprise. According to the 'tyranny' he was fighting, he's a terrorist. Think that actually proves my point as large areas of the world who opposed the apartheid regime called him a freedom fighter!! It's hardly surprising that the judiciary and legal system created by his opponents call him a terrorist.

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Mad Mike
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Re: When did Britain lose its way?

Yes, knowing that it was Hitler dropping all those bombs must have made it so much better than a terrorist doing it!!

Anyway, wasn't Hitler just a freedom fighter, freeing Germany from the unfair terms of the reparations claimed after WWI? Just depends on your viewpoint!! In Germany at the time, they believed they had been very badly treated after WWI and were suffering horribly as a result. Rampant inflation etc.etc., people dying of starvation etc. Hitler offered a way out. So, a lot of them took it. Were the conditions imposed on Germany tyrannical? Discuss.

The allies actually learnt something from this, which is why Germany was rebuilt after WWII and did not have to pay reparations.

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Mad Mike
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Re: I have argued for many years

@LucreLout

"The majority of blockades affecting Paestinians are not Israeli, they are put in place by other arab/muslim nations because they don't want the Palestinians migrating to their nation - largely due to racism on their part."

Ah, now I happen to agree with you somewhat. Egypt has a border with Gaza (for instance) that is very heavily controlled. If the Egyptians wanted to help the poor, downtrodden and abused Palestinians, surely opening that would help? Maybe, but it could also lead to an exodus, so they keep it well controlled. Egypt has also made a peace deal with Israel and to keep Israel onside tries to keep weapons out of Gaza as they normally end up being fired at Israel, prompting a backlash.

I remember an incident in the Kuwait just after the first gulf war, where a Palestinian was stabbed by a Kuwaiti. He was arrested (he protested much), but was released next day with no charges. Why? As the arrested man said........"But, he's only a Palestinian!!" The dead persons offence? To be in front of the Kuwaiti in a queue in a bank and refusing to stand aside!!

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Mad Mike
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Re: I have argued for many years

@LucreLout

"Freedom fighters attack only military targets, terroists attack civilians. It's extremely clear cut."

Absolute rubbish. From dictionary.com

freedom fighter

noun

a fighter for freedom, especially a person who battles against established forces of tyranny and dictatorship.

Nothing about attacking military targets here. This is simply your definition of what you would like a 'freedom fighter' to be.

You call Mandella a terrorist, but didn't he fight against tyranny against coloured people?

Freedom fighters are simply people who commit terrorist acts, but you happen to agree with (or at least disagree with their opponents), whereas terrorists are those you don't agree with. It's about how it looks from your point of view.

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Mad Mike
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Re: I have argued for many years

The problem they constantly try to get around is the thorny subject of intent. Possession of material likely to help a terrorist could be absolutely anything. Anybody got any fertiliser? That's bomb making material that!! The issue they need to deal with is proving intent. The whole problem and issue is around intent. Just about everyone has material that COULD help a terrorist. The issue is whether they INTEND to.

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Mad Mike
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Re: I have argued for many years

This is particularly true when you consider that one mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter. Murder is easy to define, but terrorism is not as it depends on your viewpoint. A terrorist murder is simply a murder by someone you don't agree with!!

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MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws

Mad Mike
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Re: Possibly Illegal Law

Do you really think politicians care about legal and illegal? You may have noticed a relatively recent (about 10-15 years) change towards laws which are retrospective. A lot of this was initially around financial matters, but it has expanded into other areas as well. It was always considered wrong to implement retrospective laws as the person being prosecuted couldn't possibly know it would become illegal at the time of the 'crime'. When this first such law occurred was a game changer, as it basically gave MPs the ability to make their past crimes legal and make anyone a criminal at any time for past actions.

A good example of this is the law around tax avoidance. Tax schemes that were perfectly legal (avoidance) were suddenly made illegal and the impact went back as far as HMRC wanted. So, people setup what were perfectly legal tax avoidance schemes in the past that have now been declared illegal and that illegality (and therefore punishment....fine, repay tax etc.) goes back to the start of the arrangement if desired. This is even though the law that made it illegal only came in later!!

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Mad Mike
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Re: So...

Neither politicians, nor GCHQ or anyone else wants this information leaked. After all, it's why government does exactly what GCHQ, MI5 etc. tell them to do. Anyone who tries to go their own way will soon have their records released (or what is claimed to be their records), demonstrating their 'interesting' hobbies.

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Mad Mike
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Re: unsurprised, but ...really?

"A nice crisp definition of "Western democracy". As long as it's called democracy, though, you do retain responsibility for it - all of it. Nice setup, eh?"

Not really. I mean you don't call those farces every 5 years a vote do you? There's a limited number of parties you can vote for that have any chance of making a difference. All these parties are pretty similar (see this law for instance) and all populated by greedy, self-serving leaders and their sycophants. So, do I really have a choice? I haven't voted in years, as it doesn't make a difference and is pointless. There's nobody who had policies I want and they don't do what they say when in power anyway. Same for all the major parties.

So, I don't really believe we live in a democracy. After all, you can call us a democracy all you like, but it doesn't make it true.

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Seventh-gen SPARC silicon will accelerate Oracle databases

Mad Mike
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Re: Resiliency Model

PS @Stretch.

I do appreciate that I'm talking about the server and not the processor directly, but bear in mind the attributes of the server are often at least partially driven from the processor. So features and limitations in the CPU (SPARC) design could well be causing some of the lack of resilience I have talked about. I'm still diving into it with Oracle and don't have full details, but some of the resiliency issues I'm investigating seem to be related to the PCI bus design, which is very CPU related.

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Mad Mike
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Re: Resiliency Model

@Phil O'Sophical.

I do agree to a point. Not everything requires that very high level of resilience. However, as you rightly point out, most downtime is due to human and software errors. So, for those solutions requiring high levels of resilience, the last thing you want to rely when a hardware fault occurs, is software!! You're relying on one of the lowest reliability components to provide said resilience.

Anyone who has had any experience with clustered database systems will know how often the clustering doesn't work as expected or planned.

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Mad Mike
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Re: Are these the SPARC or the T processors

@Fenton.

This is exactly surprising and has been known for some time. Essentially, the cache per core/CPU is nowhere near as big as competing processors. This leads to issues with cache flushing etc. when switching between threads and more memory access and therefore lower throughput. If you look at the Sparc M chips, they have higher cache levels at the expense of fewer cores.

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Mad Mike
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Re: Resiliency Model

@Stretch.

Care to elaborate? Why does a comment about Sparc servers have nothing to do with Sparc processors. I'm confused.

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Mad Mike
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Resiliency Model

Before investing in any Sparc servers, I would suggest people look at the resiliency model and exactly what happens on certain failures. You might be surprised (just had my replies back from Oracle!!). What appears to be a resilient server looks like it relies quite heavily on the application configuration (i.e. Oracle RAC etc.) to achieve resiliency, rather than making sure the server can take failures.

I was genuinely shocked to hear what is considered acceptable for component failure according to Oracle.

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UK gov rushes through emergency law on data retention

Mad Mike
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Re: Can someone explain ...

@Titus Technophobe.

"Yes and no. My original explanation was lacking. What happened was that in the 1980s and 90s the security services had the capability to look at telecommunications metadata. With the emergence of the internet that capability was lost.

Much of RIPA and PATRIOT is extending the security services original capabilities for telecommunications traffic to include internet based communications."

Not true. The security services have been intercepting both metadata and the content of telecommunications for years, well over a decade. Today, they're doing the internet pretty wholesale as well and trying to get more and more as time goes on. The difference now is that they are being open about it, rather than covert as before. This changes the evidential status.

If you think RIPA and the PATRIOT act are about telecommunications only, or even mostly, you really need to read them. They go way further than that.

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Mad Mike
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Re: Can someone explain ...

@Titus Technophobe.

"The main set of information reported as missing around 911 and 7/7 by the security services was the communications traffic from the internet. Much of RIPA or indeed the PATRIOT act seems to be intelligence services increasing the capability onto the internet very much in line with other telecommunications."

Ah. This is what they said, but is now known to be disinformation. A certain man named Snowdon (amongst others) has made it clear they did have the communications traffic and in fact, the content as well as the metadata!! So, this was actually the security services using an untrue excuse for missing them and turning that into a means of openly keeping this information rather than doing it on the sly.

In essence this has been acknowledged for years in some ways. The US Navy has a submarine specifically equipped for tapping undersea fibre optic cables.....USS Jimmy Carter. There were other subs before her as well. So, we need to realise the complaints from the security services around not being able to intercept communications are simply misinformation and not true.

"I too have been in the situation in mainline London stations ... but bear in mind at the time security services were intercepting communications and so on. How many more of IRA campaigns would have succeeded if these communications were not intercepted?"

Earlier you said the security services weren't intercepting the communications!! Here you seem to be accepting that the security services have been intercepting terrorist communications.

The reality is that this will give the security services no more information than they've had for years, maybe decades. The difference now is that because it is done openly rather than clandestine, it can be admitted in courts etc.

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