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* Posts by Steven Roper

1378 posts • joined 10 May 2011

Bottomless, unsatisfied Xbox widow cuffed after boyf flees nookie

Steven Roper
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Re: What's the problem?

Sounds like fucking sexual assault to me.

As someone who was assaulted in that manner way back in high school, I can tell you that having your balls grabbed and twisted like that IS REALLY FUCKING PAINFUL. Then add the ignominy of being subsequently punished and ridiculed for attempting to defend myself against the female offenders in question.

Maybe you'd like me to make some jokes about your other half being raped? I didn't fucking think so.

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Starlight-sifting boffins can now spot ALIEN LIFE LIGHT YEARS AWAY

Steven Roper
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Stop

Re: No. No. No. No.

You're right, of course, I do know about the differential passage of time in different locations, due to gravity.

That's why I specified at some point in time. At some point in time, everywhere in the universe will pass through a moment of t seconds since the Big Bang where t is the number of seconds that has elapsed since the Big Bang here on Earth right now. For us that time t in a different planet in a different galaxy may be a million years ago, or a million years in the future, but at some point in time that planet will pass through t seconds since the Big Bang. Sooner or later, everywhere in the universe will. That is your benchmark for interstellar travel.

Follow my reasoning now?

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Steven Roper
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Mushroom

All these people saying FTL is impossible

I'm getting really tired of all these offhand dismissals of any possibility of real-time interstellar travel. If we listened to every naysayer who said "that can't be done" we'd still be living in caves hunting wild pigs and being eaten by leopards.

I know that the difficulties imposed by relativity and physics seem insuperable now, but so did going to the moon 100 years ago, and so did flying for thousands of years before that. If we give up now, if we toss in the towel and say "relativity means there will NEVER be FTL travel and that's that, end of discussion", then our civilisation deserves to die. Because we will have turned our backs on every principle that has brought us to where we are.

Consider this: there IS a concept of absolute time, regardless of the relativity of time and space. The one absolute clock, applicable everywhere in the Universe, is seconds elapsed since the Big Bang. At some point in time, on the planets orbiting Alpha Centauri, it is the same number of seconds since the Big Bang as it is here right now. We might not see that moment for another 4.5 years, but it's happening now, or has happened, or will happen. So if FTL is possible, say with an Alcubierre drive or some other functional equivalent, and if the ship does go back in time as a result, then it could be put in stasis (brought as close to 0 Kelvin as possible) and released when the number of seconds since the Big Bang reaches the same as when it left Earth. Thus, zero effective time has passed, both for Earth and for the ship. Repeat again on the return journey, and what you have is essentially instantaneous interstellar travel, for both Earth and ship.

Look, I'm no boffin, and there's likely countless flaws with my ideas that could be brought up. But if we give up, if we just throw our hands in the air and say "that can't be done, because Einstein...", then we have abrogated our right to be called intelligent, and we may as well start heading back for the caves right now.

I will leave you with the words of the great poet Tennyson:

We are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

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Samsung Galaxy S 4: A slim stripper with palms hovering over its body

Steven Roper
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@Ali on the Reg

Yes, please do keep the tiresome political correctness coming. It is very funny and doesn't make you sound sanctimonious or judgmental.

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Steven Roper
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Trollface

@ribosome

Thanks for making my head assplode ;)

I can't decide whether to downvote you for raising the political correctness or upvote you for taking the piss out of it!

I'll assume from the tenor of your post that you're opposed to that brand of anti-sexual PC tripe and give you an upvote along with the benefit of the doubt...

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We shall CRUSH you, puny ROBOT... with CHESS

Steven Roper
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Headmaster

Re: Clever stuff!

The problem with that approach is that it would exclude more human beings than the current distorted-text CAPTCHA currently does...

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Police accuse Reuters hack of helping Anonymous hackers

Steven Roper
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Jesus!

conspiracy to transmit information to damage a protected computer, transmitting information to damage a protected computer, and attempted transmission of information to damage a protected computer.

Holy shit, talk about throwing the bloody book at the poor sod!

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SimCity 4

Steven Roper
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Re: I miss this!

For some reason it doesn't seem to play nicely with my install of Win7-64 though.

Build yourself an old Win98 or XP gaming box just for these old games. You can get the parts dirt cheap from computer recyclers or just look on ebay for old boxen if you don't want to build it yourself. Then stick it under your desk with a KVM switch and all your modern-machine incompatibility woes are gone!

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Steven Roper
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@I ain't Spartacus: to agree with you about 3D. I remember loving the first couple of versions of Civilization.

Likewise here, where RTS games are concerned. A couple of friends of mine and I have been playing Age of Empires II: Conquerors ever since it first came out, about 13 years now. Every Wednesday night, almost without fail, is our Age of Empires II LAN session. I don't think there's any other game in my life that I've played for so many years. It just has all the right elements, in all the right places.

We've tried others: Empire Earth, Rise of Nations, The Settlers IV, Age of Mythology, even Age of Empires III. None of them last; none quite have what Age of Empires II has. It's simple, it's fast, and it's fun.

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Oz Senator says Google Glass could 'end privacy as we know it'

Steven Roper
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Good grief!

Fully half of the article is nothing more than an ad-hominem attack on Bernardi for being opposed to gay marriage. Quite what this has to do with Google Glass being an invasion of privacy, or the validity of Bernardi's arguments thereto, I fail to see. Unless the author is a PC bigot who thinks that because Bernardi is against gay marriage, all his opinions about anything else are equally invalid.

Now I support gay marriage absolutely, in keeping with my belief in freedom of choice and minding one's own business. And I think Bernardi is a dickhead for wanting to reach into people's lives and say who can get married or not; it's none of his damn business. But that doesn't invalidate his knowledge or values or opinions on any other subject. It certainly has nothing at all to do with Google Glass and its privacy implications.

The reason I despise political correctness and it's wailing supporters is precisely because of the kind of vicious ad-hominem smear tactics used by the author of this article. "He's racist/sexist/homophobic/un-PC, therefore his opinions on everything else are irrelevant, because he's not 'civilised' or 'enlightened'" (or whatever buzzword has been appropriated by the PC do-gooders to justify their sanctimonious worldview this month.) It is these same tactics that have filled our workplaces with fear, that if you dare express any un-PC opinion, or look at someone the wrong way, or offend anyone for any reason, you can possibly lose your job and your life could be ruined, regardless of how competent or valuable you may be.

I'd have expected more from Murdoch's media empire than this. To see it in the pages of El Reg is nothing short of disgusting.

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Curiosity's MYSTERY MARS find: NASA reveals THE TRUTH

Steven Roper
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Coat

How do you inappropriately touch a planet? Shove a finger into its south pole?

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Steven Roper
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And how much did they pay you to post that little advert?

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Rise Of The Machines: What will become of box-watchers, delivery drivers?

Steven Roper
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Re: Won't somebody think of

>talk a load of non-PC drivel

I'd far rather listen to a taxi driver express his honest opinion about how fucked up things are, than listen to some sanctimonous PC bigot spouting off about how everyone is still racist/sexist/X-ist like he's some kind of guardian angel of everyone's morals.

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Steven Roper
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@Oninoshiko re: no self-check

I'm the same. I also have stood in line while self-service kiosks stood empty. Part of my shopping experience is talking to the checkout chick (or sometimes guy), catching up on what the yoof of today are into (as I have no kids of my own, talking to the young people in shops is pretty much the only chance I get to catch up with the doings of the young). Even when I've been asked to use the kiosks, I've refused, saying I would rather be served by a person, thank you. The day they remove the choice and force me to use a kiosk will be the last day I ever shop there.

One thing I've also noticed is that my local greengrocers, butchers, bakers and the like are doing a roaring trade. It's not unusual of a Saturday morning to see a crowd spilling out the doorways of the local strip-shops. More and more people are shunning the dehumanising impersonality of the supermarkets, even if the prices are cheaper, because there's nothing like good old-fashioned friendly service from your local butcher, baker or greengrocer. The meat, bread, and fruit & veg is much fresher and better quality, too.

I do sometimes order my groceries online and get it delivered, but this is actually becoming rarer. I'd much rather take the time to go into my local butcher and have him fresh-cut a decent steak for me, with the rind of fat still on, rather than accept whatever stripped, fat-free, processed crap the warehouse-picker grabs off the shelf and shoves into a foam box to drop on my doorstep.

And I agree, like you, that I'd far rather my money went to gainfully employing someone who is willing to work, rather than filling the coffers of wealthy shareholders who do no work for a living and wax fat on the labour of others.

As would a lot of other people. Remember, the fact that there's a line for the manned checkout while self-service kiosks are empty means that all those people in line would also rather be served by a human being than by a computer. And they want it badly enough that they're prepared to spend time waiting to get that service. We're far from alone alone, friend.

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On Amazon, cloud service companies put themselves at risk

Steven Roper
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And this shit

is exactly what patent law is supposed to PREVENT. If Apple can patent round-cornered rectangles, why can't these startups patent their cloud applications and be rewarded for their innovation? Oh, that's right; the law only exists to serve the interests of mega-corporations and the super-rich that run them. Silly me, I forgot how this world really works for a moment there.

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Curiosity succeeds – Mars was wet enough for life!

Steven Roper
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Silicon-based life

is an interesting fantasy, but because of chemistry, silicon life cannot exist. Silicon, while in the same period as carbon, cannot form the huge molecule chains required to establish and sustain life. A common example is the silicon equivalent of the alkane series: methane -> silane, ethane -> disilane, propane -> [does not exist]. Attempts to create a silicon equivalent of propane, butane and so on inevitably result in the silicon-based molecules instantly breaking down into silane and disilane, even in any conceivable conditions such as high pressures or cryogenic temperatures.. Since silicon cannot form even these simple molecules, it obviously cannot even begin to form the huge protein chains required to establish a living organism.,

Carbon is the only element on the entire periodic table that can form such huge and complex molecule chains. As a result, all life in the universe is either carbon-based, or is artificial 'life' (e.g. sentient robots/computers) originally created by carbon-based life.

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On International Woman's Day we remember Grace Hopper

Steven Roper
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Re: "insisting on special treatment"

"I dont think feminism demands 'special treatment'."

What do you think affirmative action is, if not 'special treatment'?

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Ten serious sci-fi films for the sentient fan

Steven Roper
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One of my favourites

is a little-known 1985 movie called The Quiet Earth (IMDB link). Its stark minimalism (there are only 3 people in the entire movie) sets an eerie background for the complex story and the science behind it, and for it's small budget it's a seriously underrated piece of hard SF.

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Steven Roper
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Chronicles of Riddick?

You mean they made a sequel to Pitch Black? Whatever next - you'll be wanting me to believe they made a sequel to Highlander as well? Yeah, right.

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Farewell, Reg: This hack is hanging up her Apple jacket

Steven Roper
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Joke

Re: Ashamed

You need to wash your brain out with soap for thinking that even for a nanosecond.

My immediate, instinctive reaction - from the instant the photons from that picture hit my retinas - was that I would not be seen dead and rotting with that jacket anywhere in the vicinity of my office, let alone actually on the back of my chair, or - [suppress gag reflex] - in actual contact with my person!

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Pirate Bay to world: We're not really off to NORKS

Steven Roper
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Re: Yo Dawg

"Yo Dawg... I heard u like jokes about jokes so I put a hoax in ur hoax so u can prank while u prank!"

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Steven Roper
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"Wow: Back-handed buuuurrrnnn."

As Wanda from Corner Gas would say: "Scorch - Pow!"

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Boffins implant almost-cellphone in the BRAIN

Steven Roper
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Re: The original for this tech dates from the late 1960s

Michael Crichton wrote a sci-fi novel, The Terminal Man about the same time, about this very topic. In the story, a temporal-lobe epileptic was fitted with a set of brain electrodes that stimulated the pleasure centres of his brain whenever the implanted computer detected the onset of a seizure. The problems began when the patient, called Benson, started subsconsciously triggering repeated seizures to get the pleasure rush, doing it more and more often until he entered a constant fugue state - at which point he then goes on a murderous rampage.

I remember reading this story back in the late 70s, and it had particular relevance to be because I was also diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy, and I wondered then if they were going to plant electrodes into my brain too, but they never did.

But it's weird seeing something from so long ago becoming current technology. I guess for me The Terminal Man joins Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010: The Year We Make Contact in the list of sci-fi books about the future, that has now passed.

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Carrie Fisher dusts off THAT bikini for Star Wars VII

Steven Roper
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Childcatcher

Re: I read the book ...

"Strange morals they have in a galaxy, far far away."

Funny, that, considering the movie was made in a time when moral and political ramifications weren't the be-all-and-end-all of what should be in a movie. Things were simpler then. You had good guys and you had bad guys. Bad guys do bad things, good guys get together and fight them, bad guys die, flee, or repent, and everyone lives happily ever after, or at least until the sequel.

These days a movie maker has to consider all the moral and political implications of every little thing, because otherwise some nitpicker somewhere will be offended and make a huge song and dance about it...

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Torvalds asks 'Why do PC manufacturers even bother any more?'

Steven Roper
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Agreed

I'm with you streaky, have an upvote. What the hell is with 6 downvotes on streaky's post? He's absolutely right: many of us use desktops for work and play, and while I do have a Sammy Slate and it's very useful, I also find my desktop PC just as useful. And there's obviously a market still there, otherwise they wouldn't still be making motherboards, graphics cards and hard drives.

I really don't get this "tablets are the ONLY thing now, PCs are so dead" craze. You'd think owning a desktop is like smoking in public, the way people are carrying on! Tablets are great, yes - as an adjunct to the desktop workstation. But they don't replace the workstation. Try using Photoshop or Cinema 4D on a tablet sometime. Or playing games. Sometimes you just need a keyboard, mouse and a big fat monitor in front of you, and that isn't going to change.

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Apple: OK, we tracked your every move... but let's call it a caching bug, m'kay?

Steven Roper
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Meh

Re: So in The Register comments Apple - Is assumed guilty etc.

So that'll be pretty standard 21st century democratic jurisprudence then.

If Apple have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear, right?

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Report: Danish government hits Microsoft with $1bn tax bill

Steven Roper
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Ballmer might want to read his history

This one time, there were these monks at Lindisfarne...

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US lawmaker blames bicycle breath for global warming gas

Steven Roper
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WTF?

This guy redefines the term "oxygen thief"!

And if we're going to talk about oxygen thieves, maybe this guy should set the example and stop breathing my air first.

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Australia ratifies cybercrime convention

Steven Roper
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The UNDHR, like its counterpart the US Constitution, is a piece of toilet paper written up in a more idealistic age for the sole purpose of quietening the proles. It doesn't actually mean anything; it isn't a law, because there's no means of enforcing its ideals.

The only rights you have are what you can a) take by force and b) retain by concealment from those who would take them by force - either alone or in concert with others. It's called "the law of the jungle", and it's the only absolute law, enforced by physics, that applies universally to all life, intelligent or not. You either hunt or hide. Everything else is window dressing.

I've noticed that when I've posted these sentiments before, I seem to attract a few downvotes. I probably will this time, too. But it does make me wonder; do the downvoters not understand basic physics or something? A stronger force will overpower a weaker force. A force will take the path of least resistance. It's not something you can argue with. It's just the way this universe works.

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Banged-up Brit hacker hacks into his OWN PRISON'S 'MAINFRAME'

Steven Roper
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Re: I am conflicted...

"One the one hand, the point of prison is surely the rehabilitation. He deserves as much chance to make good as anyone else."

Well, he's not showing much likelihood of that is he? Banged up for computer fraud, and he can't stop himself hacking the prison system as well? That looks to me like somebody who doesn't give a fuck and will simply re-offend as soon as he gets out.

I believe these kinds of sociopaths who don't give a fuck that their activities ruin people's lives cannot be rehabilitated. You can't force someone to have a conscience if they don't have one. A psychologist of my acquaintance described a victim reparation meeting between a home invader and the family he robbed, and when confronted firsthand with the trauma he'd inflicted, he showed no emotion or remorse whatsoever. This hacker is probably similar - he doesn't give a fuck whose lives he ruins, as long as he gets what he wants.

I'm strongly opposed to the death penalty, but at the same time I don't believe these sociopathic creatures can ever be returned to society, no matter how long they are "rehabilitated." We don't let lions run around loose in our streets for much the same reasons as these fraudsters and scammers shouldn't be let loose. You can't stop a lion acting like a lion, and you can't stop a sociopath acting like a sociopath. They are what they are, and what they are is incompatible with the behaviours required to function in civilisation.

So what I advocate is a kind of "Coventry", or gulag, like that described in the second part of Robert Heinlein's Revolt in 2100. This is not like transporting convicts to Australia, that still functioned as a regulated prison. Instead, you simply drop these sociopaths into the "Coventry" area, and leave them to fend for themselves, no guards, no cells, no rules. They have the absolute freedom to do as they want, limited only by their capacity to take it from each other. Like a lion safari park. I'd sterilise them first though. You don't want Darwinian selection breeding for the perfect sociopath...

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Pirate Bay 'seeks asylum' in, er, 'North Korea'

Steven Roper
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Pirate

If copyright enforcement is TPB's problem

then they would be a lot better off hosting their servers in Iran. Iran has good connectivity (a hell of a lot better than the DPRK) and they've made it perfectly clear that they will not respect or enforce US or western copyright laws or interests in any way, now or in the foreseaable future. In fact, they're actively encouraging infringing activity in their country.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran-United_States_copyright_relations

So now your piracy really can support terrorism! ;-)

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Health pros: Alcohol is EVIL – raise its price, ban its ads

Steven Roper
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Re: In other news...

" and the overpowering urge to strangle the living shit out of yet another do-gooder incapable of minding their own fucking business."

-and-

"The PC, we-know-better-than-you, can't-ever-offend-anyone, want-to-rule-your life brigade need to be rounded up and taken somewhere far away. May I suggest Antartica."

You two are unbelievably generous and kind-hearted to these sorts of do-gooder fuckwits. I prefer a much harsher remedy.

With regard to moralising busybody PC do-gooders, I have a fantasy.

I like to imagine that there's this international organisation of vigilantes called IDEA (International Do-gooder Extermination Agency), which is made of up ex-SAS, SEALs and other paramilitary-trained problem-removal specialists, spread around the globe. No country is safe from them. Every time one of these fucking moralising busybodies publicly calls for something enjoyable or popular to be banned or restricted, the IDEA team swings into action, hunts down the bastards, and blows their fucking houses up.

After a few years of this reign of fire, the numbers of busybody do-gooders has been thinned enough that the world gradually becomes a more pleasant place. Things like road rage, shop rage, general public anger and lack of respect for others largely disappear, because a large part of the (but not the only) reason people are so angry all the time is because of the constant erosion of our freedoms by these fuckers. Kill them all off, and everyone else would start to calm down...

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Nominet tosses plan for shorter .uk domains in the bin (for now)

Steven Roper
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Re: Why?

SLDs provide important information about the nature of the site. For example, .co.uk is a for-profit business, .ac.uk is an educational institution, .org.uk is a non-profit, .gov.uk is a government department. It gives me some idea of the intentions and identity of the site I'm visiting.

In Australia, our equivalent SLDs are .com.au, .org.au, .net.au, .edu.au, and .gov.au. All these SLDs give vital information about the nature of the site. .gov.au, for example, is a secure guarantee that the site I'm visiting is owned and maintained by the Australian government, since only government departments can register them.

Likewise, our government has quite stringent controls on who can register what; only accredited schools and universities can register .edu.au domains, you have to have a non-profit tax exemption to register a .org.au, and you have to have an ABN (Australian Business Number) to register a .com.au. You also have to assert that your business has a substantive relationship to the domain; so if I were to try to register, say, sydneyplumbing.com.au for a bookstore in Adelaide I'd most likely get knocked back.

So with a .SLD.uk or SLD.au site you know exactly what you're dealing with. Removing that would create a lot of unnecessary uncertainty and in many cases could undermine and compromise security. That is why SLDs are important.

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Australian Bureau of Meteorology apps to map future rain

Steven Roper
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Thank fuck for Adblock indeed

My first thought on reading the article was that I probably wouldn't notice that they'd introduced ads. It does a very good job not only of blocking ads, but also of not leaving any evidence (like white spaces) that there were any ads to be blocked!

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Chinese Army: US hacks us so much, I'm amazed you can read this

Steven Roper
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Go

The more things change...

Rattle those sabres a bit louder, lads. We're having trouble hearing it down here at the back.

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Stargazers spot first-ever planet forming in dusty disc

Steven Roper
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Re: Aussie names

Also Mount Lofty in Adelaide. Although I'd say we were being ironic with that one, since at only 727 m (2385 ft) it's barely deserving of the title of "mount", let alone "lofty"!

But at least we call a spade a spade...

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SHIELD Act proposed to make patent trolls pay

Steven Roper
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FAIL

No problem for the trolls

They'll just sue their victims in Texas. Then they'll never lose!

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Colombian boffins reconstruct flight path of Russian meteor

Steven Roper
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Headmaster

Re: Bah!

Verily He hath smitten them. Verily He smote them. Pick one.

This is a similar grammatical construct to "I have written this" or "I wrote this."

Not "I have wroted this".

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Steven Roper
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Facepalm

Re: A modest proposal...

Why didn't the system warn us?

Because their budget is limited, as others have pointed out, and the reason their budget is limited is because of all the whingers and moaners going on about first-world problems and why we aren't spending our money feeding starving African children instead of blowing it on useless and expensive space probes...

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Four firms pitch hi-def DRM for Flash cards

Steven Roper
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Re: the problem with DRM systems

That's why I made the point about if you were worried about quality. If the movie is still only in the cinemas then yes, cams and screeners are all you can hope for. But once the DVD or BD comes out - it's fair game.

Suppose your playback device (say a PC or set-top box) keeps the video signal encrypted even through the monitor cable, and so the monitor itself has a revokable key to decrypt the signal. At some point between the encrypted video-in port and the screen, the signal has to be decrypted so it can be displayed. A competent cracker can open up the monitor and patch in an intercept circuit that captures this unencrypted signal as it's hitting the screen. This captures the video in the original quality.

Likewise, even if the audio going to a loudspeaker is encrypted and the speaker box itself has to have a key, at some point inside that box, the signal gets decrypted so it can actuate the coil that drives the speaker cone. A cracker can capture that signal, again in its original quality, and combine it with the video to create a near-perfect copy of the original. There may be some loss depending on how he does it, but using these methods it's perfectly feasible to produce a high-quality HD copy that's visually and aurally indistinguishable from the original. And this holds true regardless of the depth and sophistication of the DRM system used.

And it is also true that this requires some technical knowhow, and so may be seen as being beyond the means of the average Joe to achieve. This is the stated object of modern DRM - to make it difficult rather than impossible to copy. But this is where Bob being Mallory comes in; the encryption only needs to broken once. As Mallory, Bob has cracked the message and can now distribute it - via bittorrent, bitlockers, USB sticks, or the P2P system du jour, whereby the average Joe can easily get a high-quality, unprotected copy. And the more the DRM imposes limitations on what Joe can do with the file, the more he will continue going to P2P to get himself a DRM-free copy - even if he's done the right thing and bought a restricted original.

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Steven Roper
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Re: the problem with DRM systems

The problem with DRM systems is that the entire concept is cryptographically flawed.

In any cryptographic scenario, you have at least three parties: the sender (usually called Alice), the intended receiver (usually called Bob), and the middleman attacker (usually called Mallory). Any given cryptographic scenario is then based on Alice encrypting a message to transmit to Bob, and Mallory tries to intercept and decrypt the message without Alice or Bob knowing.

Where DRM fails in all this is that the receiver is, ipso facto, the attacker. DRM is built entirely around this contradiction: the presumption that the receiver simultaneously should and should not be able to access the message. In this scenario, Bob and Mallory are the same person. The logical flaw in this then becomes self-evident. The customer is also the criminal.

What this amounts to is, if the message can be seen or heard, it can be copied. No amount of copy protection, no matter how sophisticated, can prevent this: what the human eye can see, a camera can photograph; what the human ear can hear, a microphone can record. If you're worried about quality, the unencrypted video data going to a screen or audio signal going to a loudspeaker can easily be captured. And once the recording is made, subsequent digital copies can be made ad infinitum. Even if you need specialised equipment to capture the video feed from within the monitor, or a tap on an audio cable, it only needs one person to make a copy, and all the DRM in the world is useless.

For this reason, DRM is snake oil, and nothing but. I'm frankly stunned at the blindness of copyright holders in not understanding this utterly simple, obvious and inescapable flaw underscoring all DRM. They've been trying for better than 30 years, and they still haven't realised that the whole concept is completely fraudulent.

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Outsourcing your own job much more common than first thought

Steven Roper
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Re: @Steven Roper

"but here in the real world a company is not a person"

Er - yes it is. Companies and corporations are regarded as persons having human rights for legal purposes. Their often unscrupulous exploitation of this fact is where many of the perceived social problems with them comes from.

As for the rest of your post, I can only say that your ideals sound rather Pharaonic to me. I may live in a weird entitlement utopia, but that sounds a lot better than the master-slave plutocracy you seem to be advocating.

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Steven Roper
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@ romanempire

Not quite - unless you explicitly state that the service must be given personally by the employee. And I've never heard of such a clause being part of a work contract.

A work contract, or to give it its proper title, a "job and person specification" is a list of tasks, and their outcomes, the incumbent is expected to accomplish. How they are accomplished is in most cases up to the person tasked with achieving that outcome. If the job includes cleaning the toilets, then my only expectation in that regard is clean toilets. If the employee then goes and finds someone to clean toilets in his behalf at a lower rate, what boots it as long as the job gets done? Of course, if the substitute hired to actually clean toilets then goes and cleans out the company safe, the employee who hired them has to bear their share of the responsibility for that.

It's like subletting a rented house. Here in Australia, the law forbids a landlord from preventing a tenant from subletting rooms in the house to other tenants. The tenant has to notify the landlord of course, but the landlord cannot stop the tenant from doing so. But if the sublet tenants then knock holes in the walls, it's the original tenant who has to foot the bill, because they're the ones who signed the contract with the landlord.

So if an employee outsources all or part of their job, as long as the company security is maintained and policies and procedures respected, then there's no problem. To punish an employee for simply finding a cheaper solution when that is what the entire company is about doing, is nothing more than sheer mean-mindedness.

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Steven Roper
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Re: ummmm

Exactly. The hypocrisy of these companies here stinks to high heaven, a perfect example of do-as-as-we-say-not-as-we-do, we-can-but-you-can't mentality. If companies can outsource, why can't employees? And I part-own a company myself. If I found one of my staff doing this, I'd commend them for their resourcefulness.

The only problem I can see in this is one of security. I'd want to see what measures the employee has taken to ensure company confidentiality; if they'd thrown open our codebase to some two-bit Chinese outfit THEN some stern words would be spoken. I'd want to see all the paperwork, contracts, quotes and so on, but if they'd addressed this satisfactorily then I'd have no problem with it.

After all, I spend a fair whack of my work time perusing and posting on El Reg. I can hardly complain if my staff want to do the same, as long the work gets done one way or another!

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US insurer punts 'bestiality' to wide-eyed kiddies, gasp 'mums'

Steven Roper
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Re: American organisation offended by breathing

"But now show me a gay sex scene (or even a kiss) in a Hollywood film. Heaven forbid!"

Maybe not in a film per se. But try watching Game of Thrones some time. Or Spartacus.

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North Korean citizens told: Socialist haircuts are a thing... go get some

Steven Roper
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Re: Fifty years and counting...

It took the Soviet Union more than 70, as I recall.

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Steven Roper
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Re: Socialism

Socialism, communism, capitalism, democracy - they're all myths and fantasies.

The only form of government ever practiced by any human culture anywhere, throughout history, is plutocratic feudalism, backed by the Gold and Gun Rule; i.e. who has the gold owns the guns and makes the rules. Rich people have children who will grow up to inherit their rule over everyone else's children, ad infinitum.

Occasionally there's a revolution; the proles are recruited by the revolutionists with promises of a better life; they storm the houses of the rich with torches and pitchforks, then as soon as the revolution is complete the revolutionists become the new feudal lords, the proles get kicked back to the gutter where they belong, and feudalism continues unaltered.

No other form of government exists, ever has existed, or ever will exist, as long as there are human beings.

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Steven Roper
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Re: I wish! (Homer 1 - 14:07)

Grass does not grow on a busy street, nor hair on a smart man's head.

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Trekkies detect Spock's Vulcan homeworld ORBITING PLUTO

Steven Roper
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Re: Mass Effect

I read Greek mythology in my childhood, and so to me Cerberus (Kerberos) is, and will always be, the giant three-headed dog that guards the gates of the Underworld and prevents the spirits of the dead from leaving (i.e. he's there to keep the dead in, not the living out). Notably captured and brought back to Tyrins by Heracles as the last of the twelve tasks assigned to him by the cowardly prince Eurystheus. The monster dog so terrified Eurystheus that he hid, gibbering, in a brass pot for three days, until Heracles returned the creature to Hades.

Cerberus was also put to sleep by the singing of Orpheus, who was given permission by Persephone, daughter of Demeter and wife of Hades, to lead his dead lover Eurydice out of the Underworld - as long as he didn't look back to see if she was following. He did, and thus lost her forever. (A happier alternative ending has it that Orpheus died soon after of a broken heart, and he and Eurydice were then re-united in eternal bliss in the Elysian Fields.)

Anything else is just a rip off. It's as abrasive (to me) as someone hearing a Beethoven sonata and going, "Oh, that's the tune from the [insert brand name here] commercial!" Gaaack!

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Linus Torvalds in NSFW Red Hat rant

Steven Roper
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Not really

since I wouldn't hire anybody with that thin a skin.

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