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* Posts by Steven Roper

1375 posts • joined 10 May 2011

Web cesspit 4chan touts '$20 bug bounty' after hackers ruin Moot's day

Steven Roper
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Re: I think it's a bit harsh

Stirring shit that doesn't need to be stirred.

You mean expressing opinions you don't think should be allowed to be expressed by the sounds of it.

You've completely missed my point. You can't just decide, "This is how the world should be and anyone who doesn't agree should be denied a voice", because it becomes like a dam - pressure builds up, people get angry, and it culminates in an explosion of violence. This has happened too often in history to be safely ignored. No matter how noble your intentions, no matter how "civilised" you consider your mode of existence, any attempt to impose that mode of existence by fiat on others inevitably ends in bloodshed and tyranny.

I get that you don't like some of the thoughts aired on 4chan. But at least we know those thoughts exist. 4chan is routinely monitored by several countries' law enforcers these days for just this reason - so they can spot potential sources of unrest and prepare for them. And it provides a valuable insight into potential social problems. Are a lot of people posting angrily about some issue on 4chan? Then that's a social issue that needs to be confronted and addressed.

Learn to see and use it for what it is, rather than just stomping on it because some of the topics posted there offend your sensibilities. Attitudes like that are exactly why society needs 4chan and sites like it.

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Steven Roper
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Re: I think it's a bit harsh

I never said it was in good fun. And I'm sorry about your friends who fell foul of the less savoury exponents of 4chan.

But that in no way diminishes the validity of the social function 4chan serves or the cultural safety-valve it represents. Unfortunately, freedom can bring with it risks and dangers, and sometimes people get hurt. That's a fact of life. And it is the actions of people who demand safety at any cost, even at the expense of freedom, that have created the kind of world in which sites like 4chan are necessary.

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Steven Roper
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Stop

I think it's a bit harsh

to call the reward "stingy" when moot is pretty much funding 4chan out of his own pocket. Despite the site's infamous popularity, it's not exactly making him a fortune. The site's notoriety and reputation for unshackled political incorrectness means that most companies are reluctant to advertise on it, so moot's stuck with the porn ad dollar and member passes as his sole source of revenue. Which can't be much after he's paid for bandwidth, hosting, maintenance and service costs, so he probably can't offer thousands of dollars as an incentive. Instead he's relying on the hearts and support of those who understand 4chan and its social function.

4chan fulfils a vital need for freedom of expression on the internet. In an age when expressing politically incorrect opinions can destroy careers and even lives, there needs to exist an outlet free from the restraints of identity, where people can both vent their anger without fear of backlash, and debate issues that in conventional arenas are soon drowned out in howling accusations of bigotry and privilege.

For despite the sheer volume of shit infesting 4chan, I've participated in some interesting and intelligent discussions with people there - discussions which were only possible because of the anonymity that enabled honest expression of opinion, rather than having everyone hide behind a mask of fear to avoid ruining their careers or lives because their expressed opinions could be tied to their real identities.

As long as sanctimonious and hypocritical do-gooders can use the power of social media to ram their political agendas down everyone's throats, destroying the careers, reputations and lives of anyone who disagrees with them, claiming freedom of speech while rationalising their denial of it to others with specious justifications, there exists a need for sites like 4chan where people can share their views anonymously without fear.

Yes, it is a cesspit. But we all need somewhere to shit.

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Speaking in Tech: 'I get told to wear makeup by other women'

Steven Roper
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Re: The most likely reason for the filthy joke metric

But what bugs me is when a woman has to start taking on exaggerated culturally male behaviours to offset that she is a woman.

Believe it or not, I do understand your frustration on that level. Being viewed as a woman rather than a professional when there is work to be done is indeed demeaning. I understand this very well because there are times when I equally resent being viewed as a man rather than a professional. Like the time when I was installing an IT system for a school and had to be accompanied everywhere in case I did something unspeakable to the children, despite undergoing extensive police checks and "don't do this, this or this" training. I felt demeaned by the assumptions implicit in this treatment, so I do understand how it must feel to be viewed as a sex object when you're just trying to get a job done.

So I agree on that front. Women should not have to compensate for being women any more then men should have to compensate for being men. Unfortunately it is human nature that we are all judged by our gender and while we are sorting out the issues we all have to deal with it as best we can.

Also, guys shouldn't feel threatened by the presence of women in the workplace so that special reassurances are required.

Absolutely. But a large part of the reason for feeling threatened is because, as I've mentioned elsewhere, a moment's lapse of thoughtlessness can ruin a career. In some cases a word out of place or even a look in the wrong direction at the wrong time can touch off a shitstorm. When everyone is so uptight about not offending the wrong person it creates an atmosphere of distrust and fear, which not only damages productivity but causes personal and psychological harm to all sides as well. Maybe if the social-justice crowd were less fanatical and more forgiving of slip-ups this problem would sort itself out given time.

It takes time to change thought patterns ingrained by centuries of social inertia. Think of it as being like a non-Newtonian fluid; if you stir it slowly, it remains runny as milk, but try to change it rapidly it becomes like cement. We've radically altered male and female outlooks within one generation. Many people are now unsure of where they stand or what is expected of them. To set those expectations in an atmosphere of dire punishment for the slightest infraction is going to turn a lot of people against the new paradigms. That's what "backlash" means. That's what enables misogynists and racists to claim victimhood, and it sets back all the achievements gained by equality campaigners over the last few decades. Which is a tragedy.

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Steven Roper
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Re: men get told every day to conform

It is unlikely anyone is going to look at you as a man and say or think: "men don't make good programmers". It's still not that uncommon to encounter someone who thinks that of you as a woman.

I might point out that works both ways.

It is unlikely anyone is going to look at you as a woman and say or think: "women don't make good childcarers". It's still not that uncommon to encounter someone who thinks that of you as a man*.

(*since many people are much more ready to consider a man a potential rapist or paedophile and therefore a danger to children than a woman. Unfortunately both sexes have to deal with their particular forms of bigotry.)

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Steven Roper
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Re: men get told every day to conform

Oh please, if you're a white male you're playing the game of life on easy level.

Claiming that, because most privileged people are white males therefore all white males are privileged, is the same thing as claiming that because most boy-buggerers are gay therefore all gays must be boy-buggerers. People like you who rant the loudest about the evils of stereotypes are the first ones to employ them when it suits your agenda, which makes you hypocrites of the worst stripe.

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Steven Roper
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The most likely reason for the filthy joke metric

I've never seen why the willingness to tell a filthy joke is the metric by which a woman proves herself acceptable in the workplace.

Most likely that social more has come about so that everyone knows that the woman is "safe" to relax and crack jokes around - in other words, it shows that she's not an Adria Richards who's willing to destroy her colleagues' careers by getting all offended when someone utters a harmless innuendo.

Given the virulence with which the politically correct punish people for having a sense of humour or even momentary lapses of thoughtlessness, it seems that some way of knowing where one stands with one's colleagues is necessary. This "metric" seems to be one such way.

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Star Wars Episode VII: The Ancient Fear of, er, a CHEESE-TASTIC title?

Steven Roper
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Re: My worst fear about the new SW movie

I need to find a way to AVOID all the coming hype for the next couple of years until it's released!

That's not as hard as it seems. I've managed to shield myself very effectively from goss, hype, viral marketing and and even advertising for many years now. I've been able to watch Game of Thrones, for example, without falling victim to the spoiler trolls (well, I did get spoiled for the Season 1 shocker but that taught me to avoid all online discussions of the show thereafter.)

Here's how you do it in 5 simple steps:

1. If you have TV reception in your house, get rid of it. No TV. Ever. No matter what. Even if Vladimir Putin declares war on the whole of Europe and is about to nuke all England to ash - you don't watch TV. Same goes for radio reception - if you have a radio in your house, get rid of it. (If Putin decides to nuke England, you're better off dead anyway!)

2. To keep in touch with he world and keep up with the news, set a few news sites of your choice on your browser's home tabs. Then you can pick and choose what news you want to be exposed to. (This way if Putin decides to nuke England you can still read about it online while avoiding any articles about Star Wars!)

3. Download or stream whatever shows or movies you want to watch. If you look around, you can watch those shows without any adverts and at a time of your choosing. Same with any music you like listening to - you don't need to get it from the radio.

4. If you haven't already, install the AdBlock Plus addon into your browser. This will shield you effectively from most internet advertising.

5. Stay out of any forums, blogs, fansites, articles or social media pages relating to Star Wars (or anything else you want to shield yourself from. I avoid Game of Thrones sites for this reason.) If you really need to discuss it, pick just one forum (like this one!) and confine your explorations of Star Wars to it.

If you follow these steps, you'll be surprised at how well you can shield yourself from the hype!

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Net neutrality protesters set up camp outside FCC headquarters

Steven Roper
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I like the irony

of using Google Video vs. YouTube as an example of net neutrality. The message I get from that is if you're a massive corporation and can't compete, buy out the competition!

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ENTIRE UNIVERSE created in supercomputer. Not THIS universe (probably)

Steven Roper
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Good stuff

Now all we need is for David Braben to include this model in the next version of Elite: Frontier (with procedurally generated surfaces for known extrasolar planets, natch, and of course Lave has to be in there somewhere...)

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Watch out, Yahoo! EFF looses BADGER on sites that ignore Do Not Track

Steven Roper
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Re: Armor up

Especially since many sites ... are now employing ad-blocker-blockers of a very broad sort.

My universal response to being told to turn off my adblocker or allow third-party tracking is simply to add that site to my blacklist and move on to the next site. I've lived perfectly well so far without whatever the site is offering and I'll live perfectly well without it for many years yet.

Same thing goes for sites that display nothing but a "You must enable Javascript to view this site" banner. If you don't give me any reason why I should allow Javascript for your site, you don't give me any reason to be a potential customer (or product!) A good site should fall back gracefully to at least let people see what you're offering so they can decide whether they want to enable Javascript or not. By all means have a banner advising me that some features need Javascript, but at least give me something to be able to base that decision on.

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UK.gov data sell-off row: HMRC denies claims it'll flog YOUR private info

Steven Roper
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Yes, but the rest of that clause 2 throws a wide enough get-out blanket as to render clause 1 completely meaningless.

Granted, your point about economic wellbeing may be valid, but I'm sure "protection of health or morals" - especially "morals" considering how fluid and relative those are - would suffice. Or "the rights and freedoms of others" - for example, the rights and freedoms of rich politicians and company executives to profit from our data?

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Russia 'incompatible with the internet', cries web CEO 'axed by Putin'

Steven Roper
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@ Dan Paul

And I wish people like you would pack up and move to somewhere like Somalia or Sudan. No laws or government there, it's all dog-eat-dog and devil take the weakest, just the way you like it. You're free to exploit others for your own gain, engage in social darwinism, and kill anybody you don't like. You can even staff your factories with slave labour, if you so wish. Saves having to pay all those lazy good-for-nothing lower-class plebeians, eh?

Meanwhile, those of us who understand the most basic principles of civilisation and respect for others, would like to continue living in the countries that have prospered under those principles, in more fair and equitable conditions, free from the greed and selfishness of bigots like you.

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Google's self-driving car breakthrough: Stop sign no longer a problem

Steven Roper
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Re: In five years, self-driving cars will be common in traffic everywhere.

You're not looking at it the right way. You're thinking in terms of improving the lot of the common people, which is not how the ruling classes think. Their objective is to reduce freedom and enjoyment of life so they can have more power and control. Read Orwell's 1984 some time, it's the textbook instruction manual for how those in power run things.

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-Lower insurance? Less profit for the shareholders. No chance of that happening.

-Lower fuel consumption? Less taxes and excise for the government. No chance of that either.

-Don't need a license? Less fees and reduced ability to identify travellers. Nope.

-Fewer killed or injured? That reduces excuses for passing more freedom-limiting laws. Uh-uh.

-No need for designated driver? Then there's nobody to blame if something fucks up. Sorry.

-Read/watch movies while commuting? Somebody's enjoying themselves on the road and we can't have that.

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If you want to promote driverless cars, you have to make them appeal to those in power. For example, extol their virtues like this:

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-Driverless cars can be taken over by police, the doors locked so the occupant can't escape, and directed to the nearest police station for easy arrest.

-They can be tracked and monitored wherever they go so the location of every citizen can be recorded continuously.

-They don't need a driver so you don't have to pay a chauffeur.

-You can bill people per mile AND per minute so you can compensate for the lower insurance and fuel usage.

-Instead of a driver's license people have to insert a credit card for identification and billing. This way it's easy to 'pip' a credit card to prevent "undesirable persons" from travelling.

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Get the picture? If you word it like that you'll be much more likely to get the lawmakers on side with it, and then we can enjoy at least some of the benefits you describe as well.

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Steven Roper
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If you're not actively thinking about driving while engaged in the act of doing it, then you're doing it wrong and need to stop.

Use the Force, Luke.

Once you're familiar with driving it becomes like walking. Do you consciously think about putting one leg in front of the other while strolling down the street, or manually measure the height of a step before going up a flight of stairs? Your subconscious manages your reflexes a lot faster than the conscious mind because there's no processing overhead. If you develop the right reflexes early on, you're a much safer driver than the white-knuckled panicker who's frantically evaluating everything that's happening and trying to consciously decide a dozen things at once.

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El Reg posse prepares for quid-a-day nosh challenge

Steven Roper
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Re: A few bob in the jar from me

PS Does roadkill count? (just asking)

Only if you're not the one that ran it over. Otherwise the cost of petrol has to be factored into your procurement.

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NASA spots 'new' star just 7.2 light years away

Steven Roper
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Re: Why is it warm?

Gravity compresses its gases, compression heats gases up. Same reason why the Earth's core is so hot - compression from the weight of all that rock on top of it.

Jupiter is the same as well; it actually emits more energy in the form of heat than it gets from the Sun.

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Oz crime-busters' calls for data retention get louder

Steven Roper
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The most terrifying line in that article

"Today's citizen may be tomorrow's person of interest."

You mean, in the same way somebody who regularly bought groceries from a Jewish-owned store in 1920s Germany might have been a "person of interest" to the new ruling party which was voted in a few years later?

The way this world is going, I have a horrible crawling feeling that history is about to repeat itself - only far worse this time, considering the advent of surveillance and data storage technology Germany didn't exactly have at the time...

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This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices

Steven Roper
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I absolutely refuse to embrace this "rental" ransomware business model Microsoft are engendering. I say ransomware because, if you don't keep your payments up, your license expires and all your work, saved in their format or even in their cloud, is lost. Fuck that for a game of thieves.

No greedy scum are going to hold my work for ransom. I categorically will NEVER use subscription software for my work, just as I will NEVER keep my work on a cloud server where it can be stolen or deleted if I don't pay my bill. You can stick all this monthly leeching bullshit right with the sun don't fucking shine.

And I'm sure I'm not the only person who feels this way, despite all the propaganda and astroturfed popularity of this corrupt and disgusting business method.

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Not your father's spam: Trojan slingers attach badness to attachment WITHIN attachment

Steven Roper
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Doesn't make any difference

Rule 1: "No bank, government department or financial institution will ever ask you to click a link in an email or open an attachment,no matter how official it looks."

Rule 2: "If you get an email with a link or attachment from someone you know, always phone that person first to confirm that they've sent it before opening the attachment or clicking the link."

Rule 3: "If you get an email with a link or attachment from someone you don't know, delete it. No matter how interesting or funny or wonderful it may seem, delete it. Don't think, just do it."

I've drilled these three simple rules into the heads of my friends and family as though they were god's own commandments. I also set them up with Firefox, Adblock and NoScript, set NS to allow scripts for the major sites like Google, Facebook, YouTube, and each person's own banks and favourite sites, and left them to it. Since then, I haven't had to disinfect any of their computers for several years. It's not rocket science. A few simple precautionary principles will protect you from even the most devious tricks.

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UFO, cosmic ray or flasher? NASA rules on Curiosity curiosity

Steven Roper
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Re: Disgusted!

Erupting volcano? More likely it was just Moses walking up front carrying a large flame torch soaked in animal fat.

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Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars

Steven Roper
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Definitely messianic pastry material

If that rock is "right way up", then there's no Cape York Peninsula or Gulf of Carpentaria, the Melbourne end is too pointy and lopsided, and there's no Fleurieu, Yorke and Eyre Peninsulas in South Australia.

If it's "upside down" then it's also flipped left-to-right, so the Cape York Peninsula and Gulf of Carpentaria are on the wrong end and back to front, and there's no Great Australian Bight (Or the three South Australian peninsulas either.)

Either way, it's serious stretch to see a map Australia in that rock. If anything, it's more suggestive of Antarctica than Australia...

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NSW to expand e-voting

Steven Roper
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Joke

I don't like the name of the company

"Scytl" is a little too much like "Scytale" for my liking.

(For those familiar with the Dune-iverse, you may remember that Scytale was the name of a Face Dancer, and later a Tleilaxu Master, and both were evil, scheming manipulators...!)

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Time is on their side: NIST's new atomic clock accurate for 300 MEEELLION years

Steven Roper
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I will not be satisfied

until we have a timepiece that can tell us the number of Planck-times elapsed since the Big Bang. Now that's an accurate clock!

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Why ever leave home? Amazon wants to turn your kitchen into a shop

Steven Roper
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Re: Computer says no

A bloke by the name of E.M. Forster was about 100 years ahead of you, Hagglefoot. Look up a story titled "The Machine Stops" by the aforementioned Mr. Forster, for a chilling preview of the deadly future that awaits us. The truly stunning thing is, this story was written before World War 1!

Utter dependence on technology to the point where humanity cannot survive without it - communication via mobiles and tablet PCs (which he calls 'plates'), the Internet, the inane and meaningless drivel of Facebook and countless blogs, the absence of any originality in art, and the fear of leaving one's domicile or going outside, are all predicted in this story with eerie and uncanny accuracy. We're closer to it these days than you might care to think.

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iiNet CEO Michael Malone resigns

Steven Roper
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As an Internode customer myself, that would be fucking awesome, not to mention extremely poetic. Simon Hackett for CEO!

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Universal Music mulls 'all you can eat' buffet of song downloads

Steven Roper
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I might give it a go if...

...there is no DRM (which as the article says there likely isn't), actual download-and-kepp-forever not "rental period" or "pay-per-listen", no selling my download and identity info to third parties, and NO GODDAMN REGION LOCKING.

The moment I see "Sorry, this track isn't available in your country" even once, I'll be heading straight back to Bittorrent. The internet is worldwide, it's high time copyright owners realised this fact and got with the fucking program.

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Apple ticks off trigger-happy Bitcoiners with App Store snub

Steven Roper
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Flame

Suck it, fanbois

When you went out and bought your iThings, you legitimised and financed a company whose business model revolved around you paying for a device they retained control of. You knew Apple created a walled garden, you knew they could reach in and remove apps they didn't like, and take effective control of your device and your data, and now that policy is costing you real money. And your widespread support of this business model encouraged other companies to follow suit - Google with Android, and Microsoft with Windows 8, leaving everyone with no choice but to accept a world in which the OS vendor can reach into your machines and monitor and tamper with your software and data as they see fit.

Well, boys and girls, suck it up and drink it down. You get no sympathy from me. Your idiocy legitimised this invasive and megalomaniac business model, so you can live with the consequences. Enjoy.

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CERN outlines plan for new 100km circumference supercollider

Steven Roper
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Is that really the best place to build these things?

I'm not a physicist or an engineer, and no doubt these people know exactly what they're doing, but even experts have sometimes overlooked things.

At the levels of precision these colliders are operating, I'd have thought that building them in the Alps might introduce anomalies and gravitational distortions from having all those mountains scattered about the place. Granted, the gravity of a mountain is miniscule against the gravity of the Earth, but when you're trying to track the path of an unknown particle that might be affected by even a billionth of a g it might make enough difference to skew an expected result. To which end, wouldn't they be better off building it somewhere flat (like the Australian outback for example) to minimise possible distortion effects caused by rugged and uneven terrain?

Not to mention which, the Alps lie along a major tectonic fault line. Crustal compression is going to distort a ring on that scale over time, which is another reason building it in a more geologically stable area, like on top of a craton, might be a good idea.

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Think British weather is bad? It's nothing to this WOBBLY ALIEN planet

Steven Roper
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I may have to eat my words

in a years-old argument with a friend.

Many years ago, we were watching a Star Trek TNG episode (I can't remember which one it was), and there was a scene in which Captain Picard was studying an "anomalous" star system. Picard had a holographic projection of this system above his desk, and one of the depicted planets had a distorted orbit that was decidedly non-planar. I told my friend that was absolute garbage, that it was gravitationally impossible for a planet to orbit like that. (I tended to pick holes in Star Trek's premises and dismiss it as "treknobabble", while my friend insisted it was all based on actual known physics, which made me laugh.)

Well... this seems to be a planet that orbits in a fashion rather similar to Picard's holographic system. I wouldn't have thought it possible - but there it is. Looks like my friend has the last laugh after all!

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Mars rover Curiosity snaps 'pale blue dot' image of Earth, Moon

This post has been deleted by a moderator

EVE Online erects mashed-up memorial to biggest space fight in history

Steven Roper
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@RISC OS

I think you might be on the wrong site buddy. If you're looking for 4chan it's right over there. ------>

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Chaps propose free global WiFi delivered FROM SPAAAACE

Steven Roper
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If you had actually bothered to contribute something to the discussion, I might have been interested to look at your book.

Since, however, you simply chose to use the El Reg forums as a free billboard for your spam, I won't be bothering, and I suspect, neither will others here.

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Apple seeks patent for mood-sensing technology

Steven Roper
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Let Apple have it!

Actually I believe this is one patent Apple should be allowed to have. In fact, I'd like for them to have complete and ironclad control over all emotion-sensing technology. Why?

Because that would mean, since I will never buy an Apple product or even allow one in my house, I wouldn't have to worry about my phone, tablet, computer, TV, fridge or toaster analysing my emotional states for advertisers to exploit; an insidious and vile misapplication of technology by any standard. If Apple had control of that, it means nobody else would be able to use it, and I could safely watch Game of Thrones on my (non-Apple) TV without worrying about some advertising agency scanning my face and spotting that I have the hots for Cersei Lannister.

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Boffins tell ALIEN twin-sunned planets: You're adopted

Steven Roper
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Re: Does anyone remember "Space 1999" ?

I'm curious as to why people find it necessary to mock the fashions and dress sense of the 70s - and of no other decade in human history. Considering the frills and knickerbockers of the Renaissance or the overdressed foppishness of the Victorian era, or even the paisley and pudding-bowl haircuts of the 1960s, are just as "ridiculous" to modern eyes, I find it strange that people on every site I visit feel the need to ridicule the 1970s specifically whenever the subject comes up.

From what I remember of the 1970s (admittedly I was a kid at the time so there's probably some nostalgia goggles here) people generally seemed a lot more laid back and easygoing, and a lot less judgmental and intolerant than today. Furthermore, they worked shorter hours, had more leisure time, less work-related stress, and were paid proportionally more. So I wonder: is the mockery rooted in envy, or right-wing zealotry, or political correctness, or what?

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Dead Kim Jong-il's OS makeover takes a page from Dead Steve Jobs

Steven Roper
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Not like they're going to respect western IP anyway

The bad news is, there's no way the FSF can enforce the GPL since the NK "courts" would laugh at them.

The good news is, that means Apple can't chase them for using round-cornered rectangular windows either.

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Vile Twitter trolls thrown in the cooler for rape abuse tweet spree

Steven Roper
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"If you are out of control when under the influence of drugs you chose* to abuse, you are out of control by your own choice. ... unless they are drunk because someone tided them to a chair and forced a tube in them, they should be locked up as the danger to other people they are."

May I ask if you extend that responsibility of choice to a woman who walks across a deserted carpark at 3 AM after choosing to get drunk out of her skull, as much as to someone who engages in abusive behaviour after choosing to get drunk out of their skull?

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Look out, Earth! Here comes China Operating System (aka Linux)

Steven Roper
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Re: OSS

They'll have just removed the NSA/GCHQ code and replaced it with their own version, so you won't notice them.

No, they won't even do that. They'll just keep the NSA's code and merely change the IP address it sends everything to!

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Samsung Nexus S beats Galaxy S III – at detecting GAMMA RAYS

Steven Roper
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Another step towards...

the transformation of mobile phones into Star Trek tricorders.

Now all we need is a phased chroniton detector and we're finally there!

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World+dog: Network level filters block LEGIT sex ed sites. Ofcom: Meh

Steven Roper
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Re: Good reasons to move to AAISP

" If too many people move to AAISP then eventually they will reach "critical mass" ... any small ISP which suddenly starts showing large growth in customer base immediately becomes ripe for a buyout by one of the "big boys"."

Actually, this is where the so-called "sheeple syndrome" may work in the favour of those of us who prefer freedom over safety and thus patronise small ISPs. Most people either won't know about the filter, won't care, or will actively appreciate that Something Is Actually Being Done. After all, the only reason we've lost most of the civil liberties we took for granted in the 20th century is because the majority don't have a problem with throwing human rights out the window if it keeps the kiddies safe and the terrorists at bay.

Which implies that the relative few of us who do migrate to smaller ISPs with no filtering won't make them big enough to attract undue attention from "the big boys".

A greater danger is actually of one of Murdoch's outfits discovering that one paedophile has been using Small ISP XYZ to access child porn and thus having a huge front-page blowup branding that ISP as a paedophile-enabler and all its customers as suspected paedophiles themselves.

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IT bods: Windows XP, we WON'T leave you. Migrate? Chuh! As if...

Steven Roper
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Those who have gainsaid me

are making a lot of assumptions about my use of Windows 8 or lack thereof.

I will acknowledge I have not looked at Windows 8.1. There may have been changes there that I don't know about.

That said, I did try Windows 8 while it was in beta, so the allegation I was using an illegal copy is unfounded. And what I observed was the following:

1. It damn well did insist on my signing in to a Microsoft Live account; at every opportunity it would nag me to do this. In order to sign up, Microsoft wanted my real name, address, phone number and a host of information they had no bloody business asking me for. While I could indeed click 'Cancel' to the nag, often if I clicked 'Cancel', what I was trying to do would also be cancelled, and the constant popup reminders to sign in every time I tried to do something drove me insane.

2. Likewise I got constant reminders about setting up cloud storage 'devices'. Yes, I obviously had local drives, but again the constant pushing to set up the cloud as the default data storage was infuriating. And checking "don't show this again" seemed to have no effect!

3. I was not able to install most of my legacy software. It would go through the motions (complete with sign-in nag) but the software simply wouldn't run - I got messages about this application not being authorised or some bullshit, or the application simply wouldn't even start. The trial version of Office I got from the Microsoft store worked without a hitch though. This is what led to my conclusion regarding software having to be installed from Microsoft's store, or to be signed in to install anything.

4. The spying and monitoring I simply assumed is why they wanted me to sign in all the time. For what other possible reason would they insist and nag me to sign into an online account with all my identifying details, if not to be able to ultimately profile, monitor or control what I'm doing?

This is my experience with Windows 8. That I have more than twice the upvotes than downvotes (at the time of writing) indicates to me that others have shared my experience. If I'm spreading FUD then you guys are shilling for Microsoft. That's what it comes down to.

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Steven Roper
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Re: I believe it

"What are the issues with the desktop interface in Windows 8?"

It's not the interface that's the issue, for me and a lot of other people. A new interface is a minor learning curve and one most people can adjust to without too much fuss.

The issue is the "Appleification" of the operating system itself. It's the remote-control and constant monitoring that's been injected into the Windows 8 because Microsoft have learned that they can treat customers the way Apple treats them. Its that you need to sign in to a Microsoft account in order to install anything. That you can only install software from Microsoft's app store. That cloud storage, with all of the attendant loss of privacy and control of ones's data that goes with it, is emphasised over local storage. It's the general movement of ownership of the computer and data from the user to Microsoft that's the big problem.

It wouldn't matter if they made the interface identical to XP or 7. Forcing me to sign in to an online account to install software, to be locked into a walled garden, to be constantly pushed towards unwanted cloud storage, and to constantly monitored, logged and spied on is unacceptable regardless of what the interface looks like.

That's why I (and I suspect a lot of others) are refusing to move to Windows 8. If Microsoft accepts that people reserve the right to control their own computers and designs the OS accordingly, I'm sure a lot more of us would be willing to migrate.

But that isn't going to happen. No tyrant ever gives back power once gained, nor returns a freedom to its subjects once taken away.

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Harvard kid, 20, emailed uni bomb threat via Tor to avoid final exam, says FBI

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Acessing Tor from the campus system...

...was a bad mistake, but doing it from a (nearby) library or internet cafe instead has its own pitfalls.

Most such places are covered by cameras, so if the FBI/NSA failed to find a Tor access on the campus system at the right time, their next step would be to widen the net and start checking all the nearby wifi hotspots for Tor logins at that time. Most places that offer public internet access are covered by cameras, so then all the FBI/NSA would have to do is run the camera footage of the relevant computer and its user past Facebook's facial-recognition database and they'd nail him.

The only way around this is to effect some kind of disguise that could fuck up Facebook's facial-recognition software (false beard, new haircut, makeup possibly?) and/or to do the deed from a much more distant location.

Yes, I'm a lot more concerned about the invasive ubiquity of Facebook's facial-recognition system than any putative ability of the authorities to backtrack through Tor. You don't even need to be on Facebook yourself to be on it; any idiot with a camera who knows who you are, can put your picture on there with an identifying tag. It's a system far more ripe for tracking abuse than compromised Tor exit nodes and access logging.

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XMAS SPACEWALK planned to fix ISS's dicky cooling gear

Steven Roper
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No Christmas presents for astronauts

That wouldn't bother me in the slightest if I was up there. The privilege of seeing the Earth from orbit would be all the Christmas present I'd ever want.

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Bogus Firefox add-on FORCES WITLESS USERS to join vuln-hunting party

Steven Roper
Silver badge

My thoughts

First, Firefox addons are not actually executable files; they're scripts constrained within the browser's ecosystem, and thus can only access certain features and functions. I'm certain that accessing the blacklist controls would be one of those functions that Mozilla have ensured that addons cannot affect for obvious reasons.

Bear in mind that addons are intended, and permitted, to ultimately do only one thing: to modify the user experience of websites displayed in the browser. SQL injection falls within this purview, since in practice SQL injection is merely the submission of search terms to a web form. In this, its behaviour is similar to an addon (I forget its name, probably TrackMeNot or something like it) that salts search engines with random queries to throw off search profiling. The addon itself isn't actually a real trojan in the same sense as, say, Zeus or or Conficker, because it doesn't run independently of the browser and doesn't replicate a trojan's behaviour. All it does is send SQL injection queries to any web forms it finds, just as anti-profiling addons send rubbish search queries.

What this amounts to is that because of the way addons are constrained within the environment imposed by the browser, it's simply not possible for an addon to be as invasive or potent as a free-running executable installed on your system. It could not, for example, modify the registry, alter firewall settings, or affect operating system files outside of the browser environment.

Theoretically, an addon could be created that, for example, captures anything you type into a webform and echoes it to a scammer's server, potentially allowing the keylogging of your banking details; but such addons are very quickly spotted and eliminated, because this behaviour follows a known malware heuristic. That's why you don't see such addons in the official repository; it's probably got to the point where even the most hardcore crooks don't even bother trying.

This addon escaped immediate detection precisely because it doesn't follow common malware heuristics such as keylogging or DDoSing; all it does is send search queries to the same website the browser is on, which isn't malware-like behaviour. It's actually a testament to the ingenuity of the crooks behind it to think of designing one that worked this way - which indicates that they're already aware that trying to secrete more obvious trojans in the addons repository, like the aforementioned keylogger, is futile.

Also, that only 12,500 users out of the hundreds of millions of Firefox users were affected, shows how quickly Mozilla and its developer community get on top of these things. This is an addon that, despite not exhibiting any malware-like behaviour, still didn't get very far before being spotted and eliminated. This is a testament to the vigilance of Mozilla and its developers, which I find rather reassuring.

So in summary, I wouldn't be overly concerned about addons installed from the official repository being a source of serious malware infections. As with everything that stores information on your computer, a degree of vigilance is certainly warranted; but malware sources such as Javascript-driven drive-by downloads and phishing emails remain a far greater threat source than the Mozilla addons repository. Just check each addon you install and be sure of the exact reason you're installing it.

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Kiwi inventor's court win rains on Apple's parade

Steven Roper
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Re: My first thought

"why the i"

I think the 'i' before a product title meant 'internet' - just like the 'e' in eMail or eCommerce meant 'electronic'.

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Nominet seeks royal approval for pisspoor .uk domain name push

Steven Roper
Silver badge

@wolfetone

"Have you ever been to North Korea?"

No, but I hear life in the Kingdom of Tonga ain't too bad. Meanwhile I gather that life in the rather more democratic Mexico leaves a few things to be desired.

I think you might be confusing "elected government" with "free / prosperous country."

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What does the post-Snowden internet need? A price list

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: "Need to establish trust"

Exactly.

"Cloud" means I store my data on your computer system. That simple fact establishes these inarguable and incontrovertible corollaries:

1: You have control of your computer system, ergo you have control of my data.

2: You having control of my data means you can give it to anyone who has the power to demand it and also that I have to pay you to store it every month or you'll delete it.

Therefore, 3: No amount of sweet-talking bullshit about "establishing trust" will ever convince me that these facts don't apply to any and every possible cloud solution.

All of which means my important data stays on a machine that belongs to me and is under my control. Anything I put on the cloud will be data I don't mind sharing or losing.

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Snowden latest: NSA stalks the human race using Google, ad cookies

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Which reminds me of another good oldie...

I am the eye in the sky, looking at you, I can read your mind

I am the maker of rules, dealing with fools, I can cheat you blind

And I don't need to see any more, to know that

I can read your mind (Looking at you)

I can read your mind (Looking at you)...

Still one of my favourite songs today, and eerily prophetic.

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Cassini spots MEGA-METHANE SEAS on the north pole of Titan

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Joke

Re: Curious as to why...

Oh, come on. You have to crash the ship once you've finished playing with it. Did you learn nothing playing with Lego as a kid? It's Standard Lego Operating Procedure: the ship, base and everything else always gets trashed at the end. Not to mention, there's millions of us big kids here who want to watch the Saturn-Shattering Ka-boom!

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