* Posts by Steven Roper

1773 posts • joined 10 May 2011

Donald Trump wants Bill Gates to 'close the Internet', Jeff Bezos to pay tax

Steven Roper
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Re: The biggest threat facing America today is political correctness

"Sheer nonsense."

Wow. Just... wow. You must have really taxed your brain cell coming up with such an erudite and informed rebuttal to my argument.

A more brilliant example of stuffing one's fingers into one's ears and shouting LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU would be extremely hard to find!

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Steven Roper
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Re: Impressive.

People dismissing others' warnings of history repeating itself by calling Godwin's Law is exactly how the next Hitler will come to power.

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Steven Roper
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Re: The biggest threat facing America today is political correctness

Actually I would say that's one of the very few things he got right.

Now I think this guy is as big an idiot as anyone else here; but when he says things like this it makes him a lot more dangerous because he's touching a very real nerve - one you have just very pointedly tried to deny the existence of.

Political correctness is the idea that people can be forced, manipulated or shamed into believing and adhering to a specific political ideology or doctrine. In itself it has nothing to do with leftist or rightist thinking; it is merely the idea that the way people think can be directed to serve a social or political agenda, under threat of punishment for non-compliance. But in order for this to work the directing hand must be concealed. For PC to be effective it must first deny or conceal its existence.

To most people, PC is associated most strongly with leftist politics because it is demonstrably the left - feminists, anti-racists, social-justice and identity politics crowd - who have primarily resorted to it in order to establish their ideology. Your use of the previously-mentioned denial tactics in dismissing the concept of PC as "outdated" (other common lines of attack include opposition to it being "unenlightened", "bigoted", "moronic" etc) illustrates this principle perfectly.

People aren't opposed to it because they are misogynistic neo-nazi white-supremacist redneck bigots. They're opposed to it because most people don't like being dictated to, told how to think, and what they can and can't say, even if the goal is a valid one. Nor do they like hypocrisy or double standards, the idea that discrimination is wrong in some areas but perfectly acceptable in others.

Most people will, if asked, uphold the belief that women and men, gays and heteros, blacks and orientals and whites, alike should be free to pursue their hopes and dreams. But the idea that all white hetero males are privileged and must therefore be somehow punished or excluded on the basis of some imagined "oppression", coupled with the use of PC (including the attempted concealment of such use) to normalise the idea, is what is driving much of the backlash against the leftist ideology.

Saying that because most privileged people are white males therefore all white males must be privileged, is akin to saying that since most boy-buggerers are gay therefore all gays must be boy-buggerers. It's an outright fallacy. Privilege is the result of wealth, nothing else. A white male on the dole is no more or less privileged than a black female on the dole. But a wealthy black woman like Oprah Winfrey is a hell of a lot more privileged than that white male sacked-out drunk sleeping it off on the local park bench, to the same degree that Trump himself is a hell of a lot more privileged than the young black girl forced into domestic servitude.

It is the natural human opposition to this dictatorial, manipulative and deceptive practice of the ideological left that is driving the majority of opposition to it. And when idiots like Trump start saying things like "political correctness is a major problem" he's going to garner a lot of support from people who are simply looking for a regime that doesn't start from the premise that all white males should pay for the mistakes of the wealthy.

Which, of course, only makes things even worse, since Trump's primary ideology is to make all of humanity other than the wealthy pay for the mistakes of the wealthy.

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Microsoft steps up Windows 10 nagging

Steven Roper
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Someone seriously needs to put a gun to Nadella's head and say,

"What part of the word NO do you not understand motherfucker!!!"

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Facebook arrives at commonsense 'real names' policy

Steven Roper
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One little error

"... telling users that it knew what was best for them: an approach that started to annoy its larger product base and even drew the attention of the authorities."

FTFY.

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Microsoft offers Linux certification. Do not adjust your set. This is not an error

Steven Roper
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Ah, I must have missed that bit. Thanks for pointing that out, I stand corrected.

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Steven Roper
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25% of the machines connecting to Microsoft's cloud are running Linux? Windows 10 has pissed off that many people already? This is a good sign.

Now, if Nadella is smart enough to recognise this, maybe he's smart enough to realise that people don't want the Windows 10 ransom and spyware. But I'm not holding my breath.

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'Personalised BBC' can algorithmically pander to your prejudices

Steven Roper
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I like the sound of this... I think?

Part of me is appalled at the potential for privacy invasion and the profiling and analytics that will go along with it, including the inevitable carefully-tailored advertising designed to bypass my conscious decision-making processes. After all, I've made no bones about how much I hate being tracked and profiled.

But this also has promise. Being able to mess around with my content means I could strip out all the feminism, misandry and political correctness that has been seeping into popular entertainment of late. I can tune my shows so the male characters aren't all portrayed as perverts, morons or manginas, depict couples that aren't always either gay or interracial, get rid of the anti-racist, anti-sexist preaching, and the self-entitled bitchiness that seems to be de rigeur in so many of today's shows and movies.

Pandering to my prejudices? Oh yes, please. Anything to shut the agenda-pushing SJW brigade out of my life. They'll hate this. With a passion.

Hmmm... Why do I suddenly have the sneaking suspicion if this takes off it'll get canned all of a sudden, or certain options to change certain things will be removed so the PC army can still shove their agenda in everyone's faces? Given the media's propensity for PC and the increasing unpopularity of the PC movement, I can't see this passing unscathed the moment they wake up to the fact that the very people they're trying to preach to and reprogram, are suddenly able to exclude them.

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Hacked Japanese space probe sends back first pictures of Venus

Steven Roper
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Re: periapsis, apoapsis muddle....

In light of this discussion I here submit my proposed list of apo-/peri- suffixes for major solar system bodies. Some are gleaned from science fiction works, KSP, known scientific terms and some I just derived based on an imprecise algorithm of prefixing apo- and peri- to possessive tenses of Greek deities:

aphelion / perihelion: Sun (General scientific term)

apohermion / perihermion: Mercury (My guess: Mercury = Hermes)

apocytherion / pericytherion: Venus (See comments above: Cytherian = Venusian)

apogee / perigee: Earth (General scientific term)

apolune / perilune: Moon (Used in the Apollo program)

apoareon / periareon: Mars (My guess: Ares = Mars)

apojove / perijove: Jupiter (Arthur C. Clarke used this in 2010)

apochrone / perichrone: Saturn (My guess: Chronos = Saturn)

apourane / periourane: Uranus (My guess: Ouranos = Uranus)

aposeidion / periposeidion: Neptune (My guess: Poseidon = Neptune)

apodemetrion / peridemetrion: Ceres (My guess: Demeter = Ceres)

apohadeon / perihadeon: Pluto (My guess: Hades = Pluto*)

apastron / periastrion: orbit of any star other than the Sun (Brian Aldiss used this in his Helliconia trilogy)

apoapsis / periapsis: orbit of any object without specificity (this article and KSP)

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*The recent New Horizons encounter with Pluto didn't involve orbiting that body, so technically the terms apohadeon and perihadeon don't apply. At least, I never saw them or any similar apo-/peri- term used by the New Horizons team.

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Steven Roper
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Re: Lost in translation?

That they've managed to achieve planetary orbit at all solely on auxiliary thrusters is a testament to the ingenuity of the scientists involved. I'd say they'll likely try to circularise the orbit if they have enough fuel left, possibly combined with aerobraking at the periapsis (where the orbital velocity would be highest.) Circularising the orbit with such a high apoapsis would raise the periapsis well beyond atmospheric range once completed.

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National Crime Agency: Your kid could be a nasty interwebs hacker

Steven Roper
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Re: "aimed at educating the parents of 12-15 year old boys"

"I notice noone brings out the "ingrained sexism" card when it's aimed at men."

Doesn't surprise me though. Since the exodus of Page and Worstall, and the increasingly Mailesque tenor of many of the articles, coupled with the upvote/downvote ratios on gender/identity politics-related comments, I rather suspect the SJW army is gradually making inroads on our beloved El Reg.

It was inevitable I suppose, those buggers will leave no stone unturned when it comes to proselytising their one true faith of equality for all except white males. And teenage boys seem to be a particularly favoured target by police, media, educational institutions and just about everyone else.

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Linknet shuttering, blames NBN rollout

Steven Roper
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Fixed wireless may be the answer

There are a number of small ISPs, such as NuSkope, Uniti and Skymesh, that are willing to build out towers in small country towns. NuSkope in particular specifically state that they're happy to do a build-out for as few as 5-8 connections. From their site:

We only require five to eight names on a list for us to start considering the site. ... Our latest example is the small town of Stockport with 15 houses, 40+ kilometres from Adelaide; their only alternate options were a slow and expensive satellite service… or no Internet at all.

So the good folks of Mullumbimby only need to jump on Whirlpool and start asking around. There are plenty of options available for remote regions these days.

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Internet's root servers take hit in DDoS attack

Steven Roper
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Re: Or, possibly,

I can think of a few more:

Luddites that hate the way the internet has changed the world and want to destroy it in an attempt to "bring the world back the way it was";

Religious fanatics trying to find ways to bring about the apocalypse;

Anti-NWO activists who see the internet as an illuminati tool to bring about the one world government and want to fight off the alien reptiloid invasion;

Anti-corporation or Anti-American groups who see the internet as a means by which America and/or its big corporations are trying to dominate the world and want to prevent them;

Crime syndicates testing a system whereby they can hold the world to ransom for billions of dollars;

Military/intelligence forces testing means of shutting the internet down in the event of world war or martial law;

A disaffected group of anti-social basement-dwelling hackers who hate the world and just want to see it burn.

I can't think of any others off-hand but given the things I've read online, all of the above are distinct possibilities!

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Dropbox tells Mailbox and Carousel users to get their affairs in order

Steven Roper
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Re: Yet another reason to never trust Cloud Services

Which is exactly why I love it when this happens. The more it happens, the more people will get burnt by cloud storage and the more they'll shy away from it. Which in turn will render it a passing fad rather than a long-term IT trend.

Hopefully the ransom-rentism model pervading the IT world will go the same way, once people realise that paying for your software over and over is akin to buying a book from the bookstore and having to pay the store a monthly fee to keep it. In any other industry this would be considered extortion. In IT however it seems to be par for the course.

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Pirate Bay domain suspended thanks to controversial verification system

Steven Roper
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The entire domain registration system is borked

One of the dangers of using domain admin or anonymising services is that legally, the domain is owned by the entity whose details appear in the Whois entry. So technically, the anonymising service owns the domain and if they get bought out the purchasing entity could technically claim your domain and you would have no rights to it, since you aren't listed as the owner.

For this reason all our domain names are held via our own company contact. However, phoning the number we use for domain registrations will simply get you a recorded message with no further contact options. Since every spamming fuckwit on the planet scrapes the Whois listings, we registered a separate number which we don't use, because otherwise it just rings constantly with telemarketers, spammers, scammers and scumbags. So it's really a waste of time and money requiring a phone number, when the vast majority of them would either lead to pointless recorded messages like ours, be left off-hook, or constantly busy with spam calls and can't be reached anyway.

As to clicking on links in emails, this is something I simply don't do, unless I've specifically requested the email (e.g. for a lost password reset/recovery.) Any email claiming to be from our domain registrar asking us to verify our contact details would simply go straight into the spam bin, along with the thousands of other fake domain-renewal notices, account-verification scams, and similar-domain cybersquatter offers we get every day.

However we've never had a domain suspended for lack of verification so I assume the fact that we pay for them out of our company account is sufficient verification for our registrar.

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Australia's smut-shocked senators seek net censorship (again)

Steven Roper
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At this point

the question of an internet filter is rapidly becoming irrelevant. With the metadata retention scheme now in place, and the copyright enforcement regime to force everyone to pay Murdoch's outrageous prices to watch Game of Thrones now active, I, and just about everyone I know is now using VPN services ubiquitously. Mine is always on - my ISP now sees nothing but an endless stream of encrypted data between my house and PIA's VPN servers.

Needless to say this will also bypass any blocks the government puts in place. I fought against the internet filter some years ago knowing that the government would try again and again until they got one through. The response all over the country has been a mass sign-up to VPN services.

As a result an internet filter no longer matters. They've already lost control of the internet population here.

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Goodbye, Hello Barbie: Wireless toy dogged by POODLE SSL hole

Steven Roper
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Re: Could be worse...

If not it's only a matter of time.

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Per-core licences coming to Windows Server and System Center 2016

Steven Roper
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There's a difference between making money and ripping people off. This is an example of the latter.

Money is a medium of exchange representing value added through labour. It doesn't cost Microsoft any more labour to make a copy of Windows run on an 8-core machine than it does to make one that runs on a 4-core machine. Therefore this licencing scheme is charging extra money for no additional work. That, in my book,is ripping people off.

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Steven Roper
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The sheer greed and exploitation of these fuckers has to be seen to be believed. What the fuck are they going to come up with next? Per-transistor licences for anything connected to the net? Per-brain-cell licences for reading books?

The sooner the American corporate empire collapses under the sheer weight of its own greed and exploitative ingenuity, the better off the world will be.

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Google fends off EFF's claims kids probed by Chromebook software

Steven Roper
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"Our goal is to ensure teachers and students everywhere have access to powerful, affordable, and easy-to-use tools for teaching, learning, and working together," said Jonathan Rochelle

And you're doing all this out of sheer altruistic love for humanity and the goodness of your hearts of course.

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Revenge porn 'king' Hunter Moore sent down for 2.5 years, fined $2k

Steven Roper
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Sanctimonious much?

True to form, when Brittain's association with Dryvying was exposed, he and the company started posting dozens of aggressive, accusatory tweets. What a fine, upstanding member of society.

Well, if social-media vigilantes like you are going to hunt him down, expose him and harass the hell out of him wherever he turns, even though he's trying to turn over a new leaf and start an honest business, what is he supposed to fucking do?

Ok, he did a wrong thing. But now he's trying to stop doing it and do something else. But when he tries to do a right thing, self-righteous vigilantes who seek to hound him for the rest of his life, expose his connection to the new business, and try tirelessly to destroy him are driving him right back into crime, because you're denying him any means to start anew.

You and your ilk are not the fucking right hand of justice. You're a witch-burning, pitchfork-and-torch-waving mob, who collectively and individually represent the gravest threat to freedom and justice this world has faced since the Inquisition.

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Apple pays two seconds of quarterly profit for wiping pensioner's pics

Steven Roper
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Re: A Ridiculous Decision.

where were they stored before he got an iPhone that's only been around for a maximum of 3-4 years?

Ha ha, you must be getting old, mate, like me - the years go by faster as you get older.

The first iPhone came out in June 2007, over 8 years ago. But I know how you feel. It only seems like a few short years to me too!

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WDC's shingle-free stocking filler: A 10TB helium disk drive

Steven Roper
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Re: @Alien Not to be picky, but how much do they cost?

"Do you have 10TB of data that you need to store?"

I have over 6 TB of 3D CGI models and their various textures, materials, scene and stage files on my system. I know that's my own hobby and probably not a common scenario, but others likely have similar collections relating to their hobbies as well.

On top of that, I've collected over 8 TB of various movies, TV shows and music video clips over the years, since I never delete any of these that I rip or download in case they ever get censored or made unavailable (my Dukes of Hazzard collection being a case in point!)

My music collection also runs over 3 TB, since I have the entire discographies of Vivaldi, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Sibelius, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Verdi, Rossini and Wagner in lossless FLAC, a full collection of contemporary composers like Jarre, Vangelis, Williams, Goldsmith and Horner, as well as almost every pop/chart hit released from Bill Haley to Lady Gaga, lovingly collected over the past two decades.

So I've already amassed 17 TB of data on my various home boxen, and that's only going to increase over time. A drive like this would be a godsend to a data packrat like me!

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Brit hardware hacker turns Raspberry Pi Zeros into selfie slayers

Steven Roper
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Re: Interesting and eclectic choice of targets

"I have to admit that on my mental Venn diagram of social media users, politicised Islamists and rugby players, there's not a huge amount of overlap."

Are you sure about that? Rugby players, yes, but ISIS and Daesh are huge users of social media for recruitment to their causes, so much so that the Pentagon thinks it's a big enough problem to oppose with counter-propaganda.

There's quite a bit of overlap there, and the potential of this device to thwart those efforts cannot be understated!

I would say the chap who invented this thing is likely to get a visit from some men in black suits and dark sunglasses pretty soonish...

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Sued for using HTTPS: Big brands told to cough up in crypto patent fight

Steven Roper
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Re: Re stu 18

And post the execution on YouTube as an example and warning to other patent trolls...

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Hello Barbie controversy re-ignited with insecurity claims

Steven Roper
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The whole problem is the cloud mentality

Everything has to be connected to "the cloud" these days. In the wake of the Snowden revelations there are very many valid reasons why cloud storage should never be trusted. Nor is the possibility of spying, monitoring and profiling the only concern; "cloud" also brings with it the Ransom-as-a-Service business model, where have have to keep paying every month or lose your data.

And for those who say "but it's only $5 a month!" - yes, it's only $5 a month now, while you're sucking everyone in, but what will it rise to once millions of people are dependent on your service and the beancounters start leaning, knowing the service has become indispensable?

Not only that, so your service is only $5 a month, but so is John's, and so is Harry's, and so is Tom's, and before you know it you're paying out $300 a month in nickel-and-dime bills for all the little must-haves that society expects you to use to get by in daily life.

Back to the toy: I realise that the little Raspberry-pi type board in this doll isn't capable of parsing a kid's spoken commands. But a decently-powered desktop PC is, so why can't we have some software supplied with the doll that we can install on our desktops to receive the wi-fi signals from it and parse them in the home, without the need for any data to go outside the house?

No monthly milking, no monitoring, no profiling, no using psychological trickery to get inside our heads and find ever better ways of extracting another dollar, just a single good old-fashioned honest fucking trade, where I give you money once and you give me a product once, and then we fuck off out of each others' lives.

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Australian cops rush to stop 2AM murder of … a spider

Steven Roper
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Joke

Re: Eek!

Mortein is what we have to use around here to kill the local invertebrate wildlife, since what you Europeans and Yanks conventionally think of as "fly spray" isn't effective against the sort of fauna we have here.

You haven't heard of it because we don't export it, and we don't export it because we don't want to contravene UN chemical-warfare treaties!

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Sneaky Microsoft renamed its data slurper before sticking it back in Windows 10

Steven Roper
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Re: FTFY

"so far each and every loving patch they do try to slip through has had a full description attached detailing what it's collecting in the online kb entry."

Identically labelling every update as "This update resolves issues in Windows" is not what I would call "candour." I don't have time to go online and individually check the entries for 3 dozen updates every week, nor should I have to. They should, at a minimum, state right in the update description: "This update remedies a security vulnerability" or "This update collects [x] data and transmits it to Microsoft for [y] reasons."

That I would consider candour, because then I can decide if I want the update on the spot without having to click around on the internet. But of course MS will NEVER do that because then everyone would reject all the "telemetry" updates!

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Green rectangles are the new rounded rectangles

Steven Roper
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Re: a. freaking. green.rectangle.

'B' ark, hold 17.

Agreed. We seriously need a 'B' ark for this planet. The only difference I'd apply is that instead of repeating the Golgafrinchans' mistake in programming it to crash-land on a life-supporting planet, I'd suggest using it in one of Disaster Area's sundive spectaculars.

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Why Microsoft yanked its latest Windows 10 update download: It hijacked privacy settings

Steven Roper
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Re: "we will restore those settings"

" It will take a major security breach to wake people up."

No it won't. J. Q. Public isn't concerned about security other than protecting their credit card numbers.

What WILL wake people up is Microsoft's Ransom-as-a-Service rentism business model. When people suddenly become aware that it's costing them a bomb to run their comuters each month and wonder where all the money's going, that's when they'll wake up and realise they've been diddled.

I don't think an exodus to Linux will happen straight away. But I think it will gradually gather momentum once the rentism kicks in and people start looking for ways to cut costs and get their files back without having to pay the monthly ransom to continue working with them.

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Ex-IT staff claim Disney fired them then gave their jobs H1-B peeps

Steven Roper
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Re: Disney will will this one.

Of course they'll win.

If they're big enough to repeatedly buy endless world-wide copyright-term extensions to protect their rights to the Rat, a case like this would be a minor blip in their pocket change.

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Shocker: Smut-viewing Android apps actually steal your data

Steven Roper
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Re: Scantily-clad women on a 6" screen, what's the point ?

"More to the point, at what point did "scantily clad women" become pornography? Talk about scope creep..."

Welcome to the wonderful world of modern mass-media feminism and its "sexually-objectifying women" and "male gaze" mantras. These days, any picture of a woman showing more skin than face, wrists and ankles and/or wearing anything more revealing or form-fitting than army fatigues, is classed as objectification, therefore pornography.

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Researchers say they've cracked the secret of the Sony Pictures hack

Steven Roper
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Holmes

Surprise, surprise!

"Hackers" erased the logs and altered timestamps? Who'd o' thunkit? Every bloody wannabe script kiddie that ever watched a Hollywood hacker movie from War Games to Swordfish knows you erase the logs and adjust the timestamps when you hack into a system. Are they saying it took an expert security team to figure out the "hackers" were actually doing that?

Oh, puh-leeeze!

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EU's Paris terror response includes 'virtual currencies' crimp

Steven Roper
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Some perspective

While our governments are using the Paris attacks to strip away what few freedoms we have left in the name of keeping us safe, I'd like to ask them three questions:

How many people died in the Paris attacks? How many people have died in car crashes since the attacks happened?

And how does stripping away our freedoms keep us safe when we're so much more likely to die in a car crash than be murdered by terrorists?

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Yahoo! Mail! is! still! a! thing!, tries! blocking! Adblock! users!

Steven Roper
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Re: Illogical...

"We need to get off our addiction to free content"

The problem is, suppose sites do move to a subscription model? Many already have - Murdoch's rags in particular - but how long once it becomes the norm will it be before the bean-counters start pointing at the extra money they could be making with subscriptions AND advertising?

This is exactly what happened on cable TV here in Australia. When cable first became available, it was fantastic - finally you could watch TV with no ads. Then they began putting in little ad breaks just to let you know about upcoming shows. Then the charities snuck in. And finally the money talks and the commercial ads get started. In the end, adverts on cable got about as bad as on free-to-air, except you get to pay a minimum $50 a month for the "privilege." $120 a month if you want Game of Thrones and its ilk.

So I'd bet a penny to a pound of shit that if the ad-free site subscription model took off, once it became the norm and there were no viable alternatives, you'd start seeing the whole adverts - adblockers - adblocker-blockers cycle start all over again. The greedy bastards are simply insatiable.

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Steven Roper
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Re: Yahoo! Can! Pound! Sand!

"Of course, cell phone numbers are just as discardable and anonymous as email addresses"

Not in Australia they're not. In order to buy a phone with service and a number assigned to it here, even if it's a pre-pay service, you have to produce photo ID, such as a driver's licence. No phone shop will sell you one without it. Of course you can buy a phone with no SIM card without ID, but that of course is useless.

So discardable, maybe. Anonymous? Nope. Not unless you can pull fake ID, and in this country that's opening yourself up to a world of hurt if you get caught.

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World needs 252,288,000 seconds to decide fate of leap seconds

Steven Roper
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Why the high degree of granularity?

Why not just let the extra seconds accumulate until they amount to an hour, then we just knock an hour off or add it to the time as required, like we do with Daylight Savings?

If the slowing of the Earth's rotation is proceeding at a constant rate, then that hour should be predictable enough to be able to program it into timekeeping systems, the way our computers recognise Daylight Savings and adjust the time automatically when it occurs.

Given that the rate of slowing is also very slight, we'd only need to do this every couple of decades or so in any event.

I'm sure there's scientific reasons for doing it as we do, relating to the timing of events and phenomena, but for that we could use a clock based on, say, seconds elapsed since the Big Bang, without worrying about other time periods like days or months or years.

OK, we don't know the age of the universe to that level of precision, but we could allocate an arbitrary value to run with until we do. We currently reckon the age of the universe at 13.82 billion years, based on observations by the Planck spacecraft.

For example, we could say this is the year 13,820,002,015 After Big Bang (ABB), at epoch 2000 AD there were 31,558,149.504 seconds per year, so Jan 1 2015 AD translates to 436,133,689,734,951,250.56 seconds ABB. Then scientists can take their time on that basis without having to worry about the slowing rotation of the Earth or other orbital anomalies.

Obviously, as our observation of the age of the universe becomes more precise, we can then update the scientific calendar as required.

Meanwhile the rest of the world, which functions on hours, days, months and years more than it does seconds, can live in peace with only an hour's adjustment every couple of decades or so.

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Hillary Clinton: Stop helping terrorists, Silicon Valley – weaken your encryption

Steven Roper
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Re: It IS an adversarial situation

"Perhaps a genius will emerge who can, in fact, determine a way to make everyone happy, but I'm not holding my breath."

Such a genius would have to find a way to execute every politician traitor currently exploiting terrorism to demand weaker encryption and greater surveillance. The despots themselves wouldn't be happy, but they'd be dead, so that wouldn't matter, and then everyone else would be happy.

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Tech goliaths stand firm against demands for weaker encryption after Paris terror attacks

Steven Roper
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Scum

Any politician who sinks to the level of exploiting these tragic events to justify eroding civil liberties is every bit as vile as the terrorists they claim to oppose.

The world these megalomaniac bastards want to create is exactly what the terrorists want them to create. So there is no ethical difference between a terrorist and a politician who exploits terrorist acts to create a culture of fear.

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Astronomers catch first sighting of a planet's birth pangs

Steven Roper
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@Bleu

I feel for you mate, the light pollution from a huge city like Tokyo must be absolutely staggering. It's amazing you can even see 20 stars from such a place.

I live in Adelaide, Australia, which is a city of a million people, but compared to a megalopolis like Tokyo it would be little more than an outback village. Yet I've looked up at the night sky from Victoria Square in the centre of the city and the light pollution there kills off all but the brightest stars too.

But Adelaide is also fairly compact; about half an hour's drive from the city and you're out in the Barossa Valley or the Mt Lofty Ranges, where the light pollution disappears, and the night sky from there is absolutely incredible. Here in the Southern Hemisphere we can't see the Plough or Polaris, but here the centre of the galaxy rides high overhead and the dust lanes of the Milky Way obscuring Sag A stand out in razor-sharp detail to the naked eye. You can clearly see the central bulge and the sky-spanning spiral arms stretching off to either side. And the Magellanic Clouds, our satellite galaxies, are also amazing to see - the Tarantula Nebula is an easy naked-eye object despite being 110,000 light years off.

Perhaps you can find a spot where you can see the night sky. I haven't been to Japan myself, but I have spent many an intriguing hour hopping around it on Google Earth, and I noticed there's a hiking trail to the top of Mt Fuji. You can even follow it on Street View since someone's gone up to the summit with a backpack pano camera.

Perhaps on your next time off you might take a little trip up to the summit there and see what the night sky looks like. At that altitude much of the atmosphere would be below you, which would not only make the stars clearer but would also eliminate much of the scattering that causes light pollution to be such a problem in your part of the world.

(Interestingly, I noticed that Mt Fuji is on the same longitude as Adelaide. My house is only 15 km west of the longitude line that runs through Mt Fuji, albeit thousands of kilometres south of it!)

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Steven Roper
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Yes, the concept of looking into the past as you look into the night sky is truly wonderful. One way I often put it into perspective when pointing out objects in the sky to friends and family is to relate it to my ancestors.

So when I point out, for instance, Rigel in Orion (900 l.y. away) I ask, who was my direct-line ancestor living 900 years ago? My dad's dad's dad's...dad. Who was he? What did he do with his life? How did the events of the world at the time affect him? Because if someone is orbiting Rigel and looking back at the Earth with a humungous telescope, that's who they're seeing, not me!

I never fail to find that a sobering concept.

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Yay, more 'STEM' grads! You're using your maths degree to do ... what?

Steven Roper
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Re: Euclid is not outdated, worthless knowledge

You also need a good grasp of Euclidean geometry if you want to get into any of these fields: game design, 3D modelling, graphic design, architecture, or photography (think projecting 360° panoramas etc) among others. So for one thing all those budding wannabe game developers better have their 3D trigonometry down pat if they hope to get anywhere in that field.

It still amazes me how dismissive some people are of geometry. They don't realise how much they use it in everyday life without even thinking about it: things like deciding whether it's worth driving to the shop or walking to the corner store, figuring out the best route to take to a friend's place, finding north without a compass, working out if your car will fit into that parking space - all this entails a near-instinctive use of geometry.

As far as I'm concerned, if you can't even guesstimate the diagonal distance between two points given their x and y coordinates by the time you finish high school, you haven't finished school and you sure as hell aren't ready for any skilled position.

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Apple's Faulty Powers moment: iPad Pro slabs 'temporarily bricked' during recharge

Steven Roper
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Headmaster

"temporarily bricked"?

Isn't that something of an oxymoron? As I understand the term "bricked", it means the device has lopped the twig, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible, and thus is suitable only for use a brick. "Doorstop" was another one that I recall from the 80s and 90s.

So if it's only temporarily out of commission, it can't have been "bricked," as using it in such a role would be a waste of a device that can be got working again. A device is only used as a brick when it has become permanently useless for any other purpose.

The only situation I can think of in which something could possibly be said to be "temporarily bricked", is if it actually WOULD 'voom' if you put four million volts through it...

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Google, didn't you get the memo? Stop trying to make Google+ happen

Steven Roper
Silver badge

They did their dash with me

when they promoted and then deep-sixed Wave, Buzz and iGoogle. They've demonstrated a clear track record of offering services one tends to come to rely on and then pulling the plug. Never again will I allow myself to depend on or rely on a Google service other than basic search (and even then only on the rare occasions DuckDuckGo doesn't give me what I'm after.)

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Hubble finds lonely 'void galaxy' floating in cosmic nothingness

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Yes! I finally meet someone else who has read the Saga of the Exiles (and hopefully the counterpoint Galactic Milieu series as well!)

Every time I've tried to talk about those books in sci-fi forums, I inevitably get responses of "What saga is that?" and "Who the fuck is Julian May?" I can't believe that such brilliant books - that are supposed to be bestsellers to boot - seem be so unfamiliar to so many sci-fi fans.

I second your suggestion that it could be the Duat galaxy, since it is a barred spiral. Although Duat was supposed to be 240 million light years away, and I think this one is a bit further than that.

Anyway, thumbs up for the reference!

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Commentard achieves bronze badge, goes directly to jail

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: Actually I think there should be some form of quality control

"And then Eadon got kicked, to the tune of very many very small violins, I am sure."

That was a truly sad day for the El Reg community. Eadon's shitposting was pure Reg gold; I had to replace a container's worth of keyboards because of him. Only Webster Phreaky ever surpassed him, but he seemed to have vanished before Eadon took over. Perhaps they were one and the same entity, and perhaps his ghost haunts the El Reg comments threads even to this day...

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Hold on, France and Russia. Anonymous is here to kick ISIS butt

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Cloudflare's CEO is right about one thing

It is not Cloudflare's business to vet and make political decisions about the sites it hosts - any more than it is the business of the postal service to open people's letters to check for illegal content, or telcos to monitor phone calls. The moment we make carriage services liable for the content they transport we open a very dangerous and undesirable can of worms.

I also stand very strongly for the right of freedom of speech, in fact standing for freedom is my highest ideal. But a line has to be drawn, and for me that line exists where one's speech advocates or enables taking freedom away from someone else. I hold that the right of free speech does not carry with it the right to take it away from others - or even to advocate taking it away. Freedom for one must by definition be freedom for all otherwise the entire concept becomes nonsensical.

So sites that recruit or promote the cause of any group whose stated purpose is to impose violent control of others - and ISIS and its ilk very definitely fall into that category - are not, or should not be, "protected speech."

However it is the role of law enforcement and and the judiciary to determine if a law has been broken, not carriage providers. Cloudflare have every right to host any site, no matter what its content, right up until the moment it is told to remove the site by a duly appointed and empowered legal authority that has followed due process to determine that the site breaks the law. And once that happens, only then should they remove it.

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Aircraft laser strikes hit new record with 20 incidents in one night

Steven Roper
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Re: Dangerous, stupid and highly illegal"

"I suspect this increasing stream of reports in the press will be followed by banning them entirely."

That's already happened in Australia. Several years ago the government banned all laser pointers over 1 mW, except for members of registered astronomy clubs. You have to prove membership in such a club to be able to import a >1 mW laser pointer, and there's a safety training course you have to complete to be qualified to use one.

Essentially the safety course warns about never pointing them at aircraft, always checking to see if there are any aircraft in the vicinity you're aiming at before operating the pointer, and being aware of high-altitude ice scattering the beam in ways that aren't always visible from the ground, etc.

They're classed as Category A firearms, which I thought was actually quite cool - I'd been waiting since I was a kid for the sci-fi moment when laser guns would be recognised officially as weapons!

But of course that means that if you are caught in possession of one without an astronomy-club exemption you get charged with possession of an illegal and unregistered firearm - which in this country is a serious and imprisonable offence.

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Ransomware-as-a-service surfaces, wants 10 percent profit cut

Steven Roper
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Re: Death to these perps

I hope that attitude doesn't extend to me though. I say this because, while that AC is not me, I know I've posted some pretty vitriolic death-wishes on scamming scumbags myself in my years here - all on the same account I signed up here with in about 2007 or somewhere thereabouts. Compared to some of the things I've posted I'd like to do to scammers, that AC is actually pretty tame. The main difference is I put my name to my rantings when discussing such matters.

Perhaps that AC has had multiple troll accounts and has posted far worse things using them, and perhaps that's what prompted your response. I don't have your mod's-eye view of the commentards here, so I can't judge that. But I think also that you journalists write these things to stir up strong emotions, because that's how you get views and comments. So why do you act so surprised when people express strong emotions to stories you've written specifically to elicit just such a response?

There's a reason we in the El Reg reader community refer to ourselves as "commentards." The word in itself is a humourously self-deprecating statement about the readership you've garnered with your particular style of reporting. I know, because I am one!

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Big Bang left us with a perfect random number generator

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: but but

It's God's final message to His creation.

Decrypted, it reads: "WE APOLOGISE FOR THE INCONVENIENCE"

After much research involving sufficient quantities of alcohol I was able to deduce that the CMB is actually the number 42 repeated over and over, encoded using conventional Vogon accounting enumeration, XORed with standard Galactic Eezeereed.

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