* Posts by Steven Roper

1389 posts • joined 10 May 2011

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
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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
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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
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@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
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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
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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
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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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Apple's GOLDEN BLING MOBE still the top selling US handset

Steven Roper
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Not surprised at all

considering that Apple's modus operandi is to get any competing handsets banned on whatever pathetic patents they can sling around. Of course your figures are going to show you're the market leader when you've patent-trolled any competitors out of existence in your market area.

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Apple fanbois warned: No, Cupertino HASN'T built a Bitcoin mining function into Macs

Steven Roper
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Re: trolling idiots

"...real people going all out to try to make another person's day as bad as they can, for a laugh, which is as pitiful as it is despicable."

I downvoted your comment because it illustrates perfectly the all-too-common mentality these days of refusing to take personal responsibility for one's decisions and actions. It is this mentality that has been the primary cause of the erosion of our liberties, more so even than the terrorist and paedophile canards; blaming others for our own bad decisions and seeking reparations from them for our mistakes is why "freedom of speech" has become a farce.

If I told you that Toyota have been secretly including anti-gravity devices in all their cars manufactured since 2011 which can be activated simply by driving the car from altitude, and you go and drive your brand-new Prius off a cliff because you believed me, who's fault is that? I'm not the one who was driving the car. You were, ergo you and you alone are to blame. You made the decision to follow a stranger's advice without doing any research or checking up the facts for yourself before acting.

Pranking people who don't stop to think for themselves is as old as laughter itself. It's the same sense of humour that causes Australians to warn tourists to put forks in their hats and toothpaste on their ears to ward off drop bears. It's the same sense of humour that has a barrack-room sergeant sending a new recruit to engineering to fetch a "long weight." It's a basic aspect of human nature to prank each other, and has been for millennia - until now.

Branding people as "pitiful and despicable" for merely having a prankish or twisted sense of humour is really what is pitiful and despicable here.

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Jupiter moon Europa spotted spraying WATER into SPAAACCCEE

Steven Roper
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Re: Hmm....

But that message was sent 3 years ago! Surely it no longer applies in these modern times?

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We'll predict your EVERY MOVE! Facebook's new AI brain talks to El Reg

Steven Roper
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And so we take one more step

closer to the pre-crime dystopia depicted in Minority Report....

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People's Bank of China bans Bitcoin over 'drugs and guns' trade fears

Steven Roper
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Re: entrenched industry...

" It will continue even if the economy runs on spice and water."

But spice and water are indeed what make the universe turn; without them, civilisation would cease to exist. After all, who controls the water controls Arrakis; who controls Arrakis controls the spice, and who controls the spice controls the universe.

Admittedly we now also know that it is not who controls the spice, but who can destroy the spice, that controls the universe.

And relevant to this discussion, one more little pearl of wisdom from the same source:

"Control the coinage and the courts. Let the rabble have the rest."

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NBN day of action fizzles as just 20 show at Turnbull's office

Steven Roper
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Not surprised.

These are Australians you are talking about. The most apathetic, indifferent, uncaring, lazy mob of football-watching beer-swilling bogans on the planet.

The same thing happened back when we were organising protests against Conroy's internet censorship regime. In Adelaide, we had Nick Xenophon and the Premier present, and all of FIVE people showed up, because everyone else would rather get drunk and go to Womadelaide. It was an embarrassing farce for all of us, including Nick Xenophon, who put the time, money and effort into organising the protest, designing, printing and distributing flyers, doing the PR, organising the campaign, contacting public figures, setting up media coverage, and so on.

I gave up bothering that day. Our government could turn this country into fucking North Korea and as long as the fat lazy indolent bastards that comprise the majority population of this benighted country could have their football and their beer and their Australian Idol they wouldn't lift an arsehole to do shit about it.

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SILENCE of the OWLS may mean real-life 'Whisper Mode' for Black Helicopters

Steven Roper
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The biggest problem with flying cars

isn't so much the energy use, the noise, or the physics of flight.

It's the idiocy of the general driving population.

An awful lot of people seem to have difficulty managing a vehicle on a flat surface in two dimensions. What makes anyone think that these mobile-using, non-indicating, lane-hogging, inconsiderate prats could ever handle three dimensions?

At the very least, I'm certain the aerial fatality rate to surface fatality rate would follow the square-cube law if we allowed the common idiot unfettered access to flying cars. The only way around it would be to have the vehicle under the control of an automated central guidance system at all times while off the ground. Which, given the increasing tendency of companies to want to take remote control of our computers, wouldn't be too much of a stretch for the public imagination.

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Australia's States in online shopping tax grab

Steven Roper
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Re: Idiots!

Exactly.

These companies blame the GST when it's their own greed that causes people to shop elsewhere. They don't even have the bricks-and-mortar excuse, because Australian online retailers are just as big thieves as their bricks-and-mortar counterparts.

Example: I can buy a 16 MP digital camera with 24 x optical zoom for $260 from a Chinese drop-shipping site. The cheapest similar camera from an Australian online store is $430. That's a 165% markup. GST is 10%. If it was applied to me buying the camera from the drop-shipping site that would mean the camera costs me $260 + $26 = $286. Still a damn sight less than I'd be paying to an Australian retailer.

So even if the government bows to the retailers and makes us pay tax on online purchases it still isn't going to stop anyone from buying from overseas retailers.

Finally, these companies are the very same ones who were quite happy to outsource Australian jobs to cheap third-world labour. How dare they complain when we, the consumers, do exactly the same thing by outsourcing the purchasing of our products! Hypocrisy much?

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Our TINY flying robot moves like a JELLYFISH, say NYU boffins

Steven Roper
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Big Brother

Surveillance uses

At first I was strongly against this, but as I thought about it the more interesting it became. This kind of technology has the potential to be a great playing field leveller. After all, something this small can become ubiquitous; eventually it will be available to all and sundry.

I can imagine these things not only infiltrating our homes and workplaces, but police stations, secret parliamentary and G20 meetings, politicians' and judges' offices, everywhere. It will allow us to watch the watchers as narrowly as they watch us.

After all, if our leaders have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear. Right? Right?

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Tiny, invisible EXTRATERRESTRIAL INVADERS appear at South Pole

Steven Roper
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Trollface

Re: Who to truly believe

Marino, I've just taken the trouble to upvote all of your posts in this thread for successfully trolling the Reg commentard community to such an extent. Truly a trolling worthy of the best of 4chan. And that's even taking into account Poe's Law, because I'm certain nobody capable of entering a username and password would actually believe the new-age quasi-religious tripe you just posted!

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Google underwrites Firefox another year, even as Chrome outpaces it

Steven Roper
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Not at all surprised

to see Chrome pass Firefox, considering the malware-like fashion in which it is generally distributed. After all, there are probably a good many other botnets and spyware networks that have larger "userbases" than Firefox for much the same reason!

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Samsung v Apple: Titans await jury verdict on damages of MILLIONS

Steven Roper
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What would make me laugh

is, if Samsung phones being banned from sale in the US, the Koreans and Chinese reciprocate by banning the sale of iPhones in their own countries. I believe that would hurt Apple's overall sales figures a lot more than Samsung's.

Not to mention the loss of freedom of choice should such a ban go through: if I were forced to choose between having an Apple smartphone or no smartphone at all - well, you'll have to try and reach me at the office.

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Who wants 10TB of FREE cloud storage? Hands down if China is a deal breaker?

Steven Roper
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Pirate

For me it's almost a deal clincher!

Not only do I get the benefit of not having to worry about US legal tentacles and Chinese spying for the reasons you describe, but given China's attitude towards intellectual property enforcement I'd be able to use it to store all my DRM-free music, movies and TV shows without worrying about being prosecuted for doing so - and give access to my family and friends besides!

I still wouldn't use it to replace my local storage though, more as an access-anywhere adjunct. Not to mention that with my ISP data usage plan at 150 GB per month it would take me over 2 months to upload that much...

Actually, I can see the copyright lobby giving birth to dinosaur-sized kittens over this, because inevitably the most popular use of such a generous storage space allocation will be pirate downloads on a scale to make even bittorrent pale into insignificance!

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LOOK UP! Comet ISON could EXPLODE in our skies – astronomers

Steven Roper
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Re: I predict

You think you have the right to complain?

It's summer here in Australia, and while it's cloudy today we've generally been getting clear skies. But of course it doesn't matter how clear our skies get since the damn thing will be at its best only as it passes right over the BLOODY NORTH POLE meaning we'll only get to see it low in our northern skies for a couple of days as it emerges from behind the Sun and starts to brighten up!

You complain about a few clouds? Bah! We've got thousands of miles of rock and magma blocking our bloody view!

Oh well. Back to swanking over our Magellanic Clouds I guess...

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KILL SWITCH 'BLOCKED by cell operators' to pad PROFITS, thunders D.A.

Steven Roper
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In light of this

Does anyone here seriously believe that allowing private enterprise to replace or take over the functions of government will result in improvements?

These corporations have to be lashed by legislation every step of the way. And those who raise the reflexive cry of "Communism!" every time someone opposes corporate domination of any aspect of human endeavour must be exposed for the shills they are. No legal leeway whatsoever can be given to these psychopathic "entities" whose obsession with profit supersedes even their consideration of human life.

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Space hotelier Bigelow wants capitalists to FIGHT comm-MOON-ist takeover

Steven Roper
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It always starts like this

Administration of space should remain in the hands of publicly accountable and electable organisations.

If this guy gets what he wants, then the corporatisation of space for profit above all else will inevitably follow. And the inevitable outcome of that can be expressed in two words:

Weyland-Yutani.

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Drone owners told: stay out of bushfire skies

Steven Roper
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And so once again

a few idiots ruin it for the rest of us. Just like those little fuckwits with laser pointers aiming them at aircraft caused the government to ban laser pointers above 1 mW for everybody.

Given that this is the Nanny State Republic of Ausfailia, expect to see legislation very soon banning all use of RC aircraft anywhere except by law enforcement and registered personnel, using this as an excuse to take away yet another small liberty. It's what our government does best.

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In a meeting with a woman? For pity's sake DON'T READ THIS

Steven Roper
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Well, I'm male, and I find any phone/gadget use during meetings and presentations unacceptable.

To the point where, if I'm giving a presentation, and someone is using a phone or tablet, I will stop the presentation, explain to everyone present that when we are all ready to continue, I will do so at their earliest convenience; and I will wait until anyone messing about with their gadgets has returned their attention to the meeting.

I've interviewed job candidates who have actually pulled out their phones and started texting, right there in front of me. Needless to say, I've politely informed them at that point that they won't be considered for the position, and they would save their own time and mine by departing forthwith.

I also refuse to hold conversations with people who keep diverting their attention to their phone. I generally give them three warnings, after that I will simply leave, ignore them, or go about my own business, even if they try to pick it up again when they're done.

It's basic human courtesy that when someone is talking to you, you pay attention to them.

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Loathed wiggly-word CAPTCHAs morph into 'fun' click-'n'-drag games

Steven Roper
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Re: Less annoying than mangled text?

Not only that, but what's even more sinister is that this represents ads that you can't block with NoScript and Adblock. If you do, obviously you can't solve the captcha and you can't use the site.

So if one line of your defence against malware is NoScript, that provides a passthrough for the all too common malware-laced advertising. You'll have to allow Javascript for the ad server, and you can bet the VXers will be very quick to exploit this new hole.

Any site that starts using these ad-captchas simply won't be getting my business, either as a product or as a customer. Ads I usually don't have a problem with, as long as they aren't in my face. Being forced to run unwanted Javascript I do have a problem with.

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Boffins build BEELLION-YEAR storage medium

Steven Roper
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The one problem I see

is one of retrieval rather than storage.

If they build a storage medium that will last a million years they also need to build a writer/reader that will last a million years. Otherwise, like reel-to-reel tapes, 8" floppies, and Betamax cassettes, the information might still be there but a functioning device to read it non-existent, since companies see fit to change the media standards every couple of decades or so and planned obsolescence takes care of the rest.

Fat lot of good an archive of these things would be even in 50 years' time, let alone a million, when nobody makes the readers any more...

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Custom ringback tones: Coming to your next contract mobe?

Steven Roper
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Re: Somehow...

You clearly haven't encountered the delusional mentality of advertising twonks. I've actually worked with these people, I'm sorry to say, and I've been exposed to their peculiar brand of reality-rejection first-hand.

*THIS IS WHAT ADVERTISING PEOPLE ACTUALLY BELIEVE*

People love watching advertisements. They receive deep and fulfilling life satisfaction from the excitement of learning about our latest products. They find our art and design work stimulating and interesting, and will naturally tend to seek out more. People desire advertising as it fulfills their deep spiritual need to buy and consume. Our task, then, is to gratify this insatiable desire by creating deeper, richer, more spiritual advertising that will touch their hearts and win their souls to buy more widgets.

*THIS IS WHAT ADVERTISING PEOPLE ACTUALLY BELIEVE*

I know this is difficult to comprehend, but you'll find that the only possibility that exists for "these folk" is that you desire ever more intense and personal advertising and that they are the ones to fulfill your need.

It's sickening, I know, but that's the mindset you're dealing with. Not much short of a course of Haloperidol can fix that I'm afraid.

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ECHR rejects free speech plea over offensive online comments

Steven Roper
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Re: Dailymail astroturf does

" I read comments suggesting MI5 kill the Guardian editor with Polonium, that he should be shot for treason and all kinds of threats."

I have to pull you up on that one matey. There is a distinct difference between saying someone should be shot and saying someone will be shot. The second one is a threat; the first one isn't, it's just an opinion. Any comment along the lines of "You should be..." is not a statement of action and therefore cannot be interpreted as a threat.

The day you start classifying "should" as "will" is the day you give up any pretence of freedom of expression.

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Watery asteroid discovered 150 light-years off hints at habitable worlds

Steven Roper
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150 millon light years away?

Are you sure? Because detecting a white dwarf and an asteroidal body comparable to Ceres at the equivalent distance of a galaxy on the far side of the Virgo Cluster is no mean feat! What incredible instrument did they use to pull that off?

Or did you mean 150 light years and got a bit overenthusiastic about the distance?

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Samsung's new image sensor promises better snaps in smaller devices

Steven Roper
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Nothing changes

Back in the 80s I was shopping around for a new stereo. In store after store, I'd see outrageous claims for the power of these cheap all-in-one systems - 600 W here, 1500 W there. Watts PMPO, that is. Meaning that the system could theoretically output that power level for a second or two here and there, with a load of distortion, before blowing its caps out of its arse, but nowhere near that on a continuous basis.

Try asking the salesmen how many watts RMS or the signal-to-noise ratio and I'd get blank looks at shop after shop. They'd try all sorts of weasel tricks to convince me that PMPO was a valid measure of a stereo system's quality and that'd be my cue to move on.

After that it was MHz for microprocessors, which we quickly established as PMPO-level bullshit even back in the Commodore 64 days. The Zilog Z-80 could be clocked at 4 MHz while the humble 6510 only did 1, but the overheads of the Z80 made it the inferior processor. Same with the 12 MHz 80286 of the IBM PC vs the 7 MHz 68000 of the Amiga - and the Amiga blew the PC away in terms of performance.

These days it's megapixels. I have an Olympus FE 240 pocket camera (nothing fancy, but at least it has an actual lens on it) and a Samsung Galaxy S2 phone. The Olympus is 7 megapixels, the phone is 8. Guess which one takes the better pictures?

Oh well, I suppose they've got to keep trying. But for me, every time I see these bullshit measurements touted as an informative factor of a product's quality, I am reminded of the PMPO days and my youthful trek around town to find the ideal stereo.

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Valve shows Linux love with SteamOS for gamers

Steven Roper
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@Mikel

No. He won't. Neither will I. Neither will a host of others who refuse to hand over control of our machines to megalomaniac corporations who think they have the right to claim ownership of our lives.

There are always alternatives. Always have been, always will be.

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Michael Gove: C'mon kids, quit sexting – send love poems instead

Steven Roper
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Great

So the kids will avoid being hit with kiddy porn charges and get nailed for sexual harassment instead. Well, it is a step up I suppose.

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Grand Theft Auto V: Violent, sweary and amazingly ambitious

Steven Roper
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Re: I swear

More specifically, like Reddit's /srs/ board.

I stopped reading the article the moment I encountered the word "misogyny" on the first page. That word, along with other political-correctness trigger words like "womyn" and "cisgender", act like an automatic off-switch beyond which I will not proceed.

So I'd take this review of GTA with a grain of salt. Obviously the reviewer has biases of his own which prohibit more open-minded people from establishing an informed judgement of the game based on this review.

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'I shot the sheriff': Turnbull asked for NBN Co board scalps

Steven Roper
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Oh yeah

Translation: "We want all of Rudd's mates gone so we can give the cushy sinecure positions to our mates."

Sometimes these politicians' motives are so transparent you could use them to measure Doppler shifts in distant galaxies.

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WHY do phone cams turn me into a clumsy twat with dexterity of an elephant?

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: Well, if you're taking photos at a concert...

You're not alone there mate. I'm right there with ya.

Last year I went with my brother to some "Symphony Under The Stars" event, with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra performing in Elder Park.

And all I could see was a sea of arms waving smartphones high in the fucking air. I don't know why 20,000 people all wanted 20,000 identical videos of a mass of 20,000 wavering smartphone screens, because that's all any of them would have gotten. The only way you'd have been able to see (or film) the orchestra would be to have been pressed up against the stage.

Because of this sort of thing, I've come to detest the fucking things. In cinemas, in restaurants, at concerts, fireworks shows, sporting events, everywhere, everybody constantly waving these fucking smartphones around every bloody moment of every bloody day. An EMP cannon! an EMP cannon! my kingdom for an EMP cannon!

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So, Linus Torvalds: Did US spooks demand a backdoor in Linux? 'Yes'

Steven Roper
Silver badge

@ DJO Re: Psudorandomosity

"As far as I know nuclear decay is the only easy genuine random source available but a bit tricky to include in a little chip at a suitably low cost."

What about Americium-241 based smoke detectors? We already have widespread, low-cost "nuclear" gear in our homes in this form - why couldn't we use this same technology as an RNG in our computers as well?

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Five reasons why you'll take your storage to the cloud

Steven Roper
Silver badge

I don't have a problem

with the concept of the cloud per se. It has its uses and provides a lot of convenience; you can access your data from anywhere there's a computer and internet connection, you can share that data with colleagues in distant locations without the limitations imposed by email; you can offload much of your maintenance problems to a third party. The cloud certainly has its advantages.

What I object to, in the strongest terms, is this constant push, push push to force everybody to use cloud technologies exclusively. Increasingly, new versions of software are coming out as SaaS - pay every month, instead of pay once and keep forever. And if your cash flow is down one month, and you can't afford all the stacked monthly payments, you lose everything. Much of the software we use is now in two flavours - packaged and SaaS - but it's evident that "packaged" is being retained only as a transitional measure and the intent is to "wean" us all into the cloud as soon as possible.

Whenever something like this is pushed with such fervour and zeal, it inevitably means one thing: the big boys make more money which means you get less while paying more. Microsoft have found to their cost that selling a successful product can be a disaster once market saturation is reached, as the numbers of companies unwilling to migrate from the tried-and-true Windows XP shows. "Buy once and keep forever" is not as profitable as the "leech money off the poor bastards forever and a day" model. And this is one real reason why cloud is being pushed so hard.

The other reason is about power and control. Cloud storage means your data can be taken away if you don't toe the official line; it means your data can be monitored and analysed at will without your knowledge; it means your computer and your data are no longer your own, they now belong to the companies that own the OS and your data storage.

So in the end, my problem is not that cloud technology exists; it's that we are being forced into it to the exclusion of all other options. And until this hegemony is confronted and we are let to make our own choices about how and where we use what technologies, I and others like myself will continue to oppose this encroachment of our informational freedom to our last ounce of strength.

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New ransomware strain forces hapless users into becoming Bitcoin miners

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: Death to Ransomware

My thoughts exactly.

I've often maintained that until we start PUBLICLY EXECUTING these fucking bastards, and their families along with them if it can be shown that the family members knew of the criminal activity and did nothing about it, this sort of shit will run rampant.

Once we've had a few globally televised public hangings of these parasitic scum that are of no worth to the human race, once they made to realise the stakes are that they'll make money at less risk by enlisting for service in Afghanistan, we'll start seeing some results.

Ch-Click...HOCK! HOOOORRRRRAAAAAAAAYYYYYY!

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Furious Frenchies tell Apple to bubble off: Bling iPhone isn't 'champagne'

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Who? Apple or the CIVC?

For my part, given Apple's legendary lust for petty intellectual property, I 'd love to see the Frenchies sue their arses off. It would be poetic justice.

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Palestinian Facebook flaw-finder getting $10,000 payday in online appeal

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: I'll say it, since nobody else has the guts to

@ Don Jefe: No advantage, in fact I've probably earned a place on a few watchlists for posting that opinion. I just felt I should point it out because the possibility existed that it was a motivating factor and that mentioning it as such was likely to invoke artificial social taboos designed to silence debate.

As to you others who felt it necessary to resort to abuse and insult, thank you for illustrating why it is necessary to oppose the proponents of political correctness, who are the very ones who use these tactics to silence discussion and dismiss opinions you don't like. What you fail to understand is that the more you abuse and deride those who don't share your worldview, the more people will oppose you, and the greater the eventual horror that will arise from that opposition. You seem to have forgotten, as so many have in the past, that carrot is more effective than stick.

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Tiny fireball exoplanet completes one year in 8.5 hours

Steven Roper
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Thumb Up

Re: Mandatory XKCD link

e'); DROP TABLE PLANETS;--

I see little Bobby Tables has grown up to become an astronomer!

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Apple sucking triple the phone switchers as Samsung – report

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Joke

Re: iPhone buyers also younger, smarter, richer than 'droid drones

Ooh, ooh, can I write Apple's next marketing campaign based on this?

"Samsung and Android. The choice of bogans, chavs and rednecks everywhere!"

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