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* Posts by Steven Roper

1388 posts • joined 10 May 2011

Wanna be a ROBOT OVERLORD? Boffins pave way with mind-controlled cursor

Steven Roper
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Wow, Michael Chrichton was a prophet.

Way back in the 70s, I read a book by Chrichton titled The Terminal Man, which describes exactly this scenario. In Chrichton's story, a man, Harold Benson, suffering from what was then called temporal-lobe epilepsy is fitted with a computer controlled implant designed to trigger his pleasure centres in order to arrest the onset of epileptic seizures - exactly as described in this article.

In the book, although the implant is designed to trigger only when it detects a seizure, Benson quickly works out how to deliberately induce seizures in order to experience the burst of pleasure the implant generates. As a result of the continuous seizure state, he enters a psychotic mindset in which he believes machines have taken over the world, that everyone around him is now a machine, and embarks on a horrifically murderous rampage to free the world of his perceived machine dominance.

It's incredibly spooky to see how a novel that grabbed my imagination back in the 70s is actually coming true. The Terminal Man now joins 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010: The Year We Make Contact in my library of sci-fi futures whose time I'm now living in. Makes me feel like a time traveller!

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You've seen the Large Hadron Collider. Now comes the HUGE Hadron Collider

Steven Roper
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Re: Is that the best site?

Agreed, building a massive precision instrument like this right on the Ring of Fire is just plain asking for it. But we've sited all our electronics manufacturing in the same disaster area, so why not go the whole hog like the geniuses we are?

My personal preference to site something like this would be Siberia or the Australian outback. Somewhere there's no tectonic activity at all and the thing can sit nice and stably on top of a big fat granitic continental craton that isn't going anywhere.

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Thanks, NSA: Amazon sales of Orwell's 1984 rise 9,500%

Steven Roper
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Orwell vs Huxley

The famous comic depicting Neil Postman's comparison between Orwell and Huxley ("The possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right") can be found here.

The poster on that blog makes a salient point about both Orwell and Huxley being right. Huxley focused more on the social aspects of a dystopia, while Orwell focused more on the political aspects, and that there are elements of both in our own society.

Huxley did not dwell on the idea of the populace being kept under mass surveillance. His postulated means of controlling the populace lay in eugenics rather than enforcement; vis-a-vis the "Deltas", genetically engineered babies with only a limited capacity of intelligence and none at all for resistance or independence. But for us, eugenics is taboo, and we emphasise education and achievement - in Huxley's terms, we are trying to create a society of all Alphas, which Huxley stated could not work. Hence the need for Orwellian surveillance such as PRISM and its ilk, the better to keep the "Party members" in check.

On the other hand, while we cannot ethically engage in Bokanovsky's Process, we can dumb down the education system to ensure that the proles don't become too intelligent. The pervasion of political correctness and critical theory into public schools is part of this mechanism - to instill the process of orthodox thinking into the children and to ostracise and punish those who commit "thoughtcrime" - that is, who don't adhere to the dictates of political correctness. In this, the education process has become largely Orwellian, in that today's schools have much in common with Orwell's "Spies" and "Youth League" children's organisations. One can even see the likeness of radical feminism in Orwell's "Junior Anti-Sex League" and "Artsem".

Yet there is also a Huxleyan element; Huxley depicted schools that emphasised fun over learning, and forcibly induced children who sought to go their own way back into group activities. At no time were children punished in Huxley's version, they were simply psychologically pressured into compliance. Our schools also feature this element of psychological engagement and de-emphasis on punishment, and thus it can be seen that the education system, like society, embodies both Orwellian and Huxleyan concepts.

In the end, both Orwell and Huxley were right, insofar as Orwell correctly predicted invasive surveillance via technology, and the use of "goodthinkful" (aka politically correct) indoctrination processes to ensure political obedience, while Huxley correctly predicted the trivialisation and commodification of entertainment and human endeavour to ensure social compliance.

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Sony sucker-punches Xbox on price, specs, DRM-free gaming

Steven Roper
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Re: Pricing FAIL

"have you forgotten where Australia is? a darn sight closer to where they make the PS4 that we are ;)"

Yes, but you're forgetting the wasteful stupidity of corporate logistics. Most likely they'll ship the consoles from China all the way across the Pacific to sit in a warehouse in Los Angeles for some US wronk to sign off on, then ship them all the way back across the Pacific to us, resulting in them being transported the equivalent of a lap of the equator.

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Fear the Embarrassing Bodies webcam

Steven Roper
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Re: House!

After careful consideration and buzzword elimination, here's what I translated out of that sentence:

The people who maintain the cables and poles should be a separate bunch to the ones who sell services delivered over those cables and poles. The ownership of the cables and poles should be retained by the government, while the service delivery should be provided by private enterprise. This way a balance can be maintained between government control of the wires and the ability of the free market to make a buck.

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Yes, maybe we should keep hackers in the clink for YEARS, mulls EU

Steven Roper
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Re: Ya think?

How about 20 years for sanctimonious Dudley Do-rights who sit on their moral high horses pronouncing judgements from on high against anyone who dares to engage in independent thought, or express any kind of dissent against the established order?

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How Doctor Who landed at Sydney's Vivid festival

Steven Roper
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Re: Techies

Funny you mention that about the electricians and cablers and so forth.

Last time I went to the cinema, as we were walking from the car park to the cinema, I suddenly noticed that the huge building it was housed in was built out of bricks. Not pre-stressed rendered concrete slabs or sheets of galvabond that many large buildings are constructed of these days, but actual bricks. Hundreds of thousands of them.

And I thought, some brickie had to lay all those. Each brick was individually placed and the mortar trowelled over it ready for the next one. I found myself wondering about the men who had put that wall together, how long it must have taken them, and the sense of achievement they must have felt when it was finally completed and they all stood back and looked it over and said, "bloody good job of work, that!" And I wondered how many of the thousands of people who daily walked past that massive edifice of human endeavour had given it a moment's thought.

So here's a beer for all the tradies and techies who do the grunt-work of making civilisation happen all around us, and who we never notice. Bloody good job of work lads!

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We're losing the battle with a government seduced by surveillance

Steven Roper
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Re: How to end up on a watch list:

Haha, I salt my websites and emails with a similar list, except that my personal list of spook-catching keywords currently consists of:

"ANFO, avoid detection, blast, bomb, brisance, contact cell, destroy, Detcord, detonation velocity, diesel, disaster, explode, FBI, Federal Reserve Bank, fertilizer, fuel, hexamine, infiltrate, Interpol, kill, Nitropril, Obama, police, RDX, truck, unmarked, Wall Street, White House"

I do change some of the words from time to time, just to keep the spook-bots hopping. Chucking in a few explosive brand names like "Nitropril" and "Detcord" seems to elicit more interest than simply having loaded keywords like "bomb" and "explode", judging by the rate at which various crawlers return to my sites as I update the keyword lists.

I'm still waiting for my 5 AM door-kicking, however!

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Now you can use your phone instead of your wallet at the ATM, too

Steven Roper
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Not wrong El Reg!

That video has got to be the fastest round of Bullshit Bingo I've ever played, and I've seen some doozies at various meetings and presentations.

BULLSHIT!

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US chief spook: Look, we only want to spy on 6.66 BEELLLION of you

Steven Roper
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Re: As I was saying

My thoughts exactly.

Luckily I've managed to keep my company completely out of the cloud for now and the foreseeable future, for exactly this kind of reason. I'm hoping this debacle will seriously damage cloud adoption amongst other SMEs as well, because we all need to vote with our feet on all this bullshit taking control of our software and data away from us.

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Google accused of hypocrisy over Glass ban at shareholder shindig

Steven Roper
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@ The_Regulator

Mass-media-brainwashed fuckwits like you are why we have no freedoms left.

It would be poetic justice to see you falsely accused of paedophilia yourself sometime soon, because bastards like you more than anyone else deserve to take your own medicine.

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YES, Xbox One DOES need internet, DOES restrict game trading

Steven Roper
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Re: Welp

Those old 8-bit games are a fuck sight more fun to play than the 3D eye-candy shite that passes for video games these days anyway!

Case in point: I was playing Bubble Bobble on an Amiga emulator with my mate a few weeks ago, and I'd forgotten how much fun it was. There's something "delicious" about all those 16-colour cartoon candies that modern realistic games can't match. The gameplay is focused on fun rather than immersion, and I didn't realise how much I'd missed that kind of gameplay until we sat down and whiled away a few evenings with it!

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No FTTH under alternative Oz NBN plan, says Oppn. leader

Steven Roper
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Nice writing Richard...

"And thus does knee-jerk opportunism take the potting clay of policy and of it, craft the very image of the village idiot."

I'm sure Shakespeare himself would be proud of that line!

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Websites to 'close' for China's 'Internet maintenance day'

Steven Roper
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Re: Not very clever

Or in other words, China's government has yet to learn what is meant by the term "Streisand Effect"!

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Who did Apple LIE TO: Australia or America?

Steven Roper
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Re: Like - what is it with the Aussey market?

No we don't, because Apple have sued all the other choices off the shelves.

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UN to call for 'pre-emptive' ban on soulless robot bomber assassins

Steven Roper
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Re: There is potentially a difference.

"cos sooner or later someone will pick up a stone and off we all go again."

And as soon as someone so much as picks up a stone on a field of conflict you charge them with war crimes. Simples!

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Windows 8.1 Start button SPOTTED in the wild

Steven Roper
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FAIL

So by that argument, if I don't want to steer my car via a sidewise slider or reach down the back of the driver's seat to change gear, I'm a luddite? I have some news for you sunshine... Newer is not always Better.

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Steven Roper
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@John P re trying windows 8 before damning it

If I told you that the next version of the OS you'd be using had a C64-style command-line-only interface with no mouse support, no icons, maximum resolution 320 x 200 and only 16 preset colours on screen, you wouldn't need to try it to know that it doesn't do what you want. You know the specs required to accomplish the tasks you need to do and how you want to do them, and you know that a Commodore 64 doesn't have the specs required.

Now, my specs are that much of the work I do involves having multiple applications open at once, spread across multiple monitors, and with some applications working in the background while I get on with something else. For example, I might have Cinema 4D rendering a 3D image in the background while downloading a texture pack from the Web in Firefox at the same time as I'm post-processing a rendered image in Photoshop.

So when I read articles about how Windows 8 only supports full-screen apps and that apps that aren't at the front are put into a "suspended mode", that tells me that Windows 8 doesn't do what I want. It tells me that if I switch Cinema 4D to the back to do something else while it renders, the rendering stops. It tells me that when Firefox is switched to the back downloading stops. It tells me that multitasking is no longer available.

When I read reviews stating that the new TIFKAM interface is going to be a walled garden where only Microsoft-approved apps can be installed, that tells me I can no longer use open-source apps like Celestia or Notepad++ unless the developers of those apps get approval from Microsoft, which probably costs money they can't afford. It tells me I no longer have the choice of what software to install.

When I read blogs about how Windows 8 requires you to sign in to an online account, or, if you don't, constantly nags you to do so, and I see Microsoft publishing usage metrics that could only be obtained by the most intrusive and invasive monitoring of peoples' computer usage, that tells me that Microsoft can potentially monitor and reach into everything I do on my computer, whether I want them to or not. It tells me my computer is no longer my own property.

So when I read all of these things, I don't need to use it to know that it doesn't do what I want or need. Now I know that you can get past the TIFKAM to the desktop and it should work with multitasking and no need to sign in etc, but it is very clear that the desktop is a legacy mode designed to wean people off to the new restrictive paradigms, and it's likely that Windows 9 or 10 will ultimately be TIFKAM-only. I do not want to be "weaned". I do not want to lose the multitasking functionality and privacy I've grown to use and enjoy. So I do not want to even start down that path, because when you give them an inch they take a mile. I do not need to use Windows 8 to know that I do not want to use it.

As the old saying goes, a wise man learns from his neighbours' mistakes, a fool but by his own.

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Now beaming live from Pyongyang: NORKSCASTS!

Steven Roper
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Re: Here's an idea..

"Can you give examples of where technology development (not copying) has done at least fairly well away from capitalist systems?"

Erm... pretty much the entire space programme? Bearing in mind that most of America's space program was built on Nazi technology which they appropriated from the likes of von Braun after the war. Also that in spite of the Americans benefiting from von Braun's genius, the Soviets were still the first to launch a satellite and the first to put a man in space - and if von Braun and his people had gone to them instead of America, they would have been the first on the moon as well.

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Oz opposition says to stop hackers first stop refugee boats

Steven Roper
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Re: nothing like old fashioned racism

I downvoted you because of your cry of racism - a cry used all too often to silence debate on what has become a serious issue.

First off, you should know that while Australia is big, it's also inhospitable. That vast tract of land you see spanning half the southern hemisphere is fucking desert. We might be the size of the continental US, but we have only a tenth of the fresh water, so we can support only a tenth of the population. Consequently, our government has a responsibility to ensure that population growth doesn't get out of hand. And our current growth is being maintained by immigration as it is.

The problem with "boat people" is that they arrive here with no credentials, no passports or any means of identification. They are not vaccinated, and may be carrying a host of diseases which we are very lucky not to have in Australia. We have no malaria, no rabies, no polio, no yellow fever, all of which these illegal arrivals have been found carrying. We also have a vast and diverse range of unique animal and plant species, found nowhere else in the world, which are extremely vulnerable to imported diseases and invasive species that are carried in on the boats. Our strict quarantine and vaccination laws are in place for a very good reason.

Without identification, how do we know they aren't criminals or terrorists fleeing justice, or Islamist nutjobs like the bastards that murder people in broad daylight on your city streets? We need to be able to check their backgrounds, establish identity, and prevent such violent thugs from entering our country and ruining the very way of life that everyone wants to come here for. Of course not all boat people are terrorists or disease carriers, but we need to be able to confirm this for each one. Once we can confirm it, we let them in, no problem.

It takes time, effort and money to complete background checks on these refugees, to make sure that they can support themselves in Australia, and to make sure they are vaccinated and not carrying any disease. But they're flooding in faster than we can complete these processes, so what are we to supposed to do? Just let them all in willy-nilly and hope the bad ones don't start murdering people in the streets and infecting our kids with malaria and polio? The only thing we can do is keep them somewhere while we sort them out and get them through as best we can.

I'm sorry if these facts offend your delicate liberal sensitivities, but we have a fucking right to protect ourselves, our kids, our wildlife and our way of life from murdering fanatical thugs, deadly tropical diseases and invasive feral species.

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OKPay suspends payment processing to all Bitcoin exchanges

Steven Roper
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Bitcoin is a reaction

to the immoral and unaccountable duopoly on online payments held by Visa and Mastercard. These two companies, who operate beyond any public accountability, get to decide who can make a living on the Internet or not. When they played their ace with Wikileaks, the world woke up to this fact and started looking for alternatives. On top of this, there then appeared the spectre of these companies wanting to sell account holders' purchase histories to advertisers, which brought payment tracking to the fore.

Bitcoin offered a way around these problems. With Bitcoin, anyone can get paid, whether the banking powerbrokers like it or not. With Bitcoin, you can keep your purchase history to yourself. And it is this that the big payment processors don't like - the loss of control, and the loss of access to market data.

Governments and LEAs would be less concerned because in the end, you still have to convert Bitcoins back into "real money" to realise its value. At which point your local revenue service or LEA can tap you on the shoulder and ask "Excuse me, where did you get all this money from?". They can hit you for tax on it as soon as you do so. And simply saying "I converted it from Bitcoins" won't cut it - you still need to have an audit trail. If you claim to have "mined" the Bitcoins, you might need to show you have the computing infrastructure to do this. If government agencies really want to dig, they can find out where the money ultimately came from if they really want to. Their only interest is enforcing taxation and money-laundering laws. It is the payment processors who are really being hurt by Bitcoin, and they thus have an incentive to lobby governments to do something about it.

So you can bet that it is more companies like Visa, Mastercard and Paypal behind this anti-Bitcoin push than any government tax department or LEA.

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May threatens ban on 'hate-inciting' radicals, even if they don't promote violence

Steven Roper
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Re: Pro-Freedom

Hitler was elected by voters in a democracy. And it's happening all over again now. There are no moderates any more; on the one hand you have the liberal left and the political correctness horde enforcing feminism and multiculturalism and denying any voice to anyone who dares to question these agendas; on the other hand you have neo-nazi white-supremacists like the UKIP and National Front variants who would exterminate anyone whose skin shade is darker than #c89680 and happily reduce the entire Middle East to a radioactive wasteland.

It is in exactly this climate that hate and intolerance flourish, from both sides. Even more so when that hate and intolerance is denied and concealed by its adherents, and this is happening on both the left and the right. May's proposal here is an example of leftist (PC) intolerance, as this proposal is clearly targeted at groups like the EDL; the attacks on Muslims and the vandalism of mosques are an example of rightist intolerance. I read in the news that during the EDL protests in London yesterday that there was also a protest by UAR, and that police had to keep the two groups apart by force - or they would likely have torn each other to pieces. Literally.

There are voices in the wilderness crying out for moderation. I saw an article in the Guardian yesterday about how a mosque in York decided to greet EDL protestors with tea and biscuits, and an impromptu game of football. After a bit of initial shouting and posturing, the two sides met and had a good chat about who they were and what they were about. Turned out the Muslims hated the betrayal of their religion by the extremist nutters claiming to murder in the name of Islam, and the EDL people felt that political correctness was denying them a voice and the right to debate. And when they understood each other they got along wonderfully and had a game of football.

But sadly this isn't common enough. The politically correct left will no doubt claim that this is what they want, but they are twisting it to promote their agenda of discrimination against whites and males in the name of "equality". The white supremacist right will no doubt claim this is what they want, but they are twisting it to promote their agenda of cultural isolation of whites from all others.

But in the end, what most people really want is a balance: a place where they can be with their own kind, and a place where they can come together. This is why people of a given culture tend to conglomerate in the same area. They want to be with their own kind, with those who live the way they do and speak their language. This is not hate, it is not discrimination, it is a perfectly natural human desire. And there can be multicultural hubs, where different cultures can meet and mingle. But the extremists on both sides will not allow this. The leftists want multiculturalism everywhere, no exceptions, and the rightists want multiculturalism nowhere, no exceptions.

And when extremism flourishes and moderation fails, it is the extremists that are voted into power. The lessons of history are very clear on this point, as is the bloodshed and oppression that will inevitably follow.

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China's 'human flesh search' hunts down teen vandal

Steven Roper
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Re: Anonymous vs Human Search Engine

...FINISH HIM!

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Forget the word 'cyberwar' says Marcus Ranum

Steven Roper
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Re: @Pete2

"Because 'victory' could just as well mean successfully defending yourself against an oppressor."

Thereby enabling the current ruler to continue imposing his will on the people who fought for him, instead of the would-be conqueror's will. The term "oppressor" is highly subjective, the more so the higher up the social ladder you look. War is, and has always been, about who gets to be boss. For the common serfs, who simply want to live their lives, till their fields, ply their trades and watch their football, war is an unwanted menace because for the most part they don't care who is boss so long as they can live their lives, till their fields...etc.

It reminds me of an Aesop's fable I read as a kid: A farmer had his horse hitched to the plough and was tilling the soil ready for planting, when he saw some enemy soldiers running across the field, shouting and waving swords. In a panic, he unhitched the horse, mounted, and told him to gallop for his life. But the horse refused to budge. "Tell me," he said, "if the enemy takes over this farm, do you think he would make me plough twice as long, or carry a double load?" "I shouldn't think so," answered the farmer. The horse then replied, "Then what matters it to me what master I work for, so long as I only have to bear my normal burden?"

I won't include the "moral" because in this case it's pretty self-explanatory.

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Better Place electric car outfit goes titsup

Steven Roper
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Re: Marketing

Actually the name 'Better Place' suggested to me something like those dollar-dazzler, spend-a-penny $1 shitshops punting cheap-crap Chinese plastic household gewgaws and shonky tools that fall apart the moment you take them out of the packaging. One only ever buys this junk from these places once and swears never again. Which is not an image that would have encouraged me to buy a car from them!

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The BOFH is BACK: And it's cloudy with a 90% chance of beatings

Steven Roper
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Re: peeves

"5) a pretty woman who regularly shows up to the door and requests IT equipment (mice, keyboards, etc) and who knows that she can get away with it"

That's actually my number one peeve. So I operate on the principle that, since merely looking at a woman the wrong way constitutes "sexual harassment", then so does attempting to use femininity to elicit special favours.

As a result, a "pretty woman" (i.e. flirty manner, provocatively dressed etc) is less likely to get anything out of me than one who presents and conducts herself in a professional manner.

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Open wide, Google: Here comes an advertising antitrust probe

Steven Roper
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Joke

And bite the pillow

'cause I'm goin' in dry!

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Brit spooks bugged Edward VIII's phones, records reveal

Steven Roper
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Re: Booze!

This reminded me of my favourite Churchill quote, attributed to him in a conversation with Lady Astor, who had accused him of being drunk:

"Madam, I am indeed drunk. And you are ugly. But in the morning, I will be sober."

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Tipsters exposed after South Africa's national police force hacked

Steven Roper
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Re: "Tipsters exposed after South Africa's national police force hacked"

Agreed 100%.

As far as I'm concerned, if any of the people named in these files comes to any harm, the script kiddies (I refuse to grace these fuckwits with the term "hacker") responsible should be charged as accessories after the fact. So if any of the named people are killed, then these little bastards should go down as accessories to murder, in addition to any penalties imposed for computer misuse.

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Fairphone goes on sale to all

Steven Roper
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Re: Not quite.

Except that, thanks to good intentions going too far the other way, it's now par for the course to arrest a man for "walking while white" and "looking in a woman's general direction." Not to mention that the adherents of political correctness completely lack any sense of humour in any event.

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Steven Roper
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WTF?

What's politically correct about using materials that weren't produced using slave/forced labour (which is what I understand "conflict free" to mean)?

Political correctness is AFAIK about oversensitive do-gooders getting offended at every stupid little comment where no offence was intended, ruining careers and lives for expressing non-inclusive ideas, seeing racism, misogyny and homophobia around every corner, and biasing social services against white males on the fallacious and hypocritical stereotype that all white males are privileged - none of which have anything to do with not using slave labour in one's products.

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More than half of Windows 8 users just treat it like Windows 7

Steven Roper
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Trollface

Re: Wait, something's missing here...

Eadon isn't here precisely because this topic is about Windows 8. He has nothing to gain by posting here, because his modus operandi as a troll isn't to rant about Windows 8, it's to derail forum threads that have nothing to do with Windows 8 with utterly irrelevant rants about Windows 8.

His objective is to get everyone posting about what a wanker he is and how sick they are of his irrelevant posts and thus obliterate the topic of discussion with anti-Eadon flaming. That's what trolling is all about, and that's exactly what he is. If he posted here, his posts would simply be lost in the general anti-Windows 8 noise, so his trolling here would be a waste of time.

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New 4TB drive spaffs half a telly season into your eyes AT ONCE

Steven Roper
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Re: the rustling of small leaves.

If you people are going to honour Eadon with a Reg unit, may I suggest using the Eadon as a measure of irrelevancy rather than sound volume. After all, his posts are a lot more infamous for being irrelevant to the thread than being actually noisy...!

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Space dogs and Dragons: A brief history of reentry tech

Steven Roper
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Re: It comes down to which way you want to do things...

"A modern sedan car is fiendishly complicated compared to a Ford Model T but as long as the technology is reliable (enough), I'll take the modern car any day..."

That's fine if you're commuting in the city, or country driving in English farmland, because you can just call the RAA or AA or whoever handles emergency vehicle callouts in your country.

However, I live in Australia, where distances between major cities run into four digits. And those four-digit distances encompass some of the nastiest areas on the planet - searing temperatures, baking sun, no shelter, no water (or in flood season far too much of it), poisonous beasties, and so on.

In such circumstances I'd personally prefer the Model T (or simple equivalent) because if it breaks down you can get it going again - at least to the next town - with the elastic from your undies and a bit of fencing wire. As opposed to your you-beaut modern sedan, which will simply sit there and refuse to go the moment its computer gets upset about a scratched EFI cowling or something, and which will require some hideously expensive and needlessly complicated part imported from the other side of the planet to fix. Which in this country makes that sedan a potential deathtrap on wheels.

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Soylent Corporation prepares to DEFEAT FOOD

Steven Roper
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Re: Is May 21st the new April 1st?

"Twisted viral marketing" is probably the right one here.

Kudos to you for putting the concept so simply BTW; it beats my effort to explain the principle via references to Jungian perversion and enantiodromia in my post higher up this forum!

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Steven Roper
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It might sound silly but it's got me curious to try it. Calling themselves Soylent has a certain enantiodromic genius to it; the perverse (in the Jungian sense) aspect of human nature being what it is, I can see it being quite successful.

I tend to identify with old Sol (Edward Robinson) from the Soylent Green movie because I'll be around his age in the year that it was set. And the world probably will be like that then. One particularly poignant scene has Sol reminiscing when he sees the "real beef" that Thorn has brought round to eat. I can see myself living that same scene, once the vegie-fanatics have gotten meat banned on the grounds of agricultural efficiency and saving the environment, and the world population passes 12 billion so most people are eating glop anyway.

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Startup hires 'cyborg' Mann for Google Glass–killer project

Steven Roper
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I might be interested

IF:

1) There's no tracking, spying, monitoring or profiling of my movements, actions or data the device records by any company or government agency;

2) I have the option to direct remote storage and output to a server under my control, not just a nebulous "cloud" owned by Amazon or Google or whoever;

3) I have complete control over who gets to access what data from this device;

4) I don't have to sign away my rights, privacy or allow any third party unrestricted use of the intellectual property in any images/audio/video or other data the device creates;

5) I am not bombarded with advertising and marketing as part of the experience.

I am willing to pay more for the device in exchange for these points, because I don't expect to get something for nothing and I'm not willing to trade my privacy or personal control for "free" or "cheaper" hardware and services.

If Meta can meet and respect these expectations, I for one would definitely go for this over Google's offering. They have the potential to capture a huge market here, from all the people who are more concerned about the Google than the Glass, without considering the people who want the extra immersion and functionality Glass does not provide.

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Marks & Sparks accused of silently bonking punters over the tills

Steven Roper
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Re: A bit too convenient

"I don't like the idea of a NFC system without pins being able to dip into my bank accounts / credit card accounts."

Which is why I have two bank accounts. One is my savings account, into which all income and payments to myself are deposited, and to which no cards are linked. The other is my spending account, to which my Mastercard debit card (I refuse to have a credit card) and ATM card are linked.

The spending account runs on empty most of the time. If I need to buy something online, or go out shopping, I first log on to my bank and transfer the required amount of money from the savings account to the spending account.

This not only reduces my potential losses from fraud and skimming, it also protects me from impulse purchasing, since there's only ever enough money in the spending account to buy what I originally wanted in the first place.

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Steven Roper
Silver badge

It's no good drilling out or microwaving or otherwise destroying electronic components on credit cards. The card issuers have already cottoned on to this practice.

Last year, my local supermarket introduced PINless chip-based payments in addition to the old magnetic swipe. My card, issued by my bank, had both magnetic stripe and chip. Since I didn't like the idea of payments being able to be taken from my card without a PIN or other authentication, I fried the chip.

Then I found that the smartcard terminals wouldn't accept the card from a magnetic swipe. Apparently my card was "pipped" or "tagged" as having a chip, and the terminal wouldn't accept the magnetic swipe since it preferred to use the chip. Result: I had to explain to my bank that the card had been damaged, and wait for two weeks while they sent me a new card.

So you simply don't have the choice. If your card comes with a chip, and the terminal is equipped to read a chip, that's what you WILL use, like it or lump it. Obviously the magnetic swipe is only there for legacy terminals without chip capability.

So now I just use cash when I go shopping.

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Don't Panic! Google FCC filing reveals mystery media device

Steven Roper
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Thumb Up

Re: Maybe

"It will allow you to stream high quality, original Hollywood movies, for a reasonable price, available anywhere in the world at the same time."

No, it will come with a Sirius Cybernetics Corporation GPP that will explain, in appropriately dulcet tones, that while it would normally be delighted to provide such a service for you, it regretfully advises that copyright law prevents it from providing said service in your country, apologises for the inconvenience, and provides you with a substitute that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike the Hollywood movie you were looking for.

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Petshop iPad fanboi charged with filming up young model's skirt

Steven Roper
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Joke

Re: The Rouge Republic of California

"Some days I have to wonder who is more repressed: the Taliban or Americans."

Oh, that's easy. Americans of course.

Under Americans, both women and men are repressed: women by the patriarchy, men by feminism.

Under the Taliban, only women are repressed.

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Steven Roper
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Re: It's alright according to Eadon

Oh Christ. Eadon doesn't even need to post in order to start derailing threads...

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They WANT to EAT YOUR COMPUTER - welcome your ANT overlords

Steven Roper
Silver badge
FAIL

Re: Windows 8 computers are safe

Aaaaaaand so...

Eadon has, yet again, successfully derailed the first page of a comments thread, pushing all other relevant comments down, by trolling all of you fucking morons into responding to him. One post, and you've all been sucked in and rendered the entire thread worthless with your ranting at him.

Yes, I know this post contributes to the derailment, but if anyone wanting to respond to this has even one fucking brain cell, this post will remain the last one in the chain.

My respect for the El Reg community is dropping fast, decrementing every time I see you idiots giving Eadon exactly what he wants.

Successful troll is successful.

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Microsoft conceals job ad in Bing homepage

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: http://bit.ly/ZZayNx+

That was the bit that got my hackles up right away. A bit.ly URL-shortener link claiming to be a Microsoft job ad?

Yeah, right. Pull the other one, it plays Jingle Bells. There's a reason I've blocked all those sketchy URL shorteners at the firewall; something to do with I don't want to spend my days picking 0-day trojans out of the office PCs.

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MIT takes battery-powered robot cheetah for a gallop

Steven Roper
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Joke

Re: Why legs.

"However the reason it [the wheel] hasn't evolved as a means of movement..."

Yes it has. Haven't you ever come across hoop snakes?

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Nintendo throws flaming legal barrel at YouTubing fans

Steven Roper
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Flame

Re: unique audiovisual experience?

RTFA.

It doesn't say Nintendo want a cut of the revenue, it states that they want all of the revenue.

Considering that the 'creative work' also includes commentary by the player (which is copyrighted to that player), then the player is entitled to keep at least some of the revenue for their efforts. I'm sure that if Nintendo hadn't been such greedy fucking bastards and asked for a percentage on those grounds rather than trying to guts the whole fucking lot there wouldn't have been nearly the hostility there is now.

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Prankster 'Superhero' takes on robot traffic warden AND WINS

Steven Roper
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Re: Excuse me, sir...

Downvoted for playing the race card because someone doesn't like Obama's policies.

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Google research chief: 'Emergent artificial intelligence? Hogwash!'

Steven Roper
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"So how did intelligence emerge in humans?"

Define "intelligence".

Is it the ability to learn from and thus react to certain stimuli? In that case pretty much the entire animal kingdom could be classed as intelligent.

Is is the ability to communicate with other members of one's own species? Still most of the animal kingdom there. Communicate complex and abstract concepts? Now we're narrowing it down a bit, but we've still got primates and cetaceans to account for.

Permanently record information such that other members of one's species can retrieve it even after the individual originator of the information has died? Ah, now we might be talking Homo sapiens. Reading, writing, drawing and painting allow us to transcend death by passing on our knowledge to our successors. Wait a minute - ants can also do this with smell trails. Ant smell trails inform other ants not only of a path to food, but also what kind of food it is, how far it is and how much of it there is. And it persists long enough for other ants to make use of it even if you kill the ants that originally made it. So that's out, too.

Control and manipulate one's environment to benefit one's species and/or oneself? Yes, humans can do this, but it's just a question of extent; a termite mound with it's moisture, ventilation and light control mechanisms is just one example of another species doing this. So that doesn't uniquely define human intelligence either.

Self-awareness? Nope - dogs, dolphins, chimpanzees, orangutans and many other creatures have also clearly demonstrated a sense of identity, being able to recognise themselves in mirrors and behaving in ways that indicate the presence of self-awareness in a group context.

In the end, one is forced to the conclusion that intelligence didn't "emerge" spontaneously, so much is it has always been present in some degree as a function of life. Likewise, computer intelligence won't just "emerge", it's present now, has been since the invention of the pocket calculator, and will continue to develop, grow and change. Intelligence isn't a "yes/no" equation, it is a continuum of behaviour that has no effectively determinable thresholds.

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Mobile tech destroys the case for the HS2 £multi-beellion train set

Steven Roper
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"With the copper wire running above the tracks..."

Which will last all of 5 minutes before being nicked by copper thieves.

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British LulzSec hackers hear jail doors slam shut for years

Steven Roper
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Flame

Re: Whoops ! @AC 15:02

"Ohh how wotton of me to have a little joke at someone else's misfortune."

Ok, no problem mate, just make sure you laugh just as hard the next time someone cracks a joke about hide and seek champion of the year when some girl's violated corpse is found in a ditch with a broom handle shoved up her twat.

It's not the humour that's the problem, it's the double standards in applying it.

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