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* Posts by Suricou Raven

677 posts • joined 20 Jun 2007

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RIP net neutrality? FCC boss mulls 'two-speed internet'

Suricou Raven
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Re: A Very Strong Stink of Corruption

Suffers from the echo chamber - people go to the sites that tell them what they want to hear, which leads to extreme-polarization, flourishing conspiracy theories and a lot of news of dubious sanity and worse accuracy.

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Boss of Russia's Facebook says Putin cronies have taken over his company

Suricou Raven
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So, about sixty quid's worth?

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95 floors in 43 SECONDS: Hitachi's new ultra-high-speed lift

Suricou Raven
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Re: Floor Space?

They probably don't all run top-to-bottom. Have you not played SimTower?

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Theoretically...

But which way lets you go in style? The bottom floors just get squished - there's no fun in that! If you're trapped at the top though you get to break the windows and grab some pillows and make a desperate leap to safety - and, even though you'll still probably squish and die instantly on impact, you'll at least have a fun few seconds on the way down.

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Whaddaya mean, NO REFUND? But I paid in Bitcoins! Oh I see...

Suricou Raven
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Re: Bitcoin is strongly deflationary

Bitcoin was designed to undermine the ability of governments to control the supply of money. It's popular because the recent financial mess has revealed that between incompetence and outright corruption, people have lost their trust in both government and financial institutions. They are desperate for an alternative system, even if it means looking to something unproven and fundamentally flawed like bitcoin. It's not a good alternative, but it's the only one around.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Easier fraud?

The bank trick actually isn't that hard. Your bank balance is effectively just a loan - the bank 'owes' you that much cash when you want it. It's easy for them to loan a lot more money then they actually have. This means huge profits for the bank (All that interest on money they don't even have!) and have some benefits for the economy in general (Access to low-interest lending is a powerful driver of economic growth, as it allows for companies to more effectively expand and adjust to changing circumstances). It's almost win-win, except for one small drawback - it introduces the possibility of the bank actually running out of money. Under normal circumstances this would be so unlikely as to be ignored simply for statistical reasons - there's no chance that all the banks customers are going to want to buy a new car simutainously - but it can happen in situations of mismanagement or a sudden loss of confidence - that is, if people believe the bank is struggling they will hurry to withdraw their money while they still can, which can contribute or cause the very collapse they fear.

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Reg man builds smart home rig, gains SUPREME CONTROL of DOMAIN – Pics

Suricou Raven
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I kept things simpler.

I got a little RF-controlled relay box from ebay, and a couple of plain old relays. Installed it in the loft. The RF-box is a remote-toggleable relay, and two plain relays form an XOR gate in relay logic. Add a little power supply and patch it inline with the light switch, and now I can turn my light on and off with a remote kept beside the bed.

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Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties

Suricou Raven
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Re: Sheer naked greed...

Seventy years? No, that'll still be in copyright.

The term for a film in the US would be 95 years, as a corporate-produced work gets a fixed term. In the UK it's more complicated, but seventy years is a minimum, and unless several key staff all drink the poisoned booze at the wrap party it's going to be a fair bit longer than that.

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KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!

Suricou Raven
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Re: Most of the things people regard as threats are what hope there exist for the future.

Which really only leaves three routes I can see that a society could go down, assuming it reaches a post-scarcity state:

1. Mass unemployment and poverty. The idle and desperate poor would create a population ripe for rebellion, so a place state would be created to keep them in check. The scenario of Manna. The unwashed masses would be swept off to some out-of-the-way place to serve as a source of cheap labor for those few jobs that resisted automation, and kept pacified by tried-and-tested social manipulation techniques. Although resources would exist sufficient to transition to state three, there would be no means by which the masses could access them, and no incentive for the ruling class to compromise their own wealth and power. Manna's comparison is apt: Those with money to spare wouldn't wish to support a welfare state for the same reason that all of us can be aware of the poverty in the third world yet feel no great desire to donate more than a token sum to charities to help.

2. As above, but the police state fails: Violent revolution results, triggering a transition to state one or three. The situation is (rather correctly) interpreted as class warfare. Unfortunately history has shown that these popular uprisings don't tend to work out very well, and are more likely then not to end with a new totalitarian dictator in power.

3. Popular support manages to trump money. This is unlikely to happen in the US (Where 'socialist' is a dirty word) but is a potential route in much of Europe. Basic income established. Much fuss is made by the rich who find a substantial chunk of their wealth 'stolen' by the government, but the plan goes ahead. This results in a large unemployed population who can live lives of comfortable leisure. The upper class continues to live in unimaginable wealth while complaining bitterly that thanks to the government theft they can only afford twelve bathrooms in their mansion, and they really wanted fifteen.

Three may sound like a utopia, but it's also untested: No society like it has ever existed, or could exist today. It's been tried, but the socialist ideal always fails when scaled up beyond a small community. It's possible that vastly cheaper production combined with the organizational power of computers could change this, but there are just too many unknowns to say if it is remotely viable.

All of this depends upon post-scarcity, though. It's not guaranteed to happen, as such a condition would require major advances in several areas of technology: Robotics, energy production, transport, manufacturing, recycling. It may even be counteracted by depletion of natural resources.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Most of the things people regard as threats are what hope there exist for the future.

There is much potential in the field. The problem right now is that a certain Mr Hitler gave the subject a bad name. Most of his practices were founded in very poor science and motivated by misunderstood history of political reasons, but it doesn't matter - as soon as one starts talking about improving human genetics, people start shuffling uncomfortably and thinking about the gas chambers.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Most of the things people regard as threats are what hope there exist for the future.

There is some concern about the possibility of an 'automation apocalypse.' Those robots may increase productivity hugely, yes - but they may also greatly reduce demand for labor. Potentially this leads to a collapse of the labor market, and as everything else in a free-market economy is entirely dependent upon a functioning labor market, the economy then follows in a positive-feedback death spiral.

It doesn't matter how cheaply the robots can churn products out of the production line if most of the population no longer have jobs to pay for any of those products - the current economic model provides no solution for this, as even if a factory of robots is capable of easily meeting demand there is no means by which it can continue to operate if the product is simply given away without payment to cover the running cost, however low it may be. This was the scenario predicted in the short story 'Manna' - the end point had most of the population of the developed world living in cheaply-made slum housing, where the government ensured they got the bare minimum of hand-outs needed to keep them from rising up in violent rebellion at the prospect of starvation.

There are proposed solutions to this, like a basic income, but these face a lot of political opposition and are of dubious economic viability at best - just look at how loathed the welfare leeches are today, and imaging trying to convince the population that the way forward is to hand out free money to everyone even if there is no intention for them ever to work again, funded by heavily taxing the few who do work or who own income-generating assets. There would be outrage.

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Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray

Suricou Raven
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Re: This is whats wrong with music today...

Signing? Why would they sign an act up when they can invent or reinvent one to order?

That's why every major pop song now is about how much the singer loves some unnamed girl, and why mainstream rap consists almost entirely of men singing about how drugs, money and hos while slinging around as much offensive language as they can. These things are made to meet what committees determine are the optimum marketability criteria. As is the stars carefully cultivated public image.

Those bodyguards that escort Bieber aren't just for his protection, as could be witnessed when he got into that fight with the photographer. They are there to stop the still-immature star from doing something embarrassing. They are his handlers, employed by the studio.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: no market

.. union with the people who are big Elton fans and have to buy every album with his name on it.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: A good whine

And the little tag thing will still snap off five minutes after you get it out the box.

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Want a free Bosch steam iron? You'll have to TALK TO THE DEAD

Suricou Raven
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Re: @mage

And still emitting toxic levels of smug as he gives away the billions of dollars he made through underhanded and at times outright illegal business tactics.

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NSA denies it knew about and USED Heartbleed encryption flaw for TWO YEARS

Suricou Raven
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If the NSA knew about this bug, they are deliberately leaving innocent internet users exposed to malicious actors.

If the NSA didn't know about this bug... what are they getting so much money for?

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Eco-friendly fluid keeps SGI supercomputer cool and moist

Suricou Raven
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Re: Useful with a gaming rig?

Deionised water is no good. It's too reactive - it soon dissolves traces of everything it's in contact with. Copper turns into copper oxide or hydroxide. Electrolytes leech from capacitors. It doesn't stay deionised for long. Then things short. Just ask anyone running long-term watercooling about the corrosion issues - and those algae that somehow appear as if by magic or spontaneous generation.

You get three choices of violent for immersion:

- Mineral oil. Cheap. Works nicely. But some reactivity issues. Nowhere near as bad as deionised water, still enough to seriously shorten capacito lifespan.

- Silicone oil. Much like mineral oil. But less reactive, won't damage components nearly so much. Downside is viscosity - takes quite a pump to keep it circulating.

- Perflurocarbon. Ideal in every possible way but one. Thin, completely nonreactive, won't damage components. Slight flaw, though: The price. Crazy. It can be a tousand dollars for a one liter bottle, or thereabouts.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Useful with a gaming rig?

Looks like another perflurocarbon. Non-toxic. Perfectly safe and no measure than water. Also insanely expensive - if you want to use it in your gaming rig, budget an extra grand or two for the coolant.

Mineral and silicone oils work as a low-cost alternative. Except for the slow degredation of capacitors.

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Microsoft: We've got HUNDREDS of patents on Android tech

Suricou Raven
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And they would all fail. No filesystem for portable media can be practical in Windows cannot read it out of the box, and Microsoft certainty isn't going to act in support of a rival to their own patented technology.

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Microsoft spells out new rules for exiling .EXEs

Suricou Raven
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Re: is it doable?

Malware makers are getting better than that. I recently received a file on Skype - something like image_2039847rcs.jpg.

Harmless jpeg? Not quite. Because what you can't see is the unicode text direction control character inserted before the 'rcs' that makes everything following it display in right-to-left order. The real filename is image_2039847(UNI-WEIRD)gpj.scr. Windows screensaver, executable.

The obvious partial solution would be for MS to release a patch that makes Explorer ignore unicode direction control characters in filenames, and refuse to load any executable that has one.

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Seagate brings out 6TB HDD, did not need NO STEENKIN' SHINGLES

Suricou Raven
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Re: Doubtless, 5 of the 7 5.25" bays are empty...

Or a battery charger!

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Intel promises 10Gb Ethernet with Thunderbolt 2.0

Suricou Raven
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Fix the interface first.

Thunderbolt is really awkward for linux right now. From the OS perspective, it's a documented standard - but one which Apple ignores. So many functions have to be implemented twice, including such basics as device connect detection: Once for Apple hardware, once for everyone else.

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China's Bitcoin exchanges begin pulling down the shutters

Suricou Raven
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Incoming contradiction.

Half the bitcoin enthusiasts are going to see this as yet another death blow, driving the currency further away from legitimate use and back to the shady underground of drug dealers and other illicit transactions.

The other half are going to point out that the whole idea of bitcoin is that it subverts government control and manipulation, and legal actions to suppress it were expected from the beginning. That a superpower like China would feel sufficiently threatened to start interfering in such a manner is just further evidence that it is a serious payment system and no longer just a crypto-anarchists' toy. They will also point out that, while the 'conventional' finance system can be ordered to stop serving exchanges, bitcoin transactions themselves are effectively impossible to regulate.

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Italy has a clumsy new pirate-choker law. But can anyone do better?

Suricou Raven
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Re: It's about time

The lottery enforcement approach: Admit that millions of people routinely break the law, and it's not practical to prosecute more than a fraction of a percent of them. So, grab a handful at random and hit them with life-destroyingly-excessive sentences in the hope that these will serve as highly visible examples and scare the others off.

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'Hello, is that the space station? NASA here. Can you put us through to Moscow?'

Suricou Raven
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Re: Perhaps

I actually wouldn't put it past Putin. It'd have to be bloodless for PR purposes, but if he could wrangle things so there was a point when no non-Russian astronauts were on board... easily done. Just need to get them to disconnect any cables permitting remote service access to station systems, and that shouldn't be too hard as the station itsself has only very limited computing capability.

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SmartTV, dumb vuln: Philips hard-codes Miracast passwords

Suricou Raven
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Re: Gah!

I'm in ur fridge, eating ur foodz.

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Dropbox nukes bloke's file share in DMCA brouhaha – then admits it made a 'HASH OF IT'

Suricou Raven
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Re: Hope they're using a good hash

The old MD5 algorithm has some weaknesses known now that do make it possible to create a hash collision, though not easy. That's why they should be abandoned in favor of something like SHA1 (Or, for the really concerned, SHA256).

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FCC doubles 5GHz spectrum in prep for one-gigabit Wi-Fi

Suricou Raven
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Euro-law?

How does this compare with the European allocation? If they don't match there are going to be issues - hardware is made for a global market now, and with a lot of things being imported by retailers the 'euro-firmware-US-firmware' approach is already unreliable enough. I can imagine Europeans taking their phones to the US and finding they don't connect to some access points, because their phone firmware is configured not to use those 'license only' bands.

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UK cops: Keep yer golden doubloons, ad folk. Yon websites belong ta PIRATES

Suricou Raven
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That's because the big ad-providers refuse to serve infringing sites already. So they have to take whatever advertisements they can get - generally that means scammers and other people who are willing to be associated with sites of dubious legality.

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Suricou Raven
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That's probably the next step.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: 'Evidenced and verified'

You're thinking of the normal police. The CoLP are a law unto themselves.

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No, Minister. You CAN'T de-Kindle your eBooks!

Suricou Raven
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The DRM bit makes sense.

So we've a situation where users have a legal right to do X, but doing X is only technologically possible by breaking DRM, which cannot be done legally - thus making their legal right impossible to exercise. Or, viewed from the other side, a provider of media cannot prevent their customers from doing certain things via contract, but can impose a DRM scheme that has the same effect via another means.

Makes perfect sense to me. The US has had a similar situation for years with their DMCA exceptions. It's legally untidy, yes. But it makes sense.

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Star Wars movie to start shooting in UK this summer

Suricou Raven
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Re: I can't see ...

Civil war? With the Senate effectively powerless for a generation and the emperor dead, there's no central government any more. Any number of empire underlings try to make their bid for power, while our heroes join a movement of republic loyalists searching for a famous former-senator-now-in-hiding who might still have the influence and legacy to serve as a rallying point and inspire the rest of the galaxy.

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MPs urge UK.gov to use 1950s obscenity law to stifle online stiffies

Suricou Raven
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Re: The politicos said that grumble flick websites should require a credit card

As an added bonus, it'd kill off the enthusiast/hobbyist sites that can't afford the cost of handling credit cards and the associated certifications.

Or they could just re-host overseas. That works too.

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Toshiba baby OCZ flings open coat, bares PCIe flasher to world

Suricou Raven
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Pricing.

If you have to ask, you can't afford it.

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Not sure if you're STILL running Windows XP? AmIRunningXP.com to the rescue!

Suricou Raven
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Re: Sigh

There was little bitching about XP. As I recall, it was widely regarded as about time Microsoft finally abandoned the atrocity that was 9x.

This bitching is more like that that followed Vista: A lot of people complaining about a new interface that seemed to be change for change's sake, and grumbling that the new version provided little if any benefit over the previous.

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Scam emails tell people they have cancer to trick them into installing a money-stealing Trojan

Suricou Raven
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Double extension?

That's very 2000s. The trick these days is to use a unicode right-to-left control character:

Actual filename: Sucker_amdiwn<RtL>exe.gpj

Windows* displays: sucker_amdiwnexe.jpg

*I don't know if this works on OSX or linux.

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NZ bloke's drunken poker bet ends in 99-letter name

Suricou Raven
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Re: Vanity Names !

If they were cheap, no-one would want one.

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Twitter blew $36m on patents to avoid death by lethal injunction

Suricou Raven
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Re: During the meanwhile ...

My preferred IM choice is Retroshare now, but not many use it.

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What do you mean there are no Surface Pros? HAND 'EM OVER, yell Microsoft resellers

Suricou Raven
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Could they hasten production if they disassembled the plentiful supply of Surface RTs and salvaged components?

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Women! You too can be 'cool' and 'fun' if you work in tech!

Suricou Raven
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Re: The kiss of death

The standard way is to remind people of the vast wealth to be made. That worked in the dot-com boom, but these days people are able to see through the lie and realise that for every Zuckerburg there are a million code monkeys slaving away and getting paid peanuts.

I can't be the only IT worker still getting annoyed by the parents demanding to know why I'm not a millionaire yet.

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Your 'funny' cat pics are weighing down the web, so here's a better JPEG encoder from Mozilla

Suricou Raven
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Re: Why not just replace the last-end compression?

Compatibility. If you did that, the JPEG wouldn't open in an unmodified browser or viewer, which means it'd be effectively unuseable on the internet. New formats like that are always in a chicken-and-egg situation: No-one can use them until all major browsers support them, and there's no reason for the browser developers to support a format no-one uses. See JPEG2000 - an intended successor to JPEG which has been stuck in this situation for years, complicated further by being patent-encumbered in a way which makes it legally very difficulty for open-source software to support it anyway.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: What about a GIF squasher too?

Animated PNG is superior in just about every way. Smaller files and, unlike GIF, it can handle more than 256 colors.

Not that it gets much use. Microsoft refuses to include support in IE. They dragged their feet for years about supporting non-animated PNG. It's company policy never to support any open standard unless it has become to popular as to leave no option. Apple is no better.

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Review of UK data protection: Should fines go OVER HALF A MIL?

Suricou Raven
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One of the purposes of a corporation is to do away with personal responsibility. This can be both a good and a bad thing, depending on circumstances. Where law enforcement goes, it's really just bad.

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US gov claims it spent TOO MUCH on wiretaps – and blames SPRINT

Suricou Raven
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Re: Sprint have missed a trick here...

This wasn't for the NSA. It was for the conventional police - the ones who (usually) get warrants first.

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Child sex abuse image peddlers dodge UK smut filters and demand Bitcoin payments

Suricou Raven
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Re: IWF are a bit out of date...

Run a webserver and check the logs. Most of the traffic on mine consists of vulnerability scanners hunting for something they can break into. Wordpress features often. Right now, most of them are after /cgi-bin/rtpd.cgi - trying to hack cameras.

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Suricou Raven
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Pirates used to use compromised servers all the time. That was many years ago though - it's got out of common use now, as the rise of p2p technologies an improved home broadband speeds rendered compromised servers much less important.

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Suricou Raven
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Sort of. Bitcoin transactions are public, but the identities behind the accounts are not, and it's trivial to create a new account. That means it is possible to identify people, but takes a little detective work.

eg: You buy a file from some dodgy internet guy. All anyone sees is that address A paid address B. Who are those addresses? Not obvious. But an investigator could keep tracing, and determine that address B in turn paid address C, and address C paid address D... and that address D got a lot of payments, so it's probably important. A little asking-around finds that D is the holding pool for an exchange that buys and sells bitcoins for dollars, and they can then confirm that C was one of their incoming disposeable addresses, and that the person who sent them bitcoins via C from B was doing so in exchange for dollars at a known paypal address.

There's a lot of information you can get hold of, especially if you know enough about data mining and crawling to gather up a pool or known addresses to use as reference points.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: What exactly is a "pseudo-photograph"?

Nice idea, but after a while someone who looks very much like a trader in child abuse images will get off with it because the jury couldn't be convinced completly about intent - and the resulting media outrage would leave any politician with hopes of reelection no choice but to close this 'loophole' and bring strict liability back.

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