* Posts by Credas

537 posts • joined 23 Jan 2013

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Amazon comes up with delivery-drone zones after watching Fifth Element all night

Credas
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Re: I missed a bit

It didn't - my point was that they're proposing reserving chunks of a scarce resource for the profit of a single industry, in an analogous way to the present parcel delivery industry demanding dedicated parcel delivery lanes.

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Credas
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WTF next?

Well perhaps DHL, Yodel at al would also like special lanes on our roads so they can operate automated vans for their convenience and profit? That'd be OK according to Amazon's logic, the rest of us can manage with the gutter. What an over-inflated sense of their own importance these "tech" companies have.

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Bloke who tried to get journo killed by SWAT cops coughs to conspiracy charge

Credas
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The problem isn't Caller ID

May I suggest that the problem of "swatting" is not really about Caller ID, or any other way of attempting to verify a telephone number, email address, Twitter handle or whatever other means of communication are used. The underlying problem is the willingness of the police to send in a full heavily armed response based on a single anonymous and unsubstantiated allegation. And underlying that is The Problem That Cannot Be Named in the US, which is the widespread public availability of military weaponry, which the police rightly fear they might be facing.

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Chat about Safe Harbour all you like, the NSA's still the stumbling block

Credas
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Re: Just ban Facebook.

The commentard probably assumed that any sentient being would have enough of a sense of humour to detect that it was a joke, without needing a big "joke" icon to flag it up. Apparently they were wrong.

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Violin Memory thinks it'll boost sales by copying face cream giants

Credas
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Well done Violin Marketing

You've managed to get your marketing material reproduced without a single negative comment, and even got it labelled as Comment, rather than Sponsored or Advertorial. Outstanding work - trebles all round!

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Today's smart home devices are too dumb to succeed

Credas
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Re: Some good points made

I've yet to see a single example which persuades me I should give a shit about any of this IoT garbage - and this article with it's agonising over the precise hue of a light fitting, FFS, certainly doesn't change that. In general it just seems to be an expensive, complicated and insecure way of solving problems I don't have.

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The Wilson Doctrine isn't legally binding, MPs CAN be spied on, says QC

Credas
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Reneging on a "gentlemen's agreement"

My sympathy levels are close to zero. But I thought one of the advantages of our Humphrey-based Civil Service was supposed to be its ability to take the long view? In which case blatantly shafting politicians over such a clear and public agreement doesn't seem to be that bright an idea.

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Antitrust this! EU Commish goes after HOLLYWOOD’s big guns

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Re: For its part, Disney said

Yes; "For its part, Disney said “blah blah self-serving unintelligible bullshit, and we will oppose the proposed action vigorously"."

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HP slaps dress code on R&D geeks: Bin that T-shirt, put on this tie

Credas
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Usual problem of drawing the line

Unfortunately not everyone can be trusted to have some common sense when it comes to dress, so eventually someone in HR takes it upon themselves to draw a line - cue wailing from all of us who don't like being told what to do. Having seen one IT guy decide that suitable summer business attire was sandals, tight high-cut running shorts and a crumpled off-white muscle shirt proudly displaying his pipe-cleaner arms and luxuriantly sprouting dewy pit hair, I reluctantly came to the conclusion that some kind of guidelines probably are necessary.

Not quite as bad as the mid-morning onesie-and-slippers crowd at my local Asda, though.

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Want longer battery life? Avoid the New York Times and The Grauniad

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Boffins sting spooks with 'HORNET' onion router

Credas
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Re: turn me on

1. No. It uses a form of onion routing, but other than that the design is completely different.

2. Who knows? Who would be willing and able to run with a development like this?

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Neat but narky at times: Pebble Time colour e-paper watch

Credas
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Still of dubious value?

I like the basic idea, but I struggle to see what the Pebble Time does that makes it worth shelling out £180 for - even if that is a fraction of what Apple et al ask for their nearest equivalents. It's a naff watch that still won't last a week, and which can run some fairly basic apps with graphics reminiscent of a Sinclair Spectrum. If it was £50 then maybe it would be value for money, but not (IMO) at more than three times that.

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NHS England backs down over another data extraction scheme

Credas
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Basically they just don't understand (or simply don't agree) that this is our personal data - as far as they're concerned it's the NHS's data, so what's the problem with hoovering it out from whatever of little data silos it's stored in, as and when they want it? Heck, I can't even see my own medical records online, just a one-page summary of medications. The NHS needs a fundamental reset of its relationship to patients.

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Keep your stupid drones away from piloted aircraft, rages CAA

Credas
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The same laws apply to these quadcopters, including restrictions on the size, airspace they can be flown in, altitude, distance from obstacles, etc etc. Unfortunately some cretins fly them who seem to think that these laws don't apply to them, and equally seem to be oblivious to the risks they're exposing other people to. The sad thing is they're probably the same people who'll carry on regardless when their actions provoke even more restrictive laws that ruin everything for the law-abiding majority.

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Google dumps ISP email support. Virgin Media takes ball, stomps home

Credas
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Re: Hold on...passwords remain the same?

You don't think they could use the same hash algorithm and arrange for Google to transfer the hash/salt values as part of the migration?

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What goes up, Musk comedown: Falcon rocket failed to strut its stuff

Credas
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Re: That's what happens...

You get downvotes for a well reasoned and accurate post? Says a lot about the engineering knowledge and experience of some El Reg commentards. Or lack of same.

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Apple and Samsung are plotting to KILL OFF the SIM CARD - report

Credas
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Re: Wow

It's going to end up being a bad thing for consumers simply because it takes control of which SIM to use away from the user and gives it to the carrier (or in the case of iPhones, Apple, no doubt). That will inevitably be exploited for their own interests, and to suggest that view is cynical is rather naive. The swappable SIM has proved to be one of the major successes of GSM and it's successors, and shouldn't be given up lightly.

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Netflix profits plunge, but streamer still plans global domination

Credas
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Re: Netflix charges too little

The major selling point for Netflix is their large back catalogue. New material once you've worked through that... not so much. There's also a massive discrepancy between what's available in different regions, which can colour your view of the value for money.

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BT circles wagons round Openreach as Ofcom mulls forced split-up

Credas
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Re: Huh?

Explain to me why such a densely populated urbanised country should be compared with relatively sparsely populated or largely rural "peers". Why should countries with a large population such as the UK not instead be compared with those with similar demographics, but a small population?

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Your security is just dandy, Apple Pay, but here comes Android

Credas
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Unlike all those unbiased gushing comments, presumably originating from the left side of the pond where having a secure cryptographic element (embedded in a card, imagine that!) is seen as a novelty.

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Did speeding American manhole cover beat Sputnik into space? Top boffin speaks to El Reg

Credas
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Slightly disappointing to read the detail

Unfortunately, the bomb yield was much greater than anticipated – 50,000 times greater, apparently.

The disappointment being that this test was intended to be an accidental detonation safety test, with a yield of 1-2 pounds! The 50,000-times-greater yield only amounted to a yield of 55 tons. It doubtless still made an impressive Roman Candle, but not the multi-megaton bug-planet-threatening manhole-cover cannon I'd been envisaging from the article!

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Microsoft boffins borrow smartmobe brains to give wearables 9x kick

Credas
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Re: this is cutting edge research ?

Indeed; blindingly obvious. They needed university researchers to work this out?

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Blighty's BONKERS BANKING BONKING BONANZA: Apple Pay arrives

Credas
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Yes the retailers may like the lower charges, but do you really think they will pass them on?

The retailers aren't going to see any lower charges; the (currently) 0.15% Apple Tax comes out of the card processors' fees. If anything it's going to make the card processors negotiate harder over their rates, and nudge up the overall amount retailers pay.

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On yer bike: Hammerhead satnav for cyclists – just don't look down

Credas
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Re: The title is no longer required.

So what happens when you reach a roundabout with 5 exit lanes? Did IQs drop sharply when I was away?

Here's a thought. Show the circular path with the general direction of your exit on the approach to the roundabout. When you've reached the roundabout then use the normal junction "countdown" and turn indications to indicate your exit. There, that wasn't difficult, was it? I'm not saying that's exactly how they do it, but it shows that it is possible to give effective directions, at a roundabout, using their display. You may have a high opinion of your IQ, but it doesn't seem to do much for your imagination.

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Credas
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Re: The title is no longer required.

A roundabout's a type of junction, isn't it? And the display can indicate a circular path using the grid of LEDs at the apex. So what's the problem? It seems to me that deciding something's shit based on a complete lack of knowledge of how it deals with a potential problem is pretty... shit.

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Geeksphone closes up shop as founders turn their eyes to wearables

Credas
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Not all marketing is useless

I doubt the market for devices explicitly described as being for "geeks" is large enough to build a smartphone business on. Nor a wearables one, for that matter.

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UK politicos easily pwned on insecure Wi-Fi networks

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That's three politicians who understand now

So perhaps they could explain to that idiot posh boy from Oxfordshire why even ordinary people, doing ordinary things, with "nothing to hide", really do need encryption to stay safe. The sort of encryption that doesn't have backdoors the size of barn doors.

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Berlin pours bucket of flat beer on Patriot missile hack report

Credas
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Clueless

Another could be the overall control chips which direct weapons guidance.

If you don't have a clue what you're talking about, it's generally best to keep quiet. Saves embarrassing yourself.

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Chair legs it from UK govt smart meter installation programme

Credas
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Re: "Was Baroness McDonagh pushed or did she jump?"

Perhaps if we offered the cushy-jobs-for-life-for-our-mates crowd actual solid gold lifeboats, they could all be persuaded to jump ship. Except then we'd need a highly paid Chair of the Sunken Golden Lifeboat Salvage Delivery Agency, I suppose :(

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Linux Mint 17.2: If only all penguinista desktops were done this way

Credas
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Lack of upgrades is a killer for me

I've tried Mint, liked it, but when the next version came out there was no in-place upgrade option. WTF? It's nice to hear that there's a limited ability to upgrade this time, within the 17.x family, but the prospect of being forced to do a fresh install when 18 comes along is enough to make me stick with Ubuntu, for all its many and various faults.

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Goodbye Vulcan: Blighty's nuclear bomber retires for the last time

Credas
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The RN's inability to operate unsupported wasn't the RAF's fault

This was all the more embarrassing as it was the RAF's fault that the British fleet did not have proper fighter cover - the airmen had successfully managed to ensure that Britain did not replace its big fleet carriers and catapult jets when they were decommissioned in he 1970s, arguing that the RAF could provide air cover to the British fleet wherever it might go to war.

The navy in 1982 was really designed solely to fight Soviet submarines in the North Atlantic. That's why the large "East of Suez" carriers had gone and weren't replaced, why sea-keeping in cold conditions was prioritised so highly at the expense of equipment, and why the RN's ships had what looked like a shocking shortage of air defence capability, particularly when it came to dealing with fast jets. All they expected to encounter were long-range bombers and maritime patrol aircraft. All of the services were similarly manned and equipped for a very narrow range of missions in Europe, and operating out of area in the South Atlantic at no notice was very much a case of make do and mend.

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Credas
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Re: Cockpit

The cockpit was snug because it was never designed to have two seats up there - with a navigator back down behind the cockpit Avro thought that one pilot was perfectly capable of flying the aircraft. However the MoA and RAF insisted that bomber=pilot+copilot, so two ejection seats were shoehorned in there.

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Credas
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Re: A "Pocket" Bomber

I doubt it had the range, altitude or outright speed required to be a successful cold war bomber.

What a "cold war bomber" is meant to be I have no idea. However the purpose of the V-bombers then, as Polaris and Trident later, was to guarantee (as near as you can do that) to destroy Moscow to decapitate Russia, and also to render their Atlantic fleet useless by hitting Murmansk. This they did, until manned bombers became incapable of penetrating the defences around Moscow. They were never intended to roam around the Russian interior destroying ICBM fields and the like, as were the B52s.

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Mobe encryption guru Charles Brookson picks up OBE from the Queen

Credas
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Re: Secure from the security services?

That's kind of the point I was trying to make. His algorithm was good, but the implementation in the GSM standard was crippled from Day 1 by deliberately weakened keys. I wasn't dissing him.

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Credas
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Secure from the security services?

Hardly. A5/1 may well have been a good crypto algorithm for its time, but our fine upstanding security services made sure it was weak enough for them to break, by nobbling the keys. A5/1 keys aren't 128 bit as originally proposed, nor 64 bit as later planned, but 64 bit with 10 bits set to zero - i.e. an effective length of just 54 bits.

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Bloke called Rod struck by lightning for second time

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Re: re how many are called Rod

But it makes you wonder what roughly 41'000 Americans were thinking when naming their child.

Probably what a fine name Rodney or Roderick is, much better than those old-fashioned names like Frederick or Franklin, and so well suited to an exciting period of change like the late '50s. Fast forward 60 years and parents want their kids to have fresh and original names like Jackson or Noah. Fashion, huh?

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Layoff-happy Capita charges staff to use cutlery in canteens

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Classy

But then this is the same company that bought the largest and reputedly most litigious private parking outfit in the country, notorious for suing their customers en masse when they don't pay up for disputed "parking charges". Why would you expect them to be all cuddly towards their own call centre staff?

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Cambridge boffins: STOP the rush to 5G. We just don't need it

Credas
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All driven by the manufacturers

Consumers don't need 5G, network operators don't want it, spending vast amounts of money deploying it will preclude regulators forcing operators to improve 3G/4G coverage. In reality this is all driven by the manufacturers, and their need to insert as much of their own IP into any new standard as possible. None of them dares step back, because then they'd have no essential patent war-chest embedded in the next standard. This whole standards churn merry-go-round has become a self-sustaining monster that delivers ever-decreasing real-world benefit.

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Apple wants to patent iBeacon stalking

Credas
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Nothing but upside

Not being bought into the Apple ecosystem, I can only see upside to this patent; since Apple don't license their patents I'll never encounter this intrusive stalking crap on any device I own.

If I weren't so happy about that, I might observe that this seems to be another example of a "something that's been done many times before, but on a ..." patent application. I can see that wifi mapping might be novel enough to patent (and doubtless is), but to then patent every GPS-based navigation or tracking application, "but using wifi mapping", really is nonsense.

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Microsoft's new mission statement: It's all about doing MAGICAL THINGS

Credas
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Re: This is a good mission for them

This is a good mission for them

No sarcasm intended - I like it.

You are surely joking; "Our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more". So anything that helps anyone, anywhere do anything better to any degree, would fit into Microsoft's mission. It's almost meaningless, it's entirely unhelpful in informing their strategy, it's just standard CEO garbage.

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Get your WELLIES to MARS: Red Planet reveals its FROZEN BOTTOM

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Happy

would alien scientists be any more able to detect signs of past life on Earth than we are on Mars?

Of course - there'd be billions of pristine McDonald's burgers sitting lonely in the dust!

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Cupertino GIVES IN to Taylor Swift, will pay Apple Music royalties

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If I am a butcher and want to give out free samples then that's my business, but I still have to pay my suppliers.

If you're a small butcher then that's exactly right, but if you're a Tesco then you do exactly what Apple tried, and screw your suppliers by getting thern to pay for promotions. Disgusting and unethical bullying behaviour seems to be the norm for dominant businesses in all sectors.

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Buh bye fakers? Amazon tweaks customer product reviews system

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What about fake products?

I'd be more impressed if they showed any signs of being willing to tackle the issue of fake products being peddled on their site. It doesn't seem to make any difference if customer reviews flag the issue up, the junk stays listed. "GENUINE" [insert name of famous OEM here] phone chargers, batteries, memory cards, ... The list is endless.

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At last, switching between rubbish broadband providers now easier

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Seems to have started already

I started the process of switching away from Sky a couple of weeks ago. Despite Sky telling me I needed to phone them to get a MAC (no simple web or email option, surprise, surprise) it's all gone through quite happily with no MAC.

While this was all very convenient, with no long and expensive conversation with Sky trying to persuade me not to switch, it is curious that the experience of "slamming" by power companies seems to have been ignored. It's not as if Ofcom has shown itself to be the toughest of regulators and could be relied upon to prevent that.

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MILLIONS of broadband punters aren't getting it fast enough – Which?

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Given the market shares of BT, Talktalk and Sky that total of 2,000 will still include several hundred users of each of those providers. That's ample to give a fair impression of whether customers of those providers are falling well short of what they promised.

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British Library publishes Digital Magna Carta – written-by-web-vote because it's 2015

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Re: Your taxes at work

Contrary to what the article would lead you to believe, clauses on privacy were actually the largest single category the kids proposed. The problem is that there was no attempt to rationalise or merge similar proposals, so they ended up with multiple versions of people's main priority in the top ten.

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Philae warms up nicely, sends home second burst of data

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Re: Bounce

The problem with multiple cube-sat type probes is that they wouldn't be able to carry capable scientific instruments. Whilst as lay people we all appreciate the fascinating pictures, the scientific results are after all actually the main purpose of the probe.

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Google – you DO control your search results, thunders Canadian court

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Google-bashing aside...

What is it that a Canadian court, and El Reg's head honcho, and the rest of us, would agree is a sensible way of dealing with these issues?

The reported comments by the court seem to imply in one place that UK-style geo-blocking is the required solution, but then in another that the search results should be removed globally because, trust us, nobody could possibly disagree with what we decided in this case in Canada. And we wouldn't be nasty in less clear-cut cases, and demand global removal that would affect other peoples' rights. The problem with that, of course, is that if that approach took off then any court in any country could demand global removal - and not every court would be as scrupulous in defending third parties' rights as this particular Canadian judge.

For all its limitations I can only see that geo-blocking is a viable solution, for all it's manifest limitations. The extra-territorial way this court seems to be leaning would be ominous indeed.

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Don't panic. Stupid smart meters are still 50 YEARS away

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Staggering incompetence

Government's ability to piss away mind-boggling amounts of our money on utterly pointless projects, apparently decided on a whim - and then fuck it up anyway - never ceases to amaze.

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