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* Posts by Andrew Meredith

72 posts • joined 14 Aug 2007

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Google on Gmail child abuse trawl: We're NOT looking for other crimes

Andrew Meredith

Do it yourself

The only thing I use my Goggle account for is as a username/password pair for the likes of Android Play.

A fairly simple Linux/Postfix/MailScanner/Dovecot/Apache setup with 4096 bit PKI; giving users a highly encrypted closed IMAPS/SMTPS email service, ensures that users messaging within the system can chat away to each other to their hearts content and send whatever they like to each other without let or hindrance.

If Google et al continue down the aforementioned low friction gradient, more and more criminal gangs are also going to do this sort of thing. Squirrel your machine away on a cloud service with filesystem encryption turned on .. maybe even set it up from an anonymous crypto-mail service and pay with bitcoin. The faster the authorities spin up better mousetraps, the more sophisticated the mice will become; leaving the rest of us, as mentioned above, under more and more scrutiny and almost certainly being picked up for lesser and lesser crimes.

One day they will have subjected us all to so much over-observation that it will be routine for the kind of measures I spoke of to be used to simply keep ones messaging private. Then the data taps will all dry up and the TLAs will be totally lost.

i would suggest that the big mistake here was not scanning the mails, which we all know happens with the free services, or even to report the scroat for kiddy fiddling, he had it coming; the big issue is that they told us it had happened. We then of course go off down the road of "What else are they scanning for" and this whole thread leaps into being.

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Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London

Andrew Meredith
Black Helicopters

Cashless society ... please no !!

All these comments about the fine details of the plan and the odd gotchas, and only one post about privacy. A documentary I watched recently just glibly mentioned the massive number of RIPA requests that TfL get, asking for travel history on people. And this wasn't just the big TLAs after the next Os.bin.La. They also included a massive number of requests from local authorities, and Grud alone knows what they were after.

We keep getting electronic cash mechanisms waved in our faces for a bit and then roundly stomped on by TPTB (anyone remember Mondex). The usual old saw is "Money Laundering", but I do wonder if there is more than a little pressure coming from the payment industry and from those that like to be able to find out what we're doing for very little cost.

When oh when we get something that is as anonymous as cash, but works like a card?

Maybe this will be Bitcoin ?

I do hope so

[Obligatory Black Chopper ;) ]

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GPs slam NHS England for poor publicity of data grab plan

Andrew Meredith

No clear information

@"Juillen 1"

As you are the self appointed shill for the medical industry, I have read your posts with interest. Several commentators have pointed out that there is a selection of official information out there that roundly contradicts each other. This is more than likely down to internal changes of plan that have not been followed through to the web pages documenting same.

This is a badly planned and executed mess. It does *not* inspire confidence in their running of the data after they have stolen it. I also note with some concern that you cannot get your data removed if you initially decided to trust them and then changed your mind. I thought the right of deletion for personal was enshrined in law ??! ..and you can't get a great deal more personal than this data.

If the bureaucrats at the NHS are getting all annoyed at the pesky patients mucking up their nice shiny plan, they can only look to themselves and their previous record.

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No anon pr0n for you: BT's network-level 'smut' filters will catch proxy servers too

Andrew Meredith
FAIL

Use your own DNS server

Whether Ubuntu comes with its own DNS or just dnsmasq matters not.. All mainstream general purpose Linux distros have the industry strength BIND DNS server as a stock component. Setting up your own caching DNS server is trivial.

If they choose to stop DNS traffic to anything except their own DNS servers, I would consider that a breach of their terms of service and would drop them immediately, not that I'm with BT. Given that they don't do that, the above would effectively bypass the filters completely, as currently explained. I would also suggest that this is actually easier to implement than a proxy. If properly done within a home network it would be completely transparent. Fire up the client; get the local DNS server in your DHCP. Surf at liberty.

Another upside over using the likes of OpenDNS is that a good chunk of the traffic (repeat requests that are resolved out of the cache) will be local to your LAN, or indeed on localhost if on the same machine as the DNS server, rather than going out over the WAN to the remote DNS server.

If this is really what they are doing, then it does seem a little weak. Any suitably geeky minor who can spend 10 minutes understanding how DNS works wrt the BT filters will be able to set up a local DNS server and totally bypass the filters and in all likelihood their parents, who now believe they have it covered. So it could be argued that it is actually worse than leaving it open and leaving the parents with the knowledge that they actually have to take responsibility for their own children .. Heaven Forfend !!!

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Oracle showers gold on OpenStack, dreams of open-source splashback

Andrew Meredith

Dashed

I had high hopes for OpenStack, but if the big O are now moving towards it ....

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UK.gov's web filtering mission creep: Now it plans to block 'extremist' websites

Andrew Meredith

Re: extremist (views)?

"""UKIP - I think those are the extremists the Tories are most afraid of."""

Love the irony here. The comments all bemoan the march of "The League of Liberal Fascists" ie those that will do good *to* you, whether you damned well like it or not. They know what's best for us, despite never having met us, and they will go to frightening length to smash their goodness down on our heads.

Now ask yourself where this malign influence is coming from and who is spewing new law at us at a rate totally unprecedented in the history of civilisation.

And it is UKIP who are the extremisms ??!!??!!

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Vietnam tightens noose on web freedoms with new decrees

Andrew Meredith

Watch this space

With stuff like “Framework National Statute for the Promotion of Tolerance” (Google it .. a classic 1984 style piece of literature) coming down the track, it seems the EU are learning their lesson well.

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What's wrong with Britain's computer scientists?

Andrew Meredith

Its the middleware

I've read the arguments a) Too many rubbish CS grads or b) All the junior jobs taken by outsourcers and in my humble, you're both wrong and both right. I have been both sides of the interview desk recently and the problem as I see it is actually lazy recruiting. Recruiting is and always has been hard. However, rather than seeing to this, one of THE most important aspects of running a business; managers try to outsource this problem as well. The number of times I have seen the requirement written by a supervisor for a new bod being morphed into something almost, but not entirely unlike the original specification by a succession of managers, HR types and recruiters. The supervisor is asked what the current bod, that is leaving, actually does. The supervisor lists the apps and languages used in the department. This list, down to the nearest patch level, becomes the laundry list of must haves that goes into the spec. The recruiters then do a pattern match, down to the nearest patch level, on their database and come up blank. The cry goes up ..."Skills shortage". So the spec is hawked around, and two sets of people reply. First you have the genuine possibilities. They haven't used the exact patch release, but they have used a similar product, in fact they wrote a bunch of a related product and have been in the general vicinity for years. You then have those that take the job spec and reword it into a CV. Guess which set matches on the pattern match run of new applicants. So the fakers get taken in for interview and when faced with actual questions and tests and such, of course bomb so hard they leave a dent. So the cry goes up "CS graduates are rubbish". On the flip side, those that could have done the job and got pushed off the bottom of the short list by the fakers, are mystified as to why they didn't even get a reply and the cry goes up "Massive unemployment amongst IT folks". I know this is all generalisations, but I have seen pretty much exactly the above on all too many occasions. We don't actually need very much different in the way of fundamental skills now than 20 years ago. Sure the versions and products have changed. There are new techniques and tools. However, the basic skills and the fundamental engineering practices have not changed sufficiently to render the existing experience unusable. Oh and finally, when DID it become a sin to actually train your technical staff?

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Crypto protocols mostly crocked says euro infosec think-tank ENISA

Andrew Meredith

Opportunistic Encryption

"That's the bit that has not had serious development over the years, which might explain why we use a few of them (like SSL) and have them handle the grunt work.

Except there does not really seem to be one for email..."

Actually, SMTP has a mechanism called opportunistic encryption. The sending server checks the features declared by the EHLO response, and if it sees STARTTLS in the list it does the necessary. While this doesn't encrypt the mail itself wrt the end user, and if there are multiple hops, all would need to be encrypted; for the most part if two organisations run their own mail servers, and they both allow this mechanism, the only publicly visible step of the transmission is encrypted. Those using the likes of googlemail or one of the usual mail hosting companies, don't get a look in of course. This is one of the many benefits of hosting your own internet services.

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NHS preps spammy mailshots advertising 'BIGGEST medical data grab in HISTORY'

Andrew Meredith
FAIL

I will opting out...

YET AGAIN !

Did they not believe me the first time round then ??!

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Dev delays push ship date of Metro-ized Firefox to January 2014

Andrew Meredith

Hold on .. isn't that illegal

The article says "Microsoft has steadfastly refused to give outside developers access to the resources they need to build a functioning browser for [ARM-based Windows RT OS]"

Surely this must break the "anti-gangster" rules they've already been convicted of breaking .. twice now isn't it?

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Steelie Neelie eyeballs ENCRYPTION PLAN for telco data breaches

Andrew Meredith
FAIL

Hack in higher up

All this stuff about encrypted databases is all very well, but IMHO is looking at the wrong issue. If the assailant gains access to the application that is accessing the data, ie the layer above the database processes, then they will be able to read the database through the normal channels and will pass straight through the encryption transparently as would an authorised operator. The encryption, or indeed lack thereof is, in that case, completely irrelevant.

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GPs blow whistle to watchdog on patient record privacy threat

Andrew Meredith
FAIL

So, do we get to opt out of this one too?

I have already had to fill in 2 or 3 separate forms to opt out of having my medical data on "The Spine"; apparently one was not enough, they needed to hear it from me a bunch of times before they believed me. Are we now saying I have another bunch of opt-outs to sign to get out of this one as well ... despite making my wishes on the subject of my primary care data known to my GP .. up close, in person and in very understandable words.

At what point to they start to *Get It" ?

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Sheer weight of Brits' interest knackers new tax tool

Andrew Meredith
Thumb Up

Re: Available on Android and iPhone

> *Another* illustration of how Windows Phones is dead.

I thought that as soon as I read the article as well. Given the depth MS is in bed with gov.uk PLC; the fact that they are not supporting Mobile WIndows is a major slap in the face to Redmond.

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Microsoft unveils Windows 8 'release preview' for June

Andrew Meredith
Stop

Change is for the profit margin

One thing to note here, the proprietary software industry's moto should genuinely be "Change or die". They *have* to change their stuff every now and then in order to make people buy a new copy, or an upgrade and buy new books and training courses. If they just did minor bugfixes on the same old stuff the whole time, they would go bust. They need the cash from the updates.

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'Porn lock' heralds death of WikiLeaks, internet, democracy, universe

Andrew Meredith
FAIL

Smoking Ban ?

> That's more or less what the pub industry and others

> said about the smoking ban. Didn't work then...

So therefore the government stepped in and slammed down a totally over the top, one sided brick of a bill. Step two, we find out that yes, the majority of people who go to pubs to drink beer actually do like a cig with their pint. So they have to either stand outside in the freezing rain, or stay home with their mates and a slab of sub-tax-priced tinnies from Safeburys. And so the pub trade starts a death spiral that is seeing more pubs shut per month than we have ever seen before, through any recession, ever.

So that worked really well didn't it.

turns out the market had been doing the balancing ok all along. The promised hordes of non-smokers who were supposedly put off from going to the pub by the pong simply didn't exist. We now see what the publicans knew all along; if you ban smoking in pubs, they will empty and go out of business. Tadaaa!

You either trust the market to do the job or you make up the truth for yourself based on party dogma .. choose.

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Andrew Meredith
Thumb Down

Nothing new

> I know lib dem bashing is the new sport but can I put up a bit of a defence

Not for people round here it isn't. It's LD vs Con in our constituency, which under the old boundary fell mostly to the Con vote. Labour comes 4th to UKIP most times. However, we now have a LD MP who is the ultimate in political glyphs. He supports exactly what everyone around him supports wherever he happens to be. Put him in a bunch of cannibals and I would be unsurprised if he just chowed down with the rest of them. He looks the very image of a stereotypical modern politician. I wouldn't trust him if he said the earth went round the sun.

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New GM worms mean large scale spider-silk production

Andrew Meredith
Thumb Up

Self limiting

: they make sure these things can't survive in the wild. We've made enough

: errors with that as is.

I think the concept might well be internally self limiting. If the silk is that much stronger, as mentioned above, the adult won't be able to get out of the cocoon :-)

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Nandos 'village bike' ad not sexist, rules ASA

Andrew Meredith
FAIL

White^H^H^H^H^HGirl Power !

"Really? I know loads of women with children who also have successful careers. What is nigh-on impossible is for a man to stay at home and look after his children. Women get statutory maternity leave. Men do not."

Now try taking the little'un to baby groups. Once or twice and you're an interesting novelty. "Oh it's so nice you got the time off. It's so rare that we see the fathers caring for their children" (complete with subtextual pat on the head)

However, if you are the primary carer and dare to bring them along regularly, you will be horrified by the reaction you get. Womens libers as were, have now shifted right and become Female Supremacists. They no longer want equality, they want to rule want they see as their domain and resist any intruders with some quite nasty tactics at times.

... and yes, this *is* first hand experience.

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Bangladesh cuts off Facebook

Andrew Meredith
Flame

Not quite the point

"So if I believe in God and an afterlife and you don't, surely we can agree to disagree and have sensible discussions (if people want that) about our faiths rather than throwing insults and seeking to hurt (physically and/or emotionally) each other. After all, I wouldn't insult your mother because I didn't like that you appeared to love her very much." - Small Mind

Your strand of quiet, personal faith is, I am afraid, on the wane at the moment.

The 21st century is suffering from the "let them express themselves, yaah" approach to child discipline that has left the new (and not so new) young adults convinced that their own needs and wants are paramount and that they are among the most important people on the planet. This seems to have brought out a new breed of utterly convinced religious loonies that don't just want to practice their particular beliefs in the privacy of their own homes, or Churches/Synagogues/Mosques/Hollowed out trees, but feel compelled to try and impose their laws and morals on everyone else.

I do not suffer preachers gladly, so I have gone toe to toe with some of these people. The first thing you have to understand is that they are "Right" and any gainsaying of this position is blasphemy and I should be locked up. When you look at what you said through this lens, you might be able to understand why the agnostic/atheist majority get a bit p***ed off with "Sky Fairy Worshippers" dictating morals, laws and even national foreign policy.

As for "After all, I wouldn't insult your mother because I didn't like that you appeared to love her very much." ... sorry, that doesn't wash. I have talked to, photographed and hugged my Mother, pretty recently, so I am (existentialism notwithstanding) pretty convinced that she exists. I have less proof than that about any God, monotheistic or otherwise.

People don't get fired up because you appear to love your God. They get fired up when you use that love to justify impinging on their lives. Just because your faith gets all nervous in the presence of the female form is no justification for viciously hounding a young non-muslim girl in Bradford for not wearing a full-body-mask. It is this sort of thing that makes the usually tolerant British Atheist Majority angry.

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Sadsack EU regulator relegated to Latvia

Andrew Meredith
Thumb Up

So we are agreed....

....The relocation to Riga was more inn the spirit of a consolation prize for the loss of an empire, than a punishment. If those ladies on the parade are anything to go by, the EU can console me any time they like :-)

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Jacqui drops central snooping database

Andrew Meredith
Stop

My one and only question

Will the people who want to access this data be required to request a proper warrant, be required to present compelling reasons for the need, face the risk of being turned down and be limited to the scope of the warrant?

As I understand it, they currently do need to present at least something official to the ISPs to get access to the stuff they currently hold. If the newly proposed system no longer requires this protection, then it is a major step backwards and opens the way for a system indistinguishable from the original "Mega database of everything" proposal. The difference between a live connection to the ISPs, open to return search requests on tap and storing the same info in a single mega-database is nothing more than semantics. In fact the former would probably lead to a quicker response times.

This is the same semantic nonsense that leads the Waquis of this world to claim with hand on heart that to say the National Identity Register will contain health, vehicular or financial information is dangerous rubbish. On the surface they are correct and that's all that matters of course. However, the actual, practical spin-off of having a single index number for everyone, is that they can then reliably fire off a query to the (now information shared) NHS, DVLA, HMRC (et al) databases and get the stuff that they're not storing locally, just as if they did.

They've wanted to arm twist the ISPs into snooping on their own customers for years. So they propose something utterly preposterous (mega-database) and allow the usual suspects (hi there ;) to whip up public concern about it. Then they take a half step back and expect everyone to breath a sigh of relief that they have only taken half a step forward this time, rather than gone the whole way in one step.

Is it just me getting cynical, or are they getting way too predictable these days?

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Michigan man jailed for humping car wash vacuum

Andrew Meredith
Stop

Erm

Actually no

I have no words :-)

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UK boffin: Social networking causes cancer, heart attacks, lupus, dementia...

Andrew Meredith
Happy

With baited breath

I saw roughly the same article on another web site and googled the author of the "Learned" paper. I put forward the point about causation vs correlation and also the question: How have you separated the people who didn't go out for whatever reason, and filled their time using Facebook while they were in; from the people who prefer to go on Facebook than leave the building.

No reply as yet ;-)

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BT profits crash

Andrew Meredith
Thumb Down

Splintered and arrogant

A friend of mine built himself a new house next door and has just moved into it.

He spoke to BT eons in advance of the move and explained what he wanted. It was fairly simple; he wanted to be able to move himself, his family, his stuff, his phone line and his ADSL (not BT) from one house to the other on the same day. The Indian on the end of the line said that would be no problem and took his details. Then all of a sudden, nothing whatsoever happened. Then it happened again. Despite much phoning and poking and pointed question asking, nothing continued to happen again and again .. but it happened so close together that you couldn't really tell when one stopped and the next nothing started.

Suffice to say he and therefore his business, has been off the net for coming up 3 weeks now while BT keep handing on the buck like a game of pass the parcel bomb.

Why are BT losing money? Because they are completely useless that's why.

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Passport RFIDs cloned wholesale by $250 eBay auction spree

Andrew Meredith
Stop

Passport triggered car bomb

Step one

Borrow a taxi used in the airport run, replace the rear seat stuffing with semtex and fit a passport tuned RFID scanner set to trigger the detonator when a UK or US passport is on the seat. You don't even need to know who, just that the codes are of US or UK origin.

There is no step two, particularly for the hapless tourist.

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Private firm may run UK spy über-database

Andrew Meredith
Go

Onion Routing & Opportunistic Encryption

Check out Tor http://www.torproject.org/

The idea is to make your web request emerge from any one of a shedload of IP addresses to completely scramble the continuity. It's more than that but you get the idea.

As for email, if you set up your own self hosted mail server, arm it with a certificate and make sure you only communicate with others of similar setup, then the database can't see what you are doing. The mail doesn't pass through an ISP's mail servers and the data that does go through the ISP is encrypted. They can see it is on the right port for SMTPS but as for what's in it? Nada. I know that you cannot guarantee what everyone else is doing about their mail, but at least you won't be the one telling Jaqubooti all about yourself. They will at least have to piece your stuff together from the fragments that turn up in your less careful friends' ISP logs. It's not rocket science and it's not expensive. A great number of businesses already do this and have been doing so for years.

Texts? You're stuffed there I'm afraid. Sorry.

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Aussie protests over Great Firewall

Andrew Meredith
Unhappy

Now where do I go ??

For many years, up until a few years ago, Oz was my bolt hole of choice to emigrate away from the static prison ship the UK is being converted into. Canada is too cold. I can only speak English. South Africa is too dangerous. Please don't tell me my best option is to stay here, get the bar code tattooed on my forehead and have done with it ??!!

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Oz bill-dodgers nailed on Facebook

Andrew Meredith
Paris Hilton

Or you could ...

: By Anonymous Coward Posted Friday 28th November 2008 00:21 GMT

: Alert

: ...the truly stupid of society.

: Wake up people, you need to protect your identity, not give it away

: to just anyone!!

Or you could take the approach that there is shedloads of data about you online already, NOT put there by you and more to the point not controlled by you. In my experience, a great deal of this 3rd party data is out of date and inaccurate.

I control the data I put up about me. If I make sure sure that it is accurate and up to date, then if someone does want to find out stuff about me, the bit I put up will at least be correct. If I am quite happy to tell something to a complete stranger I end up chatting to on a train, then I will put it on a social networking page. If not, I don't.

Managing your online footprint is not stupid. In fact, it could be argued that letting other people shape your online footprint for you is truly stupid. For myself, I choose to manage it myself but have no beef either way. It's all too soon to tell.

Paris 'cos she successfully managed her online appearance

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Europe takes aim at BBC licence fee

Andrew Meredith
Stop

Pot Kettle, Kettle Pot

So the EU, that centre of good practice, honesty, democracy, openness and stellar book keeping are going to investigate an organisation who's reputation worldwide, while having taken a few knocks recently, is still up there as being a straight and fair reporter of world events. I am told that there are still places that a gun or any other form of ID will get you shot or worse, but a BBC sign will get you the truth and a continued pulse. This is valuable to all of us and to be frank, 150 quid is not a great deal to pay. Try getting any other TV system for that.

Read my lips .. LEAVE THE BEEB ALONE !!

PS I was being sarcastic about the EU in case you hadn't worked it out.

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Orange ditches Phorm

Andrew Meredith
Thumb Up

Round of applause to Orange

No .. That's it thanks. Good on 'em.

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UK.gov plans 'consensus' on PAYG phone registry

Andrew Meredith
Go

For the Facebookers amongst us

http://apps.facebook.com/causes/132426

This is a Facebook "Cause" to promote the number10.gov petition to stop the "Communications Data Bill"

Join it and push it out to all your Facebook friends.

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UK.gov £12bn comms überdatabase 'wouldn't spot terrorists'

Andrew Meredith
Stop

Anybody ??

The assembled company seems to feel a little sceptical about the lovely Ms. Smith's latest wet dream. I have to confess I'm a little anti myself.

So .. Is there ANYONE out there who thinks this might be a good idea?

Oh and the rest of you, BE NICE ;-)

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El Reg tells you what the Highway Code can't

Andrew Meredith
IT Angle

Replace GATSOs with real Coppers !!

"Replace GATSOs with average speed checks

By Jel Mist

Posted Friday 18th July 2008 13:08 GMT

[...] but it makes me wonder what possible motive there is for objecting to speed cameras unless they cramp your style."

What winds many of us up is not the presence of the GATSOs, but the all but complete absence of any other form of automotive policing. It now seems that the only sin on the road is going faster than the (quite often) politically inspired arbitrary speed limits. It's almost the only road safety message that is being put out there. It's on the radio, the telly and even on the cinema!

You will now find people who genuinely feel they are doing society and their fellow motorists a big favour by plodding along at an average 35-40 MPH on perfectly clear and serviceable roads with posted 60 limits; but who are incandescent that they can no longer use their handheld mobiles while driving and who quite regularly drive home at 10:30 with several more than a couple of pints in them.

If the existence and placement of speed cameras was self evidently inspired by accident rates and road safety and not by catching people speeding on genuinely faster pieces of road ...

I understand that there is a speed limit. However, which is the more dangerous.

1 - Someone doing 80 on a 70 limit dual carriageway with nothing in front up to a clearly visible distance of a mile ahead in broad daylight on a clear dry day.

2 - Someone doing 45 MPH in the middle lane of a busy but not congested motorway, forcing 3 lanes of traffic into the outside lane and creating a several mile long tailback.

One is legal and one is dangerous and sadly they aren't the same one.

The laws are supposed to prevent dangerous behaviour, not become an end in themselves. Breaking road traffic law isn't in and of itself dangerous, they can only ever be an approximation and the politicos and safety nazis need to keep that one VERY clearly in mind.

IT: Because we need to get back out of the habit of jonesing for technological solutions to purely human problems.

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Mono man accuses Mac Gtk+ fans of jeopardizing Linux desktop

Andrew Meredith
Linux

Wrong way round

Hi There,

I remember reading figures derived from unique page views and such that show there are 1.5 times as many *active desktop Linux users as *active desktop Mac users. This is of course always going to be hard to trace as number of Mac licenses issued doesn't necessarily correspond to actual active users and the cut of Win/Lin/Mac percentages will vary with different web sites. I suspect that Apple's Mac's patch download site would show an almost universal desktop Mac world domination. These figures attempted to flatten it all out and once done, Linux came in a clear 2nd.

As for the when/where/who for these numbers, sorry, I read them with interest in passing and failed to note down where.

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China in anti-monopoly investigation of Microsoft

Andrew Meredith
Alien

Just starting to get it then !

Hmmm .. I can see from a few of the comments here that the "Globalism is Good" "Bigger is Better" mantras are starting to lose their glitter. It seems that even though our great and glorious leaders have been repeating them over and over, that people are starting to have their doubts. Thank **** for that !

Now maybe we can try a new approach that I have heard called "Localism". A kind of freestyle mix of globalism, in terms of economies of scale, but where it is only the information that flows on a global basis; the movement of physical objects is kept to an economical minimum. When a function or company or government service is localised, such as a hospital, the costs of the hospital itself are combined with the estimated total travel costs for the catchment for that hospital and the feasibility/economic efficiency is calculated on the total, not just the blinkered cost of the hospital itself. This way a balance is reached between the reduction in the hospital's cost per head the bigger and more centralised it gets and the rise in user costs the further away it gets. We'll probably end up reopening all the cottage hospitals we had when I was a kid in rural Herefordshire :-)

ET Because this kind of decentralised thinking is completely alien to our lords and masters in Whitehall, for whom the actual people using it are just numbers on a spreadsheet.

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Cobbler pieces together mass Red Hat Linux installations

Andrew Meredith
Linux

Re: Not wishing to rain on anyone's parade

Fair comment if you only have one of everything, or don't want a means of rebuilding a machine that dies. I use cobbler to produce the second, thrid etc instance of a platform I have hand developed. I theoretically can use it to rebuild the basic platform before rolling the data back on ... but so far (touch wood) I haven't needed to do that in anger :-)

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Teens use technology to party in strangers' pools

Andrew Meredith
Alien

Trespass now a crime

I forget which item from the deluge of new law it was that made it so, but trespass is now a crime. IIRC it comes in various degrees for which the prison sentence goes up sharply with the use of violence and the possession of degrees of weaponry .. culminating in the authorities being able to bomb you from orbit if you pull a gun or some such.

ET because these days if he landed on farmer Joe's back 50 he'd be arrested for trespass.

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Brown pledges annual commons debate on surveillance

Andrew Meredith
Stop

Re: Blair/Brown make me sick

> By Anonymous Coward

> Posted Tuesday 17th June 2008 14:49 GMT

>

> I really would like to know how our Squaddies feel everytime they return

> from overseas to see the freedoms and liberties that they are supposedly

> fighting/dying for (as Brown stated earlier this week infront of his master

> GWB) being systematically eroded in the name of

> Terrorism/Peodophiles/Drugs/"Over-Hyped-Fear-Of-The-Week".

Well I can tell you what one ex-serviceman thought. A very good friend of mine was so disgusted with what they were doing that he emigrated to Canada. I am only staying because 1) Canada is too cold for me and 2) I want to "Do my Bit" by trying to wake people up to this stuff before the doors finally close and it's all too late.

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UK.gov could be left out of EU passenger data scheme

Andrew Meredith
Pirate

Which side will you fight for in the Union War ?

More and more people of my acquaintance are seriously considering the possibility that there will be a civil war within the EU superstate, with the Unionist EU forces pitted against Nationalist forces from the individual states that used to exist before the commission slight-of-handed the components of the EU Consti^H^H^HLisbon Treaty into place and took over.

It could be flashed off by any one of a huge number of triggers. Maybe the phasing out of the former national flags in favour of the ring of stars. Maybe the partition of the nations into transnational "Administrative Zones"; I'll be living in the Manche zone apparently, a mix of southern England, northern France and bits of other countries. It could be the switchover of military and Police command from the British Crown to the Commission. Although history would suggest that is actually more likely to be something really quite trivial, but that happens at exactly the wrong time. [If you think I'm spinning one, check the Constitution, it's all there]

The previous commentators seem to miss the point about the Commission vs. Parliament. President Broon is so far up the EU that there is actually no real difference at the moment between the two. Of the other two major parties, one is even more EU-phile than NeoLabour and the other slightly less. However, just because the current incumbents are drooling for the EU politician gravy train, doesn't mean that the institution itself is a dead loss. We can get back to being the place we once were by a very few simple acts:

1 - Switch to a proportional representation style vote for MPs

The system we have at present presupposes that there are but two strands of opinion. Nowadays there are an almost infinite number of opinions, which would be far better represented by having to actually negotiate to get new law through; something our current elected dictatorship doesn't encourage.

2 - Repeal the European Communities Act

.. and therefore revoke all of the subsequent treaties, including the re-badged EU Constitution, when they sign us up to it despite massive popular opposition. We can then sort through the UK law that came off the back of the formerly mandatory EU Directives and pick out the stuff that is good for our country and dump the stuff that isn't. There is no way on this planet that the rest of the EU are suddenly going to stop trading with us and vice versa, so we can pioneer inter-state trade treaties that mirror and simplify the good parts of the former EU trading laws and leave the rubbish bits behind. We can also then choose which of our European friends deserve a financial helping hand, rather than being required to pay out obscene sums of money through a very corrupt and leaky middleman that would be better served going to rebuild out own national infrastructure.

As a closing note, if you think I'm being paranoid, just sit back and read about the history of Europe for a bit. Vicious and devastating wars have been kicked off for way less than we are already putting up with and chronologically we are WAY overdue. Y'all better start kicking up a fuss before it's too late.

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Becta schools deal stuns British open-istas

Andrew Meredith
Joke

Gods of Powercash

Who knows, maybe they just made a very, very impressive brown envelope.

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Business failures to rocket as growth nosedives

Andrew Meredith
Thumb Down

Add my business to the tally

I will be closing my doors after 8 years in business for myself. As of last September my monthly takings were an amount I should be taking every two or three days.

Why? When I asked my customers, the response was that they were cutting back in case there was a recession. Were they at that point feeling the pinch? No, but we might in the future. I heard this message again and again. So of course the companies that were suppliers to them, themselves had to cut back and so on and so on until it reaches back to the start and fulfills the prediction. So, we once again enter a media inspired recession. The message of scares and paranoia from the press and telly makes it happen in reality.

It wouldn't be so bad if we had the usual cycle of good times, bad times, good times etc. Instead we have had average times, bad times, average times, bad times; so there's no profit from the good times to last us through.

Well done people and here we go again.

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Want to buy Jacqui Smith's ID?

Andrew Meredith
Thumb Up

@Kjetil

Nice quote. I have always found it to be a whole lot easier and quicker to make the global assumption:

"Douglas Adams was right all along"

and carry on from there.

cf The cat owning existentialist that rules the universe. Perfect.

The man was a proper English genius, may he rest in peace.

Not to mention being one of only two authors (the other is Spike Milligan) who can make me lose it completely and roll on the floor incapable of speech with just the written word. I use the present tense as their books still make me completely hoot, despite having read them all a dozen times each.

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UK begins probe into aeroplane air quality

Andrew Meredith
Alert

Documentary

There a documentary a month or so ago (sorry can't remember title) that concerned the subject of airplane air quality ... not smoking, to which this thread seems to have been diverted.

Apparently, the chemical tricresyl phosphate, mentioned above, is used as an additive for lubrication purposes in the engines of big jets. The cabin air is sourced from the engine and can be contaminated with this chemical. There have been incidents where the contamination is so heavy it has rendered members of the flight crew incapable of doing their jobs. In one case, the pilot. In lower concentrations however, it cannot be detected by smell, but can cause nausia and other symptoms. Longer term exposure can have more drastic effects.

If this documentary is to be believed, then a study of this nature is LONG overdue.

[[ warning triangle as if you don't batton down the hatches you wouldn't need to worry about the air quality ... you wouldn't need any :-) ]]

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Brown opts for morality over science on 'lethal skunk'

Andrew Meredith
Coat

Illegal != Immoral & Controlled == Uncontrolled

@ QuiteEvilGraham

[[ Secondly, obeying the law. This is an IT forum (sometimes) so I would like to remind our more moral contributors about what the law, and the zealous guardians thereof, did to Alan Turing for his disgusting, perverse behaviour in being homosexual. So what if he did directly contribute to shortening WW2 by about two years, thus saving untold millions of lives ... ]]

Obso-&&&&ing-lutely !!

This goes to the heart of something that is making me very very worried indeed about the state of our legal system and the future of this formerly-sceptered Ilse. The office of the UK President and his ill advised advisers seem to operating on a fundamentally flawed piece of logic. They need to think hard about this and understand that:-

*** Making something illegal does not make it stop ***

Think about the example of a decent bit of 60 limit road. Some eejit goes howling down it at 100 + X MPH and stuffs it through a tree. The CSIs say that the vehicle was traveling WAY over the limit and that the road is sound for the posted speed. The locals howl that "Something must be done", so the PtB make it into a 40 limit. They seem to think that if the road had been a 40 limit that the kids would not have broken THAT speed limit, despite the fact that they broke the other one. It now means that people who travel down that stretch at a safe 50-60 MPH will now face being nicked for breaking the law. This can only serve to weaken, if not finally crack, those people's regard for the law and make them less disinclined to break other laws.

So if we accept the quoted statement as fact, which we must inevitably do, then what does this say about the creation of laws like the subject of this thread that are inevitably going to criminalise a large number of people and a naturally occurring herb? What is the intended effect?

If we accept that toking is something that the establishment are worried about and that they want to make sure that people are educated about and not harmed by this herb, making the substance illegal is just not the way to go anyway.

What happens when you make something illegal that was formerly legal (not in my time, but once). In the old days, you could by smoking hemp in the shops. The shop keeper paid tax so there's money provided to the state by the sale of the substance to try and mitigate any harm caused. Make it illegal and as previously stated the use will continue, but now the shop keeper can no longer sell it. It will be sold by people outside the law who do not pay tax. The law enforcement authorities will then have to expend public money enforcing this law; lots and lots of it. The health authorities will still have to spend money trying to mitigate any harm caused. The government will have only a very cloudy idea of usage patterns and trends so cannot prioritise any messages they want to try and send out.

Leaving all morals aside it is a question of simple logic.

If you want to control it's use, then don't abdicate control of it; which is what you are doing by making it illegal.

I do find it very amusing (in a black comedy sort of way) that when a substance is made illegal it becomes a "Controlled Substance" when that's exactly what you've stopped doing! Prescription drugs are very highly regulated, measured, tested and all to ensure that the user gets exactly what it says on the tin. Street drugs are entirely unregulated, unmeasured, untested and a complete mystery to the user until after it's too late.

Society needs to sit back, think hard and decide exactly what they want for these drugs; and to start with there is one very basic decision to make.

"Do we allow that people can do what they want to themselves

as long as no others are harmed in so doing .. with the

exception of deliberate, immediate suicide?"

If yes, then why are the people who don't use these drugs getting so bent out of shape.

If no, then we need to think hard about rock climbing, parachuting, baccy smoking, drinking, skiing, weed smoking, injecting heroin .. you get the idea.

While you read the above, did you find yourself saying yes to some and no to others? Examine why that is the case. Is it because of the effect they have on others? Examine then if that is the act itself, or the fact that it is already illegal. Is it for the effect the act has on the doer? Examine whether it's any of your business to interfere in their lives.

This whole area is currently a completely illogical mess.

I suspect they make this stuff illegal just so that they don't actually have to exercise themselves and try and make any actual good whole brained decisions. Examine whether this is because they won't or just that they are simply not equipped.

[[ Mines the one with the very very long sleeves. it must be if I think for one minute that any politician is going to actually think about a subject like this and come to a genuinely intelligent pragmatic conclusion.]]

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Border Agency plans Olympic identity card

Andrew Meredith
Stop

Same old same old

It's just one more way for the psychotic control freaks we seem to have inadvertently let into the driving seat, to type, collate, order, enumerate and index us and generally abuse their positions and exceed their remits .. AGAIN!

Does nobody see the obvious pattern here, or is it just me?

Look, I know I'm paranoid, goes with the job, but they may really be out to get us !!

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AMD market share down in Q4 '07

Andrew Meredith
Coat

Ditching 32 bit

I don't need to use 64 bit for the majority of my installs, so I would rather not buy 64 bit. I always used to spec AMD and had few if any problems with their stuff. Now I have no choice but to use Intel. If AMD still did 32 bit, I would still be a customer of theirs.

(I already got my coat and left .. months ago)

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'Virtual strip search' arrives at JFK and LAX

Andrew Meredith
Black Helicopters

Its a ploy by ...

... the paramilitary wing of the UK Tourist Board !!

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Hauppauge pitches PC TV tuner at Freesat punters

Andrew Meredith

Linux Drivers ?

See subject.

I use their kit for my MythTV system and it works just fine. I hope that there will be suitable drivers for this new device?

Also, as it comes off the same sat as the existing Sky channels, can I use the same dish and split the signal?

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BT 'security upgrade' causes email headaches

Andrew Meredith
Paris Hilton

Self hosting - The facts that they don't want you to know.

[[ By Julian Bond

Posted Tuesday 25th March 2008 22:16 GMT

... IMHO, people should not be running SMTP servers at home on the back of a DSL/cable line. ... ]]

IMHO people called Julian should not be allowed to wear any item of clothing that is blue in colour ... well it's about as well argued.

Self hosting is a perfectly legitimate way of structuring your networking. It allows a much greater range of freedom to implement services for your company or household. It prevents your ISP from locking you in via a proprietary email/web domain.

If you want to know more, there's an article here that explains more about it:-

http://www.anvil.org/articles/self_hosting/

Paris: Because she knows how to do it for herself !!

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