* Posts by Ben Tasker

1387 posts • joined 23 Oct 2007

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systemd-free Devuan Linux hits version 1.0.0

Ben Tasker
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Re: Honest inquiry

> But what if you're pressed on the other side of the coin: It's a "five nine's" service that's gone down, and because it's a holiday or whatever, no one's around to verify its state if it goes down,

So you've got a service you're advertising as five nines, but haven't provisioned for appropriate monitoring coverage out of hours?

Your problem there isn't your init system, it's your failure of planning to properly support the service you're offering. As other have said, if the component that went down is brought back up automatically, it could lead to data corruption - so you really want someone to verify things before simply sticking back in service.

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Ben Tasker
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Re: Honest inquiry

> Does Gnome "do one thing and do it well"?

Gnome is amongst the worst examples you could possibly have picked, given that it's another project that's continually criticised (generally for dumbing down and removing useful features).

It's also a Desktop Environment, so it's kind of expected that it'll contain a wide variety of binaries (just as XFCE, KDE and other DE's do). It's still largely focused on one area though - being a Desktop Environment.

Systemd was supposed to be init, but the wider project has now pulled in other things too (ranging from udev to network management). Technically those other area's aren't part of the init process (in that they're not in PID 1) but they are now part of systemd, leading to systemd increasingly becoming a dependancy for other packages which shouldn't otherwise require systemd specifically.

I have days where I outright hate SystemD, and I have days where I'm ambivalent about it. Can't say I've ever felt good about SystemD though (though the same is probably true for SysV). JournalD and FirewallD though, can die in a fire.

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LinkedIn U-turns on Bluetooth-enabled 'Tinder for marketers'

Ben Tasker
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Re: Deleted on all of my devices

> While you can somewhat tame the web version using nuclear winter levels of noscript and adblock,

I've gone a bit far and broken it, it'll load and then get stuck waiting for something or other that I've blocked to load.

Just hasn't seemed worth the effort of troubleshooting it vs just not going there.

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Cuffing Assange a 'priority' for the USA says attorney-general

Ben Tasker
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Re: Assange is not a "leaker"; he's a "leakee"

> but legally he's no more a criminal than any journalist

Actually, he is. He has a conviction and a criminal record from his Mendax days. Not all Journalists have a criminal record, so your statement is incorrect

I know that's not the point you were making, but you're wrong so I thought I'd point it out for you.

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Sysadmin 'trashed old bosses' Oracle database with ticking logic bomb'

Ben Tasker
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> And why did they need outside help to figure out what was going on? I smell rats on both sides of this equation.

I can see two possibilities (which aren't mutually exclusive) here

1) They no longer had the skills in-house to investigate and resolve the issues they'd encountered.

2) Because it related to their year-end filings, they wanted an independent 3rd party to investigate so that they'd have an "independent" outfit to verify the issue if the taxman, share-holders or anyone else came knocking

Neither sounds too unlikely or unreasonable to me.

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Uber responds to Waymo: We don't even use that tech you say we stole

Ben Tasker
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Joke

Re: For those of us who

For those of us who can't be arsed, could you tell us what Article 10 of the Andorran Consituation says?

5th Amendment is the right against being compelled to incriminate yourself by testifying.

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As Trump signs away Americans' digital privacy, it's time to bring out the BS detector

Ben Tasker
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Re: I'm not convinced it's BULLSHIT yet

> The FCC rules were more restrictive, for sure, but didn't apply to Facebook, Google, etc..

Who are in a completely different business to the one ISPs are supposed to occupy? Colour me surprised.

More importantly, you pay your ISP for a product. You don't pay Google, Facebook etc, because you are the product.

> But the next phase might just be to MAKE IT RIGHT, by having the FTC put the ISPs under the SAME privacy and data protection rules that financial institutions already are

Seems unlikely. But it's possible (if overly complicated). If that's the case, though, then taking the approach that's just been taken is a truly bone-headed move. It'd have been better to arrange a hand-over of jurisdiction.

> it adds credibility to using google's free DNS service, or your own bind implementation.

Fairly trivial for an ISP to intercept outgoing queries and direct to their own servers (and there are ISPs that do this). If you want to be sure, you need to use DNSCrypt (either to your own server elsewhere, or with a provider you trust)

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Assange™ keeps his couch as Ecuador's president wins election

Ben Tasker
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Re: Immunity

> Surely then, if it's costing Ecuador money having Assange as an unwanted lodger for the past few years, they could put the embassy up for sale (as it's really nothing more than a flat) and just move further up the road?

They could, but it's far cheaper to simply say "There's the door, leave now or you'll be removed".

Either one would have a political price though, note that even the candidate that wants him gone said he'd try and find somewhere else that Assange could be moved to (quite how they'd achieve that is something else).

Simply evicting him is something that the opposition would always exploit (even if they secretly agreed with the decision). Even if they want him gone, it's not nearly as simple as booting him out. In theory, they could do it now, on the basis that they've got a full term to try and score back political points, but it'd still be risky.

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Trump sets sights on net neutrality

Ben Tasker
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Re: I'd equate Trump to Hitler but...

He didn't say Trump is the same as Hitler.

He said that Hitler had at least one redeeming quality more than Trump, do pay attention.....

In all seriousness, though, Trump's a twat but he isn't the same as Hitler. However, that doesn't automatically mean that he never will be, Hitler didn't come to power yelling that they should gas the Jews. Having someone unstable in power should always raise a few concerns before you get to the point that they turn out to be fucking insane.

So, no Trump's not the same as Hitler, but that doesn't mean it isn't important to take the lessons learned and use them to keep an eye on Trump (and May, and every other leader)

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BDSM sex rocks Drupal world: Top dev banished for sci-fi hanky-panky

Ben Tasker
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Re: Bah!

> Which is fine if they keep it private.

It looks, though, like that's exactly what he was doing, until someone recognised him on a gated site and then went digging for more information.

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Ben Tasker
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Re: Bah!

> So, what if one of the Drupal devs has a fetish for being a submissive?

They'll presumably wait until that dev hooks up with someone else on the team and then sack the new playmate ;)

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Ex-military and security firms oppose Home Sec in WhatsApp crypto row

Ben Tasker
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Re: Let em do it.

> Building a school won't matter at all. IT is just one more thing that shows

> them that the infidels are weak and need eradicating

To be honest that's as weak and defeatist an argument as stomping your feet and insisting that all encryption should be broken by design, just in case.

Your not wrong about the beliefs of some, but given the havoc the Western world has caused in these areas, building a school (and other infrastructure) is at least a step towards starting to address some of the shit that we've caused. And, yes, it's more than possible that some of those schools might get torn down, or blown up.

But it's a lot harder to use "they're giving us infrastructure" to stir up hate than it is to point at the latest village to be bombed, or at the family caught in crossfire.

There will always be nutjobs, and some of those will use religion as an excuse, but the solution isn't to run around dropping bombs and then leaving arms laying around the place. It's to remove the easy examples that can be used to paint the West as the boogeyman.

There's, no doubt, years of stored anger built up from various campaigns in the area. But the sooner we actually stop stirring that up, the fewer generations will share that hatred.

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Linux-using mates gone AWOL? Netflix just added Linux support

Ben Tasker
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Re: Interesting

> It's as predictable and tedious M$ and CRApple.

But less meaningful. I went from Slurp, to sucks up data, to Google. Didn't fit with the context of his post, but I don't think it was an unreasonable leap.

For that matter, in the context of streaming video, I assumed Bloat == Flash too.

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Barrister fined after idiot husband slings unencrypted client data onto the internet

Ben Tasker
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Re: Why store them on a shared computer in the first place?

>"Barristers are usually self-employed." And that is why the next sentence exists, a laptop or computer specifically for this purpose wouldn't break the bank

I don't see anything in the article that suggests this wasn't already the case

> The incident occurred when her husband backed them up using an online file directory service while he was updating software on the couple's home computer.

It's equally possible this was her "dedicated" laptop, but she passed it to her husband to install some updates.

She'd still have misplaced her trust, but that'd be slightly different. Either way she should have used encryption.

The point being, you've got scant details available on what actually happened, so put out your torch and put the pitchfork back in the shed.

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National Insurance tax U-turn: Philip Hammond nixes NIC uptick

Ben Tasker
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Re: Pledges

> That's the claimed reason - what about the possibility that they realised they might/would lose the vote required in Parliament to make the changes.

More likely they wanted to divert the media's attention away from something they viewed as potentially more damaging.

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Facebook, Google slammed for 'commercial prostitution'

Ben Tasker
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Joke

Anyone else wondering what the business model of a non-commercial prostitute would be?

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UK to block Kodi pirates in real-time: Saturday kick-off

Ben Tasker
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Re: Nothing's free

> I can see how going to a website might compromise your PC but what is the benefit to the people who run the servers.

For some of them, it's not the server operator who actually created the plugin. Instead they set up an (unlicensed) website, loaded with ads and providing the stream. Someone else comes along and creates a plugin that can watch the stream in Kodi.

Some run a "all-you-can-eat" subscription, so you pay £n a month (where n is a small number) and they have various streams on there.

I've not used them more than having a quick look so there might be other models too

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Ben Tasker
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Re: Why the obsession with Kodi?

> Although in some ways Kodi must be loving all this publicity.

Quite the opposite (at least publicly). Where they've identified people selling "Fully loaded" Kodi installs, they've threatened to use their trademark to prevent those sales.

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Ben Tasker
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Re: Inevitable.

> It will likely be DNS lookup blocking and maybe IP filtering too.

More likely the latter (though DNS filtering is already in place), primarily because TFA says

permits the ISPs to block access to servers (such as those accessed by third-party software addons), rather than a website.

Which I suspect means they mean blackholing the dest IP.

Though, if I were a pirate provider, I'd switch from RTMP to HLS (or Smooth Streaming, or Mpeg-DASH, so long as it's HTTP Adaptive doesn't matter) and use cloudflare with HTTPS to avoid this.

You'd still have the DNS lookup blocking to work around, but that's clearly not working given that the media companies seem to be trying to move on from that.

> Using Google DNS stops a lot of the current filtering of TPB, Kickass

Which ISP are you with? A certain large (used to be a monopoly) used to (dunno if they still do, I'm VPN'd nowadays) intercept queries destined for 8.8.8.8 and answer them themselves.

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'Password rules are bullsh*t!' Stackoverflow Jeff's rage overflows

Ben Tasker
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Re: Sometimes I can't use a long password

For those fields, I tend to just hit F12 to open developer tools and edit the form element to include value="[long password here]" and then do the same on the confirmation box.

I've not found many sites that prevent paste on the password box you use to login, but for the few I do know about, I've written a little greasemonkey script that gives me paste back.

That's all assuming a site is worth the effort of actually doing any of the above, sometimes I'll just go elsewhere

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Ben Tasker
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> It's 2017. Passwords are irrelevant. Anything you care about should be protected by a strong 2nd factor.

I disagree.

Yes, anything you care about should be protected by a strong 2nd factor - but it's supposed to be precisely that a second factor. Something you know, and something you have. So the password is still very relevant.

It's your protection against someone swiping that 2nd factor (by taking your U2F dongle of your keys or whatever), just as 2FA is a protection against someone finding out your password. The two complement and help protect each other against different threats.

Hell, you've only got to look at the history of debit/credit cards to see that. When all you needed was the card (something you have) to swipe, nicking/cloning and using a card was easy. They introduced the PIN (something you know) and it became much harder (whilst not perfect). In fact, the criminal focus largely moved onto other weaker areas of the chain instead. Course with pay-by-bonk we're moving away from that again, but meh.

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Official: America auto-scanned visitors' social media profiles. Also: It didn't work properly

Ben Tasker
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> what will Trump's excuse to the Airlines and Airports be?

I'm fairly sure he'll try and find a way to blame in on Hilary, or to claim that Obama bummed it up and he's been working hard to fix it ("no-one understands airlines like Donald Trump does"). Assuming he even bothers to respond rather than simply labelling reports of them being upset as Fake News

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Anti-TV Licensing petition gets May date for Parliament debate

Ben Tasker
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Re: Public good

> Take yesterday for example, on International Womens Day. A huge protest outside parliament regarding the inequality of pensions women in this country suffer with.

>

> Did you hear that on the BBC?

Why yes, yes I did.

Here's a link - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-39208516

Here's one about the protests in "latin america" - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-39190655

Here's an advanced write-up not only of what International Womens Day is, but also of the planned protests - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-39153773

I suspect if you're not hearing it on the BBC, you're probably not reading or listening in the right places.

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Ben Tasker
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Re: Skip the license fee

> We did that and the money needed comes from the budget a bit like with the army.

But then all the people whinging about the license fee will complain all the more because they're worse off.

At the moment, you can opt out of paying the license fee by not having a TV connected to the aerial and not using BBC. If we fund it from general taxation instead, then that choice will be taken away from you ;)

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Ben Tasker
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Re: Good reasons for BBC

>The best indicator of their impartiality is that both the left and the right criticise the BBC, both accuse the BBC of supporting the opposing side.

Tends to be on the basis of a single episode (or series) too.

I think, overall, the BBC tends to be pretty impartial, but if you only watch one series you may perceive a slant.

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Ben Tasker
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Re: Privatise It

> Scrap the TV license and use a subscription, donation or advertising based model.

We've got plenty of broadcasters that use that model, and they tend to churn out shit.

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Ben Tasker
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Re: Good going cobber

> There was a an absolutely dreadful stretch, the Haughley bends on the A14 in Suffolk, that I drove every day for three years. They put in speed cameras and the death rate dropped markedly. They're now taking out the bend in its entirety which should reduce the death rate to near zero.

Where'd you get your time machine? They took the bends out of the A14 years ago.

But yes, I also went up there daily (and still go up the new route now). The speed camera's were a mixed blessing, they reduced deaths, but because they were fixed point (rather than average speed), during congested periods you'd often find the queue in front would suddenly slam their brakes on as the lead driver gave their brakes a jab just to make sure they were definitely doing under 50.

It was one of the few locations (there's another near me) in the area that the cameras are/were actually definitively justified by the road layout.

The introduction of cameras on the Orwell bridge, on the other hand, seems to be an attempt to ignore the design failures in the surrounding junctions.

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FBI boss: 'Memories are not absolutely private in America'

Ben Tasker
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Re: "any communications – be it with your spouse, your priest, or your lawyer"

> Until you realize that the ones that don't have backdoors they probably can break almost trivially if they really need to.

Even if that is or proves to be the case, it still requires them to do some work and commit resources rather than just using their backdoor to decrypt anything and everything at a whim.

Having something that might have weaknesses (but also might not) is still better than something which might also share those weaknesses but also has a major weakness deliberately designed in.

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Facebook shopped BBC hacks to National Crime Agency over child abuse images probe

Ben Tasker
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Re: Why *should* Facebook act?

>how could we expect a Facebook moderator to know whether e.g. an image of a child in a bath, or kids running around at a naturist resort is or is not illegal?

Context is fairly important when a court decides if lower-grade stuff was indecent.

If you're a facebook moderator, looking at a reported image of a kid in a bath and all the comments basically say "Phwoooaaarrr", then use your gut.

Giving FB the benefit of the doubt though, I suspect that those images which weren't blocked were probably looked at in isolation (i.e. they looked at the image and not the comments, rest of the group etc) and in a hurry. It wouldn't surprise me if they were images that'd be innocent in another context.

Facebook should act, because they've taken it upon themselves to do so (not without pressure from Government of course).

But, at the same time, gov.uk should also act to tidy up the emotive, knee-jerk legislation we have and provide some actual fucking clarity in what is actually quite an important body of law.

People's lives get ruined by mere accusation of possession, so having the law so widely open to interpretation is stupid, and leads to situations like these where content platforms have no real way of knowing whether or not something would actually be illegal under law. All that does is make distribution of marginal cases easier, because some will inevitably slip through.

I think the ban on cartoons is stupid, but it doesn't really matter as long as they provide a clear definition so that filtering and detection can actually be done based on fact rather than supposition. With the added benefit that no-one's going to find themselves prosecuted for an innocent photograph - because the subsequent acquittal really clears their name in the eyes of the public.

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Ben Tasker
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Re: Investigating child porn is illegal

I'm guessing the downvotes are because you're adding nothing of substance to the conversation.

But you're not wrong (it's a strict liability offence, so mere possesion is enough, there's no mens rea involved), and in fact, there have been various high-profile cases where celebrities and the like have been caught with indecent images and attempted to use the defence that they were merely investigating it.

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Ben Tasker
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Re: For all we know...

> Call me cynical - fake news has been cited by the more Liberal side of the media as the reason recent big votes went the way they did. One of the portals frequently blamed is FB. Is it beyond the realm of possibilities that certain unsavoury stories would be "investigated" to deligitimise said portals?

You're cynical. In fact, you almost sound like you've had a bump on the head.

Leaving your view of the BBC's motivations aside for a second, ask yourself this:

Is it plausible and reasonable to think that some might be sharing indecent images in "private" facebook groups? Bearing in mind most of the images are probably rendered indecent by the context rather than actually being that explicit when viewed on their own.

Now, what seems more plausible - that someone at the BBC risked life and liberty (cos you will be jailed if caught) to both procure and then publish the images, purely to discredit a company that does a good job of discrediting itself,

or that a bunch of... ahem... interested people shared some fairly risque (but not necessarily outright illegal, at a glance) images, and that Facebook's moderation & review mechanism happens to be shite, or more likely, based on a different set of law to what needs to be observed here in blighty?

See, I'm more inclined to think that whilst option 1 isn't impossible, it's far, far, far less likely to be the truth than option 2. and I find it hard to believe that anyone could reasonably think it's more likely, especially given that if it triggers an investigation, it wouldn't take long for the investigators to piece together the messy trail the average journalist would leave when they believe they're anonymous.

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Ben Tasker
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Re: For all we know...

> For all we know the BBC may have posted the images on Facebook in the first place

Whatever you've been smoking, step away from it.

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Sir Tim Berners-Lee refuses to be King Canute, approves DRM as Web standard

Ben Tasker
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Re: All the whining in the world...

> But that's searching for unicorns because NOTHING beats FREE.

And yet, people quite happily pay subscriptions to unlicensed services (i.e. all the content is technically pirated) because they offer the convenience of having everything in one place, or have a good app, or don't restrict viewing it to "you must be running silverlight on this specific revision of Win 10".

Free is hard to beat, but there are services out there who are actively managing to do so, even with the fact that they're occasionally receiving DMCA takedown's for some of the content they're "providing".

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Ben Tasker
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Re: Here is my problem with DRM

> There are SO MANY new TV shows and movies released each year, and unless I'm getting old, the media quality is going down.

They're not mutually exclusive ;)

> Nor a connected one, unless it is a Kodi player inside I'm not hooking it up to the net.

As someone with a "smart" tv (AndroidTV at that) - not even then. Get a seperate box to HDMI into the TV and hook that into the net instead.

Smart TV's are a shit-show. I connected mine up during the first week of having it so I could run captures and see how noisy it was, one quick review of the PCAP was enough for me to say "never again"

> I purchased a Blu-Ray player, two of them, and they are garbage

I only got as far as buying one. Then some of the content providers (cough... Fox...) changed the encryption they were using on disks and I started finding that some new Blu-Rays wouldn't play. The manufacturer had decided to discontinue the line, so didn't have a firmware update to support the new schema.

It's now an overly expensive CD player, and we're a non Blu-ray household again.

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Ben Tasker
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Re: And will this DRM realise its been run in a VM and is a chocolate teapot?

Except this time BluRay players can ONLY be set-top boxes AND they REQUIRE the use of encrypted host processors. Based on what I've seen in the smartphone front, encrypted OS images HAVE NOT been cracked (the keys are stored on the processors themselves and contain suicide circuits and the like, think FIPS-compliant crypto modules), and they use government-standard encryption algorithms

Is it just me that looks at this and wonders why humanity has been wasting such effort on the media companies? It's an impressive setup, but feels like overkill for what it's actually protecting.

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Ben Tasker
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Re: Any Restriction Placed on the Internet

> The content providers can withhold and stick to the classic models; people still pay bookoo bucks to sit down at cinemas, and so on. People come to them, not the other way around.

Not that I necessarily disagree with you, but would this be the same set of content providers who've been screaming bloody murder that people aren't coming to them, and instead pirating content?

It's true that people go to the content providers, but if they're to be believed, fewer and fewer people are actually doing so. In fact, it seems like the more they push down DRM sort of routes, the more they manage to piss people off enough for them to sit down and work out how to bypass it.

> Their content, their rules. Take it or leave it.

As with others, I'll leave it thanks. I'm more than happy to pay for content, but DRM isn't something that should be supported, so I'll withhold my contribution to their funding and will hold out on the hope that it continues to be possible to disable EME in the browser's settings.

I've ostensibly failed to watch legal content in the past because the provider has stuck something broken or incompatible in the way to "protect" the content I've just paid for.

The long-term effect is that I don't go back there, but the short-term effect is often that I'll sit and look hard at their mechanism to work out how to bypass it and get the content I've just paid to watch. I'm pretty bloody-minded when I'm pissed off, and 9/10 times, once I've figured out their protection I could quite easily watch their content for free thereafter (though don't).

Ultimately, it may well prove to be just the same with EME, they'll piss someone off enough, and the "standardised" DRM will be broken and off no more protection than they have now. We'll effectively be back to where we are now, but with an additional nasty binary lump in the browsers for no good reason.

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COP BLOCKED: Uber app thwarted arrests of its drivers by fooling police with 'ghost cars'

Ben Tasker
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Re: How did illegally operating get to be rape?

> Luckily the existence of regulators for the Taxi industry has meant that no taxi driver has ever robbed, raped, murdered or assaulted their passengers... (rolls eyes).

The mechanism isn't 100% effective, so lets just do away with it? Might as well disable your firewalls then, as compromises still happen even with them there.

No-one can predict what another might do in future, but the point in the vetting regulations is to ensure those already convicted of certain crimes aren't given access to easy victims (like drunk female passengers)

The taxi regulators do a reasonable job of that, Uber on the other hand seem to be letting even the low hanging fruit through.

Neither can really be blamed for the "normal" drivers who just snap one day, but that's not what the regulations are there to protect against either.

One of those drivers who just randomly snap could conceivably be barred from traditional taxis, but still allowed to drive for Uber. That seem right to you?

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Ben Tasker
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Re: State licensing

> And what about entrapment? After all, the officer is requesting an illegal service.

That's not, and never has been, what entrapment is.

If a copper buys drugs off you, that's not entrapment.

If a copper strongly encourages you to start dealing, then buys some off you and nicks you, that can be argued as entrapment.

To claim entrapment, you need to be able to show (a court) that the police officer convinced you to do something you wouldn't ordinarily have done of your own accord.

Just to make things even more complicated, too - a lot of jurisdictions require that the entrapper is an officer of the law. So if the cops tell a snitch to encourage it (for example), you still don't have a claim of entrapment.

The Uber drivers are already Uber drivers, otherwise they wouldn't have been despatched to the waiting copper, so there's no entrapment claim.

> My state requires professional licenses for florists, hairdressers and barbers, interior decorators, handymen, and limousine services.

I can see the logic in the limo service (as it's effectively much the same as that being used for Uber Taxi's). Interior decorators and handymen maybe (they come into the house, so perhaps it's an attempt to protect the old and vulnerable?), but the others feel very, very heavy handed.

> It seems a bit heavy-handed to me to jump straight to arresting the Uber drivers for the equivalent of a misdemeanor traffic citation.

I'm guessing in your state, one of the following is probably true:

a) They just issue Uber drivers a citation as they would a limo driver

b) An unlicensed limo driver would in fact be subjected to the same as a Uber driver

Jurisdictions vary and take different views of different infractions. I'm not sure it's necessarily heavy-handed, given that when you get in a Uber (or any other transport) you're trusting your life to someone else (someone who may not have the correct insurance to cover your ongoing medical costs, at that).

The likelihood of it actually happening are small, but the stakes are pretty high, so I'm not overly surprised some areas want to come down on it heavily. If anything, I'd say your state was pretty lenient (aside from the odd licensing requirements... why would a florist need a state license???)

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Ben Tasker
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Re: How did illegally operating get to be rape?

Its probably the product of other recent news stories about Uber (including that they let a known rapist drive because they refuse to do basic background checks, then after it was reported to them that he'd raped a passenger, they continued to let him drive - allegedly).

Or it could be that some of the regulations that Uber willfully ignore are there to try and help protect passengers, including against things like rape etc.

So although the old bill might not be actively hunting a "uber rapist", the people they are trying catch probably haven't been vetted properly (if at all). Doesn't mean any of them are rapists, but checks haven't been done, so they might be, and it's probably better to find out before their first solo female fare finds out the hard way. Which means they either have to go through the background check procedure (which Uber won't) or they need to be pulled off the road (which is what the fuzz are trying to do)

Of course, all that applies to a bunch of other stuff (like not having appropriate insurance cover etc) too

Plus, at this point, lets be honest. Uber and rape are pretty closely entwined

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Ben Tasker
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Re: An alternate perspective

> I don't get the point about how the concept of an app that connects drivers and passengers to enable carpooling etc. can have so many ethical issues in some peoples' eyes.

Probably, in part, because the reason Uber are competitive is because they ignore regulations that others in the market have to abide by. Some of those regulations might be crap, but otjers are there for good reason (there's a prime example just above your post), and there's a long-term harm if everyone ignores some of those regulations. Most cities, for example, require decent background checks to make sure the new taxi driver isn't a known serial rapist. Guess what Uber doesn't do properly?

But, a big part of it is actually Uber themselves. With each article, it should be becoming increadingly clear that they're shitheads. Other similar businesses (like Lyft) seem to have had far fewer issues, it's almost like Uber's arrogant attitude brings some of this shit about.

Between posts analysing the use of Uber to get home from one night stands, surge pricing during active shooter incidents, refusing to follow basic driver vetting procedures, and actively blocking government investigations, Uber are a PR disaster.

Basically, there's more to value of a service than just the price you pay, and Uber are skipping some fairly important stuff - its just that that stuff tends to be unnoticed until something goes wrong

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Ben Tasker
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Re: tbh, Uber has a point

And yet, in many jurisdictions, Police can still legitimately buy drugs via a broker (who never touches or possesses the product) and then lock him up.

It's not entrapment to be the buyer of an illegal service/product. To claim entrapment, you have to show they enticed you to do something you wouldn't normally be willing to do. Being logged into Uber as a driver somewhat undermines that claim.

In other words, you're talking crap. It's fine for the old bill to order an Uber and then nick the driver (though jurisdictions vary so ymmv). Whether it's ok for Uber to hamper that is another thing, but even if they're technically in the right, I don't see this playing out in their favour

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Ben Tasker
Silver badge

Re: Cleared?

> So - the police are trying to engineer a crime to happen, so they can make an arrest, and uber are trying to stop that crime from happening?

Seems to be the position are taking, but I'd offer a small correction:

Uber are trying to stop that crime from being detected

Assuming that being a uber driver is a crime in city A, unless Uber are arguing there are no drivers, until the police fire up the app, then the "crime" is happening anyway, and the police are just trying to catch one in the act - much like loitering to see who tries to sell you drugs.

Whether or not being a uber driver should be a crime is a whole other debate, but Uber's behaviour and position smacks of a self-entitled, seedy organisation who are only able to compete by ignoring the costs and restrictions that other players (rightly or wrongly) in the market have to observe. If the laws & regs are unfair, try to have them changed, don't just ignore them and deploy software to try and evade detection.

IOW, different day, same scummy shitty Uber

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Skype-on-Linux graduates from Alpha to Beta status

Ben Tasker
Silver badge

Have a look at Ghetto-Skype. It's basically an Electron wrapper for the web-chat, so you get some of the flexibility of not being in the browser (like notifications in the system tray) without the hellishness of having to run Skype for Linux Alpha^H^H^H^H^HBeta

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IBM UK: Oh, remote workers. We want to be colocated with you again

Ben Tasker
Silver badge

> “new meeting pods” = meeting rooms

To be fair, based on meeting "pods" I've seen and been in, "meeting room" doesn't really apply.

Typically, you'll have some traditional meeting rooms (and call them meeting rooms), and then in each large multi-team office you'll have a bunch of pre-fabbed plastic enclosures (about the same size as 4 portaloos) - the pods. And when you're in one, pod definitely feels like the right word

But yeah, the rest of it is shite

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Revealed: UK councils shrug at privacy worries, strap on body cams

Ben Tasker
Silver badge

Re: What if I object?

Worth adding (cos lot's of people miss this), CCTV type recordings are also largely exempt from subject matter requests.

So you don't get to say "I was in your office on the 23rd, please provide a copy of all footage that includes me"

Partly because of the work involved in finding it, and partly because it will almost certainly include others.

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Toxic Uber sued after driver allegedly tried to rape passenger in car

Ben Tasker
Silver badge

Re: Utterly dumb simile

I think the argument they're trying to make is that the "robot" is a drop-in replacement - i.e. there's no difference in role and responsibilities, and therefore the two must be equivalent, making drivers employees.

But, as you say, the argument is patently bollocks. You can easily have two people doing the exact same role, one an employee, the other a contractor. So while a self-driving car is nominally an employee (though really its just an asset) the meatbags could still be contractors.

On the other hand, I think the saner arguments that drivers are employees hold some weight.

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BBC admits iPlayer downloads are broken

Ben Tasker
Silver badge

Re: Thank god get_iplayer still works fine, and is not limited to the "approved" platforms

if it becomes too popular and a real threat to the BBC third party licensing deals - it will simple be defeated by a cunning change of download specs. The BBC have done that many times already by accident which the author had to reverse engineer.

Unless things have changed (and I missed it), that's already in the works. BBC are (or maybe were?) planning on completely changing iPlayer to use their new "Nitro" API.

To interact with the API the software needs to present a valid key, and the BBC has/had a staunch list of who exactly those keys would be issued to, which is unlikely to include get_iplayer.

I'm hoping things have changed though, because get_iplayer is a decent bit of software (where the "official" product is not).

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Privacy concerns over gaps in eBay crypto

Ben Tasker
Silver badge

It said secondary controls it had in place would help protect users in the meantime.

Bollocks do they.

It doesn't matter what you've got running on the backend, if you're sending stuff in the clear it's fair game to anyone in the position to intercept it.

They're essentially claiming that because they protect the data at rest via access controls etc, it's automagically also protected in flight.

Their access controls might stop you from misusing the obtained data against ebay's systems, but that doesn't help if the information gleaned is then used for spear phishing, or against other services.

But then... it's Ebay. Is anyone surprised?

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'Hey, Homeland Security. Don't you dare demand Twitter, Facebook passwords at the border'

Ben Tasker
Silver badge

Re: 2nd Amendment gives you immunity?

Presumably one where he's labelled a cop killer and hunted down for shooting an "innocent" cop during a routine stop and search. Because being considered and armed and dangerous cop killer never raised the probability of death...

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WTF is up with the W3C, DRM and security bods threatened – we explain

Ben Tasker
Silver badge

At one point I had to repurchase a license of AnyDVD HD to keep watching my collection since the original company was sueballed

I reached a point where I needed to buy a new (set-top) Blu-ray player.

Not because the old one had died, but because _some_ of the distributors (*cough* Fox) had moved to a new and updated crypto scheme. Except the manufacturer of my player had ended support, so didn't (and when I spoke to them, wouldn't) provide a firmware update to handle the new scheme.

Which led to having to read the back of a disc's packaging very carefully trying to spot the name of the various distributors whose blu-ray's I could no longer play.

Ultimately, I entirely stopped buying Blu-Ray, as it just underlined the concerns I'd already had about it.

The truth is that even the fiercest critics of DRM watch Netflix on their computers

As others have said. Speak for yourself mate.

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