* Posts by Joe Gurman

282 posts • joined 21 Dec 2007

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Russia to block access to cryptocurrency exchanges' websites – report

Joe Gurman

What's dubious about them?

I mean, they're only the currency of choice for drug dealers, ransomware purveyors, and personal information hack peddlers the world over. Now the ruble....

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US taxmen pull plug on anti-identity-theft system used by identity thieves

Joe Gurman

Really?

All this talk about pwning people's tax returns, and no one's mentioned Trump's MIA tax returns?

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Joe Gurman

Re: Yeah

Don't buy it. Everyone has access to their W-4 information and if too much was withheld, they can change the info on it to tune how much is withheld the next year. Been there, done that.

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BYOD might be a hipster honeypot but it's rarely worth the extra hassle

Joe Gurman

Well....

I work for a large-ish US government agency whose name I'm not meant to use on social media (though considering the average El Reg commentard such as myself, perhaps "antisocial" is more appropriate). Our agency CIO recently circulated a draft policy to disallow use of corporate Exchange server e-maill on non-Agency-owned or at least Agency-blessed devices (that is, ones that have been vetted and included in the part of our lengthy security plans that designate every outside IP with which we have "data flows"). I see it as a considerate corporate policy to discourage employees from wasting their non-work hours with reading agency bumf (which describes accurately upward of 90% of all e-mail on the corporate server), but some may view it differently.

And yes, many people here with Vibrating, Light-up Internet Fondletoys issued by the lowest bidder outsourcing outfit have been carrying those around along with their real phones for a few years. I don't see the point of BYOD for laptops or desktops, but people tend to have a personal relationship with their phones/phablets/fondlelslabs. (Or why else are there such flamewars here about this or that obscure feature of this or that aged device?) There are MDM solutions out there that firewall corporate data from personal, so that only the former can be wiped, but corporate prefers Microsoft's version that's baked into Exchange Server, which for some inexplicable reason simply wipes everything each time some eager toddler exceeds the allowed number of password attempts. Seems silly to me, but I'm only an employee.... and taxpayer.

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Joe Gurman

Re: Why stop there?

What are these "paper," "pens," and "staplers" of which you speak?

I remember vaguely using such things in the 20th century, but not so much recently.

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Alleged dark web drug baron cuffed – after he flew to US for World Beard Championships

Joe Gurman

Re: First actual use of Bitcoin Cash?

Is it impossible for BC to be both a sideshow scam and (its principle use) a vehicle for criminals to stash their cash?

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Joe Gurman

Re: One more reason to avoid the US

Really? French posts? I guess the French must have bigger posts.

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Helium's for balloons and squeaky voices, not this 10TB Toshiba beast

Joe Gurman

Re: Save the Helium, ban balloons

Finite, certainly, but how much? New discoveries keep being made, for instance: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/06/28/the-world-is-running-dangerously-low-on-helium-this-discovery-reinflates-our-supply/ .

The world was supposed to reach the Hubbert Peak for oil in the 1970s, or so the thinking ran then. We aren't out of it yet, sadly.

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So. Should I upgrade to macOS High Sierra?

Joe Gurman

Re: Backup server?

Now you’re getting down to individual tastes. I’d rather have a single, slender Thunderbolt 3 cable connecting my very thin desktop to a compact, quiet.RAID box than a hulking mess of a PC enclosure with a slew of disk slots. De gustibus non disputandum erat.

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Hotter than the Sun: JET – Earth’s biggest fusion reactor, in Culham

Joe Gurman

"Making stars." Hm.

While no doubt a good way to explain your job to the folks back home, stars also involve quite a lot of mass, and thus quite a lot of gravitational concentration of mass, in order to establish the conditions for thermonuclear energy generation. Right now, at least, a somewhat more difficult engineering problem.

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Attention adults working in the real world: Do not upgrade to iOS 11 if you use Outlook, Exchange

Joe Gurman

Typical Reg snark

Some of us would consider Microsoft the idiot tax operation, just for corporate types. For what it's worth, the folks I work for are still on Exchange Server 2013, which offers (well, forces) an IMAP server as well as the odious Exchange tool-for-bothering-people-and-preventing-their-getting-serious-work-done (bingledy-beep, Insert Name Here). Most of us use the IMAP option, an it appears to work fine under iOS 11. Maybe it's a 2016-only issue?

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Itching to stuff iOS 11 on your iPhone? You may want to hold off for a bit

Joe Gurman

Sorry

But if apps haven't responded to repeated warnings in over three years, they're not "good" or "important." They're unsupported.

Whether for lack of continuing interest on the coder's part, or lack of a revenue stream, they're unsupported. At some point, the OS vendor has to say they're not particularly good or important to its App Store.

Don't know about Android, but anyone using iOS apps who eve looks at App Store updates realizes that most supported apps are updated weekly or at least monthly for big fixes, &c. That probably means the ones with decent revenue streams.

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Nasty firmware update butchers Samsung smart TVs so bad, they have to be repaired

Joe Gurman

Technology?

The wrong amount sucks. Can't see a single reason why a TV needs to do anything other than recognize different sources and allow switching among them. Even the receiver (for those relatively few in the US, at least) could be a separate component. And no excuse for internet connectivity whatsoever — except the delivery of patches that kill the display.

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Tech giants warp eco standards to greenwash electronics, rake in cash

Joe Gurman

With all due respect....

....for the planet-friendly, consumer-friendly, and just generally nice people at iFixIt and other repair.org members, (1) they are money-making organizations, too, just not on the scale of a Samsung or an Apple, and (2) using a .org address for their trade organization is a bit misleading.

Apple, as reported here, appears to have a policy of "recycling" kit turned back to it for store credit by reducing it to individual electronic components, re-using what (if anything) is reusable, salvaging solder, &c. from PCBs, and mincing the rest. Their stated reason for doing so is to deny the unauthorized repair (read: pirate otherwise bricked, stolen phones) business the parts stream. I don't know how effective that is, between offshore recyclers who can probably make more dosh by selling on the parts instead of reducing them to dust and Chinese jobbers who manufacture knockoff parts.

Is manufacturers' insistence on authorized repair shops such a bad thing? I'm having a hard time determining where the needle comes to rest on my ethics-o-meter.

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If you love your email standards, SMTP your feet: 35 years later

Joe Gurman

"[N]obody disputes that email is an indispensable part of everyday modern life."

I think my texting-only kids, both in their 20s, would disagree.

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Flash... Nu-uh! Tech folk champing at the bit to switch off life support

Joe Gurman

Cry me a river, whingeing academics

Th university community the world over is noted for its less than serious approach to IT security. Adobe has been courteous enough to give the unis a couple of years in which to get their act together, change grant proposals, address staffing, and the like. Yes, it will cost more in the short run. But compared to the impact of massive malware infestations (and Flash has to be considered the most successful one to date), not so large an investment.

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.. ..-. / -.-- --- ..- / -.-. .- -. / .-. . .- -.. / - .... .. ... then a US Navy fondleslab just put you out of a job

Joe Gurman

Re: "whether the Navy should be abandoning low-tech backup solutions"

Erm, salt water? Ice?

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Joe Gurman

And how well, exactly....

....does the tablet work when 10 m swells send salt spray onto it?

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Microsoft boasted it had rebuilt Skype 'from the ground up'. Instead, it should have buried it

Joe Gurman

From the people who brought you Zune

And the score for Microsoft trying to be one of the cool kids remains 0 for whatever.

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How to pwn phones with shady replacement parts

Joe Gurman

And people complain about Apple discouraging third-party repair shops

(Not that it does any good.) A good way to jack up repair prices, but at the same time, also a way to insure the provenance of the parts.

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Joe Gurman

Come again?

Why can't you envision that? It's exactly what the article was about. Given the vast supply of used parts, down to the chip level, in China and other countries, what it to stop criminal gangs or state actors from posing as low-priced sources of replacement parts?

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The Internet of Flying Thing: Reg man returns with explicit shots

Joe Gurman

Air Force not 2

I feel like a trainspotter for pointing this out, but.... Air Force 1 and 2 are used only to designate specific aircraft on which the President and Vice President are traveling. In the case of the latter, it's one of several C-32s (Boeing 757s), not a 737.

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Yahoo! shareholders! sign! off! sale! to! Verizon!, which! sharpens! axe!

Joe Gurman

Re: PLEASE! STOP!

I suspect that once the sale goes through, El Reg won't have much Yahoo!-ish to kick around any more. So one last time for the memories: all the spilled PII, all the undependable e-mail service, all the non-performing brogrammers, and one very self-centered CEO. The gift that kept on giving comes to an end.

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Uncle Sam drags feet on govt data center cull

Joe Gurman

Or maybe, just maybe....

The reporting will be honest, and report where more money was spent on a stupid, top-down initiative that doesn't include the costs of relocation, disruption of services, and in some cases, completely changing the way the services are operated and delivered. Nothing like presupposing what the answer will be.

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Huawei Honor 8 Pro: Makes iPhone 7 Plus look a bit crap

Joe Gurman

It's what it's connected to that matters

My experience with both older and newer Apple fingerprint sensors is somewhere along the same lines (iPad Pro excellent, two and a half year-old iPhone 6 successful on first try about 70% of the time), but what's more relevant, I'd say, is how the fingerprints are used. The review doesn't state whether the Huawei phones, or any Android devices, secure the fingerprint information in the same way Apple's hardware does (in the CPU, rather than memory). If not, Android Pay is just another way of inviting someone to hack your phone for PII.

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Facebook is abusive. It's time to divorce it

Joe Gurman

Re: Now do Google

Comparable? Randall Monroe thinks not; it's Google by a mile. The NSA are pikers by comparison:

https://what-if.xkcd.com/63/ ,

or if you prefer video to reading (and a side trip into the rules of thermonuclear baseball):

https://www.ted.com/talks/randall_munroe_comics_that_ask_what_if .

And yes, I do live without Google. Entirely. Don't use their phones/OS, their browser, their doc editing tools, their capchas, or their (they still do this?) search. And I use Ghostery to prevent their counting me in their site stats.

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Republicans want IT bloke to take fall for Clinton email brouhaha

Joe Gurman

Re: He should take the fall

Sorry, pal, FISMA is not a law that carries penalties. It was meant to spell out normative behavior and enable federal agencies to put those behaviors into practice. So please don't go down to the hardware store and buy a length of rope just now.

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Joe Gurman

Re: He should take the fall

Obstruction a federal investigation is a crime in the US, one of which Scooter Libby, an aide to Dick Cheney, was convicted. Whether what Mr Suazo did (some news stories claimed he wiped disks to avoid their being subpoenaed) constituted obstruction is up to the folks that understand that "subpoena" mean "under [the threat of] punishment" for failure to produce the desired testimony or evidence.

I have no sympathy for the Republicans in any of their whacko forms, but the law does apply to everyone, which is one of its redeeming features.

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Crafty Fokker: Norfolk surgeon builds Red Baron triplane replica

Joe Gurman

I suspect....

....any replica built from modern plans will be sturdier than the original. The workmanship at the Fokker works was so poor that several Dr. Is simply fell apart in flight.

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Beijing deploys facial scanners to counter public toilet abuse

Joe Gurman

An American visitor to London during WW II....

....complained about the rationing of (small) squares of bog paper, but the attendant told him all he needed was three: "One up, one down, one for polish."

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1.37bn records from somewhere to leak on Monday

Joe Gurman

Re: Vickery, of MacOS security software house MacKeeper

Precisely. Please research a little about your sources for stories before publishing. MacKeeper is considered Malware by everyone I've heard or read on the subject in the Mac consulting community. See, for instance: https://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/lawsuit-challenges-mackeepers-clean-computer-claims-012114.html .

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Uncle Sam probes SpaceX – but crack nothing to be alarmed about, we're told

Joe Gurman

Is it wise

....to accept the Wall Street Journal as a source for any tech news?

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Apple eats itself as iPhone fatigue spreads

Joe Gurman

Re: It's the headphone jack, stupid

No doubt that ate into their record quarter. Uh huh.

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Joe Gurman

Re: Well....

I know it's tacky to reply to my own post. I swear I'll never do it again, but Apple's quarterly results just came out and I'm certain the author will want to correct his prognostication.

He's probably been resisting that stock-in-trade of the tech press, stories on how Apple's peaked and is heading for the gutter since 1997 (when it nearly happened), for so long, he couldn't resist. I mean, they're bound to tank at some point, right?

What would be more interesting for a tech site would be some serious reporting, maybe with (horrors) someone who writes about marketing in tow, on why a company that sells non-innovative, overpriced bling has done so well the last 16 years or so. If it's really not innovative If it's really just bling, that is. Now that would be interesting reading, and might actually help some of the younger readers decide what kind of employer to seek/startup to join.

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Joe Gurman

Re: Told you so

Er, seen their latest. Quarterly results then? Gnash those teeth, mate. They continue to do quite nicely selling ice to Eskimos.

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Joe Gurman

Well....

....there's much true in this (peak smartphone, not just iPhone), but Wall Street doesn't appear to believe Mr. Moskowitz, judging from the share price activity over the last week. We'll know next Tuesday when Apple reports earnings for the last quarter of last calendar year. Saying iPhone 7 sales are sluggish is probably predicted on reports from parts providers that Apple has cut back.... because so many people have purchases phablet-sized 7 Pluses instead. Let me just guess which phone has the higher margin.

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Apple kills activation lock check, possible dirty stolen device hack

Joe Gurman

Wonder what all that kit costs

....and whether the resale prices of obviously stolen Apple iThingies can possibly make it worthwhile. But I suppose old heat guns, custom cracking devices, solvents (carcinogenic, of course), and the like are easily available in countries where this stuff is manufactured in the first place. Add cheap labor and you don't even need to start your own company manufacturing cheap knockoffs while camping the indigenous trademark for the likes name of Apple's next fondlewhatsis.

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NASA honors Apollo 1 crew 50 years after deadly launchpad fire

Joe Gurman

Re: The agency is recognized the world over as the most careful and risk-averse space agency.

Where does this comment come from? From what thought processes?

Feynman was speaking as a scientist and only as a scientist, when he wrote that, "Nature cannot be fooled."

His only foray into management science was asking Marshall propulsion managers and engineers, separately, to write secretly on a slip of paper how many missions they believed, on average, it would be before a catastrophic failure of the shuttle because of issues with the main engines (not the solids). To a man (and they all were), the engineers wrote numbers between 10 and 100 the managers, including some who had been working as engineers as recently as a few weeks before, to a man, wrote the NASA party line number, 10,000. You didn't need to be an expert on anything other than self-delusion to see what was going on.

The Challenger and Columbia screwups (calling them "accidents" is dignifying poor engineering management without justification) were the result of the same kind of management-ignores-high-risk issues behavior as caused the loss of Apollo 1.

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Anti-theft kill switches in smartphones just got a little less creepy

Joe Gurman

Re: Lower level than OS

Given the. business with the FBI and a pre-Touch ID iPhone last year, I rather doubt Apple has built one in.

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Joe Gurman

Re: Effective?

Don't know about the gamut of Android phones, but with an iPhone equipped with Touch ID, the run of the mill thief would have had to prepare pre-theft by copying your fingerprints on a gummi bear. As for government spooks, it's yet to be proven they can get around Touch ID/limited PIN guessing, but one suspect's it will happen eventually.

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Peace-sign selfie fools menaced by fingerprint-harvesting tech

Joe Gurman

Re: Not that it matters much with most Brits...

After all, Churchill always gave the "V for victory" using a two-fingered salute most of his countryman would have blushed at.

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Soz fanbois, Apple DIDN'T invent the smartphone after all

Joe Gurman

Re: Apple stole the iPhone

Apple was making a dazzling confusing no array of mostly mediocre Macs as the '90s wore on, to the point in 1997 that they had only enough cash to keep the firm afloat for a few weeks when Steve Jobs was made CEO for the second time.... and he picked up the phone to ask Bill Gates for a loan and a commitment. The next year, App,e started selling the iMac, and the rest is history that many here apparently wish had never happened.

I used some good Apple hardware in the early 90s, but 1997 they had a hundred models and no way to tell them apart, aside from dome nice hardware at the very top end. To get a really good macOS machine at a consumer price, you had to buy a clone, preferably from Power Computng. Mr. Jobs cancelled the clone agreements and started producing decent products again.

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CES 2017 roundup: The good, the bad, and the frankly bonkers

Joe Gurman

Really?

"One of the most consistent complaints Apple fans have had about the new MacBooks (besides the poor spec, high price, and lack of upgradability) is that they have no touchscreens."

Care to name three?

I keep seeing this claim in odd corners of the IT press, but I talk with Mac users on a daily basis, and not one has so much as mentioned this as a feature they want. If it were, I suspect Microsoft would have made off with a lot more MacBook customers than they have.

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Could YOU survive a zombie apocalypse? Uni eggheads say you'd last just 100 days

Joe Gurman

Of course I wouldn't survive

I ditched my LP albums decades ago.

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Slim pickings by the Biggest Loser: A year of fitness wearables

Joe Gurman

Sorry for your loss

Nothing gets to us like the loss of a parent. Hope you're doing OK and the fitness bit helps.

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How Rogue One's Imperial stormtroopers SAVED Star Wars and restored order

Joe Gurman

Finally

After 33 years, we finally get a Star Wars movie that's true to the original vision of the force we got in Star Wars (no, not A New Hope, I mean the one where Han shot first) and The Empire Strikes Back. The Force is something everyone can share in not just prospective Jedi knights with a rare blood condition. Consider me corny and old-fashioned, but that, and the willingness to [spoiler deleted] every last character you care about, to demonstrate they were serious about their business, make this the best one yet. "I am one with the Force. The Force is with me."

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50 years on, the Soviet-era Soyuz rocket is still our favorite space truck

Joe Gurman

Oh come now

"For the past five years, the rockets have been our only means to resupply the International Space Station." As indicating by the correct reporting in the rest of the article, this sentence is clearly in error.... or SpaceX, Sierra Nevada, and Orbital have been spending a lot of cash on spitballs.

The Soyuz spacecraft has been the sole method of crew transfer since the end of Shuttle operations, but there are lots of options (Progress [a Soyuz derivative], Dragon/CRS, Cygnus, Kounotori, ATV, and maybe someday Dreamchaser) for unmanned resupply/trash disposal.

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Apple unplugs its home LAN biz, allegedly

Joe Gurman

Re: Oh - I quite liked the Airport range

There is indeed an incredible breadth of WiFi access points available, but none in my experience has been anywhere near (as in orders magnitude near) as simple to set up as the AirPorts I've had or set up for others the last 15 years. Other than one that got fried in an electrical storm, none has even failed.

Compare and contrast that with the utter rubbish kit I've purchased (or been wheedled into working on for friends) from multiple vendors, and Apple wins hand-down. I confess fully and freely to not having tried every router now on the market (who has the time, energy, or money?), but for what it does, the AirPort Express is arguably the best WiFi access point out there, for simple home installations. For traffic shaping, latest (unofficial so far) protocol, whatever, undoubtedly not but (uh oh, prepare for Apple haters' apoplexy), it just effin' works.

I'm truly sorry Apple felt their new quarterly earning were going to be affected by the volume of sales of this product line.

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Why I just bought a MacBook Air instead of the new Pro

Joe Gurman

OK, I get it

Mr. McCarthy doesn't like the new MacBook Pro, thinks he's going to jump ship on Apple, and likes the MacBook Air of a few years ago. Cool.

But why the inaccurate tirade (the cheapest model of the MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar is $1799 in the US not $2400)? He admits he didn't even get a chance to try it out before deducing it was useless for anything but emoji. I think I'll visit an Apple Store when they have ones to, you know, use, and decide whether I agree.

Oh, and I use a three-year old MacBook Air. Its CPU, graphics, and storage (a mighty 128 Gbyte SSD) pale in comparison to the base model MacBook Pro's with Touch Bar. I think I'd like to look at a performance comparison and try it what the Touch Bar, an unfamiliar technology, can do before I make a decision. Mr. McCarthy's rant hasn't helped me make a decision, not one little bit.

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Brexit judgment could be hit for six by those crazy Supreme Court judges, says barrister

Joe Gurman

Erm....

Mr. Callus, whatever his qualifications may be (and however appropriate, nay, Dickensian his name may be for a member of the bar), he clearly reads only hyper inflated news of US Supreme Court cases. Far more of those are decided by 9-0 votes (or at least were, back when there were nine Justices) than by 5-4 ones: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/the_breakfast_table/features/2014/scotus_roundup/supreme_court_2014_why_are_most_cases_either_9_0_or_5_4.html .

Just like UK Supreme Court Justices, the Chief Justice of the United States and the other Justices of the Supreme Court, whatever else they may be, are supremely knowledgeable about the law. The US Supremes have it slightly easier, of course, because, well, we have a written constitution they can use to crib from.

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