* Posts by h4rm0ny

4539 posts • joined 26 Jul 2008

Not Bitcoin, but close: Red Hat and Microsoft bite into blockchain tech

h4rm0ny
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Re: tracking ownership of digital products

>>"Have you ever read the EULA for a piece of digital software?"

Silly question. No-one has. Have you ever read the "EULA" for a piece of digital music, say an mp3 purchased from Amazon? I have. I own that MP3. The file includes (usually) metadata from my purchase identifying me as the owner as well in case I distribute it. If you don't understand the difference between ownership of copyright and ownership of a product, then you must go through life very confused. For example, whenever someone says they bought a car and it blows your mind that they think of it that way even though they don't have ownership of the patents needed to produce it.

>>"I suggest you learn more about digital copyrights and ownership, rather than down voting the people who tell you how it is in the real world."

Yes, I have multiple accounts and all those downvotes are just me logging in and out of the Register just to downvote the response to me.

Idiot.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: tracking ownership of digital products

>>"The way our society works, the "ownership" of the digital product is with the artist or their agent. As an end-user, at best what you have is ownership of a limited right-to-use."

You can own a product. You can own copyright on something. These are different things. If I own a car, I own it. Even though I don't own the patents that would allow me to manufacture copies. If I own a book, I own it. Even though I don't own the copyrights that would allow me to print copies. And I own a number of digital products. Even though I don't own the copyrights that would allow me to distribute copies. Again, there is nothing inherent to a product being digital that requires the model to be different. So hopefully my question can be answered rather than just have people pontificating on their views on copyright. Especially when even in your own post you concede that what I say is correct.

>>"Airlines could make airline tickets transferrable. They choose not to for the same reason."

Yes. And they did that when you had paper tickets as well. I own several products that I am free to sell on if I wish. So what I am interested in is whether this technology can be used to track ownership. It's a pretty simple question asked genuinely by someone interested in this technology for this purpose.

>>"Yes, such rights could be transferrable. This doesn't require a blockchain: it just requires that the real owners are happy to have transferrable rights, and any way to record that."

This is incorrect and why I am asking my question. With a digital product, reproduction is trivial. If we want to sell a digital product under the same model as a physical product, we need two further things to do that well. The first is to be able to prove legitimate ownership in a scenario where there could be two instances of the same thing (unlike physical goods where if B gains, A loses by an equal amount); and second is for a third party to be able to follow it in order to enforce copyright law. It seems to me that this technology could meet both of those needs very effectively, but I'm hoping that someone who knows about this will reply to me rather than a couple of soap-boxing freetards who conflate ownership of copyright (creation and distribution rights) with ownership of a product.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: tracking ownership of digital products

Nothing inherent to digital products requires that the right to use be non-transferrable. So yes, you can own digital products. Nor that they be "domestic personal use only". Just like you can own a paper book, you can own an ebook. In neither case does copyright allow you to distribute copies of it.

So, to get back to my question...

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h4rm0ny
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Assets

This seems to be a generalized approach to tracking ownership of digital assets. Could it be used for tracking ownership of digital products such as movies, music, ebooks, etc? That would make it more viable to resell digital products which is an unsatisfactory area right now.

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Just how close are Obama and Google? You won’t believe the answer

h4rm0ny
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Re: Downvotes?

All the way through reading this article, I kept having Human Leagues' "Don't You Want Me Baby" running through my mind. Something about "I put you where you are... And I can put you back down too."

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Microsoft lures top Linux exec from Oracle to Redmond

h4rm0ny
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Re: And as a side-note ...

>>"And I'm sorry for genius Dave, but like many, he too confused the forest with the trees when it comes to understanding the UNIX model."

How so? Back that up.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: For shame!

I think you mean Stallman. He's the one that - for better or worse - has always been self-consistent in his principles and doesn't waver.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: They have hired top Linux people before

>>"Windows server hell"

See, I could accept an argument that MS's GNU/Linux involvement is a rear-guard action and wont see competitive support. I don't think that's true, but I could see it as a supportable argument. But then you go off on one about "Windows server Hell". There might be people who feel that way if they're a GNU/Linux shop and they have one odd Windows server needed for some piece of critical software and they don't really know how to maintain it or have processes to manage it. An odd inconsistency in your processes is always a PITA. But Windows as an OS is pretty solid. And it has a lot of very good enterprise tools to manage it. So I conclude that you don't know what you're talking about.

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Tracy Emin dons funeral shroud, marries stone

h4rm0ny
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Hand fasting.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: It wasn't me

Doesn't your name mean "stone stone". Your parents had a sense of humour. :)

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William Hague: Brussels attacks mean we must destroy crypto ASAP

h4rm0ny
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>>"Mr Hague should go back to delivering barrels of beer in his beloved Yorkshire."

We don't want him back. You keep him.

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h4rm0ny
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Hague was the one that led the case for British bombing of Libya to try and sponsor their foreign-backed "popular uprising" (that popular uprising that involved importing troops from Qatar and foreign Special Forces). Libya is now exporting terrorism around the world. Whilst terrorist bombings like we've recently seen aren't a right response to our involvement, they are in significant part a response nonetheless. First Hague wants us to get involved for the sake of British oil interests, then Hague wants us to give up all privacy to the government to deal with the fallout.

No matter that the bombings are terrible, I remain more afraid of the government than I do the terrorists.

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Come on kids, let's go play in the abandoned nuclear power station

h4rm0ny
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@LucreLout

That was interesting. Do you have a blog or anywhere you write stuff like this? If so, I'd certainly be interested in that as well.

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h4rm0ny
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Paris Hilton

Re: Steel Fuel Tubes

I wonder how many people who don't understand MSR either modded up your comment just because it said that we (the British) know more about MSR than you do (the USA).

More than one, I suspect. ;)

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Brits shun nightclubs and CD-ROMs for lemons, coffee and woman’s leggings

h4rm0ny
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That's just the marketing and justification. I know at least one person who uses them just because they're cheaper so they can have more.

And I think some others use them because it lets them pretend they're healthy whilst still getting their nicotine fix.

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State should run power firm spam database, says... competition watchdog

h4rm0ny
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Re: Oh for crying out loud

There's only one form of competition regulation I'd like to see out of these people, and that's to regulate wind power so that it isn't massively subsidised by my purchase of electricity from other sources. If this body is so keen on competition, let's have some.

(N.b. to carbon fanatics - I'm pro nuclear).

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Microsoft has made SQL Server for Linux. Repeat, Microsoft has made SQL Server 2016 for Linux

h4rm0ny
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Re: I'm sure some will recall...

>>"...when Microsoft came up with it's own version of Java. It was like an attempt to hijack the standards and make everyone do things the Microsoft way and make Java theirs by force."

Are you referring to the very nice C#? Or are you mixing up Microsoft with Google because it's Google's I-Can't-Believe-It's-Not-Java language on Android that seems to really fit what you're describing. ;)

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h4rm0ny
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Out of interest, where do you find Postgres starts to creak on large data sets? I find Postgres excellent but have never used it on very large-scale datasets so curious about your experience.

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Hacker 'Guccifer' extradited to US

h4rm0ny
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Regardless of conditions, he is being taken to a place where his family and friends can no longer visit him. He is being separated from people he shares his language and culture with. Those by themselves are a devastating punishment. Especially when enduring life in prison which is a major hardship.

And US prisons are not exactly comfortable B&Bs.

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Forget data thieves, data sabotage will be your next IT nightmare

h4rm0ny
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Re: Not a new problem

Depends. Once you have a criminal record - no matter how irrelevant or what the circumstances - you are effectively barred from using any talents more sophisticated than picking litter or working on an assembly line.

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How exactly do you rein in a wildly powerful AI before it enslaves us all?

h4rm0ny
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Re: Let's just hope AI's will be smarter than these researchers

>>"That's knowledge, not intelligence"

No, it's intelligence. The OP is quite right. Firstly, knowledge is part of intelligence. Secondly, decision making also takes place outside of the human brain in books and other repositories. When a book details advice, case studies, accumulated best practices, instructions... Then human intelligence is taking place outside the organic brain. It's not just "knowledge".

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Apple fires legal salvo at FBI for using All Writs law in iPhone brouhaha

h4rm0ny
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Re: Completely pointless anyway

I suspect they figured this would be a high-profile incident - mad gunman, etc. - that they'd get a lot of angry public support on which would put Apple on the back-foot. "Apple helps vicious killer!" sort of thing. Unfortunately for the FBI, it's not having that effect. Well, it appears to have worked on Donald Trump but apart from him I mean...

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h4rm0ny
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Re: coercion in the US is easy

>>- Do not incriminate yourself and face life without parole

>>- Reveal all and possibly get out in 15-20 years.

>>Faced with that choice... which one would you go for?

The only logical one: Revolution.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Comey, the Master of Overreach

I for one am sick to death of people thinking that "Godwin's Law" posts are either especially insightful or deeply witty. Please! Can we just get through a single thread without a bunch of people waiting to leap in and go "GODWIN'S LAW!"

You know what Nazi Germany was, by the way? State-managed corporatism. I.e. if the ruling party said 'do something', a company better do it regardless of whether they received adequate payment or if it was just a legal requirement. Not unlike the US government telling Apple they must develop new firmware just because the FBI wants it.

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Brits unveil 'revolutionary' hydrogen-powered car

h4rm0ny
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Re: Joined up thinking....

>>"My idea is this :- install one of these hydrogen producing units close by the wind turbines."

Works much better with nuclear. You have more power and also ready supply of hot water for more efficient electrolysis. Nuclear is more predictable than Wind, but similarly has a problem with variability only in nuclear's case it results from variability of demand, not production, as it doesn't ramp up and down very efficiently. Producing hydrogen enables a power station to usefully run at above demand and thus avoid the variability of demand issue.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: hello! wakeup call!

>>OK, where's the WATER gonna come from, then? There's already enough flak about used coolant water from nuclear plants (it's a lot warmer coming out of the plant) which has knock-on effects downstream Now you're going to consume some of that water to produce hydrogen gas, too?"

The water being hotter after it's been used to cool a nuclear power station is a PLUS. High temperature electroloysis is much more efficient than trying to do the same with cool water. And if you're concerned about downstream effects of heated water then consumption of that water to make hydrogen is an even greater benefit.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Hydrogen filling

>>Hydrogen has pretty much all the worst attributes you can imagine from a fuel: low energy density

But higher energy density than a battery.

>>extremely high volatility

But disperses with high rapidity unlike petrol or natural gas which pools. And anyway, it can certainly be made safe enough.

>>and its tiny molecules can leak through almost anything. What good is it if after two weeks in the garage your fuel tank is empty?

That would be a problem. But what if it lost 0.2% of a tank per day for the first week and then that rate increasingly dropped even further because as tank pressure reduces so does the loss rate? Your figure is an arbitrary example, not a calculation. How about if I said that after six weeks in your garage it would be down to 25%. That's something many people would be happy to live with. And I'm sure a portable hydrogen tank that you could buy (and return the empty "bottle" for 95% of your money back) would be a common enough thing. You can't use your final point as a valid counter-argument if it's not based on actual practical usage data because it's one of those things that could be anywhere from show-stopper to non-issue depending...

Remember, if you're comparing HFCs to Petrol, then Petrol is mostly going to have an advantage in pure performance both because of inherent reasons and because it's a very mature technology. But if you take the fact that we need to move away from petrol vehicles as a given, then you're looking at batteries or HFCs most probably. And HFCs look much more promising to me. Indeed, the most vicious attacks on HFCs, ime, come from battery proponents who get angry about a competitor in the clean vehicle market. Personally I think HFCVs look great - imagine London where all vehicles emitted small amounts of distilled water instead of petrol fumes!

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h4rm0ny
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>>"Is there actually a vehicle fuel that is a worse combination of expensive to produce, dangerous to store, and difficult to supply than hydrogen?"

Uranium, natural gas, wind power... These three all tick some of your boxes. Uranium ticks all three (and yes, it is a "vehicle fuel" - we have ships and submarines that both use it). Natural gas is expensive to produce but benefits from massive economies of scale. But high-temperature hydrogen electrolysis would actually be easier, believe it or not. Combine it with a nuclear power station that has both hot water and surplus energy (nuclear power has a very inefficient ramp-up / ramp-down process so you want to keep it at a stable rate. Combine that with the fact that demand is variable and you're basically choosing whether to have an energy surfeit or an energy defecit. Hydrogen turns that awkward choice into a win by giving you something useful to do with the surplus); you never have to drill an undersea well or cap a runaway well in California. Natural gas and petrol also tick your dangerous to store requirement which might surprise you. But a hydrogen leak just vanishes straight upwards. It's gone before you can say "low atomic weight". Natural gas and petrol fumes are both heavier than air. They pool and result in the risk of an explosive fireball.

As to Wind Power - monstrously expensive, horribly inefficient. And viable mainly because we pay a 16% surcharge on our power bills so that the owners of Wind companies can make money.

So in answer to your question, yes, I can think of at least three.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: So the fuel cell will never need charging..?

>>I suspect it is their marketing dept that has claimed this, and not their engineers (I hope ;-) )

You don't charge a fuel cell. You refill it. With fuel.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: zero emissions?

That's only because it's cheap to do right now. The same can be said of charging batteries from fossil fuel powerstations. The point with both batteries AND hydrogen fuel-cells, is that you can swap both to be produced from clean energy sources when you have them. Actually, one of the best ways to do it is electrolysis of heated water which is much more efficient. Guess what nuclear power stations have? Lots of power and water for cooling...

Actually, even with the production of hydrogen from oil, there's still a substantial saving. Modern power-plants have a lot of very good technology to reduce emissions. Doing the conversion of fuel to energy centrally results in a Hell of a lot fewer emissions than every individual car being its own little, inefficient mobile power-plant.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Hydrogen filling

The swappable tanks is half of a good idea. It's actually more appropriate for electric vehicles because batteries take a long time to charge. Filling a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle can be extremely fast. Faster than petrol, in fact, but certainly no worse. Where your idea is very good is not putting the tanks into the cars, but being able to hook them into the petrol station so that a petrol station could start rolling this out quickly without having to go through the costs and disruption of fitting underground hydrogen tanks next to the petrol ones.

Initial demand for hydrogen is low. Having a small, above ground hydrogen tank that could be dropped off / filled is an easy first-step toward rolling it out. After all, we already have petrol stations for the infrastructure. Adding or replacing a single pump with a hydrogen one is not that big of a deal.

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Uber is bombarding us with painfully probing subpoenas, cries Lyft

h4rm0ny
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Re: Disruptive Business Model

Yep. Uber are, imo, a stunning example of Right Time, Right Place, Wrong Company. With easy, mobile Internet access and the technology to automate hand-off of requests for a service, applying that to taxis is all but inevitable. As Charles Fort said: "It's Steam Engine Time". I.e. when the appropriate technological basis and environment exists, some "inventions" just grow out of that environment almost inevitably.

The idea of Uber isn't original. Many have talked about such a thing long before Uber came to be. But it is the right time for this idea. I just think it's deeply unfortunate that a company as unpleasant as Uber are the ones who win the business lottery to get it.

Question - can a driver for Uber also be a driver for Lyft? Or are there clauses in the employment contract that forbid this?

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Solution to tech bros' disgust of SF homeless people launched

h4rm0ny
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Re: er...this is a spoof, yeah?

>>"thought Techies were, on the whole, a fairly compassionate bunch?"

About as compassionate or callous as any other demographic, on the whole. Though like every other demographic, believes it is a special case.

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Triple-murderer prisoner keeps mobile phone in his butt for a week

h4rm0ny
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Re: Mandated human rights

>>"If it had been written by the British, it would make actual sense."

No, if it had been written by the British it would be one page, mostly blank, with "Theresa May Can Do What She Likes" written at the top.

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Five Eyes nations must purge terrorists from the web, says Theresa May

h4rm0ny
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Black Helicopters

Re: Ten eyes

Only one eye in each pyramid, my friend.

And doesn't that Black Helicopter icon remind you of something now I've said it --->

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h4rm0ny
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Pint

>>"(on second thoughts, maybe I should have posted this anonymously to avoid being added to a list of agitators and political joke tellers)"

By swelling the size of the List, you are doing your part to make it useless. Solidarity, my comrade! ;)

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h4rm0ny
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Re: What does DISRUPT mean?

A False Flag operation is by definition not an attack on the 'enemy' but an attack on one's own populace. It is an attempt to manipulate your population's opinion through misinforming them. A False Flag operation is targeted at us.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Five Eyes nations must purge terrorists from the web, says Theresa May

Particularly alarming is when she states that they want to protect us not just from "violent extremism", but also from "non-violent extremism". What exactly is "non-violent extremism"? Opinions? Strikes? Protest marches?

I get that Theresa May will protect me from "terrorists". But who will protect me from Theresa May.

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UK to stop children looking at online porn. How?

h4rm0ny
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Agreed. There are two immediately obvious problems with this, (three if you count it wont stop teenagers looking at porn). The first is that whatever the ostensible aim of this, the effect is to track people's porn viewing habits. That's a pretty big deal in a society like ours. Is it right or even smart that the government should build such profiles of people throughout their life? Call it exclusion of children, but you could more accurately call it identification of visitor.

Second big problem is that this sets up the government as arbiters of what is or isn't acceptable viewing. Aside from any debates about porn, it would be inevitably amended into a general category of "Bad Material". Political and social information and opinions would rapidly be placed into the category, starting with those that "everybody knows" are bad, and ending... well, somewhere else I would bet.

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Scariest climate change prediction yet: More time to eat plane food

h4rm0ny
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Re: AC: "I miss Lewis :("

No. And if he was pushed out, it's a shame on El Reg. because I enjoyed his articles, I've enjoyed the site under his term as editor and in my opinion, it's worse without him.

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Indonesian comms ministry orders 'gay emoji' block

h4rm0ny
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Re: Difference between obscenity and politics

Actually, sexuality and its repression is addressed in the novel 1984 by Orwell. Prostitution was considered by the Party to be positive because it dissociated the act of sex from the act of love. When Winston and Julia get together they view their love-making as a protest. It describes sex as "Their embrace had been a battle, the climax a victory. It was a blow struck against the Party. It was a political act.”

Historically in every case that I can think of, totalitarianism has included sexual oppression. Why is a broader question, but it seems to me that a totalitarian state has no natural limit to its desire to control. Its existence depends wholly on its ability to intimidate and control the citizenry and discourage any form of deviation from the norm. Totalitarianism is traditionally inseparable from conformity. Sexual choices are one of the most basic of freedoms - maybe the most. Totalitarian regimes and those with aspirations as such, always seek to interfere.

In short, censoring "obscenity" is very much in the tradition of Orwellian. As is deciding that someone's sexuality is "obscenity" in the first place.

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Women devs – want your pull requests accepted? Just don't tell anyone you're a girl

h4rm0ny
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Re: I expect votedowns

>>"I'd also guess the women that want to be in IT really want to be in IT (as there is so much stigma attached) as opposed to many men who just do it because they can just float along being mediocre and get away with it. I'd expect the men that really like IT are equally as good and committed."

I think there's some truth to that. Not so much that men can get by being mediocre (I've known some less than stellar female programmers on rare occasions, too). But that it can feel more of a deliberate choice to get into IT as a woman. You're probably less likely to just drift into it. I don't believe there's any difference in natural aptitude between the sexes for programming. But there may be a selection bias for this reason. I certainly wasn't just going along with my friends when I picked computers as my field.

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h4rm0ny
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So... your argument is that what men lose in quality, they make up for in quantity?

That seems a little harsh... ;)

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h4rm0ny
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Hmmmm...

>>"Women who declare they're women on github tend to write poorer code than those who don't"

So you're saying that if I had registered here with my real name (which is recognizably female) rather than h4rm0ny, it would be a sign that I was a poorer coder? What's the theory behind that hypothesis? And does it also apply to men who declare that they're men? Or would that be different because male is the presumed default or somesuch...?

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h4rm0ny
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Not because being a "nerd". That wasn't an issue in a UK school in the nineties. More just being one of the only girls on the course. I was the only girl doing a design and technology GCSE with around twenty boys (from memory - will probably be off). I was one of two girls in my Physics class. And there were about ten of us on the Computer Science course I did with two dropping out.

That's actually pretty hard. It's not nice being separate from most of your friends in several of your classes or being the odd one out. Thankfully, I think my case was at the extreme end. But it's definitely a very significant issue. I'm not a big fan of trying to correct the gender imbalance at the point of job application. Chiefly because I find quotas both offensive and unfair, but also because it's trying to fix a problem that happened years before. Provide more encouragement for young girls to take up technology subjects (in a non-patronizing way) and more female role-models, and that will do more to address sexism in the workplace in our sector than anything else. Prejudice against a minority is a lot safer than prejudice against an equal faction.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: I expect votedowns

Going to preface this with two facts, which are that I'm a female in the programming industry and that my impressions are just those of my experiences personally and of female friends when we've discussed this. Putting that at the start so that people can lend as much or little weight to the following as they wish and acknowledging that it's not a scientific survey. That said, anecdote is still the singular of data so a few thoughts:

Firstly, whilst institutional sexism does exist, my encounters have always been based around a few bad eggs. Most of the people I've worked with it's not been an issue. However, those bad eggs do exist and sometimes they're in a position of power. So it happens.

Secondly, I find that it has varied by nationality and sector. Again, I'm emphasizing this is personal experience, but I have found it markedly worse in the US than here in the UK, and in turn the UK is worse than Germany where sexism seems to have largely vanished. (I know it probably exists, but I've never seen a hint of it in working with German companies). Where I have encountered it in the UK, it's been in the financial sectors and amongst sales people. The City (as they delightfully call it) still is rife with sexism. Thankfully I don't work there and don't want to. But I have female friends who have and the impression is not good. With regards Sales, it just seems to attract a lot of male-dominated, somewhat sleazy attitudes. Maybe it's the back-room deal / old boy network culture that predominates, but the Sales teams of big companies are where I've run into some truly repugnant sexism. And the only place where someone has called me "doll" in a work-place environment or told me in a meeting to make the coffee! (That didn't end well for anyone involved in that meeting including myself who was kept out of future meetings by various means).

In engineering and software departments and small companies, it's been fine. Including the USA on the whole. It's mainly those bad eggs rather than a sexist culture. And it's interesting that this survey is around online behaviour because in the workplace, the non-sexist majority have typically kept a lid on any sexist members of the team. Maybe it's online that they feel unrestrained enough to be open about their prejudices.

Anyway, anecdotal evidence without an asserted conclusion. It does exist in our industry and should continue to be chipped away at. It's about equal opportunity and meritocracy. That's the end goal, imo.

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Met Police wants to keep billions of number plate scans after cutoff date

h4rm0ny
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Re: Prediction

>>"One day, someone, somewhere, will use data contained within a database such as the ANPR to get acquitted."

This presumes that the public / accused get the same level of access to the data as the state / police. That seems unlikely.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Show us evidence..

>>"I guess one alternative would be to make refusing to cooperate carry the same penalty as the crime being investigated, but that sounds pretty draconian, and would doubtless lead to much larger problems."

It does. For one, it's a very short step from refusing to co-operate and being an end-run around innocent until proven guilty. Basically, you decide someone is guilty (cannot prove it), they wont give you the evidence you want to show that they are guilty (they may or may not have such), you can apply a sentence as if they were guilty anyway.

There's a quote from an old movie: "A policeman's job is only easy in a police state." And that's something overlooked by the OP when they demand it be proven that this collection of data actually helps stop crime. It's a valid point, but of course if you collect data on everything you can find examples of it being useful sometimes. The real point is whether we are willing to accept these meagre benefits in exchange for giving the State massive power over us.

Violent crime is decreasing, we should be looking at less pressure to monitor and track everybody. Instead, we are seeing vastly more pressure to do so. Why is that? I leave that question for others.

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Microsoft hits the gas in drive to recruit autistic techies

h4rm0ny
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Re: Um, this is ridiculously illegal

Can anyone go on this improved selection process? It sounds like they take extended periods of time to get to know you and assess you. That sounds advantageous.

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