* Posts by h4rm0ny

4539 posts • joined 26 Jul 2008

'We can handle politicos, OUR ISSUE IS JUDGES', shout GCHQ docs

h4rm0ny
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Re: @ TwoWolves Safety vs Security

>>"Has it occurred to you that the worst case scenario is what's happening in Syria right now? Can you live with that? Where would you flee?"

Has is it occurred to YOU that Bashar Assad's Syria was a place with an out of control state apparatus where intelligence agencies / secret police didn't have to obey due process and the populace had no means of controlling them other than violent revolution? What makes you think that Syria is at the opposite end of a surveillance state, rather than its conclusion?

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Boggle

I'm sure there are some decent MPs. They may not end up leading their parties, mind you. But I'm sure they're there. The issue with not fully understanding what you've signed is, well, how could you? When there's only one source of information on something (your intelligence agencies) they can present things in all sorts of ways. Anyone here has probably seen enough comments on a divisive issue that would convince almost anyone if there wasn't an opposing viewpoint or someone to provide context. I've seen posts both pro- and anti- global warming either of which would equally convince someone who had just wandered in without any background and in many cases the content of those posts is factually true in both cases. How much easier is it to fuddle some minister who you're telling lives may depend on them signing some bit of paper and that you know all sorts of things they don't that make it valid.

Of course there is a need for someone (apparently judges) to come along and say "well... did you know that when they said this they meant that?"

Which of course is why this document describes judges as a threat. Same way someone who is trying to convince you that AGW is true / false regards anyone not allied with them as a threat. GCHQ strive to be the only source of information to MPs and when you're the only source of information, getting signatures is usually pretty easy.

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VW’s case of NOxious emissions: a tale of SMOKE and MIRRORS?

h4rm0ny
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Re: Who wrote the code?

There's a fourth option, which is that they genuinely didn't see what they were doing as wrong. They could, for example, have thought / said either of the following:

"These rules are written by people who clearly don't actually understand the science. If we push down the CO2 which doesn't do much harm, we're pushing up the NOx which certainly does. So lets pass this arbitrary test in a way that poisons our customers and those around them less."

"It's completely sensible that the car goes into a different mode when stationary. If their tests don't actually cover driving the thing around the track then of course they're not going to get a representative idea of its performance"

Not saying either is or isn't right, or even that the two are compatible. Only that it's entirely plausible that the engineers genuinely didn't see themselves as doing anything wrong. If I'm trying to make a good product and somebody who knows less than I do comes along and decides to tell me it should be done a certain way to comply with some arbitrary and not very scientifically-grounded requirement, I can certainly see the temptation to do what is necessary to tick their meaningless box and then get back to making it actually work efficiently. That mindset is not unrelatable to me.

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h4rm0ny
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Lone Wolf / Loan Shark

Am I witnessing two figures of speech breeding with each other and spawning progeny? Lone Wolf is the traditional term for a rogue actor, no? Loan shark is a disreputable money lender. Where did "lone shark" come from?

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PETA monkey selfie lawsuit threatens wildlife photography, warns snapper at heart of row

h4rm0ny
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Re: Joke suit

What are you blathering about? I've been vegetarian for many years and whilst not everyone will agree with my positions on El. Reg, I think even those that loathe me would accept that I have a fairly solid reasoning ability.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Edited for objectivity

>>"Originally, he was quoted as saying e.g. "One of them must have accidentally knocked the camera and set it off... He must have taken hundreds of pictures by the time I got my camera back, but not very many were in focus..." which strongly implies that these photos weren't intended"

I think you may be conflating two separate incidents here, either directly or because newspapers (whose goal is to sell, or get hits for the online versions) have previously conflated them. At one point, David Slater unwisely left his camera lying there and the monkeys absconded with it and his guide ran after them and got it back. In a separate incident, he set it up a tripod and stayed close to it.

Now one can argue a case that the copyright isn't his because he's lying about the circumstances (still very shaky though that it's now no longer his property), but given that there were only two people present in the jungle and we have a presumption of innocence, it's rather off to start taking this tack that he is lying - i.e. the copyright isn't his, therefore he lied about the circumstances. That's working from conclusion back towards the argument.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Aha!

>>"He should probably just make sure he hasn't got any assets in California, just in case the judge turns out to be as rabidly barking as the plaintiffs."

Doesn't work like that. PETA want to have copyright assigned to the monkey and themselves appointed managers of the income. So even if he has no assets in the USA whatsoever, he has effectively become irrelevant to the case because PETA will be going around to anyone in the USA using this photo and demanding money on the monkey's behalf, not Slater's.

That's actually blackly comic in that all those Wikimedia proponents who argued they didn't have to pay a licence fee because the monkey was the author of the photograph, would now find themselves sued by PETA for back-use of the photograph by their own arguments.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Speed Cameras?

>>"PETA walking on litigious eggshells I feel. Perhaps they should pay this blokes costs and huge compensation for loss of earnings ... then be fined for wasting the court's time."

He probably wouldn't want it (though recovering some of the £10,000 he's lost so far from all this would likely be welcome). He loves these monkeys and a big part of what motivated him to do this trip and finance it was to help raise awareness about them and the fact that they're becoming endangered as their environment is encroached upon and they are being eaten as the spread of Catholicism in Indonesia lessens the prohibitions against eating monkey meat. He's also previously gone out and photographed wild boar to help a campaign PETA had to protect these animals (a little bit more dangerous than monkeys!). He's a conservationist and animal lover who works to protect these animals.

PETA turning on this guy is like watching a roadrunner trying to eat its young.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: The day a monkey decides to bring it's own lawsuit

>>"Just to work out what your criteria are here, and as a thought experiment, what if we replace your notional "monkey" with the counterexample of an adult human with severe learning difficulties? Such a person might also not be able to bring their own lawsuit, or go on the witness stand in a way useful to their case. Do you consider that they would (should) have any photographic rights in this kind of `selfie' case?"

Even someone with pretty severe learning difficulties is almost certainly going to have a grasp of contexts and purpose that the monkey doesn't. You're going off on the wrong track however. The question isn't ability to understand what is happening but the level of creative input. If I set up a camera, the set design, the lighting, decided on angles and poses for the model whilst I walked around the set and my assistant was pressing the button would they have more creative input than me because they were the mechanical trigger for it? No. And to be absolutely clear, this is NOTHING to do with any legal agreement they have to do work for hire, it's strictly about "do they have the creative input" for it and "are they resourcing this". The answer to both is no. Just as with the monkey. Your sliding scale of intelligence is a red herring. The photographic assistant is perfectly capable of understanding what is going on but they're not the artist in this instance. Nor was the monkey. The monkey didn't set all the little details of the camera up to be appropriate for the lighting, they didn't do selective work on the photograph or travel all the way to Britain to use the camera. Both resource and creative input were Slater's. The monkey's ability to comprehend is not the primary issue, it is a secondary one that leads to the fact that it has not contributed creatively.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Thankyou for the facts

>>I wonder how the original story came about? It would take somebody very mean-spirited to suggest that it was made up to make it more likely that papers would buy the photo, on the basis that "monkey takes selfie" is more likely to sell than "monkey triggers camera-trap".

Humans prefer a lie that entertains them to the truth, in most cases. Once someone (anyone) says that the monkey stole the camera rather than walked up to a low-set tripod, that is the version that will travel around the world and be printed in the papers. Because it is more entertaining.

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h4rm0ny
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Mushroom

Utter Stupidity. Utterly Pissing Me Off.

As a vegetarian and someone who supports various animal welfare operations, I want to say without the slightest reservation that this is beyond stupid and the damage it does to the actual cause of preventing mistreatment of animals is immeasurable. I am furious. The same way you get when any idiot (or in this case group of idiots) attempts to support you in a way that makes you look like a cretin.

This winds me up to no end which is why you'll find posts like this from me on Ars Technica, here, anywhere that I can make a futile attempt to counter the harm PETA do to the cause of animal welfare.

Anyway, attempting to calm down and explain rationally what is wrong with PETA's action here, imo, It's essentially a question of authorship. That is what copyright comes down to - who is the author, who created the work. There's all sorts of work involved in producing this photo, and yes, much of it creative. I can tell just by looking at it that this is not the raw state of the photo - there's been all sorts of post-processing to get it to look like that, there's framing of the image as well - which for those who haven't gotten into photography, is actually something that depends a lot on artistic skill and creativity. There's the selection process as well which takes time and artistic talent. I can take a hundred photos and get two out of them that I'm happy with and it takes time and judgement to do that. We're not looking at a blurred photo of a monkey's foot with some leaves in the background. We're looking at the best photograph selected by a professional who knows their stuff. Then there's the purchase of thousands of dollars of equipment, the travelling half-way around the world to photograph them, days patiently becoming accepted by the monkeys, setting up cameras so that a monkey could do this in the first place. The photograph is the product of all of these things - a mix of genuine artistic creativity and resource, not random luck. I have often found that the harder I work the luckier I am. The artist did a huge amount to make this happen. And they did just as much afterwards to produce a final piece of artwork that this now is.

And PETA want to argue that the monkey contributed more creativity than all his work? If he'd set up a camera to take pictures of trees in the wind and had the trigger activated by the breeze would they credit the air with the copyright? There's as much deliberate intent written on the wind as the monkey has understanding of a camera. Are they equally for suing all these nature documentaries that show animals by night because they tripped some trigger the film crew had installed. Again, I'm not seeing this magic hard line that would separate the two.

Nature photographers actually do a lot to help with nature conservation and animal welfare by making people aware of the beauty and value of what is out there. This photographers work does more to make people care about monkeys half way around the world than anything I have seen PETA do. But the nature of the photography business is that you put in lots of effort and sometimes days or even weeks to take hundreds or thousands of photos and come out of it with the three or four that you can sell to cover your costs and make a modest living. And PETA want to take that away? And I do mean take - they are arguing that they should be custodians of the monkey's earnings in this suit.

This monkey suit.

So thank you PETA, for making me and every other person who wants animals to not be mistreated, look like a slack-jawed drooling lunatic. Thank you very much.

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You call THAT safe? Top EU legal bod says data sent to US is anything but

h4rm0ny
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Re: @Doctor Syntax

Well, yes, you laugh. But of the very few things in the USA that can overrule the NSA, one of them is money. I know of at least two large contracts that US companies have lost because the buyer did not trust the US government (not the company, the government) that their data would be secure. If I can name two such lost contracts personally, then that means there are quite a lot more out there. It's definitely become an issue.

Now if Safe Harbour provisions were no longer valid, that's going to hit at least three orders of magnitude more because it will no longer just be the companies that actually care about data security, it will also be the companies that want to appear to care about data security and that just want to tick some box so they don't have to think about it. And there's a lot more of those than the former.

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Cyber crims up the ante with Google Play brainteaser malware

h4rm0ny
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Re: Full points for irony though..

There is a quote from G.K.Chesterton who was a very intelligent person with accomplishments in a very wide range of fields who telegraphed his wife with the question: "Am in Birmingham. Where ought I to be?"

Intelligence and technological expertise certainly are not joined at the hip. Though those with the latter tend to presume that those without it also lack the former, unfortunately.

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Microsoft Office 2016 for Windows: The spirit of Clippy lives on

h4rm0ny
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Re: It looks like

>>"you've spent a lot of money for an application that's no better than free alternatives. Thanks, sucker!"

Why do people such as yourself always assume you know better than other people what they want? ESPECIALLY on an IT site where we're all going to be fairly aware of those alternatives. You don't know what other people's needs are - whether they might want collaborative tools or elegant document merging or a better equation editor or whatever. And you certainly don't know where something sits on the value-cost curve for each individual. One person might balk at paying £120 for a word processor. Another might think that if it saves them just two hours over the course of a year then they've already made their money back.

But of course you in your righteous omniscience know what we want, don't you? And how much value we set on it. And decide to pronounce us idiots for it. Good for you - the world needs more self-righteousness.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Excel Co Authoring or not?

Just like GNU/Linux was the best thing that ever happened to Windows, I suspect Google Docs is / will be the best thing that ever happened to MS Office.

When you scare them enough, MS can produce some wonderful software.

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Shattered Skype slowly staggers to its feet after 15-HOUR outage outrage

h4rm0ny
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Re: expensive international calls.

>>"Apart from there being a half dozen p-t-p alternatives to skype, there are also SIP providers for voice calls."

Yes, talking someone through setting up a PTP alternative to Skype in a foreign country at short notice via email is something very easy to do. Or is it your contention that I should proactively do this with everyone I might talk to abroad in advance and they should maintain this in case I need to call them by it?

>>"I really don't see this as a major event. Failure to plan for problems on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine."

Where did I say it did? How on earth do you think that you are relevant to this situation? Ego much?

>>"MS will be feeling the pain (and skype still seems to be staggering today) but if you don't have alternates set up then you don't understand that "things fail""

What I understand that it is neither possible nor cost-effective to actively prepare for every conceivable thing that can go wrong in this world. You have a very patronizing attitude for someone who brings so little utility to the conversation. I get that you may want to prop up your self-esteem by criticising others on the Internet, but I feel obliged to deflate this particular attempt as you've decided to pick on me for your target, by pointing out what a sad individual needs to do this.

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h4rm0ny
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The Skype downage cost me £30+ in international calls, yesterday. Mobile to mobile across countries is expensive.

Also, what's with El Reg articles being lots of screengrabs of Twitter. Can't they afford journalists anymore?

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Microsoft starts to fix Start Menu in new Windows 10 preview

h4rm0ny
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It would be pretty easy to fix the Start Menu by simply going back to the Start Screen. You only need hierarchical menus when you have too many items to manage in a flat hierarchy. On my desktop monitor I can fit 60 tiles very comfortably. That is far more than regular users ever need for commonly accessible tasks. You can additionally scroll down for less commonly used tasks where it becomes unlimited. And if you don't want to do something like remember that all your office applications are in a column on the left and all your games are in a column on the right (far quicker than actually reading up and down menu items), then you can always do what I do on Windows 8, which is just hit the windows key and start typing. Don't even have to reach for the mouse. None of this blending of unwanted online search results when I just want to launch Excel.

MS, imo, tried to jump across a ravine, got to the other side and found lots of people saying they didn't like it over here, so decided to jump half-way back and compromise. I find the Windows 10 Start Menu a grotesque hybrid. Some people like tropical fish. Some people like kittens. Nobody wants to see a kitten with fish-eyes and a gumless, toothless mouth.

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AMD chief architect Jim Keller quits chipmaker – again

h4rm0ny
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Re: Well that blows..

With the timescales that CPUs work to, the architecture part will be finished now (will have been for a little while) and the next parts are to turn it into a real and usable piece of hardware - not a small task. Jim Keller may be leaving because he's too expensive to just keep around with AMD's limited funds now that his stage is done, he may be leaving because he wants to find a new challenge elsewhere or simply have some time off (I imagine heading up a new CPU architecture is a pretty exhausting job). In either case, he will have delivered them all the architecture for Zen by this point. I would have expected him to stay on and continue working on successor chips personally, but then Jim Keller has never really stuck around that long at one company - check his work history. Hopefully if Zen is a success he will go back to AMD to do more for them.

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Global warming stopped in 1998? No it didn't. If you say that, you're going to prison

h4rm0ny
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Re: Yawn.....

>>"Gosh, I can't predict whether I will down four pints of IPA or a bottle of red, but I can predict I will have a hangover. I also can predict with fair confidence that it will be colder in January than it this month, and I don't know who is going to win Stoke City vs Leicester City on Saturday, but I can predict that neither will win the title come end of season."

None of these are good analogies for what the person you're replying to said. A better response would be "I can't tell you what the next three coin tosses will come up as, but I can tell you that over the next 500 they'll be fairly evenly split between heads and tails".

I'm actually a skeptic on AGW but the OP's argument was poor logic. One does not need to predict immediate results in order to predict and overall trend.

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Microsoft has developed its own Linux. Repeat. Microsoft has developed its own Linux

h4rm0ny
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Re: I wonder

This isn't an OS for the end user, there wont be a GUI at all from what I surmise from the article. MS developed some software for managing GNU/Linux via Powershell so it'll probably be managed through that.

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Let's Encrypt certificate authority signs first cert

h4rm0ny
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Re: Yes! Get on with it ElReg.

And

3. Tim Worstall refuses to use free certs until they cost more.

4. Trevor Potts refuses to use any technology that is compatible with IPv6

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Ahmed's clock wasn't a bomb, but it blew up the 'net and Zuckerberg, Obama want to meet him

h4rm0ny
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Re: Why he weas arrested?

His real crime, whatever they euphemistically call it, was embarrassing authority. Authority must at all times appear superior in wisdom to those it holds power over, or else the smarter one appears as a potential rival. At each stage, the escalation was a result of Authority trying to squash the appearance of having been made a fool of. A teacher is outsmarted by a schoolchild? Bad! The child must be punished and made an example of so that everyone knows it was the child that was wrong. Sent to the principle's office? The principle must re-establish the chain of authority - make the child sign something so that everybody knows they have admitted they were wrong and Authority was right. The child refuses to sign? The child is embarrassing Authority even more now, Authority must up the stakes. Suspend the child. Authority needs what the child has done to be Serious to justify punishing the child. Get the police! The police will scare the child. Wave an arrest at him. If the police are involved we know that this is Serious and Authority is in control. The child's father gets a lawyer, the child gets the public on their side? This has gotten far out of hand. Higher authority must now intervene to show it is in control. Inaction makes people doubt. As Julius Ceasar remarked in HBO's Rome: "I cannot punish you so I must reward you." Obama calls, says that the child has pleased him, that the lesser than Obama Authorities are wrong and back down. Thus Authority is preserved, order restored. We know that there is still ultimate authority and it was lessers in the hierarchy who acted without approval and now they are to be punished. The child is in favour of Authority and that's okay, so long as Authority at the top is still the one handing out rewards and punishments.

Authority must preserve itself lest Anarchy and Merit rule.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: The name Mohamed has earned its Terrorist Rep

At the risk of wrestling with a pig, have you done a comparison with how many people named Mohammed or Ahmed haven't "blown themselves up" ? There are two billion muslims on the planet and most of the male ones have some variation of Mohammed somewhere in their name. So, given your obvious belief that names determine behaviour, what you're telling me is that the chance of someone called Mohammed building a bomb is something like 2,000,000 to 1? Great, sounds pretty safe to me.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Why he weas arrested?

And fifteen of the nineteen investigated were from Saudi Arabia and all were backed by Saudi funding. But America still managed to invade the wrong country over it (twice). So... your point? Are you some believer in Nominative Determinism?

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h4rm0ny
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Re: My friend did take a bomb to (primary) school.

People seem mostly raised to avoid all personal responsibility these days and abdicate everything to authority. Which is the goal of many in authority these days - cogs in a machine not co-operating independent actors. It's as much this as it is idiocy and lack of education. We haven't evolved a difference in our brains in fifty years. The smarts are still there in most cases, it's just people have been taught to turn them off.

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Bible apps are EVIL says John McAfee as he phishes legal sysadmins in real time

h4rm0ny
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Re: Paranoid?

Who the Hell said anything about cheques?

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h4rm0ny
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Black Helicopters

Paranoid?

Seems a little harsh. I mean he's right, after all. Another interesting one from his blog that didn't make it into the article above is a conversation he had with a US bank about their app for customers. He asked a spokesperson for the bank why such an app needed permissions to use the microphone and camera and the spokesperson replied quite openly that they get a lot of claims that a money transfer wasn't really done by the account holder when the account holder later regrets what they've done. The bank spokesperson said "if we have a picture of the person using their phone at the time of the transfer or a recording of them joking with friends about how much they're about to spend, then we've got them".

McAfee is an interesting guy. He'd make a better president than any other current candidate. I wonder how many of the disaffected it's not worth voting crowd could actually get up and vote for him if they wanted to upset things.

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Masses of Brit IT bods embroiled in leak riddle

h4rm0ny
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Don't think it's Kapersky.

It could be a partial list of course, but I've been a customer of Kapersky Labs for sometime and the relevant accounts are not on the list.

Seems a little harsh for Kapersky's name to be emblazoned in the headline just for being the first to get back to El Reg with confirmation they aren't the source.

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Vanished global warming may not return – UK Met Office

h4rm0ny
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Re: Proposal

Problem with that is people who profess that we don't know either way, almost universally get labelled as "deniers" by AGW-proponents. So that's a lot of people being drowned just for daring to hold off on judgement.

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Sign of the telly times: HDR shines, UHD Blu-ray slides at IFA

h4rm0ny
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Re: UHD Blu-ray is already sunk

>>"Is it a case of continued arguments about intrusive DRM schemes? Ones that demand an internet link to spy on you reporting every disk you play, etc?"

Probably. The Sony leak exposed details of the DRM on UHD disc format. It requires your device to be approved and the first time you insert a new disc it must be connected to the Internet so that it can contact the distributor's servers and request a decryption key. That alone gives them all sorts of monitoring and control options I'm not happy with. To say nothing of what happens when those servers aren't there any more.

I'm actually one of the people who would have bought a UHD player and 4K tv (when prices on the players became sane, anyway). Now I am not.

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It's still 2015, and your Windows PC can still be pwned by a webpage

h4rm0ny
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Re: Yawn

>>"Isn't the point of UEFI to make it extremely hard for the end user to do something like patching it?"

Really? I've found sticking a firmware file on any old USB drive and reading it off from inside the UEFI interface easier than the hassles I used to have updating BIOS. I also like the way it lets me back itself up and easily revert if there's a problem.

What part of updating it precisely are you having trouble with?

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Heigh ho, oh no! Politically correct panto dumps Snow White’s dwarfs

h4rm0ny
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Re: Bloody Fools

The thing with an actual term like dwarf, black, gay or whatever else some bigots have a problem with, is that it's not term that is the problem, it is that someone thinks the thing it describes is bad. So presumably well-meaning people decide to try and prevent the use of the term as a solution to that. But it doesn't solve it, it just cedes ground to the bigots and says "yes, there really is something wrong with being X, let's try to hide the fact that someone is by finding a polite way of putting it". In pretty much the same way you'd find a polite way of putting it when someone's boyfriend was an irritating moron or other social situation where you need to be delicate. But there's no good reason to attack someone for being any black, short, gay, straight, whatever. You can't just endlessly kowtow to bigots.

Yes, sometimes a word eventually gets so tarnished, so used as a term of abuse, that it becomes effectively unrecoverable. But that's a thing we should strive to avoid, not pander to. If someone uses the term dwarf as a term of abuse, they get the ostracism, not the English language.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Political Correctness Lunacy

>>"Schrödinger's cat experiment is not to be repeated at home"

Until you look in their bedroom, it is both tidy and untidy at the same time.

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Right, opt out everybody! Hated Care.data paused again

h4rm0ny
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Re: Is it time to put down this terminally ill scheme?

>>"All staff with access need to attend privacy training and be aware it's a sackable offense to breach data protection."

In practice, I do not believe this is sufficient for a couple of reasons. I was involved during CfH (Connecting for Health) as it was and was an active part of the pushback from Primary Care community on privacy issues. Apparently I can be extremely annoying so I try to use that power for good. Anyway, on questioning about what would stop someone looking up deeply personal information they weren't supposed to we got the following response (paraphrased):

"Only approved people who have committed to our strict privacy policy will have access to the data".

Sounded great until you realized that "approved people" meant every receptionist at every GP practice in the country, let alone all the other people above and beyond. Oh, and that "strict privacy policy" meant one more page in the pile of barely read documentation you hurriedly sign on your first day and then forget about. In practice, staff turnover can be pretty high and there's a constant churn of low-paid (underpaid, usually) people in and out of hospitals, GP practices, NHS walk-in centres and PCTs (Primary Care Trusts) and contractors... all of which need access to the very poorly segregated data sets of the system. You can say "make it a sackable offense" but I can say burglary is a criminal one, it doesn't mean that taking all the locks off all the houses isn't a very bad idea.

Which brings us on to audit trails. When we pushed the CfH people on this we were told that access history was auditable. This seemed odd to me because I'd been poking at the system and had come across no audit system. For note, I had been able to access my own medical data at my registered practice (I tested with my own for ethical reasons, but this doesn't make a difference - there was no special permission granted because the name on the account I was using happened to match the name of a patient on a different system). Up came my records. So I pushed on how their audit system worked - what did it log, how could access history be viewed, what events raised alarms and who did they reach? That sort of thing.

After a lot of pressing them, we were told that there wasn't an audit system, they didn't know exactly what data would be kept when there was, there were no current plans for triggering alerts (particularly hard to get response on that one as they kept saying there were but kept refusing to divulge them, which we took to mean that their "plans" were a line on a document somewhere saying 'we should do this'). And yet we had been told that there was an audit trail in place. They lied. And were nowhere close to being able to turn it intro truth, either.

So whilst it may sound all well and good to say "staff need to be aware that its a sackable offense", what that really means in practice, is millions of low-paid, frequently temp'ing staff having full access to your medical history and personal information. And that of those close to you, as well. No-one ever called me up to ask why I was looking up the information of that patient (who happened to be me but could be anyone else) and nor ever would they. And if I had been someone wanting to know who the father of a child was, where my ex-partner was living, why my daughter or son had been to see a GP, if my boss had any interesting items on their medical history or any of a hundred other abuses of that information, nobody would ever know that I knew that from having sat at my NHS computer one day and looked. And they want to throw that open to innumerable people who have no reason to have access.

Data security is not provided by a HR document mass-given to an ever-revolving tide of clerical staff and others. It begins with data segregation and you take it from there.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Look...

Missed my edit window, but of course I forgot - there are all those medical insurance and pharmaceutical companies drooling for the amount of data this can provide them, so I guess there really would be a loser if this got cancelled after all.

Not a loser I care about personally, mind you.

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h4rm0ny
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Look...

The public do not want it because they dislike its goal. The clinicians don't want it because it's an implementation disaster. And the outsourced consultants and companies have made most of the money disappear into an unrecoverable void by now and so it's objective achieved as far as they're concerned. So as far as they're concerned the only ones who have anything to lose by this point are the politicians who have their name attached to it and nobody cares about them.

So yes, kill it dead and strew its grave with garlic, crucifixes and a ten-foot block of concrete.

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So Quantitative Easing in the eurozone is working, then?

h4rm0ny
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Re: Blind spots...

>>"Er no. The simple reason is that Keynes advocating saving in the good times to be able to spend in the bad, thus evening out the economic cycle a bit. No western government ever does the saving bit."

The economy requires a lot of study just to understand the fundamentals and the theory of the common models. Ergo, most people don't understand the economy in more than a superficial way and are dependent on experts to set their expectations. Given that no government ever wants to argue to the populace why we can't have something important (more teachers, repair a hospital, whatever), the populace never receives any advice to the contrary of spend what we have (or more commonly this past two decades, what we don't have).

Though of course that doesn't mean we can't criticize some of what the money is spent on (Giant US Defence Budget, I'm looking at you).

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h4rm0ny
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I'm really starting to wonder what strings Worstall had to pull in order to get his polemics regularly featured on a tech news site. They always follow the same pattern - Worstall apparently reads something of a political or economic viewpoint he doesn't like (typically this is any economist more famous than himself that puts forward any view remotely more nuanced than remove all trade barriers and the market will solve everything). He then uses El Reg as a private platform to show everyone what is wrong with the article he has just read and most of us haven't. It makes me wonder if this is what I sound like when I start lecturing people on how a KB should 1024 bytes, not 1000.

Is Worstall part-owner of El Reg or something? Is there some reason a tech news site becomes his private platform everytime he reads something he doesn't like? Most of us make do with the letters page of the Economist.

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Wikipedia’s biggest scandal: Industrial-scale blackmail

h4rm0ny
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Headmaster

Re: It's OK to say wanker, it was on El Reg

For Pity's sake, it's bad enough when people self-censor stronger words, given all it does is send a message that the author thinks the word is offensive even if the reader would not. But censoring "wanker"? This is a British tech site. I think we'll survive the word.

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h4rm0ny
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>>"I avoid them as much as I can, but I accidentally clicked on a link one or two months ago. Huge banner: GIVE US MONEY!"

I actually used to give them a fair bit of money (in non-millionaire private individual terms, anyway). I stopped after that debacle with the "monkey selfie". If you want an essay in smugness, read their own page on the criticism. This was when they declared that the photo couldn't be copyrighted because the monkey had pressed the button.

Because it is just chance that the professional nature photographer had travelled half-way around the world specifically to photograph these monkeys, spent days carefully approaching the troupe and getting accepted by them (not easy, I would guess), set up the equipment deliberately for this purpose, transferred the resulting images to their computer, did the work of going through them all to select suitable ones, did the appropriate cropping to frame it artistically, performed who knows how much post work on the thing (because I guarantee that photo didn't look like that in its raw state) and did all this as part of their professional job. No, a monkey was involved so Wikimedia declare the photo is free for them now. I bet the same people are quick to condemn any lawyer in court who tried to pull some technicality trick, but it's okay for them to do it.

That sort of small-minded, self-righteousness I do not wish to fund. Lost a LOT of respect for them after that.

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Websites aimed at kids are slurping too much info, finds report

h4rm0ny
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Three solid reasons why this is bad.

Provided because there are always some who like to feel smart by contesting popular opinion.

1) Building cradle to grave information profiles gives a lot of power to those who have it. The inability to truly leave behind elements in your past is an unprecedented liability. If you respond to this with either 'you have nothing to hide' variants or that you shouldn't care what others think, then you're seriously underestimating society's willingness to not judge other people or the harm it can do. I invite critics of this one to look through the best selling magazines, TV shows and websites to show just how much most of human society loves to judge and the degree to which society's opinion of you can affect your life whether you agree with it or not. It's all very well to say you're not ashamed of something, doesn't stop and employer or partner or government or neighbourhood acting on it.

2) Children do not have the defences accumulated that adults do. When you respond that intensive profiling doesn't matter because 'you ignore ads' or 'you research your own facts' or whatever, these are defences that children do not have. To be honest, most adults don't have these defences to the extent they think they do.

3) It normalizes surveillance and intensive tracking of individuals by those with power. Society is a delicate balance of power between the government and the individual. We see daily what happens when the government no longer fears the people. Profiling and tracking individuals gives very real power to those with the information. We are at risk of raising a generation that has never not known this and accepts that free handing over of power as normal.

"Think of the children" is a cliché. But that doesn't make children not worth protecting.

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Microsoft backports data slurp to Windows 7 and 8 via patches

h4rm0ny
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Re: Linux for me now

I can, if I wish, not use SELinux, unlike with Windows 10 where it will continue to keystroke monitor even if I have that turned off or potentially even send memory dumps to Microsoft. Anyway, the "NSA effect" of SELinux was more political than anything. It stymied some development of better security approaches but with the latest point release we seem to be breaking away from that,

Anyway, I'm not someone discovering GNU/Linux as a result of this, I'm someone going back to it. I've out off Windows 10 because of privacy concerns and out of distaste at the way they have tried to force me into it with deeply irritating and very hard to remove ads inserted without my permission into my Windows 8 Pro install. If they backport things I'm not happy with into Windows 8, changing what I regard as the terms of the arrangement I'll go back to Gentoo, or try Mint that everyone's talking about. I still have all the skills, they're just dusty. I transitioned from GNU/Linux at somepoint around Windows 7 when it turned out to be actually good and I've defended MS on these forums many times against their less rational critics. But if MS are now telling me that my money isn't good enough for them and they demand my data too, then they lose my support.

And this isn't some irrational jump - the number of things I have to do to preserve my personal and professional privacy from them is getting longer and longer. I don't have time for that and if MS's business interests are now no longer "Please me to get my money" but rather "Find ways to get her data", then I don't trust it to be a fight I can win. They can just keep making it harder and harder to stop them until one slip and there it all goes. What it comes down to is that MS are telling me their aims no longer coincide with my own.

And as someone who prefers to pay for things with money, I'm starting to get quite angry about that.

12
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AMD rattles Nvidia's cage with hardware-based GPU virtualization

h4rm0ny
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Re: Mainframe, we've missed you!

>>"Funny my Core i7 built in 2010 is still going strong, however now I want to take advantage of USB 3and PCIe 3 and the Skylake chips finally look to be a decent leap ahead for me to upgrade."

It's a modest upgrade only in terms of power. IPC increases have been on the order of around 4-6% with each generation change which is a far cry from the old days. It's really a pittance. Where improvements have been pretty big is in terms of power-efficiency. That has been Intel's focus (insofar as they actually care now that they've all but buried AMD at the medium to high-end). Which is what I've been saying - their focus has switched to mobile devices. Offload the heavy computing and focus on something most people prefer which is convenience. The fact that your 2010 i7 is still adequate for most people's use illustrates my point. If home desktops were a healthy market, you wouldn't see performance improvements sitting in the doldrums for the last half-decade and the manufacturers obsess over reductions in TDP.

>>"See now that software bloat isn't killing CPU's since the Core series came out, people haven't been upgrading as often."

I'm not sure exactly how that addresses my point but a big part of the reason they haven't been upgrading so much is because there's little to upgrade to. If you have a 4870K then what do you actually get out of going to a 5830? Not much. To Skylake? Not much. It's stagnated in every area except IGPs (which brings us back to the focus on non-desktop) and power consumption (again, a non-desktop priority). Intel are many terrible things, but stupid they ain't. They chase the money.

>>"Also I don't know about you bu I find it much easier working off my two 24" LCD's than a piddly notebook screen and keyboard, especially with some of the keyboard layouts you get with your supposedly superior notebook type keyboards. "

Where the Hell did you get 'supposedly superior notebook type keyboards' from? You seem to have missed what I actually wrote which was that you can connect your mobile device up to monitors and keyboards. You can run those two 24" monitors fairly comfortably from a Surface Pro.

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h4rm0ny
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Mainframe, we've missed you!

You store your data in the "Cloud" (aka racks of disks in some datacentre), domestic computing is moving further and further away from a bulky box and toward sleek little tablets and laptops with greater need for form-factor and low energy-usage over processing power. We're now at the point where you can connect your phone into a monitor and keyboard and use it as a computer. Just, like William Gibson said, the future is not widely distributed yet. MS claim they have a way of you encrypting remote processes in a secure way (we will see). Oh, and really fast Internet connections are becoming more common.

So if you have the bandwidth and low-latency, you can get the basics (hooking up the peripherals and providing an OS) with a small, light device and your data is non-local anyway... What's left that needs to be done locally? Well, graphics I guess... What's that you say, AMD?

Queue angry objections by those who love their big fat desktop. Loud and a diminishing minority.

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Ashley Madison hacked potential competitor, leaked emails suggest

h4rm0ny
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Re: Pen test

One of the other emails (given by Krebs' site) has the CEO emailing their CTO before a meeting with Nerve's executives asking "should I tell them about their security problems"? That may or may not be part of an approved pentest (doesn't rule it out, doesn't prove it), but it very strongly suggests that the CEO was regarding it as something other than a exploitative hack attempt of a competitor. Either it was an approved pen test as AM claim and their CEO was just wondering if the stuff was something that should be raised at that level (not being their area, they probably didn't have a good handle on seriousness / appropriateness of raising this stuff at that level); or else the CTO had just taken it upon themselves to go and have a poke around at a potential acquisitions IT sites to get a feel for their quality and the CEO was asking if that was a legitimate thing to bring up with them.

I have to say that if your company might be entering into an association with another, I am not surprised if technical people within the company go over to the other site and have a look at the front door. Isn't the general attitude on this site historically that hackers who had a look at a site or software and found some flaws and then let the vendor know about it, good guys (white hats)? Has that suddenly changed for Ashley Madison? Seems so. Though as the OP writes, this is just from two emails, there could well be others that support what AM said that it was an approved pentest.

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Scrapheap challenge: How Amazon and Google are dumbing down the gogglebox

h4rm0ny
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Re: Its not smart to buy a smart TV

It may not be smart to buy a smart TV, but is there any choice anymore? I might like to buy a better TV (4K is now affordable and content is slowly starting to appear), but I don't know of any where they're not loaded with crapware. The problem with that? Well apart from disliking paying extra for things I don't want, there's an issue which I'm surprised wasn't a core part of the article - security. I can keep my computers up to date, I can keep my router up to date and anything else that sits on my home network. But "smart" Blu-ray players or TVs? No I can't because even if I take the time to update them, I don't trust the manufacturer to do their part. Not in the short term, certainly not in the long-term. I don't trust them at all in fact. And it's not like Windows or Linux or OSX where I can have a reasonable expectation of fixes, and such. I fully expect a Smart TV to be a deep irritation to the manufacturer once it's actually sold, grudgingly updated on rare occasions if at all. In return for which I have what is essentially a low-powered and unmaintained computer on my home network that I can't review, patch or really do anything much with at all.

I suppose I can isolate it on the network or leave it disconnected entirely, but then I can't do even basic things like stream content to it via DLNA. The more "smart" a TV gets, the more of a risk it is, and you can no longer buy any decent TV that isn't.

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Krebs: I know who hacked Ashley Madison

h4rm0ny
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Re: salted duplicate check

>>"So you have to read every row in the table and do some computation on it, before inserting your single new row? Nice DDOS opportunity."

That would indeed be a consequence of what they wrote. Happily, despite some people cheerfully upvoting them, they got it wrong. However as I've been downvoted for correcting them, I like your method of actually proving why it's unworkable. Good catch.

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