* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

News leech loses appeal on High Court copyright case

Tom 13

Have to agree that the decision is questionable, and I haven't even looked

at the details. If headlines are now absolutely copyright protected, then Google need to stop including them in searches too, because Google is just a scraper on steroids. If there's some sort of safe harbor provision for Google, then we no longer have one law for all.

Tom 13

Your statement defeats itself.

The value added was that you didn't have to spend time checking all the sites yourself.

Legal expert: Letters can be evidence, so can Facebook

Tom 13

Facebook might,

that doesn't mean the judge was aware of it.

Tom 13


expectation of privacy =/= privileged conversation.

The mere fact that it is occurring on Facebook invalidates privilege.

Tom 13

You can't let the defendant keep the password either.

If he has unfettered access, he can delete the incriminating evidence. The site has to be frozen by a third party, possibly even an officer of the court, for purposes of the trial.

Tom 13

Better a civil trial in which at most

you go bankrupt because of fraud, than spending time in the pokey with Barney and Igor because you thumbed your nose at the judge.

Suspects in PayPal web attack not so anonymous after all

Tom 13

I guess you haven't notice Congress is investigating

that government sanctioned gun running operation with an eye toward changing some wardrobes to wide horizontal stripes.


Oh, that's right, those hearings are being run by gun-toting Republican cowboys so you're assuming they can't possibly advance civil liberties.

Tom 13

As far as I'm concerned,

the courts ARE fighting to protect MY civil liberties on this one, and the anonymous twits are the tyrants using unethical means to impose their will on everyone else.

UK Govt refuses to ban shale gas 'fracking'

Tom 13

Alar? Saccharin?

Answer: not very. Just need an enviro-weenie to lie about it and make an emotional film. Like say, Gasland.

Crypto shocker: 'Perfect cipher' dates back to telegraphs

Tom 13

And actually, now that I think about it, it may count as even better than perfect.

Because there were three different messages using the key. Only the first and second have been decoded. They indicated what they had and that the exact location for where they were hiding the stash was. The third one has never been decoded, hence an article in a C64 programming mag for something that would help you work with the document.

Tom 13

It's the proving part that is hard.

And intuitively obvious things aren't necessarily true. For a long time people thought it was intuitively obvious that there could only be 1 parallel line passing through a given point not on the first line. As for the pad concept, it is certainly known in that time. There's a famous lost treasure that used a copy of the US Constitution for its pad. The encoder wrote down a number which indicated how far to count to find the next letter for the message. I doubt it counts as perfect, but it intuitively seems very, very hard to break if you don't know the key and the method.

Feds investigate $17m of missing kit at CompUSA

Tom 13

CompUSA is still around?

I thought they went belly-up around the same time as Commodore. Though if they've been stealing from the chain, that might explain why they went under whenever it was.

Evil '666' auto-whaler tool is even eviler than it seems

Tom 13

That would be the one guy affected by all this

who isn't phishing someone else - the guy who now has his credentials in the hands of 3 to 5 phishers. Although there is the distinct possibility he was trying to scam someone too.

19,000 papers leaked to protest 'war against knowledge'

Tom 13

Well, in my case

having once been said typesetter for just such a publication. We weren't attached to a university, but our stuff is used extensively The States as acceptable testing methods to meet certain government testing requirements.

Tom 13

That would be because not having done it,

you are unaware of the complexities of moving the myriad of accepted file formats into the various typsetting programs and tweaking the hell out of the layout until it all fits in the prescribed space. And making sure none of the formatting is lost in translation amongst the different systems.

Tom 13

Depends on the journal.

Some do pay reviewers to look at the work, although I expect not most, and even if they do it is nominal.

There are the copier editors who review it, the typesetters who set the work, the editors who oversee the process, the publishers who own the publication, the cost of printing, and the cost of distribution. In a chicken and egg problem, prices tend to be set high so that the publisher can be sure of recouping enough money to support his operation, which make them unaffordable to larger numbers of people who might otherwise provide support for the journal. And if the publisher for the journal is actually a university, they may be looking to make money to put into general fund coffers for themselves.

Adobe releases lengthy list of Apple Lion woes

Tom 13

Well, this is bound to worry MS.

Adobe and Apple are fighting each other like scorpions locked in a death match. I always saw the computer market for Apple as highly dependent on Adobe, because it was the graphics people buying their overpriced equipment. That might be shifting with the iPhone and the Linux base making it more available for computer gurus. But I don't see it as good for either company in the long run.

Hubble detects new Plutonian moon

Tom 13

Four moons?

Yep, that's a planet, not some minor league Kupier Belt thing-a-ma-bob. Time for the IAU to rectify their mistake.

'God Bless America': Atlantis prepares to return home

Tom 13

At least the got the

right version for the song.

Go ahead and spy on customers, says judge

Tom 13

No, the judge willfully misapplied the law.

The plaintiff filed not only for themselves, but applied for class action. In this instance the class was suitably well defined, and there was cause to believe that many or all of them would have been potentially harmed by the company's actions, particularly as they have KEYSTROKE loggers installed. While the original plaintiff's equipment was in the hands of the police, most if not all of the rest of the class certainly was not.

Tom 13

I'm all in favor of full disclosure,

but in this case, full disclosure doesn't cover it sufficiently. A GPS tracker, sure. A keystroke logger that accesses PII, nope. The judge must be looking for a quick, involuntary retirement. And that's saying something for a position that here in The States is usually a lifetime appointment.

Reddit programmer charged with massive data theft

Tom 13

I expect if the hoodlums managed to run

up the copier bill by making a copy of every book in the library, they'd get a good bit more than 35 years, especially if they then sold the copies to other people.

Tom 13

Massive little law breakings

combine into one big heap of prison time. Each of those books/papers can count as a separate indictment.

Tom 13

Not for profit, and any of the 501(x) are specifically

excluded from "personal gain" by IRS rules in the US. Anybody making money from such an organization cannot be an officer of the corporation. If they are, and they are making money, the corp can and should lose their tax exempt status. When they do, not only will they owe back taxes, they will also owe penalties and accrued interest. I doubt any of them could survive it.

Yes, I know because I've actually helped incorporate several.

Apps overrated in mobile web wars

Tom 13

I think it comes down to a question of website optimization,

and that's an issue in both the mobile and desktop market. On my phone, I tend to use an app to scan Drudge because it reformats the information in a way that I can read then follow the link to actual article. On my desktop I use the website because at desktop size the website is suitable. But in the past I have had problems with sites that are designed for higher graphics resolutions than I was running on my desktop. Some sites really ought to have an app though. For instance I have a browser page saved on my phone to update me on the status/location of the commuter train I take. This being the States and all, they aren't near as regular as they are for Brits and if the train is going to be ungodly late, I don't have to wait for Charlie Brown adult voice announcements over the loudspeakers.

Amazon tackles soaring textbook prices

Tom 13

Prices won't come down because most of what you've written is bollux.

I worked in the printing industry for a while. The lowest cost part of the publication is the printing of the book itself, assuming you don't have an idiot for a printer. The costs are in the distribution marketing, and payments to all the middlemen involved in producing the book. Granted it's been a while since I was at dear old State, but our textbooks were black and white, and just as outrageously priced. Started in Astro, so I spent as much if not more on books than the Lit types who had more numerous volumes. The reason given of course was the expense of the type fonts to set all those damned equations. Believable before the advent of computer typesetting, but not anymore. At the time I was spending about $450/semester for books, and that was more than 20 years ago.

If anything, the used book market would drive prices down, if profs weren't in cahoots with the publishers. War and Peace hasn't changed any since Tolstoy wrote it. Newtonian physics has changed less since he published his work, and all the translation for that has been done long since. Which means small changes don't necessitate changing the text for the course. So if the publisher puts out volume XIII, volumes X, XI, and XII should still be good. Oh, and if the publishers wrote good usable reference books, there wouldn't BE a secondary market because students would keep them for future reference. I still have my physics books and kept a fair number of the math ones as well.

As to the last, yes the authors are a major cost, but good books don't necessarily take a long time to write. They may take a long time to edit because most profs can't speak let alone write a simple sentence, but that can be worked around. Another problem might be illegible long-hand notes that some poor schmuck at the printing house has to decrypt into some semblance of English. (My astrophysics prof had a sheaf of hand-written notes that were run off at the local copy shop every year, completely indecipherable.) No the problem is most printing houses aren't interested in signing contracts with new authors because despite the economies of scale, academic books lose money.

I'll also note that I did a back of the envelop calculation when they quoted the 30 day rental figure and went, 'Ah, so that'll be at best 10% less than if they bought the book to get them through the 90 day semester, which is easily compensated by selling your books back.'

Bill seeks to decriminalise pianos in pubs and schools

Tom 13

And you Brit think

us 'Merkins are crazy?

Most Adobe Reader installs are out of date

Tom 13

While I generally agree,

the fact remains that Adobe is obstinant about not using MS management tools even when they are provided.

Tom 13

That and that it only seems to want to self-update

when you click on the damn thing because you want to use it, and have a bajillion browser tabs open that you don't want to close so it can update.

Tom 13

re: "I've done it 4 times now..."

If you don't see the problem with that, you ARE the percipitate.

CERN 'gags' physicists in cosmic ray climate experiment

Tom 13


while particle physics may be arcane and a true lair of the boffin, the underlying equations are converging equations, not the divergent ones of chaos theory.

Tom 13

I hear leeches are making a comeback for certain kinds of illnesses.

And no, I don't mean the two-legged variety that inhabit Whitehall or DC.

Tom 13

Because the warmists would pull the same sorts of political strings

to bust those investments that the SEC pulled when they deemed silver to have exceeded it's "proper" trading range vis-a-vie gold.

Tom 13

While we could do with a bit more reticence on the predictions,

the gag order is definitely politics intruding into science. But then that isn't anything new in the AGW arena.

Defragger salesman frags HP

Tom 13

I've never had a problem with it corrupting the tables,

but the damn thing kept running all the time even when I was trying to use the PC and bolluxing up my ability to access files. After I yanked it things ran better.

Yes, it is an underpowered Lenovo and at the time it had Vista on it. But given those are the circumstances under which Diskeeper claim to improve performance....

Google's Facebook: It rocks, but who cares?

Tom 13

Yes, when running a geographically diverse non-profit.

It worked well until we got a bunch of under 30s people who implemented a blog and irrevocably split apart the communications methodology. They didn't see the point of having something that actually downloaded things so you can read them offline. I couldn't arrange to be constantly online to read their messages. Also, their messages got dispersed in so many places I could never manage to check them all.

US court test for rights not to hand over crypto keys

Tom 13

No, they don't.

Because only lawyers could come up with the absurdity that you can be compelled to provide a key, but not a combination. Common folk everywhere see that for the point of accessibility providing either is functionally equivalent. So if you can be compelled to provide one, you should be compelled to provide the other. And that the same thing applies to encryption as well. Now it might well be that the original decision to compel turning over the key was wrong, but if it is assumed to be right, then the others are just verbal jujitsu to make the law say what your prejudices want it to say, not what it actually says.

Triceratops horn find supports meteor extinction theory

Tom 13


The HYPOTHESIS of the way fossils occurs is...

because no one has experimentally created a fossil.

Tom 13

When an event occurs that exponentially increases the odds of even occuring

not finding one is at the very least evidence of a weak theory. Because statistics work that way.

'Meltdown Monday' Anonymous hackers leak military mails

Tom 13

Probably because contrary to some posts here at El Reg,

unlike the US, the Chinese WILL engage in extreme rendition or targeted assassination if you hack their military.

Tom 13

That and

an endlessly play Barry Manilow music.

MS to WinXP diehards: Just under 3 more years' support

Tom 13

No, XP is still faster.

I run a dual boot XP/Win7 system. XP is faster. Quad core 660, 8G of RAM. And it isn't that convoluted.

Wikileaks loses briefly-open Icelandic payment channel

Tom 13

I expect their lawyers are calling the shots

and they've advised them that they would have unacceptable levels of liability if they continue to handle accounts for WikiLeaks.

Tom 13

Um, actually, donations to the GOP and the Dems aren't free speech.

Under the provisions of McCain-Feingold, they've become the most regulated forms of speech engaged in on this side of the pond. But you probably wouldn't know that since you probably approved of the law.

Facebook dev rules tweaked after US antitrust complaint

Tom 13

Gavin Clarke needs to learn to read, Facebook needs more competent lawyers.

I followed the link to the old terms of use and it did not "required that the same prices be charged on competing platforms." It required that developers not charge "lower" prices elsewhere.

Such requirements are common in US contract law as a means of guaranteeing a competitive price for the sales agent, and are routinely upheld. The rest of the complaint is in no way related to that clause. The complaint is problematic on almost all fronts. First off, despite their name, Consumer Watchdog has no standing to file the complaint, so it could be summarily dismissed. Secondly, Facebook do not have a monopoly position if social networking. Lot of other sites exist and are frequently used.

Furthermore, the anti-trust suit against MS might have used that clause, but the basis for the claim was legal documents covered by discovery which showed MS had engaged in actual anti-competitive practices: If you manufactured PCs and installed DOS and/or Windows on them, you all computers you manufactured were required to have DOS and/or Windows installed on them. That is a far cry from 'you can't give someone else a better deal than you give us.'

Apple fails to get US 'App Store' trademark injunction

Tom 13

That should have

been summarily rejected too. I keep wondering whether I should be asking how much the clerk was paid, or how someone that stupid slipped through the hiring process. And the $25 million payment to Lindows to change their name shows M$ [b] KNOWS [/b] they don't have a leg to stand on, because they buy lawyers the way newspapers buy ink.

Sunspot decline could mean decades of cold UK winters

Tom 13

While that is their claim,

when you start looking at the real variations in climate change data, they are well matched to the sorts of changes you see in solar radiative output. The claim is that a 1 or 2 degree C change is catastrophic for the earth. By referencing C instead of K, they subtly shift the emphasis to water freezing instead of absolute 0. Plus or minus 1 degree at 32 C sounds a hell of a lot worse than plus or minus 2 degrees at 305.

Tom 13

They not only make the claim,

their constant is a number that never occurred let alone matching either the mean, median or mode for solar output. I don't remember when I checked those numbers and equations, but that was enough for me.

Chinese coal blamed for global warming er... cooling

Tom 13

Even if not peer-reviewed,

the referenced article is better science than anything coming out of CRU. It meets the actual requirements of science: it is falsifiable (as opposed to an article of faith like the warminsts), the data are fully published, and anyone can review and replicate the experiment to confirm the results.

Tom 13

If they understood the implications,

why weren't the corrective factors included in the original model, and the appropriate pieces of data fed into it?

No, wait I'll tell you: because doing so would have undermined their political objectives.

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