* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Really, govt tech profit cash grab is a PRIZE-WINNING idea?

Tom 13

Re: Creator as King


Your first mistake was paying for a Mars (TM)* bar with cash. Everything else is the result of this mistake.

Your second mistake is assuming the transaction created the data. The data always existed, it simply wasn't tracked because it was too much trouble for the shop owner to record it.

Your third mistake is that it isn't even the card creating the data, it is the increase in computing power and it's application at all levels of the purchasing process.

At this point you've got three strikes and you're out. Your further mistakes are moot.

*Note the capital letter demarcating a proper noun as well as the (TM) indicating the name is a trademark owned by Mars Incorporated company.

Tom 13


We as a society decided a long time ago that intellectual advancement required patents and copyrights to protect the intellectual work of those who produce it. As this is now a fixed fact, it shows your thugishness in arguing it not exist at all. You might, as I do, quibble with its particular implementation here or there (copyright ought not be eternal for practical purposes, software should be protected by something more time limited, possibly even shorter than patents), but the rest of the argument is quite finished.

Lastly, the most morally repugnant thing of all is that someone thinks they have the right to decide how much wealth any other person ought to have. That is nothing more than greed and lust masquerading as public service.

Tom 13

Re: " I find there's a gaping hole or two in her arguments. I'll concentrate on just one here"

Any argument that begins with assuming the State ought to own something produced by a citizen is more fundamentally flawed than the nit TW is picking.

Why has the Russian economy plunged SO SUDDENLY into the toilet?

Tom 13

Re: So if I have this straight

Let me fix that for you:

The Saudi state is essentially Sunni a 6th century potentate and has persecuteds Shi'a's living there anyone who disagrees with the regime repeatedly.

Tom 13

Re: why is Russian Siberia the best place

for the same reason that makes it the worst place: it's equally inaccessible from everywhere (which has also been said of my college alma mater).

Tom 13

Re: but he's not a raving lunatic

An unproven assertion with plenty of evidence in sight that indicates otherwise. And that's the fundamental problem with nukes: a person who is what we usually define as rational will not use them, but when it's a mad man backed into a corner all bets are off.

What the West has relied upon with Russia/Soviet Union (because they really are the same thing despite rhetorical flourishes), is that there are other thugs in the room with the Big Thug and if it looks like the Big Thug has lost enough of his marbles to let it all burn, one (or a group) of them will take him out before he actually pushes the button. While this is still 75% probable, it's not the 95% it once was.

Tom 13

Re: So if I have this straight

Except, the Saudis aren't selling oil under cost. They can sell oil profitably at $20/barrel, a point their OPEC rep made a big deal about in recent interviews.

This is only the most obvious piece of garbage in your KKK style rant against the US, Saudi Arabia, and the UK.

Tesla parades sleek model body and fab batt at Roadster fans

Tom 13

Re: To test this out...

If they really want to test this out, They'll drive non-stop from Boston, MA, to Baltimore , MD in January or February, not LA to Frisco.

Reg man confesses: I took my wife out to choose a laptop for Xmas. NOOOO

Tom 13

Re: @Pascal Monett

AC's got a valid point: Apple shouldn't be nagging for a software update on hardware that's not compatible with the software update. MS mostly dodges this issue because they don't make the hardware, someone else does. But Apple own the chain from top to bottom. That's the whole point of buying an Apple product.

Q*bert: The Escher-inspired platform puzzler from 1982

Tom 13

Yes, this was one of my favorites.

I never got to level 9. I think 6 was my max.

Quite right about rotating the joystick. It just doesn't play the same if it isn't in the arcade box. Which was even more true for Missile Command and Robotron.

New Zealand Supreme Court says Kim Dotcom search warrants were legal

Tom 13

Re: All web services that allow distribution

Not quite. Most web services can demonstrate that income generated from infringing materials is incidental to their business model, not essential to it. This is what I expect where I expect the case will focus.

Yes, the intentional obfuscation does give away the game.

Tom 13

Re: Dotcom has always maintained

IF you accept that the warrants and extradition paperwork were properly in order it's not that simple. The NZ courts have now ruled that the search warrants were in order, I'm not sure about the extradition paperwork. Given the search warrants seemed to be the weaker issue, let's assume the extradition is in order to.

The Napster case set the precedent that if your business model depends on encouraging others to infringe on IP, your business is also liable for the infringement. It doesn't strike me that "I didn't know I was encouraging IP infringement as a key function of my business plan" is going to fly in a court of law.

Now the only time I have ever seen a reference on the interwebs to his site or several similar sites, it was always in relation to material that was either obviously infringing or questionably infringing, I don't see that the US government has a high hurdle in proving his business plan depending on people infringing those IP rights.

Yes, in the past I have used a link to his site to access material that fell on the questionable side. I regarded it as parody work but I also understand where the owners of the original work would have objected to the parody. Also, as far as I know, no one involved in the parody made any money from creating the parody work.

No, I'm not overly fond of the Napster case. I think we lost a system that distributed a lot of old and under-available songs to a lot of people. But I also see where the primary drive for it was costing IP owners a LOT of money. Whether the legal IP owners were the ones who deserved the money is certainly questionable from a moral standpoint, but not a legal one.

Tom 13

Re: also likely to set a precedent

The precedent is long established. It was the Napster case. If a the primary means by which a business sustains itself is encouraging the illegal distribution of IP materials, it is guilty of IP infringement.

Blind justice: Google lawsuit silences elected state prosecutor

Tom 13

Re: Not sure who to hate here

But there are three players in this scenario.

Tom 13


Never quote the New York Times as a reliable source. The National Enquirer is more reliable.

If you're a lawyer, and a good one, you quickly learn that you can only specialize in one area. So if you are to be effective you defer to and rely on other lawyers who are experts in areas where they are more expert. If the AG believes the MPAA have a valid case for protecting IP, and he he has a tight budget, using the expert lawyers of the MPAA is exactly the course I would expect him to pursue. Especially if his focus is on a parallel issue of illegal drugs on which he already has a consent decree. He wants to first prove the drug charges to the court, then show similar behavior with respect to IP, and argue to the courts that something stronger than the current remedy is required.

Tom 13

@ YetAnotherLocksmith

Google might get a little slap from the court above the one issuing the original order, but it's a safe bet the judge issuing the original order is bought and paid for by Google. That's sort of Andrew's point about how much traceable money Google is spending on pols these days.

Tom 13

Re: Who pays the piper?

Quite the opposite. Hood seems to be assuming the illegal drug sales outfits are Google's customers, just like the illegal file sharing sites. And he'd be correct. Which DOES make Google evil.

Tom 13

Re: I haven't read everything about this but...

That's the lie Google are selling. Problem is, just like MS they have that existing consent decree on drugs. And they're not abiding by it. Which means the Mississippi AG has the right to pursue because it adversely impacts his citizens.

MPAA saw a chance to throw in with someone else who was going after Google. The AG read their brief, saw it mirrored his and decided it was legally sound. Since they'd already prepared a good piece of paper, he figured why waste scarce Mississippi dollars rewriting it and submitted it substantially as received. Google perceiving a real threat to their money presses have gone to the mattresses.

Tom 13

Re: if that was what the case WAS about.

Wrong. Google want you to believe its about the MPAA and not the drugs even though Hood's got a solid case on the drug angle, and the MPAA actually have a solid legal case against Google.

As I've posted previously, Google have demonstrated that it is NOT a burden on them to remove links to illegal websites. They do it all the time for the Chinese, and they've even created more complicated algorithms to "downgrade" pirate sites. The only reason most posters here down vote the legal case for the MPAA is because of their hatred for the MPAA. While I have no love for them, I recognize the legal case as separate from them.

Tom 13

Re: Aren't there three issues here?


Like it or not the MPAA is just as much a constituent as Jimmy Bob Smith down at the end of the dirt road.

Like it or not the MPAA is entitled to donate to his campaign. It appears they didn't even donate the maximum amount.

And you've completely ignored the legitimate issues Andrew has raised about what Hood was doing. Which as a hard right Republican is something I am loathe to admit about any Democrat, but will do so when the facts require it.

Ultimately the only people who get to say he wasn't doing what Mississippi wants him to do are the voters in Mississippi. They'll do that next election cycle.

Tom 13

Re: why do intelligent progressives

Because like unicorns, there are no such creatures.

Hilton, Marriott and co want permission to JAM guests' personal Wi-Fi

Tom 13

Re: I only choose accommodation that offers FREE wifi

It's never free, the cost is baked into the cost of the room. It might actually be cheaper if it was a separate charge.

Tom 13

Re: Hilton, Marriott et al market themselves to business travellers

You're staying in the wrong Marriott hotels. I haven't paid for wifi in the sleeping area of a Marriott in at least 10 years. Conference rooms are a whole other story, but that's supposed to be covered by the meeting organizer who rented the room. And yes, back in the day I organized a whole lot of conference meetings at hotels.

Tom 13

Re: difference here is that they offered it free

No they didn't, they just included it in the price of attending the convention. Although I'll grant most people don't quite see the difference.

Depending on the location and the terms of the rental contracts, the use of personal wifi can be excluded in meeting locations. And you're right, money is always a part of it. It's just a question of whether or not the payment is reasonable given the circumstances.

Tom 13

Re: Although technically, sending de-authentication packets isn't jamming

Lawyers make their millions on precisely these technicalities.

And the sticky bit is that if I own a 50 acre plot with my house in the middle of it, I'm allowed to have all the cell jammers I want in my house so long as I don't jam outside my property. If I jam past it, I'm breaking the law. Hotels occupy an odd semi-private, semi-public spot in the legal world. Hence the FCCs ability to levy the fine and the Hotel's right to challenge it.

In the end, I think the FCC got this one right and I expect it's what the courts will eventually uphold. It might take a long time though.

Hipsters ahoy! Top Ten BOARD games for festive family fun

Tom 13

@ sanbikinoraion

When picking up Dominion sets, make sure you don't mistakenly pick up Domaine instead. We saw Domaine before we saw Dominion and purchased it. It was such a horrible gaming experience we avoided Dominion until a friend showed us it was a different game.

I have to disagree about Pandemic. Whether it's a yawner or tough depends on how you configure the start.

MMV for Munchkin, especially when you start mixing decks.

Tom 13

Re: RoboRally

Concept is great, but I'm slightly dyslexic which makes it a nightmare game for me. If you're not, I can see where it could be great fun.

Tom 13

Re: Still does not get close to some of the classics

Axis and Allies? You can't be serious. That game is seriously flawed. Only the PC version is flawed enough that anyone can win against the computer. If you play against a person, it's the 'Merkins all the way and Germany doesn't have a chance.

Tom 13

Re: Please note that I don't own all of these


We had all the boards and card sets consolidated into one box before they release the Africa and Asia expansions. Now we need a bigger box. Same for PowerGrid.

I'm surprised none of the Rails (or as we call the game "Crayons") made the list. The original is British Rails making it highly appropriate for El Reg. Although I find Eurorails plays better. Mechanic is you deliver goods from one city to another with your train. You draw your train track on the board with a crayon paying the appropriate costs. You can also upgrade your trains. There's a Martian equivalent from another company and you may be able to find a Fantasy version on e-Bay or similar sites.

Also, if you like Stone Age, try Agricola.

Some other random thoughts:

- Through the Ages

- Smallworld

- Race for the Galaxy

- Russian Railroads

- Seven Wonders

If you're into more complicated games

- Call of Cthulhu

- Thurn and Taxis

- Merchants of Venus (old version not the new one even though you'll have to buy them as a set)

If you're into truly vicious backstabbing games:

- Bootlegger

- Caylus

If you're into mindless fun

- Any Munchkin game

- Any Fluxx game

If you're into insanely long games

- Titan (might not be published any more)

- War in the Pacific

And a book type game with where that is just plain luck:

- Tales of the Arabian Nights

We've also recently tried a game called Clash of Cultures, that looks promising but needs some rules clarifications.

I recommend the Seafarers expansion for Catan, but not Knights and Cities, which turns it into a war gamers game instead of an economic competition game.

Microsoft patch mashes Office forms and macros

Tom 13

Re: Office 2007 and Office 2013 installed.

Office 2007 has been deprecated. You're not even supposed to be using Office 2010, it's supposed to be that cloud subscription thingy or 2013.

Hackers pop German steel mill, wreck furnace

Tom 13

Re: are supposed to fail safely.

Yes, they are. But that only accounts for all of the foreseen cases. Sometimes the miscreants or life are more inventive than the safety engineers.

For instance, TMI was a very close thing and from an unexpected source with no hackers involved. If the hydrogen bubble in the reactor had be just a bit larger, it would have exposed enough of the core so the water wouldn't cool the reactor. IIRC the moderating rods had already bent from the higher than expected temperatures and so would not have fallen as designed. Ironically, the critical point in the whole scenario happened about two hours into the accident (essentially before any news about it broke) and once past the critical point the danger fell off rapidly.

Tom 13

Re: nothing but the request reaches the machine

A reasonable solution from a technical standpoint, but...

In walks the bean counter's IT Security cousin. He's got his check list of "Best Practices" and sees that your carefully thought out system isn't getting it's MS updates. So now the machine has to be connected to the internet on port 80 and ...

Because I've met this IT Security person, and some worse actually. Thankfully I don't work in SCADA or other critical infrastructure work, but it still sends chills down the spine.

Tom 13

Re: some steel manufacturer has a mighty good case suing someone

Except the control system manufacturer probably has another model or variation on the installed model that would have provided the necessary functionality and the steel manufacturer opted to purchase the cheaper version.

It all comes down to the risk analysis and bean counters. That's completely at the discretion of the steel manufacturer.

Staples comes clean: 1+ million bank cards at risk after hack

Tom 13

Re:i.e. 2nd confirmation for transactions >$X.

But, but they have done that! They require a signature for any purchase over $50 these days.

But seriously, the PIN thing is a red herring. If you use debit instead of credit you have to enter your PIN. I'm betting at least 40% of the "credit" transactions happening at stores are Debit card transaction, not credit cards. Except for the account behind them, most people regard them as the same thing.

I'm ambivalent on the whole second factor thing. I mean, given how easily large numbers of retail systems have been breached, can we really trust a large network that handles the second factor? I would agree that banks/credit card companies ought to give customers the option for the second factor as well as the email notice when you apply for/renew you card.

Google sues Mississippi Attorney General 'for doing MPAA's dirty work'

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Tom 13

Re: Mississippi voters are entitled to vote

Yes, they are. But Google is also supposed to be able to conduct business without the government being used as a tool by another big business.

From where I stand this will be a difficult case to sort out. There's truth in the accusations from both sides and that's before you get to the issue that both sides have been bad actors in one respect or another.

When El Reg posted the article about Google "tweaking their algorithms" to move pirate sites down the list of search results, I posted that having done that is a defacto admission that they can EASILY identify such sites and that ought to make the safe harbor provision under which they have operated null and void. I stand by that post.

But we also need to rebalance our IP laws. It use to be that once you purchased an album/movie you had the right to make a backup in case the original was lost or damaged. DCMA undid that. That provision also needs to be made null and void.

And once upon a time copyrights expired. That hasn't been the case in my lifetime. That needs to change too. The old way of copyright for the life of a person +25 years or 50 years for a corporation seems fair to me. We can tweak those numbers some, but certainly no more than 75 for a corporation. And once the copyright is expired, it can't be "un-expired" through some other sort of legal subterfuge.

Microsoft kills its Euro pane in the a**: The 'would you prefer Chrome?' window

Tom 13

Re: still be using a descendent of ME

No, ME was even more of a dog than Vista. Some of us think of it as MS's Vista for Windows 9x.

Tom 13

Re: Competition law protects the market.

That depends on which side of the pond you live on.

On my side of the pond there is no such protection, only protections against a company illegally obtaining a monopoly position. So far Google have their monopoly position via entirely legal means. MS didn't and entered into a consent decree saying they would not leverage their monopoly position into applications.

Tom 13

Re: back in 2010 when browserchoice.eu was devised.

Wrong year for your breakpoint. The whole thing started back in 1996 and took until 2010 to work out. And as someone who got stuck paying for Windows a second time because it was bundled with the computer, YES Microsoft was shafting people left and right.

Tom 13

Re: As a result of the legal ruling

I doubt very much that the legal ruling changed much of anything, but I'll at least give you fellas points for sticking to your guns on this one. MS ran roughshod over the courts on this side of the pond on this issue. At the end of the day, I think the only thing that saved MS was that the DoJ was more interested in running MS than in getting justice for the plaintiffs.

Thankfully Firefox beat MS in the Second Browser War, but I think that was just shear determination and dogged hard work.

Tom 13

Re: Most people never had a choice . . .

My recollection of when AOL bought Netscape was that they bought it precisely so they could kill it. They wanted to only have to support one browser and at the time were still in the middle of a cross-licensing agreement with MS. It was only after the MS agreement expired that they did anything at all with their Netscape property.

Tom 13

@ Anonymous Bullard

Please allow me to fix you one mistake:

IE fans: You have IE's dwindling market share to thank, otherwise you'll still be on IE7 IE6. You're welcome.

Otherwise, an excellent post.

Now if only my bank would join the ranks of developers who are browser agnostic.

Android gives Google a search monopoly? Not so fast, says judge

Tom 13

Re: This is a nonsense case.

You would also think that an injury case for a plaintiff who fell off a step ladder when standing on the tippy top of the the ladder would be a nonsense case. Yet somehow or another the plaintiff won and to this day ladders sold in the US have warning labels on the second step from the top about not standing on that step or above it, precisely for the purpose of invalidating such silliness.

Which makes the judge's decision in this instance all that more outstanding.

Tom 13

Re: Choice...

Complete BS. At the time of The Great Browser War you had to purchase software before you could download anything. Before the GBW started, MS had been accused in a court of law of major breaches of anti-trust law in establishing the monopoly position in the OS market. MS settled before trial by entering into a consent decree that said they would not extend their monopoly OS position to the applications. Along came Netscape with their very first browser. You couldn't download it from anywhere. You had to purchase it for a whopping $39.95 on our side of the Pond. Netscape included the IP stack necessary to connect to the internet with their product. It wasn't part of Windows. Bill Gates famously launched the MSN Dial-up service to compete with the giant AOL who had only recently displaced Compuserve as the dial-up service of the masses. As he launched the service he proclaimed it would ultimately cement MS's IT position because the internet was a fad that would only last a few years. A few years later, Netscape owned 90% of the Browser market and Andreessen made the mistake of saying that in a few more years the Browser would replace the OS as the focus of computing. That was a wake-up call to Bill Gates. His money was now threatened and he pulled out all the stops to stop Andreessen from supplanting him in the IT world. He specifically identified Netscape's need to sell its browser for its cash flow. He then had MS release IE 1.0. It was such crap that people still wouldn't use it even for free. Same with version 2.0. With version 3.0 he bundled it into the OS and achieved a product that didn't completely suck. And since it was free and Netscape still needed to charge for their software, Bill Gates achieved his victory. In complete violation of the consent decree. When called on this point later in court, MS lied and claimed IE was an essential part of the OS instead of an add on application.

Tom 13


MS extended their monopoly position from the OS to the browser, no choice, then lied by claiming the application was an essential part of the OS.

Google on the other hand have extended their monopoly position in the search engine market to a monopoly in the search engine market. In other words, there is no extension of their monopoly position at all. To make a parallel case you'd need to argue that Google have extended their search monopoly into the cell phone handset market. Even the IP lawyers aren't foolish enough to argue that.

Tom 13

A sane ruling from a district court judge in Cali?

Grab your skis and head for Hades! It's going to be a once in a lifetime ski experience.

Judge spanks SCO in ancient ownership of Unix lawsuit

Tom 13

Re: Xenix

Only via name confusion between new SCO and old SCO.

Tom 13

Re: Good gawd/ess.

Well, from the lawyers' point of view, the money hasn't been wasted it has been properly pocketed. And being able to pocket money is always a good ending. Right?

Tom 13

Re: I have a copy of xenix

IIRC that was from a different SCO which went bankrupt and stayed dead.

Stealing the dead SCO's business name was the first sign of how evil the new SCO would be.

Beware of merging, telcos. CHEAPER SPECTRUM follows

Tom 13

Re: No no no

Yes, but...

While it may come to as a shock to many tech savy readers, not everyone buys and uses a cell phone. So to the extent that you regard bandwidth as a national resource that is in some sense "owned" by all the people, it makes sense that those who use it most ought to pay the most for it, while those who use it least or not at all should pay similarly smaller amounts, or possibly get a net gain for not using their "share" of the national resource.

I will grant that this is a purely theoretical analysis and in practice the inefficiencies of the fee on the spectrum might yield no measurable benefit to any given limited or no cell phone use person/family.

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