I suspect you do indeed do a lot of beating off.
Doing it with a stick rather than the more traditional way? Well, that's your prerogative...
148 posts • joined 17 Jun 2009
I suspect you do indeed do a lot of beating off.
Doing it with a stick rather than the more traditional way? Well, that's your prerogative...
At the risk of seeming like just another nit-picking nerd, are you sure that's Thor standing with Black Widow in that picture? And, if so, does Captain America know that the Norse geezer has nicked his outfit?
Yeah, but it were Ogilvy what told him as well.
Nope, I'm pretty sure that Stevie said exactly what he intended to say. Although it was probably Ogilvy who told him...
I think the problem that Moffat has suffered is the same one that plagued Babylon Five and Star Trek: DS9 back in the day. It seems like the majority of science fiction series (and franchises) at some point attempt to do the whole "encompassing story arc" thing. Unfortunately, the producers and writers get so obsessed with trying to shoehorn in oblique little references to past and future events, plot sidelines and other self-referential details that they forget to make the individual plot elements, characters and episodes within the overall story compelling in their own right.
It's like someone having the vision of some wonderful, elegant building in mind and then spending so much time, money and effort on the pretty drawings and architect's models that, by the time they come to build the thing for real, they can only afford the shoddiest of materials and the end result is a slipshod, rickety assemblage of poor quality bits and pieces.
Whereas, if they concentrated on the key individual elements first (immediate plot, character, etc.) and then built the story arc around those afterwards, they might stand a chance of coming up with something bigger, better and more compelling. Foundations first and then start building your soaring spires - not the other way around.
(And yes, of course, I realise that they have to have at least some vague idea of where they want the whole thing to go but it still feels as though too many series put the end-to-end story arc first and then forget to build it up out of good stories along the way.)
To be fair here, I wouldn't say that Moffat should be sacked. Possibly returned to the role of dedicated screenwriter (at which he has already demonstrated his ability) while someone else takes on the responsibility of running the show as a whole, but certainly not sacked.
This series has, however, largely been shite and I really don't understand how anything other than severely rose-tinted glasses (or hopeless addiction to all things Whovian) could make anyone believe otherwise. I really did have high hopes for Peter Capaldi in the role and I think he has tried very hard to make something of the rather shoddy mess that he has been given in terms of plotlines and script but this has been the first season of the "new" Dr Who where I, for one, have found the sow's ear simply too ugly, trite and frivolous to be turned into any kind of purse, much less a silk one.
Still, takes all sorts I suppose. If it rocks your boat, more power to you, but I still think I'd prefer to see it shelved again (or canned altogether) rather than watch another season like this one.
Oh yes it is!
This is obviously using some new definition of the word "best" that I was previously unaware of.
Although I suppose - to be fair - there have been worse episodes during this shark-jumping train-wreck of a series. Like the first two or three which ensured that I didn't so much watch this rest of them as sit in the room doing something else of a Saturday evening while others watched it.
Still saw enough of what was happening to vote for putting it back on the shelf for another couple of decades though...
Fortunately, nobody. I watched it because - in general - I have always had a soft spot for Dr Who, harmless and fun hokum that it is. I enjoyed it as a kid and I have enjoyed it a fair bit during the last few years. However, as I said, I think that during Matt Smith's tenure as the Doctor the general standard of the writing and development of the series deteriorated. And, if anything, it seems to be getting worse. Or, at least, getting no better.
Once upon a time, I would make an effort to see each episode in a series. During the last couple of series, I missed the odd episode here and there and found that it had reached the point where I wasn't that bothered about catching up with the ones I'd missed (even though that's easy enough to do nowadays what with iPlayer, etc.) I watched the first episode of this series in the hope that they had given it a bit of a refresh and were going to give Peter Capaldi better scripts to work with. I then watched the second episode to see how they wrapped up the story (and whether the first episode was just an unfortunate aberration). Sadly, while the second episode was somewhat better than the first, it certainly doesn't give me hope for the future.
So...as I said, fortunately no-one is holding a gun to my head and forcing me to watch and, short of having absolutely nothing else to occupy my time of a Saturday evening (which is unlikely to be the case most of the time) I don't expect to be watching any more. And I'm still baffled by all the fairly glowing reviews I've seen around the place. I can only assume that they have been written by inveterate Dr Who fans who would give a sound thumbs-up to any old drivel so long as it had two hearts and a Tardis.
...reading the reviews here and most of the other reviews that I've seen in the press or online, did the reviewers actually watch the same episodes as I did?
They were very, very poor indeed. OK, so Dr Who isn't (and has never been and is unlikely ever to be) high art, but it has on occasion been interesting and entertaining. For all their occasional failings, the Eccleston/Tennant seasons did have some nice moments, the odd interesting story or plotline and the introduction of some rather fine new "baddies". As a reboot of the tired old original series, it was quite welcome and showed a fair bit of promise. Almost as though the Beeb were taking it slightly more seriously this time around.
But then Matt Smith happened. Not that he was particularly bad, but as his time in the Tardis continued, the whole thing started to come apart as far as story lines, characters and general quality of the overall narrative were concerned. By the time he regenerated, a new Doctor was already long overdue and I had some high(ish) hopes for Peter Capaldi, so long as he got decent scripts.
Oh well, so much for that then. Decent scripts? Chance would be a fine thing. If anything, they've gone even further down the pan than they already were. I wouldn't even mind if they had come up with something where I could actively dislike it (perhaps taking it in a determinedly different direction altogether) but no, it's just a whole heap of "meh". The bits that weren't eminently predictable were simply boring - characters that were even more cardboard cut-out than usual (if possible), plot devices that were either glaringly transparent or supremely ad hoc and an overall feel of mediocrity. I watched the second episode just to see if it picked up any after a pretty abysmal first one. Being fair, the second episode was probably better than the first, but not enough to warrant making any special effort to watch a third.
Perhaps it's time for this McTedium Sandwich with Extra Cheese to be put back on the shelf for another couple of decades until someone can come up with another interesting reboot...
As the years have gone by and I've watched the web grow into the seething morass of stupidity and insanity that we see today, I begin to wonder whether "delete the entire Internet" actually isn't such a bad idea.
I'd even go as far as to recommend nuking the entire site from orbit. After all, it's the only way to be sure...
...the thing that makes me most worried that something like this idiocy may ultimately make it into EU legislation in some shape or form is, in large part, the absolute certainty with which El Reg's redoubtable Mr Orlowski says it can't happen. Not that I necessarily disbelieve everything he says, but I've never been convinced that he knows as much about things as he thinks he does.
Anyway, as far as this particular issue is concerned, while I'm no fan of self-aggrandizing Wiki-anything types, I've seen enough ill-thought-out and utterly cocked-up legislation coming from the EU or from individual European governments (not least our own in the UK) that I can easily imagine some bunch of assorted political dimwits picking up this dog's breakfast of an idea and actually trying to run with it. On that basis, I'm prepared to stick my name on the petition and possibly even badger my MP/MEP just on principle. Conversely, if Mr O turns out to be right in this case, then that is a fine and good thing and I shall sleep sounder in my bed.
Most of the folks on my block list tend to be people or companies whose Promoted Tweets have appeared in my timeline. In fact, my first (and pretty much only) action on seeing a Promoted Tweet is to block the sender.
I'd guess that some other folks do the same.
So...if we all exchanged our lists of blocked users, could we come up with the beginning of a global Twitter spam block list? Pretty sure that wasn't Twitter's intention with this feature, but it sounds like a very useful application for it.
Absolutely, I know you have to have some new ones out there otherwise there won't eventually be old ones. However, the point that slightly bothers me is that as emissions regs are tightened further and further and car taxation is tied more and more closely to them, it becomes more punitive to keep running the older cars and people are pushed in the direction of new ones. Which is all well and good from the day-to-day emissions point of view but takes little (or no) account of the overall environmental impact of the manufacturing/disposal process. Or, at least, it pushes those costs/taxes back up into the manufacturing chain (whence they are probably ultimately passed on to the consumer anyway, but with additional profit margin applied) or it pushes them into the waste disposal chain (where, again, they are probably passed on to the consumer in some shape or form). So, ultimately, we all end up paying even more (directly or indirectly) and the only people really to benefit from it are the manufacturers, their bankers and their political pals. Funny how it often seems to end up working like that...
The problem I have with this thing is the price. For twenty-eight grand I could have something with a conventional engine/drivetrain but much better and more usable out in the sticks where I live. A diesel Subaru Forester (for example) if I wanted something with a bit of ground clearance and the ability to cope with the local farm tracks, minor roads and bits of off-roading that are sometimes required. Or even just the standard diesel Outlander if push came to shove.
Actually, having said that, I don't think I'm likely to spend that much on a car again anyway. I prefer to buy something a couple of years old after some other poor sap has eaten all the depreciation. Which begs another question for me - which is more environmentally friendly? Buying a new "eco-car" every two or three years (with the associated costs/environmental impact of its manufacture) or buying something older that is less tree-friendly (so to speak) and then running that for several years (assuming it's properly maintained, etc.) Because the current road-tax system seems to be increasingly geared towards hitting the owners of older cars (that were manufactured for looser emissions regs) in their pockets but making no allowances for the environmental impact of manufacturing the shiny new ones (or, indeed, disposing of the old ones that no-one then wants).
Of course, the manufacturers do have to pay their environmental charges and taxes so that obviously will come into it, but it just seems like we're increasingly moving towards a world where everyone is being persuaded, poked, prodded and cajoled into buying the newest this, that and the other even when we're talking about things like cars (which, for many folks, will probably be the second most expensive thing they will buy in their life, or even the most expensive if you leave houses/property out of the picture). Which is all very nice for the revenues and profitability of the companies that make all the doo-dads (and their political chums) but is it really all that good for the people? I'm not certain...
Heh, heh, heh, "bottoms", "number 2", heh, heh, heh...
(Damn - where's a minion icon when you need one?)
Not only is he "almost right" about the sale of goods, he's specifically and actually right - so long as (as you mentioned) your annual sales into other EU countries fall below the distance-selling threshold in each one. I suspect that there are a lot of UK small businesses/SMEs who fall into that category and who are grateful that the system is actually fairly rational in that respect. These are also the businesses who are going to suffer the most from the ill-thought-out and poorly-publicised way in which the digital products/services rules were introduced. We all suspect that we know who the EU were trying to target when it came to that almighty shambles, but it's the little guys who are going to feel most of the pain. As you say, it would have been better and far more workable if they had applied the same rules/thresholds as for physical products, but the idiots didn't do that.
I'm not certain that Matrix 2 and 3 suffered from "trying to do too much". What they suffered from was the Wachowski siblings suddenly finding that the quite interesting idea that powered the first film didn't actually have the legs to be extended to anything further. The end result was a second film that became increasingly awful, shallow, poorly plotted and laughably scripted as the minutes ticked by. Then, just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, along comes the third film, mewling and puking in the bottom of the barrel where the second left off and - to everyone's astonishment - actually managing to be even worse.
I've tried quite hard over the years to find redeeming features in the second film and - while I haven't really managed to do so yet - I still live in hope and can occasionally watch it again to see if there is anything there to save it. The third film is unadulterated dross and is almost bad enough to make you wish that none of them had been made at all. I have tried to watch the third film again. I've even seen bits of it here and there when it's had an airing on the TV. I've still never managed to find anything in there worth the effort and could probably only manage to sit through all of it if I were sedated or spectacularly inebriated. It's about as much fun as cleaning a badly blocked plughole in a house populated by yetis who use their own dung and phlegm as shampoo.
I suspect that, if there had been a fourth Matrix film, Plan 9 from Outer Space would finally have had something to look down upon.
Yes, except the transcript doesn't cover all of the ground around this. It's not as simple as you make out. The new terms include a few interesting provisions that are, at best, unacceptable restraints of trade and, at worst, just completely screwing the artist over for Google's profit. All in all, it amounts to something little different from the worst excesses of the old-style recording industry. That's the very industry that some of the Internet/web cheerleaders used to say would be brought to heel by the wonderful, open access that our new technology provided. Unfortunately, they didn't go on to mention that the new corporate behemoths that would be controlling this amazing electronic utopia would turn out to be even worse, more acquisitive and more duplicitous than the old ones.
Interesting that the droid from YouTube described this as "a loophole" though. Wonder if they'll close it at some point.
Mind you, the more important point is that - as I understand it both from the transcript and from reading about this elsewhere - you can go down this route, but the consequences are:
1) that they'll track content for you, but won't take it down (so you have to be constantly issuing DMCA takedown notices if you want to manage your content/presence on YouTube, etc.)
2) not only will they not pay you if a third party uses your content, but they won't pay you if you use it yourself either. So if YouTube was one of your existing revenue streams and you want to keep any kind of revenue from it at all, you have no option other than to sign up and accept whatever terms they want to shove at you. Including all the restrictive crap about simultaneous releases, having to have all your material on Music Key if you want it on YouTube, etc.
So, as agreements go, it still stinks to high heaven. And Google trying to imply to the press or media that the person complaining about this is somehow lying about it or has got it wrong when the transcript makes it pretty clear that the things she is complaining about are - largely - true (give or take a "loophole") just stinks even higher. As Lowery's article points out, it's not vastly different from the pile of festering dung that Google/YouTube gave the indie labels.
Not just you - I was wondering the same thing. Maybe they don't like us and have only shown update 3 to the El Reg Illuminati. (The El-luminati?)
Lots of folks know nothing about this EU VAT malarky and it's going to bite lots of people in the bum rather hard.
In spite of HMRC and the government claiming that they have extensively publicised the forthcoming changes, I only became aware of them a couple of weeks ago and we're going to be pulling all digital products from our website by the end of December until we can work out how to deal with the VAT MOSS VAT mess. (Fortunately for us, we mainly sell physical products and they aren't affected, but we do have several dozen digital download products too and were planning to do more in the future so we're going to have to sort this out sometime in the new year.)
If you don't deliver digital content to consumers in the EU in any form, then by all means don't worry about it - it'll save you some headaches and several "WTF were they thinking?" moments. If you do deliver digital content (video, audio, ebooks, software downloads, etc.) to consumers in the EU, do some digging and find out what it's all about. PITA doesn't even begin to describe it. Not that any of it is particularly challenging in concept, but like all government and EU interventions, the practicalities and making it workable are another matter altogether...
Having said that - and being fair to the folks at HMRC - the VAT MOSS idea that they have come up with is, at least, an attempt to make this thing a little easier. I haven't looked at the VAT MOSS site myself yet, but I know that the alternative is just unspeakable so anything that tries to make the process even a little more straightforward gets a thumbs up from me. And if the goons in the GDS are trying to hamstring it, then they should just be told to sod off and actually try doing some useful work themselves rather than just interfering when other people are actually trying to solve real problems.
(Big boom icon, 'cos that's what I'd like to do to the numpties in the EU who came up with this gem.)
I'm not a lawyer (although I've had quite a lot of dealings with them for reasons that aren't relevant here) but I don't think that this would stand up. The c.29 Part IV, s.36 "Domestic Purposes" exemption is stated as follows (from legislation.gov.uk):
"Personal data processed by an individual only for the purposes of that individual’s personal, family or household affairs (including recreational purposes) are exempt from the data protection principles and the provisions of Parts II and III."
As I see it, there are two important points in there.
First, it stipulates that the data is processed by the individual, not by a third party on their behalf. I suspect that the letter (and intent) of the act probably wouldn't be construed by a court as permitting some third party - and certainly not an organisation of any sort - to carry out data processing on the individual's behalf. At least, not without a specific contract between that individual and the organisation in question (by which I refer to a more formal and direct contract than any that may be implied by someone simply opting to use a free service available to all).
Second, it stipulates that the individual may carry out processing "only for the purposes of that individual's personal, family or household affairs (including recreational purposes)". While it could possibly be argued that someone wanting to monitor the tweets of a close friend or relative because they are worried about their mental state may fall into the realm of "personal, family or household affairs", it would probably also be argued that such processing would only fall fully within the remit of the Domestic Purposes exemption if the person being monitored had a demonstrable familial or personal connection with the person doing the monitoring (and, if the lawyers wanted to push the point, was even aware of it and had given some form of consent). In the absence of that, it is difficult to see how the "personal, family or household" affairs clause could be deemed to apply. Since, in the case of the Samaritans app, there is no mechanism to check or demonstrate that such a connection exists between the person being monitored and the person doing the monitoring, it is hard to see how it can be seen as falling within the remit of s.36.
In any case, I'm sure that determining any of this in a court would be a bit of a legal bun fight that would earn a couple of barristers a tidy few grand. And I still suspect that the exemption would ultimately be found not to apply (mostly on the first leg above, but also quite possibly on the second given the app in its current form).
Yes, and here in the UK, Google has to abide by the DPA just like everyone else and, if you serve them with a Section 12 notice, they have to act upon it and stop processing any information about you. Which is the whole point here - it applies to Google, it applies to anyone or any organisation who holds or processes personally identifiable information and, given what Samaritans Radar is trying to do, it very probably applies to them too.
Furthermore, when you use Google, you know full well that they will be taking the information that you provide and using it in the various (and, perhaps, sometimes nefarious) ways that they do. However, you don't know what the Samaritans Radar app is doing since it isn't YOU who opts to use it or have your tweets monitored by it.
So...10 out of 10 for a nice idea on the part of the Samaritans, but minus several million for good thinking and all that.
...and I can't believe that you actually read the article or that anyone could be myopic enough to miss the point quite so spectacularly as you have done.
However, in the interests of spelling it out, if the bizarre scenario that you describe were to arise, then El Reg would, indeed, be obliged to comply. Or, failing that, to take the matter up with the Information Commissioner or other relevant authority or even, in the extreme case, to mount a defence in court on the basis of wider public interest, etc. It's the law, you maroon. That's how it works. Or don't you think that El Reg has to abide by the DPA too?
More importantly, any public pronouncements reported by the Register are just that - reported. No further automated data processing operation is performed on the content of those pronouncements. Articles are written to discuss particular subjects and, in some of those articles, comments made by relevant and/or connected persons are reported verbatim (give or take the occasional typo). At most, the writer of an article may offer their own opinion as to meanings (hidden or otherwise) but that is not the same as performing any kind of data processing operation on the original information.
The scenario is, therefore, completely unlike what is done by the Samaritans Radar app, which does perform some kind of automated data processing upon the original tweets. Which is why it probably does fall within the remit of the Data Protection Act, regardless of the public nature of those tweets. The Samaritans, worthy and worthwhile as they are, can't just wave their hand like some kindly old Alec Guinness and say "We don't believe the DPA applies to us in this case. This is not the data processing system you're looking for." If they want to do the kind of thing that they're trying to do with Samaritans Radar, they're going to need to dot the i's and cross the t's with the Information Commissioner's Office to ensure that they are complying with the relevant legislation. And, if they do fall within the remit of the DPA (as they may well do), then they'll need to respond to things like Section 12 notifications correctly.
Now look what you've done. I'd always promised that I'd never use a facepalm icon for anything I read on the Internet - regardless of how dim it may be - because it seems a bit rude really. And now you've gone and made me do it. I hope you're pleased with yourself.
Actually, I almost got it right without following the link. Except I thought the 'D' stood for 'Daft'.
No, you don't understand. The psychos who would be willing to nuke a city just 'cos it got in the way or because it was eying up the girlfriend, spilled the pint, etc? That would be us. Prepared to release a deadly chemical plague across a continent? Us again (if you pay enough and we have the antidote). Prepared to strap people to chairs and force them to watch back-to-back episodes of Eastenders, Big Brother and Hollyoaks for hours? Still us. Strapping headphones to people's ears and forcing them to listen to One Direction, N'Dubz and Ed Sheeran on repeat? Yes, you guessed it, us yet again.
Basically, you just have to make sure that you're the ultimate psycho's psycho at all times. Job done.
Not always easy, I grant you. And a bit downright odd as modern foreign policy goes. But we have a fine history of being both creative and inventive. We just need to channel it in the right way.
Actually, the "HM Terrorists" idea could have legs you know...
Drop the whole Geneva Convention/Human Rights thing and just become the ultimate mercenary state. Hire out our armed forces to whoever needs them the most (and pays best). Become the world's biggest bunch of utter bast...er, you-know-whats.
"Hey Uncle Sam? Got a problem with terrorists in <insert foreign state name here>? No worries, for a mere several billion in untraceable readies, we'll get in there, flatten the place and get out again, no questions asked."
New passports with really scary looking covers, nationality listed as "HM Terrorist" and taking the Stewart dynasty's old "Nemo me impune lacessit" as a new motto (with the agreement of the Scots of course, who still get to join in and play the game whatever the result on September 18th).
Once we have a few successful and sickeningly violent operations under our belt, it might get to the point that no other terrorist nutter in the world would ever want to mess with us. We'd be the equivalent of the little bloke in the pub who no-one particularly likes, but who is never given any bother because absolutely everyone knows "Don't mess with him - he's a total psycho! He once bit someone's kneecaps off and spat them back into the poor fella's eyes!" etc. etc.
Insane? Me? Whatever makes you think that...?
Look, I deliberately didn't mention the Stick and Bucket Dance. I thought we'd all agreed?
I voted that there needs to be an extra poll to ensure that Morris Dancers get included.
But then I thought...hang on, if Morris Dancers are included then there's no need to continue the exercise since it's obvious that they would win. After all, anyone who can get up at crack of dawn on a May Mor-i-ning and dance right through the town hitting themselves with sticks, all after spending the previous night down the pub consuming countless pints of Spindle's Old Neuron-Dissolver until chucking-out time are obviously the world's ultimate Special Forces unit. They're so hard they don't even need to sneak around (unlike those cowardly softies the Ninjas), they can probably outdrink (and outsing) the Pirates and, as for the aliens, they'd probably still be standing there wondering WTF was going on when they suddenly found themselves with a hefty chunk of oak or yew shoved through their brain/neuronal nexus/whatever-they-think-with. Not to mention the terrifying noise from the accordian/squeeze-box/shawm/crumhorn/etc. that will disorient all enemies.
Yep, definitely Morris Dancers if you really want to be on the winning side I reckon...
Thankfully, there appear to be one or two iOS browser alternatives that block this now, but it's high time that Apple did something to block that behaviour entirely. Google too, if Android is still vulnerable to it.
In any case, given their propensity for such irritating behaviour, is it any surprise that these worthless lickspittles would flog anything that they can find to the highest bidder? Or just hand it over to the Government for the merry hell of it.
Scumbags. If Shakespeare had been around today, he'd probably have written "The first thing we do, let's kill all the advertisers..."
Actually, one of the statutory aggravating factors for sentencing for most offences (might be all offences - I'm a little rusty) is that the offence was carried out under the influence of alcohol.
...the greatest Quatermass spin-off of them all - step forward and take a bow the inimitable:
As presented, performed and plinged by Messrs Milligan, Sellers and Secombe.
...I'm actually reasonably happy with T-Mobile/EE. Even allowing for the price hike, which was slightly irritating but which - in the grand scheme of things - isn't all that much to get your knickers in a twist about. I've got two phones on contract with them and, while I will certainly be shopping around when renewal time comes up next year, I'm not going to get all hissy and try to get out of my current contract over a piddling price rise.
The reason that I ended up on their network was because the last time my renewals came around, they offered a far better deal than any of the other usual suspects, particularly as far as mobile data was concerned. Moreover, I have found that - compared to my previous provider - they do seem to have a network that largely works in most of the places I tend to spend my time. It even provides a reasonably good 3G service in areas where my previous network struggled just to provide a 2G signal.
Of course, what I really want is someone to provide widespread trouble-free 3G and 4G coverage for a really dirt cheap price and to give me a nice pair of shiny-shiny new phones to play with every 12 months. But that's unreasonable, so you just take what seems to be the better of the assorted options available at any given time. So far, I'm not particularly unhappy with these T-Mobile/EE chaps and am even prepared to give them brownie points for some things, but we'll see what deals are on the table next year.
...the Bong! adventures do provoke the odd chuckle.
On the other hand, they're also a bit cringe-worthy given that I've met real people who do seem to talk and think like this in all seriousness. Of course, that's always assuming that the word "think" isn't a misnomer for whatever process is going on in their vacant and echoing skulls.
Anyway, I like to call them the "Techno Wizards And Talents". Usually abbreviated, of course...
Well, there's been a lot of talk about a female doctor, so Bieber would fit the brief on that score.
Actually, I don't need to read up about paperless DD, being familiar with the process and having set up a fair few myself over the last couple of years. However, in every case where I have set up such a DD, the organization originating the request has gone to reasonable lengths to confirm that I was, indeed, who I claimed to be and was permitted to do what I was doing. Also, in each case, my bank contacted me to confirm the details once the DD instruction was set up but before any funds were allowed to be taken. So I'm afraid that in my book someone on the charity side or the bank side still dropped the ball on the Clarkson charity DD thing and should have had an ear-bending for it. Either that or he needs to get himself a better bank.
I can't believe that I'm doing this...
It's Jeremy Clarkson boys and girls! Do you really think for a fraction of a nanosecond that he was being at all serious? As someone has already pointed out, he was paraphrasing Liam Neeson's character in Taken. Even though I haven't seen the film or know much about it, I still got the reference and was pretty sure that he was most likely just making bit of a joke of the whole thing.
And as for the bank thing, well he actually had a bit of a point there if you ask me. Simply publishing his bank details should NOT have allowed anyone to set up a direct debit or perform any other kind of transaction, other than paying in. Either the charity itself or Clarkson's bank seriously dropped the ball on that one I think. Certainly if any of the banks that I use had allowed a direct debit to be set up (or any other withdrawal to take place) without my signature or some other formal confirmation of my identity and wishes, I would have been down the branch straight away tearing the manager a new one.
So, yeah, it's Clarkson. He's a bit of a gobsh!te, plays up his anti-environment, right-of-centre persona to the hilt and is a popular target for the PC, right-on and left-of-centre brigades - many of whom seem to get themselves rather hot under the collar by taking him far too seriously and literally.
Following a recent house move, we found ourselves with no TV reception at all. The house has an aerial, but it's either broken, disconnected or the household wiring to the aerial sockets is all defunct. The house also has two satellite dishes attached to the wall, but they've both had their cables cut at the dish end. Meanwhile, the neighbours inform me that TV reception is rather poor in the whole area anyway, due to a large industrial plant sitting a few hundred yards away, right in line of sight to the nearest transmitter.
The practical upshot is that in spite of having at least 5 or 6 things in the house that are capable of receiving a FreeView signal (for example) we've now gone a month with no TV at all. So the number of boxes, etc. sold certainly bears no direct or simple relationship to the number of viewers, as has already been pointed out by others.
Meanwhile, on a purely personal level, we don't miss it a bit. I'll admit that I am considering getting a BluRay player with built-in Smart/IP TV for the occasional thing that we might want to watch on iPlayer or 4OD or whatever, but finding one that covers all the UK streaming TV services seems to be tricky (iPlayer is common, but 4OD, ITV Player, etc. are harder to find all in the same box). Although, the fact that we haven't even used iPlayer, etc. very much on the assorted computers in the house suggests that we're not really all that bothered anyway. Aside from the occasional DVD, the various TVs no longer get used and it does seem to have improved our general quality of life and ability to get on and do other, more interesting things.
In fact, I'd even go so far as to recommend the experience
Oh, I'm glad that someone mentioned that. It's far and away the best Quatermass ever.
"I knew it! We're all descended from Irish Jews! Oy vey!!"
"Yerrrsss mate. 'Orrible brown fing crawlin' up the wall. It was a weasel. An' all of a sudden it went..."
[Sound FX: Pop!]
And other such gems. Quick nurse, the screens...
...what I want to know is why Pierce Brosnan isn't on the list?
...when I saw the title of this little article, I said to myself "I bet it's bloody Trusteer trying to push more of their unnecessary shiteware again".
Hey, guess what? I was right. Any ZeuS/bank phishing scare story always seems to come straight from the Trusteer PR desk.
Sorry guys, but I decide what AV, firewall, IDS and other security software I use. And you're not it, even though you're trying to get most of my current banks to push your crap in my direction at every available opportunity.
In spite of their name, I just don't trust those jokers at all. If they spent more of their time and effort actually developing a decent product that competes in the open market, rather than sucking up to the banks to persuade them to foist this crap onto us and then dropping a monthly/bi-monthly ZeuS scare story out of their corporate-wannabe PR-sehole, maybe I'd think differently. But until then, I wish they'd just bugger off.
I'm not on Facebook (can't stand it) but if their Ts & Cs are similar to the boilerplate legalese that a lot of online services use, people posting stuff there won't have given up the rights to their material - they'll still own the copyright, but will have granted a royalty-free, unlimited, yadda-yadda licence to Zuckerberg's minions to do whatever they like with it. From a practical point of view, it's not much different, but it is better than something that explicitly gets you to hand over your IP rights completely.
I seem to recall that one or two sites ran afoul of this kind of thing in the past (Picasa? LinkedIn? Maybe others?) although I still don't think any of them went to the point of asking you to hand over your IP altogether. And they did change the wording of their Ts & Cs as a result of people kicking up a stink about it. It will be interesting to see what happens here...
I'd try that myself if I thought for a moment that any of the banks I use could get their heads around it and not cock it up.
...do they inject something into the bank's website, perform some kind of MITM attack when you next access online banking or do they send you an official-looking email saying "Please update your phone number"?
The first is unlikely I would have thought - they'd need to be very good, know the ins and outs of all the assorted banks' onling banking systems and then continually evade whatever security measures are in place. (Which one would hope are slightly better than average - although we all know that I could be wrong on that score.)
The second is easier to achieve, but would have to be done extremely well and be able to mimic each bank's website very well (unless the following also applies...)
The last one will only work on those who are prone to using computers with their brains disengaged.
In any case, this kind of "Oh noes - look at this scary bank malware" tale isn't all that new, coming as it does from a company who seem to have spent the last couple of years busting their gut to get their bloated shitware pushed on to customers by most of the UK banking fraternity. And so we get to the nub of the problem - one of the groups of people whom I do not trust and whose software I would not install on my machine are...Trusteer! And certainly not when I've already got things AV'ed, firewalled, NAT'ed and anti-malwared up their wazoo with other products that I trust more.
At first reading, this actually sounds like some kind of measured and balanced approach to the whole copyright issue as it pertains to the Internet. Or, at least, more measured and balanced than pretty much anything else that anyone has come up with so far. If the trial goes ahead on the basis described here, it will be interesting to read the results when they come out.
OK, so there's the whole account holder/infringer question (as pointed out by David 45), but it does look like there's someone out there who is trying to come up with something vaguely reasonable and workable. Of course, the devil's always in the detail - we shall just have to wait and see what happens.
Oh, and for the avoidance of doubt in the mind of the reader, I will say that I sit in the middle when it comes to the copyright issue. Having had some involvement with creative stuff and dealing with people ripping off products, I believe that the people creating things do have a right to be compensated adequately for their work and that it isn't OK just to go round copying stuff and sharing it out willy-nilly. On the other hand, I'm not a huge fan of people like the RIAA, MPAA, etc. nor their tactics in the copyright arena. I'm also a firm believer in fair-use doctrines and the principle that, if you've bought it, you can do pretty much what you like with it for your own personal use.
...that medical types don't have a sense of humour. Whoever came up with the name for that association (and corresponding abbreviation) deserves some kind of award. Only a little award probably, but an award nevertheless (they can always make it look a bit bigger with implants later).
...only a complete numpty would choose a Beemer as a company car.
Oh, hang on, you'd have to be a bit mental to choose a Ford as well.
And that, m'lud, is where the analogy breaks down.
Actually, unless you do silly mileage and choose something with a fairly low CO2 emission, or are happy to taking a stinking great hit from dear old HMRC, you'd probably have to be a bit mental to take a company car at all nowadays, wouldn't you? I'm fortunate enough that the last one I had was back in the good old days when company car taxation was based on a percentage of the list price of the vehicle adjusted down through three simple mileage reduction bands whereby you could get into the mid band at the very least if you had a bit of nouse. Add to that the fact that the people I worked for at the time used a hire/lease company that offered a huge range of different cars and the net result was that various folks ended up blatting around in Subaru Impreza WRX's and such like - immense fun to drive, but still fairly practical and remarkably gentle in terms of the tax hit. In fact, much easier on the pocket (and definitely lots more fun) than most of the normal rep-mobiles and just about any of the "luxury" brands.
Sorry, sorry, I'll put the rose-tinted glasses away.
Back on topic, Apple's price reductions may not be astronomical, but if you were thinking of maybe adding something Mac flavoured (particularly that MacBook Air that was mentioned) to your household computing collection, you'd still be a bit daft not to take advantage of Friday's fun and games. Even it if is only a hundred dollars (or a hundred quid or whatever), better off in your pocket than theirs, no?
Alternatively, if you absolutely hate, loathe and detest all things Apple and want no truck with those hellspawn, then that's fine too isn't it? Nobody's going to hold a gun to your head and force you to genuflect madly in the nearest shiny-shiny Apple Store are they? Just chill guys - use whatever floats your boat. (Full disclosure here - yes, I do sometimes work on my dear wifey's MacBook Pro or 8-core Mac Pro, both of which are very nice. I also have an iPhone and an iPad myself, but I use PC's at the office, have a Windows XP laptop at home, my music PC is a big Win7 64-bit box and I can't remember offhand how many Linux boxes I have - I think I've only got two now, but it may be three, they just don't tend to get used much any more.)
It's all just good fun really isn't it?
...on the one hand, I can see where this article is coming from and largely agree with a lot of what it says.
On the other hand, it uses the word "mature" at one point, implying that the IT or sofrware development industry may have reached that level. I'm not sure that I agree with that. I also don't really agree with the term "software engineer" either (even though I've been saddled with the title myself in the past).
Why the nit-picking? Simple. On most of the products and projects that I worked on over the years, the last words that I would have used to describe the processes used or the end results were "mature" or "engineered". Admittedly, this was often in spite of the best efforts of the designers and developers to try to make them that way, but the painful truth was that most things ended up being best described as "shoddy lashups that should just about work so long as the wind doesn't change". This was usually as a result of badly managed user requirements, incompetent project management and a general cocked-up-ness in the whole way in which the software industry goes about what it does. But that's to be expected - the industry is still very, very young and has had to come a long way in a very short time.
However, as far as "mature" or "engineering" are concerned, I think that the IT industry still has a long way to go. Yes, a lot has been achieved and we can all be proud of doing some pretty amazing things over the years, but if the civil, chemical and mechanical engineering communities were as "mature" as computer and software development, we'd all be spending 90-odd per cent of our time rebuilding collapsed houses, running away from flood waters released by failed dams, admiring the pretty colours from exploding chemical plants, falling into rivers off wobbly bridges, scanning the sky for plummeting blazing aircraft and picking up all the gaskets, pistons and camshafts that our car engines scatter across the road every time we drive them more than 50 or 60 yards.
I'm always a bit puzzled about these "it costs so-and-so much to make" sort of teardown reports.
Mainly because I'm curious about where they get their cost figures from. Do they actually know what Amazon (or Apple or whoever) are paying their suppliers for components, etc? Or is it based on what the person producing the report would have to pay if they shopped around their suppliers or local box shifters or whatever? Or is it based on some kind of industry average/minimum data for particular components (or types of components).
The main reason I wonder about this is that, unless the cost data is coming from the first source (i.e. the people who actually really know what they're paying to have these things made) then the entire report is just so much speculation and hot air really. And while I'm sure that it is possible to get the information from the primary source (by fair means or foul), I also know that such financial data and details would normally be regarded as "Commercial - In Confidence" (or similar) by most companies (and their supply-chain partners) and isn't normally disclosed.
I'm more than happy to be enlightened if anyone can tell me where the numbers are coming from and whether there's any point in actually believing a word of these things.
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