* Posts by Andy Bright

748 posts • joined 19 Sep 2006

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Is desktop virtualization important?

Andy Bright
Boffin

Missed the point

Me, not you. I think I've missed something really, really, really important in what was said - because at the moment I can't tell the difference between this and really ever-so-popular dumb terminals working off one of those really neat mainframe computers.

I kind of agree that something is wrong with the picture. We are buying client computers for business users with 500GB hard disks, and we then tell them they can't use those to store their data - they have to fit it all in the 400bytes of free space left on the netapp.

But ho hum. In 10 years time we will start talking about "distributed processing" taking the load off the racks of VM servers, and how it would be neat if everyone had their own personal storage to save all those annoying movies and music that fill up our servers. A truly revolutionary product I like to think might be called the Personal Computer.

Seriously tho, before we wonder about virtualising desktops and running all our software off the interweb, wouldn't it be a neat thing if we could somehow use torrent technology to make use of all those networked 500GB hard disks we have now. Like if they were to become the server's storage area. Reserving areas on each disk to snapshot other people's data, so if one disk goes down, no one notices a darn thing, except the light that says hard disk xyz needs swapping out.

Yes I think users need to be taught a lesson, and have their nasty multimedia personal home computers turned back into dumb terminals. But first let's look at how we can make their lives worse in other, more practical ways.

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Oz nanoboffins punt paper-thin flak jacket plan

Andy Bright
Stop

I hate to be the harbinger of doom

Gandalf Stormcrow if you will, but am I the only one that sees a problem if they were actually able to pull this wizardry off?

Let's assume for one fantasy moment that mass-produced bullet bouncing anoraks were feasible. Who wants to suggest how many our beloved police forces will receive, or for that matter, how many squaddies will get kitted out in indestructo gear?

I would hazard a guess that zero would be the sum total of items purchased for the people we would actually want to see wearing space age anoraks.

50% would be going to the wonderful 'security' mercenaries that are doing such a fine job winning the hearts and minds on Iraqis, on behalf the real soldiers they're impersonating (right down to identical uniforms and weapons).

49.99% would be returned to society in the form of bullet proof, organised crime gangs, having been blagged and sold on the black market.

The other 0.01% will go to marketing campaigns and greasy palm-offs for contracts. They'll look great framed and mounted in offices all around the globe.

I doubt even officers in high-ranking desk jobs will see one.

Ask yourself this. If the military spending machine was so benevolent to our serving lads and lasses, why are the parents of these squaddies the ones forking over for the flak jackets that actually work (as opposed to those issued)? Of course the military can't provide these things in sufficient numbers to matter, because oddly, when you go to war, having tax cuts to pay for it doesn't work well for anyone outside of Wall Street.

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Woman murdered after answering Craigslist ad

Andy Bright
Alert

Nanny jobs

Having read through the many posts correctly damming mr yeah right for his lack of tact, and one that tried to play devil's advocate on his behalf, I noticed one person sort of asking if Nanny jobs pay well enough to consider moving country.

Au Pairs aside (which on top of education funds, receive a small living allowance in return for looking after kids) there are many circumstances in which being a professional nanny or running a daycare service is very profitable indeed.

Baby sitting may get you the odd fiver and a place to hang out with your girlfriend (as a teenager - as an adult, male baby sitters hanging out with their girlfriends is almost as creepy as this story), but professional nannies are all day looker-afterers, and charge more per hour than your average plumber. Often they do the Au Pair thing and actually live in the same home as the kids. Their job usually involves more than just making sure they don't play with plugs and matches, including pre-school education or help with homework, as well as preparing meals, etc.

It requires professional qualifications, and various kinds of background checks - which is a tad ironic considering what happened. I mean you go to all the bother of having your certification registered, your background checks on file and on hand for your interviews (including FBI finger print checks in the US), and it turns out you should have had the client do the same for you.

This time it wasn't the crazy nanny off the internet that murdered the kids, rather it was the crazy "parents" that murdered the nanny. That I feel makes this a pretty unusual, and therefore very newsworthy story.

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Woman admits fleecing shopping network of more than $412,000

Andy Bright

Where the illegality lies..

.. is she did it intentionally. If you received, say, one shopping basket of items having canceled your order - and decided to keep them, you could excuse it on premise that it was their mistake not yours. An accident of circumstances rather than a premeditated attempt to steal. You know what you did was wrong, but you could consider this on the same level as receiving the wrong size bank note in change at the checkout.

Using that example, if realising there was an exploit you could manipulate, you then decided to go back to the store over and over again - each time receiving say 20 pounds in change having paid with a fiver you - would have to agree you were deliberately stealing from that store.

The first time was a mistake - you didn't mean to do it, and it's pretty much your decision to come clean and return the money or say "tough titty mate, you made an error and I'm keeping the money".

The next time you are deliberately stealing, and what's worse for her, is the manner in which she committed the theft. Stealing via the internet puts her into a whole new level of theft - wire fraud. This could have gone really, really badly in terms of sentencing, so she did the right thing in giving up everything she made.

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Europe grows more (and more) GM crops

Andy Bright
Alien

Again, all I can say to these lot is..

DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS - they'll kill you all.. RUN!!

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Shocked Shatner shunted from Star Trek XI

Andy Bright
Happy

Firefly

At first I thought, NO - cowboy cliches do NOT belong on my SciFi channel, but actually like most people here I started to get into it just as they killed the series off. Even the movie wasn't too shabby.

Camera shake, I feel fans of Star Trek TOS will have something to say about that - and perhaps someone ought to break the real reason he wasn't included in the new Star Trek film to Mr. Shatner - a few less biscuits sir, and I think you might have got back in.

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Andy Bright
Happy

I'll see your Space 1999

and raise you one Blake's Seven and a side of Sapphire and Steel..

I would say the new Battlestar Galactica shits all over any of the shows mentioned so far - but apparently this a retro reminiscence.

(Babylon 5 was brilliant to start with, but the last couple seasons were a bit on the dodgy side).

I don't need to get out more, I'm perfectly happy in my sad little HDTV world of scifi.

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DHS holds terror talks with UK Minister, then detains him

Andy Bright
Stop

If You're Detained by the DHS

Be English. That'll see 'em. Use as many English colloquialisms as humanly possible in every sentence. Also be sure to ask for a cup of tea and send it back when it's not done right.

Americans like to think they speak English, so much so in an ironic effort to stick to illegal immigrants, many legislative Nazis want to make it the official language of the US (i.e. all documentation and information is given in English only).

So I feel it's always best to give them what I like to call full-on English - if you can effect a Tyneside accent even better.

As a legal permanent resident I get to bypass the search line and chat with the nice passport people (normally reserved for US citizens with good credit), or better still, get to fly 1st Class via my inlaw's airline passes - which means no security at all apparently.

But I feel for my countrymen when I see them fingerprinted, cavity searched and held for 24 hours without charge - all because they said they were dying to 'smoke a fag' after an 11 hour flight to LA.

As for this prick - good, he's pretty much all that's wrong with government on both sides of the Atlantic.

Funny - but why is it everyone is so afraid of a relatively small number of extremists. All our civil rights must go because otherwise it'll be the end of Britain and the US. Odd that, because even if a couple of them did get a nuke, I feel the threat offered during the Cold War and even WWII was a little bit more dangerous. Notice how we didn't run and cry for our mummies, chucking away civil rights and banning bottles of water during those escapades.

I find it so strange how we're willing to give in to terrorism on a scale never before seen. Every civil right lost is another victory to extremists. Every phone tapped without a warrant, child's toy removed before boarding, innocent person added to no fly lists is proof we have well and truly lost this 'war on terror'. For fucks sake when will some of these politicians grow a bloody backbone and actually stand up to these people.

No we won't torture, we won't steal everyone's email and listen to everyone's phone calls - because we've gone through wars and threats that make you lot look like a bunch of pansies. Personally I believe both the US and the UK can survive the occasional terrorist attack, it's a fuck sight better than giving in to them.

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California teen offers GPS challenge to speeding rap

Andy Bright

Delay?

The only delay is the time it takes to display the information on your GPS unit or receive the information on your PC.

To say his GPS speed recording was wrong, because it took a couple seconds before the data was shown on a video device, is like saying it took Linford Christie 14 years to run 100m, because I didn't watch him win the Olympic games till last week.

The inaccuracy has to be in the measurement of the information, not the time it takes for someone to see it. If the time it took to measure your position between two points was significantly delayed then you might be on to something - but it can't be or the GPS navigation systems would be worthless.

Your instructions would be so late you'd have driven past all the roads you wanted to turn down. Sorry but at 60mph you'd be 1/2 mile out of reckoning if the total delay was 30s. Even at 30mph you'd me over 400 yds further down the road than your GPS was displaying.

I reckon he should win this - it seems his parents aren't the typical "my kid can do no wrong" bunch, and if his previous punishment (having the gps unit fitted to his car) actually proved on this occasion he was in the right, why shouldn't he use that to fight a bogus ticket.

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EC sidesteps dithering states to approve four new GMOs

Andy Bright
Alien

I have 4 words for these fools!

Day of the Triffids..

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Transformers director favours Blu-ray Disc

Andy Bright
Boffin

Both formats have too little storage capacity

They're better, but even now tv resolution is once again outpacing media. Neither format has the capacity to make use of 2160p or whatever comes along after that.

Both formats should be regarded as an intermediatory stage, while we wait for either gigabit internet downloading to living room media players to become the norm, or disk capacity of at least 1 terabyte.

When we have the equivalent of a netapp replacing our old-fashioned dvrs then we'll have finally got somewhere.

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US: Missile shield 'deactivated' until Iran tools up

Andy Bright
Mars

@Ross 2

However he is fully aware that not even a brazilian gazillion will suffice given the value for money offered by Haliburton's rebuilding plan - which seems to have trouble getting past the "cowboy security endangering genuine troops" project element to the "actually building something" phase - and may request as much as a kagillion next time round.

Yes, GW is right now puzzling over how allowing untrained, trigger happy 'security' to run around Iraq in US military clothing, using US military-looking weaponry could be causing such a problem. Who on earth predicted that would turn out a tad on the sour side?

The bit that truly puzzles me about Iraq is why we are listening to the people that say it'll get worse if the Americans leave. Remember these are the same idiots that said 'Hussein has WMD', 'They'll greet us as liberators', 'Mission Accomplished' and my favourite 'This isn't a civil war'. So given how monumentally wrong they've been with every, single thing they've said about this fuck up - why are we taking it as read that they're right about that.

Isn't it just as plausible to say with the Americans gone, any excuse for killing innocents will be gone too - leaving the various fanatical groups in a bit of a recruitment conundrum, and looking very bad to the rest of the Muslim world should they continue their activities.

The US troops are not regarded by Iraqis as protectors against genocide, more a liability and contributing factor to all the current mayhem. The only Iraqis that don't want the US to leave are those doing very nicely, thank you, out of diverted dollars to keep the lack of actual rebuilding quiet.

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Legal loophole allows Manhunt 2 to be sold in UK

Andy Bright
Happy

Stick in some naked cartoons and it'd be banned in the US too

Funny really. In England it's fisticuffs and in the US it's nekkidness.

And yet in each country, the opposite bugbear is celebrated.

For the US readers, imagine the Superbowl with a full frontal streaker running onto the pitch during a live broadcast. Now consider the scandal if the TV cameras actually zoomed in and made sure you got every detail permanently burnt into your retinas, ignoring the game completely for a good 10-15 minutes. That's British tv for you - with a healthy sprinkling of sarcasm and anti-political correctness. But should even the title of the show include a violent word, say Ninja, then it would have to be renamed forthwith.

For the UK imagine a world where no matter what the violent content, nobody raised an eyebrow until a naked toon having sex entered the equation. Then the matter would be elevated to Parliament, a debate in the House of Lords and the Prime Minister promising something would be done to make sure our children were protected from cartoons having sex. The best way forward would probably be a campaign that advocates celibacy targeted at everyone under the age of 33.

What truly puzzles me is everyone is fully aware that hyping the violence or nudity of a product will escalate sales a million fold, so why would they be so stupid as to do it?

If you were a game publisher, sunk millions into a mediocre piece of shite, and desperately needed a winner to boost stock prices - what would this sort of reaction teach you? I would cheerfully expect all future releases from these guys to include unadulterated violence, and if they're wise enough to want to cash in on the US market - a liberal sprinking of toon sex whereever possible.

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Europe considers blue card for immigrants

Andy Bright
Alert

The Most Disappointing Thing About My Green Card..

Is of course it's not green - either in the environmental sense or the colour. It's a sort of nasty beige colour.

And while it's true name is an Alien Registration Card - confusingly, on the immigration website, it was often referred to as a form.

So while I'm cool with having an official, government sanctioned piece of ID that says I'm an Alien (and a registered alien at that) - I wonder what the purpose really is to having one, besides setting up black markets for fake IDs and very nice ID producing contracts for friends and family).

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Fight malware by upgrading to Vista, urges MS

Andy Bright
Stop

Vista is Malware

Let's forget for the moment that Vista is susceptible to viruses over a decade old and pretend it really is a safe computing environment..

Let's ignore the fact that the software required to protect you from malware never seems to be intelligent enough to protect against new viruses, worms or spyware - and probably slows your computer down as much as the malware it pretends to protect your from.

My contention is that Windows XP running on a popup generating, spam bot is more efficient than Vista in any of its forms - even with Aero switched off.

Sure popups are annoying ("Application XYZ is trying to install software - Allow.. Deny.. etc") and use of your bandwidth to spew spam means slower downloads ("Your Antivirus definitions have been updated", "Updates are ready to Install"). And absolutely worms that reset your computer can mean the loss of work ("An important update was installed and your computer has been reset"), but when the OS itself is more resource intensive than the worst spyware - something is seriously wrong.

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IE + RealPlayer = Security hole

Andy Bright
Alert

Trying think of why you'd install RP in the first place..

Nope, can't think of a single reason.. and even if you couldn't play another real media file (a highly unlikely scenario), I still can't think of an actual disadvantage to not having it.

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US ID theft bill seeks redress for victims

Andy Bright
Go

Negligence

About the only thing missing as far as I can see is a negligence portion that makes banks and other financial institutions liable for compensation if ID Theft results from their stupidity, illegal behaviour or their employees binning stack loads of paperwork without shredding it.

And that means real compensation. The most likely scenario should someone steal your identity is for them to try to take out loans or get hold of credit in some other way.

Anyone responsible for this, including for instance a credit card processing company that irresponsibly kept live customer data for their own very questionable purposes on unsafe networks, should be forced to deal with the collections calls on behalf of the people they've fucked over. If that means they'll have to pay the bills then good, because this is the sort of punishment that makes people a tad more careful in the future.

The next problem is paying exorbitant interest rates once your credit has been destroyed. Credit card companies will automatically jack them up, insurance companies increase your premiums (something that should be made illegal in itself) and if you're about to buy a home, you're well and truly fucked.

This is where the real compensation should come into play. Either by forcing banks and other financial institutions to offer equivalent credit at reasonable interest rates - or by forcing businesses not able to offer credit into making the payments on behalf of their victims.

Again, these are the only sorts of punishments that will force the pricks that negligently store personal data on insecure systems into changing their practices and actually respecting the privacy of their customers. Often this data retention is done without the permission of the person affected, it is often done despite written promises not to do so, and despite the rules and regulations that govern their types of businesses.

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The balkanization of Storm Worm botnets

Andy Bright
Boffin

Switch them off?

Can't we just switch off Asia and Eastern Europe. Let the bastards have their own internet, and leave us honest folks alone.

We lose the botnets, worms and hacked WoW accounts, they lose spam and 419s - everyone's a winner.

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Mobiles give you brain cancer?

Andy Bright
Pirate

Thankyou for Smoking

Anyone else seen this excellent movie? Right at the end when he leaves the tobacco lobby and joins up with the mobile phone industry.

He asks the CEOs if cell phone use leads to cancer, and after a few mumbles and excuses..

"Repeat after me.. Although there is no current evidence that links cell phone use to cancer, we are continuing to study this issue.."

Remember those words, just about everyone from the department of agriculture in the US to the nuclear fuel treatment plants in the UK have said something similar. It doesn't actually say everything is fine, it just appears to. It doesn't say they'll tell anyone if they find out something bad, it just appears to. It doesn't even say they've hired real scientists to do the research, it just appears to.

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US smut spam duo jailed for five years apiece

Andy Bright
Joke

Goddamit

And yet the real criminals walk free with a 20K slap on the wrist.

The only enjoyable spam on the market and the Man takes it away from us. Yeah we got to hammer the guy that gives the honest working man his porn-filled emails; which neatly bypass any web filtering software some irrational admin has put in place to ensure tissue-free cubicles.

A campaign to free these champions of sore wrists and cramped hands is clearly needed.

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MIT boffins plan for asteroidal doom

Andy Bright
Flame

Tell me again why we care?

Given the average lifestyle of most techies, we'll be long dead by the time this thing comes close. I can't believe anyone here seriously has expectations of breaching their mid 40s?

So instead of nudging it away from Earth, why not wipe the smiles off the faces of all those smug health freak bastards that reckon cigarettes and booze will kill us, and actually make sure it scores a direct hit..

Not only that but all those bleeding yoofs will get some too - bonus!

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California court tilts towards mandating web accessibility

Andy Bright

Discrimination

I don't know whether the Target issue falls under this, but it seems that there needs to be a line drawn between necessity to live and function (going to work, doing your grocery shopping, paying your bills, using a bathroom, etc) and entertainment when it comes to creating new laws.

If having access to Target is in some way necessary in order to fulfill your basic needs, even if that just means you can't do your Christmas shopping without it, then yes - their website ought to be accessible. Doesn't seem to me that it's all that difficult to follow a few standards so your website is compatible with mainstream accessibility software. Plenty of websites are and don't seem to suffer in terms of functionality because of it.

The real issue is whether you need a law here. If there is a prevalence amongst retailers that don't make their websites accessible then perhaps you do, if it's just one retailer then public humiliation ought to be enough to get them to follow the lead of more responsible businesses.

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LucasArts to wield Wii Light Sabre in UK next week

Andy Bright
Thumb Up

Excellent Stuff

I now have a Wii to go with the disappoint PS3, and despite the gulf in difference between the graphic chipsets, there can be no doubt the Wii is the better console for just having fun.

This is an excellent idea and I can't wait to try it out.

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YouTube gatecrashers trash 16th birthday bash

Andy Bright
Alien

Beer Boys

It's astonishing really how far down the evolutionary ladder the latest batch of beer boy spawn have fallen.

A few decades ago this lot would have been restricted to West Ham matches and a special kind of pub that doubled as a playground for chavs and crusties to beat the crap out of each other.

Unfortunately it seems society forgot to neuter them and they've littered the entire country with their offspring.

I would say add this to the Orwellian government as another reason I won't return to live in good old Blighty. However the truth is I haven't applied for the appropriate travel papers, so I can't leave the Communist States of American even if I wanted to.

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Motorola cuts a dash with 24-carat gold Razr 2

Andy Bright
Pirate

This is perfect for the self-absorbed..

spoiled brat that demands everything and gives nothing but ridicule and frustration in return.

So I'm buying my wife one immediately..

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Russian spammer murder hoax exposed

Andy Bright
Thumb Up

My God, say it isn't so..

Bloggers have jumped the gun, perpetuated a myth and are now trying to cover themselves in glory by saying they made an oops?

Never mind, and the silver lining on this cloud of ineptitude is that had not the mainstream media been declared obsolete by these pioneers of journalism, all sorts of fact checking and other procedures would have delayed this story until it was too late.

But thanks to the blogger movement, bullshit is thrust forward as legitimate news before truth and accuracy have a chance to derail important mythical events.

I remember all too well living in the dark ages of journalism, when stories like this would never have seen the light of day.

Chalk this one up to another victory for the blogging community and another nail in the coffin of those stick-in-the-mud journos that have qualifications, experience, writing skills, and all manner of inconsequential and obsolete expertise.

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Student suspended in gun rights email row

Andy Bright

Lost in Translation

Actually I think you'll find they got this one wrong.. it was (as has been noted on many occasions) "The Right to Bare Arms" on particularly sticky days during the summer.

As for is he a rascist or not - well it really depends on what he was objecting to. I have a certain amount of sympathy for people that are denied places in universities because they fail to meet certain ethnic requirements. However that is an incredibly rare occurance, mostly you'll find people shouting down things like affirmative action when they were denied a place due to .. I don't know.. maybe being a fucking retard.

Funnily enough most (but strangely not all) universities require more than the ability to chuck a ball around and drink beer as prerequisites to falling asleep in their lecture halls.

Awesome idea though. Let any red-neck prick carry a gun to school. After all I'm positive they won't use it for anything but shooting kids they normally bully, or the sons and daughters of people their dads told them were terrorists.

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US regional bank hacked

Andy Bright

2 Years of Nothing

The compensation banks aren't forced to give in cases like this is the main reason these attacks are successful in the first place.

If businesses that negligently store personal data on insecure systems (especially those that do so without permission from their customers) were forced to

1/compensate customers for the costs involved in restoring their credit scores should they be affected,

2/compensate them for any increases in interest rates they suffer due to bad credit,

3/forced to offer them the credit they would have got, at interest rates they would have qualified for, and

4/repay every bad loan taken out in their names.. because obviously this is where most of the damage occurs..

then you can be sure nothing will change and people will continue to be screwed over by them.

Real protection with real laws. Not crappy laws like they have in California that just force these arseholes to say

"We're sorry to tell you that your personal information is now in the possession of the Russian Mafia - but we'll pay for useless credit monitoring services to let you know exactly how badly you're life is going to get for a couple of years. Not that the nightmare will be over by then, we just need to make this token gesture or someone will pass some real legislation to protect people like you from people like us".

It's sort of like a business decides to store leaky gas cylinders next to your house without your permission, and their only liability is to let you know your house is probably going to be burnt to the ground, but don't worry because they'll let you know how often it happens over the next 2 years.

What could be fairer than that?

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Plods-turned-gumshoes jailed for hacking operation

Andy Bright

re: Now You Know

See that's the problem isn't it. The dip shits that vote in these arseholes on both sides of the Atlantic refuse to acknowledge both countries as fast becoming everything we scorned the USSR for being.

And instead of voting out every prick that passes these laws, the best we get is an equally complicit set of pricks to replace them.

I personally don't give a toss what party anyone votes for. Just do your best to make sure that the person doing their level best to fuck up either democracy and shit on civil rights that took centuries to gain is voted permanently out of office.

Not only that, but the message must be clear as to why they're being booted. In the US more than 50% of lawmakers were replaced because the US population wanted their troops out of Iraq.

The dumb shits still haven't worked that out and are actually afraid of cutting off the funding that would force such a withdrawal. What they fail to realise is if they don't do it quick, they'll all be replaced again, and this time hopefully with someone that has a bloody backbone.

Congress has an 11% approval rating - and despite the very clear message they were given at the beginning of the year, don't understand why they're so unpopular.

They're unpopular because they're weak, spineless twats that won't do what they were told to by the voting public.

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Florida man faces trial for feeding homeless

Andy Bright
Jobs Horns

Free=Socialist=Communist=Terrorist

About, I don't know, a couple hundred years after the Europeans invented the USA an odd group of people gained control.

They choose to forget they were the sons and daughters of immigrants, who more often than not were dirt poor and had to live off the charity of their more established neighbours.. and started getting all these odd notions about providing to the community.

Basically a few of the more extreme and very successful right wing media personalities have managed to convince a strangely large number of working class Americans that anything either government sponsored or given away for free = communism.

They victimise the homeless in particular, because the homeless are a reminder that things like hospitals sending $100,000 medical bills, mortgage companies being allowed to charge store card interest rates and having 2 year limits on socially protective programs like welfare payments are examples of a greedy society gone mad.

The idea that their tax dollars should be spent on protecting the weak instead of fattening the wallets of corporate government contractors (read: rich boys club handouts) is somehow synonymous with communist Russia.

So no encouraging the homeless to gather in one place because it makes the nice people uncomfortable seeing that dirty, addicted or just down right miserable people exist. Much better to ban feeding them so we can safely sweep them under the carpet and pretend we all live in Disneyland.

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British teens offered boozing qualification

Andy Bright

Re: Mr Cancer

Will be back as soon as he wins his discrimination case in the Euro Court of Human Rights mwahahahaha - I'll get you yet Mr Clean Lungs..

Rather awesomely a mate of mine in Anchorage recently declared he wouldn't give up smoking because it would be giving in to the anti-smoker Nazis, and it was his duty to fight discrimination. Personally I figured it had more to do with the reason I wasn't giving up, that is being mentally and physically addicted to who-knows-what they put in the blasted things these days.

And in the US we don't need crummy substitutes like methadone (although we have that in both liquid and pill form).. we have the wonderful series of opiate painkillers vicodin, hydrocodone, oxycontin, percocet, oxycodone, tramadol.. the list is endless and the government is our dealer.

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Sony talks up 'world's first' OLED TV

Andy Bright

Over here you could buy a..

Decent-ish (Phillips / Samsung / Toshiba) 42" plasma for about 2/3rds of that ($1100), or maybe a 46" 1080p LCD - although if you want Sony or Sharp you'd be a few pennies short.

But I think the point is this is just the beginning, and compared to the initial prices of LCD screens (plasma TVs were never that small for obvious reasons) that seems about right.

Maybe in 2 or 3 years they might even sell a few when the price drops to something comparable with today's technology.

1st generation plasma TVs were afflicted with short life spans, and some fools even touted re-charging them - even though the cost of doing such a thing would clearly be more than buying a new one.

The current generation, while limited to 1080i, have better power consumption (but still not that great) and much longer life spans, and of course they're dirt cheap. They cost less to buy now than the equivalent DLP - and reached that price point incredibly quickly.

LCDs are starting to catch up, the budget range are maybe $100 or so more, but obviously in terms of picture quality, budget 1080p LCDs look shite compared to the worst 1080i plasma.

I'm still waiting for my pin-it-to-a-wall-then-roll-it-up-when-your-done, 1mm, 72", 4320p disposable TV - knocked down to 50p at the 1 quid shop.

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Adopt this dog or we'll kill it

Andy Bright

re: universal neutering

I also agree this is probably the best answer to the problem.

As much as I love the Countdown jingle idea, and the browser toolbar addon is genius (although I would change that to DPS - dogs per second in deference to my lack of a life), the concept of spaying and neutering all dogs has many benefits.

The most obvious is that special class of twat, the amateur breeder, would be stopped dead in his tracks. You know, the kind of git that one day decides he can make a few grand by breeding his pedigree pitbull, only to end up with a litter of dead puppies, or due to his stupidity, a litter of diseased or otherwise damaged goods.

In Anchorage every dog owner must have a license. In order to get the license our dogs must be current on their rabies jabs, and until your dog can have the 3-year booster that means one year licenses.

As an incentive to spay and neuter, the cost of the license is reduced from excessive to acceptable.

With the mandatory idea you would go one step further and no longer issue licenses to anyone except registered and licensed breeders if the dog hasn't had the op.

To back that up the SPCA (our version of the RSPCA, obviously) offers $100 ops - about 50 quid. City-run shelters spay and neuter all animals before adoption, they even offer name and address implants for free.

Obviously it doesn't fix everything, obviously people break the law. .

But I reckon if it helps at all it's worth it. Otherwise we should probably all get the DPS plugin and have the Countdown jingle go off every time a particularly pathetic specimen meets it's ancestors.

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MS confirms Halo 3 Limited Edn box scratch bug

Andy Bright

Taking it back to the store

Or shop or wherever you bought it won't really help if they're all scratched.

I agree that you should be able to replace faulty media at your POS, but the point here is that whoever Microsoft got to produce the disks has buggered up the whole production run.

Whether that was at the packaging stage with the flimsy disk holder or an actual fault in the disk manufacturing process, it shouts cheap bastards trying to squeeze every last penny of profit out of the thing.

Test runs in the manufacturing process are, after all, just money out the window - especially when all that's at risk is having to issue free replacements on a couple million DVDs.

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What's 77.1 x 850? Don't ask Excel 2007

Andy Bright

A small white lie i feel

You know very well why the display is 100,000. The fact that's the highest value that can be represented by an unsigned 16 bit binary number is merely a red herring.

The long and short of it is you've probably accidentally installed the Enron Accounting macros.

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Chemical-weapons hysteria causes cholera

Andy Bright

On the plus side it seems they've found they're weapon of mass destruction

Untreated water.. tell W to take his bucket and spade down to Iraq - we might even let him play in his cowboy suit or if he's really lucky, his airforce uniform, complete with "Mission Impossible" banner... erm I mean "Mission Accomplished" banner.. an aircraft carrier and whatever else the spoiled rich kid wants.

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Sony poo-poos £299 PS3 claims

Andy Bright

Erm, they already have one..

It's called a PS3 and it costs $399 - or 200 quid + the power adapter required to use US devices in the UK, about 50 quid or so.

As long as you plug it into a proper display device, say an HDTV or LCD monitor, then your sorted - one PS3 for 300 quid.

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-PS3-60GB-PlayStation-3-60GB/dp/B0009VXAM0/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1_s9_rk/103-2037183-5611848?ie=UTF8&s=videogames&s9r=8a5801be0d117bc7010d3a74224705dc&itemPosition=1&qid=1190754201&sr=8-1

Oh and none of the features have been removed and it has real PS2 compatibility.. which you'll need while you wait for them to release a single game that has any sort of originality or depth of game play.

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Apple reminds customers who's boss

Andy Bright

Apple won't bother to reverse unlocking

At least not on purpose, unless AT&T demand they do to maintain the exclusive rights they've bought for the phone.

Even so it won't matter, every time Apple reverse the unlocking process, modders will just reverse the reverse.

People have faith in the modding/hacking community because they've proven themselves to be reliable when it comes to unlocking firmware.

It was done with DVD drives, disabling macrovision and region coding. Even improving the performance of some.

It was done with the PSP, and continues to be done despite the re-locking Sony does with every update.

It was done with the XBox and PS2 to allow Linux installs (and of course copied games).

Basically there are coders out there that love to fuck with things, and you gotta love them for it.

The risks are minimal and the benefits many (for those that want an iPhone). Apple fulfill their obligations with AT&T by issuing a warning and occasionally re-locking the phone, meanwhile they surreptitiously allow modders to unlock the phone at will. I don't have problem with that, and I think nor do most of the people here.

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Iraq fiasco creeps into NSA surveillance controversy

Andy Bright

The issue is not really what Bush would or can do

The issue is what the various police and intelligence agencies can and will do.

The terrorism example given above is actually accurate - if the FBI want to wiretap someone, all they have to do is say they "think" the person is a terrorist - regardless of the whether they really believe that to be true, and voila - one wiretap.

This scum sucking law allows any government agency to legally wiretap any person within the country just on the vague definition of what a terrorist might be in their eyes.

So put it another way, if Hilary Clinton (also a proud supporter of some of our country's worst laws since 9/11) were to win the Presidency, would you be happy with her being in charge of such sweeping surveillance of the American people?

Would you not be concerned that some of this surveillance might be politically motivated? The fact remains that in the 1960s the Supreme Court clearly stated that telecommunications (which does include the internet) fall under the 4th Amendment.

All the 4th Amendment really says is you can't search someone's person or property without either having reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing, or permission from the courts to search that person or property in the form of a warrant. All a warrant is, is a promise to a judge that the person you're searching is a suspect - and that you need to look for specific types of evidence - ie. that they are a terrorist, and in return you get a permission slip to look for that evidence.

So if a police officer witnesses you running from a bank with a bulge in your pocket and a swag bag, he is reasonably allowed to assume you might have robbed the bank and you have a gun in your pocket. Thus he has reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing and can search you without a warrant.

If these warrantless wiretaps can be proven to be along those lines, no one has broken any law. I seriously doubt it though.

On the other hand the number of warrants turned down on hearsay evidence - i.e. we think this guy might be a terrorist - is just about zero. And given that you have days to get that warrant - that is days after you started wiretapping someone - the only possible reason you would object to needing it is if you were simply blanket wiretapping everyone that made overseas phone calls.

Which in turn calls the lie on the so-called targeting of individuals with known terrorist links (Bush's words).

The bottom line is, I don't care who it is that first ordered these kinds of searches - I just want it to stop. And if anyone says anything about terrorists might kill people or having nothing to hide - I say I couldn't give a fuck. I have more of a backbone than that. I would rather face the minuscule risk of being the victim of terrorism than give up one single right - rights that took centuries to put in place, and apparently two presidential terms to tear down.

When the President allows me to listen in on all his private phone calls, then I might give him the right to listen in on mine. Until then I want and expect my privacy as guaranteed in the Constitution.

My answer to those that are willing to throw them away to save their cowardly skins is why can't we take your guns too? You keep telling us the Constitution isn't as important as saving lives, why can't we start using these warrantless searches to keep a check on your gun collection. In fact why can't we save your skin by making it illegal for the general public to purchase any sort of firearm.

Al Qaeda don't need to smuggle weapons into the US - they just need to visit a gun fair.

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MIT student walks into airport wearing circuit board and wires

Andy Bright

For god's sake your not really defending this are you?

Tell me she wasn't having a joke and a laugh and pretending to be a suicide bomber and you're as full of shit as she is.

It IS totally against the law to do what she did, regardless of how implausible the so-called suspect device was. And only the most fucking retarded individual would pretend she didn't know what she was doing was against the law, and would then hope anyone would believe the excuses of a 4 yr old.

It's as stupid as walking into a police station waving a pretend gun around - she deserved to have her brains blown out as a warning to morons everywhere.

I hate people like this, they're the same type of idiot that thinks its fine to test airport security with fake weapons in their bags. No it isn't okay - they have people to do that, and it doesn't tell us anything we don't already know, that airport security is as shit as it's ever been.

Fucking retards like this need to have some sense soundly beaten into them. The worst part is that they give ammunition to spineless politicians, the kind that passed the Patriot Act. They give ammunition to over-zealous security, the kind that banned bottles of water on planes.

She's just another spoiled brat that thinks she has the right to do anything she wants. Hope she gets to learn at last that there are consequences to your own actions. Fucking with airport security is a crime, and if she really is so stupid that she didn't know that, she's about to learn the very hard way.

Sympathy? Fuck off.

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Eye-O-Sauron™ spy towers still buggy

Andy Bright

Checkout

Actually they've always done this - check up to make sure you leave.

Any tourist should remember not only filling in the "are you a criminal" card on the way in, but also the "I'm leaving, honest" card on the way out. The cards are matched, and no doubt hotel rooms sacked if inconsistencies are found. Or not.

One of the funniest immigration conundrums happens here in cheery Alaska.

We have no immigration courts, no prisons large enough to hold those awaiting deportation hearings (that's right, the benevolent US government has always stuck asylum seekers and those with questionable immigration status directly into the nearest maximum security prison - sometimes for years, with no trial or charges ever presented).

So they round up the usual group of suspects every couple years, give them their court dates and ask them to promise to show up in Seattle. They're then released until a few years later, when they'll go through the whole inconvenient process again.

As a legal immigrant I'm often quite disgusted with the behaviour of the immigrant Nazis.

The latest piece of genius legislation is making the rounds in the Alaska State Legislature as we speak.

They propose including immigration status on all driving licenses, so the police can arrest illegals.

Of course the reason I say genius is because you can't actually get a driving license without a valid Social Security card and some tamper proof ID to back it up. You can't get a Social Security card without proof you're in the country legally, and finally the only people allowed to demand to see the already mandatory-to-carry-at-all-times biometric Alien Registration Card are the DHS.

So effectively a piece of legislation to create a second, less difficult to forge, piece of ID as well as the lawsuit enabling addition of allowing hillbilly cops to detain you if they don't like the word immigrant.

Money well spent I say.

Wonder where these guys grand parents came from.. oh that's right, they were immigrants..

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Andy Bright

re: We should sneak over...

Awesomely funny idea - hats off to you sir. But we'll need some paper mache Nazgul and lots of string to hang them from the towers.

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Stem cells from testicles offer organ bonanza

Andy Bright

It's always "in the future"

Notice how dissecting human fetuses and taking a scalpel to your genitalia always offers the "chance" that a cure will be found in the future for whatever ails you.

Anyone else wonder if these aren't actually all evil mad scientists, who just want to cut up babies and chop off your balls?

Well they've been harvesting stem cells for years now, and not one advert has appeared on TV that offers me a second head or individually coloured eyeballs.

So this leads me to believe they have some nefarious reason for storing all this gene matter in their refrigerators.

Don't be surprised if in twenty years time, every child born looks the spitting image of Angelina Jolie. Even the boys.

How else can these diabolical agents of the devil engineer themselves an attractive partner? Brides for our modern-day Dr Frankensteins if you will.

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IT risk becomes board-level issue

Andy Bright

IT risk is too important to be left to IT departments?

Interesting, but hardly surprising. After dealing with the kind of car-salesman this guy obviously is, during the late nineties, is it really surprising that they've moved on from selling web services they knew nothing about, to IT security and infrastructure?

Yes, let's take away IT disaster management and network security from the people that have a clue. After all there's money to be made in this malarky, and anyone with a Bachelor of Sales (BS) can be an IT Security expert after 3 months of Learning to use Office night courses.

What we really need is a bunch of slick salesmen trying grab a piece of the market, selling their snake oil to boardrooms across the country, and eventually destroying the reputation of the few genuine providers of these services.

Anyone notice that during the so-called dot comm crash, the businesses that actually knew what they were doing, and actually had a product, didn't crash at all? However what did happen was their names were thrown in the toilet along with all the charlatans that cooked up fancy websites to fund their sports cars.

Now these same people appear to have found a new target, IT security, and their first mission appears to be to take it away from anyone that can point out what they're saying is bullshit.

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787 unsafe, claims former Boeing engineer

Andy Bright

I can see the problem - and it's easy to fix

The problem clearly is due to the lack of the regular number of front-mounted laser devices - so of course it's unsafe.

It will shatter and burn with toxic fumes you say? Obviously that is a small price to pay for putting large numbers of Boeing engineers on laser gun building duty - after all that's a sweet 1/2 billion in the bank, more than enough to pay the compensation required for the deaths of a few plebs.

Anyhow, it's only going to shatter and choke to death any survivors in a cloud of toxic gas if it crashes. Simply stick on the laser to protect it from Al Qaeda's deadly arsenal of, erm, hand thrown IEDs, and hire pilots that prefer to wait until AFTER flying before they hit the bottle.

Sorted.

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Chinese bloke games himself to death

Andy Bright

Of course he died

And it's rather pathetic really. Any experienced multi-day gamer knows that without the requisite supply of hash, coffee and biscuits you don't stand an earthly.

Energy drinks, fah!

As for all Americans are fat - no, only those that come from Texas, Philadelphia and New York. Barbecues, Cheese-Steaks and Pizza.

The rest are so high on pain pills and meth they forget to eat at all.

Actually go to the beach in Hawaii, California and Florida - there is ample eye-pleasing evidence that not all Americans are fat bastards.

Unfortunately this is mitigated by the fact there is also ample evidence that many are. Oh the horror...

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Nobel-winning boffin slams ISS, manned spaceflight

Andy Bright

Arse

All I can say to this guy is "fuck you arsehole". I want my personal X-Wing and obligatory light saber, so he can leave NASA and their mission to put an X-Wing in the garage of everyone that matters alone.

Obviously he forgot to sign up for his, and all we're getting now is a bunch of sour grapes from Mr Misery.

Good job this government doesn't listen to those know-it-all scientists when they decide the budget for space exploration or indeed anything else to do with science.

Give the man six cans of Tennants and the Star Wars collector edition DVDs and he'll soon be changing his tune, mark my words.

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World of Warcraft smites den of orc and elf sexual delinquency

Andy Bright

Weird

This has to be the weirdest thing I've heard of in a game. Sure in IRC channels or that Second Life sadfest, but in a game?

WoW is for Kids? Actually it is - and it's for adults, and teenagers and anything in between.

The only thing about this that has me disturbed is the actively seeking players to act as pedophiles or the victims of pedophiles.

I doubt there's anything illegal role playing even the most perverse fantasy, but why on earth would Blizzard want to be associated with that?

As it's obvious they don't, I have to side with them. It's their game, they decide what's acceptable or not. There is no "free speech" issue, Blizzard are not the government. Free Speech laws only prevent your government from stopping you saying what you believe, they have nothing to do with the private sector.

If you decide you want to ban the word "fuck" from your house, you are perfectly entitled to do so. If Blizzard want to ban perverse sexual roleplaying from their game space, they are perfectly entitled to do so. They have every right to protect their image. So what if these so-called guilds have their own servers? The gameplay doesn't use any outside servers, in fact it's against the terms and conditions to try to use them. Their vent accounts are a completely separate item from the game itself, and will continue to function without it. Vent has nothing to do with WoW.

In fact none of their private equipment is in any way connected or reliant on WoW.

If they don't like it, they can write their own game and play as weirdo pedophiles in that.

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Great British fry-up under threat

Andy Bright

Sorry, but even so food is still cheap in the UK.

After moving to the US, and congratulating myself on cheap petrol, cars, TVs, consoles and a whole bunch of things that don't really matter - I then found out why people don't eat properly here.

Price of eggs gone up 20p for 1/2 a dozen you say? Well that would put them about 50p cheaper than you'll find them here.

Basically if it's necessary to life - utilities, health care, food - then it costs more than double in the US over almost anywhere else that has food in supermarkets.

You won't find a loaf of bread for under 2 quid, unless it's that stodgy white stuff the supermarket makes themselves. They think it's normal to pay a couple of notes for a tinned fruit for god's sake - I've actually met people that think it's some sort of luxury item.

Health care is the same - which is the truly odd thing. In a country where almost everyone has to pay (and pay big) for any sort of treatment, they are completely obsessed with going to the doctor for anything that makes them feel slightly under the weather. Head cold? 200 quid doctor's visit and a completely useless antibiotic prescription (way to create super-bacteria, guys, well done indeed). When it comes to filling that prescription, they're told that buying it from a country like Canada (which sells medicine for normal prices) is dangerous, because the exact same pills both countries imported from a 3rd world facility staffed by children aren't safe - unless a US government agency checked to make sure they're expensive enough.

After all we're supposed to believe that the same agency that approved pills that literally killed people are the only guys we should trust to make sure imported drugs are safe. Sorry I'll take the Cannucks food and safety people over the bought and paid for US equivalent every time.

And what do you get for the extra money - this double the norm on everyday food items like bread, eggs and bacon? Oversight that won't warn people if beef comes from mad cow sources or is artificially fattened by hormone and steroid injections. It's absolutely vital the farming industry isn't harmed by negative press, not when the only cost is people getting cancer and brain disease.

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Senate to call Boeing's 2009 raygun nuke-zap bluff?

Andy Bright

Leave my X-Wing alone

For all you non-believers out there, this is the first step towards the ultimate goal of an X-Wing in every garage. Leave them alone. Finally a space program that matters, you can keep your "space amoeba are aliens" and you trips to the moon for a bucket of water - this is the real reason Americans fund NASA and a Looney Toons defense budget.

Nice photos Cassini, but really, who gives a fuck how pretty space is unless your winging your way past Saturn, blasting real aliens in a Jumbo? The only possible reason to keep Hubble alive is to make sure someone is there to take the pictures when we take our laser-buffed space armada for it's first spin.

What Jumbo's can't fly into space you say? Fuck you. If a plastic ship shaped like an F-15 with it's wings clipped and nose sliced off is good enough for the brave souls on Battlestar Galactica - then my Jumbo Death Cannon can fly into space.

I'll expect mine by Christmas thank you - complete with BBC Micro HUD graphics and some fat guy called Wedge as my wingman.

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