* Posts by Dr. Mouse

1798 posts • joined 22 May 2007

Scissors cut paper. Paper wraps rock. Lab-made enzyme eats plastic

Dr. Mouse

Re: Ringworld Calling...

It calls to mind the Red Dwarf episode where Lister gets a genetically modified virus to peal potatoes. Unfortunately, it turns out to also eat clothing and hair...

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You're a govt official. You accidentally slap personal info on the web. Quick, blame a kid!

Dr. Mouse

Re: Unisys screwed up

If he gets convicted of this, the law is not fit for purpose.

I have, more than once, used similar techniques to grab a bunch of data from a website, as I'm sure many on here have too. I haven't always needed it all, but it was easier to grab it all then filter it later, and who has time to delete the stuff you don't want?

Even so, if a file is on the public internet then you are authorised to download it. If you weren't, the server would respond with an error code.

This would be analogous to a library getting a kid charged with theft for borrowing a book which should not have been there, even though the librarian stamped it out and said nothing. How the hell should he know that it's he shouldn't have it? It was there with all the other books, in a place where books are supposed to be borrowed, with no indication that he was not authorised to borrow it.

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If you guessed China’s heavy lifter failed due to a liquid hydrogen turbo engine fault, well done!

Dr. Mouse

Re: Translation...

The part that burns the cold air that once burned a big sky bag broke. This made everything burn, which is a bad thing.

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They're back! 'Feds only' encryption backdoors prepped in US by Dems

Dr. Mouse

Re: Too late

To those using gun laws as an analogy for encryption, there's a very big difference.

Encryption is designed to secure data.

Guns are designed to kill.

If you believe that killing and securing data are even remotely similar, then there's something very wrong with you.

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Dr. Mouse

Re: Too late

"Well, guns are pretty much illegal in the UK (with some exceptions) so mostly only criminals have them... I don't see the Police arresting that many criminals with guns though. False argument, totally based on trust of people who have abused our trust, repeatedly."

And how many cases of gun-related crime do we have? If a cop spots someone on the street with a gun, what do they do? A car on the M62 was recently thought to have an illegal firearm in it, and they did all in their power to catch them (and succeeded). The fact that there is such a low amount of gun crime in this country shows that the policy works.

The other end of the argument which always comes back is that guns allow you to protect yourself from the government. This is wrong too: The government will always have more guns and weapons, and having a gun yourself just leads to a higher chance you would be killed in any confrontation.

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Dr. Mouse

Re: Too late

"too late for guns, and now knives. Those genie's are out of the bottle, and have been out for a LONG time... Make them illegal, and ONLY the criminals will have them."

The thing is that this makes the job easier for the police: Someone has a gun, they are a criminal. They don't need to start looking for other crimes they committed straight away, the dangerous nut job can be taken off the street immediately. Unlike the current situation in the US where anyone may "legitimately" have and be carrying a gun...

The whole "guns make people safe" argument doesn't fly with me, never has and never will. It's a machine designed with one purpose: to kill. Apart from a few people in specific circumstances, noone should have one.

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'Disappearing' data under ZFS on Linux sparks small swift tweak

Dr. Mouse

Re: @disgustedoftunbridgewells

Ditto, I have also been using ZFS since I discovered it while trying out Solaris 10 (as a method of learning more about Solaris for work, where we had several Solaris servers doing various jobs). First use was on Solaris 10, then FreeBSD, and now running ZoL (including root on ZFS) for my home server. It's been very stable for me, although I'd hesitate to recommend it to a client without making them very well aware that there's a risk. Personally, I believe that risk is acceptable with a good backup regime, especially with ZFS's data integrity regime (checksumming everything), but it would be up to the client to decide for their own business.

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Microsoft: Yes, we agree that Irish email dispute is moot... now what's this new warrant about?

Dr. Mouse

Re: What Does This Mean in Practice?

"goes to an Irish court and obtains an Irish warrant by Irish standards of reasonable suspicion/probable cause against the correct legal entity. Just like they should have done 4 shagging years ago."

This is the galling thing about it all*. If they want the data and have a good reason for it, all they had to do is follow due process and asked the Irish government to get it for them. By now, they would probably have had it (assuming they did have a good enough reason, of course).

Instead, what they're doing is saying "We want it, so we'll change our own laws and assume that makes it OK by every other country". Cockwombles, the lot of 'em!

* Although not at all surprising, seeing as Murkha always seems to think it's above everyone else's laws.

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Which? leads decrepit email service behind barn, single shot rings out over valley

Dr. Mouse

Not that I'm condoning anything, but I have always thought it strange that people rely on free services for something as important as email is.

I have heard various complaints over the years about free email services shutting down, changing, and generally being terrible. The most recent prior to this was my dad whinging about Hotmail's switch to OWA (IIRC).

"If you don't like it, go somewhere else" was my reply.

"But then I'd loose my email address".

So, what if Hotmail was shut down? You're not paying for it, and you'd have no recourse. For personal stuff, fair enough: It's a pain in the arse, but doable. But I know of many businesses using these. What happens when your customers suddenly get bounce backs from the emails they are sending you?

Sorry, I know I'm ranting a bit with no obvious direction. The point is, though: Don't rely on a free service if it is important to you.

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Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, off you go: Snout of UK space forcibly removed from EU satellite trough

Dr. Mouse

Re: Wow

@codejunky

I'm not going to do another point-by-point. We will not agree, and you will dismiss my arguments again.

One point though: I know many people from Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Ireland and many other EU countries. All acknowledge there are problems with the EU, but all support it. I don't think it's falling apart any time soon: The UK had the most anti-EU sentiment, and it only managed a narrow margin in favour of leaving.

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Dr. Mouse

Re: Wow

@codejunky

"I am glad you see that as a problem too. Brexit should be a full brexit, out of the EU and its dictats."

I only see it as a bad thing because we are hurtling down this potentially disastrous course. If we are to leave the EU, we need to back it up with a strong negotiation or we are going to be well and truely in the ****.

"Actually we have a very strong bargaining position. As strong as it could ever be. We are leaving. There is sweet F-all the EU can do about that."

But they do not have to, or need to, give us decent terms on future trade. We are a tiny island, with little they need which they can't get from elsewhere in the block. It would hurt them a little to have no free trade agreement, but it would hurt them a lot more to give favourable terms which encourages other countries to leave the block. However, we will be severely hurt with no free trade agreement. This gives the EU the stronger bargaining position, as well as a good incentive to ensure it is not a good deal for the UK, whereas we have a weaker position with a strong incentive to get a deal of any sort.

"As per the examples the EU is a child on isle 5 banging their head on a wall and screaming its our fault for not giving them what they want."

I see it the other way around: We want out of the EU, but we still want to keep certain bits which we like, and are having a tantrum every time the EU says No.

" As for what good news I assume you are confused? I quote you "Yes, there has been some good news around Brexit.". That is from the same comment and you say not anything you have seen!"

There is a difference between the 2 points. I have seen some good news stories (though not many), which are all based on potential future successes not what is happening immediately. I have not seen us "doing well" out of it now.

"If this is their strength in negotiation we are better off out."

And to hell with the consequences?

"That is where you are viewing it as an optimist for the EU."

I will admit that I'm biased in favour of the EU. I see it's flaws, but believe that on the whole it is a good thing.

However, you are also showing your own bias against them. Everything the EU does is shouted down as being petty and childish.

"The EU is desperate for a border in Ireland, the best we offer is a soft border that the EU cries about."

The EU, and Ireland, do not want a border. However, both their own rules (sensible rules which most countries or trading block apply) as well one of the main stated aims of leaving (control of borders) pretty much demand it unless NI (with or without the rest of the UK) remain within the customs union.

It is yet another contradiction from Leave: We want to control our borders, except that bit. We want to leave the EU, except that bit. We want to be free to strike our own trade deals, but we want to keep all the deals the EU already has in place.

"The EU want extra rights while not offering much for UK citizens in the EU, so far not getting too far."

The EU is offering reciprocal rights. So whatever EU citizens living in the UK get after we leave, UK citizens living in the EU will get after we leave.

"unless May sabotages negotiations (if she does that will be a remainer victory however much they will still cry about it)"

I don't think May will sabotage negotiations. She may screw up through incompetence and weakness, as well as putting party politics ahead of the country (which was what the referendum was in the first place). If that happens, it will not be a victory for anyone. We need to leave on good terms or not at all, or else the country will suffer. Personally, I don't see us getting good enough terms for the country not to suffer, but it's possible and I would be very happy if we did. I also believe that, if we don't get a good deal, May will get the blame anyway (not a bad thing, but Leavers will not accept that they put the country in this position, and will need someone else to blame: Probably May, but there would also be cries of "Remainers sabotaged us, we could have done great without them!")

At the end of the day, we are not going to agree. You are dead against the EU, and want us out at all costs. I quite like the EU overall, think we would be better off staying in and believe that we will be damaged by leaving. I don't think anything either of us say to one another will change that. We will find out who was right once negotiations are complete and we have left.

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Dr. Mouse

Re: Wow

@codejunky

"Ok that is your opinion yet to be realised or shown in evidence but your not the only one who thinks things are going bad regardless of good news"

Yes, there has been some good news around Brexit. There has been much more bad news. The government doesn't have a plan, and every "negotiation" and "agreement" so far has seen them backpeddle furiously from their "red lines" and give in to whatever the EU wants. We do not have a strong bargaining position, strong negotiators or strong leadership. I cannot see this changing when we proceed to trade negotiations.

"Why is it obvious that the EU would be stupid?"

IMHO the EU aren't being stupid. They are in a negotiation, and using their position of strength to gain the best possible deal for themselves. Why do you think this is stupid?

"We already are [doing well from this]"

Not from anything I've seen, but even so we haven't yet left the huge trading block with which we do a large proportion of our business. The only good thing I can see is that the predicted immediate consequences didn't happen, but that's not good news, it's a lack of bad news.

"Why would we undo progress and good news to rejoin the EU which is in multiple crises and act like children? After seeing how petty and self defeating it is do you still want to be part of that sinking ship?"

Or, why should we leave a strong trading block which is using it's strength to apply pressure on us and is getting it's own way in pretty much every little bit of the negotiations so far? It doesn't sound stupid, petty or childish to me, it sounds like good negotiating tactics.

"The more desperate the EU is at doing anything to try and negotiate with to the point of self harm is amazingly daft but funny. It amuses me even more to read comments desperate for things to be bad for the EU, I dont know how you feel such gloom. You may or may not want the UK to burn if we leave the UK, you do seem to think its bad somehow so want us to change our mind, but why? Why excuse EU desperation and stupidity?"

I don't, because I don't see it as desperate or stupid. Who has the upper hand in negotiations so far? Again, the UK govt has pretty much bent over on every point and accepted the EU's position so far. This sounds far from stupid or desperate to me.

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Dr. Mouse

Re: Wow

you dont seem to be replying to the point of my comment which again is the glee of remainers at any perceived knock down of the UK by the EU. The desire of EU or burn

OK, I'll address that.

I know of noone who wishes the UK to "burn", from either side of the debate. It is not a desire, from Remainers, for the UK to "burn", but a belief that we are likely to "burn" if we keep heading down this path. It is also highly amusing to see so many "The EU are being mean to us!" comments from Leavers, when it was fairly obvious that things like this would happen.

At the end of the day, personally, I hope I am wrong and that the country does well from this, either by making a success of leaving or by abandoning it as a bad job. I just don't see any way, in the current circumstances, that we can leave and be anything other than significantly worse off. I had a small hope, immediately after the referendum, that a few other countries would join us in leaving and form a strong, separate trading block. At least that would have given us some strength in negotiations. But that's not a possibility anymore within the time remaining, so I see no hope.

So, yes, I will laugh when this sort of thing happens: It's either that or cry at the country making what I believe to be a disastrous mistake. If you choose to take that as that I want the country to burn if it leaves the EU, that's your prerogative but it's a mistaken interpretation.

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Dr. Mouse

Re: Wow

"As can be seen from this list, not all member countries of the European Union are members of ESA and not all ESA Member States are members of the EU"

But, again, Galileo is an EU project, not an ESA project.

"So EU petty politics is to play in this."

Or several other options, like the EU sensibly using it's strong bargaining position. Or the EU wanting to ensure that a military/security project is carried out mostly within it's own borders. Or so many other interpretations and reasons other than "Wah, the EU is being petty, it should just give us everything we want instead of looking after it's own interests... even though we are leaving to look after our own interests*".

* Not that I believe it is in our own interests to leave, but that is by the by.

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Dr. Mouse

Re: Wow

So this topic is about the ESA a European (not EU that is different) agency being potentially subverted by the EU to 'punish' the UK.

From Wikipedia:

Galileo is the global navigation satellite system (GNSS) that is being created by the European Union (EU) through the European Space Agency (ESA)

So actually, it's about the ESA running an EU project, where the EU has said that major contributors should be from the EU. No subversion required, the project is the EUs and they can set whatever rules they like around who is involved. As it is primarily a military/security project, it's quite understandable that they don't want third parties working on it, especially on any security-related parts.

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Dr. Mouse

I header an apt example.

A group of 10 people are asked to come up with specs for a new car. There is one engineer from the car industry, the rest being from a wide variety of background with no detailed knowledge of car design or manufacture.

After much discussion, they all agree that they want a cheap car, with lots of power and very economical. The specs that they decide on are:

- Produces 500BHP

- Does 100mpg

- Costs £10,000 OTR

The engineer tells them it's not possible to meet their spec, but the rest of them vote in favour, giving 90% of the vote to it.

The democratic will of the people is that the design should go ahead. But, in this instance, the 10% vote (from the person who actually knows about the subject) should carry more weight.

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Dr. Mouse

There is a large difference between deciding on who will represent you in parliament and deciding on a highly complex issue directly.

Personally, I don't speak of intelligence. However, what most people lack in such big decisions is in-depth knowledge of the situation. Most people I spoke to, on either side of the Brexit debate, had very little understanding of the complex situations involved. They relied mostly on the information provided by the press and the politicians. There were also many leave voters I spoke to who were "fed up of the experts", so ignored all those who did have an in-depth understanding of the situation.

I will admit, I am no expert. I did attempt to gather as many facts as possible before making my decision, from all sides of the argument, experts, and from raw data. It made my head swim, but it was necessary for me to make an informed decision. The vast majority of people I have spoken to didn't.

This is why I believe the referendum was a mistake. It's nothing to do with the intelligence of those voting, but that the sheer volume of information you need to read and make sense of to understand the issues involved makes it near impossible for the average person to make an informed decision. They will, in the main, vote with their heart rather than their head, which rarely produces optimal results in the long term.

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Dr. Mouse

The government has been clear that we want our critical role in this important project, which will help strengthen European security, to continue as we develop our deep and special partnership with the EU.

Translation: Wah Wah Wah, I don't want to be your friend or come to your house any more, but I still want to play with your toys. Muuummmmyyyy, they're being mean to meeeeee, waaaaaaah!

At the end of the day, Galileo is supposed to be a military/security system (with commercial use secondary). Outside the EU (as it's an EU military/security system) we will by default get the same access as everyone else. Remember that part of the reason was that GPS is a US military system, and access to it could be withdrawn at any time.

The fact we have spent money on it matters very little. We funded an EU programme, then decided we didn't want to be part of the EU. As with everything, people are now screaming "But we wanted to be part of that bit, just not the rest!" and "The EU are being so mean to us!" when, truthfully, anyone with an ounce of common sense expected this.

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Privacy activists to UK plod: Wanna slurp folks' phone records? Come back with a warrant

Dr. Mouse

Re: Performance indicators

I think performance indicators such as arrest count have somewhat more to do with it than human nature or institutional mores.

I agree that they do not help, but I don't think they are the main reason.

I would suggest that the main reason is that cops spend all day, every day looking at the criminal aspect of society. Because of this, they become used to seeing anyone accused of or under suspicion of an offence as guilty. I think it ends up as a form of confirmation bias, They start from the view that the person is probably guilty. All evidence confirming that is given more weight than evidence disproving it. Those who are found not guilty in court "got away with it".

This is even more true in cases of a sexual nature, and is enhanced by the rules, now. Someone who accuses another of committing a sexual offence against them is immediately called the victim, and police are told to believe them in the first instance (i.e. presume the accused is guilty, the opposite of what our justice system expects). The accuser is called the victim, and the accused is thought of as a sexual predator from day one.

So, I think "human nature - and institutional mores" play a bigger part than performance indicators.

I don't say any of this to excuse police behaviour, BTW. I still think it's appalling how the police and justice system treat people, and also believe the justice system is set up to punish people harshly well before they are convicted (just look at the damage inflicted on people during the investigation and trial, the cost of good legal counsel, and the fact you can rarely recover this from the state even if the prosecution was deeply flawed from the beginning).

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Dr. Mouse

"The police are not your friend - their job is not to prove your innocence, just the reverse in fact."

Their role is to gather evidence - without bias to a presumption of guilt or innocence.

Their role should be to gather evidence without bias, but it isn't. As things stand, they gather evidence for the prosecution. Any evidence which may "prove innocence" is quietly ignored, and it becomes the accused's job (and that of his counsel etc) to "prove" his innocence.

I know this because a friend of mine was charged with a very serious crime. He, and his wife, had to do all the research themselves to find evidence. Passing any of the information on to the police was greeted with a "that's your job, not ours" response (and passed on to prosecutors to discredit). They used delaying tactics and every dirty trick in the book to make life as difficult as possible for both him and his family and friends.

When it came to disclosure, they were presented with an unorganised pile of papers the day of the trial and told "that's new evidence we've uncovered", with some important documents burried within a load of irrelevant garbage.

Separately, a friend of a friend ended up pleading guilty to a crime which he was innocent of (and multiple eye witnesses had confirmed he was innocent of). The reason he did so, and served jail time, was that the dirty tricks played by the prosecution were taking him close to bankruptcy and mental breakdown. Six or seven times, he turned up in court (having paid for a week for the barrister) only to have the prosecution say they'd found new evidence and needed to consider it. The barrister still had to be paid for. He couldn't afford to keep doing that, nor could he face the stress of being randomly taken in for questioning whenever the police felt like it, so decided prison was a better alternative!

So, to anyone who thinks the police are unbiased, you are wrong. Their job is to secure prosecutions and to assist the CPS (whether that's official or not, it's the way things are).

Side note: before the issue with my friend, I generally trusted the police. Now, I wouldn't trust any of them one bit. If arrested, no matter the circumstances, the first words out of my mouth would be "lawyer".

5
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UK Court of Appeal settles reseller's question: Is software a good?

Dr. Mouse

Re: So.... [Dr Mouse]

"By the same line of thinking I could wardrive your WiFi and hijack it for my own downloading and streaming needs"

Actually, in this case you would be depriving the person paying for the bandwidth of that bandwidth. If you are using the bandwidth, they cannot, hence "stealing".

I (no longer) pirate material. However, I still maintain the point. Look at the maths:

- I do not purchase and do not pirate. Amount the IP owner gains from me: £0.

- I do not purchase but pirate the material. Amount the IP owner gains from me: £0.

There is a difference to me, as I get to experience something I otherwise would not. However, the IP owner experiences zero difference.

I'm not saying it's morally right to do so, but the pure fact is that it doesn't make a jot of difference to the IP owner. In fact they are likely to benefit from it. An example is that Microsoft strengthened their stranglehold on the desktop OS market through piracy, because those who would not normally have paid for their OS could get it for free and therefore didn't bother looking elsewhere. In the case of a movie, it means more people have seen it and talk about it, leading to more sales (as long as it was actually a good movie).

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Dr. Mouse

Re: So....

Alternative screwed up interpretation : it is no longer "illegal" (unlawful) to pirate movies and such.

I think this shows the lunacy of the situation.

However, I don't think your interpretation would fly in court. There's probably loads of other laws which relate to it: computer misuse, copyright violation, etc.

FWIW I strongly disagree with the phrase "copyright theft" and with the "you couldn't steal a car" style adverts. Pirating movies (by torrents etc) doesn't deprive anyone of a physical possession. In fact, it only deprives anyone of anything if you would otherwise have bought the movie/music/whatever. If not, nobody has lost anything.

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UK smut overlord declares age checks should protect users' privates

Dr. Mouse

Re: Nanny state the revenge..

But how do you enforce responsible parenting

You don't. In effect, you leave them to it and only intervene if you find they are doing (or not doing) something which will cause the child harm. It's the parent's right and responsibility to choose how to raise their child, how to protect them and educate them, and what morals to impart. It's not (or shouldn't be) their right to demand that everyone else is punished in order for them to shirk that responsibility.

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Dr. Mouse

Re: Nanny state the revenge..

why is this country's only answer to regulate instead of making parents responsible for the fucking offspring they have brought into this world

Spot on!

It reminds me of the South Park episode on Proper Condom Use:

Sharon: You were stimulating the dog, Stanley! What came out of him was his... r-Randy?!

Randy: Well, you know, when you do that to a m-male... the... eh eh you make his... stuff come out. [Stan looks confused] Well, Jesus, haven't they taught you these things at school?!

...

Chef: The first thing that kids learn about sex shouldn't be some bitch-scare tactic about STDs.

Sheila: [rising] No, she's right! With all the teen pregnancies that are out today, I think my boy does need to know about sexual education. [sits, then rises again] From the school.

Parents shift their responsibility on to the government. In order to regulate, the school put adults who are doing nothing illegal at risk (of identity theft, or being on a "pervert database"). They also put kids more at risk because, when they realise they can't access normal porn sites, they will go to the more risky ones which don't check ages, using VPNs or similar, and end up viewing extreme content.

Teenagers will have sex, view porn, etc. It's up to the parent to try to stop it and/or educate them with moral standards.

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Software gremlin robs Formula 1 world champ of season's first win

Dr. Mouse

As far as I understand it, the article is slightly wrong. Unless more information has been revealed since Sunday.

From what was said, it was not the software in the car, or information provided to the car which was wrong, nor was it timings for his driving while under the VSC. What was miscalculated was the "VSC pit window": the gap LH needed to be within to SV for him to come out behind them on track if he were to pit under VSC conditions.

All the software was saying that LH was safe, and that he would be ahead of SV in such a situation. Therefore, having made an early pit stop to cover off KR, he was driving at a reduced pace to save the life of his tyres. Had the software "fault" not occurred, he could have closed the gap by a couple more seconds to be safe.

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Guns, audio and eye-tracking: VR nearly ready for prime time

Dr. Mouse

Re: Eye tracking

I'm not sure how well it works on multi-monitor. I have only used it on the laptop screen.

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Dr. Mouse

Eye tracking

Tobii's system really is pretty cool.

I splashed out earlier this year and bought an Alienware laptop with Tobii, and it transforms several things. Outside games, being able to look at something, touch the mouse pad, and have the cursor in the right place starts to feel natural after a short time. In fact, going back to a normal PC without it feels decidedly unnatural.

I haven't spent much time gaming with it yet (I'm working through Assassins Creed Black Flag at the moment, the newer AC games support it but that one doesn't), but the little bits I have felt brilliant.

I wouldn't suggest that it replaces all computer input devices, but it certainly works better than I ever imagined!

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Intel: Our next chips won't have data leak flaws we told you totally not to worry about

Dr. Mouse

Re: Actually...

"I'm surprised there aren't more errors in it."

They're know as undocumented features, not bugs

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Tech giants should take the rap for enabling fake news, boffins tell EU

Dr. Mouse

You say confirmation bias, I say principles. The difference is, I don't feel guilty... Fake news! It really is. And real progressives should be ashamed of themselves for giving any credence this shameless pandering from the same old warmongers they used to rail against.

And here is part of the issue. You call it "the usual tripe", and blast people for "giving [it] any credence". That is to say that (whatever sources you are talking about) you completely dismiss it out of hand, which is dangerous.

As an example I spoke to one guy who was convinced that the vast majority of Muslims wanted to kill all non-Muslims. He had never spoken to a Muslim about their religion or their views. When I pointed out that I have known many and none wanted to kill anyone, his response was "well they would say that, wouldn't they". He was completely closed to the idea that any Muslim could be a good person, and no evidence could convince him otherwise. In his view I had been brainwashed by the PC culture, and anything I said was dismissed out of hand as lefty propaganda.

As soon as you dismiss any source out of hand you create a dangerous situation for yourself, closing your mind off. You read more sources which confirm your viewpoint, and less which disagree with it. This is textbook confirmation bias, and can lead to dismissing provable facts just because they don't fit your own world view.

I'm not having a go at you, or anyone else. As I said, I try not to let it but I know that it affects me too. It's a part of human nature, but it's a part we should at least attempt to minimise.

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Dr. Mouse

Re: Too big

Size isn't a valid excuse for breaking the law. If they/their platforms are too big to control, that is their problem and they have to find a solution, it doesn't absolve them of their legal responsibilities and duties. That it would be expensive to implement, again, is not regulators' or law enforcement's problem, it is a problem the platforms have to face as part of doing business.

Very true. Imagine if a company said it was so big that they couldn't possibly keep accurate account, or couldn't possibly ensure their food products were complying with food safety regulations...

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Dr. Mouse

...providing alternative links may be more effective. It envisaged a goal of "an open market for fact-checking" that avoids a "monopoly of truth" with a management board "composed of experts"

While "providing alternative link" may help in certain circumstances, I doubt it will have a large effect.

Humans are incredibly vulnerable to confirmation bias. Once they have formed an opinion, it is very difficult to change it. They will actively seek out information which confirms their opinion and give it a high weight, while contradictory information will be avoided and dismissed. It is an incredibly difficult task to minimise this in your own behaviour (I was going to say avoid, but I don't believe it's possible to completely avoid it). It is nearly impossible to affect another's confirmation bias: they must want to do it themselves, unless there is such unavoidable evidence that their view is incorrect that they cannot avoid it. Even then, there are many who will bury their heads in the sand: It's not easy to admit that you were wrong.

I know that I am guilty of this. There are many, for instance, far right websites I actively avoid. I find the material they publish to be distasteful, but also in such harsh contrast to my own world views that I struggle to do anything but instantly dismiss them. I do attempt to read stories from less extreme sources which conflict with my own world view, but it's still difficult not to be dismissive.

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Samba settings SNAFU lets any user change admin passwords

Dr. Mouse

Using a Samba ADDC in enterprise is fine, but you have to conceal that fact. Tell any vendor that your domain controller is running linux and suddenly that's the root cause of every conceivable problem.

"Won't authenticate" - "it's because of linux".

"Wrong permissions" - "it's because of linux".

"My coffee is cold" - "it's because of linux"

This is the same with "helpdesks" everywhere.

I once rang a broadband support line because my ADSL was down. They insisted on running through the script, and I made the mistake of telling them I couldn't click the start button because I was running Linux. That was immediately the cause of all the problems, in spite of the fact that there was a flashing light on the router indicating it couldn't sync.

From that point forward, I just pretended I had followed their instructions, and quickly changed ISPs to Be (who were amazing for techies!).

2
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London Mayor calls for social networks and sharing economy to stop harming society

Dr. Mouse

Re: "our contribution to the overall health of the public conversation".

Because there are those in the left wing who are doing good work, and do want people to work together, but their voices are being drowned out by the right wing, and those left wingers who cry out prejudice at the most inane and stupid things. It also means that moderate people are dismissing legitimate statements from the left as politically correct nonsense because they lump them in with all these pointless complaints. It's also pushing moderate voters to the right.

Very well said, have an up vote!

3
5

Most IT contractors want employment benefits if clobbered with IR35

Dr. Mouse

Re: Contractor rights

If contracts that pay tax want the perks of sick pay, paid holidays, etc then their pay should go down to account for that. Paid holiday is not covered by tax - it is covered by the employer.

I agree. But there is the rub: By allowing "Inside IR35 contracts" to exist, you are allowing people to be effectively employees (in terms of the job they perform) but with none of the associated rights. Why even have employment rights if people can opt out of them? They are supposed to cover all employees, which should include "disguised employees" (as should employee and employment based taxes, on both sides).

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Dr. Mouse

Re: Contractor rights

Corp tax is on turnover, so after VAT is taken off, but before everything else.

Erm, nope. Corporation tax is on profits, so after all legitimate business expenses have been deducted.

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Dr. Mouse

Missing the point

Message from the rest of us:

Pay your fucking taxes, you cheapskate bastards.

You are completely missing the point.

Contractors handle their taxes differently because they are running a small business. They don't avoid paying tax, they follow the tax rules and pay what they owe*.

IR35 is legislation to stop "disguised employment". This is where a contractor is behaving like an employee, not an independent consultant.

However, this is where the point is normally missed. It is normally the client (company engaging the contractor) who is doing something wrong. They need an employee (permanent or temporary), but take on a contractor instead and treat them as an employee. It is often cheaper for them to do so, and they avoid all the time-consuming paperwork and inconvenient employee rights involved.

There should be no such thing as an "inside IR35 contract". Having them legitimises disguised employment. It should be an outside IR35 contract, where the contractor is truely independent, takes on some risk etc, or an employee with all the associated rights and privileges. You shouldn't be able to choose to be a "disguised employee".

HMRC are obviously only focused on the tax implications, but the wider scope needs addressing. There needs to be a real definition of the difference between a contractor and an employee in employment law to stop abuse by either side of the engagement.

* Of course, not all, but those who don't are breaking the law and will, in most cases, be caught out eventually.

13
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UK PM Theresa May orders review of online abuse laws in suffrage centenary speech

Dr. Mouse

Re: 'edge' Lord,....

"It's quite easy to deal with death threats received via the Internet. Ignore them."

For most of us, that's true.

However, for public figures (MPs, Royals, Celebs) these threats aren't always throwaway insults by "kids [who] won't pass their driving test for several years, so won't be able to come find you." It's not long since an MP was stabbed in the street by one of her constituents. If they do just ignore them and something happens....

Also, MPs are supposed to be listening to the public*. They should be readin through comments made. If a fair number are abusive, they can't just abandon reading the comment thread as they may miss "important" information. They can't even just delete their online profiles, as most of us could if faced with large numbers of threats or abusive comments.

Finally, it's very easy to say "just ignore it". However, unless you've been the victim of "bullying" you don't know how this affects you (and even then, you can't know how it will affect someone else). After a while you start to believe what's being said about you. It can have a massive effect on your mental health, with knock on effects to your physical wellbeing.

* I say supposed to. I will not comment on how well they perform in this task...

6
2

Whizzes' lithium-iron-oxide battery 'octuples' capacity on the cheap

Dr. Mouse

Re: Oh look, another one.

The problem is not publishing the research. Publishing research is a great way to spread knowledge, gain funding, promote one's skills etc.

The problem is the mass media* picking it up and running with it when they have no idea what they are talking about. They misrepresent things through their lack of understanding**.

* I'll exclude el Reg from this, given that this article included comments from a real world expert.

** I am giving them the benefit of the doubt here, assuming that it's a lack of understanding rather than wilful lying for clickbait or that they have less than half a dozen brain cells to call to action.

26
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UK security chief: How 'bout a tax for tech firms that are 'uncooperative' on terror content?

Dr. Mouse

inaction from internet giants means the cost of tackling terror content is "heaped on law enforcement agencies"

Hmmm... The cost of law enforcement is "heaped on law enforcement agencies". Surely that's not right, is it? I mean, expecting the cost of doing something to be borne by the agency responsible for doing it. Shame on those big interweb companies for expecting the police to do their job!!

This is like the cops complaining that they have to pay to investigate a burglary. There would be no burglary without houses, so it should be the house builders who investigate the burglars and pick up the costs. If they won't, they should be hit with a burglary tax to cover the police's costs.

0
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Muzzle our public watchdog much? UK.gov Data Protection Bill adds affect the ICO

Dr. Mouse

Either there are more and more of these cases of "government exempts itself from the law" coming through recently, or they have always been happening and I just didn't know about it...

"I am the King PM, my word IS the law!"

8
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Inside Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 for PCs, mobes: Cortex-A75s, fat caches, vector math, security stuff, and more

Dr. Mouse

I agree, security through obscurity is not security. It's like hiding your cash under the mattress.

It is, however, a potential delaying tactic and can work well when paired with good security practices throughout. If few specifics are released, it could add a large time buffer between release and hackers finding an attack vector. If the underlying system is very secure, too, the system could well be past it's expected lifespan before an attack is formed.

It's pretty much like having a hidden safe: Before anyone can even try to break in to it, they have to find it.

That said, there's also the flip side. If details are released, white hats have a better chance of finding any holes before black hats do, which would allow Qually to fix them before an attack is available for use.

13
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Investigatory Powers Act: You're not being paranoid. UK.gov really is watching you

Dr. Mouse

Re: The cynic in me says it's academic ...

'There's no perfect solution - it's a trade off between "some guilty people go free when the cops screw up" versus "cops break the law".'

The point of our justice system is supposed to be that it's better for 100 guilty men to go free than for 1 innocent man to be punished.

If cops break the law in gathering evidence, it increases the likelihood that an innocent man will be punished. Most rules on evidence gathering are there to protect the innocent. Therefore, IMHO, cops who flout the law are undermining a core part of the justice system.

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Dr. Mouse

Re: The cynic in me says it's academic ...

"It's only in cases where the probity of the investigator is important that there's any risk - say, for example, a blood stained glove. And that's something that the judge can rule on and the jury make their minds up on. Which, by the way, is the current system in England and Wales. Evidence has to be acceptable to the judge to be admitted, courts don't just take everything the prosecution or defence brings."

Whenever the investigator is involved in gathering the evidence, his character is part of the validation of the evidence. Even in the case you stated, bank records, this could be called into question. Who is to say that he hasn't had an insider adjust the records? If he is willing to break one law to get the evidence he needs, everything he is involved with is suspect.

As for the judge and jury deciding on the matter, they can only do so if given the full facts. I'm not sure if it made it into the full IPA, but under a draft of it the cops were obliged to lie about the source of the evidence in some circumstances. Even the defendant was not allowed to reveal it, even having to perjure himself to keep it secret. That's not allowing the jury to make an informed decision.

Also, even without that, if a cop is willing to break the law to obtain the evidence, who's to say he won't lie about the source of the evidence?

The police should be held to a very high standard, because so much weight is put upon their word in court. As soon as they break the rules or law in the course of their job, everything they do is in question. If it's intentional, they could break other rules. If it's not, then have they been careless with other things?

7
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Dr. Mouse

Re: The cynic in me says it's academic ...

"The problem with illegally obtained evidence being admitted is that it creates a perverse incentive."

Exactly.

Take an extreme case: A person is beaten up by the police until they confess. The cop may get prosecuted, but that doesn't help Joe Bloggs who only confessed because he wanted them to stop hitting him, it can still be admitted as evidence against him*.

The problem with evidence obtained illegally is that it destroys faith in the evidence (or at least it should). If the cops were willing to break one law to obtain the evidence, how can we know they didn't break more? How do we know it wasn't fabricated? The cop, as someone who should uphold the law, has lost credibility by breaking the law.

THIS is why there should be a "fruit of the poisoned tree" rule in the UK, too. That and a minimum of immediate dismissal of any cop who breaks the law to obtain evidence.

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Dr. Mouse

It's quite possible that many more would have if they had known about it.

I would have, but knew nothing about any crowdfunding for this until I read this article.

40
1

We go live to the Uber-Waymo court battle... You are not going to believe this. The judge certainly doesn't

Dr. Mouse

Re: Alsup!!!

Yep, I loved that comment, too.

12
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GCSE compsci kids' work may not count after solutions leaked online

Dr. Mouse

Re: Cleary a crap exam

Brilliant, stealing that!

1
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Dr. Mouse

I studied Engineering at Uni, and a student once asked why we had to remember all the Laplace transforms for exams when, in the real world, there would be a book on the shelf to look it up.

The professor's answer was that, by learning it for an exam, you will at least be able to remember what you are looking for "in the real world". If you don't learn it for the exam, you'll probably have forgotten what it is you need to find by the time you are out in the world.

From this I took that the most important thing is to know what you don't know. There are several functions which I routinely have to look up the syntax for, or the exact name of. However, I know what I am looking for and can find it quickly. If you don't know what you don't know, you have to find out what you don't know before you can look for it, making the whole process much more time consuming.

2
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Abolish the Telly Tax? Fat chance, say MPs at non-binding debate

Dr. Mouse

Re: The BBC used to be more independent.

I must agree. Most people who talk about something being biased mean that it doesn't exactly match their own opinion.

I have, personally, noticed a slight left-leaning bias on the BBC (and I'm slightly left-of-centre in my political opinions). Most of the rest of the complaints I see have been either;

a) Someone with extreme left- or right-wing views disagreeing with a fairly neutral analysis, or

b) People complaining that the BBC is showing Remain bias (when it is normally just reporting on the opinions of experts, most of whom believe Brexit will be economically damaging)

23
4
Dr. Mouse

Re: Threatogram received from Crapita today

"consumers of the service (and only them) should pay for this"

I haven't been to the doctors in years, why should I pay for the NHS?

I haven't had any issues with crime, why should I pay for the police?

I haven't had a fire, why should I pay for the fire service?

I haven't had any foreign countries try to attack me, why should I pay for the armed forces?

And if you want to go only down the hobby/entertainment route, I don't watch the olympics, yet I had to pay towards them when they came to the UK, and probably every time they are on. Probably the same with football etc. too.

Some things are deemed to be in the national interest. And, strictly, paying the TV license is not "paying for the BBC", it's paying for the privilege of watching TV. You don't have to watch TV if you don't want, so you don't have to pay for a TV license. Just like you don't need to have a car, so don't have to pay road fund license.

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