* Posts by veti

1849 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

KFC: Enemy of waistlines, AI, arteries and logistics software

veti
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Re: Have I missed something?

Speak for yourself. The maps on my phone get updated a couple of times a week, on average, without any action on my part. If that's available as standard on a low-grade Android, I find it hard to believe that a $30,000 car can't match it.

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Mueller bombshell: 13 Russian 'troll factory' staffers charged with allegedly meddling in US presidential election

veti
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Re: Wonderful timing!

"Regular delegates voted for Bernie" - that's not what the actual record says. Hillary got more votes, more delegates, and more states, even before counting superdelegates.

I'm sure you can argue all day about how she cheated to get those and shouldn't have got them and everything was fixed by the DNC, but the simple statement "regular delegates voted for Bernie" is bullshit and I'll thank you to stop spreading it.

@Doug S: you're still underestimating Trump. Trump may well make a lot of sound and fury about how his opponent should be disqualified, but he would expect to lose that fight. He relishes losing fights, because every loss is a chance to tweet about how the deck is stacked against him. There's only one fight he actually cares about, and everything that distracts from that - helps him.

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veti
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Re: Last name on the list is not likely to be Russian

Whether the name is Bulgarian or Slovak or Martian, the individual concerned could still be Russian. And even if he's not, he could still be working in and employed by Russia. Let's not get distracted by trivialities.

As far as I can see, Mueller is about the only person in the US government who's making a sincere and honest attempt to do their job. Let's enjoy it while we can.

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veti
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Re: Many layers of subterfuge

Oh Homer, when has Trump ever suggested that he views Russia as an enemy? The only enemies in his world are people who have the temerity to sell things to Americans.

He's happy enough to take action against Kaspersky, which is pretty much the only Russian company that does that at any noticeable scale. But when told to act against Putin and his thugs, he systematically undermines the law that he himself signed.

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Stephen Elop and the fall of Nokia revisited

veti
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Re: "Elop's time at Nokia cost him his marriage, don't forget."

It's sad that you lost your relationship - but you were compensated, you got the money and the glory you'd been promised. That was your choice. You could have chosen to walk away from the job and the project instead; but you stuck with them. That was your choice, and don't pretend you didn't make it.

Tough break. But don't pretend that Elop's was less tough: arguably more so, because "marriage" implies a significantly deeper level of personal commitment than mere "engagement".

Elop didn't get all those millions as "compensation" for losing his marriage: it was the reward he'd been promised, and the marriage couldn't survive the process of earning it. He made a choice, just like you; the personal outcome was the same; and he was "rewarded" just like you. The difference is that in his case, the gains of staying in the job were a lot bigger.

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Look out, Wiki-geeks. Now Google trains AI to write Wikipedia articles

veti
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Re: To be fair

My thoughts exactly. There's quite a lot of pages in Wikipedia that are pretty badly written by humans - particularly, though by no means exclusively, when the humans in question were obviously writing in a foreign (to them) language.

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veti
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Re: Nothing a bit of editing can't fix

Reminds me of the 'AutoSummarize' feature that Word used to have. Except that, as I remember it, the Word version worked better than that. Less repetitive, and it knew what capitals were for.

Anyone know why it got taken out from Word 2010?

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Hua-no-wei! NSA, FBI, CIA bosses put Chinese mobe makers on blast

veti
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Well, duh

Asking "would you personally use a phone made by Huawei or ZTE?" is like asking "Would you personally drive a Lada?"

When you're asking people of that class, of course they're not going to put their hands up to that. Why would someone with a six-figure income even contemplate a cut-price phone?

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Crypto-gurus: Which idiots told the FBI that Feds-only backdoors in encryption are possible?

veti
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Physical access

I don't see the problem.

If the FBI, or anyone else, wants to take my phone away from me and invest a lot of time and effort into physically dismantling it and brute-forcing any encrypted content out of its memory, they can do that. They've got the resources. I don't mind if phones are not built to resist that level of attack.

If they don't want to go to those lengths, then obviously their motivation for wanting to know isn't strong enough, and they can stay the fuck out.

Problem solved, no?

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Roses are red, Kaspersky is blue: 'That ban's unconstitutional!' Boo hoo hoo

veti
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Re: Russian spies have rights

A Russian spy who is within the jurisdiction of any US court has exactly the same rights as any other person within the jurisdiction of that court, including the protection of the constitution. Go read the 14th amendment.

By all means "treat Kaspersky as a risk". There are plenty of ways to do that. If the government sees fit it can declare Kaspersky Labs a proscribed organization, freeze its assets, deport or arrest any representatives it finds in the US, prevent them from entering the country (or leaving it, or travelling within it for that matter)...

But the government hasn't done any of those things. Instead it's passed a bill of attainder - a form of law explicitly forbidden by the constitution - not even the bill of rights, but the main text of the constitution itself. The politicians who drafted and voted for that law, and the president who signed it, should all be recalled/impeached for perjury, because they all took an oath to uphold the constitution, and they've all broken it.

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veti
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@DougS, there are undoubtedly a lot of scum in Russia. Like the one whose email I was scrutinising just half an hour ago, in the vain hopes of finding someone I could plausibly report it to, trying to extract bitcoin from me. Since they claimed to be Ukrainian, I'm assuming they were at least patriotic Russians and quite possibly employed, indirectly, by the thug-in-chief himself.

But that doesn't mean every allegation against Russians should be considered "true". Particularly when the allegation takes the form of a law that would still be unconstitutional even if the claims were all 100% proven.

There are ways of dealing with rogue companies, but "passing a law against doing business with that particular company" is not a legitimate one.

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veti
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Re: Good Luck

How exactly does "the usual National Security line" allow them to ignore the constitution?

I mean, I get how it might be used to justify withholding evidence, but that's not the issue in this case. A bill of attainder is just flat-out unconstitutional, no matter how much evidence there is behind it.

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Yes, Assange, we'll still nick you for skipping bail, rules court

veti
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Re: Sheltering Criminals.

Sure, the UK could chuck out (withdraw accreditation from) the entire Ecuadorian embassy.

But that would be tantamount to "severing diplomatic relations". Which is generally seen as a pretty extreme step, most often an immediate prelude to "declaring war". Nobody thinks Assange is worth that.

Keep it in proportion, please.

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@Ledswinger: IIRC they tried that line of argument a couple of weeks ago. The answer was "you don't get to choose where you serve your sentence, that's kinda the whole point'.

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veti
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Re: Schrödinger's Embassy

Trump is only "big on loyalty" one way. He cares passionately that people are loyal to him, but he shows no sign of recognising any obligation to return or reward that loyalty. See: all the people he's dismissed (or have quit) from his campaign and/or administration and then disowned, with varying degrees of disparagement and vehemence.

I'm pretty sure Trump would claim him if he thought it would give him a diplomatic triumph he could tweet about. "Winning" is all he cares about. I also wouldn't put it past him to make the attempt even if he knew it only had a small chance of working, because "losing" doesn't cost him anything either - he just blames it on his innumerable enemies (who are, of course, no fault of his, they're completely evil and irrational).

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UK Home Sec Amber Rudd unveils extremism blocking tool

veti
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Re: detects 94 per cent of Daesh propaganda with 99.995 per cent accuracy

I read that as "it has a 6% false negative rate, and a 0.005% false positive rate". It's expressed clumsily, but it's weighted towards false negatives, which is a good thing.

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Why aren't you being arbiters of truth? MPs scream at Facebook, YouTube, Twitter

veti
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Re: There is no truth

if I claim that something provably false is true, and this claim results in demonstrable harm, then I should reasonably expect to be challenged and, if successful, punished. By the police and courts, not vigilantes

A good principle, but how does it translate into real life? What is "provably false"? What if you had no way of knowing, when you made the claim, that it was "provably false"? What is "harm", and how do you demonstrate it?

Example: if I publish a mugshot of a 13-year-old girl with the caption "Ugly crack ho sucks for bucks", is that "provably false"? If the girl in the picture subsequently kills herself, is that "demonstrable harm" from my posting? - how do you separate it from the 100 other bullies all posting the same thing, from her boyfriend dumping her and her teachers overloading her?

What difference does it make if, instead of a 13-year-old girl, the picture is a 61-year-old woman? What if it's Theresa May?

Simple rules are easy to state, but then the lines are too easy to blur. The devil is in the detail.

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UK ICO, USCourts.gov... Thousands of websites hijacked by hidden crypto-mining code after popular plugin pwned

veti
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Re: Don't load third-party scripts

So what's the alternative, exactly?

1. Write, maintain and test everything in house. Oh, and remember to document it too, because otherwise you're just storing up trouble for next week. And even then you'll still have dependencies - on browsers, on server platforms and scripting languages - and vulnerabilities will still creep in. I'm not really seeing the business case for that.

2. Make sure every resource is fully audited, and can't be amended without appropriate hoop jumping. This is marginally less work than (1) (and commensurately slightly less secure), but frankly it's still a shedload of effort for very small return.

3. Avoid scripts entirely. Congratulations, now you spend your whole life saying "no" to the marketing department. Good luck keeping your job, even if your company can survive.

Or 4. Accept that the occasional breach is part of your normal operational costs. Just like you expect employees to pinch some of your stationery, you expect customers to duck out on some of their bills, so you also expect hackers to disrupt some of your transactions. Accept it, model it, budget for it. Move on.

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MPs: Lack of technical skills for Brexit could create 'damaging, unmanageable muddle'

veti
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Re: But it will be worth it

This time, when we whine about the deal, they can tell us to fuck off.

Yeah, but they won't, because - despite the current rhetoric - a hard Brexit would probably destroy the EU.

The individual countries, and the continental economy, wouldn't be too badly affected, true. But the EU as an institution would take a blow that would make the Greek/Spanish/Italian budget fiascos look like very small beer indeed. And others would definitely start to take "leaving" more seriously as an option.

Everyone seems to think that populism is dead, that Macron has restored sanity and stability. But the French populists haven't gone anywhere, and for the next four years they get to blame everything - including Brexit - firmly on Macron, who is the elitist's elitist. Le Pen will be back, and she'll be stronger. And Orban, and Duda, have no love for the EU - if it stops paying them (and without Britain's money, it likely will), they will turn on it. Geert Wilders is still there, so is Milos Zeman. Meanwhile Merkel is a shadow of her former self, Macron is still in the woolly idealistic phase, Italy shows no sign of giving a shit, Spain is still smarting from the fiscal spanking inflicted on them by the Germans. For the first time in a generation, there is no clear leader in Europe.

Sure, things look pretty bad to us. But in the alternative world where the referendum went the other way, I feel pretty confident that beds of roses and sunny optimism are also in very short supply indeed.

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veti
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Re: But it will be worth it

I would remind the house of how EU negotiations always go.

Going in, there's talk of agendas and constituencies and red lines, and it all looks kinda planned. Then things get bogged down, there's talk of breakdowns and everyone walking away empty handed, and all-night sessions as deadlines loom.

Then, at the last minute, there's a triumphant rabbit out of the hat that amounts to either extending the deadline, or face saving fudges all round. But, and this is important, there is no hint of this fudge before the last minute. Everyone talks as if there is total irreconcilable deadlock, right up to the moment there isn't.

The pattern is invariable. It's by design - it's the process that allows governments, all of them, to sell unpalatable fudges to their electors.

I don't see why we should expect Brexit to be different.

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CLOUD Act hits Senate to lube up US access to data stored abroad

veti
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You're not reading the story.

That's what they're doing now. This bill gives US companies the right to resist handing over the information if they believe it applies to someone who's protected by foreign laws. That's a right they don't, currently, have, without going through a prolonged and expensive appeals process.

It's smart packaging: it dresses itself up as empowering law enforcement, but actually it's limiting powers that they're already using (albeit without any clear authority).

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Boffins crack smartphone location tracking – even if you've turned off the GPS

veti
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This is great news!

Finally, we can stop having those battery-sucking, sky-hungry GPS locators in every phone, and get almost the same level of service for a quarter of the battery hit!

What do you mean, "not available to the user"?

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veti
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You can do encrypted comms with a pen and paper, quite ordinary people have been doing it for centuries. Of course you can do them with a 3310.

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Accused Brit hacker Lauri Love will NOT be extradited to America

veti
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Re: Fine legal system

Any one person's experience could give strong anecdotal evidence that the Anglo system has room for improvement - lots of room, even - but it wouldn't say anything about the relative merits vs other national systems.

Therefore, it fails to refute the claim that it's "one of the world's finest". It merely says "this bar may be lower than you think".

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Vast majority of NHS trusts have failed cyber security assessment, Brit MPs told

veti
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@John G Imrie

@Zog_but_not_the_first

Easy to say, not so easy to do.

There are a lot of requirements placed on NHS contractors. If you add yet another one, you run the real risk that there will be *nobody* who is fully qualified to provide some vital product or service. And so you'll always have to make compromises somewhere.

So there's always going to be argument about which requirements are essential, and which are merely desirable. Argument means politics. Welcome to square one.

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UK Home Office grilled over biometrics, being clingy with folks' mugshots

veti
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/s /criminals /residents

We're talking about the pollution of law enforcement databases with spurious data. It's the criminals who benefit from this practice, which the Home Office is apparently defending out of sheer inertia ("it'd be too much work to change it").

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veti
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Re: This is B@*&£$%!

Of course the suspect has been arrested. It's being charged that's the missing step.

I can well believe that there isn't a "charged" flag in that particular database, so a simple SQL query probably isn't going to cut it.

(You may reply "well, that's crap design then", and I wouldn't deny it. I'd take "crap design" as a given, in any significant data structure that's grown up over a period of time. But that's not the same as proposing a roadmap for how to improve it, let alone finding the budget to do it.)

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veti
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How about, make deletion part of the discharge process when you get let out of your cell? How hard can that be?

(Actually, I'm hoping the answer is "pretty hard". Adding a significant administrative overhead to locking people up without good reason is a feature, not a bug.)

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

veti
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There are 40 million different reasons for that.

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Nork hackers exploit Flash bug to pwn South Koreans. And Adobe will deal with it next week

veti
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Re: And the biggest offender Award goes to....

Makes sense. It's a sector where people are most likely to be encouraged/forced to use shit that they personally had no hand in making, that's never been properly vetted or audited, and doesn't even have any proper trail of accountability showing who chose it in the first place.

As a result of which, if a teacher does have reservations about a particular course or resource, there are many lines of resistance to challenging it that kick in automatically, quite regardless of what it is:

1. That's mandated by (insert agency here). Or at least we think it is, frankly the guidance is so vague it's very hard to tell, but we know that if we get it wrong we'll be subject to months of inspections and possibly loss of funding, so how strongly do you feel about this exactly?

2. That was licensed back in 2013, we don't have the budget to review or replace it

3. That is approved by (insert agency here), it represents the latest and best thinking and it knows far better than you do (pleb)

4. All our other course materials are designed around that. Taking it out would leave a hole that would take months of work to plug, and nobody has time for that.

5. Yes, we hate that too, but Mr Awkward the deputy head likes it and if we try to scrap it, he'll retaliate by pulling our licenses for these other resources and demanding a full review

6. I've only been doing this job a couple of years, I don't know which of (1-5) applies in this case, but I'm pretty sure at least one of them does.

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Ignore that FBI. We're the real FBI, says the FBI that's totally the FBI

veti
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Re: Nigerian scanner

That would have flagged this story, and (separately) your comment on it.

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veti
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Re: Ignore them.

"Basic knowledge of how law enforcement actually works" is probably in just as short supply as knowledge of how to read an email header, so that doesn't really seem to get us much further.

I received an email "from" my bank the other day, saying that someone had tried to log on to my account and I should log on and check for any suspicious activity, just click here. Except I knew it wasn't from my bank, because - for precisely this reason - I've never given them my email address. Of course I also know that even if I had, they wouldn't have sent me an email like that, and even if they did, I wouldn't click any link I found in it, and even if I was tempted to do so, I should use a quarantined browser and check the domain of the linked site before typing anything into it. So I had many layers of defence against that phish. But not everyone would. The more tools you can give people, the more likely it is that they'll find one they can actually use.

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Good news, everyone: Ransomware declining. Bad news: Miscreants are turning to crypto-mining on infected PCs

veti
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That's like asking a doctor not to cut out the tumour in your brain, because it's helping to keep your head nice and warm.

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Terror law expert to UK.gov: Why backdoors when there's so much other data to slurp?

veti
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Re: Knows His Stuff

The Snoopers' Charter already has a definition of "metadata". It's "any data that doesn't reveal the actual content of the communication."

So as things stand, if you encrypt your communication, the whole thing becomes metadata and *must* be recorded, in its entirety, by your ISP.

You're welcome.

On another point: I'm fine with governments having the authority to kick down people's doors. (It's not like anyone has ever been able to stop them doing that anyway.) And by analogy, I'm fine with them seizing people's phones and brute-forcing the content out of them. If you have a police force with authority to arrest people, then that pretty much implies authority to investigate their stuff as well.

What I don't want is them surreptitiously sneaking in (to either houses or phones) and snooping thataway. Investigation *without* physical arrest/intrustion - that's what we need to watch out for.

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So you accidentally told a million people they are going to die: What next? Your essential guide...

veti
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I hope they've got a good story for the NSA, on how they got their hands on that transcript of the phone call to the governor.

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Borked bog forces flight carrying 83 plumbers to bug out back to base

veti
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Pint

Proportionality

The detail I like in this story is that, apparently, it was cheaper to replace the whole plane than it would have been just to fix (or replace) the malfunctioning khazi.

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Trump White House mulls nationalizing 5G... an idea going down like 'a balloon made out of a Ford Pinto'

veti
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The US is about 475 times the area of Wales. Japan and Norway are about 18 Waleses each, South Korea about 5.

On the other hand, the US's GDP is about 50 times that of Norway, and its land area is only 26 times it. The US's population density is also higher. So that seems like a pretty poor excuse.

Nevertheless, this isn't going to happen. Since everyone (who matters) and his (they're all male, naturally) dog hates the idea, and since - significantly - no-one in the government is speaking up to defend it, I think at this stage it can safely be written off as a troll. An internal document, probably produced by some junior staffer just for completeness, that's been leaked. It was never in danger of becoming official policy.

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veti
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YHBT

Clearly, some intern has successfully trolled not only Ajit Pai, but the entire US mobile industry.

"Slam the breaks on", indeed. Sheesh, he couldn't even wait for someone competent to proofread his cliches.

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You had one job, Outlook! Security bug fix stops mail app from forwarding attachments

veti
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They're not even trying any more, are they?

Dear Microsoft: you are not in the business of software development. By far the biggest and most important part of your work is maintenance of software that's been used for decades. So stop giving that work to your newest and most clueless developers.

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Death notice: Moore’s Law. 19 April 1965 – 2 January 2018

veti
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The slowdown happened because the IT industry has grown far faster than the ability to train competent software engineers.

Or to put it another way: "Competent software engineers have repeatedly failed to deliver on their promises to create tools that would put the great majority of computing tasks within reach of any reasonably educated layperson."

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Pope wants journalism like the Catholic church wants child sex abuse probes: Slow, aimless...

veti
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Where are the quotes?

So, where are the quotes from the pope that support the hysterical, clickbait headline of this article? Where does he draw a connection, or even a parallel, between hard-hitting investigative journalism and "fake news"?

Or were you just desperate for a headline that would get people to click?

What he does say:

Nor can we ever stop seeking the truth, because falsehood can always creep in, even when we state things that are true. An impeccable argument can indeed rest on undeniable facts, but if it is used to hurt another and to discredit that person in the eyes of others, however correct it may appear, it is not truthful.

Example: "As POTUS, Donald Trump directs the employment of thousands of people whose job is to promote his agenda; his political allies employ many more, across multiple organisations. Trump has previously called the Pope's comments "disgraceful". Now here is Shaun Nichols, ostensibly employed by The Register, posting smears on the Pope's character and thoughts."

Every statement in the foregoing paragraph is well documented truth. Does that make the paragraph, taken as a whole, "true"? Are you, in fact, working for Trump?

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veti
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Re: FTFY

Umm... the Salem witch trials were an all-Protestant affair, thankyousomuch.

The Crusades were a European war - specifically a land grab - in the Middle East. We've managed to keep making those to this day, without the blessing of any recent popes that I'm aware of. Religion was used as political cover, but it wasn't the underlying motivation, any more than "spreading democracy" was the motivation for invading Iraq.

The Spanish Inquisition was a secret police force used to enforce national conformity in Spain after the Reconquista, when there was a moral panic about Jews outwardly converting to Catholicism, but secretly continuing to be Jewish. This mattered because Jews would tend to favour the ousted Muslim rulers (who had allowed them a lot of freedom) over the conquering Christian kings (who allowed them virtually none). In other words: it was about political loyalty.

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It's 2018 and… wow, you're still using Firefox? All right then, patch these horrid bugs

veti
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Dear Mozilla, there's more to life than security

How about some fixes for the new stability issues you introduced with Quantum?

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Smut site fingered as 'source' of a million US net neutrality comments

veti
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"Signing petitions with joke names" is a tradition - older than modern democracy itself.

The great Chartist petition of 1839 was signed Queen Victoria - several times, in different handwriting oddly enough - and quite a few other people of similar levels of improbability.

It's not about "looking authentic", it's likely just people having a laugh. Trolls, as we call them nowadays.

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veti
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Re: Ain't American Politics Great?!

The GOP wouldn't need to force cloture if they were willing to, y'know, actually put a bill up to the vote that would attract some Democratic votes.

They could do it today. There's easily a majority in both houses for a straight DACA replacement. The reason they won't do it is because Ryan and McConnell are both terrified of pissing off their own hardliners. They'd rather keep their own fractured caucuses together, and keep the Dems out, than pass a law that actually has majority support.

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Facebook grows a conscience, admits it corroded democracy

veti
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Re: Evil Witch

I'm not going to defend "orange", but "buffoon" is not a comment on appearance.

As to "we'll see an end to references" - look, you're not arguing with a monolith. I'm not going to try to answer for every person who detests Trump. Some will undoubtedly say thing I won't defend. I don't see why that should stop me from pointing out when others' criticisms are also indefensible. (E.g. see above, vicious ad hominem assaults on snopes.com.)

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veti
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Re: Fake news is fake news

That's the biggest part of the problem, sure, but you're overlooking the multiple layers of obfuscation and laziness involved. It's not (just) Facebook that's misrepresenting stuff as "news": it's also Facebook users, and indeed the news sources themselves.

The economics of news reporting is fundamentally broken. (Basically: there is no plausible way to make money out of reporting facts. People think that facts are valuable, but only opinions can be monetised. Therefore there's a strong structural incentive to present one as the other.)

That's not actually Facebook's fault, although they're certainly not doing anything to improve matters.

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Info Commish tells UK.gov we shouldn't let artificial ignorance make all our decisions

veti
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Re: Yeay. AI. The 21st century version of "Computer says no."

Still better than having humans do it.

At least software can be updated. Try doing that with a judge's mind.

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veti
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Re: Credit reference agencies need reigning in too.

@Doctor Syntax: to file a libel suit in the UK, you need to be ready and willing to meet all your own legal expenses. To anyone who doesn't have a six-figure bank balance, it's not really on the cards. (Though I suppose you could use sponsorship or crowdfunding, if you think it'll work.)

This is pretty much by design: the law protects rich people, because obviously they need it more than us plebs.

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'WHAT THE F*CK IS GOING ON?' Linus Torvalds explodes at Intel spinning Spectre fix as a security feature

veti
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Forking "fix"...

So Intel's idea of a security fix is to take their buggy product, and turn it into, effectively, two buggy products. One with the original bug unfixed, the other with all new bugs waiting to be identified, and way lower performance to, if you'll pardon the pun, boot.

Yeah, no thanks. Even Microsoft knows better than that.

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