* Posts by veti

2633 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

Google routing blunder sent Japan's Internet dark on Friday

veti Silver badge

What has happened to the internet?

It grew.

The original design was never envisaged to handle anything within about five orders of magnitude of today's traffic. Not surprising it creaks a bit from time to time.

Biometrics watchdog breaks cover, slams UK cops over facial recog

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Big Brother

Re: Confidence in the police? I think it's already gone.

Don't worry, what they haven't figured out yet is that those "20 miillion" mugshots are of only about 3 million different people. That's how good their recognition system is.

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Re: Business As Usual

Hey, don't blame ACPO. They're just a talking shop. Their only role in this story is to run interference for the wankers at the Home Office.

(Not that they're "blameless", but they're certainly not the ones in charge.)

US prosecutors drop demand for 1.3m IP addresses of folks who visited anti-Trump site

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Re: Why the Trump (words I will not say)

1. There may be "genetic evidence", but you give no references and I seriously doubt you're privy to it - if anyone is.

2. Trump isn't (particularly) racist. He despises everyone equally. Racism is merely a wedge issue that's useful because it gets angry crowds out onto the streets, and that image fuels fear and builds support for a "strong" (= unaccountable) leader.

3. See (2). You're confusing means with ends. He doesn't want to cause harm - that's incidental. He really couldn't give a monkey's how many people suffer - any number between zero and seven billion, it's all the same to him. "The benefit of controlling a modern state is not the power to persecute the innocent, it's the power to protect the guilty."

4. Is there anyone, even among his supporters, who doesn't know that?

veti Silver badge

Re: Isn't this all a huge smokescreen?

Quite possibly the NSA could provide that information - but catch them sharing it with the DoJ, particularly on a pretext like this...

You seem to be forgetting that the intelligence community as a whole despises Trump. They would call the DoJ out on its bullshit request in a heartbeat, if it were addressed to them.

And what's worse, it wouldn't be made public. Which means we'd all miss out on the not-so-subtly-coded warning in this story: "careful what sites you visit".

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Re: Ok...

Sadly, the "weasel move" was to demand the data, then back off only when the demand was made private. They haven't been called out on that at all.

Sure, they're not getting the data - but they never really wanted it. After all, what could they actually do with it?

But by demanding it and, crucially, waiting for Dreamhost to go public before they moderated the demand - they've already had the "chilling effect" they wanted. Now, every American will be that tiny bit more - thoughtful about what links they click on and what websites they visit. And criticism of the Dear Leader just got that little bit harder.

Mission accomplished.

WikiLeaks a 'hostile intelligence service', SS7 spying, Russian money laundering – all now on US Congress todo list

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Glad someone noticed

Good on Wyden for at least noticing how bad the language was. And now the whole of the rest of the committee can't claim they didn't realise they were shitting on the constitution.

This "quietly inventing new categories to get around laws" has got to stop. "Non-state hostile intelligence service" my arse.

Private sub captain changes story, now says reporter died, was 'buried at sea' – torso found

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Once the words "torso found" have featured in the story, exactly how much worse can it get?

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Re: Generous police

As Chanel 9 would put it: Sminky pinky accidento bizarro.

Energy firm slapped with £50k fine for making 1.5 million nuisance calls

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Re: What an utter joke

To put it in context, there are about 33 million landline phones in the UK. (According to OFCOM.)

But the TPS can also contain mobile numbers. There are a whopping 92 million of those. (Go figure.)

So those '23 million' - assuming they're all current, and remember that since the TPS is trying to sell itself to companies they have an incentive to, e.g., keep numbers that they know are long since disused - represents about 20% of the total market. Which is more than I would have guessed, but a lot less than "every home phone line".

veti Silver badge

Re: Different planet

No, if they had a licence and used it they would only have been able to call 1.4 million people. That seems like a reasonable choice to me.

I also think the fine is not as paltry as some seem to think. Do the maths. They're selling "home energy solutions", which translated into real words seems to mean "insulation, mostly, plus a smattering of other stuff to make it sound sexier". What do you think their sales conversion rate is? I'd be quite surprised if they got much more than 5000 actual sales, out of those 1.5 million cold calls.

But what they would get is 50,000 "prospects" (aka "timewasters"), and maybe 20,000 "obligation-free quotes". Creating and following up all those is a fair bit of work. So thinking about the cost-per-sale - we're already talking several hundred pounds before a single actual tile has actually been ordered, much less delivered or fitted. And the market is reasonably competitive, so the margins on the "delivery and fitting" process can't be all that fat to begin with.

Altogether, 50 grand probably represents quite a big bite to them.

US cops point at cell towers and say: Give us every phone number that's touched that mast

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Who doesn't love saying "I told you so"?

Anyone remember the heady days of, ooh, 2005 or so, when Americans used to sneer at Brits for being so heavily surveilled by cameras?

"Just you wait", I told them. "We're pioneers. Your authorities will learn from ours, and when they build their own systems, they'll make ours look petty and amateurish by comparison."

Welcome to the future.

I say, BING DONG! Microsoft's search engine literally cocks up on front page for hours

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Re: @FSM - "A Microsoft spokesperson told us the Windows giant has nothing to say."

Saying "We have nothing to say" is quite a different statement from merely... saying nothing.

Saying nothing means you haven't noticed, or don't care enough about the person asking to acknowledge them. Saying "nothing" means the opposite.

FYI: Web ad fraud looks really bad. Like, really, really bad. Bigly bad

veti Silver badge

Re: Advertising is often overhyped...

Believe it or not, the people who spend billions of dollars a year advertising things that we already all know about - have, actually, thought about this. They have access to a damn' sight better data than your gut instincts, or mine, or even their own. They even have all the tools at their disposal to conduct their own trials, if they feel so inclined.

And it turns out that advertising does work, one unsourced anecdote notwithstanding.

London council 'failed to test' parking ticket app, exposed personal info

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Re: Tax roundabout

The taxpayers of Islington are the ones who saved money by not testing the system in the first place. It's completely appropriate that they should be the ones to foot the bill now.

And those same taxpayers of Islington are, of course, completely within their rights to fire the councillors associated with the project, who are the only people you can reasonably argue are 'responsible'. They'll get a chance to do that next May.

Defra recruiting 1,400 policy wonks to pick up the pieces after Brexit

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Re: Lies, damned lies and ...

Well, of course. If you were hired for a fixed-term contract with an employer with an AAA credit rating, wouldn't you try to carve out a permanent niche for yourself?

Some of them may not. The best and the worst, probably not. But the solidly-average employees - once they're in, they're in to stay.

Everyone who's ever devoted more than ten minutes' thought to the question always knew that Brexit would be horrendously inefficient. If only the Remain campaign had thought to mention that fact... but come to think of it, it probably wouldn't have made that much difference. The Brexit referendum was essentially a rerun of the Scottish independence referendum a year earlier - the issues were much the same and so were most of the arguments, except that the Scots actually did mention this issue, and it was still a damned close-run thing.

As I wrote at the time: "There's only so long you can go on treating voters as idiots. Even if they demonstrably are idiots."

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Re: From what I have read and seen

I'm pretty sure that's May's endgame. How else can you explain that election?

Sadly, instead of playing along, the opposition is actually trying to stop her.

Chap behind Godwin's law suspends his own rule for Charlottesville fascists: 'By all means, compare them to Nazis'

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Re: Devil's Advocate @Updraft102

You are, of course, free to try to define "fascism" as left-wing. However, most left-wingers would disown it just as vehemently as you do, and with just as solid arguments. They would say, correctly as far as it goes, that a philosophy of national solidarity inherently conflicts with one of class solidarity. They would point out that (self-described) fascist parties in Europe historically defined themselves in sharp opposition to communist, or even moderate socialist, parties, and allied with conservative parties. And so on.

The sad fact is that the terms "right" and "left" are a linguistic artifact dating back to the National Assembly of the French Revolution. And to be frank, the factors that differentiated their delegates are not terribly relevant to our time. In politics generally, "left" and "right" don't really have any clearly defined meaning at all any more.

So your insistence that "right" is by definition synonymous with "individualism" is, quite simply, a quixotic opposition to current usage, based on nothing that will withstand examination.

I'd also like to point out that certain people in American politics who describe themselves as "the right" will also routinely use "snowflake" - long a symbol of "individuality" - as a term of abuse. So if you are right about what "right-wing" means, then pretty much everyone else is wrong about it (and Donald Trump is the most left-wing president in recent memory).

veti Silver badge

"Communism" is based on a theory of historical inevitability about the balance of economic power between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Its aim is to prevent (further) bloody revolution by eliminating the historical conflict of interest between those two classes.

It doesn't work, except as a vehicle for ruthless people to seize and hold on to power (and wealth) for a time.

"Nazism" is a particular strand of "fascism", based on a myth of national (rather than class) unity and racial purity (with the corollary that anyone of the wrong race is not really part of the "nation"). It draws on an imagined glorious past from a time before the nation it was betrayed or declined into modern decadence.

It doesn't work, except as a vehicle for ruthless people to seize and hold on to power (and wealth) for a time.

"Capitalism" is a much more limited system, based on the theory that "capital" is the most important factor of production and if its usage is optimised, national output will be maximised. I call it "more limited" because it is not, inherently, tied to any particular political theory.

Unlike the other two, it does work, precisely because its goals are much more limited. It doesn't pretend to be about rebuilding past glories or eliminating future conflicts. You want to maximise national output? - capitalism is the way to go. Of course, if you believe public policy should be about more than merely maximising output, then capitalism probably isn't the answer for you - or at least, not the full answer. But that's an "ought" discussion, and as such beyond my present scope.

Hope this helps.

veti Silver badge

Re: Godwin not applicable here

Well, yes. The nazis themselves think Trump has sympathies, secret or otherwise, for them.

Are they right? Hell no, Trump doesn't even know what "sympathy" is. But he certainly finds them useful, both to mobilize his own base and to illustrate how the media is out to get him.

Australia's metadata retention scheme costs telcos $500k per cuffing

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Is there any insight into how much of that $200 million is related to the ridiculous number of requests?

I have no sympathy if the industry agreed to take $128 million and has only now discovered that wasn't enough. Serve them right for screwing up their estimating. But if the government initially said "Reckon on about 10,000 requests per year", or something to that effect - that's a different kettle of ball games.

Really, the obvious solution is to allow - nay, require - ISPs to charge a processing fee per request (where "a request" is defined as applying to one account/user). That would dis-incentivise agencies from huge trawling expeditions.

US prosecutors demand data to unmask every visitor to anti-Trump protest website

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What's missing from this story?

So... has Dreamhost actually filed a motion, or whatever it is they need to do, to resist the order legally? Or are they just blogging about it and aiming for martyrdom?

I would have guessed that legal channels would stand a good chance of success in this case, but only if they're correctly pursued. "The court of public opinion", while entertaining, is not really the most appropriate jurisdiction for the case.

Assange offers job to sacked Google diversity manifestbro

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@Sir Runcible Spoon Re: Well..

Thing is, he absolutely did use the word "biological".

That was what struck me about the whole episode: he made some points, which a lot of people would consider valid, and then also threw in a lot of speculation/personal judgment that can't be substantiated in any way. Then he mixed them all up, so it was next to impossible to separate the substantive points from the ranting.

This basically guaranteed that sympathetic readers would say he was right, and unsympathetic ones would say he was bullshitting, and they'd both be right, within the studiously-ignored limits of what aspects each side was focusing on.

It was masterful, almost Trumpian level trolling. And it worked. Just look at all this publicity.

WannaCry-killer Marcus Hutchins denies Feds' malware claims

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Re: A question for some American lawyer

No. What will happen - best case - is that he'll be charged with overstaying his visa (because by then he'll have been in the USA, detained, for about two years), booted out and never allowed to visit again.

If he's *really*I lucky, they may not even press the bill for his jail accommodation.

Snopes lawsuit latest: Judge orders disputed cash can flow to fact-checking site

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Re: Snopes is a Damaged Brand....

"Global warming" or "climate change" is not political. The atmosphere doesn't care what you believe or who you vote for. And besides, there are dozens of sites dedicated solely to debunking the other side's talking points on that topic, so Snopes is quite redundant in that field anyway.

'Real' people want govts to spy on them, argues UK Home Secretary

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Re: Readers' comments on Telegraph article

I'd say it's a bit unfair to characterise the Torygraph as "authoritarian".

"Paternalistic", sure. But it's got a healthy streak of scepticism towards "big gummint" in general, no matter which party is in power. It's no Daily Mail.

(Some people equate "right-wing" with "authoritarian", but that can't be justified either philosophically or observationally - in the UK, Labour is at least as authoritarian as the Tories.)

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I've said it before...

Governments don't need a backdoor, when they can just barge in through the front.

If Amber Rudd cares that much about who I'm exchanging messages with or what I'm saying, let her send some goons round to seize my phone. That's completely within her power to do, and it would answer all her questions far more easily and, ironically, less intrusively.

Strong and stable, my arse. UK wobbles when coping with ransomware

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Clickbait

1,054 companies across six countries - does not look to me like a solid basis for statistical comparisons between countries.

It's probably good enough for a decent "overall" international average, but the sample size in any one country is just too small to draw meaningful conclusions.

Nothing to see here.

The opsec blunders that landed a Russian politician's fraudster son in the clink for 27 years

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"I was talking illegally while driving at the time but we got into action immediately."
Am I the only one who's noticed, this "assistant US attorney" has just confessed to a crime? Who's investigating that?

Reminder: Spies, cops don't need to crack WhatsApp. They'll just hack your smartphone

veti Silver badge

Re: What stops Apple and Google from buying a copy of this software?

The fact that it's not "for sale". It's developed by the likes of GCHQ or the NSA, and shared by them on a "maintain good relations" basis with those agencies they want to - well, maintain good relations with.

It's not a matter of verifying the buyer, but the only people you would even consider "selling" to are those who are already in your address book, for unrelated reasons.

Microsoft hits new low: Threatens to axe classic Paint from Windows 10

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Re: Now just notepad, and we can write off builtin apps completely.

When Windows 10-S becomes the only supported version, you will have a talking point. But as long as it's just an option, and not even a default option at that, I don't really see the objection.

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Re: Windows 10 FAIL Creators Update

I thought it was "Lean to spill!"

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@Fuzz Re: The end

Actually, the snipping tool isn't "there on all supported versions". It's in Windows 7-10, sure, but not in Windows Server versions.

What I use for taking screenshots is Greenshot. (getgreenshot.org), which beats crap out of the Snipping Tool anyway - the editing tools are both easier to use and more powerful.

But the point is, neither of these things is guaranteed to be available on every machine. Paint - currently - is.

veti Silver badge

Re: The end

Windows Key

"snip" <Enter>

Have a downvote. Your instructions not only didn't work, they seem to have caused my left monitor to die. Thanks a bunch.

Judge uses 1st Amendment on Pokemon Go park ban. It's super effective!

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Re: Exercising my 1st amendment rights ...

People play video games.

And "self-expression" isn't really relevant. The 1a also protects "the right of the people peacefully to assemble" - note that there is no limitation on this right, you can't prevent it merely because you don't like the medium used to bring people together.

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What then happens when cities and even whole states start demanding Pokemon Go not use their areas of authority for these games?
Then their legislators will have to explain to their voters why they can't enjoy this amazing phenomenon they've been hearing about everywhere else.

I'm sure some cities will go that way. (After all, to this day the USA has counties that pretend prohibition was never repealed.) But not most.

UK regulator set to ban ads depicting bumbling manchildren

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Re: @vetia This is a bad thing

@"no-one in particular":

How is this not censorship?

Serious question. Just because it's being applied to ads, rather than editorial, doesn't change the nature of it.

veti Silver badge

Re: This is a bad thing

Yes, the "reinforcement of negative or unrealistic stereotypes" does harm society.

But then, so does censorship.

I'd like to know what rigorous study or analysis has been done to determine that the harm from one outweighs the other. I'd like to, but I suspect none has - because we're talking about articles of faith, not science.

UK spookhaus GCHQ can crack end-to-end encryption, claims Australian A-G

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Re: Let Pi = 3

You guys - the story author included - are reading way too much into this.

Nobody needs to "break end-to-end encryption". All they need to do is grab the mobile phone of the person sending or receiving the message, and it's game over. And when you're a government, you can do that sort of thing.

That's totally feasible, and also explains how the laws of Australia can override those of maths.

Trump Hotels left orange faced: Hackers plunder systems for credit cards

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"Card security code"?

I thought that was never supposed to be stored in the first place, isn't that the whole point?

Uncle Sam says 'nyet' to Kaspersky amid fresh claims of Russian ties

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What rock have you been hiding under, these past 15 years? "Trust" has been a dirty word at least that long.

Is this a hotdog? What it takes for an AI to answer that might surprise you

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Re: So where is the hotdog?

Fortunately for us all, Chicago, Il, does not hold any kind of exclusive rights to define what is or isn't a hot dog.

I'll just leave this here.

Samsung stalls Bixby launch because it am English not so good

veti Silver badge

I always enjoyed "Do not dip switches".

Microsoft boasted it had rebuilt Skype 'from the ground up'. Instead, it should have buried it

veti Silver badge

Re: a colleague skyped me..

Emojis need to die in a fire.

In fact, any and all auto-corrections - where you type one set of characters, and $SOFTWARE converts them into another character that it thinks you really wanted to type instead - need to stop right now. (I'll allow exceptions for common typos, such as "abotu". But even those need to be completely customisable.)

Don't change my text to emojis, don't auto-format my lists, and shove your "smart quotes" where the Windows don't open.

Ego stroking, effusive praise and promise of billions: White House tech meeting in full

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Wow

"Almost the exact number we have created since my election" - either Trump is now taking credit for the entire GDP of the US, or the bribes he's been pocketing are even bigger than we suspected.

Backdoor backlash: European Parliament wants better privacy

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Unintended consequences

Does this mean that unsecured http:// websites would be banned? So in order to own a website, you have to register with a certification authority? That's a step backward for privacy, right there.

What about Usenet, or plain old-fashioned email? Are those still allowed at all?

It seems to me that mandating encryption is every bit as bad as banning it.

When we said don't link to the article, Google, we meant DON'T LINK TO THE ARTICLE!

veti Silver badge

Re: This will be tough...

Removing false, or at best misleading, information is not censorship.

No, but compelling someone else to remove it - is precisely what censorship is.

Swedish school pumps up volume to ease toilet trauma

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Re: When I was a lad ....

In my school we had no stall doors and there was no soap. Needless to say it had to be a pretty severe emergency to get me to use one. Especially since there was always some kid ready to smack me into the wall or throw water on me.

You had water? Luxury! In my school, if you wanted water, you had to wait for a nerd to come in and smack him into the wall until he cried!

My unpopular career in writing computer reviews? It's a gift

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Re: Career advice

One word: Bitcoin.

veti Silver badge

Re: Been there, sir

"don't know what happened to that voucher" - a likely story.

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