* Posts by veti

2633 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

Clinton defence of personal email server fails to placate critics

veti Silver badge

Strange assumption

What seems odd to me here, is the baseline assumption that everything a high official does in office should be a matter of public record.

The US Freedom of Information Act became law in 1966. Since then, who hasn't had at least one "scandal" that centres on "the top dogs trying, often clumsily, to keep their laundry private"?

- Nixon - 'nuff said

- Ford, Carter - actually these two were pretty clean, and much good it did them.

- Reagan, Bush - Iran/Contra

- Clinton - Whitewater, Lewinsky

- Bush - misrepresentations leading to the Iraq war. See also "Snowden, E."

- Obama - Snowden

The US hasn't had a decent president since 1960. If the purpose of the FoIA is to improve governance, it's clearly not only "not working", but actually counterproductive. Just repeal it already and give the executive branch their privacy back. (That is to say, let them work under the same rules that Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt and Eisenhower worked under.) We'll all be better off if we don't have to spend months at a time fixating on this kind of crap.

Should online pirates get the same sentences as offline ones?

veti Silver badge

Yep, that thought struck me too.

If you can't hack it as an independent composer, if you make a better living writing commissioned works - then maybe that's a fair reflection of your ability level, maybe that's just where you belong in the market. In the same way as failed artists go to work in advertising, failed novelists become journalists, failed astronauts become engineers, failed entrepreneurs become middle managers...

You're not alone in having to settle for something less than your dream. In the meantime, there's no shortage of new music being produced, so clearly somebody is willing to fill the gap you've left. And presumably they find it rewarding.

Meanwhile, learn to be content with the niche you've found for yourself.

veti Silver badge

Re: Nothing is missing...

So, the least popular movies are not most commonly downloaded. And that proves... what, exactly?

veti Silver badge

Re: The term "pirate" is a propaganda coup

The term "pirate" to describe intellectual property theft goes back further than you think. Further than the term "intellectual property", in fact. Certainly much, much further than the Internet.


Pro-ISIS script kiddies deface Dublin Rape Crisis Centre site

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Re: Dublin Rape Crisis Centre

It has nothing to do with the Rape Crisis Centre as such. It's just a generic attack against anyone who's vulnerable to this particular hack. Purely opportunistic, like everything ISIS does. You don't think they sat down and picked that cafe in Sydney as the target that would cause the maximum impact, do you? It's just the first place some murderous nutjob happened to see.

The defacement didn't say anything about rape crisis centres being un-Islamic - probably, because the vandals neither knew nor cared what site they were defacing.

One does not simply ask the inventor of the WWW what he thinks about memes

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Re: Put the TLD first, but keep the dot separator

We have standardised on that date format. More than 25 years ago, in fact.

(Dunno what you mean by "Chinese", but that's beside the point.)

Ban Minecraft? That's jive, Turkey!

veti Silver badge


This has all the hallmarks of a fluff piece by Minecraft's (admittedly, excellent) PR department.

Deals with a game that's been available for a long time and already has a large established base in the country in question, and frankly sales have been flagging lately? Check.

No major Minecraft-related stories in the past two weeks? Check.

Based on one internal government document, not an actual process under way? Check. (How did this news "leak" out, I wonder?)

Instantly picked up by every tech media outlet in the world, including those who have hitherto shown absolutely no awareness that there is even a place called "Turkey", much less its censorship rules? Check.

No mention in any of those sites of what other games are already banned under the same rules? Ayup.

In fact, I can't find that list anywhere on the internet. There's a suspiciously similar story about 'Game of Thrones', but it seems that nobody, in the history of the internet, has ever bothered to compile a public list of things that are banned in Turkey. Which makes me think that maybe, nobody actually cares that much. Except when they're trying to sell stuff.

Hated smart meters likely to be 'a costly failure' – MPs

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UK consumers currently spend more than 100 billion pounds a year on electricity. It follows that if the meters save 2%, they'll pay for themselves in five years.

Is it asking too much for a technical news site to dig up a few basic facts and figures before posting flamebait drivel? Apparently.

Smart meters are a solved problem. This isn't string theory. What's missing in the UK's electricity industry is a central co-ordinating agency responsible for handling meter reads.

What happens in Australia is: meter readers have their own service areas, where they collect all the reads (regardless of what retailer each household is signed up with), they forward those to a central hub, and the hub then forwards the reads to the retailers responsible for each individual site. (Which means: if you switch suppliers, the guy who comes round and reads your meter - is exactly the same bloke, coming on the same day he always would.)

Rollout of smart meters in Victoria is well past the 50% mark already, and for the average consumer, it's done nothing but good. (Want to move house? Getting a meter read for the day you move used to cost you $50; with a smart meter, it's $15.) Meanwhile, the horror stories about malicious hacking, abuse of data, soaking people in radiation... have yet to be observed.

Top Euro court ends mega ebook VAT slash in France, Luxembourg

veti Silver badge

Using commas in place of "and"

Irritating, pointless.

Note to El Reg subs: this is online. You won't run out of ink.

We have no self-control: America's most powerful men explain why they're scared of email

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Re: Discretion

Yep. If you have no scruples and lots of money (which describes absolutely everyone namechecked in this article), you just pay other people to send emails on your behalf.

If you're even more of a slimeball (which again, I think can safely be said of everyone mentioned here), you also pay, or do other kinds of deals with, bloggers and twitters to say the things that you can't say because it wouldn't be consistent with your Nice image.

It's astonishing how well that works. Here in New Zealand we had a lot of fuss, just before the last election, of a book that documented our very own Nice Guy PM, John Key, doing the latter kind of deal with a particularly vicious blogger. After the story broke, Key's share of the vote increased.

I assume every US politician who's big enough that I've ever heard of them, is doing much the same.

BACK OFF, spooks: UK legal hacking code should be 'resisted at all costs' says lawyer

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Re: What I find most worrying...

I'm sorry to say that all this was also true of the world you grew up in. Police and spooks have been planting evidence on people since, probably, as long as there have been police and spooks.

And this is why we should insist on fair and open trials, and humane treatment of those who are convicted, no matter what they're convicted of. That's the hill we should be fighting on, here. We can't control the spooks - if we could, they'd be no use to us. But we can protect one another from being destroyed by them.

If we can be bothered.

'If cloud existed decades ago, backups wouldn't have been developed'

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Re: Typical bullshit

Given that "the backup processes commonly used today" often consist of "attaching an external hard drive to a USB port and copying stuff onto it", I think that claim is unarguable.

True, some people don't like "clouds" for one reason or another. But most people just want something that's quick and cheap, and they'll happily take the path of least resistance that achieves what their boss asked them for ("find a way to avoid losing all our data if our office suddenly sinks into a fracking well"). "Safe" or "secure" comes a very distant third, if that.

UK Supreme Court waves through indiscriminate police surveillance

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> Anon, WTF does this have to do with Communism? Or China, for that matter?

Or being a republic or "people's republic"? Nothing, obviously. I assume the first AC is saying "this is exactly the sort of thing we used to sneer at the commies for, who won the bloody (cold) war anyway?", but is (foolishly) disassociating the sentiment from Basil Fawlty.

Lost WHITE CITY of the MONKEY GOD found after 500 years

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As opposed to, what, a regular botanist, who presumably has no interest in such irrelevancies as "species" and "subgroups"?

Seriously, who makes these words up? And why?

He can't give it away FAST ENOUGH: Bill Gates richest man in world again

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Re: Most philanthropic American...

Hey, take a look at the picture at the top of the story. That "swimming pool" doesn't fill itself, you know.

'The troll stats saddened me as a human, but didn't surprise me as a boffin'

veti Silver badge

I don't see how the FCC can police what happens outside the USA. Foreign ISPs are governed by foreign laws, it's up to our governments what our ISPs can do to us.

More or less, anyway. Although we can cite the FCC as an example worth following on this subject - but honestly, I'm not sure that's a road we should be too eager to go down...

C'mon! Greece isn't really bust and it can pay its debts

veti Silver badge

Re: There was never a need for a combined currency all over Europe

@The Axe: Since the foundation of the ECSC, number of wars started between members of that, the Common Market, the EEC, EC, EU as it's varyingly been called?

Zero. Not a one.

Wars started, during the same timespan, between other countries who are not members? Quite a lot. Even involving NATO members. Even between NATO members (Greece/Turkey, over Cyprus).

The point of NATO is not to preserve the peace, it's to "keep the Americans in, the Russians out and the Germans down". Which means that right now, NATO is underperforming just as badly as the EU.

Murky online paedo retreat: The Nether explores the fantasy-reality divide

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Theres no need for a new discussion - its already taken place over the years and reached a consensus.

That's an argument against ever changing anything. Once, not so very long ago, there was a consensus about treatment of homosexuals, which was very different from the one we have today. There was once a consensus about the status of women, which was very different from the one we have today. There was once a consensus about the desirability of associating with French people, which - well, actually maybe that one hasn't changed so much.

But just because society has "reached a consensus" is no reason to consider the question closed.

(And incidentally, this very thread is quite strong evidence that whatever society has reached, it's not "consensus", there is still significant dissent on the subject.)

(On a meta note, I find it interesting how many 'Anonymous' comments there are on this particular story.)

Don't pay for the BBC? Then no Doctor Who for you, I'm afraid

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Bye bye "open broadcasts", where you can tune in with any device you like and be reasonably sure that everyone viewing the same channel is seeing the same thing. Hello encryption, private content, "personalised" content, your own little bubble where your masters can ensure you don't see anything that might alarm - oops, sorry, I mean 'radicalise' - you.

British governments have been looking for ways to censor the BBC for more than 50 years. "Reviewing the license fee" used to be the best they could do, but that was too crude. Then they moved on to "regularly reviewing the charter", which was always a thinly veiled threat. But with a system like this, they could stop pussyfooting about and just censor the programs directly!

It's a home secretary's wet dream.

The Extreme Centre, Rise of the Super Furry Animals and The Kind Worth Killing

veti Silver badge

I didn't say anything about "true socialism". I think trying to distinguish between "true" and "false socialism" is a mug's game. All there really is, is "good-faith attempts to apply socialism", and the question that interests me is "if you make one of those, what do you end up with?"

The answers we've got from large countries in the early 20th century (USSR, China) - isn't very promising. Other attempts have been made, but I think Greece could be a uniquely valuable data point - it has all the advantages of being a well connected country, within the EU, with a reasonable democratic tradition, well developed economy, and a well established nation state (i.e. it's not likely to do a Yugoslavia on us). Most importantly: it might be well enough placed to avoid being treated as a pawn in a cold war between superpowers.

veti Silver badge

You can use the USSR experience, if you like, to demonstrate that socialism didn't work when someone tried to implement it in Russia after the First World War. (Arguments about whether it was "really socialism" are missing the point, I think - the point is, earnest and well-meaning people tried to introduce socialism, and the USSR is what they ended up with.)

It's a long stretch from that, to convincing people that it can't be made to work in a much smaller, much more highly developed country almost 100 years later. (Because the USSR experiment was destroyed by embedded corruption; therefore it's the date of implementation that matters, because that's when the corruption was introduced, not the date of dissolution.)

Let's see. That's all I'm asking - let us see what happens.

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@Red Sceptic: hear, hear!

Politics isn't just about getting elected, it's not even just about doing what the public wants. It's about debating ideas - all the ideas, even really lame ones if they've got a noticeable core of supporters - so that anyone who chooses to participate, knows that they've been heard.

We need more people who are prepared to make an argument with passion and conviction. There are a substantial number of closet Marxists out there to this day, and the only plausible way you'll convert them is to let them have their champion - and see him lose, fair and square, on his ideas. Not shouted down or censored by the bigger boys, but engaged in public debate, conceding point by point until the violence of his rhetoric is disarmed.

It's the same with Syriza in Greece: I sincerely hope we'll get to see what a real socialist government can do in modern Europe. What I fear is that they'll be forced to back down by private, back-room browbeating from the Germans and their mates, and then their voters will see them as no more than just another bunch of sellouts - and that'll be basically the end of democracy in Greece (and very likely, neighbouring countries too) for two generations. What should happen is that the consequences of each action get talked and reasoned out, in detail and in public, the voters' wishes get respected, and we can all see what follows.

veti Silver badge

Re: Socialism: it's fun, try it!

Say what you like about Chavez - oh, you have. Fair enough, and true enough.

But he still did what his voters elected him to do. He gave capitalism a well earned kick in the nads. He stood up to the banks when they told him disaster would follow. Sure they were right, but he stood up to them anyway.

I just hope Syriza has as much integrity, I really do.

WANTED: A plan to DESTROY metadata, not just retain it

veti Silver badge


... "what's no longer needed" is, the police will strenuously insist, an empty set. You never know when some tidbit of information from 1993 is suddenly going to turn out to be the key to a current investigation.

Personally, I think our only plausible salvation from police abuse of this system is police bureaucracy, which I would model as follows:

- Every time an officer runs a query on a database, force them to complete a 'reason' field referencing a case they're working on.

- Insist that results should be recorded only on dedicated police equipment (if that means buying everyone a brand-new top-of-the-line tablet every year, then fine, that's a small price to pay). Copying the results to any other media, including paper napkins or Post-it notes, should be a serious disciplinary offence.

- Program the devices to automatically delete any database query results after, let's say, 24 hours, unless the officer flags them as "interesting".

- Periodically, conduct an audit where you randomly review a handful of cases on the officer's tablet, and require them to justify the results they've flagged as "interesting".

For pity's sake, you fool! DON'T UPGRADE it will make it worse

veti Silver badge

Re: Lock Apple and MS in a room......

@ JohnMurray: Windows 7 gives me days like that. Vista, before it, gave me whole weeks like that, so that's progress I guess.

veti Silver badge

Re: surprise- a translation company doesn't understand IT

I don't agree.

You're an IT company if, and only if, "the thing that your customers pay you to do on their behalf" is IT.

Banks? Are not IT companies. I don't really care how my bank looks after my money, what kind of computer system it uses or if it does the whole operation with quill pens and pneumatic tubes, it's all one to me as long as I get the services I'm accustomed to, such as online banking.

Insurance companies? Same argument. IT is a means, not an end.

Photoshop daddy: 'I’m not happy with body image issues it creates for a lot of women'

veti Silver badge

There has been some quite serious tweaking of the colour balance. Also look closely at the model's forehead.

That said - Mr Knoll is surely aware that "airbrushing" used to involve - well, actual airbrushes, right? Photoshop makes it less skilled and less messy, but he didn't create something new here.

Net neutrality crunch poll: Americans want to know WTF it is

veti Silver badge

"The government is considering changing the rules that govern the internet. Do you know about this?

Do you think you ought to know about it?"

Yeah, no way is that a leading question...

I'm sure, if the rules were published, those 73% who want it to be published would immediately go and read them through in detail, and not in any way take their opinions predigested from their choice of talking heads on TV or talk radio.

Former Mrs Dotcom hooks up with Xbox 'toyboy'

veti Silver badge

Dotcom is a troll, in the finest traditions of creative trolling. Yes he's entertaining, in the same way as it's entertaining to watch someone hypnotised into making a complete tit of themself in front of an audience. No matter how much I laugh, I can't shake a sense of shame for doing so.

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K.C didn't get where he is today by paying money just because he'd promised to do it...

Ofcom: We got it right, but let’s have a licence consultation anyway

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Re: Hmm yes..

I think the author has issues. Maybe an ancient grudge from when he was five years old, which he can't help but bring up from time to time.

A cookie with a 7,984-year lifespan. Blimey, Roy Batty only got 4!

veti Silver badge

Re: Vital indeed...


Adding the rule:

div[id*="cookie"] { display:none; }

to your browser stylesheet (you do have one of those, right?) should mean you don't have to see cookie warnings on at least some sites.

More rules in the same vein would take out more targets, but each one increases the risk of missing something that might actually be interesting.

Vodafone didn't have a £6bn tax bill. Sort yourselves out, Lefties

veti Silver badge

"You'd expect the Daily Mail to get this right"?


Come on Tim, you're a journalist and pro-capitalist, you know how this works. The Daily Mail's job isn't to "get it right". Nobody's going to pay them to do that. If you want to see people trying earnestly to "get it right", stick to the Independent (and see where it gets you). No, their job is to say whatever is best judged to attract the most eyeballs over the medium term.

That's best done by using just enough truth, mixed with unheathly doses of populist bollocks designed to confirm the prejudices of their readers.

Not unlike El Reg, really.

First HSBC, now the ENTIRE PUBLIC SECTOR dodges tax

veti Silver badge

Re: Two things

Where does the money end up?

If the Dept of Odds & Sods spends £1200 on a service, and claims £200 back from the Treasury - where exactly does that £200 go to?

Into the DOS's budget, obviously. But it can't be spent from there, at least not on-book, because then accountants would ask where it came from, and you can't answer that without revealing the fraud.

The obvious conclusion is that it's being "spent" off-book, i.e. under the counter, i.e. five-finger discounted into some accountant's home swimming pool or new Bentley. It's not "just an internal transfer", it's the trace evidence of something much more sinister.

Australia's PM says data retention laws think of the children

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“A lot of people don't even use mobile phones that much these days, they use Skype and things like that,” he continued, “so metadata and its retention is more important than ever if we are going to be able to track what criminals are doing"

Are you saying, Mr Abbot, that you routinely analyse records of where every mobile phone call is made to and from?

What did you do before we had the software to monitor phone calls in this way? How did governments manage to keep us safe back in the 60s and 70s, when telephones were widespread but "metadata", or the tools to analyse it, simply didn't exist?

WhatDaHell, WhatsApp? Student claims 'stalker' tool shows security flaws

veti Silver badge

"Every detail"?

If your idea of "knowing every detail of my movement" translates entirely into "knowing when my mobile phone is online", I think your idea of "stalking" may be a bit - unambitious.

(Especially if it's anything like Skype, where the online/offline notifications are hilariously meaningless anyway.)

Don't get me wrong - it's a serious bug and it should be fixed - but I think the word "overblown", not to say "hysteria", might be appropriately tagged to this story.

Microsoft: Look at our cloudy privacy award. Isn't it so ... meaningful?

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Re: “If there is unauthorised access ... we’ll let you know about this,”

Be fair: unauthorised access is an enormous problem that strikes dozens of major players every year. Promising to notify you about that - isn't everything, but it's not nothing either.

No, they won't tell you about the KGB - sorry, I mean DHS - weaselling[1] about in your files. But nobody will. They will, however, tell you when Q Blackhat Scumsucker gets in there, and that's more than most companies will.

[1] It's like ferretting, except that weasels are harder to spot.

'Come on, everyone – block US govt staff ogling web smut at work'

veti Silver badge

Re: Why just porn?

For the same reason as putting up posters of naked women (or men, for that matter) is worse than putting up a drawing by your 3-year-old, or a Dilbert cartoon: because it creates an unpleasant, not to say creepy, atmosphere in the workplace, which quite a few people find downright intimidating.

I don't care if the guy who sits behind me spends all day on Facebook. That's between him and his manager or team leader. But, and you can call me a puritan if it makes you feel better, if he's spending even half an hour a day on ChicksWithDicks, I really don't want him doing it there.

Let freedom RING! Americans can now legally liberate phones from axis of network evil

veti Silver badge

That's nice

Next can we get a law that says you're allowed to play a legally purchased DVD on any player you want?

Hurry, before DVDs become completely obsolete...

Patch now: Design flaw in Windows security allows hackers to own corporate laptops, PCs

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How exactly are you supposed to "use properly configured VPN solutions when connecting to untrusted networks.”?

Someone with more knowledge please correct me if I'm wrong, but shirley - you need to establish the network connection before you can open your VPN? At which point it's too late.

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Re: Server 2003

Are those the same bastards who are spreading the abomination that is "free reign"?

Samsung: Our TVs? Spying on you? Ha Ha! Just a joke of course

veti Silver badge

Re: Is this at all surprising?

That might work - for now.

But pretty soon - maybe five years down the line? - you'll be searching in vain for a new TV that doesn't have this feature. If you want to buy a new TV, as opposed to a secondhand one, you'll be getting voice activation.

Right now you're probably thinking "but then someone will make a cheapo option that doesn't have this, specially for luddites like me". But if the history of consumer gadgets teaches us anything, it's that "luddites" are not a significant market segment, even though they think they are. How many CRT TVs with hand-turned tuning dials do you see in the shops today?

Nobody is going to market a gadget with the unique selling point that it has fewer features than its competition. Not for long, anyway.

Welcome to the future. Looks a bit like Soviet Russia, doesn't it? - except that it's not just the government spying on you, it's a random and unknowable number of private companies in random and unknowable countries as well.

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Re: Er?

Oh yes, the global shortage of porn has reached such critical levels now that punters will queue up to pay for badly-produced audio-only recordings of amateurs in front of a TV. I'm sure.

On some planet, maybe. But it is not this planet.

Don't count on antivirus software alone to keep your data safe

veti Silver badge

Re: Who's the Audience here?

Antivirus software "alone" can't do anything. In 20 years of having a home internet connection, I think AV has detected maybe 2 threats on my system. It's debatable whether it will ever pay for itself in terms of the storage, memory and CPU resources it demands; and since no financially or personally sensitive information is stored anywhere on the machine, it's unlikely to protect me from much personal loss. Really it's mostly there as a courtesy to others, who might otherwise be inconvenienced by my machine's spamming or DDOSsing them.

When I took my old XP machine offline permanently, I tried to uninstall and disable the AV. Not an easy thing to do, it turns out. For several days I found myself treating the AV itself as malware.

What I do care much more about, though, is the firewall. Now that's something I wouldn't be without.

Microsoft: Even cheapo Lumias to get slimmed down Windows 10

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Re: With an utter lack of scientific and statistical rigour...

Microsoft's marketing in the USA makes it perversely difficult to buy a Windows phone there. (Sample anecdote.)

Compare that with - well, almost anywhere else - where the mobile companies themselves aren't married to either Apple or Google, so they have no problem with shifting the handsets. In Australia, for instance, Windows Phone has close to 10% market share. Actual data are hard to come by, but anecdotes and personal observation aren't, and if you walk into one of my local phone stores and ask for a cheap phone, they'll sell you a Lumia.

veti Silver badge

Re: Wait,,,,What?

Back in the day, Microsoft's policy was to design for "the next generation of hardware", on the basis that by the time their new product was developed, tested, beta-tested and shipped, "the next generation" would be entry-level.

That policy served them well for the first 15 years or so of Windows, until Vista. Then it bit them in the arse, hard. Vista found itself being sold on hardware that was totally unsuited to run it, and - partly as a result, although partly also on its own merits - it got a reputation for running like a leprous epileptic three-legged donkey.

Since then, they've actually been working in the opposite direction, to make each Windows release more efficient than the one before. On marginal hardware - assuming decent drivers are available - Windows 7 runs better than Vista, and Win 8 beats either. I would guess that Win 10 will continue that trend.

So there is no hardware-based impediment to MS supporting Windows on a half-gig Lumia device pretty much indefinitely. The decision is purely about marketing.

(Disclaimer: yes, I have a Lumia 520. Yes, it was cheap. And it's a nice device.)

Official: Single people need to LOWER their EXPECTATIONS

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Re: Meh.

That's not a person. That's a JPEG. The person it shows very likely no longer exists, if she ever did. At the very least she's probably had a haircut since that picture was taken. You know absolutely nothing about her, assuming it is even a 'her'.

Look, I'm not going to pretend that looks don't matter. But they are not the most important single thing to look for in a potential partner. They're probably not even in the top five.

I suggest you find a medium where you can get to know people without knowing anything about them personally, a medium where information such as "real name", "age", "nationality", "gender" is revealed only sporadically and very unreliably, and most people aren't particularly interested. (A non-binaries Usenet group is ideal.) Get to know people there. When you start to feel attracted to some of them, you'll have at least a whiff of a chance of forming a relationship based on something that has a decent likelihood of lasting more than a few years.

Good luck.

Google gets my data, I get search and email and that. Help help, I'm being REPRESSED!

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Re: Free lunch anyone?

I know several people who have deleted their Facebook accounts

An oldie but goodie. Thanks, I needed the chuckle.

veti Silver badge

Re: yeah but, no but

That £140 figure is complete 100% unadulterated clickbait moonshine, as I posted at the time. It's just a pseudo-random figure that some "experts" pulled out of their backsides, with no justification or rationalisation worth the name at all.

I don't often agree wholeheartedly with Tim, but in this case he's right on the money and providing a valuable public service. Nobody forces me to use Gmail, I use it because it provides me a good service, and I don't begrudge Google whatever it can earn from analysing the data it gets in exchange.

I do, however, wish it would be a bit more upfront about what it does collect from me, because I know "my email" is the least of it.

Australia's (current) PM Tony Abbott again calls for metadata trove laws to pass, ASAP

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Someone didn't count their negatives...

at least two important “mass casualty” counter-terrorism events in planning were prevented by metadata access

Counter-terrorism events were prevented by metadata access? That's terrible. Ban it immediately.

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