* Posts by veti

2633 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

End of an era as Firefox bins 'blink' tag

veti Silver badge

Re: Noooooooooooooo !

You can implement something like it with CSS *now*, sure. But try viewing that with 1995 technology, assuming you can find any, and see what it gets you.

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Re: Bootnote

I already can't type ' £ ' (that one was copied from your post). Time was I could just type ' £ ' or ' £ ', but those don't work any more. Now, if you don't happen to have the symbol on your keyboard, you're pretty much boned.

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Re: In other words

Bits of it were, bits of it weren't. In other news, both Comic Sans and {color:green} are still supported.

But quite a lot of things were better then. If you linked to a web page, there was a reasonable chance that its content would still be the same when someone followed that link the next day - as opposed to the modern trend, which is to continually revise the content to make the writer look less stupid.

And people discussed the really *important* things, dammit. None of this "I CAN HAZ CHEEZEBURGER?" nonsense, we were too busy refuting all those laughable "reasons" why Picard was "better" than Kirk...

Apple patents laser, incandescent projector for laptops, smartphones

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This is what Apple does best

And I mean that in the sincerest, least tongue-in-cheek way imaginable.

Remember the iPod? It wasn't the first MP3 player by a long shot, but it was the first one that sold - all its predecessors were commercial flops.

Remember the iPad? Not the first tablet, but the first one that actually shipped more than about 3 units.

So pico-projectors have been tried before, and failed, and Apple thinks it has a technology that could make them successful. Well, just possibly they've looked at what was wrong with the previous attempts, and come up with a technological solution that makes them better.

I won't be buying one, but obviously someone - who's paid to be better informed than me - thinks there's a market out there. Maybe they're right.

US Republican enviro-vets: 'Climate change is real. Deal with it'

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Re: Whatever.

What would "actual proof" look like, in this case? Can you put together a thought experiment that would convince you?

If not, you're just blowing smoke.

Microsoft's earnings down on slow Windows sales, Surface RT bust

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Re: Hiding corpses...

OK, this is why Orwell argued that mixed metaphors are so bad. Are you aware of the image you just created, by using the phrases "wiggle room" and "cock-up" in the same sentence?

Personally, I think the reorganisation is Ballmer's rather sad attempt to evoke Microsoft's glory days by inviting the reader to complete the couplet "... to rule them all, etc." Sadly for him, the comparison of Microsoft to Sauron isn't anything like as compelling now as it was ten years ago.

Screw it, says NSA leaker Snowden: I'm applying for asylum in Russia

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@Matt Bryant

Does not compute.

If the police don't have the authority to board a plane parked at Heathrow, then it makes no difference who is on board nor what paperwork they have, because they have no way of knowing either fact. For all they know, the plane might have been carrying Lord Lucan and Elvis Presley. Without passports.

US Congress proposal: National Park will be FOUND ON MOON

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Re: idiot democrats

Yeah, that would be the same treaty that says: "the activities of non-governmental entities in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty"

In other words, if you're based in the USA, then you'd better follow US law on the Moon.

veti Silver badge

Re: WTF?

Actually, I think the relevant part of the treaty is Article VI, which says: "the activities of non-governmental entities in outer space ... shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty".

So if you're based in America, any foray you make into outer space (including the Moon) is subject to US law. Likewise if you're based in, say, France, then it's subject to French law.

What this measure would do, if passed, would mean that any US-based operator that landed on the Moon and then interfered with these sites could get into trouble. That's all it means. In principle it would have no effect on operators based in other countries, although in practice it would be a brave astronaut who put that to the test...

OFFICIAL: Humans will only tolerate robots as helpful SLAVES

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Too right. You know what else? Road markings! We're being conditioned to follow instructions that are literally just painted on!

And the government even employs people to wash off any markings that aren't authorised. Calling them 'vandalism' or 'graffiti' to stigmatise and marginalise them, but of course the real agenda is about control, maintaining the government monopoly on painting ton fixed surfaces.

And those mechanical arms that go up to let you out of the car park? You actually have to give money to a robot in order to be allowed to go on your way! It's horrifying, the things we're being conditioned to accept!

veti Silver badge

Re: Intolerance to robotic assassins?

Good point, and one made all the more telling when you consider how hot most of them are.

Look, can we just forget about Snowden for sec... US-China cyber talks held

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Re: but when I check the fail2ban logs of my server...

That tells you absolutely nothing about the location, ethnicity, affiliation or agenda of the attackers.

All it does tell you is that China has a lot of poorly-secured servers, which shouldn't come as a big surprise.

France's 'three strikes' anti-piracy law shot down

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Re: @ Daniel B. - Nice.

The "you wouldn't steal a car!" ad deserves some kind of anti-award as one of the most brain-buggeringly backward pieces of propaganda ever - umm - propagated.

The worst of it, I think, is that someone made a brief video demonstration of how to shoplift and snatch handbags, and then tacked it, unskippably, onto the beginning of DVDs aimed at children.

I daren't let my 3-year-old watch 'The Wizard of Oz' unsupervised, not because of Margaret Hamilton's hamming, but I don't want him to get the idea that's how you go shopping.

PRISM leaks: WTF, you don't spy on your friends, splutters EU

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Re: Not News

It's not news that diplomats are spied on. The Vienna Convention contains a number of loopholes, I assume deliberately, to allow for that.

The convention does list some things that are supposed to be "inviolable". One of these is "the official correspondence of the mission". However, it also explicitly allows for that correspondence to be conducted in code or cipher - hence, it implicitly assumes that "inviolable" doesn't necessarily mean "will not be read by third parties".

There's a fine line there. But really, what's going on here is that the Europeans have got cold feet about a free trade deal at this politically difficult time, and Snowden's revelation is an excuse for dumping it.

Schwarzenegger says 'I'll be back' for Terminator 5 reboot

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The movies we deserve

I like ripping on Hollywood as much as the next commenter, but it's simply not true to insinuate that only sequels/reboots/etc. are being made. Check out a list of recent releases, and you'll see a hell of a lot of reasonably original work.

What is true is that it's the sequels/etc. that get the big budget release treatment, and actually get to run in a cinema near you for more than about two days. But that really says more about public taste than Hollywood.

In other words: it's our fault.

veti Silver badge

Re: Reboot reboot sequel reboot

I have it on good authority that "Independence Day 2" will feature aliens in tripod-shaped fighting machines, with a deadly heat ray, shouting 'Ullah!'

See, it's completely different and wholly original.

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Re: Like there never was a matrix 2 and 3

Personally, I thought even T2 was jumping the shark. OK, so they had some cool ideas for FX, but that doesn't excuse 'ignoring the whole premise of internally consistent time travel that they'd put hard work into developing in the first movie'.

I'm looking forward to seeing how they explain why cyborgs age.

And it's good news, because - I don't know about you, but I'm not greatly looking forward to robots that roam the streets destroying phonebooks and shooting women whose only real offence is some questionable fashion and lifestyle choices. But I am looking forward to robots designed to help the elderly, and what better poster boy for that cause than Arnie?

Obama says US won't scramble jets or twist arms for Snowden

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For an answer to that question, I refer you to Isaiah Berlin's seminal lecture on 'Two Concepts of Liberty' (1958).

America's grasp on the distinction between 'positive' and 'negative' liberty was never that strong (Joe McCarthy was a big exponent of 'positive liberty' in his day), but - speaking as an outside observer, y'understand - I think the stage where this point was abandoned completely was sometime during the Reagan administration. And no president since then has said or done anything to suggest that they understand the distinction at all.

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Re: Translation

No, he means exactly what he says. There's just no point in chasing Snowden down. It's not like there's anything more you can prevent him from leaking.

The only interest the bureaucrats have in Snowden at this point is as an example to others. In that respect, they want to make him as uncomfortable as reasonably possible, and I'm pretty sure that objective has already been achieved. He's not like Kim Dotcom, who lives in extravagant luxury on his dubiously acquired millions - Snowden is begging support from dubious governments who might at any moment decide to stop giving it, and he can never go home again.

The future of cinema and TV: It’s game over for the hi-res hype

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Re: "disorientated"

To a serious pedant, 'disorientate' means 'to turn away from the east'. To lose one's sense of relative position or direction would be 'disorient'.

However, you need to be a real, table-chewing-level pedant to actually care about that. 'Disorientate' has been sanctioned by over 200 years of usage and, I think, every serious dictionary. The only reason to continue to hate it at this point is if you're the kind of person who gets really, really worked up about redundant syllables, and in that case "utilise" would be a much better target for automatic downvoting (it's "use", dammit).

Kim Dotcom victim of 'largest data MASSACRE in history'

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Re: The feds are not going to stop themselves

If Sony wants to charge less for the version of its movie that's dubbed into Urdu, that's fine with me. I'll even undertake not to buy it just because it's a fraction of the price of the English version.

As for varying release schedules for blockbusters, it may surprise you to learn that Christmas in the southern hemisphere occurs on the same day as in the north. It's just that it's in midsummer. More pertinently, pick a blockbuster movie and look at its release dates (handily listed on IMDB): you'll see that the release is effectively staggered over anything from 2 to 6 weeks, and that staggering has no real relation to what hemisphere you're in. Example: Iron Man 3 released to cinemas:

UK: 18 April

Australia: 24 April

France: 24 April

New Zealand: 25 April

Vietnam: 26 April

USA: 3 May

Turkey: 3 May

Pakistan: 17 May

Given that the entire spread is less than two months, I'm not clear why that should affect DVD releases anyway.

"Invert the release schedules for North and South hemispheres" - you're talking from between your right and left hemispheres.

veti Silver badge

Re: as always with dotcom

Dotcom is not just 'no choirboy', he's a serious sleazeball, and has been for many years - before he ever conceived Megaupload.

I really don't see why I should go to bat for this guy, just because his opponents are equally sleazy. Sure, I'll protest when his rights are violated, but I really don't see how that's happened here - he's had a tiff with a private-sector contractor with whom he had a relationship, and now he's crying victimisation. Cry me a river.

veti Silver badge

Re: The feds are not going to stop themselves

"What are those evil practices? Paying for artists to work to create joy for you? Oh yeah, really evil."

Since you ask, Sony's "evil" practices include, but are not limited to:

- Being one of the creators and prime movers of the scheme that limits DVD playback according to where in the world you bought your DVD player (even though copyright law gives no right to 'restrict the equipment on which a legally owned copy of a work can be accessed')

- Being one of the prime movers behind the 'anti-circumvention' laws that, globally, convert the abovementioned (stolen) right into a pillar of copyright law

- Developing and enforcing the same system on Blu-Ray

- Putting rootkits on its CDs

- When called on rootkits, defending their actions with the argument that "users shouldn't mind"

- Building DVD players that prevent you from fast-forwarding (or pausing, for that matter) through copyright notices.

All of these are things Sony did entirely voluntarily, wilfully putting itself right in the forefront of efforts to screw the law-abiding consumer at every turn.

veti Silver badge

Re: Accusation should not equal guilt

"Purely as a matter of interest, if you were to be accused of a crime, which country would you prefer to be in?"

How about: The country where the supreme court has repeatedly ruled against the government over various details of Dotcom's prosecution, and its rulings have been promptly enforced, much to the general embarrassment of the government.

I'll pick New Zealand, thanks very much.

Google's JavaScript challenger gains better tools, performance

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Re: Compatibility

I may be misunderstanding you, but isn't that what JQuery* is for?

Basically, that problem has been in the 'solved' bucket these six years or more.

*(Other libraries are available. This post is not an endorsement of any product or service, although JQuery is undoubtedly awesome. Void where prohibited, etc.)

Hitchhikers' Guide was WRONG, Earth is not in a galactic backwater

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In other words

... our galactic neighbourhood is analogous to Slough.

Or, for Americans, New Jersey.


Doctor Who? 12th incarnation sought after Matt Smith quits

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Re: Helen Mirren

Obviously, River Song can regenerate as, I dunno, Martin Clunes or someone.

Or they could have a same-sex marriage, and check off yet another box on the PC Lotto card.

veti Silver badge

Re: Pull the plug

Blake's 7 has already been rebooted once, with considerable success in every department bar commercially - it was called 'Firefly'.

Microsoft's Windows 8.1 secrets REVEALED ... sort of

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Re: Still Metro, still unwanted.

We've been here before. The reaction to TIFKAM is eerily reminiscent, to me, of the reaction to the ribbon in Office. MS didn't back down on that, and much to my personal disgust it doesn't seem to have done them any harm.

I predict this will work out the same way. A lot of heat, not much light, and when the dust settles we'll all be using Win 8 or its successors - without a start menu - and getting used to it, because there's no real alternative.

I don't like it, but i have no idea how to do anything about it.

Forget the word 'cyberwar' says Marcus Ranum

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Re: Alternatively...

I dunno - is it war if I steal your car? That's a 'significant resource', shirley?

I don't think war can be adequately defined by the intent of the instigator. You also need at least some consideration for the nature and organisation of the participants, the scope of the conflict, and the criteria that might allow you to decide when it starts and ends.

Last time CO2 was this high, the world was underwater? No actually

veti Silver badge

So what?

As a wise man once wrote: "You don't use science to show that you're right, you use science to become right".

Did the ice sheets not melt back then? Great! Fantastic news!

Does this absolve us of the responsibility to stop emitting so much carbon? Hell no. Partly because, in case you hadn't noticed, the concentration of carbon in the atmosphere is still going up: 400 ppm was a milestone, not a goal. At present rates of growth, pretty soon we'll be asking how the icecaps will fare at 500 ppm, and by the end of this century it'll be (at least) 600.

This isn't a game of propaganda, where you score points for citing studies that support your point of view. This is the future of the human race, and the world my grandchildren are going to live in. Can we please stop the politically-motivated point-scoring and start concentrating on fixing the effing emissions?

'Hotmail, since you changed to Outlook, you've been a massive pr**k'

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A US judge

... finally talks sense on copyright (not patent) trolls, and all we can talk about is whether outlook.com's interface is more tasteless than Hotmail's?

I despair of this place sometimes.

First, the bad news: EA bags Star Wars games rights

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The good news

It's Star Wars. Seriously, you didn't expect anything good to come out of that franchise anyway, did you?

When Disney bought it, I thought they'd be hard pressed to screw it up any more than Lucas already has.

So clearly they decided to get some expert help. I look forward to seeing the release, and subsequent panning, of six new clones of Command & Conquer with skins to match each movie.

Is this the first ever web page? If not, CERN would like to know

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Re: Unfortunate choice of letters

In the Antipodes, it's pronounced 'dub-dub-dub'.

I know, I know. Bloody colonials.

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I miss the good old days, when I used to get irritated by people getting wistful about the good old days.

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Re: Wait...

Porn didn't appear until several minutes later. It was a slower-paced world in those days.

No, I'm pretty sure that to be authentic, the very *first* web page would have to be a list of reasons why Picard is better than Kirk.

UK.Gov passes Instagram Act: All your pics belong to everyone now

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Re: could this get worse?

So what you're saying is, "people acting criminally can rob you".

In that scenario, the corporation that stripped the EXIF "and claimed ownership" is acting fraudulently, and they know it, to the extent that those involved may well be looking at jail time.

The new law doesn't legalise fraud, for all Orlowski's ranting.

Student falsely IDed by Reddit as Boston bomber found dead

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Thumb Down

Re: Lazy Fat Americans.

While I don't think GMO belongs in this account (the trend was well established long before that became a recognised TLA), HFCS does have a lot to answer for.

If you haven't gone shopping in a US supermarket, and looked closely at the labels on basically everything, you wouldn't believe how common the stuff is over there. It's not just in drinks and candy and cakes and things that you'd think of as sweet - it's also in bread and yogurt and FSM only knows what else. I've even heard of it being added to honey and other kinds of syrup. And if it's in there (so I've heard, although don't know how true it is), it screws up your eating patterns something fierce.

Sure, the fat and sodium and processed food do their bit too. But HFCS is probably the biggest *single* contributing factor.

Human rights groups rally humanity against killer robots

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Fairly obviously...

... various governments' stances on this are dictated, mostly, by how confident they are in their own militaries' ability to build and use such robots.

Hence, UK - 'no way, 'cuz we know we can't build a system we'd trust with that kind of power.' Expect this position to be reviewed every five years or so.

USA - 'keep humans in the loop for now, let's see if we can build up that trust level.'

I expect most countries would echo the UK's current position for now, with the possible exceptions of those (N Korea, Russia probably) who just don't give a damn' if a few of their soldiers get killed during testing.

After Leveson: The UK gets an Orwellian Ministry of Truth for real

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Good start, but incomplete

I think it's worth mentioning that the growing hysteria of the past few years hasn't been cultivated in a vacuum. Far from it. The US has, in many ways, spearheaded the demonisation of the mass media ("mainstream media", as many of them call it when they want to belittle one particular segment of it), and their arguments and, frankly, inherent paranoia have spilled over into UK discourse.

Today, the US media is so Balkanised that the two sides each literally have no idea what the other is thinking, despite the fact that their opponents publish all their thoughts in a never-ending stream in all available media. Last November, approximately half the country really thought that Romney was likely to win the presidency. Why? - because they had been taught for years to mistrust the media that tried to tell them differently.

I'm rambling now, sorry. But my point is: to answer the question "How did we get to this point?", you need to consider more than just the UK story in isolation.

Pint icon because the whole subject is too depressing to think of any other way.

Google in the dock over elephant ivory ads

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Re: Anti hunting hypothesis

What makes you think they're not doing it?

I remember having this argument years ago, about antique ivory. If the elephant was killed 100 years ago, surely it's not encouraging the hunting of animals now?

But the trouble is, all it does is divide the market. If you invent near-perfect fake ivory, now there's an exclusive, expensive market for real ivory, and a lower-class, more mass market for the fake stuff, plus of course a fraudulent market for the fake being passed off as real ivory. And now you've created plausible deniability for the trader ("It's fake ivory, nothing wrong with that" when talking to the authorities, but the opposite story when talking to customers).

But the rich customers will still want the real thing, and they'll go to great lengths to get it. Think the sort of people who buy 'wild salmon' or 'real caviar'. Some of them will be genuinely able to tell the difference. Others won't, but will still want the real thing to impress those who can.

Bank whips out palm-recognition kit - and a severed hand won't work

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Re: Fixing the wrong problem

It's an improvement because it makes the crime harder to commit.

Mugging to get a card and threatening to get a PIN? Easy-peasy. If you're quick on your feet, you can be back to the cashpoint before the victim has time to report the crime. (Assuming you have the elementary forethought to pinch his phone as well.)

Forcing someone to march with you at knifepoint into a public area where an unknown number of unknown people will see you both? Considerably harder, calls for a good deal more nerve and commitment on the part of the criminal.

Of course there's a workaround for the truly determined criminal. There probably always will be. But it becomes harder, and that reduces the total number of such crimes that get committed. That's a good thing.

Health pros: Alcohol is EVIL – raise its price, ban its ads

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Re: @John Smith 19

@Tom Welsh: I love it when people say "do the maths..."

A bottle of wine contains 750 ml of liquid. A unit of alcohol is defined as 10 ml of alcohol. So to get 11 units in a bottle, you're talking about wine that's 14.5% ABV. I submit that if you're drinking "the cheapest wine you can get in a supermarket" and it's 14.5% ABV, your liver and stomach are in a world of trouble.

A more typical strength, particularly for cheap plonk, would be 11%, making for 8 units per bottle. Some wines are significantly lower (and none the worse for that - part of our current problem is that there's a tendency towards making beer and wine stronger - but that's basically for fashion's sake, there's no taste-based reason for it).

Clarkson: 'I WILL find and KILL the spammers who hacked me'

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Re: Stupid little boy

Well - not really. Because the law you quoted says "intending that the other would fear it would be carried out...".

In other words: the test is what Clarkson intended them to believe, not what they took it into their heads to believe. It would be trivially easy for his lawyer to argue "my client is well known for shooting his mouth off about all kinds of things and has never been known to follow through on a threat of serious violence, there was never any question that anyone would seriously feel threatened by him."

At which point, there's no case to answer, and no evidence to suggest otherwise. Indeed, if required, I'm sure the lawyer could come up with several other examples of the defendant making similar threats in a similar tone, none of which were ever meant seriously.

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So some hackers-and-spammers get killed, and Clarkson goes away for a nice long stretch in jail...

What's the downside here? Sounds like a perfect outcome to me. I'd offer to hold his coat for him, but that might make me an accessory.

Iceland thinks long and hard over extreme smut web ban law

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Re: Parental Responsibility

@Graham Marsden: Perhaps you will accept that society (whatever that is) does have some responsibilities to parents and children? And there's no reason why parents shouldn't be allowed to ask for whatever restrictions they think would be helpful, from the rest of society?

Whether The Rest Of Society, working through the democratic process, chooses to give them what they ask for, or something else, or nothing at all, is a different matter. But there's nothing wrong with them asking, surely?

And if you seriously don't think you have an interest in helping other people's kids to grow up into basically decent people, I suggest you rethink what 'growing up' implies. Those kids are the people who are going to be driving the ambulance when you collapse in your sheltered accommodation.

Love in the time of the internet: A personal memoir

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Re: @veti - Things I learned in several years of 'net-driven dating

Well, between 10 and 20 years ago the 'neutral environment' of choice (my choice, at least) was Usenet. More specifically, alt.fan.my_favourite_writer, though I hung about in a number of groups for a while.

Now, probably any number of web forums devoted to topics that interest people of both sexes. There must be *something* you're interested in that's not an instant turnoff to all women, surely?

The important point is that you don't go to these places just looking for love. If you do that, then you start viewing everyone through a weird filter that's not unlike having four pints of beer inside you, and your powers of discrimination start out about 60% below par. Instead, ou go to discuss something you enjoy, then to meet online 'friends' of all sorts.

When I first 'met' my spouse, I didn't even know what gender they were. Username and postings gave no clue. They were just one among several dozen online friends I'd made at that point, when we started exchanging e-mails and getting more personal.

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Things I learned in several years of 'net-driven dating

... before I met my spouse (on Usenet):

1. If a service or site expects you to maintain something called a "profile", don't use it.

1a. This rule goes double if the profile is supposed to contain a photo (of you. Photos taken *by* you are another matter.)

1b. The reason behind this rule is: anything a person has deliberately and premeditatedly written about themself, in a profile, is 50% likely to be unadulterated bullshit, 45% likely to be just extremely misleading. (A small proportion are true, but mostly by accident.) If you want to know someone, read what they write *about everything else*, not about themselves.

2. If a service or site advertises itself as helping you to find love, or a date, don't use it. You don't find love by looking for it, you find it by meeting people - of both genders - in a neutral environment.

2a. Corrollary: if a service or site differentiates between users on the basis of gender, don't use it. You need friends of both genders. Without that, you have no way to calibrate your feelings when you do start to feel mushy.


US company aims patent-gun at Australia’s e-health system

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If an Australian company tried this on a US state...

... the US media would go to town on ridiculing them.

And rightly too. The claims asserted in those patents swing wildly from "mind-blowingly obvious" to "mind-blowingly stupid". Apparently, insanity is patentable now.

Patent US8121855 specifies: "The method includes assigning a toll-free phone number individually associated with and dedicated to the consumer for private fax and voice communications from a health care provider..." Curses! If only there were some alternative technology that could replace faxes!

Patent US8117045 includes "assigning a destination address individually associated with the consumer account... The destination address can be a phone number or email account." Surely trivial to work around - if the Aussies were even contemplating doing that in the first place, which sounds pretty dumb to me.

The most the Aussies should offer to appease them is a free holiday to swim with the crocodiles.

Why you need a home lab to keep your job

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Have you been reading The Onion again?

"Vendor says people need his company's kit. Film at 11."

What's next: "Tim Cook says get the girlfriend an iPhone, so she's got someone to talk to while you're in the home lab"?

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