* Posts by veti

2633 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

Freaky photo flingers face fat fines for flagrant phallus flashing fun

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Re: Potentially a good idea.

Singapore makes no claims to be democratic or free. And yet it manages to be reasonably prosperous and happy (ranks 34th in the World Happiness Report - that's below the US or UK, but above, e.g. Spain, Italy or Japan).

Population density makes a difference. If 5.6 million people are going to live in 721 km2 without public health hazards arising, that's a very different matter from containing them in the comparatively-wide-open spaces of Newark or Chicago.

Tech giants get antsy in Northern Virginia: Give us renewable power, there's a planet to save... and PR to harvest

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Re: Money Talks

"Renewable" doesn't have to be unreliable. Germany in particular has colossal amounts of straw waste from arable production (which can be burned as biomass), and plenty of undeveloped potential for geothermal power. Both of these can be every bit as reliable as coal or nuclear.

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As of 2013, coal mining employed a total of 16,000 people in Virginia. (Source.) That compares with over 180,000 in computing/tech jobs (source), including over 4000 employees at Google.

Maybe it's time the state gov't looked a little harder at its electors.

AI has automated everything including this headline curly bracket semicolon

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Re: Are you sure real stupidity get us there

Unfortunately, a failure to resist the blandishments of AI is a trait that will select strongly and quickly against both the characteristics "rich" and "powerful".

Each scam, aimed at such people, will only work once. If you want to go on milking it repeatedly, you have to target the only-mildly-rich and hardly-at-all powerful. See Bitcoin, for example.

Portal to 'HELL' cracks open in street – oh sorry, it's just another pothole

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Re: Warning - tory bashing.

Labour certainly did their bit, but let's not pretend that austerity was "necessary". It was a political choice, as it always is.

Put a stop to these damn robocalls! Dozens of US state attorneys general fire rocket up FCC's ass

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Re: My 3 steps to avoiding robocalls.

Calls from overseas should show the caller's number correctly. If they don't, then don't connect them.

Until the responsibility for this shit gets placed squarely on the carriers, nothing will happen. Fining the callers accomplishes nothing, they're too small and too slippery.

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Re: Of course the FCC is doing nothing

Too true. He makes the worst of them look like Jimmy Stewart.

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Re: No change

The problem is that they're trying to fine the person who places the call.

What they should be doing is fining the company that connects the call (i.e. the one that's making a profit out of it).

US foreign minister Mike Pompeo to give UK a bollocking over Huawei 5G plans

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Re: 51st state

Not true. John McCain, Republican nominee in 2008, was born in Panama. The only requirement is that you must be a "natural born citizen".

Megan's kids could certainly meet that requirement, since she hasn't renounced her citizenship (and is presumably still paying federal income tax, the more fool her).

However, the kid won't be eligible to run until at least 2054 (which isn't a presidential year, so 2056, unless something happens to the election cycle).

'Software delivered to Boeing' now blamed for 737 Max warning fiasco

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Re: Management's job

Every story I see about this episode makes me angrier with Boeing. I mean, management avoiding personal responsibility - that I expect. But they seem intent on denying that there was anything wrong at all.

So they won't learn lessons from it.

The CEO should be in jail by now.

Firefox armagg-add-on: Lapsed security cert kills all browser extensions, from website password managers to ad blockers

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Re: Armagadd-on

Yes, it was a fuckup. As Mozilla has acknowledged, apologised for, fixed to the extent possible, and promised to publish the results of an investigation into. All within three days.

That's pretty good, I reckon.

If the thing you were doing earlier is 'drop table' commands, ctrl-c, ctrl-v is not your friend

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Re: Not an IT guy but..

Yes, but copying and pasting too much of your offline console would screw you up anyway. Even with a transaction.

What boggles my mind is the thought of a console that executes commands the moment they're entered, without waiting for the user to click 'run' or press F5 or whatever.

Tractors, not phones, will (maybe) get America a right-to-repair law at this rate: Bernie slams 'truly insane' situation

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Re: Clarity needed here

It's all part of the Great Copyright Heist, which is to say, the stuff that's stolen from us on a daily basis by the abuse of copyright law.

Tractor requires software to run. Software can only *legally* be run if you comply with T&Cs. Manufacturers can write whatever the hell they want in T&Cs. Therefore, manufacturers can now impose any conditions they want on their toys.

What's really needed (but we'll never get) is a law saying, explicitly, that running any piece of software is an absolute right - that is to say, that the "copy" that's made solely in order to run it is not covered by copyright, and therefore all T&Cs (based on restricting the right to copy) are null and void.

AI can now generate fake human bodies and faces, OpenAI to share a larger GPT-2 model, and more

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At last

I'd just like to mention that the late great Terry Pratchett predicted computer-generated people in 1990.

# ifdefDEBUG + "world/enough" + "time"

Finally we're getting there. I hope to see some filtering implemented on the next generation of Google Glass.

The Year Of Linux On The Desktop – at last! Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 brings the Linux kernel into Windows

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Re: But why?

Now I can run WINE on Windows. How useful is that?

Well, it means I can find out if my important software will run on Linux.

A day in the life of London seen through spam and weak Wi-Fi

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Re: Tsk, tsk, Dabsy

I learned about a week after getting my first smartphone that guest WiFi is not worth connecting to anywhere at all. Not even in your own office.

Curiously enough, this is even true in my own home. My router supports a guest login as well as the real thing, because I thought it might be useful, and now I know better but I can't be arsed to disable it.

It's May 2. Know what that means? Yep, it's the PR orgy that is World Password Day... again

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Re: Can a grownup, please...?

In fact, I'd say the "CorrectHorseBatteryStaple" cartoon is a rare example of XKCD getting it badly wrong.

The issue is: scaling. The XKCD approach only works because nobody targets it. If we all started doing that, attackers would quickly rewrite their algorithms to crack it (by stringing together random words - "dictionary attack" would take on a whole new meaning), and we'd very soon be much worse off than we are today.

Maths: The average native English speaker has an active vocabulary of about 20,000 words (actually I'd be prepared to bet, a very large fraction of users would choose from a much smaller subset of words - but let's take 20,000 as a base for calculation). If you string four of those words together at random, that gives you (20,000 ^ 4 = ) 1.6e17 possible sequences. That's - not much better than an 8-character conventional password (if assembled from the 92 characters I can easily type from my keyboard, 92 ^ 8 = 5e15). A 10-character password is 250 times more secure.

And sure, you can add random shit to it to make it harder to guess - but once you start doing that, the supposed gain in "memorability" promptly vanishes, and you're left doing a lot more typing to achieve the same level of security you could have in a much smaller field.

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Re: Can a grownup, please...?

Two words: legacy systems.

All the fun stuff in database development was done back in the 1980s, when "hacking" was a sport indulged for fun and kudos, not a major criminal business, and neither bandwidth nor processor power was sufficient to support dictionary attacks. The databases and textbooks we use today are linearly descended from those developed back then. It's amazing how much hasn't changed.

It's hard to change this stuff, because basically everyone is accustomed to the present regime and has an inbuilt prejudice against radical change.

There's also a whiff of faddishness about the advice in this area. For years it was "lower/uppercase plus numerals", then "special characters" were added to the recommendation, and now there's bitter controversy (see, e.g., TFA as opposed to your own comment) as to whether "CorrectHorseBatteryStaple" is better or worse than "5CWr`R?EV8]K". I can't blame sysadmins for being leery of any single piece of advice, unless and until it gets endorsed or forced upon them by a higher authority.

'I do not wish to surrender' Julian Assange tells court over US extradition bid

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Re: re. Journalism is investigating, collating, and then writing it up in a neutral fashion

Journalism is about bearing witness. It's about publicly saying, day after day, "these are the things I saw and heard".

Doing it regularly is important (part of the word comes from the French jour - it's something you do every day. Even when nothing exciting is happening. After all, negative results are as important as positive ones.)

So really, the truest form of journalism nowadays is what you'll find on random blogs on Facebook and elsewhere. Second best is the ailing industry of local newspapers.

But - here's the rub - legally, "journalism" is just writing, no different from a private letter or a novel. A senior BBC correspondent doesn't have the right to report anything that you or I couldn't report just as well. (What they have is contacts that will help them to find out about it, and occasionally lawyers who will help them stand up to powerful people. But that's just a matter of resources, not rights.)

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"Being a journalist" is neither here nor there. "Journalists" have exactly the same rights and responsibilities as everyone else, no more and no less, and they can be charged with all the same crimes.

(At least that's the way it works in semi-civilised countries, such as the US and UK. Discrimination is increasingly being introduced in the barbarian world (e.g. Australia), but that's out of scope for this case.)

Hey, those warrantless smartphone searches at the US border? Unconstitutional, yeah? Civil-rights warriors ask court to settle this

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Re: they need "reasonable suspicion"

The phrase "reasonable suspicion" has a specific meaning in US law. "They looked dodgy" doesn't cut it.

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Please stop spreading misinformation

You do not recall correctly, or you were not informed correctly. The ACLU has a less hysterical summary here.


- At the border, searches of people, luggage or vehicles are considered "routine" and do not require either a warrant or reasonable suspicion

- Within 100 miles of the border, the Border Patrol can still operate, but they need "reasonable suspicion" to pull anyone over.

Note also that the 4th amendment talks about "searches and seizures", suggesting that the degree of intrusiveness of the search may be relevant. Confiscating someone's property for months on end is considerably more intrusive than merely inspecting it on the spot, and may (possibly) be ruled to require a stronger justification.

Julian Assange jailed for 50 weeks over Ecuador embassy bail-jumping

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The extradition treaty doesn't work like that.

Of course, with Trump in charge he might decide to break those rules, but I don't imagine he'd think it worth it.

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Re: After 50 weeks

You don't get to choose where you serve your prison time.

That's pretty much the whole point.

Self-taught Belgian bloke cracks crypto conundrum that was supposed to be uncrackable until 2034

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Once the method is understood, speeding it up becomes trivial. If it can be done in 3.5 years now, it'll be possible in 3.5 hours within a decade.

Gather round, friends. Listen close. It's time to list the five biggest lies about 5G

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You could have said the same about desktop Internet connections, 20 years ago.

Build the infrastructure and the apps will follow.

Sounds like a terrible idea to me, but it will work.

Bitcoin drops 7 per cent on New York Attorney General's allegations of $850m fraud by Bitfinex

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Surprising nobody...

... Bitcoin continues to fail at offering any of the utility of actual money.

Medium of exchange? Ha.

Store of value? Ha ha.

Measure of value? Bwah ha ha.

If you're still tempted, try investing in lottery tickets instead. At least you don't get robbed that way.

Microsoft: Yo dawg, we heard you liked Windows password expiry policies. So we expired your expiry policy

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Sure, but GGP devoted a lot more words to complaining about complexity than expiry.

Complex automation won't make fleshbags obsolete, not when the end result is this dumb

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Re: Apathy

I agree. People are just as capable of being dumb as computers. If you outsource your planning to someone, whether fleshy or digital, and then don't check the results - before they become time critical - you deserve what you get.

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Re: I see that you folks are trying to get to Timbuktu ...

And I've been flying on Airbuses for decades now. Seems to work well enough.

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Re: Timezones

Timezones are a terrible example of the problem. The fact that a lot of software specs have not devoted enough thought to this narrow subject - should not surprise us. It's not the sort of thing that excites great passion in programmers, nor does it seem serious enough to be worth withholding the release, so it gets forgotten.

That doesn't mean it's impossible. Just - so boring that no one can bring themselves to think it through. It's actually an area where a robot would probably write better software than a human, if only someone could be bothered to make it.

Sophos antivirus tools. Working Windows box. Latest Patch Tuesday fixes. Pick two: 'Puters knackered by bad combo

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Since time immemorial, people have been saying "what the world needs is a cut down version of $SOFTWARE without all the cruft". Lots of them have developed and published such software.

None of those people got rich.

Joel Spolsky has an excellent post about why this is. Googling "the 80/20 myth" should find it. Long story short, no two people will agree on precisely which 80% of features they don't want.

Rising sea levels? How about the rising risk of someone using a nuke?

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Re: @TheVogon ... How about both?: Rising sea levels and nuke use

If the picture were as simple as that, you would expect to see Germany's fossil fuel use rising as nuclear plants shut down. But that hasn't happened. The slack, plus a bit more, has been taken up by the renewables you disparage.

Sure, it would be better to combine those with nuclear power. But if there is a strong political will to abolish nuclear in Germany, then it makes no sense to rail against it.

FYI: Yeah, the cops can force your finger onto a suspect's iPhone to see if it unlocks, says judge

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Re: You can pry my password from my cold, dead lips.

If the cops have a warrant, then by definition there is no fourth amendment issue. The judicial branch has already ruled that the search is "reasonable".

California's politicians rush to gut internet privacy law with pro-tech giant amendments

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Re: Meteor. Sacramento. Crater.

What sort of ballot initiative is immune to small print?

Politics belongs to the people who turn up. And keep turning up. Any initiative would have to be translated into specific legislation, and that would go to the party with the longest attention span.

Bloke faces up to 20 years in the clink after gun held to dot-com owner's head in robbery

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I was thinking: were people always this stupid, or are we really - as it sometimes feels - getting slightly dumber with each new generation?

If I were that obsessed with a frickin' domain name - for, what's worse, some purpose as pointless as the defendant's - I would surely have tried for an insanity defence.

We've read the Mueller report. Here's what you need to know: ██ ██ ███ ███████ █████ ███ ██ █████ ████████ █████

veti Silver badge

Re: oh please!

The "Sanders would have won" line is a comfort myth for the US left, but it's not based on any kind of evidence. If it's true, then basically any D candidate should trounce Trump in 2020, and I don't think that's at all a sure thing.

Venezuela's election failed the most basic test of democracy, which is to persuade the losers to accept the result. For all its problems, the US isn't currently experiencing widespread rebellion.

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Re: Please just give it a break

Oh please. The troll legions reduced this whole site to a smoking crater in mid 2016, like most unmoderated spaces, as you must remember if you were here then.

veti Silver badge

Re: The Mueller report was one big nothingburger

And the Democrats should listen to your advice because... You have a long and consistent record of supporting their causes and offering sound advice that has guided their candidates to victory?

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Trump isn't afraid of a pee tape. He'd release it himself, probably with his own commentary, if that's what it was about.

No, he's encouraged belief in the tapes to provide cover for why he's really buddying up to Putin. Which I'm guessing is a reason measured in dollars, not VHS footage.

Who's using Mueller Report Day to bury bad news? If you guessed Facebook, you're right: Millions more passwords stored in plaintext

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Don't worry, nobody cares about the stuff you tell it voluntarily.

Huawei thanks US for 'raising 5G awareness' by banning telecom kit giant's wares

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Fair point. Maybe it's just a difference in base expectations.

Easter is approaching – and British pr0n watchers still don't know how long before age-gates come into force

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Re: Another Sir Humphrey moment

I think it would be more accurate to say "they have recently come to the realisation that they have got it catastrophically wrong, and are desperately groping around for the right shade of lipstick to make the subject look slightly less porcine."

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Re: So kids can still watch people being blown to bits, murdered and tortured on various sites...

In case you hadn't noticed, children are not allowed to buy many of those games either. And the sites are usually blocked as soon as someone notices them, not just for kids but for everyone.

Porn is different because a lot of people *do* want it let through.

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Re: Sex, Drugs Rock n Roll

Have you? Can you point to an actual example, anywhere in the world?

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What the laws will do is create a market for ways to circumvent the restrictions.

Who do you think lobbied for the laws in the first place?

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Re: how about a simpler system

Hello, welcome to the Internet. You must be new here.

(If you think that's "simple"...)

Did someone forget to tell NTT about Brexit? Japanese telco eyes London for global HQ

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Re: Trading only on WTO terms?

That was a long time ago. There *was* no "WTO" back then.

I agree with you, I think there is a truly unbelievable amount of doom-mongering going on right now among Remainers who have still not given up on the dream of reversing the referendum result. And on a purely personal basis, I hope they succeed. But I wish both sides could start using rational arguments presented in good faith, because decisions made in a state of hysteria are unlikely to stick.

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That's not fair. We're also potential customers, and potential shareholders.

How else would you like them to think of us, exactly?

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Remainers have been banging on endlessly about the relentless Brexodus of companies and jobs from the UK.

You can't blame Leavers for wanting to point out that there are swings as well as roundabouts.

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