* Posts by veti

2633 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

Chinese 'repurpose' Top Gun footage

veti Silver badge

Big whoop

Show me the producer who claims they've never *ever* used stock photography or footage without proper attribution, and I'll show you a liar.

The Chinese had a missile test. Whether or not it went well - who knows, we probably never will - but either way, their own film of it was crap. So they decided to report it as successful, and use some better footage that shows the same thing happening.

A misdemeanour, but hardly a casus belli.

Who are the biggest electric car liars - the BBC, or Tesla Motors?

veti Silver badge

Why would you charge up your battery en route anyway?

If electric car makers had more brain cells than Spongebob, they would design cars such that the batteries could be easily hoisted out (with suitable lifting equipment) and exchanged, in five minutes or less.

Then garages could advertise prices for fully-charged packs of each model of battery. You'd pull in, a guy with a lifting rig would come out, remove your current battery pack, and replace it with a fully charged one. You'd be done and back on the road in less time than it takes to buy a packet of marshmallows.

The batteries themselves would be clearly marked with an expiry date, or perhaps subject to some kind of six-monthly quality inspection regime. Provided your old battery has an up-to-date quality mark, the garage would only charge you for the power plus an allowance for labour, equipment, storage space used etc.

In short, it'd be very much like filling up with petrol, but cheaper...

National Identity Card holding chumps have buyer's remorse

veti Silver badge

... to each according to their needs

Quite. And if these freelance journalists and "investment banking consultants" are likely to starve for want of thirty quid, then just maybe they shouldn't have spent it in the first place.

Seriously, could you imagine any *less* sympathetic plaintiffs?


veti Silver badge

All that means...

... is that the stage is set for a deal. The Americans say "if you extradite him, we promise not to kill him"; the British gov't proudly announces "Look, we won this concession from the Americans!"; then Assange goes off to do 20-to-life in a federal prison, and everyone saves face.

It's happened before, it'll happen again.

Judge puts Assange behind bars ahead of extradition hearing

veti Silver badge

By "this guy"...

... you mean the US "intelligence community"?

Come on, these cables were available to someone with the intelligence clearance of a feckin' *private*. Do you seriously think that the Iranian intelligence services didn't already know this stuff?

The real issue here is how much material was (a) written down (when it never should have been at all), and (b) shared with everybugger in the US security forces whether or not they had any conceivable need to know about it. After 9/11 the Americans went absolutely berserk with "sharing" intel internally, and now they're seeing the downside of that approach. About time too.

PayPal banned WikiLeaks after US gov intervention

veti Silver badge

No, they don't have "special protections"

Media *don't* have "special protections" to do anything in particular. The First Amendment guarantees "freedom of the press", but it makes no attempt to define what "the press" *is*.

If you're a journalist, then a press card is a useful shortcut to introducing yourself; it buys tolerance, it hints at the promise of favourable coverage (or the threat of the opposite), it explains instantly who you are and why you're being a nosey bugger, but it *doesn't* give you any special legal privileges. None at all. Anything you can do with a press card, is something you could just as well do with a decent Fast Talk percentage.

In the US at least, "media" is not a licensed industry. Anyone can set up a newspaper, in any medium they like, and there is no special form you have to fill out before you can claim your First Amendment rights. Wikileaks is entitled to exactly the same legal protections as the New York Times.

veti Silver badge

Not vaguely illegal at all

Regardless of where the publishers are based, publishing classified material *is not* illegal. The Supreme Court has been admirably clear on that. That's why the New York Times is still in business, these past 38 years.

*Stealing* said material (using your security clearance to take copies and distribute them to people who don't have similar clearance) - *that's* illegal. But once it's been stolen by some third party, the government has no standing to prevent its dissemination. If the documents were produced by gov't employees using gov't resources for gov't purposes, there isn't even a copyright issue - they're public domain.

Those govt cuts - slasher horror or history-changing brilliance?

veti Silver badge

Yeah, right

"Housing benefit is only high because rents are high."

Oh please. You're saying that the "demand" side of "supply and demand" has no effect on the price of housing? That rents would still be just as high even if there wasn't twenty billion quid of taxpayer money propping up the market?

Take off the ideological blinkers. It was the New Labour fiasco that got us into this mess, and the gov't is making an effort to fix it. Are they doing everything right? Of course not. But anyone who held *any* kind of office or influence under Gordon Brown should not be criticising at this point, they should be too busy flagellating themselves for their own, graphically proven, stupidity.

Google search rolls out 'instant' site previews

veti Silver badge

Wrong IP law

You're thinking of trademarks. Patents don't get invalidated merely by being neglected, if they did then patent trolling would be a lot harder.

Having said that, if anyone can stop Google from arsing about with the look of their search page, I'm all for it. If that means suing them, go for it.

Google seems to have forgotten that it built its reputation on a simple, minimalist design that worked reasonably well even if you were on dialup. Nowadays they simply can't stop themselves from shovelliing ever more data down our pipes. Maybe it's time to give Bing a try.

veti Silver badge
Thumb Down


I'm all for innovation, if it means giving us better results. What I don't want is features that make it harder/slower to get the information I want.

For instance, take the Google feature that corrects your spelling. Sometimes I deliberately want to search for a misspelled word, because I know the misspelling is going to be a lot rarer than the correct version; but yesterday, I discovered I could no longer find any way to overrule the spelling-correction feature. That's an example of innovation I could well do without.

Microsoft is just the same. Lord knows there are plenty of aspects of Office that *could* do with improvement, but instead of addressing those, MS keeps messing with the menus. Menu technology was perfected circa 1985, but they just can't stop themselves.

I wish either one of them *would* spend a bit more time resting on their laurels, frankly. It'd be better than this frantic scramble to come up with new "features" that serve no purpose except to justify some mid-manager's next budget.

Fight cyberwar with cold war doctrines, says former DHS chief

veti Silver badge

The rules of the game...

are really very simple: "if it's meant to be secure, don't connect it to the internet".

If you put something secret or safety-critical online and it gets stolen - that's your fault, not Iran's and not Wikileaks'. Don't go bombing, framing or ruining people just to cover your own incompetence.

Hefty physicist: Global warming is 'pseudoscientific fraud'

veti Silver badge

Must try harder.

"... the sceptics weren't even allowed to email other society members."

I see two ways of reading that particular claim. One: that the APS has developed a new and cunning technology for intercepting emails carried by third-party service providers to its own members. Or two: that it declined to provide a complete list of email addresses of its members so that they could be spammed by some publicity-hungry member with a chip on his shoulder the size of Montreal.

I know which one I consider more likely.

I'm not saying he's wrong. Just that the tone of this article, frankly, doesn't stand comparison with the more professional pro-AGW propaganda. Very C-minus material.

Legendary steampunk computer 'should be built' - programmer

veti Silver badge

JGC is out of his tree

Babbage spent 20 years trying to build his "Difference Engine", and he damn' near bankrupted the government in the process. And we're talking about the British government at the height of Victorian financial glory, not today's debt-ridden behemoth.

The "Analytical Engine" is far more complicated. It's as sure a recipe for bankruptcy of anyone who tries it as I've ever heard of.

JGC wants to throw his own money away, fine. Even take up a public subscription if you like. But don't come crying to the taxpayer when it all goes tits up.

Car wrecks rise after texting bans imposed

veti Silver badge

Not in this survey

The US provides a good laboratory for testing this question while eliminating that kind of variable, because some states have the laws while others don't.

If accident rates in states with bans increase, while there is no corresponding increase in neighbouring states that don't have bans, then you can reasonably conclude that "it might have been even worse without $THING_I_WANT_TO_DEFEND" is *not* a valid argument.

Daily Mail savages Data Protection Act over stolen dog

veti Silver badge

Actually, the Mail is not the worst offender in this case

You know, I really hate to be defending the Daily Mail...

But at least their story mentions the fact that the owner hadn't reported the theft to the police. That alone makes the Mail's coverage fairer than the Telegraph's version:


Wikileaks double dares Pentagon hawks

veti Silver badge


Your entire rant is based on the claim that Assange has already made "countless informants" names available to the Taliban.

Whereas I believe, from what I've seen, that the documents thus far released have *not* made this sort of information available to the Taliban.

It's very hard for me to prove you wrong, because your position is hard to falsify. I can point to document references saying "There, here's an example of a document that doesn't reveal an informant's name". (Here's one: http://wardiary.wikileaks.org/afg/event/2004/01/AFG20040101n4.html). But of course that doesn't prove that other documents *don't* leak that information.

But it should be easy for *you* to prove *me* wrong. All you have to do is point at three documents that *do* reveal informants' names. Can you do that?

veti Silver badge

You're bluffing

"In this case though, Ass. has revealed huge numbers of informants and classified activities to the Taliban "

Name three of these "informants".

You're saying their names have already been released to the Taliban, so you couldn't possibly do any more harm by telling us here, could you?

So let's hear it - or at least, the document references where they're identified. Otherwise, I shall go on believing that, as far as I've seen, sensitive details have been thoroughly redacted in the documents that have been leaked - and all comments of this type are just systematic character assassination of an inconvenient/embarrassing figure.

End of Microsoft NHS deal means mass deletions

veti Silver badge

How many cases?

Personally, I'd rather the NHS *didn't* chose software on the basis that it's "perfectly capable (in 8 or 9 cases out of 10)". One or two in ten seems like a terrifyingly high failure rate to me.

Yes, I know the NHS loses patients already, all health services do, it's kinda inherent in the business. But to add another 10-20% to the attrition rate from "using amateurish and unfinished software" - that's not a reasonable way of saving money.

veti Silver badge

Addressing the wrong problem

For the past 13 years, I have told everyone I work with or have any business dealings with, that all attachments to emails formatted as .doc (or, more recently, .docx) will be deleted unread. Back in '97 I presented this as a security precaution, but I don't even bother any more.

I haven't missed anything important yet.

Kaspersky blocks BBC News over false phishing fears

veti Silver badge

Fortunately for us all...

You can't libel a corporation, only an individual.

There is a slightly grey area when a corporation is closely associated with an individual (as in, e.g., Rupert Murdoch with News Int'l), in which case he *might* try to argue that nasty comments about NI were actually aimed at *him*, but that would be a difficult case to make. Particularly for the BBC.

RAC prof: Road charges can end the ripoff of motorists

veti Silver badge

This is how

Announce you're abolishing VED completely. No more of this "sliding scale" nonsense, no discounts, no rebates - just scrap it. (Also saves the costs of collecting and enforcing it.) That's a tax cut of, on average, 125 to 205 quid per vehicle per annum for every vehicle owner.

At the same time, you announce that this is the money you're loading into fuel tax. To cushion the blow further, you're not loading it in all at once - you're happy to phase it in gradually, at a rate of 5p per litre per year over the next 10 years. Of course by that time you'll have massively overshot the level of breaking even, but that's only fair, isn't it? - a tax cut up front, paid back later when the economy is in better shape...

Fusion reactor eats Euro science budgets

veti Silver badge

Which is likelier?:

... that a scientist who has built a career on nuclear fusion is going to say "We can do it, we're only 15-20 years away now, just keep feeding us the cash."

... or that she's going to say "It's an impossible dream not worth chasing. It's very sad, but there you have it. Might as well sack us all now."

So while you're right - that this will never get any cheaper - we have to face the fact that no scientist, except possibly one who's on the verge of retirement, is *ever* going to issue the second of these two statements. So after >30 years of, basically, zero-rate progress, how does it make sense for us to continue writing blank cheques to these scientists? Perhaps it's time to grow up and realise that we have to draw assumption #2 ourselves.

Copyright wally of the week

veti Silver badge

Re: No compliments here...

"Great work on that report, but I'm going to pass it off as my own" would indeed be an Evil sort of compliment.

"Great work on that report. Is it okay with you if I pass it off as my own?", however, is quite a different sentiment.

He's only asking. Take a deep breath. Accusing the guy of anything, or even calling him a "freetard", is entirely unwarranted.

tl;dr: Whatever, dude.

Burger van busted offering free takeaway porn

veti Silver badge
Thumb Up

Where did they get the DVDs?

Quite apart from the beer, food and porn licensing issues, did they have the copyright holder's authorisation to be distributing the DVDs?

If they were giving them away free, that makes me suspect they were just ripped from somewhere, so they should be on the hook for video piracy, as well as unlicensed trading in food and beer.

UK.gov issues death warrant for ID cards

veti Silver badge

Have we all forgotten...

... it was a Tory home secretary, Michael Howard, who first floated the National Identity Register, long before 9/11?

That the Tories have now turned dead against it says a lot about what a few terms in opposition will do for a party. To think that only five years ago, that same Michael Howard was actually the party leader.

This is an idea that's entrenched in the Home Office civil service. As such, it will keep coming back. My prediction: if the Tories win more than two consecutive terms in office, no matter what else has or hasn't happened in the meantime, they'll reintroduce the idea themselves at that stage.

veti Silver badge

"Why not issue them with a bit of plastic...?"

Because the foreign national already has a unique identifying document. It's called a "passport". You don't have to carry it with you at all times, but you probably do have to produce it when, e.g., applying for a job or opening a bank account.

How is giving them an <em>extra</em> piece of plastic to keep track of, going to make anyone's life any easier?

Unless, of course, the idea is to require them to carry it at all times and produce it on demand by police. In which case you're still introducing fascism, just being a bit more selective about it. Which is no problem, fascism is <em>all about</em> being selective, it'll expand later when we've learned to accept it.

Murdoch's paywall: The end of the suicide era?

veti Silver badge
Black Helicopters

+5 Insightful

Outstanding comment, putting your finger on the nub that El Reg seems to have missed...

This is a no-lose scenario for News International. If they get a decent number of subscribers - well, great. But whether they do or not, in a year or so they'll have numbers to use as ammunition in their war to drive BBC News offline. If they don't get a single subscriber, they can say "See, the BBC makes it impossible to compete". If they have a million subscribers, they can say "See, people will pay for online content, the market can provide it just fine, there's no legitimate public-service reason to offer it for free."

Clever move.

You paid €20m for UN mobe-fear - and that's just the start

veti Silver badge

If you can persuade some laypeople that there may be a connection there...

... say, by pointing out how shellsuits emit electromagnetic radiation at frequencies that have been conclusively linked to bioelectrical effects in other contexts, then - yes, I'm sure you can get your €20M for that. But if you can't convince them, just shut up already. The reason we have committees to give out this kind of funding is so that we, personally, don't have to spend our entire lives listening to every crackpot with a brain-dead theory - we only have to hear a subset of them.

The "no plausible mechanism" line is ridiculously spun. Nobody even tries to deny that strong doses of microwave radiation have dramatic health effects in the short term - that's why microwave ovens are well shielded. What exactly is "implausible" about the idea that much lower doses may have different effects over the longer term?

The Cameregg plan: Who got what?

veti Silver badge

Labour voters don't live in Heathrow/Stansted flight paths

... Tory and LibDem voters do.

The decision to build new runways is an example of old-fashioned class warfare. Labour was trying to piss off ConDem voters; now the ConDem regime is taking care of its own. Simple as that.

Millions wasted on IT: PAC chair parting shot

veti Silver badge

Duration, duration, duration

Typical ministerial tenure: about 2 years.

Typical large IT project duration: 6-10 years.

In other words, the person responsible for starting the project has zero expectation of seeing it through to the end. And when she's replaced, her successor will want to make his own "improvements".

The contractors, of course, know this, and they know it makes the contract basically a blank cheque. That's why they'll fight like demons to win it.

Incidentally, the same objection applies to yesterday's Tory brainwave of outsourcing back-office IT functions. Whenever you create new channels to give public money to private companies, you get new avenues for abuse and corruption.

Just stop it. If the data won't fit in a spreadsheet, the gov't has no business collecting it anyway. So let's run all public services using nothing but Excel. We'll save a fortune in the short run, and an even bigger fortune in the long run.

Outsource back office, Gershon tells Tories

veti Silver badge

Tory SOP

There's a disturbingly powerful wing of the Tory party that sees its raison d'etre as being to channel public money into private companies, as quickly as it can. I suspect Mr Gershon is appealing to this wing.

Here's a thought, Mr Gershon: what reason do we have to believe that private-sector contractors will be more industrious, more honest, more efficient than the public-sector workers currently doing this job? Doesn't the history of government outsourcing rather suggest the opposite? They may have better resources, but there's absolutely no reason to assume they'll use those to give better value to the taxpayer - when there's so many more *fun* things they could be doing.

Heathrow security man cops perv scanner eyeful

veti Silver badge

"Pressed a button to take a revealing photo"?

I thought that was supposed to be "impossible"? Weren't we told that the machines don't actually record permanent images?

Of course, the button in question might have been the one on his cellphone camera.

But the elephant in the story here is: why do we only hear about this when the victim is an employee? How many plain ol' civilians does this happen to every day?

We need a "things that make you go hmmmm" icon.

FBI cyber cop says 'very existence' of US under threat

veti Silver badge

Oh goody

So let's put two and two together here:

Two: "the cyber threat can be an existential threat".

Two: "given enough time, motivation and funding, a determined adversary will always - always - be able to penetrate a targeted system."

Four: Therefore, no matter how much you spend on cyber security, it will never be enough. The only way to save the USA is to make sure that no "determined adversary" ever gets money and time. He's not angling for a budget to ramp up security: what he wants is a license to actively hunt down every hacker on the planet.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019