* Posts by Pen-y-gors

1853 posts • joined 1 Oct 2010

Google now mingles everything you've bought with everywhere you've been

Pen-y-gors
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Not sure it would be legal in the EU?

IANAL, but I seem to remember that under the various Data Protection laws in the EU the Credit Card companies and the banks can swap info for certain limited purposes, such as combatting and investigating fraud, evaluating credit applications etc, but that's about it. I'm pretty sure flogging the raw data is a very big no-no!

I'm probably wrong though...

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Huawei missed memo that PC's dead – so here are three new notebooks

Pen-y-gors
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PCs dead?

Really I find that hard to believe. Phones and tablets are fine for people who want to consume data off the network, and occasionally send a short message or a photo. But for people who actually want to do some work and create something, a netbook is a minimum requirement, and ideally something bigger and meatier. Who would consider writing anything longer than a tweet on a phone keyboard with predictive text? If Tolstoy had had to use a tablet War and Peace would be about 1000 words rather than 1000 pages.

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'Odour' from AnalTech ramming leads to hazmat team callout

Pen-y-gors
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trading under the name iChromatography ?

Oooh, sounds like they have some association with You Know Who - very bad for the reputation! They should stick to AnalTech.

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Britain's on the brink of a small-scale nuclear reactor revolution

Pen-y-gors
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And what about solar?

Interesting article in the Indie today - India has cancelled plans for 14GW of coal, as the wholesale price of solar is now 25% below coal.

Auction price for a 500MW solar deal recently was $38/MW - eat your heart out Hinckley!

Okay, we have a different climate to India, but interesting...

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Pen-y-gors
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New Wylfa Nuke details

Press release out today on consultation for the new Wylfa station on Anglesey (Wylfa 1 was switched off in 2015)

Output 2.7GW, cost £10 billion. 'Enough for 5 million homes' 850 full-time jobs once commissioned.

Questions: how much of the salaries from those 850 jobs end up locally? How many of the 850 will even live locally?

5 million homes - but there are only 1.4 million in all of Wales! We could get rid of all the wind farms - although did I hear a whisper of 'single point of failure'? Personally I think that is one of the biggest risks from very large Nukes. Small ones will mitigate that risk, whatever other issues there are.

Perhaps time to scrap this idea and commission 10 SMRs scattered around the country - we have some very nice old underground mines that could be ideal locations.

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.Science and .study: Domains of the bookish? More like domains of the JERKS!

Pen-y-gors
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ICANN are making money, but so are the people who own the TLDs - by failing to remove dodgy TLDs are they not somehow complicit? And involved in a conspiracy to defraud, which tends to be illegal.

In the case of .science we have "Famous Four Media (Domain Venture Partners) is a prominent applicant in ICANN's New gTLD Program. It has applied for 60 generic TLDs. In addition to its main headquarters in Gibraltar, the company also has operations in London and New York" (ICANNWiki)

Surely the legal authorities in Gibraltar (or London, or NY) can kick a bit of buttock?

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Huawei Honor 8 Pro: Makes iPhone 7 Plus look a bit crap

Pen-y-gors
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Re: Middle Ground?

@stuart 22

Spot on comment.

I got my OnePlus One in Feb 2015 - so just over two years old, and it's fine. It cost £269 + shipping. That's a decent middle ground - remarkably high spec for under 300 quid. And I expect that to continue. I can't see me replacing it for a couple of years yet, and then I want the equivalent pretty high spec for £300-ish. With phones I expect the price point to stay stable over time as the spec goes up. Paying £500-£800 for a phone that lasts for a few years is sheer madness.

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Wannacry: Everything you still need to know because there were so many unanswered Qs

Pen-y-gors
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Re: This sure beats reading newspapers

@a_yank_lurker

It is sort of like arguing over how leaky on collander is compare to another.

Not quite - the whole point about a collander is that it is designed to let fluid through: the size and number of holes defining the rate and what doesn't get through. It's not a 'leak' - it's what it's intended to do.

We could argue for ages about whether MS operating system holes are there for a reason...

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Pen-y-gors
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Re: This sure beats reading newspapers

@Pompous Git

Best insurance against zero-day is backups.

I entirely agree. Unfortunately, having gone in to my Win 10 lappie, and turned off SMB1, my Netgear NAS (for backups) no longer works! I need to do a bit of digging...

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Has AI gone too far? DeepTingle turns El Reg news into terrible erotica

Pen-y-gors
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veeeeery interesting....

Obviously worth a giggle or two, but there are some interesting ideas and questions driving the work - they've taken an extreme example, but the idea of accurately emulating style in writing needs more serious research. Good luck to them - although perhaps they need to retrain it on Barbara Cartland before they take it to a conference!

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Cloud giants 'ran out' of fast GPUs for AI boffins

Pen-y-gors
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Burning the midnight oil

Glad it's not just undergrads who wait until the last minute to write an essay!

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Telecoms fail in UK takes down passport scanners in Australia

Pen-y-gors
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International data transfer?

Interesting point about data going international though, were they trying to connect to GCHQ? Or, less likely, they wanted to check an update server for software or AV updates and wouldn't carry on until they'd found it! Either way, big fail.

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Pen-y-gors
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Timezones?

which ignored us for hours ...

Hey guys, it was sunday night here - you don't expect 24/7 IT and PR support on international mission-critical systems, surely? That would cost money, and we know how governments feel about paying for support...

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Julian Assange wins at hide-and-seek game against Sweden

Pen-y-gors
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Slightly complicated...

Yes, he committed an offence of jumping bail.

BUT the charge for which he was on bail has been dropped, so in hindsight there was no reason for him to be on bail in the first place. So is it reasonable, fair and just (as opposed to legal) to continue to pursue him for something he wouldn't have done in the first place if things had moved faster, i.e. the Swedes had decided at the beginning that there didn't seem to be enough evidence?

Yes, he's a <insert insulting term here> but it does seem a tad unfair.

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Faking incontinence and other ways to scare off tech support scammers

Pen-y-gors
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Re: Put them on hold

I don't have a 'hold' function, I usually use one of two variations:

a) if they ask to speak to the manager, I reply that "He's with a client at the moment - oh, wait, he's just seeing them out. He'll be with you in a minute" then put the handset on the desk and leave them to wait in hope.

b) Start talking to them and then say "Oh, hang on, there's someone at the door. I'll be back in a moment" and again put handset on desk

Best I've managed so far is 6min 35sec before they give up.

And for a simulation of 'hold' switch to a really weird Internet radio station in the background - Hot gospel preacher?

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Proposed PATCH Act forces US snoops to quit hoarding code exploits

Pen-y-gors
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There is a principle to consider

Should the police be allowed to knowingly ignore a threat to a householder? Once upon a time the parish constables would wander round, checking all was well, 'shaking hands with door-knobs' as Vimes would say, rather than sitting on their bum in a nice warm car. If such an officer discovered a front door was unlocked, should he ignore it and note the fact in case he wanted to come back later to plant evidence, or should he notify the householder so they can secure their property.

In a democratic society I know what I'd expect them to do

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Leeds cops issue appeal for man-sized todger

Pen-y-gors
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Re: Awww come on...

as opposed to a 12 inch pianist

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Britain shouldn't turn its back on EU drone regs, warns aerospace boffin

Pen-y-gors
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Here be snowflakes...

"Britain shouldn't turn its back on EU drone regs..."

Britain shouldn't turn its back on EU drone regs

FTFY

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Security shield slingers are loving Prez Trump's cybersecurity order

Pen-y-gors
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Re: Usual odd picture

@AC

I think you forgot the Joke icon - I hope. In fact I'm sure - anyone that illiterate wouldn't be able to understand any of El Reg's articles - too many syllables in some of the words.

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Pen-y-gors
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Usual odd picture

How is it that whenever Drumpf is photographed wielding a crayon he's surrounded by white men? It's weird. I mean, how do Republicans breed if there aren't any females? Little Republicans must come from somewhere.

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Travel IT biz reportedly testing 100TB SSDs

Pen-y-gors
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Hmmmm...

Travel IT biz reportedly testing 100TB SSDs, which could mean – ...

a sudden global shortage of chips?

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WannaCrypt 'may be the work of North Korea' theory floated

Pen-y-gors
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Depends how you pronounce scones.

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German court set to rule on legality of IP address harvesting

Pen-y-gors
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Compromise is possible

1) There are legitimate reasons to log IP addresses - blacklisting, hacking investigation etc.

BUT

2) how long is that data needed - hours, days, a few weeks? In most cases no more than that as the problem to be investigated is likely to be known by then.

SO

3) You allow the data to be logged but it must be deleted or anonymised after, say, 28 days. With an exception that files can be kept longer if they are needed for an active investigation, and provided a senior officer or equivalent of the company sends a statement to that effect to the local Data Protection Czar. Add various penalties for abuse of the system, including direct action against the officer making the statement.

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WannaCrypt outbreak contained as hunt for masterminds kicks in

Pen-y-gors
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Re: criminality?

@Brewster's thingy

But where would that money have come from?

An interesting point. Surely the purpose of a 'Secretary of State for Health' is to work out how to provide the necessary funds to do the necessary tasks. If he can't do that then he's a bit of a waste of oxygen.

Obviously there are different priorities, but it's not a matter of either/or. Would he suggest not-buying antibiotics to pay for more nurses? Or reducing ward hygiene (even more)? No. There comes a point when the solution is actually more money. Where does that come from? There are many options...

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Pen-y-gors
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criminality?

Hunt told reporters that the level of criminality associated with the outbreak was at the "lower end" of what the government had expected.

What level of criminality do we call a decision not to bother with security updates for thousands of XP machines, to save a few million quid? How much has the last few days cost, Mr Ffrynt-Botham?

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Ransomware scum have already unleashed kill-switch-free WannaCry‬pt‪ variant

Pen-y-gors
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useful reminder

I'm well aware of the old saw about the cobblers children having no shoes, so I spent a few hours auditing my systems over the weekend. Making sure all machines were up-to-date on windows updates, turning off SMB1 everywhere, checking all anti malware, and making sure on and offline backups working. Most was fine anyway, but I'm glad I did as malwarebytes blocked an attempt to access port 445 while I was checking. Nasty little sods out there...

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Pen-y-gors
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Oh what fun...

I've been watching the malwaretech live infection map (https://intel.malwaretech.com/pewpew.html) - it's absolutely addictive!

But just noticed that someone in Nigeria has been hit with wcrypt. Tee-hee!

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Behold, auto-completing Android bug reports – because you're not very thorough

Pen-y-gors
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Re: Data slurp

Maybe it's concerns about what data will be slurped with the report that stops people reporting. I mean, I'd be extremely embarrassed if someone found out I'd been on the Daily Heil website when my Android bust.

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UK hospital meltdown after ransomware worm uses NSA vuln to raid IT

Pen-y-gors
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Re: Using Windows?

@MisterHappy

"With few exceptions the NHS is not a single large organisation, it is made up of lots and lots of Trusts & surgeries that are all responsible for their own IT systems."

Remind me again, how did such an odd and inefficient system come to pass?

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Pen-y-gors
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I vote for 'Tory cuts' closely linked to 'Jezza Ffrynt-Botham'

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Pen-y-gors
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Re: Ransomware

@AC

"So why is there no universal endpoint protection system that does this, in fact this should be baked in to the OS by now.?"

Because when Windows XP was being developed in 2001 no-one thought it was important (and I believe a lot of the NHS still uses that). Of course that doesn't excuse weaknesses in Win 10.

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Space upstart plans public cloud in low Earth orbit

Pen-y-gors
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Re: Call me skeptical but...

I suspect they've thought of that...after all, how do the US military talk to their spy satellites?

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Openreach hints at fibre network strategy rethink

Pen-y-gors
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Oh dear god, please no...

Openreach are now quoting that we will be able to place an order for fibre within two months - that's about teh sixth time they've got down to 'two months' over the last two years, but PLEASE finish off my village before you re-organise and change strategy!!!

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Pen-y-gors
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Re: FTTP?

Dunno - we've been 'about to get' FTTP for the last couple of years, and they're now hoping a couple of months away. Every line into a house is overhead and we have lengthy reels of fibre ready and waiting, hanging off every telegraph pole.

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Uber is a taxi company, not internet, European Court of Justice advised

Pen-y-gors
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Re: I am really...

@Pen-y-gors

"When will it sink in to people's minds that voting Tory is a mortal sin, and anyone who does will burn in the fires of hell for all eternity?"

I should have clarified - voting Tory is a MORTAL sin, voting Labour (or at least for the least bad candidates) is only a VENAL sin, still worthy of quite a few years in Purgatory. Obviously UKippers are damned in this world as well, and LibDems? Write out fifty times "I must not waste my vote". Those nice Greens though, and SNP and PC, well, go straight to Heaven, do not pass Go.

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Pen-y-gors
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Re: I am really...

It's not that politicians don't give a damn about non-law makers, it's that they do give several damns about their rich friends and supporters, who are pissed off by having to be nice to butterflies, not pour shit in the river, and give servants holidays and wages.

And when it comes to polling day, the little sheep read the Daily Heil and go and do as they're told again.

When will it sink in to people's minds that voting Tory is a mortal sin, and anyone who does will burn in the fires of hell for all eternity?

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Pen-y-gors
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Re: Finally some common sense

Seem to be unnecessarily complicated arguments. Surely it's simple - a taximeter cabriolet uses a meter to calculate the charge paid to the 'cabbie' by the passenger. Uber calculates a fare using an electronic meter (to work out miles x rate) and a clock meter to calculate the time charge. Plus extras. The fact the meter uses electrons rather than cogs really doesn't change anything. Very few Uber vehicles are horse-drawn these days either, which is what a cabriolet originally was.

Oh yes, and 'hailing' a cab with a programme on a phone isn't fundamentally different to waving your umbella at the side of the street.

If it quacks like a...

I'm amazed they've been able to get away with this for so long. One is minded to wonder whether they have felt the need to 'employ' any local politicians.

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UK General Election 2017: How EU law will hit British politicians' Facebook fight

Pen-y-gors
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Re: 2015 Election

"there is insufficient evidence to prove to the criminal standard that any candidate or agent was dishonest"

In other words, beyond all reasonable doubt.

Perhaps it should have been left up to a jury to decide if it met the standard?

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Pen-y-gors
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Re: Appealing to the individual voter?

@Tom Paine

"For values of "us" meaning "persons who have never bothered to join a party, let alone attend a meeting or deliver some leaflets".

or possibly also meaning "persons who have been members of a political party for years, who have been branch officers, who have sat through too many dull meetings, who have knocked on uncounted doors and delivered many, many leaflets, who have stood for Parliament on more than one occasion, and for local councils, and who have been active parish councillors for quite a few years"

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Pen-y-gors
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Appealing to the individual voter?

"...to map the fears and desires of swing voters, and design highly personalised messaging that would appeal to them."

Which basically summarises one of the (many) core problems of UK politics - the main parties are only interested in convincing each person to vote for them and put them in power. It doesn't matter if that means promising different random (and impossible) things to each voter, even if you know you can't deliver (£350 million...etc). Just tell them what they want to hear.

If we want to clean up politics (and I think most of us do) we need to get to a point where the candidates for election say what they believe in. What are their principles and philosophy? What is their vision for a future Little-Snodbury-in-the-Wold, Britain, Europe or the World? It's good to know as well what specific policies they would implement to move towards that vision, but policies should come from what the candidate believes in, not be something to get the vote of Mrs F Ashist round the corner.

The candidates task is then to persuade the voters to support their vision, not to promise them the impossible.

There are some smaller parties who do actually work that way. I'll leave the reader to decide which ones.

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European Patent Office dragged to human rights court – by its own staff

Pen-y-gors
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On a practical level

With all these shenanigans going on, how does anyone in the EPO find time to actually review any patent applications?

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Crooks can nick Brits' identities just by picking up the phone and lying

Pen-y-gors
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'Security' questions?

It doesn't help that their 'security' questions are often rather less than secure. In general I think we can assume that a person's full name, address, date of birth and, probably, mother's maiden name are publicly known information. Why shouldn't they be?

The standard "Who was your first teacher", "what is your favourite colour" type questions don't really help either - no-one in their right mind would give a true answer, or the same made-up one to two different businesses/banks, and so they're unlikely to remember the answers.

My bank tends to ask questions like "You recently charged £49.75 to your account, can you remember what it was for?" - well, probably not but I'd guess a tank of petrol maybe? Not perfect but it's better than the other options.

It's a problem which needs solving, and I don't have a good answer (what kind of useless commentard does that make me?), but the present system of questions only seems designed to give a false sense of security, a bit like all the airport searches and no-fly lists we're plagued with these days.

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$6,000 for tours of apocalyptic post-Brexit London? WTF, NYT?

Pen-y-gors
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Re: They could do a real brexit tour

Good idea - leave it a few years for things to settle down then visit

Cornwall - picturesque former fishing villages, their harbours full of tied-up, rusting old boats

East Anglia - vast prairies of empty grassland, with not a veg-picker to be seen

Industrial North-East - empty former Japanese car factories, surrounded by zombies trying to get in

The Scottish Marches - smile at and photograph the cheery Scottish Border Force staff behind their wall.

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Facebook is abusive. It's time to divorce it

Pen-y-gors
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Re: Everyone who uses Facebook is being emotionally monitored.

But from Zuckerberg's point of view, is he particularly worried if advertisers are getting a proportion of crap data? He gets his advertising dollars anyway. And the advertiser won't be aware that x% of their ads for walking frames and incontinence pads are being shown to 18-24 year-olds.

Insert obligatory King Gillette quotation about wasted advertising money.

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Pen-y-gors
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Linked-In?

I can see a point for basic linked-in - business contacts. But what really pisses me off is getting e-mails from linked in from someone I've never heard of, saying they want to join my network. And there is a button on the request to 'Accept' and....well, no, that's about it. No alternative button like 'Fec off' or even 'Reject'.

Don't you love 'choice'?

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Pen-y-gors
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Re: Pintrest

I like the plan, and I'm amazed that Pinterest hasn't been closed down, given the generally feeling in corporate America that copyright law was handed down by Gahd as an appendix to the Ten Commandments.

But I think the get-out is 'with fraudulent intent' - do people remove the copyright tags so they can financially benefit, or to pass it off as their own? Damn!

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Pen-y-gors
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There is a compromise

Don't use FB for personal stuff. I have an FB account, under a very false name, with a very odd profile and history, that I use when I need to, mainly for posting and reading about events in our community shop and other local groups. I don't get my information from FB but lots of others do, so we use it. Telling porkies about your life is quite a good way to confuse their advertising systems.

Ditto Twitter - absolutely no point in personal tweets about what I had for supper, but pretty handy for groups/businesses to advertise what is happening (if you can be bothered to check your feed)

I suspect I don't get the most out of either as I refuse to have the apps on my phone and always access via a web browser, which auto-deletes cookies.

But look on the bright side - who remembers MySpace and Friends Reunited? Hopefully in ten years we can say the same about FB.

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Leaked: The UK's secret blueprint with telcos for mass spying on internet, phones – and backdoors

Pen-y-gors
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Re: Only one question

"I'm glad I didn't waste my vote today. In the sense that I took a deliberate choice not to use it to support the fuckwits of the establishment.

You do realise that the election today was for local councils, not the nutters by the Thames?

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Fortran greybeards: Get your walking frames and shuffle over to NASA

Pen-y-gors
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Faster hardware?

Hang on - if the code dates back to the 1980s then the CPUs it's running on now are about a million times faster than the original ones. If it was fast enough 30 years ago, why is it too slow now?

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Booze stats confirm boring Britain is drying

Pen-y-gors
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Historical trends

Quite possibly reflecting a very-long term historical trend.

I'm currently involved with a project studying all the known licensed premises In Ceredigion (the old Cardiganshire) over the last couple of hundred years. (It's a tough job but someone has to do it)

Official figures show that there were about 450 licensed premises (beerhouses, pubs, inns, hotels) in thee county in about 1860 (adult population 63000) - plus uncounted unlicensed drinking-dens in the hills. By the early 1900s it was down to about 300. Probably less than 150 now.

Part of it was deliberate government policy. They somehow felt that one boozer per eighty inhabitants (in some of the market towns) was a few too many. They introduced a levy on all pubs, and used the money to pay compensation to pubs that they shut down as being 'unnecessary'. It was just half a dozen or so a year, but it adds up.

And as people drink a bit less then marginal pubs in rural areas close. So people have to drive....'nuff said.

Times have changed - I found one wonderful tale of a bod in Cardigan who was up before the beak for drunk and disorderly for the 38th time!

More details, if you're interested, at http://pint-of-history.wales

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