* Posts by Primus Secundus Tertius

817 posts • joined 31 Oct 2010

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Just delete the internet – pr0n-blocking legislation receives Royal Assent

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Democracy for the majority

@spacadet66

What kind of democracy is that? Why should techies, rather than (say) religious nutters, be allowed to impose their values and standards?

Nobody should be allowed to impose. Even a democratic majority must accept some limits, but minorities should accept their minority position.

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Primus Secundus Tertius
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Democracy for the majority

In this democratic people's monarchy of the UK, the non-techies vastly outnumber the techies.

The non-techies have been demanding for a long time that internet pawn be stopped, and the techies should stop whingeing and stop the pawn. The techies respond that it is like asking Newton's Laws to be repealed, but that is democracy for you.

In real politics, of course, there would be a sensible compromise. E.g. if you really want to watch pawn, smoke cigarettes, or drive a car you pay extra tax and extra extra tax if you pay anonymously.

Everything has its price.

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Regulate This! Time to subject algorithms to our laws

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Regulation versus Appeal

One cannot hope to regulate every detailed thing. The answer must be a right of appeal to legal precedent or common sense, with the latter occasionally allowed to prevail.

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Re: But more importantly...

MPs could be replaced at any time by men with guns.

Most of the time in most parts of the world the MPs are less worse than the men with guns.

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Alert: Using a web ad blocker may identify you – to advertisers

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Clearly unique (?) part 2

Since it recognised my normal setup with all its fonts, I tried two small Linux systems that were a standard CD image, no further installations or changes.

1. System Rescue Disk v4.1 + Midori browser. Could not connect to site, SSH handshake failure.

2. Tiny Core Linux + Firefox v52. I am in 26 out of 10,000+ users.

So to be anonymous, use a small Linux system.

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Clearly unique (?)

I do clear all history, usually between visiting different websites; and I bar third-pary cookies. I declined to turn them on for this test. But I was unique among 6000+.

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'Tech troll' sues EFF to silence 'Stupid Patent of the Month' blog. Now the EFF sues back

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Opinions versus facts

A lawyer in England, where libel laws are strict and therefore disliked by idle journalists, could argue that calling a patent stupid is an opinion rather than a claim of fact. As a mere opinion, it is not defamatory.

Defamation might be, for example, to claim the patent was based on plagiarism or obtained by bribery.

I am surprised the Australian judge did not take such a view.

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Leaked NSA point-and-pwn hack tools menace Win2k to Windows 8

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Damn it NSA,

@Nolveys

Mr Snowden is not due to inherit an English lordship. Therefore he is not entitled to be addressed as "The honourable..."

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Law Commission pulls back on official secrets laws plans after Reg exposes flawed report

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@tiggity

Indeed they were. The hatchet job on Dear Old Boris must rate as one of the most vicious in history.

There was then a series of votes, eliminating the candidate with fewest votes until there were two. Even I find it hard to remember the unsuccessful names; but some will have been staking out a claim to a place in a future contest.

May versus Leadsom as the finalists; then Leadsom withdrew.

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@Loyal Commenter

The parliamentary conservative party voted: just over 300 MPs, who are themselves elected by the voting public. Mrs May led the votes; then the number two candidate (Andrea Leadsom) dropped out.

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Astro-boffinry breakthrough: Loads of ingredients for life found on Saturn's Enceladus

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Remember Miller

So the Enceladus probe has discovered the ingredients that went into the famous Miller experiment of 1953: hydrogen, and hydrides of carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen.

The outputs of the Miller experiment were relatively simple organic compounds, but a long way from the highly organised large molecules of protein and DNA.

The news from Enceladus is an encouraging start, but nothing to get excited about. When the metal-digesting microbes there start chewing up Cassini's equipment, that will be news, if the reports get back to us.

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An echo chamber full of fake news? Blame Google and Facebook, says Murdoch chief

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Re: News of the World

How can anyone say the News of the World was fake news? It was based on the best telephone tapping that money could buy.

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It's 30 years ago: IBM's final battle with reality

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Re: IBM what could have been

"...Microsoft wrote a stub to detect whether OS/2 was installed..."

Windows 95 was distributed to end users as an "update CD". It would not run unless it detected an installed Windows 3.x or was presnted with the first W3 floppy disk. It would also accept the first OS/2 Warp 3 floppy disk.

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There are other variations of that quote about five computers: e.g. the UK would only need that kind of number.

For the publicly known computations of that time - gunnery trajectories etc., that number is perhaps right. But I believe over a dozen instances of Colossus were built for code cracking. So even then the estimate of five was way out.

However the real expansion of computing came with data processing, where record keeping outweighed the relatively small amount of computation. IBM should have known that, given their existing business in accounting machines fed with punched cards.

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No Stop button in window

The big defect in OS/2 that I met was the lack of a stop button in any window. Yes, you could close the window but that did not stop the task, just left it sitting in the background.

It was Windows 95 that brought us a proper stop button.

We had an OS/2 system returned to us as not working. The user had been closing the window, and then later starting up another instance. The system was clogged with dormant tasks. Once I removed them, everything worked again; what we had to do then was to update our User Guide.

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Steppe thugs pacified by the love of stone age women

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Re: Dont Tell UKIP or Britain First

There were Stone Age peoples who were wiped out by the invading Celts. Nowadays the Celts complain that their language and culture is being wiped out by the English.

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WikiLeaks exposes CIA anti-forensics tool that makes Uncle Sam seem fluent in enemy tongues

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Obscure comments

In most of the computer programs I ever dealt with, the comments did not need further obfuscation.

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Financial fraud losses in the UK last year topped £20m a day – report

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Re: 768/20 = 38.4

@Borg.King

Well said, sir. The mistaken arithmetic in the article suggests that its author is a likely target for fraud.

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'Windows 10 destroyed our data!' Microsoft hauled into US court

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: About time

@Eddy

I have tried various releases of Reactos, up to 4.4. It is still beta software at best, and is unhappy on real hardware rather than a virtual machine.

After my last attempt on real hardware I had to wipe the bios with a specialised program to restore the normal ability to manage bios settings.

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Astroboffins stunned by biggest brown dwarf ever seen – just a hop and a skip away (750 ly)

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: "Gigayears"...?

We need a word that means a thousand million. The word milliard never caught on, so we have billion.

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Microsoft delivers secure China-only cut of Windows 10

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Re: Perhaps...

@Mage

Within reason (that typically British phrase) I can live with being spied on by the authorities. What I strongly object to is being spied on by the usual suspects: Google, Microsoft, Amazon, ...

I get the impression that American preferences are the other way: they allow almost anything from corporates but not from government.

So much for the Internet uniting the world. It actually shows how divided we are.

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FBI boss: 'Memories are not absolutely private in America'

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Trust your government?

As a Brit, I like our way of doing things.

THEY make the laws but WE decide whether to obey those laws.

Germans have a very different attitude. Germans have said to me, the law is the law and should be obeyed. Somehow the USA has taken up that German position rather than the English one. Revolutionary animus, perhaps.

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Re: A real policeman once said

@man who fell...

Such a witness can then be branded as unreliable by lawyers for the other side, thus weakening somebody's case. Actions or inactions have consequences.

We live in organised societies that are more then just a bunch of selfish individuals. So individuals do not have absolute freedom. In common law states - Britain and USA - there is a common law duty to assist in mantaining law and order.

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Watt the f... Dim smart meters caught simply making up readings

Primus Secundus Tertius
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campaigners pdeudoscience

Too much technical policy in Britain is decided by campaigners with limited scientific knowledge but who have the ear of our arts graduate civil servants.

Not only is the campaigners' knowledge limited but their scientific judgement is zero. They should be called technicians, not scientists.

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Forget quantum and AI security hype, just write bug-free code, dammit

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Re: 1980s computer science

@Mage

Well said!

I partly blame modern education, which tells children to be creative rather than to check their work.

Also, nobody wants to pay for quality, and they expect bug fixes as part of the service.

In my own programming career, I saw many poorly defined interfaces that did not logically separate various aspects of the requirements. It is difficult to get a poor interface working free from bugs.

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University DDoS'd by its own seafood-curious malware-infected vending machines

Primus Secundus Tertius
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My new car

My new car is an IoT on wheels. I am moderately confident, but no more than that, in its integrity as it emerged from the factory.

But there is a USB socket by the gear stick. One clueless service mechanic wanting music with their tea-break....

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All of Blighty's attack submarines are out of action – report

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: No EU Discount

@phuzz

If we write that about the progeny of immigrants we can be accused of racism. If we write that about Her Majesy we can be accused of treason.

In these modern times, which is worse?

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Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Buy the German U-boats

@LDS

One unfortunate secretary at a place I worked was never allowed to forget her diesel-elastic submarine. A typo, of course.

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NASA's Curiosity puts cat among the climate pigeons: Lack of CO2 sinks water theory

Primus Secundus Tertius
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our own correspondent

Where is our own coorespondent, the man for mars?

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Police drones, robo surgeons and chatbot civil servants. What could go wrong?

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Re: "The UK should also take a look at using drones for policing, apparently."

Brexit & Trump sounds like a dodgy lawyers firm to me.

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Turing test

I recently went through the nauseous procedure of reporting a telephone fault to BT, and ended up on a chat line, purportedly to a person "somewhere".

But when you are on the line to someone with limited English working from a script, you wonder if in fact you are talking to a robot - the Turing test.

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GCHQ cyber-chief slams security outfits peddling 'medieval witchcraft'

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Re: Hackers are not the only threat.

@trickster

Sir or Madam,

You vastly overestimate the extent to which They are interested in Us. Believe me, I went to a privileged university with some of Them.

We/Us are merely statistics, 60 million of Us in the UK. Cheap computer hardware is not here to benefit Us but to benefit the Googleocracy that collects statistics about us on a huge scale.

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@Peter 26

"Why ..." may be a rhetorical question, but here is my suugested answer.

By and large, the private sector does not do deep, fundamental innovation. Minor incremental updates, yes, but real new thinking is rare. They employ doers and sellers, not thinkers.

So these things need to be hatched in the universities or other research establishments.

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@AC (1st)

Outside the technical readership of El Reg there are many people who say internet porn is wrong, it should be stopped, and the techies should stop whingeing and just stop the porn.

I once read that automatic telephone exchanges were invented by somebody annoyed beyond endurance after his calls to company A were connected to company B because B had bribed the operators. The telephone industry has matured, and the computer industry will have to do the same.

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David Hockney creates new Sun masthead. Now for The Reg...

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: The Sun?

There are people who can't distinguish those colours:

1. The lad I grew up with who in snooker could not distinguish the brown from the reds

2. The colleague on a computerised maps project who could not distinguish the brown and red roads.

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Re: Sun circulation

I object to the way the Telegraph now wants one to pay for access to much of the Internet version. If other publications can give free copies of printed papers, it must be even cheaper to offer Internet versions for free.

I particularly object to being expected to pay to see readers' letters, which come to them for free.

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NASA brews better test to find ET in cosmic cocktails

Primus Secundus Tertius
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In an equilibrium system the two chiralities are likely to be equally probable. But Life is not an equilibrium system, it is a steady-state non-equilibrium system (SSNES). Or what my physics lecturers called a "dissipative system".

It is easy to imagine abiotic systems that are SSNES. For example, a steady stream of water (high pressure, high temperature) through volcanic rocks in a chemically reducing environment. My question is whether in such a SSNES one chirality could come to dominate.

Suitable experiments are needed.

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President Donald Trump taken on by unlikely foe: Badass park rangers

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Re: About time

@Big John

"8 years of embedded leftist bureaucrats"

Yes, we had that problem in the UK after Labour were voted out in 2010. It still is a problem. It does seem that lefties can only make their careers in public services rather than the private economy.

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Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Less than a week in the position...

If Trump were impeached, I assume his bible-banging VP, Pence, would take over. As a Brit, I would not wish that upon our American friends.

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Machine-learning boffins 'summon demons' in AI to find exploitable bugs

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Re: Over the years people have done AI projects in software development.

Agreed.

The real future of AI is to understand how AI does or will work.

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Oh, the things Vim could teach Silicon Valley's code slingers

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Re: As a long-time Vim user (since 2005 or so)

@Roo

EMACS is the marmite of the software world: you love it or you hate it.

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Microsoft Germany says Windows 7 already unfit for business users

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Re: MS Access

Particularly in the voluntary sector there are many data sets of just a few hundred or a few thousand rows. I did say in an earlier comment that an office of 20 people using a serious-sized system would need a full scale database. Even then, Access is useful for design and prototype work, and for client side rather than server side in large systems.

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"I'd have thought that any self-respecting data analyst would have done that before creating the tables. It's called normalisation, been around for about 45 years."

I would have thought that, too; then I had to deal with the systems I inherited. Created by ordinary office workers or business people, who do know a lot about their business but are not logicians and data analysts.

This is the "real" world, right; though a mathematician might say it is "complex".

MS Access makes it much easier to pick up the pieces and refashion them into your ideal normalised state.

[No, I do not work for Microsoft, never have, and am now enjoying my retirement so never will.]

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It is not just the relational database itself that matters, but also the facilities that come with it. I am thinking specifically of the way Access can move fields from large records into separate tables. This means, for example, that city and county names can be defined just once and used consistently. So if you are inheriting a clunky old data set, you can sharpen it up.

Libre Office database can do the relational joins, but not the data reforming.

Yes, Access is OK for one or two users but not an office with 20 users. You then use Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, ... I believe SQL Server does have various tools. Maybe the other products do: I look forward to further comments from Reg users.

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@arobertson1

I guess you did not use MS Access. Probably only serious data analysts really need it, but there is nothing like it in Linux. Libre Office database is a child's effort in comparison.

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Boffins link ALIEN STRUCTURE ON VENUS to Solar System's biggest ever grav wave

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Re: It's simple

If they really are watching us they must be waving their tentacles in despair.

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Re: Will nobody think of the tax payers?

Thank you, Spacedinvader, for that clarification.

It is a pity the Reg could not make it that clear in the first place. They seem to have lost all their science-qualified writers who could examine critically a press release or abstract rather than just copying the words.

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Trump's cyber-guru Giuliani runs ancient 'easily hackable website'

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Re: The real issue

@macjules

"cybersecurity adiser" is OK by MS Office spellcheck, the grand arbiter in these matters.

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Microsoft's Blue Screen of Death dead in latest Windows 10 preview

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@Kobblestown

Or, as I have heard Australians say, "What a sod!".

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Rethink on bank cybersecurity rules might only follow major bank breach, says expert

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Re: Customer experience

In the "good old days" banks really did know their cutomers: they would recognise us when we walked in. Also, we could telephone our branch and they would recognise our voice over the phone.

One of the best security measures is still human recognition of voices over the plain old telephone.

Mind you, i remember inheriting a club/society account where the old bank statements were the legendary hand-written things.

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