* Posts by Suricou Raven

1485 posts • joined 20 Jun 2007

eBay invites mystic wrath over ban on spells, potions and lotions

Suricou Raven
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Re: Can anyone tell me

Where were all those psychics on 9/11? You might think that a major event like that would cause *some* disturbance in the force.

Maybe any who saw it coming were sensible enough not to come forward, knowing they would likely be declared a suspect and be disappeared to an overseas prison camp for some extralegal interrogation.

A sensible psychic would just happily win the lottery and then confine their ability to predicting the questions at the next pub quiz.

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AntiLeaks group claim responsibility for WikiLeaks attacks

Suricou Raven
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Re: Who really cares how allegedly secret documents are leaked ...

Anyone knowledgeable enough to launch the attack will know that they cannot hope to keep any leaked information locked away forever. This can only lead to two obvious conclusions.

- Either they are just trying to buy time on some particular leak, slowing the release long enough to perform their damage control and find the source of the leak.

- Or they are, as they claim, politically motivated - they don't want to stop any specific leak, just to harm wikileaks by forcing them to spend as much money as is possible on counter-DDoS measures and hosting.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Depressing

Not the first one by any means. People feel very strongly about political matters, and easily form like-minded groups. It's a common occurance for activists to get together online and go on a campaign to further their rightous (as they see it) cause. Sometimes via DDoS or hacking, sometimes via coordinated trolling, sometimes by social media manipulation (The DiggPatriots, who worked out how to game the Digg algorithm). It's just an extension of offline protesting: Sometimes it involves a peaceful picketing, sometimes a disruption of a business by blockadeing the enterance, and sometimes those logging machines just look like they could use a few cups of sand in the oil tank.

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Deadly pussies kill more often than owners think

Suricou Raven
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Makes no difference,

Every cat owner will insist that *their* cat is different, and would never hurt a fly. People get very attached to pets, both individual pets and just pets in more general concept. It's an irrational type of attachment that defies all attempt at argument.

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Valve: Games run FASTER on Linux than Windows

Suricou Raven
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Re: Linux on a stick

Quite possible. Also, Apple is one of the few companies around that likes Lots and Lots of Pixels. Performance is very much of importance when you're trying to draw frames at high resolutions.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: M$

Vista destroyed the search functionality, and MS never even admitted it.

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Suricou Raven
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Of course they don't like MS right now. Valve has Steam: A successful, popular infrastructure for application marketing, distribution, updating and DRM. Now Microsoft is going to bring in their own marketplace: An infrastructure for application marketing, distribution, updating and DRM. Which will instantly be a huge hit, because it comes bundled with the operating system. That puts Valve in the position once occupied by Netscape, or Winamp: They have a decent product, but Microsoft is about to become their competitor, and no matter how good your product you can't compete with Microsoft and their bundling advantage. For the Steam division, it's a bet-the-company moment: Either try to survive as a niche market beside the incoming Microsoft giant, or try to move into a niche where Microsoft has no interest or advantage. Like linux.

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Microsoft 'didn't notice' it had removed Browser Choice for 17 months

Suricou Raven
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Re: Mac's seem to dodge this - antitrust?

Antitrust only applies when a company holds and abuses a dominant market share in specific ways, such as using it to unfairly gain advantage in another market. In this case, Microsoft dominated (still does) the desktop operating system market, and unfairly used that dominance to give themselves a massive advantage in the browser market (Still a market, even if they are all free!) by bundling IE with Windows and thus ensuring it would be installed on almost all PCs. Apple do not hold sufficient market share in the desktop sector to have power to abuse. They can't even make it to 50% on smartphones, where they are the big success story.

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Suricou Raven
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The EC finally sorted the brower wars, after microsoft had won.

Now maybe they can do something about Microsoft's attempts to block linux with secure boot, refusal to support any video codecs they don't own patents for, their likewise policy on filesystems to promote their patent-covered and restrictively-licensed ExFAT, the ASF format license that only permits saving in ASF format, and all of the hundred other things they do to make life harder for their competitors. Shouldn't take more than twenty years or so to get through the legal system.

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Olympus MEG4.0 smart glasses will photoshop the REAL WORLD

Suricou Raven
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App ideas:

- Facial recognition cue: Now you don't need to remember the names of your coworkers and clients, as they appear in your HUD every time you look at them.

- Nudievision: The illusion that all women are naked.

- Anti-nudievision: The illusion that all ugly women are wearing burqas.

- Family finder: Shows direction indicators to those in your group, for locating lost children in crowds.

- Web browser: For reading The Register at work.

- Adblocker: All billboards and advertising flyers removed from vision.

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Metro, that ribbon, shared mailboxes: Has Microsoft lost the plot?

Suricou Raven
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Re: As always,

I think he shouldn't have been fired. But then, I *want* Microsoft to fail. It is not good for one company to define an industry.

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Move over Raspberry Pi, give kids a Radio Ham Pi - minister

Suricou Raven
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Re: Computer club

Four of them: A counter, a chip of NAND gates to reset the counter when it reaches six, an adder (the counter does 0-5, the adder makes that into 1-6) and a seven-segment decoder (with latch). The final part was to be the astable, but we ran out of term-time before that bit was done. Used a mini-siggen for testing purposes. They also watched me build a power supply (Battery, regulator, MCB, caps, USB port) to run it, but couldn't build that part themselves because it needed the soldering iron for almost everything.

During the upcoming holiday I will be moving the die from breadboard to stripboard (again, they can't use the iron) for display purposes.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Computer club

That's what I'm trying to do - I'm in IT support at a school. But I am running into two problems: I am not good at teaching, and the students are inattentive and uninterested. I do not have the skill to keep them focused or inspire them. They all went into the club wanting to build a big robot-wars-style robot, and it's clear to them as well as me that they won't be ready for that for a long time. It took many weeks to build a simple electronic dice. They really did build it though - not just assemble a kit, but make it all from 4000 series chips on breadboard. Most of the schematic was my design, but they put it together, reading pinout diagrams from datasheets.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Not as good idea as it sounds...

One of these?

http://www.electronickits.com/kit/complete/science/mx906.htm

I searched for 'electronics spring kit' and found a few such things. I remember one too. I also remember designing my own circuits before I had gotten the concept of current limiting resistors and blowing every LED on the thing. The first circuit I designed was a relay oscillator driving the audio transformer as a step-up and source of extra inductance. Good for shocking my sister.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Not as good idea as it sounds...

No, it's poke-your-friend-with-the-soldering-iron. I actually teach a group of children electronics once a week, in an after-school club, and I have two observations:

- They are all thick as two short planks.

- They have the combined attention span of a goldfish.

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Suricou Raven
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The CVBS video signal used by most DVD players to send the picture to the TV is based upon radio modulation technology. It's the only way to cram three color channels into one signal. Once you move from DVD to blu-ray, HDMI takes its place and the radio legacy is gone.

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Disable Gadgets NOW says Redmond

Suricou Raven
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Re: the moaning bandwagon must be close to capacity...

I have a complaint: The search is very unpredictable! It's also laggy for me, because it covers some spun-down drives. Whenever I use it, I find I have to wait for the spinup before Windows presents the result I seek.

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Suricou Raven
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Executing code from untrustworthy places can be dangerous?

I guess we can all thank Microsoft's newest employee, Captain Obvious.

This isn't even a security flaw - it's the gadget stuff doing what it's supposed to. Just because Microsoft calls them gadgets doesn't mean they stop being programs. Still, I don't think many people ever used them. It does sound plausible that MS is killing them off though as part of their shift to Metro, with it's increased use of web-based HTML5/javascript rather than native code.

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Indian software pirating suspect faces US extradition

Suricou Raven
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Piracy or counterfeiting?

I don't trust the source to make any distinction, but to the still-evolving 'internet morality' it's very important. If he was just burning discs and labeling them with a marker pen for low price, that is piracy and not really objectionable, but if he was doing them with labels, boxes and manuals to pass them off as a genuine product with support from the vendor than that would be fraud and the internet will give him no sympathy.

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Religious wars brewing in ICANN gTLD expansion

Suricou Raven
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Re: rewire the brain

I'm guessing he doesn't look at any. But he has people who told him about it, and they heard from others, who heard from others, who looked at some themselves. At each stage, only the juiceiest and most scandalous stories get passed on... like a concentrator.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: proven to rewire the brain - and that's a fact bitch

The argument from poor design says that the human body could not have been designed by a perfect creator, because it's full of really obviously stupid mistakes. Like fitting the retinas backwards, wiring the larynx up via the heart and the inclusion of an appendix that serves no function except to become fatally infected.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: @Oliver

IIRC, that's the ritual required for those suffering from skin conditions. The KVJ translates 'leprosy' but the ancient hebrew word actually includes a wide variety of skin conditions as well as leprosy. It wasn't exactly intended as a cure, more a ceremonial cleanliness thing.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Unlike, say, religion?

Think religious. They use an absolute morality system: God is right at the 'top' as the standard to aspire to. So 'defining down' means 'defining the common perception of decency as further away from the ideal that is God.' It's a bit tricky to follow them sometimes if you don't understand how they think.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: "Do not even the tax collectors do ..."

More or less the same thing with Herod. Real king, puppet of the Romans, and very well documented too. By most accounts a rather nasty piece of work with a few murders to his career, but no-where other than the gospels is there any mention of him ordering his army to slaughter all male newborns in his domain... and that is one hell of a thing for historians to forget about. The writers of the gospels, or one of those who edited them, put in the slaughter of the innocents as a piece of propaganda to tell the Jews how ruthless and murderous a monster the Romans were willing to put in charge. Even if the story was completely made-up, it's still good propaganda. Nearly two thousand years, and he is still best-known for ordering a slaughter that never happened.

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Apple unveils tightened Mountain Lion requirements

Suricou Raven
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Re: @Shardik

He is referring to an issue with some models of iMac. The fan controller reads the temperature from the hard drive, and sets the fan speed accordingly, but it reads the drive temperature using a non-standard protocol supported only by Apple branded (ie, overpriced) drives. You can fit a non-Apple-branded drive, and it'll work, but the fans will be stuck continually at their highest speed.

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Door creaks and girl farts: computing in the real world

Suricou Raven
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Thiner?

Why are they so crazed over making it so thin? Shaving off a few milimeters isn't going to do anything for useability, and the macbook series are already thin enough to fit into any bag. What possible benefit is there to making it any thinner, even ignoring the compromises of reduced functionality and increased cost that such dimensional squeezing demands?

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Shuttleworth: Why Windows 8 made us ditch GPL Linux loader

Suricou Raven
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Re: I think it's time we let EU decide

Good idea. And when the legal case finishes in about ten years, Microsoft will face another billion-dollar fine. But by then they will have destroyed all competition and indirectly made tens of billions, so for them it'll be a net win.

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Suricou Raven
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None. I've read of bootloader rootkits being produced by researchers as proof of concept, but I haven't heard of one actually being used for a real hack, ever. There were viruses once that used the technique to infect floppy disks, but those died out with the floppy.

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Facebook phone app attempts to seize ALL YOUR MAIL

Suricou Raven
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I've noticed when installing apps that almost everything demands access to almost everything, often for no apparent reason. I don't know of this is also the case for users of iPhone or the five people who own Windows phones, but it seems to be how it works on Android. I suspect that, with most of what I install being free, all those apps are loaded with spyware. That is what droidwall is for.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Simple.

But it also, like the iPhone, doesn't let you install any app that hasn't been explicitly approved by Microsoft. When it comes to mobile phones, customers have plenty of choice: They can choose which company they would rather be screwed by.

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ITC denies Apple an emergency ban on ALL HTC PHONES

Suricou Raven
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Re: "Software petents" - WTF ?

The cost of checking for potentially problematic patents fully could exceed the cost of designing the phone.

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US federal boffins insist that mermaids DON'T exist

Suricou Raven
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Re: The truth about MERMAIDS:

Reminds me of a very similar program a while ago (Same studio?) about dragons, presenting the fictional-but-blured story of a discovery of a dragon corpse and 'scientific' explanations of how such a creature could evolve and function. I blame the Da Vinci Code: That book showed that blending truth and fiction together to the point they are hard to distinguish can make for a very popular and profitable work.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Damn. And I was hoping they'd answer the age-old problem - how do you actually

The only time witnesses would get a good look at the tail is when the mermaid is on land (It may be assumed they frequently rest upon shore or exposed rocks, perhaps to interact with humans or escape sharks). On land the mermaid would have to twist her (do they even come in male gender? Maybe they breed via amazonian reproduction, thus explaining why they need to seduce human men) body around ninety degrees to lay her tail flat, to prevent uneven stress from damaging the delicate fin. This slightly-uncomfortable position would present anyone watching with the illusion of a horizontal tail, rather than the vertical shape it would take when in water.

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ICANN's overlordship of the internet confirmed again by US gov

Suricou Raven
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Of course.

What could be more in line with American values than shamelessly exploiting a government-granted power for financial gain at the expense of everyone else?

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Apple patent may foretell an end to iPhone autocorrect Tourette's

Suricou Raven
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Re: Been there.

I make no secret of it.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Sigh. something else to be turned off.

Tends to have objections to abbreviations too. My phone likes to turn 'ooc' into 'oocyte.'

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Been there.

The internet has many dialects. The /me would be familiar to any user of IRC, while the reference to preening only makes sense to a particular community. Outside of IRC, it's also acceptable to indicate third-person poses by using * delimiters on each end, while * delimiters on a single word are used for emphesis.

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Suricou Raven
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Been there.

My non-iPhone managed to mangle a chat pose that was typed perfectly. "/me preens you." became "/me breeds you."

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Join the gov consultation on net porn ... and have your identity revealed

Suricou Raven
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I'm guessing they do test it... with a single user-session at a time.

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Suricou Raven
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It wasn't confidential anyway.

Have you read the first page? They warn that all submissions may be made public at a future date, and even if you tick the 'keep confidential' box they will only take it as a polite request and not legally binding. I do wonder if this is standard procedure on consultations, or if I should invoke a little paranoia and attribute this to an attempt to further bias the study (As if the questions aren't loaded enough) - no-one is going to face a scandal for wanting to protect children, but for a person to ever admit publicly that they believe seeing a little porn isn't going to forever traumatise a child is the type of violation of the social order that could cost someone their job.

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Sysadmins: Your best tale of woe wins a PRIZE

Suricou Raven
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Re: One off the top of my head....

You can get it through a key-combination (right-alt 3, I think? I can't remember without actually being sat at the keyboard), but this is rather non-obvious. No user would guess that, I had to look it up. It also doesn't work when I'm running windows and RDPed into another windows server - whenever I want to join a channel on IRC, I have to copy-paste a hash from somewhere.

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Ministers consult public on 'opt in for smut' plans

Suricou Raven
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I had mine unblocked so I could access my own artwork. The gallery site I use also hosts adult artwork on the same server.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Follow the money...

Worse than that. I actually work at a school, and I'm in a constant battle with the game sites - they make a lot of their money from students, so they are perpetually moving around to try to evade filters. You'll find identical sites under a hundred names, changing slightly - adding a number, adding a dash, moving from .com to .biz to obscure ones like .eu. Do you think it'd be any different with blocked porn? There'd be a tremendous market for still-living-at-home teenagers and men-who-don't-want-the-wife-to-know, and the same domain-hopping strategy that game sites use would work there too. The legitimate, trustworthy porn sites would all be blocked. The ones with decent security, paywall filters and nothing more than titilation on the front page. But the fly-by-nights, the ones with no limits to how low they will sink, will just move into their place. The ones full of spyware and exploits, that lure the stupid into giving credit card information to use in fraud.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: An equal and opposite reaction

I know who'll see: Your girlfriend when she comes round to visit and can't resist quickly testing. Your parents, when they do the same. Visiting friends. Actually, anyone who ever uses your internet connection. They need only try to visit sex.com to find out if you are a dirty perv worth gossiping about.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Sooo.....

In, out... I don't know any more! Half the time when a politician opens their mouth and says 'opt-in' they mean opt-in to the filtering, and the other half they mean the filtering will be on by default and people will have to opt-in to the pornography. I'm sure this confusion is deliberate.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: yet another well intentioned but misguided law in the making

It's hard to say, but, based on recent government trends and dropped hints... I'd say that the first thing they'll class as harmful will be sites promoting anorexia or suicide. The stuff that isn't going to raise much objection. Then they'll gradually widen it to include 'hate speech,' which is vague enough that a lot of more extreme political and religious (Or anti-religious) sites will be blocked. Then they'll just extend it finally to 'promotion of criminal activity' and start blocking all manner of things relating to hacking (As defined by politicians, so this includes things like how to jailbreak your iPad), piracy, etc.

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Google brings HD sneezing pandas to UK: But why?

Suricou Raven
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Re: Yebbut, nobut...

The terms 'DLNA' and 'works pretty well' do not belong on the same thread.

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FCC boss applauds moves to block UN internet control

Suricou Raven
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Activists may have some advantage here.

There are plenty of grassroots activists around who really want the internet to be unregulated and unregulateable. In any other arena, they'd be a joke - the people who wave signs that everyone else ignores. But this isn't any other arena, because the internet differs in a crucial way: Software is real power. Avoiding the obvious star wars quote, the more governments try to control the internet the more annoyed users will start developing software to resist that control.

It's already lead to an arms race situation in regards to things like copyright enforcement: Users started hosting files, copyright holders started suing, so users invented napster, so copyright holders found new legal avenues, so users invented decentralised networks, so holders designed monitoring systems, so users invented darknets... and so it goes, as the two sides fight through technology. And so far, look who is winning.

Fast forward twenty years, and what is it going to look like? Distributed ad-hoc wireless content-addressible networks, ubiquitous encryption, a hundred different ways to make your collection of forbidden Mohammed-mocking cartoons look like background noise in a VoIP call, and technology so advanced you can fit every movie ever made in your pocket. The only way to maintain control then would be to ban data communications entirely, and that's going to destroy the economy so badly only the most desperate would try it - and even then, someone over the border is going to be scatting wireless repeaters over the country from balloons. There's already a Christian ministry that does that to airdrop bibles into North Korea from adapted weather-ballons.

Such technology will always be niche though. Most people just don't want to rock the boat, and have nothing more dangerous to discuss online than idle gossip and the latest sports results.

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CIOs should fear the IP police ... have your get-out-of-jail files ready

Suricou Raven
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Re: Need MLKs speech.

"I think that Beethoven's copyright has well and truly expired, so everything is most certainly in the public domain and has been for a long time."

Not true. The music he wrote, yes - that has expired. So you can use the sheet music all you want. But each performance is, for copyright purposes, a new work with a new term. So in order to find a recording of the music being played, you'd need to either find an acceptable license for a performance or find a recording made so long ago the copyright has expired - which, under current European-standard copyright terms, probably means it'll be on shellac record. If you're in the US it'd be on wax cylinder, if any has survived that long at all. Or you could perform it yourself, but as another commenter pointed out this would require an entire orchestra of highly trained musicians, something rather cost-prohibitive.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Oh what sensationalist nonsense...

Create all content in-house? Well, that should only raise their expenditure by an order of magnitude or so.

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