* Posts by Chris

163 posts • joined 16 Feb 2007


Sun grabs patent for magneto-hydrodynamic heatsink


How will it be silent?

"The design would eliminate moving parts found in a traditional heatsink, and should be virtually silent."


Not to be pedantic, but I've never seen a heatsink with any moving parts. An HSF, while appearing to be one product, is two distinct products -- the heatsink, and the fan. The fan is not part of the heatsink.

I can't imagine how this heatsink will operate without a fan. It may be more efficient at pulling heat away from the CPU, but you still need something to pull/push that heat away from the heatsink itself. That's where the fan comes in. Standing air isn't good at dissipating heat.

Lawmaker shows nudie pic to high school seniors


Julie Amero, anybody?

What I would like to know is why this legislator's disk and the computer were confiscated, but he was not arrested. It seems to me to be the SAME EXACT circumstance as Julie Amero, in that children (high school seniors are mostly only 17, making them children still) were subjected to pornography. Hmm. Could it be because this was a legislator and not a typical teacher? I realize it's not the same state, but it's the same "Oh my god, think of the children!" line wherever you go. Then again, this is the U.S., Home of Hypocrisy.

To go along with the HoH, I find it amusing that women have to cover their breasts but men don't. They're the same exact thing, and with the average overweight American, even the same size. Why can't a woman bare her A- or B-cup breasts, but a man can bare his C-cup breasts? Also, why it is acceptable for National Geographic to show bare-breasted women but not other magazines?

Welcome to the U.S. Please leave your rights, logic, and common-sense at the door.

Gartner: no relief for data center costs


But why more?

re: "Pizza boxes":

I understand that the slimming down of systems to 1U and 2U means more servers fit into a rack, thus a higher power draw per rack. But the question I'm asking is why do companies need more and more computing power? As you mentioned, most of the capacity in these systems is just wasted. And while component manufacturers are making their products less power-hungry, it will always consume more power to run two systems at idle (or even at 50% utilization) than one system at 100% utilization.

As an example, we've all seen the effects of upgrading Windows. Windows Vista appears to run just as slow (if not slower) on my dual-core 2GHz system with 2GB of memory than Windows 3.11 did on my 486SX/25 with 4MB of memory. I don't want to start another optimization debate here, but the complexity and/or bloat of modern software is what is causing the computing (and hence power) requirements to increase. So while many people always say to never optimize, you (or at least I) have to wonder -- how much would computing power be reduced by optimizing the code for the most popular software packages? It may not be a big savings on a per-system basis (though I suspect it would be), but I would bet good money that the aggregate would be substantial. And in a data center, that could make a huge difference. Which would, in turn, make a huge difference in the power draw for the A/C.


Has anybody asked why?

Has anybody taken the time to ask why data centers are outgrowing their limitations? The direct answer is "more servers, and increase in power demand". But has anybody stopped to ask why that additional power is needed (or, indeed, if it really is needed)? I'm not saying anything either way, but it might be a good idea to take a step back and look to see why data centers need to be filled with such capacity.

I have no doubt that if the software vendors (especially Microsoft) have their way, data centers will need much more power in the future. Software as a service (or "software on demand" or whatever it's called this week) takes the users' apps and runs them on servers in the data center. Effectively, that's taking (part of) the power required on the user's computer and transferring it to the data center. The end result is that the data center will consume more power. Remote computing is, of course, the logical end-game of SaaS. Thin clients for everyone, all connected to huge data centers. Of course, when something happens to the data center, imagine how many people will be effected. And imagine the power and bandwidth required by the data center. These issues may very well be a good reason to keep your computer and ignore the SaaS idea entirely. It's not altogether a bad idea in theory. But in practice, on a large scale, it seems like a disaster waiting to happen. And you thought California had power crunches now...

Facebook faces more legal trouble


I honestly don't understand

As Fraser pointed out, being a "sex offender" says nothing about the nature of the person of the "crime". An 18-year-old who had consensual sex with a 16-year-old can be arrested and forever branded as a "sex offender". Someone who gets drunk and gropes the wrong woman can be arrested and forever branded as a "sex offender". Worse, as we've seen pointed out here, a 16- or 17-year-old who posts nude pictures of herself on the internet can be arrested and forever branded as a "sex offender" (I ask you, who did she harm?). The trouble with the term "sex offender" is that it covers such a broad spectrum, it's meaningless. It's like calling criminals "criminals", and treating them all the same, whether they were arrested for stealing a loaf of bread or for murder.

Aside from that, I honestly don't understand what this country's problem is with "sex offenders". These people have been arrested and have served their time in prison. They have (according to the law) repaid their debt to society. They are *SUPPOSED* to be free. So why does the government then try to keep them isolated from everyone else? You can't go here, you can't go there, you can't go on social networking sites... If you want to isolate the people, why not take it to its logical conclusion and just put them in solitary confinement? That's what you want to do anyway. The way I look at it is this: *IF* someone is not fit to be released back into society, then don't release them back into society. Then again, in my opinion, the TRUE sex offenders (rapists, people dealing in child porn, etc) should be permanently removed from society. Why should someone who posted nude pictures of herself be prevented from accessing social networking sites for the rest of her life?

As for the "What would you do if..." comment, I would do nothing. I'm so sick of the "let's ban X person from this place because children might go there". Being on a social networking site, no matter who you are, should not be a crime. Soliciting sex from minors using that site should be (and is). Can you not see the difference? I'm so sick of this preventative society we're turning into where everyone is considered guilty, period. Sure, Christians tell us we're born with original sin. But no one told me I was born with original guilt.

Money men rubbish spooky fears over 3Com deal



Why is that that you here all this talk about "National security" when Chinese companies want to buy specific U.S. companies (such as the PC business from IBM, purchased by Lenovo, or this 3Com deal), and yet these same people have no problem with the Chinese building virtually all of the motherboards used in every PC?

IBM drops attempt to patent outsourcing


re: They just get


Sillier? Stupid?!? Why you pinko commie, you! We're not silly OR stupid! For god's sake, we gave you reality TV and American Idol!!


For the record, yes, those of us who are at least semi-intelligent do know how stupid we look. Unfortunately, that's because the majority of Americans ARE stupid. Personally, I would love for the blue states to cede from the union and form there own country. Imagine what the red states would do without our money to fund their idiocy and their wars.

RIAA hits paydirt: wins first music-sharing jury trial


Judge and jury should be executed

I'm not a violent person. Never have been, and I hope I'm never driven to the point where I have to be. But this judge and this jury should seriously be executed. The judicial system is in place to uphold the law, NOT to fill the pockets of greedy corporations. And the judicial system is SUPPOSED to require EVIDENCE of wrongdoing. Not hearsay, not sleight of hand or illusion, but real, solid evidence.

Even if the law says that making a copyrighted work available without prior consent is illegal (believe it or not, I believe this is actually true), how can you determine if a copyrighted work is "available" without downloading it to verify? It reminds me of the university professor with the last name of "Usher" who decided to share his lectures. He was sued because the RIAA/labels accused him of sharing copyrighted material made by the artist known as "Usher". My point is that showing a list of files doesn't mean jack. It's the actual content of those files that is important. I could have a file on my PC called "Metallica - Unforgiven.mp3", but that doesn't mean that's what it is. It could be a file filled with me saying "Fuck Metallica and fuck the RIAA" over and over again.

This judgement is a *VERY* dangerous precedent, handed down by a judge and jury who have no idea how the technology works. Worse, given the "damages" awarded of $9,250 PER SONG, I would guess a fair amount of jury tampering occurred. But hey, what could be more American than bribing a jury to get the outcome in your favor?

Schools chief pushes Big Brother out of dinner line


re: A J

Was it just coincidence that your timeline started with 1984? :)

Microsoft-loving (former) security czar calls for closed internet


None of his points are valid

If you're going to spout off at the mouth, make sure that at least one of your five ideas is valid. None of his are.

1. Biometric IDs are meaningless on the internet. There is no way for a website to know who is connecting. And with man-in-the-middle, session-hijacking, etc., information is easily copied/spoofed. But I'll go one step further and say that biometric IDs are meaningless in real life, too. A biometric ID will AT MOST allow someone to verify that your biometrics match those on the card. There is literally nothing saying that the data on the card proves your identity. We literally have no identities. All identity is assumed on the basis of trust. You believe that I'm "Chris" because I'm telling you that's who I am. It may or may not be true. Every single type of identifying document can be falsified. Given that, there is no way to prove your identity.

2. U.S. Government oversight of the internet. Because that's what the rest of the world is calling for, right? Ignore the fact that various countries are ready to rip the internet apart because the U.S. government refuses to let go of the reins. Let's add more U.S. government regulation, because that's corrected all problems in all other industries. Assuming such regulation could be legally obtained, how would he propose to enforce such regulations in other countries? Some countries, for example the U.K. and Australia, will bend over for the U.S., but many others won't be so cooperative.

3. Non-partisan organization dedicated to fighting abuses of government power. We (used to) have that. It's called "checks and balances"; it's the reason the government is split into three branches. But ignoring that, there will never be any such organization. Most politicians only care about obtaining and maintaining power. To change that would require a wholesale replacement of virtually all politicians at once, and that's assuming you could find honest, non-power-hungry people to fill all the roles. Ignoring that, Democrats and Republicans almost never agree on anything, simply out of principal. The only way to have a non-partisan organization on anything is to eliminate the political party system. Even if such an organization was achieved, how can you "fight abuses of government power" when said abuses are enacted by the President, who has been given unlimited power? He would simply render the organization irrelevant (much like he did with the U.N. when this Iraq war started).

4. A secure software standard. Is this guy such an idiot that he thinks software will *EVER* be secure enough to never need patches? Newsflash: most authors do want secure software. But there are inevitably bugs, no matter how much testing a piece of software goes through. "Securing" electric devices is (over-simplified, I'm sure) easy -- design the circuity with fuses or circuit breakers to prevent dangerous over-voltage/over-amperage, and make sure hot/neutral never touch ground. Securing software which can have a virtually infinite number of factors and inputs is exponentially complex.

5. A closed internet. Let's ask the Chinese people how well that's working for them. As for the power grid being connected to the internet, it shouldn't be directly connected, it should have a capable firewall in between it. I cannot think of any reason why the power grid needs to be publicly-accessible via the internet. So you have a firewall block incoming traffic (and, possibly, set up a VPN WAN). Newsflash: virtually all computers that connect to any telecoms company are connected to the internet, whether they know it or not. The telecoms will then route the traffic accordingly, whether it's between two VPN endpoints, a point-to-point WAN, or connecting a customer to the internet. All of that traffic goes over the same routers and networks -- the internet. It doesn't mean that all endpoints need to be publicly accessible.

I do have to admit, though, I loved his thought of "Why shouldn't there be a closed internet? There are already relatively closed internets - and now we need to think seriously about expanding them." So you want to EXPAND a CLOSED internet. Wouldn't that make it more, oh, what's the word, OPEN? Using that logic, you could view "the internet" as a really big highly-expanded closed internet.

First RIAA file-sharing trial begins


Hard drive contents are irrelevant

The contents of her hard drive are completely irrelevant. What *IS* relevant is whether the plaintiff has evidence that she illegally shared their copyrighted information. More accurate, what is relevant is whether the defendant made illegal copies of the plaintiff's copyrighted information (whether or not she actually shared it, and whether or not it was actually downloaded). To be acceptable evidence by any sane person (which is not the same as "admissible in a court of law"), the plaintiff would have to prove the following:

1. That each file in question was downloaded from the defendant's computer. Listing an IP address and saying "this was the defendant's connection" is not evidence. Evidence would be showing proof of download from the defendant's computer (including proof that the IP address was actually assigned to the defendant at the time).

2. That each file in question is a copy of a copyrighted work.

3. That plaintiff holds the copyright to the copyrighted work.

4. That the copy was illegal and not fair use.

Unfortunately, the political and legislative climate in the U.S. means that often times none of that is considered. A list on a piece of paper can be considered "evidence", regardless of whether the files were actually available or not, and, if actually available, regardless of what the files actually contained.

What upsets me the most is the ASSUMED "damage" caused by each available file. Even if all four points above are proven beyond a reasonable doubt, that speaks nothing of how many copies were actually made (how many people actually downloaded the files). Instead, the law ASSUMES that a specific number of downloads occurred, thereby arriving at a complete arbitrary "damage" assessment.

$750 to $30,000 "damage" is ridiculous for sharing one song. Even with a high-priced CD at $20, containing 14 songs, each song is "valued" at $1.428571. Of course, that includes packaging, marketing, profit for the various distributors and resellers, etc. But for the sake of argument, let's take that at face value. That means that AT A MINIMUM, the law ASSUMES that each song was downloaded 525 times.

Microsoft UK cracks another head over grey software


No such thing as a SUGGESTED retail price anymore?

"Under EU law, parallel imports describe branded goods bought in one country and sold elsewhere within Europe at a cheaper price than the trademark holder intends."

Why should the trademark holder have any say in the selling price of their product? If they want it sold for a higher price, it's easy -- they should sell it at a higher price. Don't tell me that if I buy a product for $5, that I then have to sell it for $50. There is a reason the "price the trademark holder intends" is called the SUGGESTED retail price (at least here in the states). If I want to sell a product for little or no profit, that's my choice.

There are many factors that go into creating a price point for a product. But the primary, most basic factor, is "how much are you willing to sell that product for?" If you're willing to sell it to me for $10, then why should someone else have to pay more in the same exact circumstance? Obviously different regions' taxes, shipping, etc. can legitimately add to the price. But to create an artifically-high price point for no other reason than "because we can" is ridiculous. We're supposed to have a "free market", right?

Criminalizing the free market by artificially restricting where a person or company can legitimately buy a genuine authentic product serves no purpose except for those wanting to rip people off. At least that's one thing the DVD association didn't do (to my knowledge). They decided to inconvenience and upset everyone by artificially splitting the world into "regions", but at least you can still legally purchase a player for every region code (that is, a separate player for each region, not the il/questionably-legal multi-region players).

Data for 800,000 job applicants stolen


Re: There should be no need

"Indeed, in a well managed system it should simply not be possible for anybody to make a copy of the full database, authorised or otherwise."

Umm... What about backups? I have it on good authority that most sysadmins WANT to back up the full database. Otherwise, you're SOL when your drive/array dies. Similarly, you WANT to be able to copy the full database in other scenarios, for example if you're converting to a different software (application and/or database). You really don't want to have to re-enter all of your information, nor do you want to run two different systems if you can get all the data into one. So while I understand your thinking, there certainly are certain cases where you do want to be able to copy the full database.

As for all this hooplah about social security numbers, I really don't get it. Everyone always says "Hide your social security number!", "Don't tell anyone your social security number!", "Make sure you shred anything that has your social security number on it!", etc. And yet the I.R.S. (the Internal Revenue Service, to whom U.S. taxpayers pay their income tax) ***REQUIRES*** you to WRITE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER ON YOUR PAYMENT! My estimated withholding vouchers actually say "Enter your SSN and '2007 Form 1040-ES' on your payment". When the government tells you to write your social security number on a check which is handled by an unknown number of people from several companies/agencies (in my case, MBNA signs for delivery when I request delivery confirmation from USPS), you have to be an idiot to think that you can "protect" your social security number. Also keep in mind that the credit agencies (Experian, etc) have this information and give it out to all and sundry.

Google to save mankind through DoubleClick deal


I can't believe I'm saying this

I can't believe I'm even thinking this, let alone saying it, but Microsoft *MIGHT* have a point. If DoubleClick really is just a delivery platform, as the Google guy said, then that means multiple advertising companies use DoubleClick's platform to deliver their ads. If Google merged with DoubleClick, it's not a far stretch to think that they would then say to competitors "No, you can't use *our* technology to deliver *your* ads".

I, too, laughed when I read that advertising promotes free speech. I can understand the logic he tried to use, but it still fails. His logic is like that woman who said smoking saved her life because she went outside for a smoke just before a tree fell on her house.

Apple iPod Nano third-generation


Still no OGG?

It amazes me that so many digital music players completely ignore OGG Vorbis and FLAC, both of which are free. And yet these same players offer MP3, which must be licensed. I understand that MP3 is the most popular digital music format currently, but it would be nice to have a choice of music formats other than MP3 and AAC.

Chemical-weapons hysteria causes cholera


re; Nice subject

Hey Thorin, please visit your nearest psych facility for a reality check. The headline "Chemical-weapons hysteria causes cholera" is accurate. It's a little thing we like to call "cause and effect". Perhaps you've heard of it?

Cause: chlorine allegedly used as a weapon. Effect: U.S. government goes overboard by creating embargo on chlorine.

Cause: chlorine embargo. Effect: no clean water.

Cause: no clean water. Effect: cholera in water is allowed to reproduce and spread.

What would you like to argue next? That bullets don't really kill people, that instead it's the damage to the various tissues that actually kills people?



It's quite clear to see who are the real terrorists here. I wish I could say I was surprised. I've always been more scared of the U.S. government than any so-called "terrorist". Especially when the U.S. government considers animals-rights groups to be "terrorists".

How do you quickly bring a country to "third-world" status (or make sure a country never improves beyond "third-world" status)? Easy. Remove all items which might possibly be used to create a weapon. Remove all hydrogen, helium, oxygen, nitrogen (dangerous when cooled to a liquid), mercury, sodium, uranium, plutonium, arsenic, cyanide, gasline, oil (I knew we could find a valid reason for removing it!), fertilizer... The list is virtually never-ending.

eBay forum mysteriously leaks account details on 1,200 users


eBay encourages fraud

I can categorically say that eBay doesn't give a damn about stopping fraud. In fact, I would wager they wish there was more of it. eBay only cares about sellers because they get their commission. Who cares if it was from a stolen card or not? Who cares if it was legit or not? As long as they have their money, that's all that matters. So any talk about fraud prevention and security is just that -- talk.

Am I a bitter ex-eBay user? You bet. I've been burned on a number of occasions. Multiple times I purchased DVDs of old movies which were claimed to be the "real thing", at prices you would normally find in discount bins. However, when I received the discs, they were simply DVD-R copies of VHS recordings (yes, the movies in question had been made on DVD, but were out of print). I complained to eBay each time and they never did a thing. I posted negative feedback to the sellers, but as everyone here knows, that does nothing except the retaliatory negative feedback to my account.

On another occasion, Friday night 19-Dec-2003 8:48pm, I used the "Buy it now" option to purchase a PowerMac G4. I emailed the seller right away asking for payment details. The seller replied on 20-Dec-2003 1:57am. Seller sent another email on 20-Dec-2003 11:19am saying that he needed to hear from me by 21-Dec. Seller sent a third email on 20-Dec-2003 11:33am saying "I got another offer from other bidder. He is willing to pay right now! I need to hear from you before noon, if I haven'treceived any payment from you by that time, I will cancel this auction." Noon was fifteen hours after the action ended, and only ten hours after his first email (in the middle of the night). He did not, however, "cancel the auction". Instead, he kept insisting on payment, even after re-listing the item. I complained to eBay, reporting it as fraud, and forwarded them copies of his emails. As you might expect, they did nothing. In fact, he reported me as a non-paying buyer, and eBay had the nerve to send ME a nasty email, warning me that if they received another complaint my account would be suspended. That, after I reported the auction as a fraud. Bitter? Yes. But perhaps a bit smarter now.

eBay cares as much about security as the U.S. government cares about "collateral damage" They'll pay lip service to it, but when all is said and done, they couldn't care less. As long as the incidents don't affect eBay's auctions in a negative way (read: as long as it doesn't decrease the number of auctions), they won't care.

NY probes Facebook over pedophile controls


re: Can't help but wonder

"Technically, it is perfectly feasible to restrict profile viewing of adults to only other adult profiles. If that was done, then said 24-year old could simply not have sent a message to pseudo 13-year old since he would not have seen the "girl's" profile."

Show me this technology and I will give you ten million dollars. Of course, I don't have ten million dollars to give you, but that doesn't matter because you don't have the technology. To put it more clearly, there is NO technology to do what you say. it is NOT technically feasible to restrict profile viewing of adults to only other adults. That's why these sites are struggling with these issues in the first place.

Let me put it even more clearly -- there is literally no way to verify someone's age. Not on a website (in which the site operator has no direct contact with the person), nor in real life (where you do have direct contact with the person). The very best you can do is accept the person at their word. Require a credit card? No problem, dogs have been given credit cards before (no, sadly, I'm not joking). Require a scan of a driver's license? Fake IDs are quite prevalent. We can't even keep underage people out of bars which have doormen (bouncers). How are we supposed to keep them out of websites in which there is no direct interaction?


When will people learn

"which among other things calls Facebook a "trusted environment for people to interact safely" and says company officials "have invested heavily in building safety and privacy controls into Facebook"."

Trusted by whom? Just because your company has invested in safety and privacy controls does not make it a trusted environment or a place where people can interact safely. Prisons have invested heavily in safety controls, but you'll be hard-pressed to find someone who says they're a safe environment.

When will people learn that the Internet is not a safe place? Life is not safe. Why would you expect the Internet to be any different? The Internet is simply an alternative communication medium. It is no more safe than your phone (probably less so). Do you expect your phone company to proactively block harassing phone calls? Do you expect your phone or phone company to warn you if your 14-year-old child says something they shouldn't have or speaks with someone they shouldn't have? If not, then why would you expect an Internet service provider to do so (whether that provider provides your communication line or a service such as Facebook)? No technology can accurately and reliably proactively protect you from yourself.

The Internet is not safe. Life is not safe. It never was, and it never will be.

Judge parks 172mph Porsche driver for 10 weeks


re: So here we go again

"BTW, Speed has never killed anyone; sudden lack of it on the other hand is a real killer."

Please, for the sake of humanity, sterilize yourself. We don't need your kind breeding. You see, you take your statement at face value, and, like faith, never question it. But even a cursory examination of the statement "Sudden lack of speed can kill" gives the obvious corollary of "Sudden occurrence of speed can kill". Quickly going from 172mph to zero will kill you. Why? Because, among other reasons, your brain is smashed into your skull will enough force to cease all brain activity (you smush your brain). Simple logic and physics tells us that the same thing happens if you quickly go from zero to 172mph (or any other sufficiently-high speed) because the same force is applied to the brain, resulting in the same exact consequence.

Iraq fiasco creeps into NSA surveillance controversy


Land of the Free


Ah, I've never been so proud to be an American. I'll gladly show all of my laundry, for I have nothing to hide, so have no problem giving up all my freedoms as long as it will keep me safe from those nasty terrorists.


Seriously, though, this Iraqi guy is alleged to have embezzled $2.5 BILLION dollars. He's arrested, escapes, and now they think he's living IN THE UNITED STATES? I have to ask -- what the fuck is DHS doing (that would be "Department of Homeland Security" to the non-U.S. readers)? We've all heard and/or seen the "improved security" at airports and ports around the country. So how was this guy allowed to enter the country?


We're at war with the terrorists. We have always been at war with the terrorists. We will always be at war with the terrorists.

We are freedomless. We have always been freedomless. We will always be freedomless.


Man sues God


A tale told by an idiot

So far there is only one other comment I saw posting on the actual nature of this case, so I'll join them.

This man is an idiot. From the article explanation, the "frivolous" lawsuit is the result of the judge in a sexual assault lawsuit barring the use of the words "rape" and "victim". That's a travesty of justice, and the judge should be disbarred for that. What's next? Bar the words "theft", "steal", "stole", and "victim" from a robbery trial? How about barring "murder" and "victim" from a murder trial? Perhaps that judge should be murdered, and then the police can refer to him as "the person on the receiving end of a non-state-sponsored death sentence".

As for anonymous "Please... in love of christ"... I respect your right to believe in your choice of religion. Please respect MY right to not believe in your choice of religion. Neither one of us knows the truth, since we are both lacking evidence (you lack the evidence of the existence of your god, and I cannot possibly prove the non-existence of something). But at least I'm intelligent enough to admit that I don't know the truth. That's the problem with religion -- stupid sheeple doing what they're told without questioning. I seem to recall a group out of Germany doing to same...

NBC unveils self-destructing, ad-addled anti-iTunes service


Still a rip-off

Even at $1.99 per episode, it's a huge rip-off. If they actually broadcast a show I was interested in, I would watch it when broadcast (if possible), and then wait until it comes out on DVD and pay the $40-45 for the DVD set. Better picture quality, audio quality, extras, etc. And I have to admit, I still don't understand the concept of watching your favorite television shows on your computer monitor. I would much rather view them on my 52" television (even if it is old-school, non-HD, rear-projection) than on my 19" monitor. And I *really* don't understand trying to watch video on a 1.5 to 2.5" iWhatever or mobile phone screen.

Next-gen Intel vPro platform to get hardware encryption



So what happens if you're using the chipset-based encryption to encrypt all files on your hard drive, and then your motherboard craps out? Is there any way to recover the files from your drive, or are you SOL?

Nobel-winning boffin slams ISS, manned spaceflight


I can't believe what I'm reading here

I agree with this guy. Manned space flight in the past couple decades has been and continues to be a pathetic waste of money. And the ISS is one of the biggest wastes of money in history. The only reason we're stuck with it is because we're collectively too much of a pussy to say "Since everyone else bailed on it, we're going to bail, too". Personally, I think all space exploration is a huge waste of money, but maybe that's just me.

As for Morely Dotes re: "One World", I honestly don't know how you can seriously write "Those who argue against Man in space are fools, at best, and greedy ego-centric solipsists, more likely." Man has destroyed this planet. There is no arguing it. Man occupies an area, strips it of all resources, and moves on to strip the next area. Man does not develop an equilibrium with nature as other species do. Man destroys and kills until nothing is left. I may be the only one, but I welcome a universe in which humans are extinct. Those who are against man destroying other planets as he has this planet are against manned spaceflight. And you have the audacity to call us ego-centric? Perhaps it is you, the masses who will do anything to protect the survival of your species, that are the ego-centric ones.

Microsoft sets spinners on court verdict


re: Anyone else...

"MS just doesn't seem to accept or even to recognise that they are NOT above the law."

There's very good reason for that. It's because history has shown that Microsoft *IS* above the law. They are allowed to do whatever they please. Look at the farce that was the U.S. DOJ vs Microsoft antitrust trial. The "settlement" was to give Microsoft even more money (in the form of forcing people to purchase more MS products in order to receive a "discount" coupon as a settlement).

I have no reason to believe that the EU is in any position to threaten Microsoft. As much as I hate Microsoft and its practices, what can the EU/EC really do? Lock MS out of the market? The various countries and businesses won't stand for that. They can't. Locking out MS would literally destroy many businesses who would no longer be able to run their software (either now or once their machines need to be upgraded). You have a lot of FOSS advocates saying that anyone can switch, but that's simply not true. There are a great many companies that simply cannot run without the software they're using now, which is not available under UNIX or Linux. Not to mention the cost of retraining, etc. What's the real possible recourse if MS simply refuses to pay? Nothing, as far as I can see. Of course, that's why you don't let a company become such a huge monopoly in the first place...



CompTIA, huh? Glad I read this. For a couple years now, I've been thinking about getting some certifications. Not that it means anything at all, but some companies like to see that paper. After reading this, I'll definitely avoid getting those certifications, and avoid giving any kind of financial support to CompTIA. I'd rather be a bagger at the grocery store than support a company who is in Microsoft's pocket.

California clamps down on in-car mobile use


Useless metric

"US drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 reportedly have four times as many fatal accidents as those between 25 and 69."

Wow, can we find a more meaningless metric? That statement, alone, says absolutely nothing. I'm not blaming the author here, because this is the same line said by anyone bent on taking driving privileges away from teens. But here are some points to think about:

1) Why is the "more dangerous" metric only four years (16-19), but the "less dangerous" metric 45 years (25-69)? If you want to make it more fair and accurate, list separate metrics for EACH four-year period (16-19, 20-24, 25-29, etc). Since people aged 65-69 drive far less than those aged 25-29, they will lower the incident rate for the overall group.

2) Has anyone considered the amount of driving involved (time or mileage)? Someone aged 16-19 will likely be driving a lot more than someone aged 56-59 or 66-69. As such, there will obviously be a higher risk and a higher incident rate.

3) Has any data been collected or reported on those 16-19 year olds with a higher incident rate to break it down by what percentage took a driver education course and what percentage did not?

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for restricting people from talking on the phone while they drive. Most of them are a menace to society and don't pay attention to anything around them. But let's not pretend that it's only teens who are dangerous.

Aussie politicos in a froth over naval boob jobs



I'm depressed. And suicidal. I have no self-esteem. I'm worthless and I can't do my job. However, I just know that if you give me two million dollars, I'll feel like my old self again, with no more psychological issues.

Oh, and if you're looking to make some quick cash, my uncle the King of ThisPlaceNeverExisted left $274,000,000,000,000 to me, but because of politics I'm not allowed to touch it. But you can claim it, and we can share it. Just send me $50,000 and I'll tell you how. Alternatively, I have a bridge for sale in Brooklyn you may be interested in. And an old statue that we obviously need to get rid of since it's popular to hate all things French. And there's this little building in Texas called "The Alamo" that I'm looking to offload.

Verizon launches US appeals court at Google-backed wireless plan


Public vs private interest

While I'm against Google in general, I also have to side with them on this one. A data carrier should, in my eyes, not be able to restrict customers to what type of devices they can attach to that carrier signal (so long as the device does not cause problems for the carrier or other devices). It's only sending and receiving data, so who cares what kind of device it is? But the Big Three (Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint) want to keep a stranglehold on anything communication-based. And the courts have let them do just that, by allowing them to merge and merge and merge, soon to become "Ma Bell" again. Innovation of public utilities is in the public interest. Restriction of public utilities is in the private interest of the companies supplying those utilities, and against the public interest.

As to "What is happening to the American dream?" It's dead. It's been killed through decades of corporate and political war against the people. "The American Dream" has been replaced with "Whoever dies with the most toys wins". Sad, but true. Due to corporate and political greed, not many people can afford to even dream about "The American Dream" anymore.

NASA gives jet-setting Googlers the presidential treatment


re: privacy policies

Good call, Ryan. And since NASA is part of the USAF (U.S. Air Force), they *should* be subject to FOIA (Freedom Of Information Act) requests...


re: Page and Brin

"Are they so important to the world that they're allowed to destroy it?"

In a word, yes, according to most people. Most people think Google is god and Google can do no wrong. If Google wants to do something, we must let them because they know better than the rest of us. If you disagree with these people, they repeat the same mantra over and over "Google says do no evil, so they're not evil". These people will defend Google to their death. They're worse than Apple fanbois. I'm just amused that all of these people love Google, and yet Google's primary (only?) source of revenue is advertising, which most people hate (and which most people block when possible).

Most people say Google is the greatest company ever. I say they want to take over the world, Pinky and the Brain style.

Lawyerless eBayer sues Autodesk over garage-sale miracle


Typical American

Waaaah, you won't let me do what I want, waaaaah. I know, I'll sue you! This guy has no legal leg to stand on. He's suing Autodesk because eBay suspended his eBay account, preventing him from selling stuff on eBay? Correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't it be eBay on the receiving end? As for not getting a lawyer, could it be because he couldn't find one in his area who's unscrupulous enough to take the case?

While this may not be a case of copyright infringement (because he didn't actually copying anything), he *is* attempting to sell and distribute unlicensed software. I would think there would be some law against that, but I could be wrong. Though, speaking as a consumer, I find those "non-transferable" clauses ludicrous. As long as you use the software on no more than the allowed number of systems at a time, there shouldn't be a problem. That also means that you should be legally allowed to install the software onto any number of systems as long as you only use it on the allowed number of systems at once (for example, I should be able to install AutoCAD on five systems, as long as it's only running on one system at a time).

Artist formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince attacks internet


I propose a copyright infringement rule

I want to propose a rule for copyright infringement proceedings. That rule is: you don't get to sue or send takedown notices for copyright infringement unless you offer the authentic item. For example, the RIAA should not be allowed to sue people for sharing music when that music is out-of-print and cannot legally be purchased. In this case, someone making a clock with Prince's picture on it shouldn't be sued unless Prince (himself or an authorized company) sells clocks with his picture on it. These infringers are simply filling a demand. If the rights-holder is not willing to fill this demand, then someone else should legally be allowed to.

Led Zeppelin reunion opens with Communication Breakdown


If it's so in-demand, why only one show?

So here we have people willing to shell out a lot of cash to see this concert. Twenty million people, if the numbers are accurate. The profits are going to fund scholarships. Am I the only one who thinks it would be better to have multiple concerts? That way more people can see the show, and more money would be raised for the scholarships.

AOL restricts free security software to friends and members


re: Virii

Dear phil,

Please pull your head out of your ass. Linking to wikipedia, there's a way to win a debate. The word "virii" has been used for decades, at least, in the U.S. (and, by the loudness of the debate, most likely in other parts of the world as well). If "wiki" and "blog" can become words after a few years of use by a minority of people, I think "virii" has earned its place as a word through decades of use, even if it wasn't a "real" word originally.

On another note, I find it oddly amusing that you and your ilk vehemently oppose the word "virii", but love trying to force "new words" such as "wiki" and "blog" and "google" (as a verb) onto the unwashed masses.


AOL + McAfee = No malware

If you combine AOL and McAfee Antivirus, your system will be clean of any malware. But not for the obvious reason. No, it's not because McAfee will do a perfect job. It's because your machine will have no juice left over to actually *DO* anything. Everyone knows AOL alone will bring your system to a crawl. And anyone who has ever used McAfee knows that it, too, is a massive resource hog. Bring the two of them together, and your computer effectively becomes a brick. But let's go one step further.Let's combine AOL, McAfee, and Windows Vista. Then you'll *REALLY* never get anything done.

London council to use lie detectors to finger benefit cheats


Stress meters are "lie detectors"

In this day in age, it amazes me how many seemingly intelligent people actually consider stress to be symbolic of lying, and how they figure measuring stress can detect when a person is lying. Mind you, they're not actually measuring stress. They're measuring a person's physical and physiological reactions, which may or may not be stress-related. What's the difference between someone becoming stressed when lying and worrying about getting caught, and someone telling the truth but worried that the machine will flag them as lying anyway? Many people are stressed/nervous when speaking to a person of authority to begin with. I, myself, don't like to talk on the phone to anyone, so I'll almost always sound stressed/nervous. There's a reason the courts (at least the U.S. courts, to my knowledge) consider "lie detector" tests to be inadmissible as evidence -- because they're not accurate. They flag a lot of innocent people as lying, and they let the true criminals go (the ones who know how to control their reactions).

Personally, I would question whether this is a way to claim that all people requesting benefits are lying, and thus not dishing out any benefits.

Renewing the mythology of the London ricin cell


re: 1865

1865, please learn the difference between WANT and INTENT. INTENDING to do something illegal may very well be illegal, however simply WANTING to do something illegal is most certainly not illegal.

I *WANT* a million dollars, however I have no *INTENTION* of robbing a bank to get it. I *WANT* to tear down the current administration of the U.S. government, however I have no *INTENTION* of doing so. I *WANT* to be a rock star, however I have no *INTENTION* of trying to make it happen.

Using a little common sense and a little intellect, it's easy to see the difference. When thought alone becomes a crime, we all become slaves.


Re: Tony

Wow, Tony, you told us. It must be great to have nothing better to do all day than to post trivial trolling bullshit and then continuously refresh your browser hoping for another person to attack. There were less than six hours between your first and (as of this writing) last comment, and you bitch that the author didn't respond? Guess what, this is the first time I've checked El Reg today too, and you've got three posts already. I must really be behind.

As for the castor-beans-as-jewelry, the other poster was pointing out what he believes to be fact (not knowing about castor beans, I make no judgment on whether or not it is fact). He never said that this individual used that as a defense.

By the way, I really like how in your first post, you say nobody ever has a need to be in possession of castor beans, and then in your next post, you say that it's used for lawn pests and that you yourself consumed castor oil as a child. Sorry, but both statements cannot be true (that is, unless you believe in doublethink). Oh, and if you're going to try to insult someone, as your last comment did, then grow a pair of balls and actually use the word "pussy" instead of trying to sound all high and mighty talking about "no testicles" and "female genitalia".

Oh, and the author never once claimed that this suspect was innocent. He was merely stating that the fact that this one suspect had a recipe for ricin didn't make it a terrorist plot or prove/provide any link to Al Queda.

I vote your posts double-plus-ungood, you trite trolling twat.

Wyse strips down thin client computers


Free and disposable?

"In fact, the company envisions a future where thin clients get thinner and thinner to a point where they are free and disposable. Madness, you say? Well, they certainly seem to be headed that way."

If you consider $480 to be heading towards a future of free and disposable, you must be thinking of "future" in evolutionary terms (millions of years) as opposed to reality (five, ten, or twenty years). Thin clients have ALWAYS been expensive. Why would a company want to pay $480 for something that does less than a $300 low-end system which, with a little work, could be configured the same way?

Thin client pros: Small, quiet, secure (since there are no hard drives).

Thin client cons: Expensive, speed is dependent on server speed and current server load, must be connected to server at all times.

Simply put, Wyse (and other thin client makers) are trying to revive their company to its former glory days by overcharging for what many people consider to be useless equipment. If that's what you want, and you're willing to pay it, great. But I have a feeling they could offer these at less than half the price and still make a ton of money.

A US CERT reminder: The net is an insecure place


re: Mozilla site 100% SSL

The Mozilla site is NOT 100% SSL. The parts you SEE may be 100% SSL, but go to the site using the https link provided and then download Firefox or Thunderbird. You'll see that the download is using plain http (non-SSL), not https. The download launching page is https, but the actual download is only http.


Reality check

Raheim, are you just trolling or do actually believe what you are saying? If you do believe what you are saying, then you are clear NOT in the IT industry. As pointed out, the reason "Y2K" didn't cause a lot of problems is because of millions of man-hours of work put into it starting years ahead of the deadline. I can also claim that I never had any Y2K-related problems. But then again, I don't do anything (important) which uses a date field. It's easy to speak facts or find "conclusions" when you know what you want to say/prove to start with. It's another matter entirely to make an unbiased, impartial review. And the facts are stacked up against you on this one.

One quick question: how reliable is that "study" you speak of? You know, since most software had already been updated for the Y2K issue before 1999. That would seem to make your "study" moot since it would have started with software which had already been updated. And since you're obviously uninformed, the Y2K issue was a DATE-related issue, not a TIME-related issue. So nothing would have happened that "is related to clock times". It would have been issues relating to the date.

As for security being overrated, try that out at the next Black Hat conference. Better yet, reinstall the copy of Windows you're most likely running, don't use a firewall, don't use antivirus, and don't install the security patches, since all of that is overrated. Oh, and don't be surprised when you get owned in less than 3 minutes.

Security is overrated. That's a good one. I guess that's why software is always being patched to protect against ACTIVE zero-day exploits. And I guess that's why Storm, Sobig, Melissa, I-Love-You, and CodeRed spread as quickly as they did. And ignore the reports about zombies and botnets. That's obviously just propaganda put out by the U.S. government to try to fool smart people like you into silly things like security patches and antivirus.


Simple fix, but requires changes on both sides

The "fix" is surprisingly simple: treat cookies for non-SSL sessions completely separate from cookies for SSL sessions. Put another way, treat SSL and non-SSL as different domains. If a user logs into https://www.example.com and cookie "mypassword" is set, then that cookie should only be for the SSL site. If the user then switches over to http://www.example.com (non-SSL), don't send that cookie.

Mind you, this is a problem for both sides -- the browsers and the website maintainers. The browsers need to be changed to use this method. Website maintainers need to make sure that they're using SSL when sending private data (such as these authentication tokens). Sadly, it seems a lot of website maintainers aren't so smart. All too often, sites use SSL only for the login form, then switch you over to non-SSL after login. My local power company has you log in in-the-clear BEFORE switching over to SSL. What good is it to use SSL after you've forced the user to send their name and password in clear-text?

Drunk-astronauts doc says NASA is in denial


Deals with concerns?

"I do deal with any concerns brought to me." right. Unless, of course, they're concerns about stuff falling off the shuttle and the shuttle possibly blowing up. Those concerns we'll just sweep under the carpet.

Missing DNA fails to kill mice


Leftover / junk DNA?

Has anyone taken the time to think that maybe, just maybe, that portion of the DNA simply isn't needed? It's happened before with other parts of the body. Look at the appendix -- no purpose at all. Why would it be that surprising that after so many thousands/millions of years of evolution, some of our DNA would no longer be necessary?

Michael Dell 'not involved' in accounting fraud


In other news...

... the Premier of China has announced he has no personal knowledge of human rights violations administered by his government.

I believe the only comment that can really be made in reaction to Mr. Dell's comment is "Duuuuuuuuuh." Seriously, did anyone expect him to say anything different (other than "No comment")? Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that he did or did not have knowledge of the issue. But if he did, he's certainly not going to admit that he did. Getting off through plausible deniability seems pretty easy for CEOs. To be acquitted, or serve no jail time, after admitting you knew about illegal activity is another matter entirely, especially when it's the SEC you're up against. Ask Bernie Ebbers how much those guys like to fool around.


re: Remember

This is America, Aubry. The word "responsibility", in both personal and corporate contexts, was removed from our vocabulary many years ago. Right around the time the almighty dollar became the most important thing, and quality and workmanship suddenly didn't matter anymore. It's sad if you ask me.

UK and US team-tag to speed patent prosecution process


re: Oh Crap

I'm sorry, but the UK will never be the 51st State of the U.S. That "honor" belongs to Iraq. You and Australia may battle it out to see who gets to be the 52nd State and who gets to be the 53rd State.

The broken nature of our patent system is seriously disturbing, especially when you consider it's sole objective is to promote innovation. Well, I guess it has promoted innovation in a manner of speaker. Innovation of courtroom antics should count as innovation, just not good innovation.

Personally, I think all patents should have to go through a committee (not a single "examiner" [or even a few]), wherein that committee is made up of people in the industry the patent is sought for. So if it's an IT-related patent, it should have to pass through an IT committee. If it's a medical-related patent, it should have to pass through a medical committee. If it's a machining-related patent, it should have to pass through a machinist committee. That's the only way to pass the "obvious" test. Because something obvious to someone skilled in an industry will be complete gibberish to someone not in that industry. Which, I think, is the cause of so many bogus patents.


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