* Posts by Joe M

101 publicly visible posts • joined 6 Oct 2007


Twitter's motto: If at first you screwed developers over, try, try again, eh?

Joe M

Only twits tweet.

Never sent a tweet, never read one (except for the brainless reprints in the mainstream media). I thinks it is the most stupid, asinine idea I have ever come across in forty six years of IT. No wonder they have never made any money. Nor will they ever.

In case you think I am being harsh, Monsieur Trompeur has more than adequately demonstrated what the f%$#ng thing is good for and the mentality of the people who use it.

WikiLeaks dubs Amazon 'The Cowardly Liar'

Joe M

Right on brother

@Jarrad you are one hundred percent correct!

As you say ".... it doesn't protect people from disseminating stolen, classified documents when the government determines that it puts national security at risk."

That's right! If the US government determines that something is a threat to national security than that's that. Who are we to argue with it. After all, it's not as if though the US government would make things up, would it? Like Weapons of Mass Destruction for example.

Oh, and just ignore the people who think you are a stupid dolt parroting the party line. It's not true is it? You're just a Patriot!

Aussie ISP beats Hollywood on 'copyright' rap

Joe M

Not so fast....

I have quickly scanned through the judgement this afternoon (outback time) and I intend to analyze it in greater detail later, but two startling facts emerge from even a cursory look at the court's decision:

1. The applicants i.e. virtually every major "content provider" in the country and most of the rest of the world, appear to have an almost zero understanding of the technology which drives the internet


2. Despite having some of the best paid lawyers in the country, they seem to have not the foggiest clue about laws governing "intellectual property rights", privacy and technology.

Their case, as presented to the court is so odd - in some parts almost bizarre - that I am lead to suspect some deeper, darker motive for the whole affair. They cannot possibly be this stupid.

I don't usually subscribe to conspiracy theories but I have an uneasy feeling that these jerks deliberately set out to lose in court so that they can then badger the nincompoops, who currently pretend to govern this country, into passing draconian anti-piracy legislation on their behalf. In fact their representatives have already made noises in this direction - less than an hour after the judgement was made public.

I pray that I'm wrong, but with this bunch of unscrupulous rip-off artists and a pack of brain-dead politicians getting together, (including everybody's favorite Pommy reject Herr Conroy), anything is possible.

Wikileaks finds cash to continue

Joe M
Thumb Up

Great news!

My money was well spent.

The Great Aussie Firewall is dead: Long live the firewall

Joe M

I told you so...

Some time ago I posted that this unspeakably sorry excuse for a government is going to introduce net filtering come what may. I was correct - unfortunately.

Our British readers may be interested to know that our buffoon minister for communications, Comrade Conroy, is an import from your own fair land. On balance it would have been far better if you had kept him for yourselves. He would have been able to do all his damage over there allied with your Anthony (aka Tony the Liar) Blair and New Labour. No one would have noticed yet another leftie totalitarian boofhead running amuck trying to take over people's lives.

And I apologise again; mea culpa, I voted for this lot.

Murdoch puffs Microsoft over Google

Joe M

Come on Google

Wouldn't it be delicious if Google took the old crook at his word and blocked all Newscorp sites, not just from the news but from web searches as well. (They could justify it along the lines of "... it's harmful to your mental health ...", etc.) Then when the amoral creep starts squealing to get his hits back, Google removes the blocks - for a fee!

VelociRaptor users bitten by false error bug

Joe M
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Thank you El Reg for helping me make a decision

Because of my recent upgrade to i7 hardware I have accepted that having a 10,000+ RPM system drive actually makes sense, and after negotiating with an on-line supplier I was literally a day or two away from ordering some VelociRaptors.

I had some previous very bad experiences with WD drives, (after using them exclusively for some years), and it took quite a few gulps before I made the decision. Now this!

I am going to bite the bullet and get some SCSI controllers and drives - probably Cheetahs. Hang the cost. A system drive is too important to leave to idiot "market leaders" who think company policy is more important than customers.

Open source code quality improving

Joe M

"Open source code quality improving"

Good. Now all that's needed is to format and document the code (most of it anyway) so that it doesn't look like a five year old produced it. For obvious reasons open source programmers would rather code than document. As they don't get paid for either they do what they like best.

For example, you haven't lived until you have hacked into some Linux video drivers or MM software. It's like wading through a huge intellectual garbage dump.

Note to Linuxers: Don't bother flaming me. Use the energy to put some comments in your code.

CSI boffins: You can't ID crims from bitemarks on victims

Joe M


Mr Odontologist, how come you missed two vital pieces of information in your description of the use of forensic bite-analysis?

1. There are no double blind studies as far as I can find to show that this is an evidence based, scientific technology rather than just you and your colleagues’ opinions (after a big night out... perhaps).

2. Even if matches were shown to be within acceptable rates of error, it would still be useful only for eliminating suspects, not convicting them. (Say the right incisor imprint is missing and the suspect chews with a good set of 32. Shucks!)

The idea that you can identify a person from a bite mark is probably just as ludicrous as it sounds (with the above given exceptions). This probably explains the lack of double blind, statistically significant studies! No pseudo science ever has them.

I guess at this late stage nothing about “forensic science” surprises me. Whenever my brother and I, (with a collective 70 years of scientific research and technology between us), feel like a good laugh we just look up the latest forensic "science" pratfall. Better than the Three Stooges!

Feds break Apple's code of App Store silence

Joe M

Rotten to the core

Many years ago I made a lot of money and had lots of fun with a trusty Apple II writing, believe it or not, medical and pathology equipment control applications.

When the Mac finally arrived (after the Apple III and Lisa got their just deserts) I planned to transfer my software to the new and exciting platform. Without going into the gory details, I was at every stage hindered, frustrated and ripped off by an organisation filled from top to bottom with smug, arrogant, fuckwits who knew nothing about customer relations and who thought that I should be grateful that they were even talking to me let alone deigning to sell me one of their new Marvellous Machines.

Needless to say I told Apple to get stuffed and since then, after buying well over a hundred computers of all kinds for my businesses and family, I never again touched an Apple PC.

From the above article it looks like nothing's changed over at cloud Cupertino cuckoo land!

Researchers forge secure kernel from maths proofs

Joe M

Yeah, yeah!

Remember this old logos: In theory, theory and practice are the same, but in practice they are not.

If you work in this game long enough you realise that a real-world OS running on real-world hardware is not deterministic. The theory says that it is and if everything runs well, it is; but nothing runs well all the time and, alas inevitably, red faces all round when lots of great mathematics go up in a puff of "alpha particle induced memory error" smoke (or something similar).

Cast back to LTCM Ltd. and the summer of 1998. Hubris before the fall!

(Of course there is nothing wrong, and everything right, with a whole bunch of real smart guys carefully poring over kernel code, automated or not, and shaking out as many bugs as possible. Should happen more often.)

Murdoch says Page 3 won't be free from next year

Joe M

You can't even give it away!

I don't even read the free-to-air garbage peddled by this evil, treacherous and amoral man. Why would I pay for any of it?

Oz Firewall still standing after inconclusive filter trial

Joe M

Dream on

As I have said before on these forums: this particular (and peculiar) government is determined to implement ISP level filtering come what may. It has an ideological commitment, which is strong and immutable and no amount of techno-babble or social disquiet will deter it.

(Without trying to bignote myself, I have a tiny amount of inside information trickling down from on high in The Party, and the word is: It's On. And much of the Party is pretty pissed off by it all.)

So get used to it. The Great Southern Firewall is going to happen and not even a tsunami of outraged protest will do anything to prevent it. With the polls as they are, what the Kev wants, the Kev gets!

OpenOffice bug/feature stirs 'horde of angry chimps'

Joe M

Free software, free headaches

I am not surprised by this saga and I accept that Open Office doesn't have to be compatible with anything else and must be taken at its own merits.

I use Open Office exclusively now and have not even bothered to install my MS Office during my last update. As I mostly do small word processing jobs I can live with the bugs and quirks and all my docs have been ODT for about two years. But if I was a commercial user I would go nuts. Just a sample,

1. The screen rendering of all fonts is awful. As an old typeset programmer I am offended by the hintless rasterization and sheer ugliness of it all.

2. Using some large point size (greater than 72pt) fonts for posters and the like, results in garbage being printed. I was forced to use Wordpad on at least two occasions to get a job out and it printed the same data perfectly.

3. Getting up-to-date dictionaries, or heaven forbid, Thesauri for some regions, like Australia, is a saga in itself. Many are available, few work properly.

4. Bugs! Settings disappear, things happen without reason, everything goes slow for a while etc. etc. Not frequent enough to be a show-stopper but annoying at times.

5. You need a PhD in comp science to do the equations. A GUI (I mean a proper one) would be nice but I won't hold my breath. Lucky that MathType works well with OO.

5. The charts are an amateurish joke!

6. etc. etc. etc.

I like the package and I appreciate the effort which has gone into it. I can afford the commercial version but like the idea of OS apps doing something useful besides maintaining each other. But this package wouldn't last a week in the real world. You know, where people pay real money for product. And I have had similar experiences with lots of other OSS, e.g. GIMP, IrfanView, Scilab and others. They are decent at what they do, and getting better all the time, but the commercial versions blow them away.

(Aside: Is there any chance whatsoever that Scilab V5 will once again, in my lifetime, have a working Scitab debugger. You know, the one that was broken when upgrading from V4 and has been blithely ignored ever since. As the French say, “Ce n’est pas terrible. Only a sissy need ze debugger for to developing ze complex scientific software avec graphics and real-time input. Pouf!”)

China not demolishing Green Dam

Joe M

Saving face

When the Chinese say "The government will definitely carry on the directive on Green Dam. It's just a matter of time", what they really mean is "We fu..ed up big time and now we are just trying to save face".

RIP Green Dam.

PC repair techs police dangerous picture law

Joe M

Porn anyone?

Some years ago I supplemented my meagre entrepreneurial income by building and repairing PCs. My brother was also involved and we freely exchanged notes on our experiences.

One thing became absolutely clear after a few months: none of us had ever found a readable hard drive which didn't contain some (sometimes a lot) of porn. This included business and home machines, PCs owned by the old and the young, men and women, teachers, doctors, lawyers and layabouts. In short, everybody had their private "stash". It was universal as far as we could see.

After some time I became rather unpopular because I refused to have anything to do with PCs from friends and relatives. Digital cameras were just becoming popular and it seems some people had an urge to make a permament record of their comings and goings, if you get my drift. And for some reason they all thought that only they could get access to C:\Documents\archives\invoices\10771\stuff.

Copyfraud: Poisoning the public domain

Joe M

The public domain

This whole issue comes about only because the volume of material being published each year overwhelms any attempt at administering it, or rather administering the laws governing it.

Passing new laws to regulate this area within the current framework of "intellectual property rights" is futile. The public domain is managed with public money, which is in rather short supply at the moment (or at any moment for that matter). Private ownership is driven by the profit motive and will almost always win out in the "land grab" for creative output.

If there is a solution to all of this, it lies in rethinking the whole idea of monetising culture and what the true value of the Public Domain is. (No, I'm not a socialist/pinko/leftie multinational hater. Monetising may make perfect sense and the profit motive is as valid a driver as any as long as it is subject to the norms of civilised behaviour. It's just that I believe we have to change the whole model of how we as a society pay for our culture.)

By the way, thank you all for your thoughtful and informative input on this subject which I believe is part of one of the most important issues of our times: the plundering of the Public Domain.

US record industry wins $1.92m from file sharer

Joe M

@Don't do the crime... and @Lock her up

It's a civil case as in C.I.V.I.L. You can both stop frothing at the mouth now.

Germany poised to impose police-run block list

Joe M

Number theory tells me...

that the cardinality of a set of natural numbers is an infinite. So if my www.badstuff.net gets blocked I might just set up www.badstuff1.net, then www.badstuff2.net etc.

I guess at about www.badstuff8925673106290512.net they may give up trying to block me. Or I might start using the alphabet as well. Or...

Oh what fun when you have morons to play with!

Microsoft sues family over alleged click fraud

Joe M

Wooly, very wooly

Rememeber the old saying "Sheep were meant to be shorn". IMHO anyone in this day and age who spends good money on "pay per click" makes a Merino look like an Einstein! Baaah!

Texas cop tasers gobby granny

Joe M

What are the police?

The police are a necessary evil in all societies, but in civilised societies we should always remember that they are just as evil as they are necessary.

Website liable for Google-generated page summary

Joe M

Why so surprised?

In my experience on three continents I found that most judges wouldn't know which end of the roll, toilet paper comes from let alone understanding newfangled contraptions like the Inter-net and P.C.s. Logic, intelligence or even common sense appear not to be prerequisites for high judicial office anymore, if they ever were.

Anyone who thinks that I'm just lawyer bashing (or who would like to have a chuckle or be shocked or both) is advised to have a squiz at the voluminous legal judgements in Western jurisdictions, which are now freely downloadable. Look at a few from Texas for a start, especially the capital appeals judgements. These guys are not of this earth!

(And if you think our Dutch friend is off with the pixies, have a look at this bird.



Critical Windows vulnerability under attack, Microsoft warns

Joe M

Posting about Linux here?

Disclosure: I program Windows from application to driver level as well as using it to watch movies, edit DVDs, 3D render, play games etc. I also program Linux to driver level, have embedded Linux to run on Intel and non-Intel platforms and custom hardware, do real-time mods to the Linux kernel, use it as a mission critical server etc. etc.

To all of you posting about Linux here: how about relocating the many fine Linux forums which abound on the net. In case you haven't noticed, this is about a bug IN WINDOWS. If you don't like Windows, why are you even here?

Each time a Windows bug is mentioned a cacophony of "rah rah Linux" starts up which is about as helpful here as a truckload of manure (which most of you are shovelling at a great rate). You are just creating noise.

In a word: FUCK OFF!

Unsafe at any speed: Memcpy() banished in Redmond

Joe M

Competent; 2: having requisite or adequate ability or qualities

Anyone who cannot copy memory precisely, using whatever language or library, should not be programming a computer. Moving data around IS programming. If you can't count you can't program.

If you can program, you can program in any language. If you can't, giving you Java or Lava or Shmava to hack ain't gonna help. If the compiler and runtime have to babysit you because you can't be trusted to count to 255 (or was that 256?) what the hell are you doing there anyway.

Overall I am sick and tired of people blaming languages for all the problems of the world. The problem is people, people.

You can either program or you cannot. My reading of the industry is that less than 10% of professional programmers are properly trained and understand exactly what they are doing, and about half should look for other avenues of employment. (I know this because along the way I employed a few of those by mistake.) Not a pretty picture.

That's the real reason why we have things like “buffer overflow” exploits, a problem which should have disappeared about a month after it was raised as a security issue, and did so for competent programmers. But the code jockeys still don't get it! (Hint: It is 256 after all! And add one for good luck.)

Microsoft adding one more idiotic restriction to try to reign in the cowboys is about as useful as trying to market edible condoms. ( It's late, I'm tired, I couldn't think of anything else and condoms are in the news here in .au.)

@Jake 05:26 GMT

You are not quite correct. I dealt with some MS programmers a while back in Redmond and they were not kids. They were exceptional software professionals who knew exactly what they were doing. Microsoft doesn't get it wrong because of the technical people it employs. Try taking pot shots at the marketers, hype merchants, slimy strategists who want to control the world and the other cheating, lying swine up there.

@Torben Mogensen 07:14 GMT

“But I have to agree with Kevin that the core of the problem is using C, which checks nothing at runtime at not enough at compile time.”

It's not a C problem Torben. One uses a language as given. A good programmer understands the strengths and limitations of the chosen language and gets on with producing a safe, functional, tested product.

@James 20:43 GMT

“The only real solution to real code stability and security is to stop using insecure languages and ensure people you employ are competent enough to fully understand the implications of *every* line of code they write.”

James, there is no such thing as an “insecure language”. There are however “insecure programmers” who do not understand the implications of what they are doing.

France says 'Oui!' to three strikes for music pirates

Joe M

Well Done!!!!

I am pleased as piss that the French have introduced this utterly brainless law. I hope more countries will follow suit and that eventually all Internet users will be subject to the "three strikes" policy and other nuisance measures trying to control their activities on line. Well done Frogs!

Now, back to work on my encryption suite. I better hurry too. My guess is that all P2P and most other traffic will be encrypted in about one to two years time. I can already hear the tinkling of "Money, money, money ... It's a rich man's World".

eBay scammer gets four years in slammer

Joe M

If the name fits...

"Derrick Lee Swantz, 57, of Lakewood, Colorado, was convicted in January...."

Derrick Lee Swantz? SWANTZ!!!? How appropriate.

Big boost for Aussie firewall

Joe M

@Eric Pinkerton

What's the government doing about that? Nothing!

Hey dude, you are living in a world where heroin (in its pure form, a mild sedative and pain killer) is überverboten and can even land you on death row e.g. in Bali, and alcohol (which is arguably the most dangerous substance known to humankind) is readily available in the parliamentary caf.

Joe M

Why am I not surprised

The only surprise is that it took Optus so long to go with the swing. It's actually quite pleasing to see them jump on board because, sure as rain, they will f__ck up the trial and it will become even more meaningless than it is now.

I have had the misfortune to deal with both Optus and Telstra (the largest Aus telco) both as a supplier and as a customer. If stupidity and incompetence were marketable comodities these two could get rich selling them by the bottle.

Photocops: Home Office concedes concern

Joe M

I'm sick of whingeing Poms

To all you characters in Little Britain (once known as Great Britain) who have a predictable and boring collective moan each time a further outrage against your liberty is publicized: could you please just shut up.

If you want your liberty you will have to do what others, including your ancestors, have had to do through the ages: fight for it. If you meekly submit to the increasing assault on your rights and freedom, if each time a bullyboy bobby orders you to hand over your camera you do so without standing up to him, then don't whine about it. No one is interested. If you are not prepared to defend your rights then you don't deserve them.

Of course standing up for yourselves can be costly. You may have to fight. You may be arrested, perhaps manhandled. It's inconvenient, costly, embarrassing and you may even end up being convicted by what now laughably passes for a “justice system” on your little island. (It may be small comfort that you no longer have the prospect of meeting one of the Pierrepoints. But who knows what New Labour has in store for the future.) So you are going to have to weigh it all up for yourselves. “Give me liberty or give me what?”

But do us all a favour and stop moaning about it.

Put down your pens: Cartoons next on censor block

Joe M

Why are we pussyfooting around?

Why carry on with all this pretence? Let's just get to the point. Let's make the world a better place and outlaw Thoughtcrime.

All you perverts posting here (each a dangerous thoughtcriminal if I ever saw one) just shut the f***k up and report to your nearest Minlove recreational facility. The world will be well rid of you I say!

Love Jacqui aka Ms O'Brien.

(See you soon at Minlove. But I won't be there for Thoughtcrime, shudder. No, just a minor discrepancy - a small question of £116,000.)

Universal thaws out The Thing

Joe M

What's everyone frothing about?

It's all on the cards. After all, this is the same crowd (should I perhaps say herd) which "remade" The Flintstones as a movie. Only they used live actors?!!!

Mayor Boris backs McKinnon in extradition fight

Joe M


I agree with you 100%! But why not go all the way. Let's start chopping off hands and feet. Maybe a few blindings or castrations would do some good. And the odd auto-de-fe could whip up flaming support for our cause. Anything will do as long as it puts the hated criminal Aspie Unermentschen amongst us back into their place.

Just one thought though! I fear that posts like yours may give us ignorant, deluded, vindictive, cruel and primitive rednecks a bad name.

Disabling Windows Autorun - there's a right way and a wrong way

Joe M

It's just sick

I am not an anti-Windows zealot. I earn my pesos from Windows and use it day to day. But things like this absolutely enrage me.

I think it's time to conclude that Microsoft is not only not interested in PC security but is actively sabotaging it. I can think of no other reason for still having problems like this regularly cropping up. When you look at PC security issues about 99% originate from Redmond's insane compulsion to script, RPC or “ActiveX” everything it touches.

It's not that these things aren't useful if used correctly. I use scripts all the time and guess how Linux does much of it's hard lifting. It's just that only a stupid, f---ing, moronic idiot would default to “execution enabled” for everything from embedded emails scripts to CD setups and allow un-authenticated, alien code to run without even trying to establish some kind of minimal session level security. To then require the user to switch off this idiocy is the ultimate insult.

I think that what needs to be done is to start a huge class action suit against Microsoft for substantial multibillion dollar damages. They appear to be incapable of responding to anything else. In case anyone wonders whether there are sufficient grounds for mounting such an action just try to quantify how much time and money this single, totally foreseeable and avoidable“bug” is causing and multiply it by.... who knows what!

419ers take Canadian for $150,000

Joe M

There but for the grace....

I used to get incredibly angry at the victims of these and other kind of scams where a tiny bit of due diligence or even common sense would have averted the expected outcome. What upset me was that while I took great care with my money and didn't even trust Government guaranteed banks, always splitting large sums I received amongst unrelated accounts, these simpletons enabled a thriving underworld of slimy con-men to flourish.

But putting all that aside, imagine being in this man's place. Imagine feeling the incredible sense of betrayal and violation. Imagine being the butt of jokes and being laughed at around the world. Imagine facing your friends and relatives - or just trying to live normally day to day. We all deny things to ourselves and sooner or later we all get caught by something large or small, however smart we think we are.

A bit of compassion is called for here.

Prisoner star Patrick McGoohan dies at 80

Joe M

Another loss

A great actor passes. He never played goodies or badies, he brought characters alive and made them real. I will miss him. Good bye Secret Agent a.k.a. Danger Man a.k.a. Matrick Mcgoohan.

The incredible vanishing Satyam boss

Joe M

"The company has about 53,000 staff ..."

I am no friend of outsourcing which has devastated the careers of many of my colleagues. In the brainless rush to make short term gains on the bottom line, an obsession which characterises most modern business “leaders”, outsourcing deals have left numerous IT, PR and security disasters in their path. The true cost of this is a tale yet to be told.

But I cannot help thinking about the tens of thousands of Indian workers whose jobs are now in real jeopardy. In these turbulent times they may have serious difficulties finding jobs and securing their futures. I take no pleasure in seeing them in this position and I hope that the damage done by the few corrupt and greedy men in India, and around the world, which put them in this position can be quickly rectified.

Software copyright inspection powers used for first time

Joe M

@Craig - you have a hide mate

As soon as I read your post I started gathering the stream of Anglo-Saxon invectives, referring mostly to the human reproductive process, which I could throw at you. But it being the season of peace and goodwill to all men I decided against it.

In a just world anyone who used the tired, idiotic, fu... sorry foolish “if you have nothing to hide” argument to glibly dispose of everybody else's hard won freedoms, would get lots of random and thorough raids on their homes from the constabulary - just to check that they really have nothing to hide.

In your case my friend it is of course quite true. You have nothing to hide. It's all there in black and white in your moronic post.

Microsoft gives XP another four months to live

Joe M

A far far away Vista

There is a lot of heat and smoke generated by this Vista vs. XP argument but at its heart is a simple truth.

Most users are like me. We don't want Vista because we don't need it! XP does everything we want. It does it securely and it does it fast. My tools, utilities, apps and games run just fine. My net connection and browsing is OK too. I don't need anything in the OS that I don't already have. In time I may, but right now I don't. I have three unopened XP Pro licenses on the shelf ready for any new hardware I may buy - just in case MS decides to become SS.

Vista may be the ants pants but so what. I don't change cars every couple of years just to get the latest gagets. My Lancer is safe, comfortable, economical and gets me there in quick time. When I'm good and ready I will update my car and I may update my OS.

Meanwhile my message to MS is simple: Stop pushing you fools. Listen to your customers.

Aussie government muffs plans for internet filtering

Joe M

"the inhabitants of Scunthorpe."

Filtering good things is one thing, but even human beings allow "bad things" through.

Many years ago I was on a team which implemented a new networked insurance system for a large insurance broker. It had many novelties one of which was that all codes were alphabetic instead of numeric. The underwriter codes were usually just the first letters of the company name and the abreviation of the state they were in. So "Commercial Union, Queensland" became CUQLD.

On the first live run, one fine June day, several thousand certificates were posted to all parts of the country. The folk who had insurance with Commercial Union and lived in the Northern Territory got a bit of a shock when they realised the low opinion we had of their underwriter.

And it got past a year and a half of testing!

ISP boss pledges to undermine Great Aussie Firewall

Joe M

What's happening is this....

Perhaps the context of this kerfuffle may help people understand what's going on.

About a year ago we elected a new government headed by a clean-skin, virtually unknown, religious, Mandarin speaking centrist called Kevin Rudd and his team to replace a tired, cynical, compromised bunch of conservatives in power for over eleven years. There was a an air of excitement and expectation for change in the whole country. The incoming team was especially strong on the need for leading edge technology and went to the polls with all kinds of grandiose infrastructure schemes on offer.

So what happened? Simple. Rudd has turned out to be, not to put too fine a point on it, an unstable freak in the grip of the minuscule Christian Right and its noisy lobbyists. His ministry is pockmarked by some real nutters and the whole trust of his government policy has moved towards centralized authoritarian control from Canberra.

The minister in charge of communications follows a long line of incompetents in the portfolio, from both sides of politics, but this one has added stubborn ignorance, an abrasive stupidity and almost unbelievable chutzpah to the mix. From my reading of people in the industry who have met him, and as you can see for yourselves, he is one of the most off-putting politicians on the planet.

No matter what happens, this government WILL filter the Internet. Those of you who believe that filtering is impossible are wrong. It's simply a question of cost and resources and when you are doing God's work such trivia don't matter. The fact that some people, at their own cost, can get around some of the roadblocks most of the time does not matter either. This bunch is not interested in practicalities or reality. The whole thing is based on ideology and as our US and UK friends have already found out to their cost, when ideology governs sanity goes out the door.

I would desperately like to point the finger at others but in this instance I share the blame. I voted for these fools.

UK's 'secure' child protection database will be open to one million

Joe M

@Chris W

You are spot on! And the UK is not alone. See this page: http://tinyurl.com/38qg6x.

Is the internet going down down under?

Joe M

I believe everything my Government tells me. Honest!

The Australian psyche has always had an element of the Luddite in it which has clouded almost every significant decision about technology and communications in this country. This latest nonsense is quite predictable because it follows a long list of amazingly shortsighted and stupid decisions made by various Australian governments in the past. I started compiling the list but even a short sample is too long to include here.

But here is a good example. A country of twenty odd million people decided to introduce cable TV (very late of course) by rolling out not one but two parallel, competing and incredibly expensive networks – along with a satellite operator at the same time. The population level can barely support a single network and of course the players have never made any money. Needless to say the service is merde with a capital M. Nutty as a fruitcake.

For those of us who had hoped that the new government would bring a breath of fresh air and would herald a new dawn of honest, intelligent and caring public discourse - the sun is up and we are awake. What we have is just another bunch of stupid, lying, devious politicians.

E-voting glitches hamper elections in seven states

Joe M

Not surprised

Anyone who has visited the USA from another Western country will immediately notice something odd about their public infrastructure. In short, there are two kinds: the ones that can make money for someone and the unimportant ones - like bridges, hospitals, schools and of course, the election system. The shambolic, third world shennanigans which take place every four years in the USA are the predictable result of the unbelievable meaness which the tax-shy American population displays towards the public good. Their greed, stupidity and selfishness, combined with their stubborn parochial aggression has slowly whittled away the huge store of goodwill, which we, fellow Westeners had for them.

I wish the next President good luck and hope that he can restore some sense, if not greatness, to his country. At least fix the voting machines.

David Tennant quits Who

Joe M

They should shut the whole thing down!

I loved Dr Who ever since episode one, which I got to see sometime in the mid sixties. But even a timelord must eventually die and I think this is as good a time for the funeral as any.

The thing is now a total bore! It's basically just a collection of pointless PC vignettes glued together with some breathless special effects and a cacophonous soundtrack which is designed to blow even a Sontaran's impervious brain to smithereens. There is no attempt at acting. The characters just scream at each other hysterically and the good Doctor spends most of his time pulling funny faces and running around aimlessly.

Vale the Doctor. I will miss him greatly.

Disclaimer: These comments are only valid when read by a Terran. (I don't particularly feel like being blasted into a time vortex!)

Swiss boffins sniff passwords from (wired) keyboards 65 feet away

Joe M


It's not too difficult to stop RF sniffing of keystrokes. It's even possible to stop an in-line sniffer from picking up sensitive data. I know! I was part of a team that did just that about 17 years ago. The project was developed for PCs acting as financial transaction terminals and the specs, which we had to meet, were savage. The technology worked well for over a decade. We had to pull a few tricks to prevent various forms of attack but with today's technology it would be almost trivial to do the same.

From what I learned of the subject at the time, I would say that it would take immense and costly effort to sniff even standard keyboards - and a lot of luck. Despite what most people think RF is a very uncooperative medium and and the world is a very noisy place for anything which uses it.

At the risk of standing on a soapbox, I would like to add that I am getting thoroughly sick and tired of various groups of idiot savants issuing grandiose warning about all manner of dangerous security breaches via press release or amateur-hour video footage. In the old days, if you had something to say about your discovery you hung it out in a peer review paper and allowed your fellow researchers to have a crack at it. Today, it seems that even serious researchers want to have their 15 minutes in the limelight. While they are alive that is!

US telco: 'Public broadband is illegal'

Joe M

Sad, very sad

Can I just say, with sadness not with malice, that you have a very, very strange country indeed.

Legal digital music is commercial suicide

Joe M

Here is my money... Where is my music?

One thing that always pisses me off in these discussions is the implicit assumption by all sides that everyone wants to listen to mainstream, current music.

I collect and listen to an eclectic selection which includes folk and ethnic music, little-known artists, old radio shows and humour. My needs are catered for by a tiny group of companies and individuals who lovingly maintain and distribute these oddities and charge reasonable fees for their services.

Most of the material is in the public domain or created by the distributors themselves but copyright and the voracious animals who currently hold these "rights" are constantly intruding into this space and the service providers are always on edge about it.

Although the "big ones" often have lots of interesting material in their archives and libraries, they deem it commercially non-viable to release this material. Of course, they will not give it away for free even when they know they can't make any money from it. It would go against the grain, I guess to do something culturally enlightened instead of purely commercial.

It doesn't make sense! I and many others are more than willing to pay for these titles on the same basis that I do for my current collection. But it looks like it won't happen any time soon. This is one of the most insidious and frustrating side effects of the wholesale cultural theft known as “copyright”.

Joe M

@Lala? and @Tim Bergel

Thank you Tim. Couldn't have put it better myself.

AC, as a "50-something plus" computer scientist, I was putting together computers when your daddy's testicles were just getting tight, having that first dance with your mummy.

But no hard feelings. Drop me a line next time your PC plays up. Maybe I can fix it for you.

45th Mersenne prime discovered (possibly)

Joe M

To all the cavemen!

To all you "practically minded" morons who can't see the point: just because you are too lazy and stupid to find out about something does not mean that it's useless.

Mersenne Primes and Sophie Germaine Primes and Lie Groups and Lagrangians and lots and lots of other "useless" mathematical entities will be out there, doing their work for us long after you miserable whingers have turned into forgotten dust.

So my suggestion to all of you is to stop using your computers, turn off the lights, crawl back into your caves and start chipping some flint!

(As for Austin Modine calling Marin Mersenne a nerd: too bad you don't allow strikethroughs in comments. I could put a few juicy, and much more fitting labels on you too.)

Orange sees broadband subscriber exodus

Joe M

Where is the money?

What people should realise is that ISPs in general have a great deal of difficulty making money. In fact the only ones who can get a decent return are the ones who own some of the backbone.

My son did an ISP business case for a university assignment and despite what many people think, this field is far from a licence to print money. In fact, most ISPs can only make a buck from the bundled offerings.

My own, very long term ISP which has undergone numerous upheavals over it's existence only makes money from me because I also have my voice services with them. They run their own broadband infrastructure and provide a decent enough service but I have noticed that recently they have started to squeeze in small but noticeable ways (uploads in some plans now count towards monthly limits etc.). Such is life!