* Posts by John Band

31 publicly visible posts • joined 25 Oct 2007

McKinnon gets date for final showdown

John Band

Waste of time...

"it is nice to see one country taking white-collar crime seriously."

Why? It's harmless - unlike, say, mugging.

ASA slaps beer-punting ladyboy

John Band

It's not about the bathwater

"The ASA's been doing good work recently fighting the bollocks from the AltMed lobby and other bullshitters. They're on the consumer's side. This one seems a bit of an anomoly though."

The ASA does two things:

1) to stop people running adverts that lie. This is a Good Thing.

2) to pander to the ludicrous Taste 'n' Decency sensibilities of Mary Whitehouse-ites. This is a Bad Thing.

It'd be very easy to abolish role 2 without hurting role 1. "The ASA's job is to police adverts for honesty. Taste and decency issues will be dealt with by the Obscene Publications Act and laws on breach of the peace, as they would for any other kind of media". Job done.

Game sharer gets £16K fine

John Band

No, *you're* specious-est

"[on 'they haven't lost out on anything, you muppet'-ists]: presumably all those of you rocking this particularly specious line of defence would be more than happy if your spouse was fucking someone else too"

Well, I don't think it'd be appropriate to throw her jail or fine her £16k, anyway.

Seriously - software is a good with a marginal cost of zero - hence basic economics tells us an individual act of software copying makes society in aggregate better off and harms nobody. Normally, such a thing would be perfectly legal.

The reason it's forbidden is that we've decided that granting the kind of monopoly that would normally be /prohibited/ by law to people who invent particular kinds of stuff is the best way to incentivise more people to invent more stuff.

In other words, society has decided to set aside basic moral principles for a utilitarian goal. That's great, and copyright (albeit for far shorter periods and fatr less restrictive than seen today) is probably the least worse way of incentivising people to create things.

However, it does mean that anyone who thinks software copying is something *immoral*, rather than something which regrettably has to be illegal for the greater good, is a clueless moron.

John Band

Is anyone really this stupid, or are they RIAA plants?

"By that justification, I should be able to walk into my nearest Curry's, pick a new TV off the shelf, and wander away muttering some rubbish about "outdated business models"."

No, because copyright infringment doesn't actually involve depriving the copyright holder of anything. Pretty key distinction, no?

Joint Committee gets it (mainly) wrong on human rights

John Band

Universal unchanging rights throughout time? Err, yeah.

"a bill of rights should be so fundamental that they should be important in 100 or 1000 years, unchanged"

In which case, it would consist of " ".

We've only had democracy since 1928, FFS - how's that any different from state-funded hospitals and universities?

Congestion charge means less traffic, more congestion

John Band
IT Angle


So the CC raised £130m to spend on public transport, and held congestion at levels from five years ago despite massive improvements in the bus network, pedestrian-friendly adjustments to traffic lights, and Thames Water finally making a serious effort to replace the leaky Victorian pipes? An excellent policy and a great success - let's hope Boris doesn't ruin it.

Ofcom slaps MTV with £255k fine

John Band

Err, do tell

"If the idea of protecting kids from adult content offends you, my suggestion would be to live somewhere else."

If you can find a place which isn't run by insane nannyists, where the powers that be understand that a kid hearing a particular four-letter, one-syllable word actually doesn't cause the slightest harm or make a blind bit of difference to anyone, then please feel free to list it.

UK cops arrest six alleged BitTorrent music uploaders

John Band
IT Angle

No, this isn't the point

"<i>Your insistence, is that actually they should work on the old lady being mugged totally ignoring the other offence that you don't feel people should be prosecuted for.</i>"

The point is, if you were to ask the ratepayers of Cleveland to fill out a referendum of preferred police priorities, then harassing filesharers would be pretty close to the bottom. Since they're the ones who fund the Cleveland rozzers, their wishes should be taken into account.

Conversely, City of London Police invest a great deal of money and resource into tackling corporate crime, because it is important to their constituents (as companies don't want their rivals to get away with cheating). If anyone is going to bother with this investigation, it should be them...

Wikimedia Foundation muzzles Wikinews

John Band


While Wikimedia seems to be dealing with the PR over the complaints ineptly, the second one complaint is utter bollocks in the first place - the article in question carried a picture of an album cover that was sold worldwide for 30 years, which is hardly the kind of Horribly Noncey Abuse that the article implies.

[yes, Yanks are more uptight about nudity than everyone else; this reflects the fact that they ran away from Europe because it wasn't puritan enough...]

Can't decide how to vote? Publicwhip.org will tell you

John Band

In power vs out-of-power

"All the issues that Labour voted strongly for seemed authoritarian, what I'd have traditionally associated with the Tories in the 80s."

Of course, the Tories were in power in the 1980s. On issues like freedom of information about ministers' decisions, limits of executive power, etc, there's no way that a Tory *government* would give them the same support as a Tory opposition...

Welsh Darth Vader dodges jail

John Band
Dead Vulture

10 litres of wine = 2 litres of gin

...and it's - terrifyingly enough for those of us who are soberer - quite possible for people to function on that kind of daily intake.

Weighty chef Clarissa Dickson-Wright held down a cooking job on 2 litres of gin a day for five years before she quit drinking (and now has chronic quinine poisoing from the tonic...)

EDF circles British nuclear powerplant sites

John Band
Thumb Up

Vive l'EDF

"EDF doing nuclear in the UK? Unbelievable - and downright frightening"

Hardly. EDF generates 70% of France's electricity from nuclear, and has never had a major disaster. If they buy British Energy it'll be a Bloody Good Thing - at least it means there's a chance we'll actually *build* some nuclear plants before the lights go out...

Radiohead diss freetards

John Band

Not quite

"you have done your job El Reg as your entire motivation for the headline was to diss Radiohead"

No, their entire motivation was to diss people who reckon music should be free with artists' living costs paid for by [err, mumble mumble mumble], using Radiohead as a stick to beat them with.

Data sharing could have stopped killing

John Band


"none of the released people were going to live in the affluent areas where they live/work and it saves millions of pounds."

Err, this chap stabbed a middle-class professional in Islington. How much more "areas where politicians live" do you want to get?

US lag sues over prison crash diet

John Band

Maybe if...

"(btw rapists and paedos without doubt get THE BEST TREATMENT IN JAIL! this also needs looking at!)"

AIUI this is because if you let them anywhere near the 'normal' prisoners, the normals glass their eyes and slit their throats. Perhaps if they didn't, then the sex offenders wouldn't need to be segregated from everyone else.

eBay software faker jailed for ten months

John Band

Sentencing myths

1) It is not the case that a serial sex offender of children would get community service, unless there are monumentally weird and unusual mitigating factors: starting point is a *long* jail sentence. Whenever the tabloids get excised by an EVIL SEX OFFENDER getting off without jail, it inevitably turns out they're referring to either a) a guy who drunkenly groped a teenage girl or b) a pathetic geek who downloaded Internet pr0n.

2) The car driver who killed a cyclist was fined and given points because he was found not to have caused death by dangerous driving. If you are convicted of causing death by dangerous driving, you go to jail for a long time (well, long IMO - 3-8 years). If you aren't, then you don't. Or do you think every unlucky driver ought to serve proper chokey?

Nokia coughs up €200m over axed German workers

John Band

Sounds about right

$86k is €50k, which is roughly what a skilled worker in Germany would get paid in a year. A nice payoff, but not unusual by local standards...

Rogue trader sues SocGen for unfair dismissal

John Band
IT Angle


"Easy to blame one poor sod (with a nice salary) for the companies failings"

IIRC, Kervier got paid sod-all, not "a nice salary" - less than €80k per year...

BAA boots Vulture from T5 frequent flyer club

John Band

Mmm, patronising

"Actually, most people that fly often, note that Amsterdam's Schipol Airport is brilliant, fast and efficient - rather than the glorified Shopping Center that Heathrow is."

Actually, I've been to Schiphol three times in the last six weeks. Yes, it's a much better airport than any of the other big ones for changing between two different carriers, because it doesn't follow the "terminals" model.

However, it's still a giant shopping centre filled with crap shops and overpriced cafés; it still features long walks, too little information and too few staff; and it still creates massive queues and (passenger and staff) confusion whenever there's a bit of fog, snow or general idiocy.

And KLM and NWA are both seriously inferior to BA in business class, in terms of lounges (bloody hell, the KLM lounge at Schiphol is rubbish), on-board service, SEATS, and food. In economy the difference is less noticeable, but still real IMO.

John Band

Not helping

"I now use regional airports and pick up transatlantic via Schiphol or Frankfurt."

What, because you think KLM/NWA or Lufthansa are good airlines? Possibly on some deeply weird alternative planet.

While BA are obviously worse than Virgin, Emirates or Singapore, they're the best Western flag carrier by a country mile. And concentrating nearly all their Heathrow flights in a single terminal will remove the main pain factor that previously made Schiphol a viable alternative.

[flying into T5 on Sunday - looking forward to it more than most flights I've been on in the last few years...]

Pork and politics energise the biofuel delusion

John Band

Yes it does...

"It doesn't matter. The point in producing oil is that you can carry it around and put it in your car."

No, the point is that the current US agricultural system requires two calories <i>of petrochemical energy</i> for every calorie of corn energy produced <i>even before you refine the corn into bioethanol</i>. It would be better to just put the two grammes of oil that are used in producing the corn directly into your car.

Yes, in principle it would be possible to grow cane sugar in greenhouses heated by geothermal energy, in order to have a mobile fuel source with no climate change impact. Quite how many drugs you'd need to have smoked to consider that a better idea than hydrogen electrolysis is an interesting point for discussion - but either way, that is not how the current biofuels system works.

John Band
Dead Vulture

No, it's worse than that

"Finally, I have some soil, I plant a corn plant, the plant grows, I chop down the plant and squeeze oil out of it, I have oil but I haven't burnt fossil fuels or my own oil."

Except that under the current US agricultural system, each calorie of corn energy produced requires more than two calories of fuel energy to produce it (from fertiliser production, transportation, etc), *as well as* the energy the corn plant absorbs from the sun.

Google's riches rely on ads, algorithms, and worldwide confusion

John Band

Richest country?

"These are all far worse jobs than working in an air-conditioned, comfortable office in the richest country in the world for one of the largest firms in the world."

Google are based in Luxembourg now? Who knew...

P2P highwayman gets four years for ID theft

John Band

More Daily Mail nonsense

"Should have moved to the UK and then only his wrist would have been slapped"

I'd be interested to see a story in the UK of someone who stole £75k directly from members of the public escaping without chokey; if there are any such examples, I'd be utterly amazed if they weren't very young, very old or mothers of dependent children.

Ofcom cracks down on London pirates

John Band

Yay, it's more 'but this is *modern* bad stuff, not like the old bad stuff'

"The modern 'urban' pirate radio station is a very, very different beast to Radio Caroline."

Similarly, modern cannabis will turn you into an axe-wielding pyschopath with one drag. And modern terrorists will kill us all unless we can lock them up without trial.

The scary thing is that 60% of people fall for this utter nonsense (and more than 0% of the people in this thread, who should know better).

Mobile operators team up against child abuse

John Band

It's workable, whether or not it's sensible

"snuff, beheading videos, hate speech, political propaganda?...Total BS. Filters do not work; ask any teenager."

But you can't be sent directly to jail for snuff/beheading/hate speech/propaganda (well, unless you're sufficiently brown and silly to convince a paranoid jury that you've got the videos because you're an Evil Terrorist). The point about filtering CP websites is that it makes it very hard for anyone caught with CP images to claim that they got them by mistake...

"Besides, who would be the authority to decide what goes in the list and what doesn't, who keeps it up-to-date?"

In the UK, this list is kept and supplied to ISPs by the Internet Watch Foundation. It's paid for by ISPs and maintained by civilian analysts with police training. I imagine this list or something similar would be used in the pan-European scheme.


Music industry sues Baidu

John Band

@ Erm

The first language of most Chinese people isn't English. So Baidu in English looks like Google, but its Chinese search engine was earlier and better than Google's.

(Google is now up there, but Baidu had already gained market share by the time its product in China was any good)

UK.Gov green lights nuclear power

John Band

Google is your friend

"I wonder how much tax EDF pays in the UK?"

£58m in 2006, £145m in 2005. The 2007 numbers aren't out yet.

<a href="http://www.edfenergy.com/core/downloads/edfenergyplc-2006-financial-statements.pdf">from here</a>...

McKinnon extradition drama turned into radio play

John Band


"causing an estimated $700,000 worth of damage"

I expect to see that kind of nonsense repeated in the newspapers, but not in the Reg! McKinnon's hacking [as with nearly all curiosity-based rather than fraud-based hacking] caused $0 of damage - the $700,000 is the cost of making the site as secure as it should have been in the first place...

A parents' guide to the HMRC data giveaway

John Band

0845 numbers...

...are not subsidised, are revenue-generating, and cost more to call than national geographic numbers from all mobiles and most landlines.

[re the main story - talk about 'fuss about nothing'. if one person loses so much as a fiver from this, aside from the unfortunate HMRC monkeys who'll be fired, i'll happily eat 25,000,000 hats...]

Brussels arms bod: Don't buy Yankee deathware

John Band
Thumb Down

Meanwhile, back on planet Earth

"The reason the US is so much more advanced than the EU nations is because it puts teh tender out to companies who then compete to produce the best kite at the cheapest price."

You don't know much about US defence procurement, do you?