* Posts by Peter Lawrence

17 publicly visible posts • joined 5 Nov 2007

How to keep your money safe if the euro implodes

Peter Lawrence

Germany will be the last

Germany can never pull out of the Euro. Joining the EC was a condition imposed upon German Unification by France (and to a lesser extent Britain and the USSR) during the 2+4 talks. It was a way to assuage French fears of a unified Germany running roughshod over the European continent. For political reasons, Germany will have to hold on till the bitter end.

Fukushima update: No chance cooling fuel can breach vessels

Peter Lawrence

Its all in how you look at it....

"Nick Davies dared to include the Chernobyl myths of thousands dead (actually the established figure is 56"

56 people perished as a direct result of the Chernobyl explosion, the immediate aftermath, or trying to contain the radiation. Deaths and deformities that occurred after the fact were not acknowledged as such by the Soviet or Russian governments. For chilling accounts of what happened, I highly recommend Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich.

BOFH: A safe bet

Peter Lawrence
Thumb Up


Thanks Simon, your stories, as always, are appreciated!

Goat hangs self in Canadian zoo

Peter Lawrence

Stingray Deaths

Being a resident of Calgary, I've heard a lot on the death of the stingrays here at the Calgary Zoo. No one has been able to determine the precise cause of death, but most people tend to think that it had something to do with the fact that Zoo patrons were permitted to physically touch the stingrays in the tank. Lord only knows what kind of contaminants were introduced to the tank that way.

Universities reject Stasi role

Peter Lawrence
Black Helicopters

@ A good idea

Why not simply have the government check that a) an international student has enrolled in a sufficient number of courses each semester and b) that a sufficient number of courses are completed each semester (allowing for withdrawals, and the like). Seems that having a semester's transcripts forwarded to the Border Agency's office for each international student would be easier than trying to force lecturers to monitor attendance.

Police collar kid for Wi-Fi pinching

Peter Lawrence

@ Arclight

My family may not be as computer literate as I, but they do have the good sense to ask me when something they don't understand arises. Ignorance is not a defense.

Plus, if the teen's father had been approached before, would the complainant not have had the opportunity to properly secure the network to avoid any further problems? At any rate, it appears that the complainant has not taken due diligence in securing his property. It reminds me of the blokes who are too cheap to pay for someone like myself to come and set up their wireless APs properly, yet completely freak out when they find that someone's been using their AP to send out mass amounts of crud which the owner is now responsible for.

BBC clarifies location of England

Peter Lawrence

@ Chris

I've had friends from the UK that have said that we in Canada and the US have a better highway system than in Europe (with the exception of Germany), and as such can actually do a decent speed. We drove across the Rocky Mountains, from Calgary, Alberta to Spokane, Washington, a trip of about 800km/500mi and it took us a little over 8 hours (including approximately 30 minutes of waiting at the Canada-US border). A similar trip, through a similarly populated area in Europe would have taken, I have been told, almost 50% longer. I guess that's why we over on this side of the pond are willing to drive a little further.

Pirate Bay evades Italian blockade

Peter Lawrence


Taking something you are not entitled to is morally wrong. Period. However, Copyright Infringement is not a criminal offence in most countries, but a civil one. You are in essence depriving the copyright holder of payments due for the use of a product or service. It's the same as if you get a tradesman in to work on your house and refuse to pay him. In most places, you won't end up in prison, but you can have civil penalties levied against you for failure to pay.

The only reason that copyright infringement is being considered a criminal matter is because the piracy==theft lobbies have been so effective. But in essence, you aren't permanently depriving the copyright holder of his income from said piece of work (as would be the case in theft - if I steal a car, you are no longer able to sell said car). If someone downloads a copy of an mp3, the copyright holder is able to sell further copies of that exact same song without suffering a real loss, rather he has lost a potential sale. Because you can't prove that someone who downloads music would purchase said music in the first place, there's no way to prove a loss in real terms.

Hence, copyright infringement should be a civil matter, not criminal.

Apple's Snow Leopard to cut the bloat from Mac OS X

Peter Lawrence
Paris Hilton

PPC Code More Important Than Most Realize...

If you've got an Intel Mac and you're running Leopard, you're relying on PPC code more than you'd like to realize. I used Monolingual to strip out PPC code (G3 stuff and older) from an Intel machine after installing Leopard, and many things fell over. Important things like the print queues, network connectivity and power management. If you're concerned with HD space, make sure that you get rid of Apple apps that you don't need, use Monolingual to strip out unnecessary languages, etc.

Personally, if you're running anything less than G5, stick with Tiger. You'll be much happier without the bloat and lag associated with the new eye-candy.

Paris, cause she likes anything to do with stripping.

How to destroy 60 hard drives an hour

Peter Lawrence

My Favourite Method

My favourite method is to take the drive cover off, bridge both positive and both negative leads and hook them up to 2-12V car batteries wired up in series. I get the platters going nice and quick, then drop something abrasive or sharp on them. I find a dental pick works well, as does random bits of rocks (properly secured, of course). It's a helluva lot of fun, and I doubt anyone would want to bother with my data anyway. :-P

Online advertiser pays $200,000 for deceptive claims

Peter Lawrence


I think the difference here is the *type* of ad shown. For my favourite sites (el Reg being among them), I don't turn the ads off. I don't mind an unobtrusive advertisement to the side of the info. I do, however, block those horribly intrusive ads which offer free iPods, laptops, etc., because they are not worth my time. I think that it's more about where the ads come from, and the way they are presented, than the mere presence of ads.

I personally support adblocking software. It's my bandwidth, and I should be able to control what comes down the pipes. If you want to provide a small, tasteful ad, that's fine. I understand that people have to make money. But, start pushing flashy, control-freak ads with dancing monkeys and whatnot down my throat, and I'll never look at another one of your ads again.

It was the MacBook Air sub-notebook

Peter Lawrence
Jobs Halo

Replacement Batteries?

I've been looking at replacing the battery in my iBook G4 (bought in June 2005). I'm looking at ~$120USD plus tax and shipping. I have to put the battery in myself, to boot! Not that installing a battery in a conventional laptop is difficult, but considering that the $130 figure includes labour, it's not out of line with current replacement battery charges.

Most large cities in North America have an Apple Authorized repair shop, and I'm sure that these folks will be able to do the battery work. Sure, you can get cheaper batteries off of eBay, but buying off-brand laptop batteries is a bad idea anyway.



IBM to shove ads onto DVDs

Peter Lawrence

I don't see the economic model for this...

I'll start out by saying that I can't comment on the European situation. However, here in North America, save for your cable fee, most television is free to view. As we don't have a TV tax, the "basic" channels (without cable) are free to watch. Therefore, I don't mind spending almost 25% of my viewing time watching advertisements in exchange for the other 75%, which is presumably a program that I enjoy. To me, that's a fair exchange.

However, when looking at DVD, the entire model changes. I have now paid money in order to view this program. That is, I have spent time at my job to earn the money so that I could turn around and purchase this DVD. Fair enough, I will spend money so that I can watch this program uninterrupted (as well as being able to pause, re-wind, rewatch whenever, etc. - features which are quickly becoming devalued with the use of PVRs, but I digress...). Now, according to this proposed model, I will first pay money (which I have already exchanged my time for) to acquire said DVD, and I will then pay with my time again having to watch the advertisements. In essence, this model proposes to increase the 'cost' of watching a DVD program.

The only way I can see this model working - and just barely working at that - is if the initial purchase price of the DVD was reduced by a commensurate amount vis-a-vis the amount of advertisements included in the program. Following the television model, where the program to advertising ratio is 75% to 25%, your typical movie will increase from 90 to around 110-120 minutes. How do you put a value on 30 minutes of time spent watching advertisements? Do you use the wage rate? Arbitrary amount?

I feel that they won't be able to reduce the price of a DVD low enough to keep the 'cost' neutral. This will only lead to the increase in the 'cost' of watching a DVD program.

New emails address you by name, then try to hose your PC

Peter Lawrence

@Andy Worth

There is an award: It's called data loss. I think these individuals are very worthy of such accolades ;-).

Giuliani: Eye-O-Sauron™ border scan-towers are top idea

Peter Lawrence

@Michael Miller

Jawohl, comrade!

Too bad Comrades Ulbricht and Honecker aren't still around; they'd doubtless be able to give you some pointers on how to deal with people seeking their freedom!

Russian piracy crackdown targets the opposition

Peter Lawrence

In Soviet Russia...

In Soviet Russia, software pirate YOU!

I'm on my way out....

Official: P2P music not harming Canada

Peter Lawrence

@ Luke Wells

Here Here!

I second that, Luke. I download scads of music, and if I like it enough to keep it on my computer, I'll go out and buy the disc. I do keep the MP3s, however, as it's less work involved for me than deleting the files and ripping the music again. If I didn't have access to the music in the first place, I wouldn't have bought it. Here in Canada, I think the big music retailers are finally clueing in on how to keep their markets from evaporating. Prices have come down quite a bit in the last few years to the point where you can now justify getting a CD if there's only a handful of songs that you like on it. I'd like to think that it's somewhat due to the fact that Canadians are legally able to download music from p2p systems, but I could be wrong...