* Posts by The Badger

105 posts • joined 12 Dec 2007


Amazon deletes a 6th of its catalogue in book price barney

The Badger


The "monopoly over their own titles" thing is bizarre rhetoric, really, and by distinguishing between cost and retail prices you've cut to the salient point in this case, GrahamT.

Meanwhile, we still await proper action over meddling in the retail market by other monopolists: rather than the "choose your own browser" dancing monkey distraction show put on to "punish" Microsoft, the EU and others should be investigating operating system bundling collusion/coercion in the retail computing sector. That would be like Macmillan demanding that Amazon not sell other publishers' books (or charge more for those books), punishable by higher cost prices on their stuff if Amazon were not to comply.

But I'm sure the corrupt angling for Microsoft business on their respective home turfs diminishes the will of various EU people to actually do their job in this regard.

US cops called to McDonalds menu cock-up

The Badger

Re: Tough call...

"ON one hand it does seem like abuse of the emergency service number, on the other how else are you supposed to report theft?"

Hint: it's an emergency number. The key word here is *emergency*.

Report theft? Is the cashier robbing everyone at gunpoint? Are people's lives in danger? Nope. Then report it via the other police channels.

Google boss backs subsidized Linuxbooks

The Badger

RE: And just what will be the price?

"MS have a different model, you pay for the OS. It might be cheaper than normal retail when included with a new PC but you *do* pay. You don't get discounted hardware as part of the deal either!"

And what exactly happens when vendors offer Microsoft-laden computers at the same price as a Linux version or less? It's well known that software vendors pay to have their crapware pre-loaded (antivirus trial versions and so on), especially on Windows systems. Whether Microsoft plays any role in that directly is another matter, but we can't rule out strategic discounts and other subsidies taking place behind the scenes.

What we should expect from regulators is them mandating the availability of hardware without an operating system or crapware bundled. If people then demand Windows plus crapware, if this effectively gets them a discount on the price at the cost of having a bunch of bloat and advertising in their face, then they would be able to choose this. But this should not diminish availability of the raw hardware, and pricing should remain transparent.

Microsoft trades goodwill for TomTom Linux satisfaction

The Badger

Re: It really is in linux best interest...

"Besides, if the open source community seeks maturity it will also have to learn to handle rights issues with responsibility and respect."

Hello?! Open source is built on "rights issues", specifically copyright, and there's a lot of guidance out there with regard to tracking contributions, best practices, and so on, quite possibly followed a lot more closely by open source projects than proprietary projects whose developers, hidden behind the corporate veil, might well be doing a lot of Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V with the impression that no-one will ever check up on what they've been doing.

Blah, blah, "responsibility and respect". You should acquire a clue about what people actually do in the real world instead of projecting your flawed prejudices on a large group of people.

"If not for the open source contributors themselves then certainly for those who may wish to incorporate linux into a commercial environment."

This is known as "FUD". Of course, people who advocate software patents like threatening strangers in an arbitrary fashion, just as you've done in your vague phrasing above, because patents are pretty much the only instrument which allows such extortion to occur.

"As someone once said: it is always the right time to do the right thing?"

The "right thing" in your case would be to stop astroturfing, I guess. No spurious question mark needed there.

The Badger

Re: @Badger

I wrote, "You can't monopolize ideas, at least in any ethical regulatory environment."

Wolf writes, "Um, yes you can. It's called a "patent"."

Um, traditional patents are not protections on mere ideas. You should read up on the history of patents before assuming that the desired situation of various corporations and industries is identical to the rationale for having patents in the first place.

Whether patent offices have granted patents for ideas and had them recognised by the courts is another matter: that of the regulatory environment being ethical or not, as I wrote. The US has been able to threaten other nations with a big stick if those nations don't respect their absurd "IP" regime. Alongside the "I thought of this trivial extension of current practice first - it's all mine!" attitudes that the regime promotes, I don't regard intimidation of other nations as ethical, either.

Argue the toss about current US practice if you want, although it would be laughable to suggest that anyone should hold such practice up as an ideal. There are a number of people who want to see the regime changed significantly, and the rest of the world should consider putting its foot down on such matters, too.

The Badger

Re: Does this really mean MS is anti open source? / This seems fine to me

"Open source does not absolve people from IP laws and does not give you free reign to steal other peoples ideas."

You can't monopolize ideas, at least in any ethical regulatory environment. Waving around terms like "IP" just makes you look like someone who doesn't know what they are talking about. That, or someone who wants to misrepresent the situation: open source is built on functioning copyright law. Less of the caffeine and more of a clue for you, I think.

"To be fair you can't blame Microsoft for protecting their own IP."

"IP" is a nonsense. What are you actually referring to? Ideas? Algorithms? You can't patent either in most places and nor should you be able to.

"If someone copied something I'd invented and started giving it away free I'd be a bit annoyed - Microsoft are lucky enough that they have enough money to go to the courts and stop the theft."

Yes, the patent system is for the rich monopolists, despite what the stooges and lobbyists would have you believe.

"Good luck to them I say, and maybe this will help stop future stealing from the open source shareware types."

Open source is not shareware. Go back to the 1980s and clue up on everything that's happened since then, fool!

Boffins: Send robot lawn tractors to the Moon

The Badger

Re: BMX on the Moon

"BMX on the Moon sounds like a 8-bit game."


Nokia cash for Symbian

The Badger

Gravy Train

"The Symbian Foundation can't open up quite yet: the OS still has huge chunks of licensed code in it"

By this, the author presumably means "huge chunks of proprietary code in it" given that open source (or Free Software) code has a licence, too.

And given that the EIB is an arm of the EU, how about lending (or just giving) money to new initiatives which might actually benefit from an injection of cash? That instead of pouring cash into a member of a cartel whose aim is to exclude competition by waving patents at newcomers and lobbying for extended "intellectual property" regulations, all in order to shore up the market positions of its members.

I can't see how bailing Nokia out is "furthering EU policy objectives" (from the EIB's "about" page), unless those objectives were written on the back of brown envelopes. There are plenty of other ways a large corporation can raise capital even in today's financial climate.

Norway mobilizes against IE 6

The Badger

Re: Here's a thought...

"Why dont you show off your coding skills and write a simple little script that redirects IE6 users"

Apart from the tone of your suggested message, that's precisely what people are doing, albeit not actually locking people out of their sites from day one. A decline in reading skills is obviously another "problem that's plaguing America".

The Badger

Re: It's all the web developers' fault!

"But Mr Badger, that's exactly my point!!! You want, you want."

I want what? Software to work as specified?

"The specs may say one thing, but if that's not how the browser works then why are you complaining about the specs and still coding to them?"

Correction: if that's not how the browser supplied by the monopolist works. Sure, there are various problems with specification compatibility on most browsers, but the right thing to do is to adhere as closely to the standards, not to code for one browser.

"Some developers are the sorts of people that would get on a plane because the brochure says it's a right good flier, but has never actually had a flight test. Would you get on the plane? Would you then feel that it's someone else's fault that it crashed?"

What are you saying here? That when people trust the specification and are let down, it's the specification's fault?

"The text fragment [script type] appears 15 times in the source of this page.

NoScript is telling me that it's blocking 22 scripts on this page."

Well, I don't advocate excessive use of JavaScript and there are things that are possible with CSS2 that reduce the need for JavaScript. Sadly, because certain browsers are obsolete, developers reach straight for the JavaScript in order to reach the punters who cling to such browsers.

"Why are you telling me that it's a lot simpler now, and that it's more likely to render properly than my megatable that downloads in 1 millisecond via my broadband connection?"

Wired had lots of good things to say when they switched from their old megatable layout to a purer design:


So, I think you're conflating some developers' technology addictions (newer plus shinier) with the use of improved technologies based on standards. It's a shame that Microsoft doesn't allow developers to take advantage of the accumulated knowledge and the simplifying effects that improved standards can offer.

The Badger

Re: 4 The Badger

"But those tables within table have one significant advantage over CSS in this multibrowser age: They pretty much work on them all as expected whereas CSS renders based on a number of factors, only ONE of which is the choice of browser."

I'll concede the point that doing stuff in CSS isn't often as obvious as doing everything in a table hierarchy. The benefits of CSS should come from usage of simpler markup, and I think that most people make things more difficult for themselves because in trying to control more and more of the details of the layout, they add more markup and more styling, and with CSS this most often takes you further away from where you want to be.

I don't deny having unhappy experiences with CSS and sometimes thinking that it's something of a vehicle for Opera Software to shape the Web in a form of their own making, but if the alternative is that we all write content to cater to the quirks of IE, the Web will no longer be an open platform. And with all the squealing about later versions of IE from Microsoft-centric developers, that isn't even a good thing even for the most narrow-minded of people who don't care about interoperability or openness.

The Badger

Re: It's all the web developers' fault!

"Pushing for standards compliance might be a good thing, but not all browsers are created equal. Even if nerdy web developers don't know it, managers should tell them that they live in the real world (that's Planet Earth)."

Ah, the usual fallacy: that getting it to work on the most popular browser (forced on punters by the retail monopoly) is enough work; getting it to work on standards-compliant browsers is much more work. Well, in many people's experience, writing stuff to work with the standards is enough work, horsing around to make Internet Explorer not spray the content of a page into hitherto unknown places is the extra work.

"I'm sure that it's sexy and a challenge to eek out every feature of every browser if you're a web developer."

Another fallacy: that people working from the published specifications want to use all the features. In fact we just want the features we do use to work in the way they are specified, not the way the IE team decided on just before giving up.

"Simple and works = gran can walk again 'cause spent money on doctor"

You may have missed this, but the specified state of CSS since before the turn of the century has been all about making the HTML simpler instead of using some megatable containing megatables to do brochureware-style layout tricks. And for many reasons, not limited to accessibility, this benefits even the simplest sites.

But hey, why not use a completely peripheral argument and fail to justify whatever it was your argument was all about?

The Badger

Re: 6 is plenty

"All of the sites we design and build render and work fine in IE6, no extra effort required. Actually, add IE 5.5 on windows and IE 5.2 on the Mac to that list too. I don't see what the issue is with 'supporting' IE6 on a web site, just write some decent HTML and CSS in the first place."

You're having a laugh: decent HTML and CSS with IE6? Ever heard of standards? Everyone has been doing tons of workarounds for IE6 for years because Microsoft hoped that their fancy ActiveX/COM hooks and other distractions would be adequate to cover the gaps in their CSS support.

"IE6 is still the browser of choice for many public bodies and other 3rd sector organisations, as well as large corporates. It will be another 3+ years before we stop supporting it."

I can see what's going on here because I've experienced it myself. Management wants to roll out a Web application, but their definition of Web is "serving the application over the Internet to Windows users" which either means "works with IE and the Mac (upon enough squealing, one day)" or "the browser is that thing which launches those Windows components".

This is the problem with a lot of Web development work, especially in brand-fixated Britain: everyone focuses on maximising the technological bling in order to "deliver an experience" within a narrowly defined technical window, thus completely missing the point of having a standards-based medium in the first place.

You shouldn't be stipulating "IE versions x.y through x.z" as if you're trying to be a technical wizard micromanaging some kind of Jobsian event. You should be supporting standards-based Web browsers.

Mozilla calls for 'open web' in EU Microsoft row

The Badger

Forget the browser (and the media player)

The EU has to do something about the retail monopoly where you have to buy Windows if you buy a computer - it's as simple as that. (The availability of shiny fruit-flavoured gadgets, whose supplier also ties its operating system to the hardware, is no counter-argument, having been propped up by Microsoft for the purposes of competitive theatre.)

Anything less than total unbundling is just dancing around the problem and not fixing it. And, no, wailing about how "consumers don't want bare PCs", that "it would be confusing", and "so they should have Windows" is not valid: the consumer would still be able to choose Windows, but this shouldn't prevent people from dropping Windows altogether. The bundling of crapware in order to "subsidise" machines should also be forbidden, at least in its current form where the user has no choice and is even encouraged to pay to have it removed in some places.

Beeb borrows copyrighted Flickr image

The Badger


"It's unreasonable to assume everything is copyrighted for exactly this reason, there's no way to trace the original source of the image and verify it's copyright status."

Here's the guide for major broadcasters and corporations. If you're an individual, you may get some slack (in that any transgressions may be overlooked), but the reason copyright exists is to enable people to publish their works without others passing it off as their own (and potentially making money from those works as a result).

Step 1: Attempt to ask Web site owner if you can use their image. If you don't hear back, do not proceed.

Step 2: If the image belongs to the owner then negotiate. If it doesn't, ask them to tell you where they got it from. Otherwise, do not proceed.

Step 3: Track down the source from step 2 (or use a search engine). Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you either run out of patience or do/don't get the permission of the owner. Do not ignore the issue of copyright and then claim it's a "test" or a "mistake".

"It is because of greedy people like this who want their images protected but on the same note chuck them out there with zero protection or sign that they're to be protected that we have such messed up and broken copyright laws."

It's not that hard to do the above groundwork: if you want nice pictures of Birmingham, you can surf around on Flickr and they'll even tell you what terms are applied to all the pictures, but I suppose you want everything locked down or DRM'd in a Microsoft-style "bulletin board" vision of the consumer Internet circa 1993, just so that you won't be tempted to copy all this "free stuff" and do bad things with it. Technology will save you from yourself, indeed, just as Uncles Tony and Gordon (and Aunt Jacqui) have foreseen.

There are far better complaints to be made about copyright and matters of infringement than those you've attempted to make. In wanting to have everything done for you (others take the pictures, others control which ones you can see and use), all to give you a transparent "all you can eat" experience where Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V are your best friends, your diatribe just makes you look workshy.

US lawmaker injects ISP throttle into Obama rescue package

The Badger

Free Riders

Is anyone going to tack on a rider "to support the perverted arts" as well?

Evesham Technology confirmed dead

The Badger

Brand sales

Perhaps Americans regard "Evesham Technology" and "Tewktech" as exotic sounding names (complete with fake wood panelling and mock Tudor glory), but they sound a bit parochial. Along with the image of cheap "IBM compatibles", I'm not sure what value the former brand actually has, and I guess the market has spoken (or rather, not spoken) on this matter.

Parcelforce website cold-shoulders Linux lovers

The Badger

Re: Hey FreeTARDS

"How about this?"

How about what? The Internet isn't Microsoft's plaything, you know. The reason why we have standards is so that people can have a choice about the stuff they use, and if that stuff behaves itself according to the standards then why should it matter who made it? Nobody should even care.

The whole "90% of customers" stuff is a total charade, not least because it pretends that a lot of work would need to be done to get from 90% to 100% when in fact, if standards have been followed, it should be zero effort. In fact, perpetrators of this "90% of customers" fiction have probably done more work than would be required in order to make their stuff specific to Microsoft technologies in pursuit of "the shiny".

It's like the whole BBC media format debacle. The BBC claim that "90% of viewers" being able watch their online content is doing enough of the job, but what you have is a situation where on top of paying the BBC's tax you then have to pay a private tax to Microsoft or whoever has booked a place at the trough. In this case, Parcelforce obviously think that their customers should be paying taxes to Microsoft, which is either generous or stupid depending on how generous we should be in assessing their performance.

Well, if you like to have a bunch of corporations effectively imposing taxes on everyone and can't see past the inadequacies of the "catering to the most popular brand" strategy, especially when "most popular" is an artifact of questionable business practices, then you're obviously a brandtard who shouldn't be expected to keep up with even the most elementary aspects of the discussion.

HP UK pulls Linux from all new netbooks

The Badger

Re: I understand why they are doing this

"Have a read through the comments on Ebuyer from all the people who purchased an HP 2133 with Linux and see how many of them wiped it and installed Windows"

Judging by the Inquirer article on this topic, many of them probably uninstalled an unlicensed, "warez edition" version of Windows.

"90% of the comments are from people who find the Linux distro installed to be a poor choice and not flexible enough for their needs. Some of them are even Linux users. So, maybe HP should install a better flavour rather than ditching it completely."

Agreed. I don't understand why the vendors are pushing obscure variants or arguably discredited distributions like Xandros (who paid their Microsoft protection money). There's substantial interest in installing Ubuntu on all this hardware, indicating that this is actually want the customer wants.

Perhaps HP can learn a lesson from Dell on this matter.

BBC seen to yield over website snooping

The Badger

The tail wags the dog... again!

What idiotic policy or initiative at the BBC is not justified either by the supposed "needs" of BBC Worldwide or by the commercial demands of the Nathan Barley clone army (all the independent production companies sucking at the teat, thanks to their connections at the Beeb). Can't make programmes freely available: it would "undermine DVD sales". Can't make content available outside Britain: it would "undermine DVD sales amongst foreign people". Can't make programmes available outside a stupidly limited viewing window which pretends that the Internet is just another form of television or radio channel: "No! Think of the rights holders!" (Where the Beeb have, of course, negotiated a cushy licence with Nathan and pals instead of a proper one, so that "the rights holders" would have to be paid over and over for stuff the Beeb have commissioned with their, or rather your, hard cash.)

And in the meantime, everyone has to pony up whatever the licence fee is these days. Still, that's modern Britain for you: the man in the street has to bail out The Man and his chums. Oh, and enjoy the market distortion in various parts of the media where BBC Worldwide not only get to push subsidised products, but they also pull in advertising revenue, and you get to pay again for the product if you're mad enough. It's like a perpetual reverse bail-out of the publishing business.

So, instead of a telling off and a fine (paid by the taxpayer, of course), let's see some heads roll at BBC Worldwide for this little data whoring exercise.

What's next for Microsoft's Flight Sim partners?

The Badger
Black Helicopters

Re: No flight simulator = More catastrophic crashes

"I am a pilot for Britain Airways"

I barely fly *British* Airways these days, let alone *Britain* Airways.

BBC pumps 60 quid a head into Gaelic

The Badger

Re: Let it die...

"The only thing we need keep is a dictionary for prosperity."

I think you'll find that the word is "posterity". Some advice: try to demonstrate a reasonable grasp of the language (or, one might hope, languages) you already profess to know before taking a dump on someone else's language and culture.

EU funds Antipodes-in-90-mins rocketliner concept

The Badger

Deluxe Paint

"That's just the droptank. Wait 'til you see the ship."

Does the mock-up of the ship also look like it was done using an Atari ST painting package?

All this horsing around with 15 minutes of sub-orbital weightlessness is a waste of time and money. Why doesn't the EU actually slip Reaction Engines and others with some concrete proposals the cash they need to produce something which won't merely be shown off to the press as examples of "vibrant creativity" or, in the case of the stupid 1000mph rocket car charade, endeavours "inspirational to future generations" (of zero attention span children who might look up from their phone or console for a couple of seconds before continuing towards their destiny as part of whatever lightweight service industry has been prioritised by the vacuous government of the day)?

Linux to spend eternity in shadow of 'little blue E'

The Badger

Re: what planet are some of you on

"did you just pull that comment out arse ? check your facts before ramble garbage."

You might want to read up a bit about what "devices" are, and update yourself beyond the Computer Shopper view of computing circa 1990 before lecturing us all about "networking in large estates", whatever that is supposed to mean.

"Firstly dont get UNIX and linux confused in the back end"

So how's the SCO licence business doing these days? Even the big proprietary UNIX vendors have embraced Linux, leaving anyone still playing the "UNIX quality" card to appear somewhat deluded. The confusion "in the back end" is all yours with your "out arse" and your "ramble garbage".

The Badger


"I played around with Red Hat Linux in 2002."

Reality check: it's 2009 at the time of writing.

The Badger

Re: Once again...

Before I get started, I agree that Windows has a huge advantage as the incumbent from the perspective of the users: as long as the IT machine keeps paying the bills and keeps everything running, why would anyone uninterested in their job want more work? However...

"wittering on about closed shop agreements utterly misses the point; it's what the huge majority of users want"

If you listen to what people say about Windows in developing nations, there's a tremendous amount of brand envy going on: people won't take stuff which is better because they perceive Microsoft and Windows to be the premium brands. To find the appropriate analogy for the average British consumer, it's a bit like being offered a better ketchup than Heinz but having the feeling that people are forcing you to have a version of Tesco Value ketchup that you just haven't heard of. You want Heinz, just like the Americans, damn it!

So, in a world where Ford were the only perceived choice for cars, how easy would it be to sell a superior brand of car? If BT were the only game in town for a telephone service, how easy would it be to sell another, better service under a name which isn't BT? In a world where Microsoft is the only perceived choice, thanks to various bundling agreements, a degree of coercion, inertia and advertising, how easy is it to persuade anyone to move to anything else? The "closed shop" aspect most certainly plays a part.

"Teach kids different OSs at school? Why? You'll just confuse them. I learned how to do everything in CP/M - so that's been really useful."

Hey, why even bother teaching them foreign languages? Indeed, why not just give them a pamphlet containing the hundred most important factoids required for a happy life as an obedient, unquestioning citizen? It'd save anyone from having to teach or understand anything.

US Navy's robot stealth carrier plane unveiled

The Badger

Re: Carrier traps difficult?

"computers can do specific things "better" than humans - like hitting the 3rd wire"

Indeed. Docking was easier in Elite with the docking computer, too. What are those pilots squealing about? Man up and get with the programme (and, indeed, the program), for goodness' sake! :-)

Adobe learns lessons of open-source Flex

The Badger

Wanted: free labour

What's new? Corporation wants community to work for them, then says "open source" doesn't solve all their problems. As long as Adobe's Flash-related stuff is centred on Adobe's proprietary interests, why should anyone with an interest in open source and open standards bother to show up for this kind of thing? Choosing the MPL was a mistake, too - even Mozilla (the M in MPL) can be licensed under the GPL.

Grove: Intel should make electric car batteries

The Badger

Strategy vs. technology

The author confuses issues of strategy with those of technology. One reason why Itanium wasn't successful can also be observed in the case of IBM expecting people to switch from their original PC architecture to that employed in the PS/2 line of products: adopting a potentially superior technology might make sense from a purely technical perspective, but one also has to consider other issues, notably whether the customer and vendors feel locked-in, whether you're really committed to such products (using the best production technology, offering the best performance per watt...), and these are all errors of strategy, not technology or the ability to deliver technically. Moreover, there will be turf wars in any company where an existing product line is being de-emphasized in favour of another, unproven one.

Indeed, Intel has been fairly good at delivering improved technology in production, at least compared with certain competitors, and it's this ability that is worth assessing in the light of Intel moving into other fields of endeavour. Some non-Intel fabrication plants have apparently been repurposed for solar panel production, and it would be interesting to hear what the overlap in expertise is between these two kinds of development and manufacturing.

In short, citing Itanium and other strategic (or even product management) failures as the basis for a critique of Grove's suggestions seems to have led to a somewhat shallow analysis, since those failures were largely due to deficiencies in Intel deciding what it *wanted* to do, not deficiencies in what it was technically *able* to do.

Dell battles HP to trash Mother Earth

The Badger

Petrol Taxes

Of course, all this driving around in vans, dropping stuff off all over the place (headless chicken logistics) like it's a rounding error in the cost of the whole affair, could be curtailed somewhat by making the price of petrol reflect the cost a bit more accurately (especially the long-term cost). But then there'd be squealing from "the business lobby" and Jeremy Clarkson because people would have to get their shit together, and that's the last thing these people want to have to do.

HP puts Linux on business PCs

The Badger

Re: No retraining?

"When Office 2007 brings in a completely new format and the ribbon UI there's no retraining or conversion problems, but when you move to OpenOffice, you can't open your files and must be retrained how to click on a "printer" icon to print..?"

This is what I've pointed out all along: migrate to OO.org with a similar interface to what the cube-jockeys are already using and they either squeal like brand whores ("I want Microsoft Blah!") or moan that their dodgy macros and other stuff don't work (which, if they rely on such things for the bulk of their business logic, indicates that they don't take such matters seriously as an organisation); migrate to the latest version of Office with a completely new look and everyone will gladly go on a training jaunt and pour even more money down the toilet.

It's the hypocrisy of the "Linux not ready" brigade, with a dash of backhanders for good measure.

Brussels ploughs ahead with biofuel plans

The Badger

Re: Business as usual

"How do you reckon that? Up to this point, I was convinced the oil industry had been busy lobbying their "ethanol kills" message, where the ridiculous claim is that the recent change in food prices is somehow linked to bio-fuel..."

Well, I seem to recall social unrest in Mexico and other places around rising corn prices amidst biofuel-related demand for that crop and others.

"It is good that the EU saw through that, and that we can now look into reducing farm subsidies and start farming land that was put to waste in the 80s."

Sure, the EU could get European agriculture to produce biofuels and import produce from the developing world, for example, but the crops involved wouldn't be the most efficient ones to grow, and to send such a radically different message to all the countries whose agricultural sectors they've managed to suppress over the years, they'd still have to catch the flying pigs necessary to act as couriers.

The Badger

Business as usual

In the corrupt EU, brown envelopes have presumably been passed to the policy jockeys, meaning that the heavily subsidised farm lobby can keep getting payments generous enough to put all their livestock through college (Daisy the Cow with a BA (Hons.) from Loughborough, maybe), all while taking a huge dump on the developing world.

Teen-bothering sonic device now does grownups too

The Badger

Re: I keep asking this...

"...and have yet to get an answer: What's up with this problem in Blighty?"

The answer is that lots of people in Blighty lack the attention span to even consider issues other than which game/talent/reality show is on television this evening and whether the government is going to give them more money for cigarettes/alcohol/petrol/gadgets/their car or perhaps, if they read The Sun or switch on the television at the appropriate moment, whether the Chancellor is going to take less money away from them for the aforementioned things.

All these closet Daily Mail readers who've already commented about their notion of "human rights" (being a gift to criminals, according to them) are exactly the kind of people who can't see further than the ends of their noses and who voted in the idiots that have run Britain for the past n decades. They probably wanted massive tax cuts and the government to sell off anything that wasn't nailed down in the Thatcher era, because they were making lots of money themselves (although sucking down the latest drivel from the media pipe, they presumably called it "dosh" in their dimwit social circles). Then, in the Blair era, some of them presumably wanted Tony to repair the mess that is Britain's infrastructure, as long as they didn't really have to pay for it. I recall the Liberal Democrats getting roasted in the early 1990s for suggesting a tax increase to fund education - well, you can pretty much start the clock on the downward spiral in society at that point, if not sooner, after years of discontent with the state of funding in that sector, because identity cards and Trident don't shape the society you live in like the education of your children does. (News to Jack Straw and Jacqui Smith, certainly.)

It's obvious to anyone who arrives in Britain that (1) the infrastructure is still quite shit (especially if you land at Heathrow, without luggage, of course), and (2) most of the people doing the work (without an attitude) are foreigners. Meanwhile, the Daily Mail audience can't seem to grasp the flaws in their worldview and so need foreigners, not themselves, to blame. It's a shame that in the process they're not only terrorising themselves but also everyone else unfortunate enough to share an island with them.

Employees sue for unpaid Windows Vista overtime

The Badger

@Sceptical Bastard

"15 minutes to boot an OS and log in as a user is bloody ridiculous!"

Every now and again one reads about scalability issues with authentication in large enterprises, where the Active Directory mammoth has to be woken from its slumber in order to recognise employee #28763 in his/her quest to log in, and this has been known (for whatever reason) to take a long time. Whether it's Vista or how the mammoth was set up is an open question, of course.

Linux weaktops poised for death by smartphone

The Badger

Keep up at the back

In the rise of the machines Ted Dziuba would be a robot capable of morphing into Ted Douchebag in an instant. After one or two pieces which weren't totally off the mark, Ted returns with a tired piece parroting the tired "that'll never sell" nonsense that was the conventional wisdom before Asus showed everyone that netbooks do actually sell, probably making a bunch of people wonder why they'd listened to the pundits all these years.

India plants flag on Moon

The Badger


"I was under the impression that cosmic rays would have killed the astronauts once outside the Earths magnetic sphere."

So the famous Apollo 8 lunar flyby footage was faked, too? Impressive stuff.

"There was some seriously strong acid around at that era."

Was Nixon doing it, too? The whole "fake moon landing" stuff is funny for a few minutes - James Bond driving a moon-rover round in Thunderball, and all that - but people who keep banging on about it like it's "just so hilarious" really need to be in primary school to justify not being a total bore. And people who keep banging on about it like "there's a conspiracy, man" really need to redo primary school.

Webcast quango: One-third of UK teachers are creationists

The Badger

re: Ready, aim, fire

"Or is it only Christians who are allowed to say "you're wrong"?"

The most vocal being those who have no understanding of the social and cultural processes that went into producing their favourite literature, or (as has been demonstrated elsewhere) even any understanding of the *notion* that their favourite literature didn't just drop from the sky in ready-to-read modern English.

I agree with the person who suggested that RE should be replaced by philosophy: it's a broader subject, covers ground that the Genesis-botherers stumble across occasionally with their "have you ever thought about..." trinkets of supposed wisdom that yes, some bloke in some past century probably did think about and then go on to write several volumes about. Philosophy classes could quite easily entertain the distinctions between science and non-science so that little creationists have someone to pester about their delusions, leaving science classes for actual science, of course.

Ubuntu 8.10 - All Hail new Network Manager

The Badger

Re: So in conclusion

"Linux problem of far greater magnitude"

Confucius he say? Just to clue you up on this: there isn't a monolithic Linux community. For example, Red Hat and SuSE advocates will no doubt say that a lot of the bad stuff is of Canonical's own making. To an extent, they have a point, even though the SuSE people are usually unreasonably smug about it all whilst plugging up their ears and singing "la, la, la!" when anyone brings up the names Novell and Microsoft in the same sentence.

Given the recent track record of the Ubuntu crowd, no-one should be jumping at their new releases. When the package manager offers to upgrade you, just say "no thanks" until it looks like you won't get any updates any more. Eventually, the dust will settle and someone will have cleaned up after those who wanted the most "edgy" stuff included, who will themselves be back on the trunk (and out of the way) stuffing even more "edgy" stuff into the next release.

Steve Jobs 'heart attack' citizen hack wasn't a short seller

The Badger
Jobs Halo


Given that the original posting was a rumour ("someone told me", not "I saw this with my own eyes"), perhaps CNN should reconsider the name of their punter, er, citizen journalism endeavour.

Apricot drops 'too complicated' Linux from netbook line

The Badger

Brand whores and technotards

Reason for returns from disappointed punters: "I want Windows blah-blah with Microsoft Windows blah-blah-blah, and I must have Extortio Corporation's Anti-Virus blah-blah installed with full update-and-other-buzzwords-I-don't-understand capability. Now where are my Nikes? I'm off to Starbucks!"

TimM: "Well my experience of Ubuntu was simply that it took months of effort to try and get it to work with all my laptop's hardware."

The idea with this is that the OS is already installed: Apricot have to do the work of making the hardware function correctly, which should mostly involve specifying half-reasonable components up front, instead of just putting their logo on the units from some random consignment after it arrives from the Far East.

Abu Dhabi emir rescues Thames Estuary mega-windfarm

The Badger

@David Pollard

"So-called Gen-IV reactors can 'burn' thorium, of which there are much greater reserves than uranium."

Fascinating to see the thorium bandwagon roll into the debate given the recent report by the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority. And fourth generation fission reactors are apparently twenty years away - why this is should be obvious if one considers the relative lack of expertise in using thorium as a fuel. Given the tendency of the established nuclear industry to milk the taxpayer, there's a reasonable chance of seeing a viable route to commercial fusion power generation being worked out before then.

And of course, wind power isn't the renewable option with the most potential: it's a conservative option whose economics are fairly well understood. To pick a more promising alternative, there's a steady stream of developments in solar power these days, perhaps unknown to those who think that the solar-powered Casio pocket calculator they used at school is still state of the art.

Ruling makes it easier to get software patents in the UK

The Badger

re: re: Seems sensible

"As for most of the other comments - posters seem to start of with the view that "there shouldn't be software patents" and look for reasons to support this, rather than taking a more neutral view on the issues."

There is no natural law which states that people should be entitled to a monopoly on an idea or a discovery. You are working from the assumption that a particular regulatory construct, devised for engineering endeavours, is normal, universal and desirable. So let's see you start from a neutral position. (And you should read Mark's distinction between patenting things and the processes which achieve the production of such things.)

"Patents work to protect investment by companies and copyright is clearly insufficient protection where your new and clever software-implemented invention is quite a simple one, or where a new program can be written by a competitor that does the same thing and thus avoiding copyright."

In the former case, has it not occurred to you that it would be dishonest at best to award someone a monopoly for a "new and clever" idea that is at the same time "a simple one", even if you thought ideas should be patentable? You can always claim that something was obvious and yet no-one had thought about it before - the usual "flash of inspiration" or "outside the box thinking" stuff that the lazier members of the press write up next to a picture of The Great British Inventor just before he offshores his empire to a conveniently under-regulated workplace - but I imagine that you underestimate the contribution of the knowledge, typically freely available, which led the "inventor" to their idea.

In the latter case, copyright is adequate enough to prevent people reimplementing an existing work since it is not only used to protect a concrete expression of work (rather than some hand-waving, "we own this sort of thing" nonsense), but the actual consumption of the work by the infringing party is something you can point a finger at, whereas patent infringements typically involve someone seeing someone else doing something similar to what they have written in a patent application, and then decide that they can't tolerate someone "on their patch".

The whole business of monopolies on ideas and algorithms is totally unethical because it effectively allows speculators to add their thin layer of icing on top of a substantial mathematical cake and then claim that they own the cake. And in practice it seems like an effective way of forming cartels and, in contradiction of the "plucky little start-up" myth, shutting out new competition. If anything, patents allow large companies to consolidate their market position.

The Badger
Thumb Down

The sub-prime of technology

Quoth the Court, "To say 'oh but that is only because it is a better program – the computer itself is unchanged' gives no credit to the practical reality of what is achieved by the program. As a matter of such reality there is more than just a 'better program', there is a faster and more reliable computer."

So optimisations are patentable now, are they? You'd think with all the problems everyone seems to be having these days with the fraudulent inflation of supposedly valuable paper assets that people wouldn't want to reproduce the same scenario outside the financial sector, but I suppose that the easy money has to be made elsewhere now that the banks have been nationalised. And so the vultures (CIPA) continue their efforts to devour a sector which functions well enough without patents, defecating on everyone who has to make an honest living in this particular ecosystem.

When does everyone in the software industry get their turn to tax, punish and generally mess up the legal profession?

Jesus Phone vuln delivers fanboys to phishermen

The Badger

Re: Not quite

"One would expect a tech reporter to know http from https."

Meow! Sadly, it doesn't require much in the way of additional "elite hacker" skills to set up a site listening for SSL connections and to send someone a link beginning with https instead of http. Or did they need to spell everything out for you?

'I can see dinosaurs from my back porch'

The Badger

Citations needed

"Have you noticed, there is some similarity between chimps and men?"

No, can't say that I have! Interestingly, this line of "reasoning" is a classic of the school of "Ignorant Design".

"There are a number of differences that are conveniently not included in the calculations of human/chimp similarity, among them that human telomeres are about the length of those in chimps."

Stick the end of the above sentence into Google and you get, amongst other things, an "Answers in Genesis" article and the paper they cite. Amusingly, neither of these agree with what the above sentence says. But what are we to deduce from the prophetic message of the Yirrell Bible on this? I anticipate a punchline from the school of "Ignorant Design".

The Badger

@Martin Yirrell

"No, Evolution isn't a fact, it's never been observed and no one can demonstrate it."

I suppose given the private Yirrell definitions of most words, we have to cover quite a few bases with the above sentence:




Knock yourself out on all the other material if the words aren't too big for you. It's not exactly "Answers from Genesis", I know, but I can't be bothered actually spelling this stuff out any more. There's only so much time in the day to respond to Yirrell pantomime-level argumentation.

Mark says, "Mindless parroting by a fuckwit strikes again."

On that assessment of the miraculous Martin Yirrell I couldn't agree more.

Secret Service camera bought on eBay

The Badger
Black Helicopters

Quite a holiday

Maybe he should have turned up in M's office and taken credit for gathering the intelligence on his own time.

Royal Society says goodbye to creationism row vicar

The Badger

Re: Proof reading

"Where has Badger said he has never read the bible? It's part of junior school in the UK."

And for those unfortunate enough to have their lesson plans slanted towards the spiritual, at a cost to real-world subjects, it's part of secondary education as well. Of course I actually wrote that I had read the Bible, but this obviously wasn't the special Yirrell Bible dictated by the apostles and the prophets in plain English, hot off the celestial presses.

The Badger


"'Fraid if you are going to criticise a book you have to read it. Even fiction needs to be read before it is criticised."

I told you already that I had to read the Bible at school - religious education was compulsory, and I more than adequately demonstrated my knowledge by passing the exams by quite some margin. Feel free to re-read this with expletives to drill the point home into your contrary little skull.



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