Re: Throw-away culture
I assume you're not aware of the Fairphone attempt to do just this - https://www.fairphone.com/en/ ?
A worthy effort, as long as you're good with a phone that feels a generation or two older than the current one.
49 posts • joined 9 Jan 2008
You're both wrong (to the extent you insist your reason is "the" reason). There are a plethora of reasons that botnets exist, you've each mentioned one. Others include, to pick at random, the invention of electricity and the fact that some people think some of their devices can't really get infected.
The security and validity of the voting system is essential (in the truest sense of the word) to democracy. You can't improve on that with e-voting, in any way whatsoever, because any systemic problems with managing paper systems will be X times worse for e-voting.
What e-voting could be good for is not replacing paper, but supplementing it - so we can have more democratic input, with more fine-grained feedback on specific issues. For just one example, you could have a paper ballot election that elects a government, and a parallel e-vote that tells the government what people actually liked or disliked about their manifesto (and that of other parties).
And for anyone pointing to the problems we've had with referenda: that's as much as anything because UK democracy is too weak (in various ways), feedback too infrequent, so those referenda become about other issues than what's on the paper. Any use of e-voting should beware of running into that effect.
"Meanwhile, for general listening, the nearly 20-year-old Missions connected to my nearly 40 year-old hi-fi easily show up anything Sonos produces as sonic garbage. (...) Also, none of these items are suddenly going to stop working because some corporate money-grubber decides that he doesn't want to support them any more. "
Just one tiny smidgen of a detail here: once Sonos ends its support for these products, it will be providing exactly as much support as your old speakers and hi-fi get from THEIR manufacturer....
The flaw everyone is clearly aware of here but seems to have got distracted from: IoT things need ongoing support in a way that non-IoT things don't. What might be nice is if somebody had the foresight to have the IoT bit a distinct part of the kit, so the IoT module could conceivably be replaced with a new version still being supported... Presumably the money ain't there.
"I can't get my head around this. Why does an organisation that rivals the PRC Army in size pay over the odds for everything, especially drugs? It should have massive purchasing power."
The NHS doesn't pay over the odds for drugs, generally - quite the opposite actually, with one of the many "advantages" of Brexit being a likely increase in the average price of drugs across Europe as the NHS loses bargaining power and currently is something of a price-setter for the European market.
Where does the NHS get ripped off the worst? PFI contracts, obviously, where it's tied in to a service provider and it'll cost more in lawyers and consultants to do anything but accept paying through the nose.
"With modern material I mostly end-up switching on the subtitles for the hard of hearing. (I'm not deaf!)"
Not just me then! This is the only way to both get dialogue and avoid waking up the kids during action beats (unless you ride the remote volume controls UP, DOWN, UP, oh no quick, DOWN, aargh wrong that was more UP, oh and is that crying from upstairs now?).
I don't think you entirely listened to what tony72 said. It wasn't about equivalence at all - it was about the consistency of Wikipedia's judgement on reliability of sources. Which, particularly on marginal topics where there isn't much freely available sourcing, is basically arbitrary, as one or two people end up declaring for transparently ideological reasons that a minor academic source isn't reliable enough for inclusion, but some arsewipe's hatefilled hatchetjob opinion piece in a backwater press organ is.
I've been with Smile for 15 years. I've used nearly every online banking interface going, and most were (as of last year) better than Smile. Then they changed the systems, to something that looks like a student project for a mobile app; it's just appalling on desktop.
I'm loathe to give up on it, and I have so many current accounts I have to pause to count them... but I increasingly sigh when I have to log on to that account.
***This article is a stub. You can help El Reg by expanding it.***
"*Money raised under the pretext of keeping Wikipedia online was spent on: “Legal defense to preserve your right to access, share, and remix knowledge, including court battles won over Wikimedia content in Brazil, Germany, France, and India,” the Foundation says. "
Which seems a worthwhile and relevant cause, seeing as there's not much point in Wikipedia being online if access to it is limited. How much was spent on that legal defense anyway? And if keeping the site online is $3m and legal defense is similar spending, where's the rest of it going?? The link implies coding and user research - is that really true?
"Those figures are skewed by social protection and health. Two things that don't have to be provided for by a company. Take them out and re do the figures."
Oh well, if a private company doesn't need to do it, clearly it doesn't need any IT to run it when government does it... You'd be on stronger ground taking your first point in a "the comparison doesn't make much sense" direction.
"It wouldn't be impossible to arrange that if you want to do something potentially risky - like change your address or transfer a large amount of money - that you have to visit a nominated machine and present your bank card. "
This - and a lot of other options besides. For high-risk actions, there should be at least the *option* of a higher security requirement - eg I'd be perfectly happy knowing that my bank address can only be changed face to face with a member of staff in a branch on presentation of photo ID, or that to send over £1k to a new recipient requires a trip to an ATM to confirm, where for others that's too much hassle or otherwise impractical. So set minimum standards, but allow customers to choose higher ones to protect themselves if they wish.
The UK's WTO membership is under the umbrella of the EU, and coming out from under it to be an independent WTO member isn't as easy as it sounds, because a lot of things are agreed with other WTO members at EU level and those will need renegotiating. For perspective: there are issues arising from the 2004 expansion of the EU which still haven't been resolved... 12 years later.
"No, it just means the end of the desktop pc ... You will still have something looking like a desktop, but it will be a terminal to act as the controlling node on your cluster."
- that's my thought process: computing power may move further towards servers providing services to well-connected clients; but that solves a different problem than the one at hand. In fact it only worsens the supposed electricity supply problem, by making the size/heating issues easier to solve, if much of it is relocated to large silos (i.e. server farms) in the middle of nowhere instead of in offices, homes, and especially in people's pockets/on wrists. Those silos will be less restricted in how their electricity demand goes up because they can throw more energy and space at solving overheating issues.
No. Not just because it's a horrendous idea, but for the precedent it sets.
10 years hence, I'll be getting calls from India "Sir, for the last three weeks straight you've been buying Cathedral City cheddar, and we see you're in the cheese aisle right now. I can send a code for 25% off Anchor cheese to your phone right now.... No? OK, that's fine, but you're going on the Database of Recalcitrant Cheese Non-switchers. Which will lead to more phone calls. Just trying to help! Please listen to this message from the Competition Commission."
Today, a working-class retiree on the state pension who exchanges a few JPEGs with her family pays the same for internet access every month as a banker in a Docklands apartment who downloads 24x7. Quite what is fair about that escapes me - although obviously the banker can be expected to be happier with the arrangement.
The retiree, if paying the same as the banker, is on the wrong internet package.
I agree with Trevor - I don't see why Microsoft hasn't fixed this years ago by patching to deal explicitly with double file extensions. The exact form of that is another matter (maybe pop up a dialog for those cases when double-clicked, with the non-executable filetype as the default?), but it should be quite separate from showing those file extensions. In a file system assigning file types based on extensions, a file should only have one extension and when there's more than one that should be acknowledged as a problem! End of story.
Hiking price rates, I get - they were low before. Maybe the hike's too much (given the lower level of service compared to real payment processors), maybe not. What I do *not* get is cutting the AdWords link. On the one hand, yes, this was an effective cross-subsidy from Checkout to AdWords; but I have no doubt it did encourage use of the former and spending on the latter. If it now seems the cross-subsidy is too much, I would have thought it would make more sense to tweak or limit it than abolish it in one fell swoop - for publicity reasons if nothing else. Finally, why cut the link at the same time as the price hikes? This way they won't be able to distinguish the impact of the two moves. Google losing the money-making plot? I suppose probably not.... they probably know what they're doing...
no, Richard Johnson is right, because the level of reduction in CO2 required is so large (check out George Monbiot on the largeness of the cut and on what's required to achieve it, eg in his book Heat). We're not talking about a marginal change, where a few people can change behaviour because they're close to indifferent between options anyway, and a small tax can push them the right way. We're talking about changing nearly everyone's behaviour in many respects, often dramatically. (a) this can't be done without govt coordination (public services, long-term planning, other compensations for market failure) and (b) to the extent that market pricing is used to change behaviour, it's either got to be very specific to different situations/contexts, or at a general level massively high, to ensure changed behaviour from nearly everyone (what sort of tax do you need to make a millionaire stop using his private jet - that sort of question).
Well if you're doing a site, there's Google Checkout, which seems pretty good (though I've not used it long enough to say how they might deal with fraud). For ebay, cash on collection can be an option, if the item isn't very rare. I've used online bank transfer too. And always recorded delivery (it's only 68p more)!
"I think you'll notice that all the cabinet posts consist of people that were voted for, and elected. " Elected in their constituency as MP, yes - as minister, they're appointed. In any case, it only happens to be true of the cabinet at the moment - (unelected) Lords and Baronesses can be and have been appointed cabinet ministers, and currently a number of non-cabinet ministers are. http://www.prime-minister.gov.uk/output/Page2988.asp
Google Checkout seems a good alternative for sellers who have the choice.
I don't know if QXL were really profitable, but at any rate as of May they no longer operate in the UK.
I never liked any of the ebay alternatives anyway for selling my old tat (never had any problems with ebay myself, but the mounting horror stories have just about put me off), might give oodle a go though.
If you bother to read the relevant part of the proposed standards (Section 112(c), pp63-4 in the PDF linked in the article), it's clear that under normal circumstances signals sent to thermostats are price signals only, and whilst there is mandated default behaviour about how to respond, the user can override that. This story has been elsewhere, and as a small step in fighting climate change (making users more aware of energy prices) is a good thing.
The problem is with the "emergency" part - which basically gives temperature control to the signal emitter: intended to be the electric utility (if they add in a module to the mandated expansion port), otherwise the state of California. Problem A: hacking; problem B: if "emergency" is defined in the doc, I can't find it. Is there some technical criterion relating to electric system reliability (hopefully), or is it basically up to the CEO? Problem C: the existence of the system changes the economics of investing in more generating plant: brownouts/blackouts are bad for reputation, but with the emergency system, they can be avoided, so the utility's likely to invest less. (That's not necessarily wrong - but the savings will probably go mainly to shareholders.)
My 2 pence: Dialling everyone's AC down a couple of degrees to prevent the electric system falling over in a well-defined emergency situation seems like a good thing - perhaps along with a message "please don't turn back up during this emergency unless you really really need to". Preventing user override, though, (a) makes a hacking via emergency system a real threat, as opposed to minor inconvenience (b) potential problems for the vulnerable (c) legal problems. Good luck with that...
PS No-one seems to have made the obvious comment that the Governor of California is proposing to have the power to Terminate everyone's AC system...
As I understand it, the legislation is about allowing the record companies to finger internet users, and be able to legally force ISPs to ban the internet users based on company evidence alone (presumably on the basis that the user has breached the ISP terms). Whether users could migrate would depend on the law - would the banning ISP have to provide a MAC code, and would they (or the record companies) be allowed to share info on banned users (would raise legal issues if not covered explicitly in the law).
Problem1: identifying copyright violation (especially if encryption is used)
Problem2: linking violation with an ISP account (dynamic IP, wifi stealing, etc)
Problem3: linking violation with a person (teenage son downloads something, dad loses home business?)
Problem4: proving intentionality (trojans, downloading wrong thing, etc)
All of these are non-trivial (except possibly the last one - you can probably legislate it away by declaring it doesn't need to be proved). They'll probably pass the law anyway. Question is, what will they do if/when the first case of mistaken ban is publicised?
Incidentally, aren't there perhaps Data Protection issues over record companies accessing P2P data?
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