* Posts by Oliver

33 publicly visible posts • joined 15 Jan 2008

ISPs frosty on Jacqui's comms surveillance plan

Paris Hilton

Letters safe? Don't bet on it!

@ James Posted Tuesday 2nd June 2009 11:48 GMT

"Can't see anyone willing to steam open billions of letters a year ......"

That never stopped the Stasi! And this govt is in that league!

Paris: 'cause she's familiar with packet inspection

NZ couple do bunk with £3.9m bank error

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"...what real harm have we done?"

As Professor Marcos (Alec Guiness) in The Lady-killers says "It's only a farthing on all the policies".

Chip cooler launches liquid nitro at CPUs


That's all very nice but...

...what are the benchmarks?

UK fines for IP infringement to rocket


I don't believe it!

This is nonsense. Who were the industry pundits? Sounds to me like they asked a bunch of interested parties. What kind of way is this to legislate anyway?

Just this week I saw a poor fast-food outlet in Scotland being threatened with legal proceedings by KFC because they had the audacity to offer a "family feast" deal as part of their menu. For this kind of operation there's a big difference between risking £5000 to stick up for their rights (and common sense) and facing a £50,000 law suit.

Baby Shakergate: Apple officially sorry


Who remembers P@ki-basher?

At the end of the day it's Apple's store so it's up to them what they ban and what they allow - simple! No laws were broken AFAIK though. I thought the boobs app was inoffensive enough, it wasn't even nude!

It's a crazy world. Remember that Japanese rape game that was pulled from Amazon? Remember the unofficial game, p@ki-basher? Remember the guy in Australia that was done for kiddie-porn for a dodgy Simpsons picture? The implication of Manhunt in the murder of a teenager?

Like Black Sabbath being sued or banning 'video nasties', where do you start, where do you stop? There are obviously many people who think that depicting something distasteful is an incitement to do the real thing, but I think that says more about those people as individuals. You never (rarely?) hear actual pschologists saying these things. I'm pretty sure that people's anti-social inclinations will find an avenue of expression whether or not they posess apps/videos/songs that reflect their inner leanings.

Wolverine leak claims first victim?

Paris Hilton


"following his decision to illegally download Wolverine"

Get it right! There's nothing illegal about downloading copyrighted content per se, it's uploading which is technically a civil offence.

Is there a job equivalent of the Darwin award though, 'cause this guy should win it hands down. Given the fact that Fox are his employers he must have had an inkling what would happen?

Paris, because she's a fox!

US judge bars teen 'sexting' charges


@Gilbert Wham

Exactly! Surely, even in the US, it is illegal to confiscate someone's personal media and then peruse them without a warrant or similar?

As for the charges, the perversion in this instance stems not from these girls' activities but from the prosecutors' attempted manipulation of the letter of the law. At least the judge in this case recognises this.

You want to laugh at the Yanks but you know that it all just filters over here eventually!

Tiscali shares suspended on titsup fears


Ciao Bruto!


Virgin Media trials longer bandwidth throttling

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What is the point?...

... in trumpeting services up to 50Mbps, then crippling it with restrictive caps. Watching a couple of programmes on iPlayer would be enough to trigger the dreaded garrot. What a swizz.

I can see the way this is going. Along with the targeting of BT, I'll be seriously considering my contract renewal. I'm happy to download stuff overnight but these guys are now just going out of their way to inconvenience people.

Proof if any were needed that VM drastically oversold their network. Where's the bloody regulator? Of course, they are like the FSA, in the pockets of the people they are supposed to "regulate"?

Mozilla comes out in support of Brussels IE on Windows findings

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Storm in a teacup

MS saw off Netscape, then took their eye off the ball and let IE fester, allowing Mozilla to nip in. Good on Mozilla!

I think this is a good judgement as it may mean some OEMs package Firefox/Opera/etc and 'real people' get some exposure to something other than IE. Those purchasing an MS OS will probably just receive a complementary CD with IE on it anyway!

Virgin puts 'legal P2P' plans on ice


This says it all!

When P2P first arrived, the music industry pissed on their chips by sueing Napster instead of co-opting them. Ten years later and they still can't smell the coffee. If anyone still retained an ounce of sympathy for them, now is the time to divest themselves of that delusion.

New Italian Job ending revealed Friday


The solution was already in the film!

When Michael Caine is in London packing for the trip he puts a long length of rope into his bag, though I can't remember whether there was a grappling hook or something on the end of it. I always assumed that was Caine's 'idea'?

In the ditch with DAB radio


The loonies are in charge of the asylum

Someone said name a British manufacturer of DAB radios - never heard of Roberts then? When I checked DABs out in the shops they took up half the display. The reason I never bought one was because, at the time, they were at least £100 for a shitty bottom of the range model. Totally prohibitive and always will be as long as it's a British peculiarity. It's the law of mass production.

Since then I've learned that the sound quality and network coverage is scandalously inferior to FM. Many rural communities who don't get TV receptions rely on analogue radio, what will they be left with? DABs also eat juice so are not eveironmentally friendly and will never be viable in mobile phones let alone the fact that international mobile phone manufacturers will never bother to make them. And the 'portable' ones are hardly tiny. The whole technology is a joke.

There are too many alternatives around anyway. In the home we use the internet and the freeview box to listen to the radio and I would never bother with it in the car for the reasons mentioned by others above. As I say, it's unlikely mobiles will ever sport DAB and it won't even be compatible when going abroad.

Makes total sense that the Govt and BBC are four-square behind it!

Virgin Media to dump neutrality and target BitTorrent users


BT is not the problem, just a target for VM

Is VM saying that the traffic management policies already in place aren't working?

Take a 10Mbs connection. The maximum you could download between 1000-1500 and 1600-2100 to avoid being throttled is a measly 3 and a half gig. You can't configure most clients to take advantage of the 1500-1600 so make that 3.8GB across 11 hours. If you don't want to be throttled you have to restrict your traffic to less than 1Mbs. Most 'freetards' and other 'legitimate' BTers probably just take the hit for 10 hours a day so they can download circa 11GB whilst trhottled (2.5Mbs). And anyone who uses BT will tell you that you'll rarely get near to maxing the pipe whatever size it is. Newsgroups on the other hand are a different story.

Surely these throttling levels allow all the fine upstanding citizens to carry out their legally unobjectionable and contention-respecting activites during waking hours? (surely they only need a 2Mbs connection to do so?) No? Well, perhaps the fault lies not with the 'freetards' but the grasping ISP that oversubscribes it's service?

VM are just opportunists!



@Conor Turton

"Virtually all of bittorrent usage is for illegal filesharing" - not true, but what the hell has that got to do with it anyway? What about Newsgroups, etc? FTP is used for illegal filesharing, so what?

"P2P accounts for a very large amount of an ISPs traffic" - so...? Shouldn't the bandwidth be used? What a miser you are :-D

"P2P isn't free" - in fact, it most often is! But I think you mean the pipe costs money - which is payed for by.... er, us! And that means we should get what we pay for!

"In addition to that, Virgin Media sell the very movies and music that are being pirated. It seems a bit daft to expect them to support the very thing that denies them sales." - not true. The retail music stores were sold to Zavvi but the two were always entirely separate entities. They just shared the Virgin name. Online music distribution by VM would probably (hopefully) represent a conflict of interests and would certainly be challenged severely by competitors if not by regulators.

It's probably fair to say that many people with big VM connections are torrenting a lot of copyright-infringing content but I fail to see what gives VM the right to interfere with that, particularly in the name of traffic-shaping. I hope they don't get away with this. If they do and if they want to chase those customers away, then they can take their chances. Seems like a shot to the foot to me though.

Jamming convicts' mobiles works

Paris Hilton

Surely this would be legal in Blighty!

If prisoners aren't allowed mobile phones in prison and they can get away with this under EU Human Rights legislation, how would it be illegal to actively block illicitly procured mobiles within the premises?

If there were a law specifically addressing blocking of signals surely a small amendment would take care of this - there would surely be certain exceptions provided for anyway. As has been mentioned there have been some well documented and fairly horrific crimes arranged or abetted by the use of mobile phones in prisons.

Paris, do you think she smuggled her mobile in?

French record labels sue, um, SourceForge

Paris Hilton


Does this law mean that the French have to make their own hash pipes?

Paris, because she likes a pipe!

Hotmail holdouts grumble about 'pathetic' new interface

Paris Hilton


On the subject of eBay, I've had several angry Email exchanges with them about the new search functionality and my listings not being returned against sensible search criteria. It stinks! Why do these numbnuts always ignore the golden rule - if it ain't broke, don't fix it. For Webmail I use Yahoo! and still using the classic interface, I'd drop it quick if they ever forced me to use the new interface.

Paris, because she ain't broke.

VbyV password reset is childishly simple



....so, if my wallet gets stolen, all the thief needs to reset my VbyV password is my DOB which is conveniently printed on my driver's licence!!! How secure is that?

Ten of the Best... iPod rivals

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Forget mp3 players!!!

Convergence is convenience!

When I get the Sony Ericsson w890i (next month) it will sport a 3.2 megapixel camera, 3G, bluetooth and a 2GB M2 micro memory stick as standard. I'm going to punt the stick and get a 4GB replacement with a USB convertor so I can transfer files directly to the memory. The Walkman menu system is pretty slick, the only drawback is it's probably not the best for viewing video. The Sony connector thingy is proprietary but the headphone lead has a 1/4" jack at the other end so you can hook it up to other equipment (e.g. car stereo) easily enough.

Best of all it come free with the contract (<£10/mnth) so, someone tell me, why would I want an mp3 player?!?!

Pirate Bay evades Italian blockade


This will rumble on and on

This argument has been raging since the printing press was invented (~ 1439) and the first copyright laws emerged. I don't think it will be resolved in the next few posts!

However my take on things is...

* Copyright infringement is not theft.

* Theft is a criminal offence, copyright infringement is a tort, or civil, offence.

* 'Downloading' copyrighted content is not illegal, 'uploading' is, e.g. no one was ever sued for downloading binaries right? :-)

BT slams bandwidth brakes on all subscribers


@ david bates, Eclipse user

David, I assume when you say your 'connection' grinds to a halt you mean other activities too, e.g. surfing?

If so check your setup. You need to find out what speed you are being throttled to (do a speed test) and then ensure that, during hours of throttling, you limit your torrent client's upload setting to around 80% of that amount. This should improve the download speeds of your torrents and allow enough headroom to surf (almost) normally.

Hope it helps!

Virgin customer numbers dip


You reap what you sow


Network enhancements



Throttling extended

Poor customer service

Loss of Sky TV channels

Price rises

In response to the above comment about price rises, prices already went up £2 or £3 this year. I'm still with them as the broadband is actually OK value (despite the throttling) but I'd drop them like a sack of tatties if there were a better alternative.

UK ISPs agree to menace their filesharing users


It's my guess...

...that they have realised the multifold problems with gathering suitable evidence, keeping expensive databases, sueing individual users etc. This scattergun approach is more geared towards the low-hanging fruit, i.e. those who aren't very good with IT and will be scared off by one wee letter.

Fergal (the big bollox) says it himself: "Seventy to 80 per cent of people would stop downloading illegally if they knew anyone was watching them doing it,"

This is just a big publicity campaign. Sit tight, use the newsgroups for a while, and it will all blow over.

UK.gov tells throttling petition: Choke on it


El Reg is as bad as the govt at spin

Oversubscription and throttli... sorrry traffic management IS actually addressed in the govt's response:

"The capacity of an ISP's network and the number of subscribers sharing that network can both contribute to reduce download speed for customers when compared to advertised broadband connection speeds."


"Provision of better information so that customers may choose and use broadband products and services effectively is an important consumer issue."

...and they have...

"agreed a voluntary code of practice with leading ISPs which requires them to provide more information to their customers on how they apply fair usage policies and manage traffic on their networks"

...so, to translate...

The govt sees nothing wrong with overselling as long as the seller does not attempt to cover up the fact. In practice this means that Virgin Media, for example can put a page on their Web site beginning "We don't like traffic jams" and going on to explain, in baby talk, that they are screwing you by taking away the sweeties you had thought you had been promised. What's more, just try to find that page by browsing the VM Web site! I had to google it to find it.

Of course this concept is quite familiar to the public sector as well as the private sector. For example my council sells around a quarter to a third more parking permits than the actual spaces that exist. Then they tow the cars that can't park legally.

Plus ca change...

Virgin warns 800 punters for file-sharing


Presumption abounds

Christ on a bike, when will people inform themselves. Firstly VM and BT are not 'snooping' on you. The BPI are joining torrent swarms and p2p networks and downloading files - if they collect IP addresses along the way belonging to VM/BT they contact the ISP to send a letter to the customer (whether they are responsible or not). Secondly, encryption will not protect you from this, you're IP is still visible to the BPI if share a file with them. You can:

Use an IP filter - probably advisable but I wouldn't be surprised if the BPI are wise to this. If they are working hand-in-hand with VM/BT what's the chances they are using IPs supplied by those ISPs?

Use Tor/I2P/Ants or another anonymous network though each brings its own issues.

Use binaries instead - this way you're not uploading anything, only downloading, and at whatever speed your ISP can provide ;-)

Not use file-sharing software for illicit purposes. What was that? Yeah, same to you buddy?

BT starts threatening music downloaders with internet cut-off

Black Helicopters

This is just a big game!

Whatever the facts of the matter or the theoretical legal arguments, this is a game of publicity poker being played out by the BPI and co. The music industry want a bit of noise made about all this downloading going on (where they *perceive* lost revenue). In the UK, having seen the failure to win the battle (and the hearts and minds campaign) through litigation of individual users in the US, the industry now have the ISPs in their sights as a vehicle for enforcement. They have a stick and a carrot:

The stick is the fact that they have lobbyed the govt into threatening to legislate on the matter - this has been enough to bring the ISPs to the table.

The carrot is to offer the ISPs a slice of that big content cake (TBH it's probably fairly attractive to them) hence, for example, the other story today about legal subscription-based p2p services.

The two sides are now in the throes of establishing a model that puts the shits up enough lusers to herd them in the direction of the new subscription services that will be offered and reduce the 'pirate' constituency to a small hardcore.

Can this happen? Well, most downloaders are probably not clued up enough to see past the empty (?) threats or take their activities underground (YKWIM?). After all, if there's 6m downloaders, how many do you think are tech savvy enough? The only caveat to this is that a p2p/BT client that hides IPs may emerge and escalate the tech battle to a new level.

IMHO this approach may bear some fruit simply by bringing some real pressure to bear on Joe Public. There has to be a pay-off somewhere between making it harder/riskier to download copyrighted content and providing easily accessible subscription music services and I think this is what they are banking on. Hopefully, even if this comes to pass, there comes a point where the BPI can claim a face-saving victory - and leave the remaining hardcore contingent to their own devices.

Asda declares baby's arse 'pornographic'



Why does ASDA have this rule about no nudity? Is it to protect the sensibilities of their staff? After all pornography per se is not illegal so why shouldn't someone be able, if they so wished, to get a porno-cake made up for them.

As for babies bums, there was a nappy advert on telly a while back where a woman actually kissed a baby's bare bottom, and this was broadcast several times a day to the nation at large. As our similarly common sense-challenged cousins across the Atlantic would say 'go figure!'

Day dawns for Pentagon hacker Lords appeal


Poor Bastard!

I pity this guy. I can't believe the erosion of sovereignty in the UK has resulted in a situation where there is even a remote possibility that this guy could be extradited. It must be a scary scary day when your government will consider handing you over to such a brutal and unnaccountable regime on such a flimsy premise.

National security is important but there seems to be little suggestion that he was acting out of malice - and the sentence he looks like facing seems monstrously disproportionate. Shame on the US authorities, shame on the UK government, shame on the courts.

Heaviest Virgin Media downloaders face new daytime go-slow


Depends on your viewpoint

I don't think the fact that the advertised speeds/"unlimited" D/Ls are phoney should be a surprise to anyone these days. However this latest capping is disappointing to say the least! I don't understand the rationale from VM as I find it hard to believe their network can't cope at that time of day. What is the benefit for VM to counteract the bad PR this will stir up?! Are they trying to scare the heaviest P2P/Newsgroup users off the network? Even if they only account for a tiny % of users would they still not be missed? - we're talking about a commercial operation here!

On the other hand the upgraded speeds have just been/are still being rolled out so, for no more than you were paying before, you will still be able to download/upload more. When I joined the L package it was at 2Mb, went up to 4Mb pretty soon after and, so I am led to believe, will increase to 10Mb very shortly. So even the throttled speed will still be 25% higher than the full whack speed when I signed up - and the full whack speed will be 5X original! Given I get this, digital TV, landline and E+W calls for c. £28/mnth it's still competitive when compared with the rest of the market and worth the outlay in my opinion.

By my calculations, if you are out during the day (as I am) and cap your torrent/newsgroup client at c. 133KB/s during this period you shouldn't breach the limit, and I rarely get my torrents at least up above this kind of level anyway. However, although I am fairly sure that I don't breach the evening limit all the time, it seems to me as if VM just throttle me anyway. I don't believe for a second that it's network contention as the times/speeds are too regular. The capping process is not at all transparent and VM don't seem to back up their claims with independent or verifiable figures so my fear is that I'll just be capped during the day as well as in the evening now.

Virgin Media in talks to trial three strikes regime against P2P


This is just posturing...

...by VM to show that they are attempting to appease the BPI IMHO. I can't see them getting much further down this road than Tiscali did before they throw their hands in the air and claim that a partnership is unworkable. They might even get the opportunity to dump some of their heaviest users, which in their eyes, may be a boon for network management.

Of course if they actually followed through with this, the battle would just move on to the next frontier - IP filters (e.g. peer guardian), proxies, developments to BT clients to hide IPs, etc, etc.

BT would not be much of a loss if warnings forced me to abandon it anyway - VM's own newsgroup server provides all the content I could wish for!

Amazon defies French courts over shipping costs


Would it make a difference if Amazon was French?

Would this, perchance, have anything to do with the whole 'Feedom Fries' spat? The French hate the Americans with a vengeance so I wouldn't put it past them to try to put one over on les Américains any opportunity they get. The Americans started it first of course!

Government piles filesharing pressure on UK ISPs


'Ha ha never catch me!' brigade are missing the point

This comment's a bit late to the party but most here completely miss the point so it's worth pointing out. As someone above says, it's not the ISPs that will have to monitor the traffic, it's the companies the RIAA, etc pay to snoop on you that will.

If they upload copyright protected content to you, they will be able to verify the details with the ISPs and have their (wicked?) way, encryption or no encryption. Only the tech-savvy will be spared. It may be interesting to see whether they would have to use registered IPs to do the uploading from, which could then easily be avoided by using programmes such as Peer Guardian 2.