* Posts by Robin

18 publicly visible posts • joined 4 Apr 2007

Think tank slams paedophile paranoia culture


Not worth it

I live in an upscale neighbourhood in Canada. Lots of kids and my g/f and I are friends with most of the parents and we know most of the kids by name.

The children are, for the most part, pretty well behaved. You don't have a lot to worry about any of them. That said, being a 40 year old (single) man, I make damned sure I never find myself alone with any of them. It's just not worth the risk.

I Was A Teenage Bot Master

Gates Halo

I'm surprised ...

at how naïve some of The Reg readers are. Secure your computer against these guys? You've got to be kidding. Short of cutting your Internet cable, there is no real defense against these bastards. Windows is so full of holes it may as well be swiss cheese.

Of course, it is also easy to jump on the "Microsoft sucks" bandwagon, but I think anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that's not the answer either. Anyone who has worked in law enforcement knows and lives one simple rule. "If someone wants in badly enough, there's nothing you can do to prevent him from getting in." The world is a dangerous place. Anyone who's driven in LA knows that. If you expect less from your OS, you're kidding yourself.

I'm glad to see these guys get busted, and I'm even happier to see them pick up a lengthy stay in federal prison. The fewer of these guys we have on the street, the better, but really, there's no one to blame but them. People who own computers aren't all IT experts and the guys who write operating systems are not gods.

The day someone makes a car that never runs out of gas, always drives you automatically to the place you wanted to go, never collides with anything, and you always get lucky in on a date, then I'll come back to Microsoft and demand perfection.

Click here to turn your HP laptop into a brick


It's almost like the good old computer flame wars days...

I remember back twenty years ago or so when the Apple/IBM flame wars days were on. The BBS's that went dead because of thousands of pointless messages, bantering back and forth over a pointless issue.

Guys. Seriously. Use whatever you like. Neither operating system is God's gift to anything.

Three critical fixes star in Patch Tuesday update


Flames? No...

But perhaps a comment on the naiveté of some of the Reg readers.

> Instead of new varieties, M$ should develop an OS that may require the occasional patch but not the thousands they put out over it's lifetime.

Sure. But here's the thing. My car has around 10,000 moving parts and I have to bring it in for routine maintainance and fluid changes twice a year. Windows XP has well over 40 million lines of code and I need to update it twelve times a year.

Now, I'm not a math teacher, but I think I am smarter than a fifth grader, so here goes: Simple ratios put it at 10,000:2 vs 40,000,000:12. Reduce to 5,000:1 for the car vs. 3,333,333:1 for the software.

Seems to me that Microsoft does pretty well. :)

All fun aside. Seriously. 40 million lines of code. Really think about that for a minute, then reread what you wrote.

Best Buy kicks out misbehaving Geek Squaders

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Did anyone expect anything less?

Pay your employees the same wage as an immigrant field worker and suddenly you are surprised that they take liberties with customer data? Yeah. Brilliant.

Truth is, this should not be going on, but Best Buy (and the other chains, I'm sure) do little to prevent it. Bottom line, they should be doing continuous scans to check up on their staff. Some $4/hr class D techie isn't going to police himself. To think so is to practically endorse such behaviour.

Make the policies, stick to the policies, enforce the policies. This is a classic example of a company creating a policy and then not enacting any means to enforce it. Then, when it is seems to have gone astray (publicly), the crackdown comes in the form of a random round of firings.

Personally, if I was fired by Best Buy, I'd sue their assess off.

Canadian Taser death caught on camera

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A shame it happened, but this Canadian has no issue with incident

It is a shame this guy died. He didn't deserve it. Truth is, he should not have been travelling alone. And if there was no way to avoid him travelling alone, then his mother should have dealt with his isolation issue long before 10 hours had elapsed.

We've all of us seen the changes in how airports are run. No country is immune. If you have a child (of any age) who is mentally handicapped, it is your responsibility to make sure he travels well. His mother didn't do that - he paid the price for it.

As to the issue of tasers themselves, while it is tragic what happened to this man, I'm sure the dozens of others who didn't end up paying their local hospital to pick bullets out of their chests appreciate that tasers are now standard issue with Canadian airport police.

I know that in the event that I should take a sudden departure from both an airport and my sanity, I would be much happier waking up with a little tingling feeling in my toes and fingers than to wake up in intensive care. And if it turns out that I wake up outside the pearly gates instead, well, at least they tried.

World of Warcraft spykit gets encrypted


To Lou Gosselin and the other whiners...

It always makes me laugh when people start talking about how thier rights have been taken away by a service they choose to pay for.

Can't smoke in a restauraunt? They're taking my rights away! Can't bring your own food into a movie theater? They're taking my rights away! Can't block spyware on a piece of software you've subscribed to? They're taking my rights away!

Please. If you don't like the service as offered, stay the hell out of restaurants, movie theaters and Azaroth.

Scientists unearth 'missing link' jawbone


Earth's Age

The Earth isn't 150 years old, it's only 40 and some months. (Kudos to whoever figures out that that's how old I am...)


Skype hangs up on users


Did anyone *not* see this coming?

The stuff we've seen from Skype has always been a little dodgey -- more for WoW'er and low end home use than anything else.

On the other hand, maybe now we know what all these e-cards are about. Could the big Bells have started to see them as a threat and hired themselves some hackers? :)

The decline of antivirus and the rise of whitelisting


Amazing how fast the red flags go up

Guys, seriously. Does anyone think for one minute that a whitelisting system wouldn't allow for exceptions? You'll get a little warning message that says the app isn't on the whitelist and our good friend the "ignore" button will be right under it. Oh, you'll be able to turn it off for your corporate users, no point in letting them have their way, but the home user will be able to click it any time he likes.

In truth, we already do whitelisting. Signed device drivers, phishing filters and web browser "safe/unsafe" utilities all use a sort of whitelist to help users make smarter choices.

It's caused very little problems in the real world, and application whitelisting will be no different.

Does the solution stand on it's own? No. Any solution that relies solely on a list of what's good and what's not good is doomed to fail. Of course, that's assuming that the whitelisting technology stays static. Antivirus developed hueristics, whitelisting probably will too.

The biggest problem out there right now are users who don't know enough not to run or install apps without checking with someone who can tell them if it's malware. Basically, what this does is allow the average user to install apps while reducing the risk that the app is malware.

Don't view it as evil, or the ultimate answer to life, the universe and everything, just look on it as a helpful signpost for those who can't find their way out of the malware forest.

Rufus fights back


It always makes me laugh...

To hear service people cry about rude customers. It's called "career research" guys. If you are the type who can't deal with people being rude to you, then it's a career path you might want to avoid.

I will agree, however, that profanity or personal attacks are off limits.

The other one that makes me laugh are the tech support people who cry about idiot customers. It's worth remembering that if everyone knew how to work this stuff, you'd be out of a job.... :)

Rock star says piracy battle is lost


Welcome to the New World

This gravy train has finally ridden itself off the rails. Gone are the days where record companies find some gimp with a half a grain of talent, put him up as the world's greatest thing since sliced bread only for us to buy the CD for $20 and then find out he's singing one decent song and 8 more tracks that someone banged out on a cocktail napkin while patronizing the girls at Shaky's.

Hopefully, the next "gone" item will be the artist who actually has talent but gets squelched by record companies who don't want to deal with him because he insists on actually being paid for his music.

I say Bravo to those who have helped usher this new age of music in and I await the day where the record companies finally fall under the weight of their own ineptitude.

Peter Gabriel takes sledgehammer to music downloads (again)


Did anyone actually read the article completely?

I think this is an excellent idea. (Which, of course, means that the record labels will immediately oppose it.)

To the naysayers:

The beauty of this is that you only need listen to the ad a few times to get a full, unspliced version. (How they are managing this without DRM, I agree is a mystery). It isn't like a record with ads in the tracks that you have to listen to forever.

I'm a huge fan of downloadable music. But I can't think of a single reason why it should be 100% free. This service offers a choice, and a good one at that. If you have the coin to pony up $1 a song, then good on you -- buy till your heart's content. If you don't, the alternative is there. Listen to some adverts and get the music for free. For the starving student population, this will go over very well, should illegal music downloading ever truly go away.

So long as the money gets back to the artist (which is, IMHO, the real issue with this sort of thing), I don't care whether it's paid up front in cash, or in time.

Thai king pardons spray-painting Swiss man


Good for him... now on to that child sex trade issue...

Good to see some common sense finally coming out of that country. Perhaps once all of the grafitti artist have been expelled, they can get to work on that pesky child sex trade issue.

The 800lb Googilla in the boardroom


I have to agree with Mark_T on this one.

Not up to the Reg standards.

First point, the writer clearly doesn't understand dogs. Dogs are animals. Pure and simple. Given proper motivation, any dog, no matter how well trained, will break from disipline and attack someone or something. Accepting that, the question then becomes one of damage caused. In that situation, I'll happily take the anklebiter over the throat-ripping variety of dog any day.

The same is true of business. Given the right circumstances, any business can be motivated to act improperly. Accepting that, again, it is a question of damage.

Have we so soon forgotten Sony and thier little rootkit incident? Certainly they are a big enough company to earn an 800 lb gorilla suit. And what did they do with it? As the old joke goes, anything they wanted, which in this case meant damaging thousands of computers.

Large companies need *more* regulation, not less. We've seen this time and again with scandals like Enron, Anderson and Nortel. These gorillas all relied on trust to deceive, defraud and bilk shareholders out of milliions.

Bottom line, you can train, test and trust all you like, but when the big dogs bite, people get hurt.

P.S. If you do own a Chow-chow and you wander around the park with it unmuzzled and off leash, most dog owners will consider you irresponsible. And they'd be right. It's a sure recipe for disaster, either to you, someone else, their dog, or your dog.

Thai King video wag pulls YouTube clip


Shannon hit it right on the head

Well said, Shannon. The world lately seems to be made up of people who are willing to say and do nothing for fear of offending the people who benefit from the status quo.

Motiviation is a factor - and in this case I suspect that the video was created for no other reason than to cause a stir. But, the sad thing is that if someone (your 0.1%) did have a legitimate gripe about the King, it would likely be treated the same way -- with censorship.

As to the issue of Americans not understanding other cultures, I would hazard a guess that those other cultures don't understand us any better. The truth would seem to be that most people don't ever look past their own back yard, regardless of where they were born.

Teachers left blubbing by cyber abuse


Everyone is entitled to be left in peace

I don't care who you are or where you work. Everyone is entitled to live in peace without being verbally attacked. Do people need to have thicker skins? Yes. Is this a good thing? Hell no.

This is not a matter of free speech. This is a matter of someone being attacked and abused. Why in the name of all that is holy would *anyone* think that this is ok?

Thailand blocks YouTube


I can't see why....

Someone, even a King, needs to take himself quite so seriously. Getting a little miffed about the whole thing, sure. Blocking an entire country from a website and sending a guy to jail for 10 years? Well, let's just say there's a reason why those type of countries continue to be regarded as backwater holes.

Now, if he wanted to block something useful on Thailand's Internet, maybe he should take a peek at the kiddie porn that runs rampant over there.