* Posts by Pat

29 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Feb 2008

Opera Mobile 9.7 beta lands


more alpha than beta

Tried it on my Touch HD. Laggy performance, takes over a second to respond to interactions, leaving you feeling that it might not have noticed. Turbo feature seems to randomly miss out part of the data, often images, but also text.

Will be ace if they can make it work, but currently unusable, I'll go back to Opera Mini.


Pirate Party wins seat in European Parliament


what it tells us

is that the BNP are really a minority party. It doesn't surprise me that 6% of Brits are racists, I'd have thought more. It doesn't surprise me that 7% of Swedes care more about their moviez than the rest of public policy. But these are all pretty small numbers. Trolls, the lot of them.

Microsoft's Bing feeds you, tries to keep you captive


Hang on, have they just put Google in a frame?

It looks JUST like Google. Same layout, same text-ads column, same colours even. I think maybe Bing is just a very light frameset and some css.

If imitation is the finest form of flattery, MS just sucked Google's lolly.

Gordon 'to sacky' Wacky Jacqui


They should do this more often

Great, can't stand her. Home Secs are always hate figures though, comes with the territory. Anyone remember one they liked? It's not as if the next mug will be all libertarian and turn off all the CCTV etc.

They should just have automatic sackings built into the role, cheer us all up once in a while.

ContactPoint goes live despite security fears


Why are *all* kids on this?

What is the rationale for putting all children on this database? It makes sense to improve communications for children who are in contact with services, and indeed there is a mechanism (the CAF) for doing this. I don't understand why anyone else should be on it.

Europe calls for rules on RFID chips

Black Helicopters

Faraday Wallet anyone?


Very good quality and works well.

Fetish club forces ID scanner climbdown

Black Helicopters

Gimp mask, hijab, hoodie

All a bit of a nightmare if you're into surveillance. Maybe they thought the submissives in the rubber masks would be more compliant. Maybe it's time for National Wear a Big Hat and Massive Sunglasses Day.

Police union leader calls for 'killer games' sales ban


Conditional probability FAIL

P(killer | videogames) does not equal P(videogames | killer)

Same old prosecuters fallacy.

Robbie Williams, Billy Bragg et al say downloads aren't illegal


No one gets busted for downloading

They get busted for sharing (ie upoloading, usually with peers in a torrent).

Last call for UK liberties


Perpective from a Pole

I got chatting about ID cards and state privacy invasion with a Polish guy the other day. He had an interestign perspective: that the state can make laws that say you have to have ID on you at all times and that you must keep your record in the db up to date, but the reality is, people are not like that. He said those kind of laws were rarely enforced because too many people are incapable of keeping them. I think there might be some truth in this - I'm already finding it hard to keep up with every form and registration I have to keep up with; it's hard enough to find the time to keep the car on the road, the bills paid, the house waterproof and so on. And it seems much harder than it used to, like there's more beaurocracy in private life as well as in the creeping managerialism that has infested work (compulsory courses, annual reviews, staff surveys, blah blah). I can't keep up, and I'm reasonably well-organised. I reckon I'm in the top 25% of people for "organised." I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of this stuff just generates too much trouble for it to actually run smoothly. I bloody hope so, because it can't be long before thay start making it impossible to defect.

Is Twitter actually making money?


*used to be useful*

was an ace way to coordinate with mates at eg glastonbury. but no sms=no point.

sadly the massed twats have broken a useful thing.

Google finally soups up Gmail search


Disappointed me

To change the search filter for each pane you have to go in via the settings page. Why not just have a search box in the pane.


Tesla takes Top Gear test to task


batteries not required

I think we know Clarkson and co well enough to take what they say with a pinch of salt. The wider point they made on the program in which two electric cars got good reviews was that batteries are a dead technology for cars. The Honda with the hydrogen cell seems much more likely to represent the future of driving, and in that view the Tesla is nothing more than a curiosity.

Horse - Coal - Petrol/Diesel - Hydrogen - "Mr Fusion Home Energy Reactor"*

None of the successful solutions involve leaving it plugged in for half a day every couple of hundred miles.

*due 2015.

David Tennant quits Who


Who's Who?

Felicity Kendal for the new doctor! That's what I heard.

Royal Society of Chemistry requests 'Italian Job' ending



Here's a still:


They should all take their keks off, tie them together to make a lasoo and start hoiking piles of gold back to the land side end. The balance would shift and they could start climbing out the front doors, taking most of the gold with them. That stack weighs MUCH more than the people put together.

OiNK BitTorrent admin faces fraud prosecution


upload download

Yes, BitTorrent confounds downloading with uploading, but there's no need for tech journalists to do so. That was the point I was making (poorly it seems).

Ever since P2P took off, default settings on apps like Napster, Kazaa and now BtTorrent make a downloader into an uploader. I've always felt it a bit unfair to go after the users who in most cases may only have intended to download (naughty, maybe illegal, but not so far tested in court and damages would not be high) but found themselves also uploading without their knowledge (more naughty, open to untestable claims they distributed zillions of copies, and therefore considerble damages). Isn't it a bit like the difference between driving over someone out of malice compared with doing so out of falling asleep?

Thumb Up

Uploaders. Thanks for the clarity.

At last an article that doesn't confound downloaders with uploaders.

Now Hollywood is chasing UK downloaders


FFS Reg stop say it's downloading when it's sharing that gets people busted

No-one has been prosecuted, fined or threatened with legal action for *downloading*. It's always for *sharing* content. BitTorrent users are almost always uploading while they're downloading, so they are participating in the illegal sharing of content.

Courts would be unlikely to award heavy damages for only downloading - the copyright owner could only say they'd lost a single sale, whereas for sharing they can make some kind of statistical claim to have lost multiple sales.

Also, it's possible a court would decide they couldn't prove the person hadn't already bought the content, as I understand it there's a bit of a grey area as to whether it would be illegal to download something you'd already bought.

Finally, it's only by sharing content that people get caught - if you're sending bit's of a file to someone, that person can ID you. Just downloading is beyond their visibility at the moment.

It would be helpful if you'd make this distinction in your reporting. Not to do so undermines your authority as a knowledgable IT site.

Criminal record checks could hit over 14 million people


Data protection?

Are the CRB granted exception from data protection laws? In other words, can an individual find out what a CRB check would return on them? It appears from the CRB website that one cannot do a check on oneself without involvement of another body (a potential employer for example). I can see the logic of this - it might turn up the occasional target who, had they known they were going to be identified, might have gone on to offend in less formal circumstances. However, if 14m are going to get checked, then given the rather absolute number of false positives, surely an overall better outcome would be to just check EVERYONE, disclose to them in private and let the false postives get worked out without the agony of public stigmatisation. A more realistic second-best would be to let people ask independently what is held on them, with the expectation of a formal dialog if they are known to the system.

The trend in the UK at the moment seems to be an authoritarian imposition of a particular set of values. Blair has professed his religious convictions quite loudly of late, if only he'd done so while in power, we might have noticed how similar our country is becoming to belief-led regimes we previously pitied as retrogressive and oppressive.

Virgin Media and BPI join forces to attack illegal filesharing


Any futurologists in the house? (a bit OT)

How is this going to play out? Currently if someone shares copyright material, they can be done for it. If they download only, we don't know if they can be done for it, because none of the pigopolists have tried. They haven't needed to and they probably don't fancy their chances (they have to prove you have never bought a copy of Madonna's latest cheesy shite before you look like you're in the wrong. this might not be what the law says exactly, but it's a lot harder a test than sharing).

BitTorrent pretty much always involves sharing. You could frig it around a bit, use encryption, split the data so no-one ever supplies the full bitstream, all sorts of stuff, but ultimately BitTorrenters a sharing so they can be busted.

It won't take long for the kids to figure out that there are very cheap SSL protected usenet accounts, and services that provide better indexing and retention than BitTorrent ever does. Not only do these have the advantage of being un-sniffable (unless you're Cheltenham, presumably), but they also don't involve sharing. Double win! So shares in offshore usenet services are about to go through the roof, right?

What happens next?

1) Gubmint pressured into, and happy to agree to, throttling all SSL?

2) Key escrow?

3) BPI get to run the UK firewall?


still not getting it

How the BPI must hark back to when they were young, those hazy days when teens queued up to buy records and the product was really desired. The majority of what they make now is disposable pap; we know it's easy to make, we can run the software on our own PCs; we know the so-called "artists" are mostly nothing of the sort; and we respond in kind - 95% of when they make is just throwaway entertainment that is not worth more than a few pence per track. To pretend otherwise is bullshit and while many are bullshittable, most are not.

The BPI seem to think that if they could just lock it all down, people would come up with a sizable percentage of the money it would have cost to download all that pap. They're wrong, most of us won't spend much more than we're spending already, they just don't have enough wothwhile product to make us want to buy it.

They should not be scared of downloading and sharing, they need to worry that people who have access to good quality copies of pretty much any music they want often can't even be bothered to download most it for free.

New Coldplay album? Who needs another one.

Ofcom confirms Freeview will get HD next year


London last as usual

Well that's great. As usual London is on the back burner. I'm sick of all this Provincocentric bias in this country, the papers are always full of Burnley this, Evesham that, what about giving Londoners a fair go for once?

Virgin Media in talks to trial three strikes regime against P2P


Wonder if the BPI know about this then

Found this on Digital Spy forums. Gotta laugh, entcha. ISTR Highwinds are something to do with Easynews.

Posted in the VM newsgroups:

Hi all,

We've been working on unifying the newsgroup solutions used by our

Internet customers, and are now in the position to announce a beta

trial of the new newsgroup service.

If you want to point your news client at:

* news.virginmedia.com

You can now try out the beta newsgroup server. If you need any help

with how to configure your news client, have a look on our website:

* http://www.virginmedia.com/customers...setting-up.php

Once the beta trial has finished (we'll let you know when), we'll be

proceeding with turning off the old news server feeds (excluding

news-text, more on this below) and diverting people to use the new

server, followed by the decommissioning of the old servers at a later


The unified newsgroup solution is an outsourced platform provided for

us by Highwinds as a result of our agreeing a unified contract renewal

with Highwinds - who we have worked with for a number of years.

The approach we have taken with newsgroup unification is to take the

"best of both" of the previous legacy services, in order to offer

customers access to the maximum number of newsgroups (excluding those

that we can't carry for legal or regulatory reasons), with good levels

of completion and for minimum retention of articles (at least 7 days

for binary articles, 90 days for text articles & 120 days for the

internal groups).

Please do feel free to use the beta service now, and let us know (in

virginmedia.support.usenet) of any issues you experience, or of any

feedback (in virginmedia.feedback).

Many thanks



Alex Brown

Senior Product Manager

Product Management, Virgin Media

Online banking payment system aims to reduce fraud



Cahoot give you a little webcard program. It generates one-shot Visa debit card numbers which expire +1 month. I've rarely had any problems using it, it can even handle refunds. No idea why all banks don't do this.

Phorm launches data pimping fight back


Opted out v opted in

"Long term, we believe if you're opted-out the experience you're going to get is quite crappy because you're going to get bombarded with ads."

Two things there. He says we'll see less ads because better targeted ones will raise more money. So now websites are going to have to be formatted in two versions - opt-in formats with few placeholders for ads, and opt-out ones with the normal layout. Doesn't sound likely.

And, as an advertising dude has has no grasp of what people who don't like ads really don't like about them. I don't like how they try to worm their grubby little motives into my mind. The less relevant they are, the easier it is for me to ignore them. If I'm researching cars, I want ads for wormaria and athlete's foot cream, NOT cars.

AdblockPlus anyway, didn't realise we still had internet advertising.

'Boil a frog' ID card rollout to continue until 2012



Isn't that the word for persuading young vulnerable people to participate in something that is not in their best interests?

BT targets 10,000 data pimping guinea pigs


Cookie handling

In Firefox, if you set the Cookies to Keep Until: Always Ask, you get to see what cookies are being set, and you can decide whether to accept permanently (eg for forums, or this site) or just for the session. This latter option is great for messing with people like OIX and Doubleclick as it keeps sites working smoothly but stops profiling.

Government wants every English child on 'secure' database


Why a single database?

Why not just define a format standard and make it a local database? Could even be school-based. When a kid moves school, their record moves with them. Any central migration for auditing purposes could be anonymized, so the pencildicks who love that sort of thing can still play with Excel and talk about performance, and the risk of Spottineck losing the USB stick is limited to a single comp's worth of underachievers.

Anyway, no doubt encryption's the answer.

ISPs demand record biz pays up if cut-off P2P users sue



It's always interesting that news stories tend to lump downloaders and uploaders together. However it's much easier to do someone for uploading - all you have to do is join in their p2p network and get a bit of copyright content off them, encrypted system or not. But you still have to go looking - are they planning to get ISPs to do the entrapment?

And what about downloaders? If someone is only leeching, through an encrypted connection, how is anyone going to know about that? Or is the idea to ban encryption and expect ISPs to run packet inspection all the time?