* Posts by Juillen

32 publicly visible posts • joined 1 Sep 2008

LxLabs boss found hanged after vuln wipes websites


Pride in the job..

Can be a terrible thing at times. It's easy to be one of those that doesn't really care, produce a shoddy product and when it fails just rely on courts to make sure it doesn't affect your revenue, but taking that amount of personal pride and responsibility for a task to the extent that it'll push you that far..

i suspect the world's lost one of the good guys.

Pirate Party wins seat in European Parliament


The elasticity of society.

Everyone seems to forget that most people don't actually really like 'issues'. They want a peaceful life.

Over here in sunny Bristol we had two 'issues' in rapid succession. One was a Radio presenter that asked a taxi company not to send someone round in a turban as it unnerved her daughter (but why it unnerved her daughter was not gone into).

The second was a council member that said "in her culture there was a word for the behaviour" of another council member. A 'Coconut'. Black on the outside, white on the inside; a traitor to roots.

One of these lost her job. The other, nobody batted an eyelid about. Guess which one?

Well, it was the Radio presenter that lost her job to the mob. The blatant racism by a member of the council was ignored, because in her own words "she can't be racist, because she's black".

If both had lost their jobs over it, there would be no issue (upholding the same standard). If neither had lost their jobs, again, no real issue.

However, there's a big 'positive discrimination' thing going on. However, there is no such thing as positive discrimination. All you're doing by 'positively discriminating' for a minority is to discriminate against the majority.

This is the crux of the matter, methinks. What isn't really an issue (not many consider anyone of any creed or colour less able than any other; social integration is largely there) is made one by political pressure groups. These keep saying that minority groupls need special concessions (why? They're equal, and I know a good many 'ethnic' people who resent these concessions, as it makes people think they can only do their job because of quotas when they're perfectly capable of competing on a level playing field).

This environment (along with the almost witch hunt fervour that people keep screaming 'racism' over anything that may possibly be shoehorned into that catefoty.. Though sometimes even shoehorning doesn't make it that way when viewed rationally) creates a very high profile 'issue' that is blasted out to the general public, whether it's relevant or not. The premise is that "you're racist unless you try very hard to prove that you're not".

Honestly, I think people are just fed up, and are just voting to say "Enough. This is now an issue that we think you've taken too far."

Me, I'm middle of the road, and wish that people would just treat people as people without labelling them to make it easy to brush them off and put them in a category of "less than me, and therefore irrelevant what they say". Every time you scream 'racist' at someone, you're pulling the elastic a little further on someone, which makes their reaction that much stronger when they express it. Most people aren't racist.

Oh, and the radio presenter that was fired? Her close circle of friends numbered the top people in the local race relations groups who were of all races. All of them testified that she was not racist. However, she's still branded racist by the mob. What does that tell you about the mob?

BT slammed for 'importing' cheap Indian contractors

Paris Hilton

The general flow of money..

breaks down in general in this model of employment:

1) Get rid of indiginous worker, and bring in low cost worker from abroad.

2) Internally to the company, the costs increase due to linguistic difficulties coupled with cultural differences. This, however, is borne invisibly. It doesn't show up as a direct immediate cost on an accountant's balance sheet, it only shows as a reduction in performance, which is blamed on management structures. The financiers pat themselves on the back and the management crumbles (think: replacing your load bearing steel and brick walls with plain plasterboard. Cheaper, but what will be the 'hidden' costs over time?).

3) You now have the sum cost of all of the monies paid to the 'onsite, offshore' workers being untaxable (they pay in their home country). This contributes to a necessity to increase taxation on the monies that 'stay at home', i.e. you and I.

4) You also have one more person locally that is no longer contributing to the UK economy, and possibly has no job at all, thus actually drains it (rather than about £3-4k contribution to the coffers per worker, there is now about a £1500 drain in benefits). This again contributes the a raise in taxes to cover the fact that the government needs to pay these benefits. Essentially, the FULL cost of the original person is paid anyway, just half of it is punted off to the taxpayer, with only a fraction of the rest being paid by corporations.

5) For all those advocating giving the money to the third world, and saying "Give them a slice of the pie".. By all means. Let them create companies in their home countries, produce, and sell it on the global market. It'll happen, and we'll be in for a good ol' bit of competition. However, in the meantime, the Western economies are struggling. If they fold, then there will be NO work for the third world to take up, thus they'll lose money, existing support agreements and a whole load of benefits, causing collapse of their nascent economies, industry and education.

Paris 'cos she knows all about a slice of pie.

Hindus take divine mace to Sony Playstation


Wasn't that..

The argument used by the Christian Church against the printing press when it was invented (that it trivialised the word of God, and was thus herectical)?

Boffin builds better display from... a cuttlefish

Paris Hilton

As a regular scuba diver..

I thought that they'd found a way to play video from my dive computer!

The light show from hanging round a flamboyant cuttlefish is quite stunning, but the title implied there could be so much more..

Paris, because, well, it'd make the deco stops more interesting..

Intel hit with largest ever EU fine

Paris Hilton

Fines doesn't state evil

All it's saying is that Intel has broken the law, and are applying undue pressure on vendors to prevent someone else competing in the market.

They stepped too far over the line, and need a big spanking to make sure they realise that in the end, being bad doesn't end up making you money.

Intel will (for a goodly while) be faster than AMD, unless AMD pull another Athlon trick out of the hat where they won the speed crown for a while.

AMD will probably be cheaper than Intel for quite some time, as that's one of the things they compete with.

That's all well and good. What shouldn't happen is that Intel get to turn around to all the vendors and say "Thou shalt not stock my competitor's product, otherwise I will punish you".

Now, with Intel chastised, it's likely that AMD will get more stock to market. With that stock in market, they can make more money to put into R&D, and maybe come up with the next Athlon trick (or x64 trick), and give Intel a moving goal to aim at, making everything better for everyone on price and performance.

Paris, because I'm sure she knows something about spanking.

Red Hat pitches software-patents-free Europe



Patents, as a whole, are a good tradeoff. If you're a small inventor, then you have protection against the 'big boys' that'll just swamp you.

However, a piece of software has far different time limitation characteristics than a new type of valve to be used in Engineering (that can have a production span of decades). In the software world, 5 years is an obsolescense period, so having a patent give you control over aspects of it for 25 years is ludicrous.

2, maybe 3 years for a software patent if they do implement it is more than sufficient. If it's a really 'must have' idea, then people will pay to get software out the door with that idea implemented in it fast, before they're run out of the market place.

If it's not earth shakingly good, then you can delay implementing it for a couple of years. The patent does what it's designed to do. Allows the build up of a market, allows a lot of pressure in the early days of market building; enough to build a general standard if the idea is good enough, with the inventor profiting on the early build, then when it becomes a full standard, the invention is opened to all while it's still useful. The clever inventor will have used this period to come up with the next good idea.

UK.gov to get power to force ISPs to block child porn


The conversation in a nutshell:

Policy makers: We're going to make the world safe for children by putting in a filter that'll stop anyone looking at kiddie fiddling.

Technical experts: It's not possible. By trying to do it, we're probably going to make the whole infrastructure less stable, and less secure.

Policy makers: La la la. We're not listening. The world will be a wonderful place because we say it will. It won't happen, because we can't see it happening. Oh look, Rome's burning.. Where's my violin?

Playboy TV offers 'Jacq off' special package



Can be truly entertaining for onlookers..

For almost anybody else (can you imagine trying to embarass Boris with this?), there'd be a sheepish apology about it being an oversight in the complexity of keeping things in place, and people would have passed on a good natured ribbing and forgotten about it (well, all the sane ones anyway).

But for Wacky Jackie, the Puritan Princess..

Dear lord, Laruel and Hardy couldn't have beaten the comedy value from this.

Incidentally, when do her rebuttals appear on the Comedy Channel?

Mine's the one with the wallet in the pocket to help out with the cable bills to show my appreciation of the entertainment value.. Long may it last!

Wacky Jacqui spanked by husband


Oh, the humanity!

Seriously, it shows that she has a human family (which actually gives me comfort.. I thought she was an alien, with all the general level of empathy she seems to share with the rest of the human race, given her policies)..

It gave me a huge laugh.... Still snickering away..

On the scale of cash she deals with, this kinda thing is easy to miss (a triviality in the grand scheme of things).. I'd happily pay the bill myself just to get the laughs..

It does kinda knock her credibility on all the puritanical legislation she puts out there, and it'll be interesting to see her cross those bridges when she comes to them..

BOFH: Defiling the profile


Deliciously underhanded...

And truly elegant! Fantastic episode!

I think Rule #1 is don't drink coffee while reading this year's BOFH episodes.

Being an ordinary bloke from Bristol, makes me wonder if the PFY wasn't taking over established profiles too.. Would explain the tweaks on my FB profile!

Mine's the one with the PFY's little black book in the pocket.

Blizzard: Game designers aren't Shakespeare


Less text?

Hmm.. I'd have to disagree with the chap about less text. Maybe bringing back conversation trees would be a plus, rather than click, and get a 2 line "Do this". Put back a feel of interaction.

One thing I used to really enjoy playing games way back was following the back story in a quest, having a real tale unfold. Though you only want to see it once; it's always good to have options into the full text, or just choose the 'go straight there' text.

Long live storytelling..

Bush Obama sides with RIAA in P2P fight

Dead Vulture


The whole point of Justice (which the legal system is _supposed_ to deliver, though in reality, it's just a system of legalities now, not a system of justice) is to make a punishment fit a crime.

By your calculations, sharing the average album to maybe no more than a few people (possible; nobody really tracks the numbers) should get you a year in jail (taxpayer's expense, probably costing you and I about £50k), and the judgement costing the sharer around £70k.

Now, the price for muggings, and violent assault is maybe 6 months in jail, and no fine (maybe a token couple of hundred).

The costs of that latter (to the NHS, and police and so on) are FAR greater, and actually concrete, than the _potential_ loss (which in reality comes to no loss, as research shows a strong correlation between increased file sharing and increased sales of physical media, and very few of those shares would have actually purchased blind anyway).

So, for real damage, and very real monetary loss, you propose that the penalties should be several orders of magnitude greater than something that does no physical damage, and is of unproven financial loss.

Way to go. Are you a lawyer perchance?

The Tombstone of Common Sense comes to visit again.

Battlestar Galactica eyes 'technology run amok'

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I found the show intriguing. So what if all the 'little details' don't work out? Look back at life, and all the things you used to think made sense, until it later turned out that it was essentially randomness, and just reading many things into small signals (that were purely coincidental).

The characters were great. The subplots were subtle. The subterfuge realistic..

Not seen the end yet, but looking forward to it. It's one of those shows that's had its highs and lows, the odd episode that was put in purely for characterisation, which is fine in any story..

More please.

BOFH: Cable entanglements


@Sarah Bee..

That was cruel, malicious and unfair.

I usually breath deeply, and put down the coffee cup to read BOFH (to avoid the particular mishaps with monitors which, I suspect, soon end up on hapless users' desktops, leaving them wondering why their screens now vend coffee, but no longer illuminate except for the odd spark now and then)..

Then I sit back with the steaming hot mug of fresh caffeine and browse the comments.

Alas, today there is one more user with the lastest in environmental technology (a lightly coffee scented monitor with a power saving mode so efficient that it won't light up. Though I'm sure that state only extends to the monitor, not the user attempting to use the on/off switch).

Time to try the Peyote coffee and head on over to Page 43 methinks.

BBC Click paid cybercrooks to buy botnet

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Carpet sweeping..

Seems to be the common mode of computer security these days.

Hey, why make your systems secure when instead, you can hire a bunch of lawyers to say it's illegal to do anything with a computer that you're not authorized to do, then come down hard on anyone you find that is accessing the system in a way you didn't expect (public domain transfers, session states stored in a URL, clicking on search engine links to exposed documents that you didn't think would be visible, but actually were, etc).

You can have all the programs you want saying "Hey, it's um bad y'know.." to all the people who haven't a clue how to secure their PC, or even know that it even needs to be secured, and you'll be in the same old boat. If it's not something that people really feel they need to know about because they've been burned (or people they know have been burned), they'll carry on as if there's nothing wrong.

Now, each of those people probably know at least 10 other PC users, so they'll get the hint too.. And the "hey my mate just..." conversations will also probably propogate to another 10 for each of the original 10 (past the "my mate" level, things tend to take on the "urban legend" feel, and it loses impact).

That's a whole boat load of people that REALLY get the message, not on an abstract "I can put my head in the sand, and it'll just go away" kind of way, but in a far more concrete and real sense.

As far as legal goes, I have the sneaky suspicion that it's not. Should it be legal? I'd say it's one of those that is in a really grey area. What they did, in general, is good (increasing user education, which vastly increases real terms security, not just 'tick in a box' security), using methods that are bad (paying organised crime, and hijacking people's machines), but with no real ill effect (delivering a message that your machine has been compromised, and you may just want to get it sorted out).

It's nothing like torture, as mentioned in a previous post, so that comparison is void.

It's very much white/grey hat stuff. On the whole, I'm pretty much behind that kind of activity (someone takes the time to crack your security then tells you how, so you can make it better, rather than cracking your security, and selling that information to anyone who wants it, so you have no idea your security even needs fixing).

Computing laws are still damnably primitive; we need a finely crafted tool that will let us hoist up the really destructive contingent, while allowing the creative (white hat) to prosper. Then we may have a snowflake's chance in hell of actually having systems that are secure, rather than putting a tick in a box, and saying they are secure by fiat.

The internet is for violent jerks, study finds


Sounds like

The 'net is where the Friday/Saturday night revellers end up for the rest of the week then.

NHS patient database goes titsup


It always seemed daft

That under the 'design' of the care records system, there would be no records on a hospital site. Nothing. All done in a remote data centre.

If you lost your network connection, then the hospital would have no access to records. Its own, or anyone else's.

And when there is any fault in the data centres, all sites are taken out, instead of just one.

Jacqui's jihad on web extremism flops

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More idiocy

Once again, it was a case of standing on the shore, telling the tide not to come in.

Block a site, it'll only appear under another name, in another place, outside any British jurisdiction.

Of course, every time it vanishes to reappear, it takes the security agencies time to find it again, wasting valuable time and money. Why waste that time when you can just work out who's going there, and use that to trace the people you really want to keep an eye on?

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



Is far more realistic than MS flight sim, but doesn't quite have the variety of plugins that can be bought off the shelf.

If there are businesses that exist just to create add ons, then why not switch to X-Plane (and advertise the fact)?

Extreme pron vigilantes are after you


What are they smoking?

"If there is a member of the public who is concerned that they have an illegal image in their possession, they should seek legal advice,"

So, you're not sure if you have things that are illegal. So you ask. If the answer is yes, then you can be locked up for producing it.

If no, then you've just wasted legal time. Would be amusing if everyone took 'innocent' pics and asked for legal advice if this were free, othewise, are we (the average public) expected to foot the bill for actually defining this fuzzy and imprecise law?

Coming soon: Pills to 'turn down' your ears at clubs


What about..

Simply turning the music down a little, and developing a pill that sensitises the ears of people who really want their hearing zapped?

London hospitals back online after PC virus infection

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Multiple problems with NHS IT..

Check the staffing level of the places, compared to what would be expected in commerce. I think you'll find that many NHS IT departments are staffed at about 1/4 or less than the commercially expected minimums on the technical staff.

The perception in NHS management is that IT just happens by magic, and it's not difficult, so why get people to do nothing but switch machines off when they don't work and turn them back on again?

PC virus forces three London hospitals into computer shutdown


The NHS and computing..

All these comments running rife about what NHS sysadmins should do, and why they all 'fail'.

Take into account:

1) Medical systems (not embedded clinical devices; just the ones you punch info into) are developed externally to the hospitals. These are almost invariably Windows based. So Windows must be brought in. Historically, most of the apps are windows only, so Windows is the primary OS in most hospitals.

2) Due to the nature of budgeting, and the fact that the whole place is clinically focussed, budget cuts tend to hit IT hard (HR get to make the cull, so don't choose their own, Finance hold the purse strings so they don't get hit, which leaves medical areas, where consultants complain, or IT. Oops).

3) When everything is not failing, hospitals tend to assume that all is good because it's not failing (or at least not inconveniencing enough people by the failures to really make an impact on them). If all is good, then IT is fully staffed or overstaffed (making IT a big budget cut target again).

4) You tend to find in a lot of places there are either 1, perhaps 2 sysadmins for a site. This site can be about 4-5000 people all in, with a couple of hundred different servers, including mail, database, firewall, application, web, mix of above, departmental oddities etc. Some of which IT run, some of which IT aren't allowed to touch.

5) There is no budget for the commercial tools for IDS/IPS, wider management, Database management etc. This means you're running on the 'out of the box' tools only.

6) Sysadmins are expected to meet vendors and approve/veto apps brought in (unless overriden by the departments when consultants complain), create security tools, create monitoring tools, administer servers, commission servers, handle daily maintenance, monitor servers, create reports, consult with users and departments about the way data can be used, perform and test backups on servers, develop, report, get called into meetings, fix minor issues, test and develop networks.. You get the picture. One or two people handling that level of work? It's a case of pick which of the list you want, the rest will fail. Except nobody will choose as it all needs to happen.

So, in overview, you have a very few, very overworked people in IT that are ignored largely when all works. When it fails, everyone seems to point that direction and call 'em muppets because they can't do everything with the very limited resources available, and call for sacking, which would result in the exact same number of people hired to do the job that the previous ones didn't have resource to do, and without knowledge of the systems there. Which would be a worse situation.

Solution? Fund the IT department properly. However, hospitals have limited funds (and the funds for any task are annually shrunk by 3% due to the governmentally imposed "yearly efficiency gains" rules). This means something else has to go. So do you take money from Facilites (which can end in air filters not getting cleaned, resulting in bacterial infections killing people, or not enough cleaners, results as previous), from Clinical (so people are even more rushed, resulting in more problems on the front line), or where?

Yes, there are solutions, but it really does mean more NHS funds. Which means a bigger tax burden to fund it (or less Gvt. pork spending elsewhere, but more likely a tax increase), and nobody wants a higher tax.

Reducing the targets culture would go a long way to freeing up money inside the NHS (as the amount of juggling that needs to be done in hospitals to meet these targets is horrendous). But that will mean longer waits, which irritate people.

Running tech is a fine balancing act between money, keeping users happy and keeping users secure. If any of that is wrong, the rest of it goes to pot very quickly.

BNP races to get membership list off the net


Sad day

When people condone the highly illegal breaches of every data protection law we have, just because they disagree with a political stance.

This was marked as being an 'inside job', which means someone authorised to have the info simply walked off with it. It's not a security breach in "an external cracker got into our systems and lifted it".. It's a case of someone who was put in a position of trust decided to breach that trust.

Whatever the rationale, if that person is discovered, they should NEVER work in a sensitive data environment ever again. If you disagree with something, by all means, walk out, but don't screw over your organisation, and all the affiliates.

As to Jacqui Smith saying that she didn't mind people knowing she was a member of the Labour Party, would she mind everyone knowing her home address(es), email and telephone number? Her kids' details, and the rest of her family info? Don't think that would fly somehow.

Personally, I find it weird that you can be a member of a hard left organisation with nobody batting an eyelid, yet join a hard right, and you're automatically evil (both sides are pretty much nasty). And having non-terror parties on a membership blacklist for certain professions?

As long as it doesn't influence their day to day job then why the hell do people care (apart from creating a bogeyman for everyone to 'fear' and be 'protected from').

And of course 'respected members of the community' keep quiet largely about BNP membership. Everything that's ever said about it is in vilification. As soon as that's brought up, anything else someone may have done is automatically ignored, and that membership becomes the be all and end all; this is about the only political party I know of that this happens with. So much for freedom of political expression!

I don't really agree with the BNP (being very much middle of the road), but hey.. Just because I strongly disagree with their policy shouldn't mean I have an automatic right to censor them. And I certainly don't have the right to expose their details to their absolute extreme opposites, many of who will almost certainly not be above the use of violence and directed hate campaigns.

So, if anything, this release if details is pretty much an incitement to the commitment of hate crimes. Which is a Bad Thing(TM). Worse than the BNPs homegrown bigotry.

Co-op IT workers vote on strike action



It's not a case of the IT workers living costs being too high. All the workers in the UK have these same living costs. Once you outsource to India, you have all kinds of overheads to bridge the management gap, so at that point, you should really outsource the management.

When the management is elsewhere, hey, outsource the accountants, so they can meet with the managers.

End result is that you have only the 'customer facing' people left in the UK, and the whole of the rest of the business is outsourced. Especially the hugely expensive CEO positions (after all, they need to be right there for the management chain to call on).

Somehow, I don't think the rest of it'll happen. Just the IT.. As after all, every user knows that the techs just wave a wand, and it happens by magic yesterday, doesn't it?

BBC's speak you're branes collapses under Brand-Ross sex outrage

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@Tim Spence et. al.

Course you don't care. It's not happened to you, right? Therefore, it's ok. You're not offended. No problem.

Mr. Sachs isn't calling in the cops, so good on him, I say. Just shows he's actually a worthwhile chap who has a lot of backbone (who knows Ross and Brand are going to get a kicking anyway), and just wants to get on with life, without all the fuss.

Really, Ross & Brand were just bullying. Same thing you see on school playground the world over. None of the kids give a damn about the one being bullied there either; because it's not them, it's ok.

Was I arsed to write a letter of condemnation to the beeb? No. Do I think Ross and Brand need a kicking for being bullies, and breaking the BBCs own rules of conduct? Damn straight. So does the person who signed off on it.

Speed cams ditched in Wiltshire


@Tim Parker

Had a look at those documents.

It stays that statistically, 30 odd percent of contributory factors in fatalities are people not looking (pedestrians).

Another close to 30% are due to inexperience. About 17% are due to carelessness, driving inappropriately for the conditions, or excess speed for the limit. Doesn't contradict the 5-6% where speed is a _contributory factor_. Not the one and only, but the contributory.

Speed cameras do nothing for safety (I ended up going on one of those speed courses for doing 46 in a 40 at 3am, with nobody around. Safe? As houses). On the 'speed education course' they threw a lot of statistics around, which I actually had better data on. I introduced them to mathematical analysis, which they knew nothing about, and basically wiped the floor with them, exposing which of their vids were propoganda, and what of their info was useless (however, they did advocate the advanced driving test, which I thought was a sterling idea! That really would help safety on the road).

The problem, as has been repeatedly written above is inappropriate speed (30 in a 30 limit when schools are coming out on twisty roads? Not a chance. 40 in a 30 at 3am with nobody around? Safe).

What we need (and actually have the tech for) is dangerous driving detectors, if we're going to put up any cameras at all. You know, the jerks that are undercutting at speed, weaving in and out of traffic, overtaking into oncoming traffic causing one or both lanes to brake, so on, so forth.

For all these people pointing to evidence that speed kills.. Of course it does.. But the largest cause of death is dangerous driving, and pedestrian inattention. Take care of the largest part of the danger first, before picking on the boundary cases (and even then, largely picking up on the boundary cases candidates that are actually SAFE!).

Lords to attack UK.gov failings on internet security



are they also going to make builders responsible when a house is broken into?

Well, if the builder presented a house with no architect's drawings, no wiring diagrams or even proof of a certified electrician signing off on it, and stated that he'd done it himself with no prior experience and a bunch of lads he knows that have done a little DIY in their bathroom before, no alarm, no windows and no door, then yes, I'd say make the builder responsible in that case.

What it may get rid of is the whole idea of "It'll be alright if we rush it, and use people who we have no idea if they're capable of doing the job apart from a quick certificate they managed to cram into two weeks on holiday in Phuket, but they're cheap.". This is pretty much how half the software world works these days.

Freelancers might be taxed as employees after High Court ruling


Ridiculous Laws..

I left contracting, shortly after IR35 came about. I had a lot of clients that sat as 'clients' but required bits of work performing once in a blue moon. This arrangement was made feasible by having a 'bread winning' primary contract that filled the main part of the day.

In general the contracts lasted from weeks to a couple of months, and were highly paid.

From this, I had to pay corporation tax, accountancy fees, sort out my own salary (gave myself a reasonable salary, so I did play fair with the NI payments), pay my own pension, spend time OUTSIDE the usual work to take care of the books, and other arrangements, pay my liability insurance (and people who have never contracted, I DARE you to say that stuff is cheap), pay for my own training to make sure I was up to speed on all the latest systems, pay for my own software licenses for applications that I was specialising in, or anticipating meeting at the next contract, pay for my own computer hardware, work in advance of contracts (for no pay, apart from that coming from the "company reserves" I'd worked for already), and keep my skills current in all the areas of my smaller clients, so I'd actually be useful to them, and could provide the consultancy/work they required to a good standard.

At one point, I went to work for an employer on a 6 month contract to do some security/system work. During that time, I brought a lot of new processes into the place (and trained the staff in how to implement them), but had the company request that I stay on for another 6 months, as my approaches were bringing a lot of value to the table, and the project was expanding due to its success. I agreed, with the anticipation of being freed from that in 6 months.

Again, successes led to a request that I extend by another 6 months. I ended up there for a smidge over 3 years until the project was complete in its final form, at which point I was entirely surplus to requirements (having been there to do the technical architecting, and solving implementation issues). This was before IR35 (just).

Now, from that, the company got a great deal. It paid me a lot, but it needed specific skills for a while (definitely not permanently). They had the flexibility to monopolise my time for 3 years (IR35 would have killed that), and by doing so, they implemented a project that saved them millions a year in wasted effort, and more efficient working (which ended up being taxed, and putting a lot more in the coffers of the Government anyway).

But all the way through this, I had no 'paid for' holidays, no pension (that I didn't pay), not administrative support, no right to continue working past 2 weeks notice without any required explanation. I needed to pay for my own training, updated software, new software and so on (which came out of the company coffers).

The old way let me work hard, play hard, and be flexible depending on the needs of the contracting company at the time. If I'd had to leave after 6 months, the next contractor would have had to revisit everything I'd done (taking a month or so out of 6 available months).

With IR35, I went permanent, and have exactly the same lifestyle with less than half of the pay, a lot more security, and without the very stressful requirement to stay right at the front of things. After working in both environments, and seeing what IR35 does, I rate it as nothing more than a malicious grab at money made from jealousy, ignorance, and the complete lack of understanding of long term flexibility.

Amazon flash mob mauls Spore DRM

Dead Vulture

Alas, no negative stars on Amazon.

Actually, I WANTED to try Spore. When it was being talked about, I'd allocated a little bit of my bank balance to buy it. As far as sure things went, me buying Spore was a "sure thing". Money in the bank for EA.

Until all the DRM came to light. Then, as the quotes go, I voted with my wallet, and that was another chunk of change that EA wouldn't get (Bioshock, Mass Effect, Spore, how long will this go on for?).

I subscribe to the "Work hard, play hard" ethic, and when I fancy a night in with a little light entertainment (and I'm not _just_ talking about all the Paris vids and such!), I like something that entertains without giving me grief, and without telling me that I'm a potential thief (I always send messages to the companies that put that "you wouldn't steal a handbag" clip on DVDs, and refuse to buy from them again as that really irritates me no end; They tell you not to do something by actually lying about what it is that other people do and they accuse me of! Bad start.).

Now, given that Spore was looking to be entertaining, and it seems that I'd get a few hours of entertainment out of it even with all the reviews done by disappointed purchasers (maybe more if I'm one of those people who actively think it's great!), by putting DRM on, EA are actively denying me the ability of playing their game (I won't pirate it, and I certainly won't pay to be treated so badly; I redo windows every 6 months to keep it in good condition, and have a hardware upgrade coming soon anyway, so toast those three installs pretty quickly!).

Actively denying me the ability to be entertained by something by sheer stupidity (saying yes, we'll take your money, but to do anything you'll need to subscribe to methods you consider deeply unethical, and I won't sell out my ethics just to be entertained!) makes me irritated. Being irritated, it's less than Amazon's 1 star (which is merely atrocious).

I'd vote a negative 1 for a company that seems actively out to piss people off, not provide entertainment.

Dead bird, as EA's sense has long since gone the way of the Dodo.

Neo-Nazi forum hacked



Methinks Roger Pearse had it right. They may not be popular (they're not) but they have a right to be unpopular. If they do something wrong legally, then the police will pick them up for being illegal.

If you follow the "Doing things more illegal than another group to get your way is just beating them at their own game", then perhaps you'd advocate wandering round with a set of pliers to threaten anyone who disagrees with you (or you think "needs to be taught a lesson").

Any info that was "released into the public domain" as part of a crack is inadmissible as evidence (otherwise all the police would need to do is hire crackers to do that every time they want to snoop and say "Oh look. Happy christmas guys!"). It may have been stuff the cops were working on, in which case.. Ooops.. Can't use that anymore. May be embarrassing to the individuals, but legally, they're probably off the hook.

There really is a worrying trend these days to make certain people "open targets", and to strip their rights. Just chant Nazi.. Racist.. Get mud to stick on either of those two (whether there really is any truth or not), and lo.. Society will go into the current equivalent of stoning and witch hunts. Trials not necessary.

The most worrying part of this is the backlash from the general populace. The more an extremist group gets pilloried, attacked and demonstrated to be mistreated, the more people will over time become sympathetic to them, and contemptuous of the 'guardians' who are showing themselves to be nothing more than cheap thugs.

If they're doing wrong, let the police deal with it (they WILL be being monitored as most extremist groups are). If you think the police need help, offer your services a volunteer. The race to the bottom of the barrel, and seeing who can throw ethics out of the pram the fastest never has a pretty end.