* Posts by Bren Flibig

12 publicly visible posts • joined 30 Apr 2007

Microsoft disables automatic IE 8 downloads

Bren Flibig

Silly questions and trenchant observations (or vice versa)

"What sort of Idiot would be so dumb as not to use AU on Windows and not be informed of what updates are available for your system?"

Anyone smart enough to follow computer news affecting their job, and therefore usually knowing of the problems BEFORE MS releases the fixes? And doesn't trust MS's fixes to always work right the first time? i.e. a substantial portion of the Register's users?

"...anyone whining about their code "breaking" when rendered in a standard-compliant way just needs to have it explained to them that their mess has ALWAYS been broken"

YES!!!!! America HATES being told this, but it's kind of a universal American principle. I mean, we got away with it, so it must have been right.

"It is MUCH easier to roll back a bad update than to clean up after a virus or worm."

"Reinstall from current backups" seems to work the same to me in either case. A "bad" update is one that, by definition, both fails and refuses to be rolled back. Hosing one's system with a defective update and getting infected with malware are BOTH undesirable outcomes, not mututally exclusive necessities.

"As for detecting browsers, that's exactly what I've done for my latest project. "

url, please?

"Isn't this something that should be prevented upstream?? Why for the love of all that is good and proper would you install anything client-side, executable code no less!"

It seems to me that MS is quite regularly looking for ways to justify downloading executable code of uncertain purpose to user's machines. What's surprising about it? It doesn't imply any particular piece of code is malicious, just that they want you to get used to the idea that it isn't your choice.

And anyone who mentions Paris Hilton at this point deserves children who become nostalgic Paris Hilton fanatics.

And no, I don't use Linux - I just though this discussion went on too long without penguins.

They used 'em, you reeled: the year's most overused phrases

Bren Flibig

Don't like the word, or don't like the concept?

Web 2.0 is that portion of the Internet that requires you to open your browser to the entire possible array of malware before it will work properly.

"If you ever find yourself with a need for both portability and power, the solution's simple: SSH into a desktop system or full-fledged server and DO YOUR WORK THERE."

Wow - after all this time, we've progressed to the model of a dumb terminal, a slow link, and a centralized mainframe. Wanna upgrade to OS/360?

A netbook is a PDA for real people. It's not a video composition tool, a password cracker, a compilation environment, or a database server.

Personally I have a lot more sympathy for those rich greens trying to assuage their guilt ineffectively than for those who simply haven't realized they are guilty yet, not to mention those preaching "good is bad and bad is good and pollution causes evolution and suffering causes pleasure and worldwide pandemic and famine causes progress and who cares anyways because it's all about what you can grab RIGHT NOW!"!

It's only technologically primitive people who have the luxury of restricting their thoughts of the future to merely seven generations. We are obligated to think as far ahead as our actions will have consequences for.

Now that "green" has been coopted, I'm going to have to start calling myself a Terraist.

eBay: don't come on our US site without protection

Bren Flibig

Rational corporate behavior

It's more profitable, especially considering how often PayPay disappears your money. They tested it in Australia, and it proved to be stupid. Therefore, the US will accept it without complaint.

And the thing about Google and Amazon being "competing products", well, yeah. PayPal is an inferior product, and it is reasonable in a market for consumers to choose a better product over a worse one. In those terms, eBay's behavior is clearly illegal.

BitTorrent crackdown cops fail to pay music copyright fees

Bren Flibig

Stupid cops

I don't mind them streaming the music - I just mind that they haven't got the balls to refuse to arrest the guy for doing the same thing they're doing.

Memo to US Secret Service: Net proxy may pinpoint Palin email hackers

Bren Flibig

False premises render argument irrelevant

>All sides of the political spectrum realize that this is a necessity, which is why Congress authorized it in the first place.

Utter crock of shit, and you know it. Opposition to the entire set of principles the Patriot Act is founded on is widespread. Only within Republicrat and corporate circles is the wholesale abandonment of the Constitution seen as desirable.

>If you want to catch someone doing something illegal, you can't break the law in obtaining that information or evidence or it will be thrown out in court. Its plain and simple.

It's also wrong. It was called "fruits of the poisonous tree" doctrine, and it was once good United States law, but it is pretty much completely not law any more. Case law has turned against it in the large majority of instances, and there is also a large tendency to simply not take any notice whatsoever of the legality of evidence collection. It is mostly honored in the breach by passing new laws authorizing wholesale surveillance and data-gathering without supervision, restriction, or obligation to otherwise obey laws.

In general, Palin's abuse of Yahoo mail seems a bigger, more important story than the one about the stupid hacker who didn't know what he had discovered.

EFF reveals vastly expanded search policy at US borders

Bren Flibig


If you have to carry the data, you can encrypt it AND make it look like harmless unencrypted data. Perhaps if they analyzed a file containing data, they might discover there's something there - maybe even unencrypt it eventually.

But if it's a picture of your kids, in a folder with seven hundred other pictures of your kids?

Actually, they'd probably spot you as a scout for a molesting ring.

Unencrypted traveler data laptop disappears then reappears

Bren Flibig
Thumb Up

Too many kinds of stupid.

One kind of stupid - the idea that our present government and business community is either competent or moral enough to do the job of judging who can be trusted on a plane.

Another - the idea that becoming freer from random suspicion and harassment ought to cost money. This is more vile than stupid, like a protection racket, except with more suffering and less protection.

Third (well, about sixth, but I'm tired of politics), is the lack of planning demonstrated by the very EXISTENCE of a non-trackable (GPS, anyone?) laptop with TERRORIST-SENSITIVE data on it. (Yeah, I know I'm over-reacting, but they do all the time. Why NOT here?)

Fourth - assuming there WAS some secret, elaborate system that required this database to be on a portable device - an XP laptop? And an unsecured one? By "unsecured" I mean "if you can download or buy software to open it, it's not locked." It's just NOT THAT HARD to set up an OS - nearly ANY OS, including Win 3.1, for crying out loud - to secure your actual data. But you have to start.

Fifth - the relatively random collection of personal data as identifiers, especially of a class of people some of whom have only a hypothetical fixed address, and others who keep their personal information intensely private.

Sixth - the likely but not proven case that this was a local copy of a database, of which there are actually hundreds of copies running around, largely not in sync ;)

Seventh - the fact that, security and encryption aside, they f***ing LOST THE LAPTOP IN THE SAME ROOM FOR A WEEK!!!

Engineers write defence against aliens manual

Bren Flibig

Hate to be even MORE cynical, but...

If we grant the hypothesis that aliens are going to be humanlike enough to notice, or bother with, us at all, we have to consider the possibility that, like humans, they (their leaders or most of their population) may simply take pleasure in the suffering of other sentient beings, and consider indulging this a legitimate and rewarding use of whatever resources they own.

Unfortunately, the Cthulhu hypothesis actually makes more sense economically and behaviorally than interplanetary miners or traders.

I've got some sawdust: can I call it chocolate?

Bren Flibig

Merely greedy, or actually evil?

Granted, Hershey's is as low as one can sink here in the USA and have it be called "chocolate" - like admitting a Yugo is a car.

Cadbury's is not THAT much better - it already tastes like it's made with lard or tallow.

But either one is VASTLY better than the waxy dirtlike substance passed of as, say "chocolatey coating".

But this is STUPID, and it's not just about chocolate. They would like to "modernize" the definition of LOTS of foodstuffs. And there's no legitimate reason for it whatsoever. Objectivity has a social value beyond questions of personal taste in chocolate flavor.

As it is, we have to memorize bizarre qualifications, like the word "process" in something like "pastuerized process cheese" as meaning "cheeselike substance with only a distant chemical relationship to actual cheese". If you see the word "process" in a "cheese" name, you can rely on it tasting like aged smegma.

The same bunch of corporate bozos tried to take over the definition of "organic" food to include an astoundingly large list of inappropriate ingredients and additives, from a large list of purely manufactured chemicals to toxic sewage sludge - really - showing either no understanding at all, or a deliberate contempt, for the concept and the amount of work a large number of farmers, middlemen, and consumers put into coming up with reasonable definitions.

Gowers considered cutting music copyright to less than 50 years

Bren Flibig

They make their own bed, let them lie in it.

The companies ALREADY make this decision - they should just be legally held to it.

When they let the material go out of print, the copyright should expire. This is the point at which the company's analysts have already determined the product is no longer profitable.

Robo-rights speculation rubbished by researchers

Bren Flibig

Property rights?

Assuming we actually produce robots of such intelligence, why would "property rights" have any more bearing here than they do on the "right" to own human slaves?

Or are they hinting at something?

Rookie plumber torches £5m mansion

Bren Flibig

Buildings made of strike-anywhere matches?

WTF are they making those buildings out of to burn so fast?

FirePROOF is not reasonable, but some moderate degree of fire resistance ought to be required for building materials. Even with wood, it takes a fair blast with a plumbing torch to start a bit on fire, and it doesn't burn that fast until you have a good-sized blaze.

This is, after all, one of the reasons drywall (gypsum board, or whatever they call it in Britain) and fiberglass insulation are so common - they don't burn, and they are cheap. I suppose if you're spending that much money on a house, it buys you the right to use even cheaper materials, regardless of safety?