* Posts by Just Thinking

524 publicly visible posts • joined 31 Jan 2009


Councils launch eight spying ops on Brits A DAY using RIPA

Just Thinking

Re: Meh

Depends on your definition of fly tipping. According to our council, if you arrive at the recycle bins and they are completely full, then piling a few bottles neatly by the side of the bin is fly tipping. And it justifies mounting a surveillance camera to procecute the offenders.

Any sane person would say great, recycling is going even better than expected, lets empty the bins a bit more often.

The fact that the council even consider prosecuting innocent residents for the council's failings is exactly why they shouldn't have such powers.

Apple slapped with 75 lawsuits by staff of titsup French computer biz

Just Thinking

Not a big fan of Apple, but it is not uncommon for big companies to impose requirements on retailers who stock their products, in order to protect their brand image.

The big problem seems to be that eBizcuss decided to sell almost exclusively Apple products, apparently without securing a guaranteed supply. It isn't obvious how that was Apple's fault.

Microsoft so sorry for limp wedding tackle gag gaffe

Just Thinking

Re: I thought we learned our lessons about making assumptions....

"How do you know I haven't discussed those matters?"

Just a hunch.

Just Thinking

Isn't it slightly hypocritical to take the time and trouble to post a comment saying that the subject of the article is so trivial that people shouldn't bother commenting on it? And then mention in passing several other issues which you think people ought to be commenting on instead. This random shooting in the USA ... presumably you have published a detailed opinion on this important piece of news in some other forum somewhere?

Many of the people commenting use Microsoft products every day, and some of those people might be in a position to decide to use alternatives instead - Chrome, Linux, Open Office. So a story about Microsoft losing the plot in a public and embarrassing way is of interest.

Political shifts in France, or the Euro meltdown are more in the category of things which might affect me but there isn't a lot I can do about it.

Riots - they happen in every country. Civil war - there is always one happening somewhere in the world and most countries have had one at some point. Murder in the US - happens 50 times a day. Hellish for the people involved, but if I happen to miss the news that day, it didn't happen.

UK websites: No one bothers with cookie law, why should we?

Just Thinking

3rd party analytics (eg Google) and non-tracking advertising are the grey-areas.

You ask why the fuss? That's why.

Most sites don't implement their own cross-site tracking, because most site owners don't control or influence large numbers of sites. Many sites use Google for adverts and analytics. It's the ambiguity over Google et al which is causing the concern.

That is all assuming the rest of what you say is actually how the law will be interpreted. This still has the capacity to become a weapon for those with wealth or power to use against websites they happen not to like.

Just Thinking

Re: Kudos to Channel 4

But the vast majority of websites are run by individuals, small non-profit organisations and small businesses who don't have the resources to hire celebrities (or Alan Carr), quite possibly are using a CMS and so don't actually know what cookies their site uses, and maybe aren't that clued up on cookies themselves.

The point of the law is to prevent invasion of privacy. Non-tracking cookies should be unequivocally exempt (no grey areas about whether they are essential to the functionality of the site). Ubiquitous tracking cookies like Google etc should be the responsibility of Google etc - first time they want to track you, they should ask. That shouldn't be the individual responsibility of every single one of the millions of websites which use adsense or analytics.

Just Thinking

Don't know where you live, but on my street if you park on the pavement you will cause an obstruction. Doesn't stop them, of course. Just to be certain, they always put their bins out a few days early to make sure the pavement is completely blocked.

Just Thinking

Healthy looking hair

My hair's so strong and shiny ... because it's made of nylon.

MoneySavingExpert.com founder flogs website for £87m

Just Thinking

Re: Cynical...perhaps

"Martin Lewis is not making a charity donation. He is now one of the wealthy and gets to say how money he would otherwise pay in tax is spent."

I never really thought of it like that.

Although he has to pay for the privilege by donating a large sum of money to the charity out of his own pocket..

Just Thinking

But where do you sign up to get your website relentlessly plugged on the BBC?

1930s photos show Greenland glaciers retreating faster than today

Just Thinking

Re: Industrial Revolution

But in those days the world population was about 1 billion, most of them not in industrialised countries. UK population was around 10 million, the US not much more.

The steam engines might have had a seriously bad effect on local air quality, but I don't know if there was enough to have a significant global effect.

Online bookie can't scoop £50k losses made by 5-year-old

Just Thinking

Same thing happened to me years ago

This isn't just an online thing.

Many years ago my girlfriends 5 year old got hold of my bank account number, went down to the local branch and took out a loan for £50K. Walked out of the bank with a big bag of cash, straight into the bookies next door and blew the lot on a greyhound because it was named after a cartoon character. Lost it all.

Apparently I was liable because the kid new my mother's maiden name.

Seriously, in the analogue world, is there any conceivable way a 5 year old could lose £50K of somebody else's money? If a company has a system which allows that to happen online, it is entirely their own fault imho.

To those of you who are expressing doubt that it was really the kid, Spreadex shot themselves in the foot somewhat by essentially trying to say the guy was liable anyway. Nobody was denying it was the kid (whether it actually was or not) so the court had no reason to question it, and in part the verdict was based on the undisputed fact that it was the kid. Serves them right.

Wealthy Kensington & Chelsea residents reject BT fibre cabinets

Just Thinking

Re: Fair enough

NIMBYism usually refers something which is beneficial to the wider population but has an adverse effect on one local area. Most of us are NIMBYs when it comes down to it. If they build something bad near your home it's a double whammy - it spoils your home life but you can't move because you are suddenly in negative equity. I would protest like hell and find any excuse for them not to do it to me, to do it to someone else instead, and so would most of you.

This is different - if the people in a particular borough genuinely* hate these boxes so much that they would rather stay with slow broadband, then that's their choice isn't it? It doesn't affect the rest of us, why be sniffy and say they should go back to dial-up? Let them keep their existing connection if they prefer, that's local democracy. It might even be rational if having the boxes bring house prices down.

*depends whether it is genuine of course. If most people want fibre and it is just a few overly influential luddites stopping it, get together and make some noise.

Just Thinking

Re: What happened to miniaturization, micro-electronics, etc?

I would be pretty peeved if I lived in KC.

But I think it is valid to ask, even if they have to be that size, why do they have to be so ugly?

How much would it cost to have them available in a small range of different colours, so that the most sympathetic colour could be chosen for each location? I bet that colour would almost never be dark green.

And could they not design it to look a little bit less like it was built by British Leyland in the 70s? Hell the old red phone boxes became an icon. Can't they put a tiny bit of style into these boxes?

Creatives spin copyright licence that sticks to web

Just Thinking

Re: Conspicuous by absence

Not a personal dig, just the other side of the coin ... it is sometimes possible for people to over estimate how creative they are.

Wedding photographers are an example. The venue, people and outfits are all laid on, they charge a reasonable hourly rate as a skilled professional photographer, and what they produce is hopefully good quality but usually not especially original or creative. If you are lucky they have managed to get a group shot where nobody has their eyes closed.

At that point they really have done their job and ought to take the money, hand over the jpegs and go away. But no, they use copyright to gouge the happy couple and their relatives for every single print.

Somebody always gets screwed over by copyright, but it isn't always the creator.

CISPA passes House of Representatives vote

Just Thinking

Re: This is enough to piss-off-a-Pirate

29 people took the time and trouble to downvote an AC?

What lasting harm will that do?

Great HR mistakes of our time - Aviva fires 1300 by email

Just Thinking

"They sign up for the job because they want to help people"

No they don't. The sole purpose of HR is to prevent the company being sued by its employees. That all.

'Perfect storm' drives electronics stores to EXTINCTION

Just Thinking

I think it will be a bit of a shame when there is nowhere to go to actually look at stuff before you go back home and order it off the internet.

Pakistanis revolt over Great Firewall plans

Just Thinking

Calm down

They are only blocking blasphemy. People who say bad things about the baby Jesus don't deserve to be heard, do they?

Pew study finds one in five Americans still won't go online

Just Thinking

@ John A Blackley

Depends what sort of nonsense. ID is a bit silly - anything science can't currently explain MUST be the work of god. That has been going on since they blamed Thor for thunderstorms, and science doggedly chips away at it. Young earth creationism (earth created 6000 years ago), which I think is taught in some schools, calls into doubt many areas of science (cosmology, nuclear physics, geology etc). But also it refutes the scientific method. That is seriously bad.

The problem is it makes people with limited scientific knowledge think that proven science is "just a theory". Well it is, but not in the sense that anything any idiot makes up is equally valid. So then you get teenage mums, who only have a kid because they were too stupid to use contraception, deciding that their opinion on the safety of MMR is at least as good as that of the entire medical profession. Suddenly measles epidemic, who knew.

Just Thinking

Some parts of the USA teaching evolution is banned in schools, which in a democracy I take to mean >50% of the population don't believe in science. (At least I hope so, because any educated person who can sit by and watch science removed from schools because they can't be bothered to vote deserves the theocratic state they are going to get).

So at least 30% of the population use the internet, but think god makes it work.

Fate of punters' Megaupload files to be thrashed out in court

Just Thinking

Re: Copying files is not stealing

It says in the article his hard drive crashed. That would imply that the only backup of his business critical files was on a single file sharing site.

Not a very sensible backup strategy, especially now that there are so many alternative free online file storage services available. Should have had the data on at least 2 or 3 of them.

What were Megaupload's terms? If that didn't include guaranteed backups of users' data (which it probably didn't) I can't see he has a case. His situation is exactly the same as if the company had gone bust, or some disaster had happened to their servers.

Naked gyrating iPad vid exposes truth behind Apple's billions

Just Thinking

Re: But ...

The population of China is more than 4 times the population of the USA, and most of the people there are poor. Putting up the price of an iPad and paying Chinese workers a bit more to manufacture them isn't going to fix that situation.

Just Thinking

Re: it's all relative isn't it?

I am just wondering - what would actually happen if a factory popped up in China and started offering the same salaries and t&c's* as the west? The lucky few would get jobs there, everyone else would just shrug their shoulders and say that's life? I don't think so. There wouldn't be 500 people queuing for jobs, there would be riots and murders.

These countries will go through the same journey as the west, possibly a lot faster than the 200 years it took us to stop treating factory workers as expendable slave labour. Heaven help the fat and lazy UK when they get there, but they will.

*I know, but it doesn't look right without the aberrant apostrophe.

Publishing giants sue open textbook startup over layout

Just Thinking

Well, I doubt that you can copyright the choice of font size, style, page size or margin widths.

Given that, how much of the pagination and layout is the result of complex design (on the part of the authors) and how much is simply the result of the authoring software doing its job automatically?

If someone paraphrases the textbook, taking care to keep the paragraphs the same size, they will get the same pagination and layout.

Clearly doing something like that is, at some level, taking advantage of someone else's work (unfairly IMHO), but claiming copyright on something which was created automatically by some piece of software isn't the way to go.

Amount of ice in Bering Sea reaches all-time record

Just Thinking

Re: Is the tide turning?????

Hope this isn't a silly question, but is zero ice really a significant state change?

Your point is that declining ice produces positive feedback (there is more sea, which absorbs more heat rather than reflecting it like ice does). There is less and less ice, then at some point there is no ice at some point in the year.

At that point, in sea level terms, things stop getting any worse. Sure the ice can decline further (no ice for one month each year, no ice for three months each year ...). And that might lead to bigger storms to exacerbate the problems with sea levels.

But in this continuous decline, what is so special about the point when the ice disappears? It's just a point on a curve, not a step change.

Renault Twizy budget e-car

Just Thinking

Re: target market

"the ability to park anywhere, including pavements at a pinch"

Where do you live? Round our way it is not uncommon to see cars parked on the pavement (all four wheels sometimes). Nobody ever seems to do anything about it.

TITANIC 'UNLIKELY' TO SINK AGAIN, says prof - apparently

Just Thinking

Slightly OT

Anybody else sickened by the commemorations today? One minute silence FFS. Someone on the BBC bleating on about "poignant memories" - you would have to be well over 100 to have the vaguest recollection of it. People grieving for distant relatives they never met who died a century ago.

Get some perspective, this happened two years before the deadliest war in human history.

Still, the great and the good of Southampton seem to have taken the excuse to treat themselves to a bit of a bash at the council taxpayers' expense.

Twitter slams top five spammers with legal suit

Just Thinking


When you see "RIP Jesus" trending on good friday, you can't help but admire the church for inventing botnets 2000 years before the rest of us. And as various people pointed out, didn't they read the ending?

Crowdsource yourself a new job

Just Thinking


Is that for real? People will do design work for free just for a 1 in 100 chance they might get paid for it?

Virgin Media's latest throttling rules

Just Thinking

The cap doesn't make any distinction between somebody who uses 10GB at peak times every single day, or someone who downloads a 10GB game upgrade every couple of months.

I think as connections get faster, there probably has to be some kind of limit, but surely part of the point of high speeds is that you can occasionally download a big file quickly, otherwise why bother? A soft limit based on, say, average usage, would be just as effective, but possibly acceptable to a lot more people.

Email cock-up blamed in Check Point domain expiry snafu

Just Thinking

Re: Breaking news - Technological break through in domain purchasing..

Not sure how common this is, but the host I use will grab the domain name for you if, eg the credit card fails for auto-renew.

They sting you for $80 to sell it back to you, but it's better than risking losing it. In fact, it is probably better that they charge something, it gives them an incentive to make sure their system is working.

Just Thinking

Someone downvoted this?

Internet Explorer nibbles browser rivals, swells by 1%

Just Thinking

Re: Lazy

Well this morning I used the Companies House website (a government site) and discovered that it DOESN'T WORK unless you are using IE. They know about it, don't seem to see it as any kind of problem.

It isn't a particularly complicated site (just gathering a few basic details that form the annual return), and I bet they paid a fortune to have it developed. They really should have made it standards compliant.

So please cross one user off the IE count because I wasn't using it out of choice.

Security guards brawl over world's biggest Apple Store

Just Thinking

I may be misunderstanding the situation, but it seems to me that the people who put the billboards up were well out of order, and the mall were well within their rights to take them down. They don't even look safe.

Now it is possible the security guards decided to beat up the people who had put the banners up just for the hell of it, but it seems more likely that the fight started because the rival group tried to stop them removing the banners.

Blame lays squarely with the rival mall, imho.

Just Thinking

Our shopping centre has, I don't know, four security guards. Mainly to help people who are lost.

Where the hell did all those chinese guards come from? Not just the ones taking down the banners, there is also a wall of guards standing shoulder to shoulder enclosing the customers. There must be hundreds of them. Bizarre.

Lucy in 3.4 million-year-old cross-species cave tryst

Just Thinking

Re: An opposable big toe, huh?

But where would you buy shoes that fit? Doesn't work for me.

Just Thinking

Re: I'll bet we'll find plenty of other species too.

Ironically, the mechanism by which the smartest get to rule the tribe is religion. Invent a plausible explanation for what happens when you die (heaven or hell depending on whether you do what god wants), convince people that you know what god wants, tell them that he is all seeing so they will go to hell even is nobody catches them doing wrong. Everyone will do what you tell them.

If you are really smart, and intuitively understand that evolution applies to memes as well as genes, also tell them god doesn't like masturbation or birth control.

Gov IT contractors hire staff in India to work on benefits system

Just Thinking

Re: the unemployed of the UK aren't developers

Most of the developers I worked with, certainly in my early career, were self taught. These days it is easier than ever to teach yourself programming.

Anybody who has been sat on their arse for however many months/years, drawing benefits and watching Jeremy Kyle, without realising that teaching themselves to program the computer in the corner might be some help ... probably doesn't have what it takes. How are you going to train them to be decent developers?

Raspberry Pi supplier coughs to ship date delay glitch

Just Thinking

@John Robson

"The media got a bit excited, the foundation had to offload the distribution (and scale up production)."

But were they unaware that this would mean lengthy certification, causing months of delay to shipments?

Were RS and Farnell aware of that?

It seems to me that they were offering shipment dates which they ought to have known were never possible.

Game closes 277 stores

Just Thinking

Re: Suspension of Refunds, Exchanges?

Its a shame people are not more aware of this when buying gift cards. It is an unsecured loan which doesn't pay any interest.

This same thing happened with Zavvy a few years ago, so it was hardly a bolt out of the blue when Game got into trouble. Why would anyone lend them money for free?

Yeah, sure, it means you don't have to choose what to buy for that person you love so much.

Smoked by Android: Microsoft coughs up free laptop

Just Thinking

I think the deal is that you get some kind of discount for trading in your phone (and agreeing to be photographed, which is a condition).

But if the challenge is to find the weather in two cities and the Microsoft guy does it in 2 second because he has the apps pre-loaded, is that actually going to impress anybody? If anything it would make me suspicious that if they had to pull stunts like that their phone probably isn't that fast.

That said, with my phone (10 quid Asda special) if I wanted to know the weather I would have to phone my wife and ask her to check on her laptop.

Just Thinking

Re: "throttling non-WinPhone devices"

forcing the competitors to use the store's WiFi, which curiously enough seems to be throttled, while the Win Phone is connected to a separate secure and fast WiFi.

Would be possible, I'm not saying that's what they actually did.

BOFH: Dawn raid on Fort BOFH

Just Thinking

Failing to distinguish...

between pointless gadgets and obsolete items.

Most of my junk boxes are filled with things which saw plenty of use at the time, but have either been replaced by something better (eg a bigger memory stick) or are no longer needed because things have changed (I used my KVM switch every day in my old job because I worked from home. Now things have changed it is no use at all to me).

But we all make mistakes. Can't imagine why I bought a PDA - and worse still the docking station is still on my desk, plugged in. No idea where the PDA itself is.

New steganography technique relies on letter shapes

Just Thinking

The point of steganography is that the enemy don't even know there is an encrypted message so they leave you alone rather than locking you up/torturing you/kidnapping your family to force you to give up the keys.

If you "hide" your message in a bunch of random meaningless text, you are wasting your time with the stego part because it is fairly obvious that the message has a hidden meaning. You might as well use Base 64.

Lawyers of Mordor retreat from The Hobbit

Just Thinking

Re: What's in a name?

The pub name probably isn't the problem here (although they would probably do a bit of sabre rattling anyway), it is more likely things like the cocktails. They have trademarked the name Hobbit for every imaginable film spin off, including beverages. If they let this pub sell cocktails with trademarked names, they would lose the trademark (for the broad class which includes beverages and many other things).

You don't go to a pub because of its name, but some people like themed pubs, so there is a potential commercial benefit from using the copyrighted imagery. If you want to argue that the pub provides free promotion for the film - fine, that is something good to throw into the negotiations *when you ask permission*. It isn't a valid excuse to not ask.

Just Thinking

Re: More to come?

Yes, if you take images from a recent high profile film and use them to theme your pub, you are going to have to pay fro the privilege. One business using another business's copyright material for commercial gain, of course they have to pay.

The pub is a business, not an amateur fan site.

Just Thinking

I don't really understand most peoples' attitude to this case, so I will probably get downvoted. But I don't see how this pub have won some kind of moral victory. Please tell me where my logic is wrong here.

SVC own the rights (trademarks of the names use in relation to beverages amongst other things). They have to defend those rights or risk losing them.

The pub knew someone owned some kind of rights on those names, or ought to have (obvious to anybody who thinks about it for 10 seconds) and it is not exactly difficult to find out who owns the trademark and what it covers these days - its searchable on the IPO site.

If the pub had asked permission before doing it, SVC would have been perfectly within their rights to just say no. And they might well have said no, simply because it is too expensive to deal with a little pub so they can't be arsed. Or because they thought such a deal might cheapen the brand. Would anyone have got on their high horse about that? I doubt it.

So this pub infringe SVC's rights, either because they didn't have the common sense to find out what the legal situation is, or they just hoped they would never get caught out. When SVC do find out, why on earth shouldn't they adopt the same policy they would have done if the pub had asked?

I don't think they originally only wanted the £100 fee - they wanted to restore the situation to what it would have been if the pub had asked permission (ie no LOTR theme). Nothing evil about that, it is their entitlement as rights holders. Having backed down in the face of a somewhat unjustified public backlash, you can't blame them for trying to put a positive spin on it.

Isn't their a real ale called Hobbit? Assuming they paid for the rights, I wonder what they think about Hobbit themed cocktails?

Lawyers of Mordor menace Hobbit boozer

Just Thinking

Re: Bad feeling...

INAL, but they only have the trademark registered for certain classes - virtually any type of toy, game, food, drink and other product which might exploit the name.

I don't see anything to stop a pub using the name, or indeed anything to stop the pub trade marking the name (I am no expert, but I recently registered a trade mark which was already registered by someone else, just in a totally different business).

If it is actually a copyright issue, are they using images etc from the film? That would be easily fixed without having to changethe name of the pub. I am pretty sure the name "Hobbit" can't be copyrighted - can it?

iPlayer repeat fees threaten BBC earthquake

Just Thinking

Re: Just like buying a DVD without the physical disk.

The trouble is, buying a DVD without the physical disk is nothing like buying a DVD.

You can't give it as a gift, lend it to a friend, sell it or give it to Oxfam when you are fed up with it. And if you happen across it in X years time and decide you would like to watch it again, you will probably find the latest hardware/software won't play it.