* Posts by mchaggis

4 posts • joined 5 Aug 2009

Researchers rip iPad apart to reveal Apple's profits

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Design != looks

"I buy my hardware based on getting the best value for my money, and it being able to do the things I want to do."

I want something to read books, papers, feeds and web pages on the sofa; and listen to music and watch videos when travelling. I want it to be an easy and enjoyable experience (i.e. not a big heavy, hot thing, not something that'll run out of batteries straight away, and take time to 'wake up'), and I want it at a price which I feel is good value for money. Show me an alternative to the iPad for what I want it for.

Functional design costs money, just as does aesthetic design. Making it a few grams lighter, a few mm thinner, last a few minutes longer etc: all of these things take design time, which costs money. Any fool can throw some components into the form factor flavour of the month; it takes a lot of time and effort to really design something.

I just don't get what's wrong with something that does most of what you need/want and not a lot more? I really don't care that I can't run an exchange server off it or use it for programming in C#...

Government ready to round up opinions on DNA database



"...see if your opinion is representative."

Nah, there's no point. I know it's not, but it's still the way I feel about it. That's the joy of living in a democracy.

"Ultimately you are saying everyone should be viewed as a potential criminal... This is a failed society"

Yes that's what I'm saying, and yes I would say it's already a failed society. In fact all societies are flawed to a degree and always will be. My argument is that we have to accept that and do our best to mitigate the effects of it.

"But if you don't commit crimes what benefit is that?"

Well, you know, I wasn't aiming for it to just be me. I don't think anyone is asking for a voluntary system, are they? However, I represent one of 50-60 million British citizens who are, as I already said, potential criminals. For every million 'innocent' people, some number will go on to offend. When you're talking about laws for society, you have to look at things in terms of statistics because it's impossible to make informed judgments about individuals. You're suggesting that we trust random, non-specific members of society to not commit crimes even when we have the statistics to prove that X% of 'innocent', i.e. never-convicted citizens will offend at some point. How can we trust society when we have the facts to prove that it isn't trustworthy?

"This is the core of 'innocent unless proven guilty'."

And I agree with this principle entirely. I don't agree that keeping a record of my DNA indicates that I'm guilty of anything. Only that I'm one of a very large group which includes people who are guilty.

"does it make it friendlier if I accused you of not being a 'likely' rapist"

You actually said you 'guessed' I was a rapist. The fact is, you don't know if I am or not. Statistically, and from the perspective of what you know about me (incidentally, not hugely more or less than the government probably knows about me) there's probably a certain (small) chance that I might be. Do you trust me not to be? I don't see any reason why either you or the government should assume that I'm not.

I'd be singing a different song if this was going to restrict us in any way, but it doesn't. It's an purely reactionary system, designed to aid in the prosecution not prevention of crime (the latter only in the form of a deterrent). We would retain all our freedoms to do what we like (including raping, if that's what we want to do). In almost all cases it would have no effect on us whatsoever until such time as we committed a crime. To me it's in refreshing contrast to the likes of DRM which actually stop people from doing things which *might* include illegal activity. But I digress...

Clearly there's a difference of opinion here (!!) about the value of privacy. I think it's overrated.

PS, I'm not a rapist ;)


@Catkins, AC


In my opinion it's an acceptable risk. I suspect that in yours, it isn't. I'd rather have a 1% increase false positive rate and 10% increase in true positives than a 0% increase in both.


1) Yes it would be great if we could distinguish between the innocent people and the criminals-to-be and only store the DNA of the latter, but we can't. We're all *potential* criminals - not to be confused with *liikely* criminals. I'd like to put your records on the DB too, but it doesn't mean I think you're a rapist.

2) We don't live in a utopian society filled with wonderful happy good hearted people. Sure, it's great to think that if the big bad government would only trust us we'd be good little boys and girls and never do anything naughty. I hate to disappoint you, but that's just not going to happen.

"I'm guessing you're a rapist? Am I right? You like to rape the girlies?"

Gee, that's friendly. There are plenty of ways of using DNA to help with the solving of crimes. Yes it has a bad reputation as a silver bullet and I don't deny that there have been terrible cases of blinkered bobbies jumping to conclusions but it can be sensibly used to add evidence to pretty much any crime where contact or location are important.

@both of you

The difference in opinion has a lot to do with the focus on the individual cases. IMO, they aren't hugely relevant. It doesn't mean I don't feel for the guy who gets wrongfully convicted, but in the grand scheme of things I don't *really* care, neither do the government, and neither should they. Their primary concern (in theory at least, after getting re-elected and looking like a bunch of pricks etc) should be to provide the solution which gives the greatest quality of life to the greatest number of people. Something they've so far been pretty crap at.


Human Rights

Isn't being the victim of crime a far worse breach of my human rights that having my details stored on a (relatively) secure, automated and tightly controlled computer system?

If the DNADB can act as an effective deterrent (and why wouldn't it - would you offend if you knew your DNA could be used to prove you were at the scene?), even a little, I'm all for unlimited retention and compulsory sampling of *all* British Citizens.


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