* Posts by Phalamir

24 publicly visible posts • joined 25 Nov 2009

Egyptian navy captures divers trying to cut undersea internet cables


Re: The mystery of the mysterious operatives


Cisco backs down on cloud control of routers


Re: You know...

There is no "Cisco's side of things". 'You must go somewhere out in the internet to use the thing sitting _right the f*ck over there_" is stupid on just about every level there is. And "people got worked up about this, so I will think Cisco is somewhat justified" is stupid. I don't care how frothing some guy gets, that doesn't then retroactively mean Cisco's actions are in any way okay. If someone shoots your mother in the face, the fact your father wants to murder all the shooter's relatives and the relatives of anyone the shooter has ever met doesn't then mean the original shooting was sorta justified. the action was unjust (and so stupid as to make one wonder if Cisco isn't being run by congenitally defective cocker spaniels) - no amount of frothing can cause space-time to bend enough to make the original action achieve a glow of righteousness.

Austrian village considers a F**king name change


Re: There's a bunch in PA

There is a Fisty n Kentucky; Fisty KY - which is pretty close to Happy KY. Also close to Dwarf o.O

Feds unlock suspect's encrypted drive, avoid Constitution meltdown


Re: Re: Re: Re: Ignoring the obvious

"No, what you in America do is put in safeguards to protect the innocent from prosecution."

Well, it is a little more complicated than that. The guys arguing for the Bill of Rights (Us, not Willie the Dutchie) protections we see in the 4-8th Amendments were guilty little criminals, specifically smugglers (gotta love New England scalawaggery). They were responding to stuff the Brits had been using to crack down on smuggling pre-AmRev. It wasn't to protect the innocent, but to protect the oh-so-guilty. Now, it has the delightful side-effect of protecting the innocent, but the reason was to force the new American government to have to work for that conviction, as opposed to the pre-AmRev Brits getting to solve the Gordian Knot the Alexander Way. The innocent get out of trouble because if you can't get the bad guys unless they have their metaphorical tits hanging out, the innocent definitely don't get punished (assuming law-abiding prosecutors, which - admittedly - is like assuming pigs fly)

Child abuse suspect won't be forced to decrypt hard drive


Re: Re: Re: I don't get it...

"but I don't understand how someone is able to refuse to answer questions in court"

Because it isn't your (the defendant's) responsibility to make the prosecutor's case - that's his job. He has to prove you did it - all you have to do is kick his case in the nads (presumption of innocence being the default position). At least in the US, you don't even have to testify in your own defense; if the prosecution can't prove the elements of the crime, you can flip them off and let them hang (now, in most cases, it is better to punch them in the legal gut a few times to make sure, but metaphorically-speaking, braining the DA isn't necessary).

Also, consider that what you do say is recorded. Admitting to one crime to get out of another still gets you dumped in the pokey. "I did not break into that shop because I was murdering a guy" is going to get one case dropped, and a whole 'nother one opened.

And one other wrinkle: if you have been granted immunity, you can't plead the 5th because you can't incriminate yourself (well, you can still be tried for the crime, theoretically, but anything resulting from your confession can't be used). You see this in organized crime cases, where you admit to doing something, and then point out you were doing for the boss, so they let the little fish skate to get the big fish - though you may or may not still be in jail, because they already have you one other things.

And if you want some sort of underlying principle, it is this: If you can be compelled to answer, the only thing stopping the prosecution from torturing you to get the answer he wants is the little angels - and those boys are notoriously known for their horrible track record. The way the government is kept honest is to make it work for what it gets - we've gotten more advanced than the Inquisition, thank you very much

Rumoured 'GarageBand for e-books' to bulldoze textbook biz


You do realize that textbook publishers are already offering their newer titles in electronic formats, right? The problem is that they want the same price as the print editions (an exception: McGraw Hill offered the book I assign for my classes for Kindle for $9.99). They've even been offering to cut-n-paste chapters together (and in some instance chapter sub-sections) for you for at least 6 years. Again, the problem is that it isn't cost effective, not that they don't offer it.

Not to mention that letting just anyone produce a "textbook" is asking for trouble. The offerings are crappy enough with the system now, where actual academics sell their souls to collaborate on creating the Dumb-and-Dumber Guide to Subject X. Having seen the complete crackpots that inhabit the self-publishing fever-swamp ("I'm an expert because I've read every Time-Life book on Subject X and forgot to take my medication again!"), I shudder at crowd-sourcing textbooks. Even with the "vetted" stuff, my kids manage to drop steaming turds into my Inbox every semester; now we're gonna get textbooks developed by every armchair fanboi?

Busted Phobos-Grunt in harmless splashdown


World Domination?

They can barely master their own domain - and considering how Pooty-poot seems to be stroking his ego 24/7, not even that

PC sales forecast slashed on back of disk drive crisis


Umm, you can

Having less drives means you can only make so many computers. So sales are going to be depressed just from not having enough computers to sell to meet the numbers expected, i.e. if they said you would sell 35 computers, but you only have 27, you cannot reach the stated goal without some really, really new math.

But if people are not going to buy the computers anyway, the actual number of computers won't change that. Lets say some number (7) of our projected 35 computer buyers are going to not buy because they are either (1) moving into a refrigerator box this February, or (2) have decided they would rather buy a fondleslab since it meets their needs/wants better, or (3) both. So, you are going to sell at most 28 computers - less than the 35 predicted

Either condition (or both) could be the cause of the missed forecast - you cannot in absolute terms actually make the forecast because you don't have the physical objects to sell; and even if you did, you don't have the customers to sell them to. Voila, both conditions mean you will not meet the forecast numbers.

Having a scarcity does not in any way negate desire to buy, nor does having no desire to buy affect a scarcity (excepting De Beers, of course). Despite what the name implies, the Law of Supply and Demand does not mean they are part of a zero-sum game. They may interact to decide price, but they do not, in and of themselves, cancel each other out like matter and antimatter

Phobos-Grunt 'crippled by US aurora station', 'is a bio-weapon'


My favorite point is that he goes out of his way to say he won't treat them as bad as Stalin would. "I will never give a man 100 lashes", with an unspoken "though maybe 99 lashes on 6-7 occasions - but never 100!" When you feel it necessary to bring up the fact you won't pull a Stalin, you have magnificiently telegraphed that you still plan to commit genocide on the scientists' ethic group.

Not so fast: Italian boffins say neutrinos not faster than light


Well, the theory is generally right

Relativity is amazingly reliable in predicting results. Even if the "nothing goes faster than lightspeed" part turns out to be iffy, that doesn't mean relativity and all its ideas are automatically scrapped. Newton said [insert English -accented gobbledigook here]. In certain circumstances said pile of gobbledigook was seen to be breaking down. Einstein says [insert German-accented gobshite] that fixes the problem. But it still had to conform to what Newton said in the non-broken parts (it wasn't like Jupiter suddenly started changing its orbit or anything). So, even if we have super-luminal neutrinos, they ought to act reasonably like we expect, because any new theory has to be "backwards compatible" with both Einstein and Newton (as those two can pretty well spot-on explain what they say they explain). So, these particles ought to act like we expect basically right up until their little bald leader says "Engage"; if they are not, it suggests that they may not be actually traveling FTL It may turn out that FTL neutrinos act really weird, but the onus is on the new to prove itself, not for the old to be just ignored because it isn't shiny. I for one am hoping that we just took physics out behind the woodshed and beat the ever-living tar out of it, but after the letdown with the whole cold-fusion debacle back when I was in school, I am much more wary of being too happy before someone conclusively replicates the experiment and innately assume there was error

Microsoft seeks patent on employee spy system


Why do I feel that will be used to slash pay? 'We have determined that subjecting you to constant observation and judgement of all facial tics is a form of compensation to you. As such, we are reducing your take-home pay by half, since being our personal meat-Muppet is pay-raise, and you have done nothing to warrant such a raise. Remember: not orgasming at this news shows up as anti-social behavior on the monitors, so act accordingly; of course orgasming at the news is a benefit to you, so we will have to dock you for that too.

Colossal dead black neo-sphere approaching Earth


Are you serious?

It's 400m across - well within "Put a Major Hurting on" but well below "Vaporize all of Blighty"

Boffinry summit names 3 new elements



Was going to be named ptolemium until they realized the electrons were not in the nucleus

Avira anti-virus labels itself as spyware


New Ad slogan

"Buy Avira - we're so paranoid, we don't even trust ourselves!"

NASA: 'Asteroid armageddon less likely than we feared'


Not really

Even if you were to try to look for them specifically, are you saying you wold see bluebottles out in the yard or when they buzz your head.. Unless we are willing to heft some pretty massive detection equipment into orbit, we will always be scanning the cosmos in a way analogous to peering through a drinking straw to see bullets flying at the Battle of Verdun. "You only saw them after they went past!" "You gonna give me more money so I can do a proper job?" "Hell No!" "Then drinking straw it is."

Apple to Oz court: ‘Our products are lame, really’


That's more inflammatory

What Apple is saying is that it has a legal right to every possible consumer, and that the Australian government has an obligation to make sure everyone can only buy Apple. "We may lose customers" is called competition. I am sorry if I cannot remember when we all owed Apple total allegience just for them being there, and anyone else is a dirty criminal for daring to offer a competing product

Android up, Symbian down


They did compare like to like

It was a comparison of smartphone operating systems, not the phones themselves. That Android has taken a shotgun approach to dispersement while Symbian has decided to restrict itself to only one manufacturer (well until Nokia carries it outside behind the barn for some one-on-ax-handle time) is a variance in strategy, but discussing the growth or loss of one OS to another is perfectly valid. Now, if the comparison had been "phones that have X specs and features", then yes, comparing Nokia to all the Android ones en masse would be apples and oranges, but this is Grannysmith vs. Red Delicious.

Shadows of the Damned


Not peculiar

3/4 of Shakespeare's plays fit that description. The existence of a feature is not the only thing that matters - the use and quality of that feature are also important.

Duke Nukem played with a turd; my dog played with his turds - my dog was still a better way to spend my time than DNF

Legal goons threaten researcher for reporting security bug


non-reinvention of the failed wheel

"OK, if it is novel then some anonymous details might help other programmers"

And no one can know that unless they release the details. You cannot just look at a vulnerability and instantly tell if it is a one-off or may be a hidden booby-trap in other programs - if nothing else, the fact the Germans didn't see this pre-release says it isn't glaringly obvious, yet we know it is not up to snuff. Someone has to make it known publicly, and then people can determine if their software has a similar bug or not.

Apple pries iPad moniker from Fujitsu


Why choose?

"Honestly, Apple, sometimes I don't know whom I dislike more, you guys or M$."

That doesn't have to be an either/or statement - feel free to espouse equality

Aussie net censorship turning Chinese



Australia should not seek to express what is best and brightest about the Enlightenment democratic ideal, but seek to be just a hair better than a gulag. Why work for excellence when you can be slightly more competent than George W Bush. By this logic, Australia's top athletes ought to wait and compete in the Special Olympics, since actually showing the will to go above and beyond to show world-class form is not worth it if you can just outrun the Downs kid.

TSA screener plants powder baggie in flier's luggage


Failing Upwards

"A TSA spokeswoman called the behavior "highly inappropriate and unprofessional" and said the man is no longer employed with the agency."

Probably because the FBI snapped him up as prime investigative material

Combat walker machines: $3m for new studies


Cause that went so well the first time

"Just perhaps, in a Star Wars aficionado-pleasing move, DARPA are even mulling the use of mighty walking tanks"

So that a bunch of weird religious insurgent terrorists can destroy them in Siberia?

UK jails schizophrenic for refusal to decrypt files


Oy Vey

"Just remember that he also wasted a lot of police time and resources in sticking to a principle"

Are you kidding me? He didn't make the police do this - they chose to. If they couldn't figure out this guy was a garden-variety tin-foiler with all the time they had, they really are too stupid to breathe. The fact they decided to play Barney Fife isn't his fault - it's theirs.

" Like I say I don't like the law in question but the important point is that it is the law."

The law serves to help society prevent devolution into anarchy. It is a tool, not a master; when it fails, it bends, not us. If a law is crap, it should be opposed by every man, woman, and child who believes in the English-borne ideals of liberty - England used to call out against arbitrary, villainous power and not stand idly by while tyrants tried to enslave them. I guess they'll need to rewrite that second line of Hail Brittania for you. Your ancestors must have made it hard for Charles I to walk, since they were hanging off his junk so much