* Posts by Pum

33 posts • joined 23 May 2007

Extreme pron vigilantes are after you


I hope they ironically catch a senior figure

This site sure sounds ironical - alomost like a piece of ironic performance art.

I really hope actually use it to catch a few senior public figures, like the politicians who helped push this stupid, bad, wrong law through, or a judge or bishop or two. Now that's the kind of irony I'd like to see and might actually help get this law quietly removed a years or so down the road.

OcUK puts £10K bounty on the heads of DDoS varmints

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OCUK service fine in my experience

As so many people are chipping in with their opinion of whether OCUK is good or shite, I feel it is only fair that I add mine, because I use information like this to choose who I buy from. In my experience of buying from OCUK since 2003, their prices have always been the lowest, or close to the lowest I could find, delivery has been prompt (perhaps sometimes 1 day later than I expected), and after sales service has been good. I have had to return faulty goods on three ocassions, and each time I got an RMA number within a day, and they replaced the goods without any hassle. Considering the tiny profit margins on PC components (I have a friend in the industry, so I know the kinds of margins these people work to), I would rate OCUK as good. I have never had a problem with and neither has anyone I know, unlike another, sometimes slightly cheaper etailer.

US Army working on 'exploding marmalade' missile tech


Like marmalade without the rind ...

So, more like Lemon Curd, or runny honey, or swarfega :-)

Clangers creator dies at 83


Many thanx Oliver Postgate

... for the wonderful shows you and Peter Firmin made. Noggin the Nog was a bit before my time, but I loved Ivor the Engine, Clangers and Bagpuss from the moment I saw them as a small child. Now, as a small adult I have them on DVD and still enjoy them.

The world is a better place for you having been in it and done the things you did. This goes to show you don't have to conquer nations, wield great power, or harm people to make a difference and be remembered.

Grand Theft Auto IV PC debut gets SecuROM sideshow

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I also will not buy this game now

Another lost customer here - Rockstar, are you taking notice? I was going to buy this game, which seems to be the only good one recently, but not now, because of the DRM crap. I'll wait for the DRM to be cracked (but will buy the game too, by which time it will be cheaper), or possibly wait for it to be released in bargain bin format, without the DRM. Either way, Rockstar are losing revenue, on top of whatever they waste paying for SecuROM.

Brits decline to 'think outside the box'


There's no "I" in Team ...

... but there's 4 in platitude quoting idiot.

IT departments VAT-whacked


Actual loses for fixed rate VAT scheme

To correct those commenting on the "not so bad" loses on the flat rate VAT scheme, you are mistaken, as it has always been described misleadingly. You pay the flat rate on the gross amount you charge - ie: the amount including VAT! If a commercial product were advertised in this way the advertising standard authority would probably do them for misleading advertising, but it's HM.Gov so they can get away with such chicanery.

So on the old IT Consultant flat rate of 13% and the old VAT rate of 17.5%, you paid HMRC 13% of 117.5% of whatever you charged. So in reality it was a flat rate of 15.275%, and you made only 2.225%, not 4.5% that you thought!

At the new IT Consultant flat rate of 11.5% and the new VAT rate of 15%, you pay HMRC 11.5% of 115% of whatever you charge. So in reality that is a flat rate of 13.225%, and you make only 1.775%, not 3.5% that you thought!

Re: crap apps unable to deal with the VAT change and "as-of dates" - as I like to say, if you don't buy the solution you need, you'll pay for it later. Well later is now in this particular case. Of course this sort of thing is endemmic when business cut costs so aggressively and vendors compete to be the "lowest bidder".

The True Confessions of an Election Official

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Well done Pete and thanx!

Excellent piece. As this election is for the self appointed "leader of the free world", as a Brit I also have an interest in the process and outcome. I'm glad to see people with principles still doing their bit. Well done and thanx for this highly interesting piece.

Intel slashes Xeon, Core 2 Duo prices


Great - Q6600 overclocks very well

That's great news, as apparently the Q6600 overclocks really easily, form 2.4GHz standard to as much as 3.7GHz using just air cooling - obviously that's very good air cooling!

Assyrian clay tablet points to 'Sodom and Gomorrah' asteroid


re: Mike Richards: Archaeological evidence for Sodom and Gomorrah

The first of the "five cities of the plain" mentioned in Genesis, of which Sodom and Gomorrah were two, was discovered at Bab edh-Dhra, Jordan in 1924 by William Foxwell Allbright, but only later found to be an Early Bronze Age city. Four other Early Bronze Age settlements have since been found in a line southward, though they have yet to be excavated. Despite further searching, only five settlements of this period were found, corresponding the the "five cities of the plain".

Evidence that the settlements were destroyed by fire and not resettled for two thousand years has been found at Bad edh-Dhra and at least one of the other sites.

Also, the destruction of Sodom was discussed by many classical writers, including the Greek geographer Strabo and the Roman historian Tacitus in the 1st century BC. Both stated that the story was widely believed, and that the remains of the cities could still be seen. According to the Jewish historian Josephus, writing in the 1st century AD, "... there are still marks of that Divine Fire, and the traces of the five cities are still to be seen, as well as the ashes of their growing fruits; ... [which] if you pluck them ... dissolve into smoke and ashes. So what is told about the land of Sodom is confirmed by the evidence of our eyes."

Source: "Ancient Mysteries" by Peter James and Nick Thorpe, ISBN 0-345-43488-9

BBC races away with five-year F1 rights deal

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Theme music: The Chain

As my friend Tet put it:

If they don't use "The chain" for the theme music, then someone will be due for a high speed collision with a clue stick!

Hope they keep Martin Brundle's grid walks.

Boffins in live-monkey-brain robot weblink arms race


I for one welcome our ...

... remote robot monkey brain overlords!

Someone had to say it ;)

Businesses blind to the security risks of temporary staff


Temp staff are in general more risky because ...

1. Background checks are usually less than perm staff, or none at all.

2. Someone wishing to infiltrate an organisation by nefarious means will use the temp/agency staff route as the quickest easiest means of physical access.

3. Due to the difficulties of getting a new ID set up for the new temp person often arriving at short notice, they are more likely to get lent another users ID, which is more likely to have privileged access compared to a standard new users ID.

Dinosaurs derail desalination drive Down under


Dune book?

They wrote a book based on the Dune computer game? Cool! ;)

I bet it would make a great film too! ;)))

Inventor of revoked payment patent says UK system is a joke


Why exclude computer programs?

It seems to me to be ridiculous to exclude computer programs. A useful and novel invention should be patentable if it is implemented by computer program. Of course it has to be a genuinely novel invention, and pass all the others tests, like not a business process, but excluding inventions in computer code is like excluding patent applications if they're made out of wood!

I suppose if I invented something that would be implemented in computer code I would have to describe it in my patent application as a general purpose implementation, perhaps using pen, paper and an abacus - ah, I should patent that!

From what I read, this patent should fail, but not on the computer program rule, but on the obviousness rule. This is not a patent, this is a new feature that should have appeared in some minor software update.

Linux desktops grow and grow and grow


@Joerg wrong!

I am about to install Linux desktop for home use. 4 of my friends also run Linux as their desktop, and I know no one that runs OSX.

How HMRC gave away the UK's national identity


Does Alistair Darling have kids?

Two kids I believe! So his details should be on the disk - oh the irony of it!

Dear Whoever has those disks,

please search for "Darling, A" and fleece him first!

Alistair, if you're reading this, no need to worry - it's not encrypted, but it has a password!


Data Protection Act no use ...

... as they almost certainly have crown immunity - laws like that don't apply to them, just the "little people".

Cox pulls a Comcast with eDonkey


emule users = eDonkey users (the protocol)

The eDonkey client died years ago, but the eDonkey protocol/network continued, and emule is the most popular client by far.

B3ta served DMCA notice for Photoshop Prince challenge



Well Prince has been added to my list of people that I'll never buy from ever again, and will advise anyone who will listen likewise.

What an idiot! Is he trying to deliberately destroy his career? I mean, pissing off the very people from whom he derives his very comfortable livelihood - good grief! Word of this would spread disastrously for him if only we lived in a world where information technology was cheap and pervasive ;) Oops, too late! :)

Animal rights activist hit with RIPA key decrypt demand


Search warrant comparison

it seems to me that accessing encrypted data by "the authorities" is conceptually akin to searching your home, for which they usually need a warrant. People don't seem to be all up in arms about search warrants, so perhaps that is an acceptable model that should be used in cases such as this - ie: "the authorities" have to convince a judge that they have due cause to look at the encrypted data, and get a warrant. This would be better than just having the power to demand access to any encrypted data they come across during an investigation.

However, they probably obtained the computer in question under the auspices of a search warrant, and so one could argue that that warrant implicitly grants them the right to the encryption keys. After all, if they have a warrant to search your house, and find a locked cupboard, they have the right under that warrant to ask you to open it, or force entry themselves. With modern encryption, forced entry is not an option.

Of course search warrant procedures are not perfect (nothing is), but an interesting point of view on this, no?

Sozzled Oz footie fan tattoed with 'gay' team tribute


tattoo anecdotes

Friend of mine used to be a tattooist, and told me some funny things that occurred, such as:

Customer: Do you do tattoos while I wait?

Tattooist: Yes, or you can leave the arm here and pick it up next Thursday.

Yes, people really ask that! Also, he never tattooed anyone who was drunk, and if anyone wanted a name that was not a parent or child of theirs then he'd only give an appointment after 24 hours to let them think it over properly.

16,000 namesakes cry foul over US terror watch list


1984 arrived a few years late

yet more examples of how our so called free western world is turning into a police-state. Blanket oppression of the proles under the excuse of "security". Convicting people of thought-crimes (possession of a book, otherwise known as "material likely to be useful for terrorism").

Those who give up a little freedom for a little security end up having neither.

German law smites Warhammer fan flick


so how come there are so many Star Wars fan films?

... without a problem. Indeed, George Lucas specifically says they are OK.

Is this purely a German law strangeness. If so then they could probably get around it by doing business in another jurisdiction - one that allows the film-makers to assign rights to GW and GW to pay them something for what should be good publicity for 40K.

eBay employee 'torpedos' fraud trial

Gates Horns

@ Neil Weller - NI *is* in UK !

UK = Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Great Britain = England, Scotland & Wales.

Our country is called the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

'Fiendish' Trojan pickpockets eBay users


Criminal Fraud

Sympathies for the victim here. This appears to be a case of criminal fraud, in which case the police should be involved. If the crime crossed state boundaries then I believe it becomes a federal crime, and the FBI would handle it. Nevermind whinging to ebay or Norton, she really should report this to the authorities, if she hasn't already.

Microsoft UK cracks another head over grey software


Another reason to hate M$

This verdict is so wrong by common sense, if not by the crocked standards of our apparently broken legal system. R J Campbell apparently operated a simple business model dating back centuries - buying goods somewhere cheap, shipping them someplace where there is demand for those goods, and selling them at a profit. A legal system that finds fault with that is a broken legal system - the law is an ass!

What should be happening here is that the European Commission should be extending its investigations into M$ to include price fixing. The fact R J Campbell could buy M$ products in the USA, probably at retail price, ship them to the UK, cover his day-to-day business costs, and still sell at a profit for less than regular UK channels, clearly illustrates that something is badly wrong with UK channel pricing in the UK; that's common sense, but sadly our sold-out-to-big-business government and legal system has become detached for that and many other aspects of common sense.


It's not like he sold some kind of proscribe product like guns or medication, that are illegal to sell or require some kind of license.

Grey imports have been a problem for a long time. I have a motorbike that was a new grey import in 1998. It was imported from Germany, and so is a completely legal grey import under EU law. However, the manufacturer still gave me the run-around and tried to (illegally) not honour the warranty. If a grey import comes from outside the EU then by EU law the manufacturer does not have to honour the warranty, and probably a number of other disclaimers apply. In the case of M$ software this could mean no update downloads working, if M$ can tell from the license key which region the software should be in and where it actually is (I suspect this is not the case, as people travelling would not be able to update on the road). Even if that was the case, the gripe with the seller would be from the people who bought the software and found they could not get updates, not from M$.


There, I feel better.

Assuming that Mr Campbell was doing nothing more wrong than buying legit software in USA and selling here, is there a fund to which we can contribute to help out with the fine?

NASA gives jet-setting Googlers the presidential treatment


"unusually-large Boeings"?

Surely that's BOUS - Boeings Of Unusual Size.

I don't think they exist - aaargh!

Original thinking in a derivatives market


Actually, In the olden days (the 1980s)

Well, I took out a mortgage in the early 1980s, and I fairly easily got 3 times the joint income of myself and my girl-friend who was unemployed, which was nearly 90% of the property value. I also had a gay friend who got a mortgage no problem, although life insurance was virtually impossible.

Could Linux become the dominant OS?


Time is right for Linux @ home

As an IT professional from time to time friends ask me to build them a PC for home. I spec out a nice machine according to their requirement and budget. Then I say "for a few quid more you can get this cool entry level 3D graphics card and play some really nice games." And they say, "Nah, I don't want to play games - just web and email and office type stuff."

The only technical reason to choose Windows over Linux at home seems to be games compatibility. With the rise of Xbox/PS3/Wii/etc, plus people that just plain aren't interested in computer games (there's a lot of them), the need to play games on a home PC is vanishing, and with that the last need to run Windows. Add to that the appaling price of Vista, lack of application support (still no DX10 games actually out that I am aware of), and well documented problems, the opportunity for Linux at home is growing. The main inhibitor for Linux at home is not real, it's perception - MS have had dominance for over 20 years; it takes a while for people to break with that paradigm and believe there is an alternative.

Computer program to take on the Unabomber


Any ideas how polaris is supposed to work?

So can anyone give an overview of how this polaris program works? I assume it number crunches the card probabilities, and I guess it will gauge its own bet levels based on its own perceived chances of success, but what else does it do, if anything?

What other inputs does it consider? Level of opponents bets? Time taken by opponent to lay a bet? If so what if their opponent is delayed for reasons outside consideration of their bet? What if they went to the bog or had to blow their nose?

Is it equiped with video input and attempts to read the humans body language? I strongly suspect not. Will this body language blindness prove an advantage or disadvantage. And of course the machine will give up no body language to the human player - the ultimate poker face - no tells, unless the humans notice the way its diodes always quiver when it's bluffing :)

Windows recovery loophole lets hackers in


Un-news-worthy non-issue, but encrypt your data people!

I agree that this is pretty much a non-issue - physical access to a machine means it is compromised; that's why business systems are (should be) physically secured.

However, this article does highlight the need for people to safegaurd their personal data. If burglar Bill nicks your home PC, then he has access to any personal info on it. Perhaps you have bank account details stored in saved emails, login ids and passwords, portfolio details, whatever. Even not, would you like him looking thru your holiday pics or saucy pics of your missus - you know that's why you got that digital camera really ;)

Virtual encrypted disk software is readily available for all platforms for free - eg: Truecrypt, and probably others. USE IT PEOPLE!

Also, back up your data - DVD burners are cheap too!

Thus, if you're unfortunate enough to have your PC stolen, you don't need to worry about your data being access, and can buy a new and put it all back.

Cringely catches IBM trying to hire 15,000


7 google hits for Matt!?

you only get 7 hits for Matt? Your google must be broken.

I get 120,000,000! Stil, nice long trip round the world :)))


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