* Posts by veti

3118 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

Internet Archive justifies its vast 'copyright infringing' National Emergency Library of 1.4 million books by pointing out that libraries are closed

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Re: A most welcome and perhaps ground breaking move by the Internet Archive

Yeah - no. Not even a little bit.

It's precisely the kind of overreach that will provoke a furious backlash from the authors and publishers - of which this is only the beginning - and who still currently have the law on their side. If copyright reform is the goal, the IA has just set it back by 20 years or more.

"Controlled digital lending" was a trial balloon that might possibly have been upheld or enshrined in actual law sooner or later. But that depended on it being possible to make a plausible argument that it wouldn't be abused. Well, that plausible argument just got blown clean out of the water.

Sunday: Australia is shocked UK would consider tracking mobile data to beat pandemic. Monday: Australia to deploy drone intimidation squads

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Are you being encouraged to go through your neighbours' trash and dob them in for wasting food? How about listening to foreign radio stations, is that illegal yet?

If not, then you haven't yet reached the level of intrusiveness that Britain adopted during WW2 - and then dropped immediately afterwards.

That awful moment when what you thought was a number 1 turned out to be a number 2

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Actually, when you're talking about language - as opposed to a question that can be resolved with scientific investigation - it kinda does.

The purpose of language is communication. The most effective communication is the one that's most widely understood. If the measure of success is "effectiveness", then that's case closed.

If you have some other measure you'd prefer to use, then please share.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, health secretary Matt Hancock both test positive for COVID-19 coronavirus

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Re: The most worrying thing

Who, specifically, do you imagine would be taking over his job in that scenario?

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Re: Policing by consent

Housebreaking opportunities are way down. Officebreaking opportunities, on the other hand...

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Re: Brexit Bus...

Front page headlines like this, you mean?

Here is a more measured treatment of the same topic. Bottom line, yes, funding really has gone up by about that much.

Sadly, since the pound crashed after the referendum and has never really recovered (until just now, indeed, but who knows how long that will last), all this money doesn't actually buy very much of anything.

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Re: The emergency regulations...

Income tax was a good idea even before the Napoleonic Wars, and it remained one afterwards.

If the French had thought of it 50 years earlier, there would have been no revolution and no Napoleonic Wars to fight.

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Re: Brexit Bus...

Have you ever seen a crowd of people standing two metres apart?

I have.

It doesn't look like "a crowd" no matter how far away you look at it from.

World's smallest violin to be played for opportunistic sellers banned from eBay and Amazon for price gouging

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Re: Hmmm

Apple and the pharma companies were in a different situation. They weren't profiteering from an emergency, they were making out doing business-as-usual.

That's an important difference. If you see someone doing that, the correct remedy is to start up your own business and compete with them, offering what they offer but at a very-slightly more reasonable price, and thus the assumption is that the price will come down until it's "fair".

Emergencies break this system, because it takes time to happen. But when Apple has been (as many say) gouging their customers for years, and still competition hasn't stopped them from doing it, the rational explanation is that they are offering some sort of value to their customers that others can't replicate at a lower price. Quite possibly their competitors can't even understand what that value is.

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Re: Obvious gouging is obvious

Our supermarkets imposed item limits weeks ago - no more than two per customer of (canned food), (pasta/noodles/rice), (tissues), (toilet paper), (handwash/sanitiser) and a bunch of other goods that are in demand. Of course you could get around it by taking multiple trips if you really wanted to, but I didn't see anyone taking advantage of that loophole. Who has the time?

All imposed unilaterally by the supermarkets, weeks before the lockdown.

If you can physically get to a supermarket, you can get any of those things now. (Well, except pasta. There's a real drought of that.)

Microsoft goes into Windows lockdown for builds from May, citing 'public health situation' (yes, the coronavirus spread)

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Re: If MS want to do something for the world

You should have stopped using W7 before January, when "coronavirus" was a footnote in the news about how China was covering something up. That was the deadline that you were informed of at least nine years ago. If you missed it and you're only just getting around to thinking about it now - well, tough, but I don't think you can blame anyone but yourself for that.

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Re: Admission of Incompetence

I don't think so. I think it's just an admission that they take time, which is a resource that neither Microsoft nor anyone else can spare right now.

Internet Archive opens National Emergency Library with unlimited lending of 1.4m books for stuck-at-home netizens amid virus pandemic

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Re: The Spirit is Willing...

That's been "large parts of the internet" for me for some days now.

It's almost as if it were under unusual amounts of load.

Make haste slowly when deploying tools to cope with global coronavirus pandemic

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Re: The two questions

That's easy. If it's not both cheap *and* ASAP, it's not right.

Crack police squad seeks help to flush out Australian toilet paper thieves

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Re: toilet roll theft

I've sometimes wondered, how do you even get a JCB for that kind of purpose? Presumably not legit. Do people routinely leave them lying about with the keys in, or what?

Tech won't save you from lockdown disaster: How to manage family and free time while working from home

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Re: Bread

I just spent ten minutes on Teams trying to persuade a colleague to shut the F*** up about whether dogs could transmit COVID-19, and was it safe for dog walkers to let their dogs interact.

I wouldn't mind, but she doesn't even have a frickin' dog.

Finally – news that something is guaranteed to be healthy and well looked-after for the next six months. That something is Windows 10 1709

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Yeah, it's not like they told you nine years ago when W7 would end its support life! How dare they spring this - three months ago?

British Army adopts WhatsApp for formal orders as coronavirus isolation kicks in

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Re: Is this Standard WhatsApp?

I sincerely, nay desperately, hope that the army doesn't convey orders via email either.

Pervasive digital surveillance of citizens deployed in COVID-19 fight, with rules that send genie back to bottle

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Re: Golly, wasn't there something about website -- yeah.

In the "denial of malicious intent", the thing to note is how specific it is.

Think about some of the things it doesn't deny.

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Re: Phone tracking

All of those places should absolutely be closed in the UK by now.

I don't know why Johnson isn't doing it, but I know the landlords and restaurateurs and owners are generally pissed at him for not doing it. Because he's told people to stay away from them, so their business is in the toilet anyway, but unless he outright tells them to close, they can't claim for losses on their business insurance.

Part of me wonders if the insurers got to him first: "if you let all these buggers claim at once, we'll be out of business, so you'll have another financial crisis on top of everything else". But that's pure speculation on my part.

Nigerian spammer made 3X average national salary firehosing macro-laden Word docs at world+dog

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Re: don't open unsolicited email attachments

You are fortunate that you don't have to receive such emails as a part of your job.

There are a lot of us who can't afford to just ignore emails, much as we'd like to.

Attachments, on the other hand - yeah, those can die in a fire.

In case you want to flee this wretched Earth, 139 minor planets were spotted at the outer reaches of our Solar System. Just an FYI...

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Re: TNOs don’t emit a lot of light

They might emit some light. Depends what chemical or geological - or heck, why not, even biological - processes may be going on with them.

Microsoft's Bill Gates defrag is finally virtually complete: Billionaire quits board to double down on philanthropy

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Re: "Bill founded our company with a belief in the democratizing force of software"

GW-Basic, and later QBasic and VBA, are languages that basically anyone can learn to use within the scope of a couple of days self-guided learning on the web. (Or, back in the day when they were invented, a single book, or maybe a two-day training course.) No degree, no background in computer science principles required, no knowledge of things like "the stack" or even "memory".

That's - pretty democratic.

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Re: Would you like to be fried with that?

Buddhism, humanism, utilitarianism, objectivism, deontology - these are all perfectly fine ethical systems.

But none of them comes anywhere near answering the question "what does 'should' actually mean?"

The theological answer to that is - deeply unsatisfying in many ways, but at least it's coherent. That's more than any other system can manage.

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Re: Browser Wars

Microsoft didn't kill Netscape. Mozilla did that.

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Re: As in all else, Orwell is correct.

If it weren't for Windows, there would be no mass market for laptops, and you'd be paying at least twice as much for the hardware. So be thankful for what you get.

White House turns to Big Tech to fix coronavirus blunders while classifying previous conversations

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Re: He was an optician

You don't want to isolate yourself too early. Isolation is the hardest part of dealing with the disease. Isolate before you need to, and you're just prolonging that.

Isolation for two weeks is hard. Three weeks is very hard. Four-plus weeks is akin to being in prison, but without the regular feeding. If you put yourself into lockdown now, and in 12 days' time your government announces that everyone has to do it for two weeks, then you'll have condemned yourself to almost four weeks of that.

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Re: Oh my goodness -- the US administration is thrashing?

If you and your whole family are going to be confined to the house for a minimum of two weeks, you definitely want to have plenty of toilet paper about the place. Trust me on this.

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Re: Oh my goodness -- the US administration is thrashing?

You are unduly pessimistic about testing. The US has improved its position enormously since last week, commissioning sites in (I think) every state to run COVID-19 tests locally. Nationwide, the processing capacity for tests has gone up from "hundreds per week" to "thousands per day".

Of course, it's still a clusterfuck. When people are scared that if they get a test, (1) they'll have to pay for it, and (2) they'll then have to stay home and earn no money for at least two weeks, they are still not exactly going to rush for those tests.

Extending sick pay is one of the more effective measures being suggested here (and long overdue in its own right, even without a pandemic). But none of them does anything to help the unemployed, or gig workers, or those dependent on tips. I wonder how long it will take to dawn on Washington, collectively, that a "screw the poor" approach to public health really doesn't work, even for the rich?

Microsoft nukes 9 million-strong Necurs botnet after unpicking domain name-generating algorithm

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Re: MS at least try to be the good guys every now and then

TFA mentions Locky and Dridex, both of which used vulnerabilities in MS Word. So it's not just about Windows...

Corporate VPN huffing and puffing while everyone works from home over COVID-19? You're not alone, admins

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Re: For myself, full-fat VM fibre to my door is still delivering around 100 MB/s.

4 Mb/s is plenty for four simultaneous Skype conversations, unless you insist on high-definition. For regular video calling you can get by with 128 kb/s. If you're prepared to slum it with voice only (remember that?), obviously that's even lower.

Fancy that: Hacking airliner systems doesn't make them magically fall out of the sky

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Re: Natural vs. artificial intelligence

Scientists absolutely can and have explained how people make choices. The trouble is, people look at the explanation and say "that can't be right, what about my free will?" And so they reject the explanation on, essentially, religious grounds.

What makes this particularly frustrating is that many, if not most, of those people would stridently deny holding any religious convictions at all.

(Other linguistic formulas may be used. Sometimes the word is "agency", or "preference", or whatever. Sometimes it involves redefining "choice" until it becomes something that cannot be made by a machine. But always, the core objection is the same: "I don't want this to be true, so I will move goalposts as necessary to maintain my denial.")

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First, this was only a simulation. Significantly less pressure than the real thing.

Second, the pilots were warned up-front that their systems would give bogus readings.

Third, the whole simulation was artificially constrained to "clear weather", so visual cues were still useful.

It's good that the pilots were able to cope safely, if imperfectly, with all these issues. But "Die Hard 2" it wasn't.

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Re: Natural vs. artificial intelligence

You seem to assume it's logically impossible to programme machines to cope with that messiness.

Or to put it another way, you assume our brains work by magic.

I don't think that's right.

Check Point chap: Small firms don't invest in infosec then hope they won't get hacked. Spoiler alert: They get hacked

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Re: What the ever-loving frack ?

Oh yes, that'll fix everything. Office 2016 was soooo secure.

You've duked it out with OS/2 – but how to deal with these troublesome users? Nukem

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Ah, but can you pronounce them recognisably?

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Re: Expensive

The original Duke rendered at 320 x 200 pixels and 16 colours. Most people nowadays consider that to be a somewhat - dated look.

Brit MPs, US senators ramp up pressure on UK.gov to switch off that green-light for Huawei 5G gear

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Re: change the date to (say) 1929

In 1929, the Nazis controlled a less than impressive 2% of the Reichstag. Hitler wasn't being credited with anything much. By 1933, when he actually gained power, it was already clear to most western politicians that he was a nasty piece of work whom it would be wise to hold at, at least, arms' length.

Admittedly there was an influential faction of Nazi sympathisers in British (and American) high society, but to characterise that as the official position or policy of either government is a gross distortion.

And Germany didn't need "dragging" into modernity, it was already a thoroughly modern power. No-one had seriously doubted that since 1870. The whole history of Europe for pretty much the whole of the 20th century can be summed up as "what to do about Germany".

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Trade deal?

With the US?

Not gonna happen this year. There's already a constituency in the senate threatening to block a deal over the treatment of Ireland, and now we add Huawei to the pretexts. Then consider that from about June onwards, the entire US gov't will be completely absorbed in campaigning for (re/)election. And the sheer folly of even talking to Donald Trump, who would sooner rat on a deal than eat his own hamburgers.

Yeah... no. I don't know what fudge Johnson has in mind, but he'd better have something, because that deal is not happening.

Watch this space: Chinese mobe flinger OPPO flexes first shot at the wearables market

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Not true, defending a patent is completely at the owner's discretion.

I'm sure Apple owns some smartwatch patents. So too does Microsoft, and Google, and even IBM. And I wouldn't be surprised if Oppo owns a few of its own. This is not some obscure upstart we're talking about, it's a company that slings upwards of 100 million phones a year. That's three times as many as Motorola.

Former US Homeland Security Inspector General accused of stealing govt code and trying to resell it to... the US govt

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So your projection is that only 5000 people will die of COVID-19?

Bearing in mind that the total is already over 3800, people are currently dying at the rate of (around, give or take, on average) 100 per day, and the virus is still spreading - what is that projection based on, exactly?

New Jersey beats New York – and then the rest of America – on broadband access. How does your state fare?

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Two words:

Population density.

NJ has the highest population density of any US state. If you compare the list of states by population density with the list of best- and worst-performing states in this survey, you can't miss that 8 of the top 10 (7 states, plus DC) are among the top 10 most densely populated, and all of the bottom 10 are within the 20 least densely populated.

Honourable mention to TX, which cracks the top 10 despite being only #26 in terms of population density.

It's worth looking at this correlation, because it goes to how all those local monopolies came to be. Laying cables is expensive, and the smaller your city, the higher the cost looks when you're considering what to spend tax money on. So when some company offers to pay that cost themselves, in exchange for a monopoly on the right to use the stuff, that looks (or at least it did look, circa 1995 when this was happening) like a bargain. What you're left with now is thousands of cities suffering from buyers' remorse, because they took the cheap option back then rather than spring for a decent service from the get-go.

Moral: if you want decent services, be willing to pay for them. Having more people helps.

Microsoft's latest cloud innovation: Printing

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Re: Windows 365 Cloud ?

That's not necessarily O365's fault. Most installations use a third-party spam filtering system, such as Barracuda or SpamAssassin.

Face it, email - as a way to communicate with people you actually want to communicate with - is broken. It's been crushed by the sheer weight of spam. The only email addresses that have a reasonable chance of working are those that are never published, which means they must have been given to you privately.

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Re: Why, just why?

COVID-19 has killed more people, in less than 3 months, than SARS and MERS put together managed in the past ten years. In what sense is that "less fatal"?

The Chinese are now saying that the mortality rate is about 2.3%, which is admittedly a lot lower than SARS, but the infection rate is way higher. And even that mortality rate doesn't seem to match the published stats, which put the ratio of deaths to recoveries at more like 6%.

Take it Huawei, Pai: Senate passes bill to rip 'dodgy' kit from rural telcos

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Re: Fiscal responsibility?

It's called fiscal stimulus. As Keynesian economists have been saying for the best part of 100 years: if you want the economy to do well, try giving out money. Trump has been doing it since he got into office (and the Republican congress and senate suddenly decided the deficit didn't matter any more).

Southern Water not such a phisherman's phriend, hauls itself offline to tackle email lure

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Re: I note one thing

Why do you think the company itself is bragging about it? They got this one right.

Let's hope they haven't missed any others.

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Re: Phishing

Then what do you do with emails from people - customers, for instance - who don't have this feature enabled?

Good news, everyone: The US military says it will be ethically minded about how it develops AI

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Re: But!

In nearly every case on your list, the decision was made by politicians, not by the military.

Sacking a Canadian city (thinking GB was too busy with Napoleon, GB then burnt down gov buildings in Washington)

This was more than 200 years ago. Exactly how long do you hold a grudge?


Fire bombing Tokyo

A bombs needlessly on two Japanese cities

All depends what you consider "needless". Did the US "need" to nuke Hiroshima? No, of course not, they could have spent another million American lives (and likely ten times as many Japanese) instead. But someone has to make those judgment calls.

Actual invasion of UK Colony, Granada

Granada is a city in Andalusia. You probably mean Grenada, which gained independence from Britain some ten years before the US invaded (to reverse an internal military coup).

Multiple attacks using drones in Pakistan, who they are not even at war with.

They're not at war with Arizona, either, but federal agents kill people there on quite a regular basis. Frankly I'd rather they attacked with drones than using, say, nerve agents in a perfume bottle, or polonium in tea.

Refusal to extradite USA citizens

From Wikipedia: "From January 2004 to the end of December 2011, seven known US citizens were extradited from the US to the UK.[19]" The "extradition" nonsense is pure bullshit.

Refusal to allow 3rd party trials of US soldiers. Much violation of civilians at Okinawa.

Now this? - this is the only item on your list where I'll concede the point. But even there, I'll point out that some sort of "limited legal immunity" is standard pretty much everywhere soldiers - of any nationality - are stationed abroad. I don't recall British troops in Iraq, for instance, being prosecuted by Iraqi courts all that many times.

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Re: Ethically minded AI

The military has a strong ethical sense. They try hard to punish the bad apples among them.

Then, of course, the commander-in-chief overrules them.

Come on baby light me on fire: McDonald's to sell 'Quarter Pounder' scented candles

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No, it's just recognising simple facts. I haven't been to a McDonald's in 20 years, and in all that time I've never missed it one bit.

I have no beef with any other burger chains - including but not limited to Wendy's, Burger King, Burger Fuel - but something about McD's food would always make me feel sick afterwards. Not just the burgers, either - eat anything from their menu and my digestion would revolt.


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