* Posts by veti

3118 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

Defra recruiting 1,400 policy wonks to pick up the pieces after Brexit

veti Silver badge

Re: Lies, damned lies and ...

Well, of course. If you were hired for a fixed-term contract with an employer with an AAA credit rating, wouldn't you try to carve out a permanent niche for yourself?

Some of them may not. The best and the worst, probably not. But the solidly-average employees - once they're in, they're in to stay.

Everyone who's ever devoted more than ten minutes' thought to the question always knew that Brexit would be horrendously inefficient. If only the Remain campaign had thought to mention that fact... but come to think of it, it probably wouldn't have made that much difference. The Brexit referendum was essentially a rerun of the Scottish independence referendum a year earlier - the issues were much the same and so were most of the arguments, except that the Scots actually did mention this issue, and it was still a damned close-run thing.

As I wrote at the time: "There's only so long you can go on treating voters as idiots. Even if they demonstrably are idiots."

veti Silver badge

Re: From what I have read and seen

I'm pretty sure that's May's endgame. How else can you explain that election?

Sadly, instead of playing along, the opposition is actually trying to stop her.

Chap behind Godwin's law suspends his own rule for Charlottesville fascists: 'By all means, compare them to Nazis'

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Re: Devil's Advocate @Updraft102

You are, of course, free to try to define "fascism" as left-wing. However, most left-wingers would disown it just as vehemently as you do, and with just as solid arguments. They would say, correctly as far as it goes, that a philosophy of national solidarity inherently conflicts with one of class solidarity. They would point out that (self-described) fascist parties in Europe historically defined themselves in sharp opposition to communist, or even moderate socialist, parties, and allied with conservative parties. And so on.

The sad fact is that the terms "right" and "left" are a linguistic artifact dating back to the National Assembly of the French Revolution. And to be frank, the factors that differentiated their delegates are not terribly relevant to our time. In politics generally, "left" and "right" don't really have any clearly defined meaning at all any more.

So your insistence that "right" is by definition synonymous with "individualism" is, quite simply, a quixotic opposition to current usage, based on nothing that will withstand examination.

I'd also like to point out that certain people in American politics who describe themselves as "the right" will also routinely use "snowflake" - long a symbol of "individuality" - as a term of abuse. So if you are right about what "right-wing" means, then pretty much everyone else is wrong about it (and Donald Trump is the most left-wing president in recent memory).

veti Silver badge

"Communism" is based on a theory of historical inevitability about the balance of economic power between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Its aim is to prevent (further) bloody revolution by eliminating the historical conflict of interest between those two classes.

It doesn't work, except as a vehicle for ruthless people to seize and hold on to power (and wealth) for a time.

"Nazism" is a particular strand of "fascism", based on a myth of national (rather than class) unity and racial purity (with the corollary that anyone of the wrong race is not really part of the "nation"). It draws on an imagined glorious past from a time before the nation it was betrayed or declined into modern decadence.

It doesn't work, except as a vehicle for ruthless people to seize and hold on to power (and wealth) for a time.

"Capitalism" is a much more limited system, based on the theory that "capital" is the most important factor of production and if its usage is optimised, national output will be maximised. I call it "more limited" because it is not, inherently, tied to any particular political theory.

Unlike the other two, it does work, precisely because its goals are much more limited. It doesn't pretend to be about rebuilding past glories or eliminating future conflicts. You want to maximise national output? - capitalism is the way to go. Of course, if you believe public policy should be about more than merely maximising output, then capitalism probably isn't the answer for you - or at least, not the full answer. But that's an "ought" discussion, and as such beyond my present scope.

Hope this helps.

veti Silver badge

Re: Godwin not applicable here

Well, yes. The nazis themselves think Trump has sympathies, secret or otherwise, for them.

Are they right? Hell no, Trump doesn't even know what "sympathy" is. But he certainly finds them useful, both to mobilize his own base and to illustrate how the media is out to get him.

Australia's metadata retention scheme costs telcos $500k per cuffing

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Is there any insight into how much of that $200 million is related to the ridiculous number of requests?

I have no sympathy if the industry agreed to take $128 million and has only now discovered that wasn't enough. Serve them right for screwing up their estimating. But if the government initially said "Reckon on about 10,000 requests per year", or something to that effect - that's a different kettle of ball games.

Really, the obvious solution is to allow - nay, require - ISPs to charge a processing fee per request (where "a request" is defined as applying to one account/user). That would dis-incentivise agencies from huge trawling expeditions.

US prosecutors demand data to unmask every visitor to anti-Trump protest website

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What's missing from this story?

So... has Dreamhost actually filed a motion, or whatever it is they need to do, to resist the order legally? Or are they just blogging about it and aiming for martyrdom?

I would have guessed that legal channels would stand a good chance of success in this case, but only if they're correctly pursued. "The court of public opinion", while entertaining, is not really the most appropriate jurisdiction for the case.

Assange offers job to sacked Google diversity manifestbro

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@Sir Runcible Spoon Re: Well..

Thing is, he absolutely did use the word "biological".

That was what struck me about the whole episode: he made some points, which a lot of people would consider valid, and then also threw in a lot of speculation/personal judgment that can't be substantiated in any way. Then he mixed them all up, so it was next to impossible to separate the substantive points from the ranting.

This basically guaranteed that sympathetic readers would say he was right, and unsympathetic ones would say he was bullshitting, and they'd both be right, within the studiously-ignored limits of what aspects each side was focusing on.

It was masterful, almost Trumpian level trolling. And it worked. Just look at all this publicity.

WannaCry-killer Marcus Hutchins denies Feds' malware claims

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Re: A question for some American lawyer

No. What will happen - best case - is that he'll be charged with overstaying his visa (because by then he'll have been in the USA, detained, for about two years), booted out and never allowed to visit again.

If he's *really*I lucky, they may not even press the bill for his jail accommodation.

Snopes lawsuit latest: Judge orders disputed cash can flow to fact-checking site

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Re: Snopes is a Damaged Brand....

"Global warming" or "climate change" is not political. The atmosphere doesn't care what you believe or who you vote for. And besides, there are dozens of sites dedicated solely to debunking the other side's talking points on that topic, so Snopes is quite redundant in that field anyway.

'Real' people want govts to spy on them, argues UK Home Secretary

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Re: Readers' comments on Telegraph article

I'd say it's a bit unfair to characterise the Torygraph as "authoritarian".

"Paternalistic", sure. But it's got a healthy streak of scepticism towards "big gummint" in general, no matter which party is in power. It's no Daily Mail.

(Some people equate "right-wing" with "authoritarian", but that can't be justified either philosophically or observationally - in the UK, Labour is at least as authoritarian as the Tories.)

veti Silver badge

I've said it before...

Governments don't need a backdoor, when they can just barge in through the front.

If Amber Rudd cares that much about who I'm exchanging messages with or what I'm saying, let her send some goons round to seize my phone. That's completely within her power to do, and it would answer all her questions far more easily and, ironically, less intrusively.

Strong and stable, my arse. UK wobbles when coping with ransomware

veti Silver badge


1,054 companies across six countries - does not look to me like a solid basis for statistical comparisons between countries.

It's probably good enough for a decent "overall" international average, but the sample size in any one country is just too small to draw meaningful conclusions.

Nothing to see here.

The opsec blunders that landed a Russian politician's fraudster son in the clink for 27 years

veti Silver badge

"I was talking illegally while driving at the time but we got into action immediately."
Am I the only one who's noticed, this "assistant US attorney" has just confessed to a crime? Who's investigating that?

Reminder: Spies, cops don't need to crack WhatsApp. They'll just hack your smartphone

veti Silver badge

Re: What stops Apple and Google from buying a copy of this software?

The fact that it's not "for sale". It's developed by the likes of GCHQ or the NSA, and shared by them on a "maintain good relations" basis with those agencies they want to - well, maintain good relations with.

It's not a matter of verifying the buyer, but the only people you would even consider "selling" to are those who are already in your address book, for unrelated reasons.

Microsoft hits new low: Threatens to axe classic Paint from Windows 10

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Re: Now just notepad, and we can write off builtin apps completely.

When Windows 10-S becomes the only supported version, you will have a talking point. But as long as it's just an option, and not even a default option at that, I don't really see the objection.

veti Silver badge

Re: Windows 10 FAIL Creators Update

I thought it was "Lean to spill!"

veti Silver badge

@Fuzz Re: The end

Actually, the snipping tool isn't "there on all supported versions". It's in Windows 7-10, sure, but not in Windows Server versions.

What I use for taking screenshots is Greenshot. (getgreenshot.org), which beats crap out of the Snipping Tool anyway - the editing tools are both easier to use and more powerful.

But the point is, neither of these things is guaranteed to be available on every machine. Paint - currently - is.

veti Silver badge

Re: The end

Windows Key

"snip" <Enter>

Have a downvote. Your instructions not only didn't work, they seem to have caused my left monitor to die. Thanks a bunch.

Judge uses 1st Amendment on Pokemon Go park ban. It's super effective!

veti Silver badge

Re: Exercising my 1st amendment rights ...

People play video games.

And "self-expression" isn't really relevant. The 1a also protects "the right of the people peacefully to assemble" - note that there is no limitation on this right, you can't prevent it merely because you don't like the medium used to bring people together.

veti Silver badge

What then happens when cities and even whole states start demanding Pokemon Go not use their areas of authority for these games?
Then their legislators will have to explain to their voters why they can't enjoy this amazing phenomenon they've been hearing about everywhere else.

I'm sure some cities will go that way. (After all, to this day the USA has counties that pretend prohibition was never repealed.) But not most.

UK regulator set to ban ads depicting bumbling manchildren

veti Silver badge

Re: @vetia This is a bad thing

@"no-one in particular":

How is this not censorship?

Serious question. Just because it's being applied to ads, rather than editorial, doesn't change the nature of it.

veti Silver badge

Re: This is a bad thing

Yes, the "reinforcement of negative or unrealistic stereotypes" does harm society.

But then, so does censorship.

I'd like to know what rigorous study or analysis has been done to determine that the harm from one outweighs the other. I'd like to, but I suspect none has - because we're talking about articles of faith, not science.

UK spookhaus GCHQ can crack end-to-end encryption, claims Australian A-G

veti Silver badge

Re: Let Pi = 3

You guys - the story author included - are reading way too much into this.

Nobody needs to "break end-to-end encryption". All they need to do is grab the mobile phone of the person sending or receiving the message, and it's game over. And when you're a government, you can do that sort of thing.

That's totally feasible, and also explains how the laws of Australia can override those of maths.

Trump Hotels left orange faced: Hackers plunder systems for credit cards

veti Silver badge

"Card security code"?

I thought that was never supposed to be stored in the first place, isn't that the whole point?

Uncle Sam says 'nyet' to Kaspersky amid fresh claims of Russian ties

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What rock have you been hiding under, these past 15 years? "Trust" has been a dirty word at least that long.

Is this a hotdog? What it takes for an AI to answer that might surprise you

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Re: So where is the hotdog?

Fortunately for us all, Chicago, Il, does not hold any kind of exclusive rights to define what is or isn't a hot dog.

I'll just leave this here.

Samsung stalls Bixby launch because it am English not so good

veti Silver badge

I always enjoyed "Do not dip switches".

Microsoft boasted it had rebuilt Skype 'from the ground up'. Instead, it should have buried it

veti Silver badge

Re: a colleague skyped me..

Emojis need to die in a fire.

In fact, any and all auto-corrections - where you type one set of characters, and $SOFTWARE converts them into another character that it thinks you really wanted to type instead - need to stop right now. (I'll allow exceptions for common typos, such as "abotu". But even those need to be completely customisable.)

Don't change my text to emojis, don't auto-format my lists, and shove your "smart quotes" where the Windows don't open.

Ego stroking, effusive praise and promise of billions: White House tech meeting in full

veti Silver badge


"Almost the exact number we have created since my election" - either Trump is now taking credit for the entire GDP of the US, or the bribes he's been pocketing are even bigger than we suspected.

Backdoor backlash: European Parliament wants better privacy

veti Silver badge

Unintended consequences

Does this mean that unsecured http:// websites would be banned? So in order to own a website, you have to register with a certification authority? That's a step backward for privacy, right there.

What about Usenet, or plain old-fashioned email? Are those still allowed at all?

It seems to me that mandating encryption is every bit as bad as banning it.

When we said don't link to the article, Google, we meant DON'T LINK TO THE ARTICLE!

veti Silver badge

Re: This will be tough...

Removing false, or at best misleading, information is not censorship.

No, but compelling someone else to remove it - is precisely what censorship is.

Swedish school pumps up volume to ease toilet trauma

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Re: When I was a lad ....

In my school we had no stall doors and there was no soap. Needless to say it had to be a pretty severe emergency to get me to use one. Especially since there was always some kid ready to smack me into the wall or throw water on me.

You had water? Luxury! In my school, if you wanted water, you had to wait for a nerd to come in and smack him into the wall until he cried!

My unpopular career in writing computer reviews? It's a gift

veti Silver badge

Re: Career advice

One word: Bitcoin.

veti Silver badge

Re: Been there, sir

"don't know what happened to that voucher" - a likely story.

In detail: How we are all pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered – by online biz all day

veti Silver badge

Re: You are number 6

This, exactly.

The fact is, data about me is worth far more to Google than it is to me. I couldn't begin to monetise it the way they do. I wouldn't know where to start. So why should I begrudge it to them, when they give me a whole raft of useful services in return?

Yes, they know what I'm likely to buy. I still don't see almost any ads (thank you, Adblock), and those I do see are more likely to be of interest to me. Is that a bad thing?

Yes, they know where I live and where I work. I have no objection to them knowing that, provided I'm reasonably confident it's not available on demand to any old nutjob who asks - and I am reasonably confident of that. Yes, they probably know what I do for a living. They may know who I bank with, who I do business with, what sites I browse, what kinds of porn I enjoy. But I have faith that they're not going to use any of that information improperly, because there's no plausible way of making a profit out of it.

And sure, governments may be able to access it too. People have this fantasy about the secret police kicking in their door one night and dragging them off for re-education, or something. In the immortal words of Slaartibartfast: "That's perfectly normal paranoia, everyone has that." Face it: you're not that interesting. Not even your porn collection.

DUP site crashes after UK general election

veti Silver badge

"No coalition" is entirely possible, it's called a minority government. Nothing particularly groundbreaking about that as a concept, we've had 'em before, and some Europeans have them regularly.

A "no confidence" vote needs more than just defectors from those you're counting on, it also needs a solid turnout from everyone else. Depending on the cause and the opposition at the time, it's by no means guaranteed that Labour, the SNP, the Lib Dems and Plaid Cymru could all be persuaded to support the same motion on anything without defections from their ranks too.

Cabinet Office minister Gummer loses seat as Tory gamble backfires

veti Silver badge

Re: Well look on the bright side

If Sinn Fein shows up, it will show them up for the biggest hypocrites outside the Tory party.

Oh, and the SNP - whatever happened to their "non-interference in English affairs" pledge?

veti Silver badge

Re: What a mess...

I hear a lot of this "Corbyn has principles" meme.

Can anyone tell me what they are? Because as far as I can see, his policies are fed to him from his underlings. I've yet to hear the man himself state something he, personally, actually believes in.

veti Silver badge

Re: Good riddance

Ye gods, really? I can't imagine anything worse.

Give me a toff boy with a history degree every time. At least history would help them appreciate why a fragmented government is a Good Thing.

You know this net neutrality thing? Well, people really love it

veti Silver badge

Lobbyists are powerful because they can deliver votes. One way or another. In their own right, they're nothing; their power is solely in how many votes their support can be bartered into.

If you can persuade a politician that a single issue is so unpopular that no lobbyist can outweigh the votes it'll cost them, then the lobbyists are powerless. That's what happened to Trumpcare Mk I and II, and will probably happen to Mk III.

When can real-world laws invade augmented reality fantasies? A trial in Milwaukee will decide

veti Silver badge

Re: Actually seems reasonable to me

There's nothing to stop a park from putting up signs "No augmented reality games allowed", if it comes to that.

veti Silver badge

Re: a Mortal Threat...to augmented reality games

The $1 million is in "general liability coverage". It's not a fee that you actually have to pay up front, it's an insurance policy that you have to take out against the likelihood of being sued at a later date.

Seen in that light, it's very reasonable. Probably not much more expensive than 3rd-party car insurance.

Tech can do a lot, Prime Minister, but it can't save the NHS

veti Silver badge

Re: Real world underfunding

May, to give her credit (and there's a phrase I never thought I'd type), always denied the "£350 million" bollocks. So it's not exactly fair to try to hang that round her neck.

Live blog: Fired FBI boss spills the beans to US Senate committee

veti Silver badge

Re: Honest question

As any journalist can tell you, notes taken at or immediately after a meeting carry a lot of weight, if you ever end up in court.

Their strength decreases rapidly as time passes before making them, so it's important to make them as quickly as possible. If there's no dispute that the meeting took place, and if there are no other records, your memo - written immediately afterward - is likely to be accepted as the most authoritative account that's ever likely to exist.

veti Silver badge

Re: Top-Posting?

Came here to say this. Seriously guys, how long would it take you to reverse the order of notes?

Japanese cops arrest their first ransomware-slinging menace – er, a 14-year-old school boy

veti Silver badge

Re: There is no excuse for this

So what's your suggestion, we should only go after the biggest criminals and leave the smaller ones alone?

No thanks. One perp stopped is better than none. Particularly as now there's an outside chance he'll straighten up and channel his talents into something productive.

Ex-Waymo engineer pleads the 5th in ongoing Uber law fight

veti Silver badge

Re: deny you adverse inference

Right, which is one reason why Uber told him not to do it, and cut him off when he did.

The other reason being, their best hope is to throw this one guy to the prosecutors and just pray that no-one has enough evidence to pin anything on the rest of the company. If they try to stand by him at this point, they would put themselves at risk.

veti Silver badge

Re: Let me see.

Unfortunately, Uber has every opportunity and likelihood that it can put enough distance between itself and this guy that he's the one who takes the fall, and they get to walk away with only superficial damage.

The American business system is pretty much designed to allow this - companies throwing lone employees to the wolves and walking away. It's a kinda mirror image of the British system, which is designed above all to protect the people at the top, even if the company goes down the khazi.

(Because one doesn't want one's old pals from Eton and Oxbridge trying to mooch off one when their careers go titsup, that's why.)

Cuffed: Govt contractor 'used work PC to leak' evidence of Russia's US election hacking

veti Silver badge

Re: Can someone with more knowledge on the subject answer me this:

The result was so close that you can reasonably claim just about everything swung it.

But none of that makes a difference. The rules are the rules, the game is over and there's no plausible way to replay it.

Does it raise doubts about the mandate of the current bunch of rulers? Yes, but frankly if you didn't have quite a lot of those sorts of doubts already, you're (a) not paying attention and (b) unlikely to be persuaded now.


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