* Posts by veti

3118 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

Germany warns Moscow will splash cash on pre-election propaganda and misinformation spree

veti Silver badge

Re: "Democrats were a whole lot dirtier this time"

The tragedy of this last election was that the RNC had a plan to stop the real dangerous candidate - Ted Cruz. They had a whole campaign of ads against him, they had journalists briefed, audiences primed, a large troop of great and good ready to cast subtle aspersions on his competence, character and sanity. It was a good plan, and it worked a treat.

They didn't think they needed one to stop Trump.

And why should they? After all, surely the religious right couldn't support him, and anyone who calls themself a "conservative" certainly couldn't. Heck, the man has never even pretended to be anything but a lecherous, corrupt, vacuous, ignorant spendthrift. So he'd be bound to lose the race, right? Worst case, they'd lose the presidency - and they could certainly live with that, so long as they get to keep Congress.

Unfortunately, they underestimated just how mindlessly partisan the base is.

Ransomware scum offer free decryption if you infect two mates

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Just when you think the scum can't get any worse

... they do.

"Paying for food and shelter in Syria" - I think I just threw up a little in my mouth, there.

There must be some marketing opportunities here for backup services. Cloud providers gotta be good for something.

Russian hackers got Trump elected? Yeah, let's take a close look at that, says Obama

veti Silver badge

Yes, the US does that.

So you're perfectly OK with others doing it to you, then?

Whatever gave you the idea this was about "fairness"? We're not in a playground here.

Neo-Nazi man jailed for anti-Semitic Twitter campaign against MP

veti Silver badge

Re: No issues with the sentencing, but...

Not a good idea. Consider this.

When you're in line to be thrown into jail on some random charge that you don't even have the right to question in court - then, I'm guessing, you'd be pretty glad to have defended the principle that prisoners should be treated humanely.

We can't stop them from spying on us. But we can avoid making it even worse.

HBO slaps takedown demand on 13-year-old girl's painting because it used 'Winter is coming'

veti Silver badge

Trademark. Not copyright. Nike is the name of an ancient Greek goddess, but try marketing some kind of sports equipment named after her and see how far you get.

Trademarks are limited in scope - that is, they only cover the situation when the phrase is used to market or sell certain things (and those "things" have to be explicitly listed, by category, in the trademark application or notification). So you might get away with marketing avocados, or ball bearings, using 'Nike'. But not shoes or bags.

In this case, it looks like the publishers have dibs on clothing bearing the phrase, and the website allows you to print it on T-shirts. Hence, infringement.

Not mentioned in the story is whether the website would, in fact, allow you to print this image on a T-shirt. If it would, then much as I hate to admit it, the sharks were right. If not, then I'd say the family should have a good case.

Information on smart meters? Yep. They're great. That works, right? – UK.gov

veti Silver badge

Re: Umm....

I don't know who you think you are, but who do you think gives a flying fuck about when you're in the shower or boiling the kettle?

And how do you think they would tell the difference between those two things? Assuming you're not dumb enough to buy an IoT-enabled kettle, of course.

And given that the meter only reports data daily, not constantly, the info isn't real-time anyway.

Get over yourself already. Nobody cares that much about your movements.

veti Silver badge

Re: Dear Mrs May

Oh, for fuck's sake...

"A remote switch to turn off your lights the moment the goons are breaking down your door" is not nearly as useful as what they have right now, which is a switch right there on the site that does the same thing. Doing it remotely just adds a wholly unnecessary layer of communication/coordination to fuck up.

Seriously, the level of paranoia around smart meters is un fucking believable. People seem to check their brains at the door in these threads.

veti Silver badge

Re: estimated net "benefit" of £5.7bn by 2020


1. When you move out of your house, you can be billed up to the day you move out. When you move into a new house, you can be billed from the day you move in.

2. Have you ever had to answer the door to a meter reader? Not any more, you won't.

3. If you do get disconnected, you can be reconnected at half an hour's notice. Not half a day's notice.

4. If you do get disconnected, it'll cost you maybe a fiver to get reconnected, not ten times that amount for a callout.

5. When your consumption suddenly goes through the roof, you'll be able to figure out when it happened and that might tell you what caused it. For instance, we had a customer this month who wanted to know why her consumption had trebled. I was able to point to the precise day it happened. After a bit of thought, she realised it was the day she turned the spa pool on.

The bottom line is, with smart meters you and everyone else will be billed accurately, for the power you actually use. You wouldn't believe the guesswork, fudging and compromises that go into reconciliation without them.

Guessing valid credit card numbers in six seconds? Priceless

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Re: Partial article

Oh yes, "Verified by Visa" - training users to type credit card numbers into third-party pop-up windows since...

Seriously, I'm not surprised the same company that came up with that is also responsible for this new idiocy.

US election pollsters weren't (very) wrong – statistically speaking

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Re: Margin of error

I did pay a lot of attention to the polls, and you're completely correct.

Which explains why the media is now scapegoat hunting.

veti Silver badge

Re: Nate Silver was not wrong

Upvoted for accuracy.

Moreover: 538 attached a "probability" to its forecasts for each state, reflecting how close the race was state by state. A day before the election, I noted all those figures, and saw to my alarm that, out of 8 states where the certainty of outcome was less than 75%, 6 were in the Clinton column. Meaning that, if three of these states flipped - as should be expected, in that probability bracket - there was a good chance they'd all flip from Clinton to Trump.

As it happened, FL, NC and PA did just that.

In the 75%-90% probability bracket, there were 10 states, so we'd expect to see two flips. Those were MI and WI.

Of course, if we were just rolling dice, we'd expect to see even chances of states flipping in both directions. But Nate blogged about that too, and pointed out - before the election - that the elections in each state are not independent, the same factors that swing it in WI will also very likely matter in MI. So the chances of a nationwide swing (or error) being consistently in the same direction were high.

There were 33 more states where the probability was over 90%. Statistically, we should have expected one or two of these to flip too, but they didn't. So maybe the upper end of Nate's scale should be recalibrated, but for the close races? - he did a terrific job.

veti Silver badge

Re: Polling gets it wrong when ...

No. What you call "pundits trying to explain the difference" is what I call "people making a serious effort to do some analysis, rather than just sitting back and throwing snide comments".

And Nate Silver and his team have done a reasonably comprehensive job on this particular anomaly.

veti Silver badge

Re: What is polling *for*?

For the same purpose as approximately 93% of the other "news" you see from day to day: it's to attract your attention for a few minutes

That's the only purpose it serves, and frankly the only one it needs.

veti Silver badge

Re: Mandatory Voting

I used to think mandatory voting should help, but Tony Abbott persuaded me otherwise.

As for education? Don't make me cry. People have been beating that drum continuously for the last 150 years, and it hasn't worked yet. What's your secret sauce to turn it around now? (Bear in mind:

- Teachers

- Teaching unions

- Parents

- Minorities

- Churches, mosques, temples, synagogues

- Politicians who will say literally anything to get votes

- Taxpayers

- Lawyers

- Home schoolers

... because your plan needs to take all of these into account, any one of them could sink it without trace if they don't like it. There are probably other factions (e.g. old media, new media, law enforcement, big pharma, big sport) that may also need to be appeased, but to the best of my knowledge these don't have a proven track record of purposely screwing up education reforms.)

HMS Queen Lizzie to carry American jets and sail in support of US foreign policy

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Re: Oh that's clever

Yeah, but not until 2020, or to put it another way, the end of Trump's turn.

That's a long time to wait for test results.

Brexit means Brexit: What the heck does that mean...

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Re: The future of the EU

Even if you agree with the conclusion, there's no plausible way to describe "The EU is done, it is a matter of time" as a "fact".

This is how we get "fake news", when people can't tell the difference between facts and conclusions.

VCs to Trump: You know what would really make America great? Tax breaks for VCs

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Re: VCs?

Mercifully for us all, "cabinet posts" are pretty much irrelevant in American government. Unlike the UK version, US cabinet ministers have nothing resembling actual power. The post is basically a well-paid and prestigious sinecure given out as a reward for faithful support.

Who does matter is the people who surround the president personally. Watch out for announcements of people with titles like "chief of staff", "chief strategist", "appointments secretary".

They'll tell you what particular flavour of scum will really be running the show.

Imagine every mistake you can make with a new software rollout...

veti Silver badge

Re: Brings a whole new dimension to punishment

It's those drop-down menus again. You're trying to scroll down to "Released with a donation from the poor-box", but that just happens to be right below "Crucifixion", and the touchscreen has never been very well aligned so that's that.

veti Silver badge

Re: How do you add that

It's california. Where else would you find such a great example of what not to become?

America. With the UK, as always, hot on its heels.

Sad but true.

Trump's FCC will soak net neutrality in gas and toss in a lit match

veti Silver badge

Re: Dems vs. Dems

Given that Trump's whole campaign was basically founded on a platform of "opposing political correctness and speaking ur branes", it seems ironic that some of his supporters are so incredibly thin-skinned.

To the point where it's impossible to write a news story doing anything other than unconditionally praising their idol, without being accused of bias.

Still too much discretion when it comes to that 'terrorism' stuff, repeats David Anderson QC

veti Silver badge

Re: 'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said ...

Section (c) could be read to include: eyecatching advertising billboards, under-dressed hitchhikers, or playing cricket too close to a road, among many other forms of terrorism.

It's a stupid law and the people who supported it are stupid people.

Congrats America, you can now safely slag off who you like online

veti Silver badge

Re: Good for freedom of speech and consumer rights.

"Expression of honest opinion" sounds more restrictive than what used to be called "fair comment", which encompasses anything that is clearly subjective and can't reasonably be taken literally.

Example: "Person X eats kittens" - statement of alleged fact, actionable unless you can show it to be true.

"Person Y is a worthless waste of skin with the insight of a constipated beagle and the moral compass of a Bangkok pimp" - fair comment, feel free to apply to the politician of your choice, naming no names but any recently elected/appointed presidents/prime ministers you can think of would be pretty fair.

What's the first emotion you'd give an AI that might kill you? Yes, fear

veti Silver badge

Re: No necessarily good

"Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." - Yoda. One of the vanishingly few occasions when the little runt makes a good point.

Has Canadian justice gone too far? Cops punish drunk drivers with NICKELBACK

veti Silver badge

Re: I have to be a weirdo then

Good idea. As we know, a problem shared is a problem halved, right? So if you make your neighbours depressed too, that's bound to make you feel better.

Heard of Brexit? The UK vows to join Europe’s Patent Titanic

veti Silver badge

Re: Hardly surprising...

Right. It's always a capital mistake to assume that lawyers are invested in the outcome of a dispute.

What they're invested in is prolonging the dispute, by every means available. Such as, for instance, committing to a way forward that will foreseeably - indeed, by design - run into another dispute a little way down the path.

Hence this decision right here.

Microsoft goes all Tiananmen Square on its Chinese AI assistant

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Re: Google and Co.

The whole fucking internet is censored. Depending on where you live, it's censored either by commercial or government interests, but either way it's censored.

I'd still rather have it than not. And I don't think my ISP is "evil" because it complies with local laws.

veti Silver badge

Re: Google and Co.

Err... Microsoft never pretended to be Google. In fact, Google chose the "don't be evil" motto in its early days specifically to distance itself from Microsoft.

But really, is this evil? Is it evil to provide a censored service, as opposed to none at all? Because that would make your ISP evil, wherever you are.

By the looks of it, they've even highlighted the fact that it is censored. What more could they do?

Confirmation of who constitutes average whisky consumer helps resolve dispute

veti Silver badge

Re: Connoisseurs my a***

Whiskey is not Scotch, blended or otherwise.

The Scots spell it whisky. It's all those benighted foreigners who label their foul brews whiskey.

Microsoft's Neon project to redesign Windows for nerd goggles – reports

veti Silver badge

Fire and motion

Microsoft are past masters at this sort of thing. They keep launching new - shit, quite literally for no other reason than to trick their competitors, and potential competitors, into spinning their wheels for, potentially, months or years on end, trying to understand and match it.

Don't fall for it.

If you really, really want this kind of interface - roll your own, it'll be cheaper in the long run. For the other 99.7% of us, it's of even less relevance.

Creaking Royal Navy is 'first-rate' thunders irate admiral

veti Silver badge

Re: The Navy on both sides of the pond suck

Look on the bright side, at least you are getting friendly waves from the Russian submarine captains. Probably because those captains have a shrewd idea themselves of what would happen if they made any attempt to stay underwater for more than a few hours at a time.

If you think the British navy is in poor shape, you can still thank your lucky stars you're not in the Russian navy...

Lib Dems to oppose porn checks in Blighty's Digital Economy Bill

veti Silver badge

Re: The problem with this country

They do listen to those people, yes, but what they principally listen to is "people who are going to make lots and lots and lots of money out of their proposals".

The government hasn't outlawed all porn, only free porn. Think about who benefits from that.

No spoilers! Norway won't tell Snowden if US will snatch him on a visit

veti Silver badge

Norway doesn't have to break the law. Its government could offer a promise of safe conduct. Or diplomatic immunity for a limited time. There are options - if they were willing to take the heat from the states.

Geo-boffins say 'quake lifted bits of New Zealand by 8 metres, moved at 3km/second

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Re: At least most of the country moved away from Australia

You're talking about a country with more land area than the UK, and one-fifteenth of the population. And three-quarters of that one-fifteenth are in the North Island, the closest point of which is at least 100km from the epicentre.

And it's summer, although it has been raining quite a bit.

So the low casualties, while gratifying, aren't that surprising. And calling the country "comprehensively fucked" would be like calling the UK "comprehensively fucked" if Brighton Pier collapsed. (I mean, it is fairly fucked, but the earthquake is a relatively small part of that.)

Trump may stump Australian techies heading for the US

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Re: Americans First

Believe it or not - personally I find it hard to credit, but different strokes - some Australians want to work in America. Others have friends or relatives who may be one of those.

Those people will be following this story with interest. Nobody expressed "surprise" or even indignation. There's no crying going on here. Just - what was the word? - oh yes, "reporting". If you've been in the US for the last couple of years, you may not remember what that looks like.

If you're not in one of those categories, I don't know why you clicked on this bait at all.

veti Silver badge

"... when they do not serve American interests"

Now there's a phrase coined by a lying weasel.

Newsflash, the visas wouldn't exist in the first place if they didn't "serve American interests". The question is, which American interests? Because the management and shareholders and customers of the companies who benefit from these lower prices - they're Americans too.

So, which specific group of Americans will Trump tell the gov't to bestow its patronage upon?

Trump understands all about patronage. Just look at his TV show.

No super-kinky web smut please, we're British

veti Silver badge

Re: It's as if...

Two words: Theresa. May.

It's not all her doing, of course. But she's been working on her agenda for a long time. The Snooper's Charter and internet regulation are two projects she personally has been working on for ages, and now she's in a position to ram them home. So to speak.

Kids' Hour of Code turns into a giant corporate infomercial for kids

veti Silver badge

Re: Duh - coding on pencil and paper

Huh. Sending cards away to run on mainframes? Luxury!

The first computer I built involved a cereal box and a pack of crayons. And homemade punch cards.

China cites Trump to justify ‘fake news’ media clampdown. Surprised?

veti Silver badge

Re: Who to punish...

Remember the News of the World? Shut down following some particularly egregious scandal in July 2011.

In February 2012, the Sun on Sunday started publishing. Published in the same market, by the same publisher, written by the same journalists and aimed at the same readership.

That's how effective "shutting a newspaper down" is in our world.

Apart from that: your "independent committee" would be besieged by post-truth trolls (including, and I'm deadly serious about this, several professionals paid by the Kremlin) questioning their rulings, their competence, and most of all their integrity. You don't have to prove anydamnthing against anyone nowadays - just make the charge often enough and loud enough, and that's it. We've seen it time and again in recent years, and nowadays the politicians don't even try to stand up to it.

And then there's the whole "what is a newspaper?" question. Clearly The Daily Telegraph is, but what about The Register? What about my blog? Or Facebook?

veti Silver badge

Re: Well...

Well, you could say that, but then you've just robbed the word "fake" of any possible use or meaning. It's like saying "look, you can't take a 'pound' into the Bank of England and exchange it for precisely 453.592 grams of silver, so isn't all money fake really?"

No. No, it's not. There's still a difference between a banknote printed by the aforementioned BofE and one printed by Hasbro.

Facebook Fake News won it for Trump? That's a Zombie theory

veti Silver badge

"Objective" journalism means, very simply, that the journalists tell you who told them what they're telling you. (Or if a source wishes to be anonymous, they tell you that, and also preferably why they're respecting that wish.)

That's it, really. There's no requirement to "balance" anything. All it's designed to do is maintain a viable "web" of reputation, so that each source can be correctly identified with its own claims.

veti Silver badge

Re: Post-truth

So let's have a look at your facts, shall we? The US and UK populations are:

"- kept busy by being overworked, underpaid and overtaxed".

Overworked? In both countries, the total hours worked are trending down.

Underpaid? There's a lot to be said about this, but one interesting factoid is that since approximately 2009 (i.e. the end of the global financial crash, and coincidentally the beginning of the Obama presidency), the decline of the middle class in both countries has pretty much stopped.

Overtaxed? In 1950, the UK's basic rate of income tax was 45%. Now it's 20%, and the trend has been pretty steadily down all that time. In the US the picture is slightly different, but again tax rates have trended downward for most.

"- kept scared with horror stories of terrorists and immigration" - I'm guessing you don't remember the 1970s, on both fronts.

"- poorly educated, taught by rote instead of being taught critical thinking" - again, there's an awful lot to be said about this (and an awful lot has been said about it, pretty much every year since the 1970s), but here I'd like to make a meta-point: your entire comment boils down to "we need better people". If we had better people, we wouldn't be having this debate.

Your last two points I might be prepared to concede, but only if you post some links to back them up so that I know what, specifically, I'm conceding.

"Then current population are now easy to manage with lies" - umm, syntax aside, what specifically are you claiming is different now as opposed to 40 years ago?

Your post is itself an excellent example of post-truth politics: it panders to existing prejudices and bias, without being specific about its own meaning, hints at a problem that is inherently unsolvable, and therefore - what? "There are no facts, trust nothing"?


LinkedIn competitor offers to drop Russians into same legal trap that caught LinkedIn

veti Silver badge

Re: In case you haven't noticed

"All publicity is good publicity" is true if, and only if, you don't have any other marketing plan.

If, on the other hand, they were a serious business with an actual clue about how to sell themselves in major markets, then they have just fornicated that particular hound something shocking.

Experts to Congress: You must act on IoT security. Congress: Encourage industry to develop best practices, you say?

veti Silver badge

Re: Be Careful What You Wish For...

And that right there is why I can't watch Youtube on my TV.

It comes with that option. All I have to do is hook it up to the home wifi network, and we could use it to browse and watch on demand, like - well, like we once imagined we could.

But then I looked for documentation on "how to change the root password". No mention of it. No mention of there even being such a thing.

And so, that device is not getting the password to my home wifi network. We'll watch TV the old fashioned way, use computers for the internet, and never the two shall meet.

Shame there's no standard that it could comply to that would give me confidence in it.

veti Silver badge

Re: Well, if these fine legislators have their way --

There's a difference in kind between script-kiddie 'hacking' and social engineering.

One requires someone - an actual, living person - to be aware of your existence. To take an interest in you. To contact you in some way.

The other - doesn't.

That's an important difference, because it affects how they scale. Face to face, you can con one person, or a hundred, or a thousand, within a given year. But to hit 100,000 you need to automate it. And that's what the IoT makes possible.

And that works both ways. Face to face, you probably don't get conned more than once or twice a year. Online, it could be once or twice per hour - and you wouldn't even know.

Antivirus tools are a useless box-ticking exercise says Google security chap

veti Silver badge

About time

... someone called out the antivirus industry for the waste of space it is. I almost said "scam", but that wouldn't be fair: they're not malicious, particularly, just - useless.

I'd love to see a whitelist-based approach to antivirus. It's good enough for firewalling, and that already works way better than any antivirus package I've seen.

Commish urges UK.gov to mean it when it talks about transparency

veti Silver badge

Re: Ohh noooohhhss

Cameras are not the problem. Cameras are fine. No worries about cameras. If you're caught on-camera in some petty crime (including speeding) - then I have zero sympathy, people like you are exactly the reason the rest of us have to put up with those things.

What's done with the data they collect, that's the problem. And that's what the SCC is trying to regulate. Good on them.

Australia spending AU$4.8m to do something about revenge porn

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"Beyond the Commission's reach"

Isn't that what the Great Barrier Firewall, or whatever we're calling it this week, is for?

And with one stroke, Trump killed the Era of Slacktivism

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I won't ask how you claim to know precisely who Mr "what tax returns?" did or didn't receive money from. Or what agenda, specifically, he "plans" to follow. (I mean, lots of people think they know that, but since they don't all agree with one another, we can safely say that some of them are wrong.) Or on what basis you believe he has any regard for "Constitutional regular order".

You can believe all that, sure. But given the campaign the man ran, the appointments he's announced so far, and his utter disregard for those bits of the constitution (e.g. birthright citizenship) that don't suit his agenda, I believe considerably greater cynicism is more than justified.

veti Silver badge

Re: So true

Err... "engage in a dialog with others and not just talk to the like-minded and down to those who don't already agree with you" -

... Okay, I can certainly see how you could characterise Clinton as falling into those traps. What I can't see is how you can characterise Trump as doing any better. The only significant difference is in which specific people they talk "to" and "down to", respectively.

British politicians sign off on surveillance law, now it's over to the Queen

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If the queen refuses to sign the act, what follows is a constitutional crisis the like of which we've not seen since at least 1909.

Which probably ends with completely removing the queen's role in signing legislation, among other changes that may or may not, but smart money says 'not', be for the better.


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