"The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one, they said..."
"Million to one chances happen nine times in ten..."
I for one welcome our alien lizard overlords...
60 posts • joined 5 May 2010
The best Windows BSoD I had was one which told me that Windows was shutting down to protect me from dangerous software. The software in question, it told me, was EXPLORER.EXE, a rather major part of Windows itself. Yes, Windows told me that it itself was a danger. The only true thing MS has ever said...
"The legal view is that fantasizing about violating minors is never a good idea, under any circumstances"
Please point to what lawyers have stated this "legal view", their qualifications, and in what jurisdiction.
"those who can never [give consent] --- animals and children"
Define 'children'. In the US, that's anyone under 18 (for actual sex), but in the UK it's 16, and in some countries not far away from us it's 14 (in some further away it's even younger). Then there are the laws about pictures which mean that it's fine for a 16 year old couple to have sex (and have children) as long as they don't take pictures of each other until they are 18. And then there are even laws which say that if a person -- or even a totally imaginary drawing -- /looks/ under 18 it's illegal to take unclothed pictures of them.
Which of those would you say can and cannot give consent -- and which countries' courts would agree or disagree with you?
As for fantasies, until someone develops a way of reading minds reliably they belong to the person fantasising. If they want to fantasise about sex with whatever, that's their own business and no one else's. Or if they want to fantasise about killing whoever, or blowing things up, or anything else. There is no evidence that fantasising about such things causes actions, and actions alone are punishable.
Mein Gedanken sind frei...
Not so much of a stretch, really. It certainly happens to adults with 'fake' porn pictures which often aren't labelled as such, so a search for pictures of them returns some 'fiddled' ones. And in many jobs having such pictures on the web can mean that you don't even get to the interview stage (unless it's interviews for starring in porn movies!).
Remember that in both the US and the UK "child porn" is defined as 17 year olds and younger, not just infants, and those are likely to be very recognisable many years later.
Ditto. Well, I might keep mine until it no longer works on the new system (it's a Nokia 6310i, it makes (and very occasionally receives) calls and sends and receives text, that's all I want it to do, everything else (Bluetooth, WAP) I've disabled). I have it turned off when not in use (which is why I rarely receive calls on it), and because I work in the industry I've tested it and know that when it is turned off it doesn't transmit anything. It doesn't have GPS etc.
They haven't sent me any email telling me that I have to create a profile for using GMail, Docs, etc. so if they do delete those things without warning (finding out via El Reg is not warning from Google) there will be complaints. Not that I expect them to undelete anything, but I have said for a long time that anyone who puts information on a third-party system and doesn't back it up locally deserves to lose it.
"Having an account that was completely secret rather defeats the point, like joining LinkedIn with a false name."
A lot of people actually have a small group of friends with whom they want to stay in touch. What we don't want is some oik we don't know 'friending' them. I don't want some random stranger knowing what I'm doing and when I'll be away (so they can break into the house) but I do want my friends to know (so they can keep an eye on the house, or possibly go on holiday with me). For that purpose a false name (known to my friends) is fine (indeed, at least one group of my friends normally calls me by a name not on my birth certificate).
LinkedIn is a totally different thing, because the main purpose of that is indeed to let strangers find me and offer me jobs, and for that the real name (as known to HMRC) is needed.
... as Professor Joad used to say. In this case, it depends on what type of tea, the preferences of the drinker (I know several who find 2 minutes stewing far too long, and others like me who prefer longer), etc.
For instance, with a straight Ceylon (Sri Lanka) tea, or a Ceylon/Assam blend with at least 2:1 ratio, I prefer it without milk. Less Assam in the mix also means that a stronger tea can be brewed for longer (over 5 minutes with pure Ceylon) without going bitter. On the other hand a high-Assam blend can taste good after a short brew.
No, sorry, their research is rubbish. They obviously didn't have anywhere near a large enough sample size of either teas or drinkers. 5/10 for effort...
"Current consumer wired networking will get you 100Mb/s in theory"
Try an order of magnitude higher, unless Windoze or Apple have limited it. Gigabit routers are the norm these days for wired networks, I've actually see 100Mbps routers priced higher (because few people want them), and most PCs have Gigabit ports on the motherboard.
I typically get 100 megabytes per second access to my remote disks (and could go a tad higher as far as the network is concerned, but the disks top out at around that anyway) over my wired network (Cat5, still the same as I installed for 100Mb working many years ago). I don't know any wireless solution available to the public which has that sort of bandwidth (you'd have to go to at least X band to get enough bandwidth for one such link).
No, wired is still a lot faster. Unless you have something like an iPad which doesn't have the capability...
There isn't enough bandwidth for high-quality streaming video, except for a few who pay through the nose for it (and happen to live in the right place to get it). Heck, half the time I can't even watch YouTube videos at 360p, let alone 720p or higher, without them pausing every few seconds. And the more people who try the worse the service becomes.
There's no way I'm going to put my personal data (passwords, contact lists, financial details, etc.) onto anyone's 'cloud', it stays on my machines where I control who has access (apart from a break-in, but that can steal data on paper just as easily) and where I can do backups (I have no control over whether or how often 'cloud' data is backed up, nor on whether I can access it when I need it).
Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Michael Flynn wrote in the SF book "Fallen Angels" about a future where the Greens had won so far that the earth had fallen back into an ice age. That's not looking likely now (it was a possible future back when they wrote it in 1991), but the real point is what the governments then did -- they continued their programme of energy reduction even when it was harmful because they wanted to stay in power. There's a lot of power (of the political kind) in having a 'crisis', and one which they can blame on the "ordinary people" (like "you're using too much power") is really useful. It's all our fault so we must suffer (while the overlords, of course, sit in comfort).
You may not suffer from it, but a lot of us suffer from "face blindness", an inability to recognise people by face. Basically, we either get a lot of false negatives (treating Aunty Joan as a stranger) or false positives (going up to a stranger and kissing them, as in one of the Specsavers adverts). I've even recognised pictures of other men as myself!
And if, say, I put a picture of a female friend on there, chances are she'd change her hair or whatever (some women do that every week or so) and I'd get used to the new look and fail to recognise the older picture on the screen.
Plus, of course, you'd still need to have other non-visual systems for those who are sight-impaired, or you'd run foul of the Disability Discrimination legislation...
(Paris because I can't recognise her from any other blonde bimbo.)
Although I agree with the substance of your comment, you are mistaken if you think that a logbook is "legally required". Ofcom can require you to keep a log, but unless they do so (generally because they are investigating reported interference) there is no legal obligation to do so. Paragraph 12(1) of the terms, conditions and limitations:
12(1) For the purposes of any interference investigation, to determine compliance with the terms, conditions and limitations of this Licence, or for any other matter concerning the enforcement of any relevant legislation, the Licensee shall at the request of a person authorised by Ofcom, keep a permanent record (a “log”) of such matters concerning the operation of the Radio Equipment, over such period, and in such form, as the authorised person may require.
It actually took me a little while -- not to do the calculation, but to remember both prices. When they are in different shops it often becomes worse, because one might "throw in" an extended guarantee and the other might actually provide batteries for the remote.
But in fact what most people will see is DISCOUNT!!! in big letters, and they have been conditioned that anything with a DISCOUNT is good no matter what the actual price. The same as they have been conditioned that "SAVE 200 POUNDS" (on a 1000 pound sofa they don't need) is actually saving them money rather than costing them 800 pounds.
"a task difficult for computers, but easy and accurate for humans."
Yeah, right. Unless you happen to have visual problems (which is the same problem as with CAPTCHAs). But anyway all you get out of it is one bit of 'security' -- it's either a cat or a dog so you have a 50% chance of guessing it correctly. That's even worse than the restricted 4 digit PIN (can't use things like 0000 or 1234 or your birthday, etc., brings it down to around 1000 combinations they actually allow).
So in practice you'd need an alternate authentication system for the visually-impaired. Some CAPTCHA sites use an audio file -- but that depends on the user having audio and also knowing the language (I came across one which 'spoke' the numbers and letters in Russian!).
Because it solves bugs I find. No software is free from bugs, with OSS I have the opportunity sometimes to do something about ones which annoy me. Having found and fixed them, I submit patches back upstream so that hopefully the next version I download won't require me to do the same thing again. Or the same sort of thing with features I want.
Yes, it's selfish, but then almost everything worthwhile has been done because a person said "I want it". In the case of OSS my selfish "I don't want that bug" benefits everyone else as well (and their selfish introduction of new features they want benefits me). It's why I don't work on things like VLC and OpenOffice, they already work as well as I need them to, but I do on other products which I need.
As far as my own software is concerned I release that as OSS because I'm not interested in the cost of monetising it. If someone paid me a quid for something then I'd have to do receipts, tax returns and all that stuff which would cost me far more in time, so I just let it go free. If someone likes it and wants to tell me, that's fine. If they find a bug and fix it and send me the details, that's great, that's the sort of reward I like. If they don't like it and decide to use something else or write their own, on the other hand, it's no skin off my nose (and if, as has happened, they write and say "Your software inspired me to do the same thing another way", well, that's still nice to hear).
The PDP-11 was a joy to write assembler-level code (and MACRO-11 was only surpassed by MACRO-32 for the VAX). With an almost-orthogonal instruction set it would these days be a RISC machine -- unlike the VAX and the PC, the '11 had few instructions and a broad set of addressing modes and flexible registers to allow efficient implementation. Like:
MOV @(PC)+, @(PC)+
; rest of program, testing flag for zero/non-zero to see which entry point was used
At the time it was probably the best thing on which to write Unix (and the C compiler).
Indeed, its architecture is still reflected in C and C++, in the ways to increment a variable:
ADD #1,x (x+=1)
MOV x,R0; ADD #1,R0; MOV R0,x (x=x+1)
I would like to know where 'Naughtyhorse' works, so I can avoid it. He says:
"I design transmission/distribution networks, we calculate demand to be, typically, 2.5kWh per household - this makes allowance for the fact that we dont all use the same ammount at the same time.
now 32amps at 240v is 7.6kWh"
Oh dear -- a kilowatt-hour (kWh) is a unit of Energy, not Power which is measured in kilowatts (kW). 32A at 240V is indeed 7.68kW (leaving aside that the nominal voltage is 230V), so he did the calculation correctly but apparently doesn't know his SI units very well. Not a good advertisement for someone who "designs transmission/distribution networks"...
"In my opinion, the highest performing free AV is Ariva"
If you use a bus company for your Audio/Visual needs it's really fast. On a big six-wheeler, scarlet-painted, London transport, diesel-engined, 97-horsepower omnibus...
 As long as you don't get a SIGBUS error, of course...
"I am SUPPOSED to be able to get 20mb/sec, but am lucky to get 8Mb/sec"
You're very lucky, then, getting 400 million times the expected speed! The rest of us are lucky to get a quarter of the advertised "up to 8Mbps" (unless they are lucky enough to be on Virgin cable where the speeds can be up to 90% of the advertised speeds).
I already do, and have done since 2001. I refuse to go into ThatBigCountryBetweenCanadaAndMexico, and I tell employers that before I even get to the interview. If they statr using the scanners for other destinations at airports I'll simply refuse to fly.
Yes, I miss certain holidays and events, but I have weighed the factors and decided that I can as easily take holidays in Europe (and drive there, not fly). There are plenty of good places to visit in the UK, for that matter, and they don't mean wasting several days to get there and back. As far as work is concerned, I can do my job just as well using teleconferencing and remote access, very few things acually need physical presence these days.
Just Say No. If the pilots did that then the TSA and similar organisations would find their jobs very easy (and soon be out of work) with no one to search.
"It therefore attracts a lot people who cannot write English well enough to do an arts subject"
Like, for instance, the author of the article? (And since any speling or grammatical flame should itself have misteaks, I'm doing deliberately.)
Not that real programmers have ever been noted for their ability to use English. About the best you can say of their writing is that it's probably more legible than that of doctors, probably because it's more likely to be typed (or in my day in capitals so that the punched-card girls could read it).
I graduated 32 years ago (ye gods!), and even then most "CompSci" courses were tending to focus on applications rather than algorithms, and many seemed to be assuming that hardware and operating systems were magically "just there" and could be ignored (Pascal was at that time the CompSci language of choice, a language which by design read all its input before it started and wrote all its output after ending, thus making it impossible for any interactive or real-time work; the extensions to get round that are really horrible). Having seen the type of graduates since I'm not at all surprised that they can't get work.
Even worse, they tend to lie about what they know on their CVs. They "tick the boxes" for Java, C, C++, etc., but when you actually ask them simple things (like what is meant be an abstract class in an OO language) they don't even know stuff which was supposedly in the syllabus. Never mind 'hard' things like memory management...
Like all the other idiots who follow what the SatNav says blindly (hundreds of miles in the wrong direction, up goat paths, into fields, etc.).
One of the best peices of advice I heard on the BBC's 'Today' radio programme a few years ago: "Treat it like a wife". OK, perhaps not in all respects, but treat its suggestions like those from any other navigator in the car. Sometimes it will say 'right' instead of 'left', it may miss roads or invent ones which don't exist (mine sometimes thinks that a roundabout exit either isn't a 'real' one or treats a driveway as a road), or it will warn too late about a turning (particularly when there are several together), etc. And the maps are by definition out of date, at least some information will be months if not years old.
"Think for yourseld, schmuck!"
... can do without my presence or money. I've been refusing to go there since 2001, when they started the extreme border nonsense. OK, I have a number of friends there, and there are places I'll now never visit, but the friends can come here (or we can meet in Canada or or Europe or somewhere else) and there are plenty of other places in the world to see where I feel safer (like in China).
Yes, the UK is as bad in many ways, but at least they don't search my laptop when I return from Europe, or fingerprint me, or otherwise treat me as a criminal just because I want to (re)enter the country.
Labour MPs are complaining about breaches of their privacy? Someone should remind them of their own policies -- what do they have to fear? I applaud the journalists who are getting into MPs inboxes, and hope they publish the details far and wide, give the bastards a demonstration of what privacy is about.
I too have made a couple of complaints about adverts on TV. Both were acknowledged, and although neither was upheld (the companies satisfied the ASA that the ads were 'reasonable') they were investigated and I received notifications and explanations. It did take quite a time, but I was satisfied that I had been heard. In both cases the number of complainants was not high (under a hundred), but the number of complaints was irrelevant to the case (I gathered that the adjudicators didn't even see the numbers or who made the complaints, only the complaints themselves).
Not "true 3D". The latter would be a hologram or other 'solid' projection, so that movement of the observer would be handled correctly. All they are doing is implementing stereovision properly, which is an advance for that sort of camera but hardly anything new (I first saw a stereoscopic camera with two lenses when I was a kid, some 40+ years ago, and it wasn't new then).
... you have nothing to fear. Isn't that what they say? So just leave your windows clear (leave your doors unlocked as well in case the pold want to come in), with all your valuables and bank details on view, because if you try to hide them or pay with (shock, horror) cash then you are obviously a bad person.
Now if only I could persuade some nice rich people to do that. Leadership should start at the top, yes? So why is the door to No. 10 Downing Street closed?
Back in 2001 I told my American friends that they wouldn't see me back in the USA (oops, made a slip there and typed USSA instead!) unless the restrictions and hassle got better, instead it has got worse. To be fair, so has the UK's immigration as well. So they haven't lost out from me not going there because I wasn't going anyway. But as a PR move it's definitely an own goal, 9 quid isn't much (unless you have a large family) but the psychological impact is much bigger.
As for tit-for-tat, though, I'm opposed to it. I have no objection to Americans visiting the UK while we avoid the USA, because it means that their balance of trade gets worse, so I'd encourage them to come here and spend their dollars (turned into pounds, of course).
WTF is the attraction with '3D' sports? If you are watching it live from the ground you are generally too far away for stereoscopic depth perception, you go only on the parallax (which you don't get with stereovision). So any '3D' outdoor sports will look wrong. Golf is worse than most, the ball travels so far that it gets lost visually.
More chance to notch up profits I suspect...
Does US sales law include that phrase? Regardless of what the fine print says about the operating temperature range, in the UK if a device does not work in the situation for which it was bought it can be returned for a refund as "not fit for purpose". Up to at least 2 years later (could be more in some cases).
I see no point in using stereovision (which is not 3D) for animation. As the success of things like The Simpsons shows, realism is not important in animation (nor in comics, look at manga and anime). Indeed, it can detract from the enjoyment because it looks 'almost' right but is still obviously animation in some ways. SV makes that worse.
For real film (and 'real' effect CGI) it can be useful, as Avatar showed. But still not essential, and it conveys nowhere near as much extra information as did the introduction of colour. And the information it does carry can conflict with other information (for instance the parallax conflicting with the focus). In particular it isn't worth the extra cost or the discomfort or (especially in the films converted to SV) loss of picture quality. And a lot of the people watching are realising that...
 True 3D would allow the viewer's position to see 'round' things by moving. For instance, looking out of the window at the opposite side of the office (some 50 feet away) if I move my head just slightly I can see more or less of the tree outside. Stereovision only works if you keep your head still, because it is filmed from a fixed point of view (or at least one unrelated to the viewer's position), so if you move much while watching it can be disorienting (and may be the cause of some of the nausea described by some people).
"And the question remains, will consumers care about not possessing the files? There are clear advantages in not doing so: you don't need buckets of local storage, and you don't have to fear losing your collection to burglars or housefires."
Fine for those who have a reliable and fast connection. Not so good for those of us who struggle to watch YouTube videos because the connection runs so slow that they keep halting. Can you imagine it? Pausing every few seconds, often partway through a word, to get the next bit -- or having to decide a day in advance to allow it to download and then be viewed once.
(And will it be available for Linux, or will it be a DRM locked down stream? I'm betting on the latter...)
No thanks, I'll keep my copies where I can watch them when I want them, on whatever device I like.
... but both of them are very real. A lot of IT departments do think that 'security' means "don't allow any other programs" and so prevent the user from installing encryption. Especially (shock horror) Free Software like GPG, they seem to be terrified that having any GPL software will cause all of their own data to be made Open Source and worthless. Or something like that.
Portability: GPG and PGP and products based on them are compatible, at least at some levels. I don't know of any standard which is implemented at the disk or memory stick level though, except for TrueCrypt which is a de facto standard (Open Source, although several Linux distributions regard it as non-free due to the licence conditions). But in general it is true that there is a lot of non-compatibility in such products.
"If they are driving forces vehicles on a public road then they need a license and just like the rest of us they are obliged by law to carry it."
Wrong. If you are driving you must have a current driving licence, but you are not obliged to carry it with you. If you are stopped and don't have it with you then you are given seven days to produce it at a police station (the same as your other documents). For that matter, if your licence is being updated by the DVLA (change of address you might be without it for up to three weeks. There is no requirement in UK law to carry any form of documentation with you, that's why there was so much fuss about ID cards if they were made compulsory.
(In fact, the only place I've been in the UK where I was required to carry ID has been -- military establishments! Probably some pubs might ask for proof of age, but I haven't been in any which do so.)
"by a score of SCORE to SCORE" implies that this was copy set up just in case (there was probably a similar of in case the other side won), intended to have the actual scores filled in, which got accidentally released (possibly instead of the actual edited file, a simple matter of finger trouble).
Nicely embarassing for the people who did it, though, hence Paris.
Whether a toddler's backside is an "obscene sight" is irrelevant. The real point is that Google is distributing an image of a naked child, which if any of the rest of us did it would have us locked up as paedophiles. Worse, they have taken the photograph -- just taking photographs of clothed children in London gets you nicked! It's one law for them and another for us, and as usual the ordinary bloke doing his job is the one who gets molested by police who steal his property where the big corporations don't even get a warning.
See http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/06/29/police_photo_bother_romford/ ("Romford coppers try to stopper young snapper) from yesterday...
I agree, the people responsible should be held to account. OK, if they can show that their employer was negligent in training them then the employer (as in the managers) can be implicated in the crime as well, but I don't think that anyone can expect to get away with "I didn't know that having enencrypted personal data at home was wrong" unles they can prove that they never read, listen to or watch the news. Their only defense might be "I was ordered to take it home to work on it" -- but they'd better have that order in writing, because you can bet their manager will deny it.
... I'm probably one of the few who did, and liked the '3D'. However, that was in the cinema, where I'm used to the picture being out of focus and grainy (anything enlarged to that size will be grainy unless you go to something like 20,000 pixels across). And that was a film made specifically for 3D, the "3D-ized" ones aren't worth it (like retro-fitted stereo sound on early Beatles tracks).
For the home, though, I can't even be bothered with HD, I haven't seen anything which justifies it, I certainly can't see any noticable amount of content I'd want to watch being available in 3D/stereo.
Widescreen, yes, I got fed up with watching cinema-format movies with half the vertical resolution taken up by black bars. HD possibly if I wanted a large (half wall-size) screen. 3D/stereo with glasses, no way...
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