* Posts by Robert Hirst

21 publicly visible posts • joined 14 Jun 2007

Chancer punts 'lucky' Wii for $1,234,567...

Robert Hirst
Thumb Down


If the serial number was 123456789 then they might be on to something... but aside from the amount they have decided to put the Wii up for (which anyone could decide to flog one for), where's the connection between this particular Wii and that oh-so-well-known lucky number?

Galileo slammed by UK politicians

Robert Hirst
Black Helicopters


I'm sure that shooting down GPS satellites would be a piece of cake, no matter who they belonged too... so the suggestion of America switching them to be encrypted isn't really relevant, since they aren't in geosynchronous orbit and would easily come into reach before too long (at least, they'd be in reach pretty much by the time they were useful for navigation anyway).

The only difference in terms of GPS availability in the upcoming war with America is that with Galileo, 2 systems which cost enough to feed the starving of the world have now been turned to slag instead of one.

What's that on the horizon... looks like a swarm of large black birds... oops, did I say "upcoming" war? I meant God Bless America....

Consumers confused by HD

Robert Hirst

from the pen of a grammatically challenged person

I think it's an honour that an honest person came along within an hour has correctly pointed out that an h should never have "an" in front of it.

Firefox-Google marriage on shaky ground?

Robert Hirst


As far as I see it the majority of the ads aren't being served from the website in question, so why shouldn't I block them? If they in-line ads with their content (NOT by inlining JS to load from a third party) what are my chances of blocking it without missing out on the "premium content"? Pretty much zero, with a modicum of common sense on the part of the webmaster (e.g. don't serve images named adbanner.jpg).

Quite frankly I welcome efforts to try and stop blocking because it will let me know straight away which websites solely exist to try and get rich from me viewing them whether I find the content useful or not.... and avoid them like the plague.

In fact, let's hope this one gets taken to the extreme. Oh how I will chuckle the day I mistype an url and end up on a cybersquatters page, only to be told that I am stealing their premium content and I must enable Javascript and stop using Firefox so that I can see their valuable and carefully compiled list of links to dodgy websites.

DVD Forum gives three-layer, 51GB HD DVD the thumbs up

Robert Hirst

accounced a while ago

This is just approval as a standard something that was developed and announced ages ago... actually, wasn't the quad layer 100GB version of Bluray announced just a few days after the triple layer HD DVD? Must be getting to a similar stage by now...

TorrentSpy shuts doors to America

Robert Hirst

TorrentSpy = YouTube?

"And to Robert Hirst - even if TorrentSpy is happy to block searches for copywritten materiel, they would still have to produce data similar to that requested to PROVE that it worked."

Surely the onus is on the copyright holders to produce data that proves it DOESN'T work.... i.e. that they are requesting search terms / files to be blocked under the DMCA, and those terms are still being allowed. Why do TorrentSpy need to provide data that can be obtained simply and even automatically by the copyright holder, just by simply feeding the relevant search term into an url and capturing the results? They already comply with the DMCA removal procedures to the letter, and have an agent in the US.

And even if the onus were on them (seems ridiculous to me) then there is a slight difference between the data demanded (providing full logs of every search / click on a link tied to IP), and lists of searches and torrents downloaded without any personal information attached, or even just the list of indexed torrents. When Google was ordered to turn over search terms with personally identifiable information (e.g. IP) attached it was overruled, and IIRC they didn't even have to surrender the data requested -without- the personally identifiable information attached.

It's a bit like the whole YouTube fiasco.... does the blame for infringing material lie with the person who puts the original video up, with the service that hosts and indexes the video, or with the person who watches the material. To some degree the truth is all three, but does it really seem fair that someone could be sent a YouTube link through email or something and click it, and then charged punitive and arbitrary damages of what the copyright holder believes they lost through ad revenue, dvd sales, xyz, etc. Unless you can absolutely prove that the person downloaded knew what the content was before downloading (e.g. that it wasn't a HD trailer version or something) then it's unfair that they should be liable when the copyright holder could be working with YouTube to make sure the material isn't there in the first place.

Thinking through these issues it begs the question what they intend to do with the information they requested anyway. Search results don't actually prove that someone opened the torrent file in the relevant application and obtained or distributed the file. Seems like they want ammo for witch-hunts and scare tactics against those too ignorant to know that they are paying an out of court settlement based on "evidence" that the RIAA/MPAA claims to hold which actually does not necessarily even prove they have done anything wrong.

If they want to order TorrentSpy to improve the removal procedure to speed up the process, that's well and good, I think everyone would agree that is benevolent and fair. But if they order them to change their policy to violate the rights of every person using the site for anything legal or otherwise, that is quite something else.

I see the block as a political statement that just because America no longer believes in personal rights and freedoms, it does not mean that everyone must now abandon them. It doesn't mean that they are going to stop complying with the DMCA, just that they seek to protect American citizens from their own government.

Robert Hirst

@Robert Hill

All well and good, except that TorrentSpy is more than happy to block searches that lead to copyrighted results. So the whole probable cause thing falls down since they are actively helping copyright holders protect their content. If you want probable cause look at the way the copyright holders fail to use that mechanism, and instead want to collect data on the people who are downloading. Strange, eh? Almost like they'd rather be sending out threatening letters demanding thousands of dollars from people or they'll take them to court for $10m damages, etc.

And as far as I'm aware in regarding your second point number 7(!?), TorrentSpy couldn't give a monkeys if their IP was blocked from American vistors, and clearly doesn't care if American visitors can't buy their T-Shirts (i doubt sales are high), so how are those mechanisms going to enforce the submission of the data?

And FYI, Napster is a perfectly acceptable and legal way to download as much music as you want. Lots of people use this as an alternative to illegal music sharing now.

There are already various video on demand services popping up here in the UK, I for one cannot wait for a subscription based video on demand service with a decent library. That is the way to combat piracy, by making it as affordable to download and watch films, by leveraging the much lower distribution costs and cutting out the fluff.

Not by providing 3 day rentals for the same price or more than it would cost in the local video shop and generally carrying on the exact same practice that drove people away in the first place.

TorrentSpy was asked for information it didn't have and had no need to keep. It's all very well asking for things which someone definitely has, but demanding that they collected something which they have no need nor interesting in is another.

Oh yeah, it's the 21st century, we all just want to turn a blind eye provided they aren't coming for us, screw common sense, let's just blindly accept whatever the impersonal companies and courts tell us is right and carry on.

(and yes, that paragraph is as much of an aberration of your view as your last paragraph is of mine).

Robert Hirst

@@Just a reminder (Alex Barlow)

"It is essentially the same as letting someone deal illegal drugs in your house. You have provided the location for a crime to be committed so you are a part of the crime. They are pretty directly enabling you to have access to illegal content."

Bullshit. It WOULD be the same thing if the transfers were happening on the server (e.g. in the house), but they aren't. The transfers aren't even happening on the same street. Hence the term peer to peer.

If you are going down the drug dealing analogy, TorrentSpy is doing the equivalent to letting guests into their house to have a friendly chat and cup of tea, and those guests swapping numbers with each other and later on doing a drug deal down the street from their house, without TorrentSpy's knowledge.

Well, it would be if TorrentSpy was a tracker, but in actual fact it is not a tracker, it's a tracker aggregator / search engine in the same way as Google is a web aggregator / search engine (and to stick with the analogy the torrents available for download are the equivalent of Google's web cache).

What you are saying is that Google should be held accountable if it unknowingly spiders a website which hosts illegal content, and not the person hosting the illegal content in the first place, even if it removes the links to that site when requested (which TorrentSpy has done on numerous occasions, and it has a well defined mechanism to allow copyright holders to block certain search queries).

Yangtze river dolphin is an ex-cetacean

Robert Hirst


"I don't see the equivalence between murdering someone and not devoting myself to maximising their probability of reproducing. But whatever."

Well, since I was the first to use the word murder, I'll respond.

You don't see the equivalence between the argument that it doesn't matter how or why (dolphin) individuals are wiped out, and saying that it doesn't matter how or why (human) individuals are wiped out?

That's the context which I spoke in. I wasn't suggesting that tearing dolphins to pieces by human trawling with unbaited hooks (which many were), hunting or removing their food supply so they slowly starved whilst pumping their environment full of pollution and chemicals causing them to go blind was murder. I was responding to the ridiculous suggestion that we have no responsibility for our actions because sun is dying and the universe will one day crunch.

"I don't care about this dolphin, nor do I feel any obligation to respect your rather ineffectual environmental principles."

If Karma works then you'll be due some neighbours who can teach you what it's -really- like living near someone who doesn't respect -your- rather ineffectual environmental principles.

Robert Hirst

Re: So? again

[quote]Does it matter when or how these species disappear? No. It doesn't alter the fact that they will be gone (and that includes us) eventually. All of us. WITHOUT EXCEPTION.[/quote]

By your logic, murdering people is fine, since everyone is going to die sooner or later anyway therefore it doesn't matter who or what kills them.... nice outlook...

Robert Hirst

Re: So?

[quote](by the way, I've just received this little goldfish bowl, inscribed "so long and thanks for all the fish"...)[/quote]

Strange you used a Douglas Adams quote after you made your point that it doesn't matter if humanity wipes out the dolphins and it's the dolphins fault since they didn't adapt to the massive pollution and unskilled fishing.

I was reminded of Douglas Adams when I read the article, but what sprung to mind for me was the section on the Yangtze dolphin from "Last Chance to See". Shame that more people with attitudes like yours didn't read that book in time for this particular species, still plenty of time to wipe out the rest of the species Douglas Adams was so keen on saving.

Nissan rolls out drink-proof cars

Robert Hirst


So I suppose the car won't start if you're wearing gloves...

And as for detecting passenger alcohol levels, I'd rather drunk people got a lift home or caught a taxi, rather than puking all over the bus or train...

Sun preps 2048-thread monster

Robert Hirst

Java app servers...

...are all highly threaded software, and are exactly what Sun had in mind for these boxes. Logically, isn't synchronization going to be less efficient if you are have a cluster of networked machines x each running y threads instead of a single high powered box running x*y threads?

MPack developer on automated infection kit

Robert Hirst

re: Just creating ammunition?

@Dave Harris

So if ammo makers are to blame for how the product is used, and you get your wish and they are all stood lined the up against the wall, what are you going to do then? Tickle them to death?

Microsoft re-assures partners on Vista compatibility

Robert Hirst

Maybe it's getting better...

...but Vista already made me switch to Linux for my main workstation.

A glitch in the Matrix, or a hungry exploit?

Robert Hirst

100% packet loss?

Hmm, when you drill down into response time/packet loss across Europe, apparently Belgium, Denmark, Romania and Switzerland all have 100% packet loss. Perhaps a contributing factor to the packet loss average? However, since google.be still comes up, I'd have to assume that data is not correct...

Google calls for court to tighten Microsoft's anti-trust leash

Robert Hirst


"The underlying issue as I understand it is whether they have documented their APIs in such a way that others might also implement competing software effectively."

I think the problem not documentation on APIs (google engineers can no doubt reverse and understand any API in days) but that the built in search cannot be disabled, so both end up running at the same time causing Vista systems to turn to sludge (or at least get sludgier, anyway).

Ebuyer in hard-drive warranty debacle

Robert Hirst

OEM = same gear, different box

"The 5yr warrantied gear would almost certainly have not failed - so the user is still out of pocket regardless of what eBuyer.com do."

Yes, the packaging really makes a huge difference to how long a product lasts.

The retail stuff has flashy boxes so it can sit on the shelfs at shops and tempt people into snap decisions.

You want my guess, the real reason that OEM equipment have a shorter warranty so that the manufacturers can get a slice of the sweet extended warranty pie that the big system assemblers are selling. It works well for both parties... if you buy a PC from Dell and you know all the parts are covered for 5 years already, you aren't gonna buy the extended warranty, are you? And the hardware makers cash back for the x% which does fail.

I've never heard of OEM hardware having higher fail rates than retail branded stuff.

Manhunt 2 shut out by Sony and Nintendo

Robert Hirst

Nowhere, yet...

"No where, RS cannot publish the game now, Sony/Nintendo will not allow it to be played on their devices in America, its banned in the UK so hopefully the game will be deleted."

Yes, and hopefully soon the only video game violence will only be 13+ rated games developed by the US Army promoting nice clean violence to help recruit people for a far more sinister form of violence.

If you think that 13 year old spending hundreds of hours learning to become shoot-first-don't-ask-questions-ever killers for illegal wars is worse than fictional horror/gore violence aimed squarely at adults which probably has 10-20 play hours max, then we clearly have very different moral compasses.

Sony and Nintendo need to grow a pair, there are plenty of alternative distribution channels open, that should be the distributors problem, not the console manufacturer. Let's hope they focus on seriously upscaling the violence for the PC version and distribute it via the web from Sealand or something...

Microsoft clarifies Windows Server virtual licensing

Robert Hirst

grammar nazi? moi?

Less than a hundred people.

Ten items or less.

There are less Grammar Nazi's in non-IT communities.

It's a rule which is never actually enforced except in the utmost formal situations of British English writing, and is particularly common in American writing. A line must be drawn or they'll be people complaining that virtualization is spelled with a "z" next.

Do you really perceive a lack of comprehension on my part of the tendencies towards the correction of grammar within the IT sector? Remember that my post was correcting someone on their correction of grammar, based on the geographic location of the author of the original article.

Robert Hirst

The word is LESS!

"If they are countable, we say there are fewer of them. If it is uncountable, we say there is less of it."

Only in British English, since the author is based in San Francisco that doesn't apply. Would you expect to be corrected on your grammar if you posted on an American website?