* Posts by Roger Lee

15 posts • joined 15 Jun 2007

Labour flames whistleblowers in email smear brouhaha

Roger Lee

What leak?

One of the recipients of these tawdry emails was a certain Charlie Whelan, erstwhile Gordon Brown chief thug (even the PLP couldn't stomach him) and currently Director of Politics at Unite where he is alleged to be something of a bad smell.

The emails went from the allegedly super-secure No. 10 email system to a fairly hostile, private email system, certainly used by, and possibly administrated by, people who are not impressed by this nonsense, nor those who instigated it. Since the Unite network is private and probably covered by one of the standard "fair use" policies, it is probable that, were this the source of the so-called "leaks", no law would have been broken, and they could effectively use the emails in any way they saw fit.

Why do people assume that because they know that one end of a communication conduit is secure, the other end must be?

I reckon there's a BOFL somewhere out there who has inadvertently done everyone a favour. He'll have to be more careful next time...

Linux chief calls for FAT-free Microsoft diet

Roger Lee

About time...

Perhaps it's time for "Devices-that-contain-a file-system" manufacturers to look at defining a common file system interface, much like scsi devices are used in the Linux world. Drive controllers are ubiquitous, and a bit of extra logic to provide a standard protocol handled within a device, rather than a nasty low level interface to the controller which exposes the strangenesses of the physical arrangement of bits and bytes on the medium is arguably long overdue.

Obviously this wouldn't be a lot of use on specialist, high performance, devices, but for stuff that fits in your pocket it should be fine. If a manufacturer has made a FAT payment to M$ then they presumably want to continue with that system. If they haven't then, as the article points out, there are plenty of suitable and patent-unencumbered alternatives.

If nothing else, it should make high performance memory sticks/cards/dongles etc. a more realistic proposition than just throwing the fastest (and most expensive) chips at the problem.

Violet Mir:ror DIY RFID kit

Roger Lee


If anyone really does want to do this, check out www.tikitag.com as well. Their starter kit gives you 25 tags and a USB reader for under £30.

I am not associated with Tikitag in any way at all, and am posting this because of my constant surprise that RFID is touted as a cheap technology, but always ends up costing a packet.

Code generator card fights fraud

Roger Lee
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"It's further up the technology curve than banks want to go."

What this actually means is that it costs more than the banks currently lose in fraud.

Until legislation is introduced that forces banks to bear the full cost of fraud made possible by the sub-optimal security systems they force their customers to use, thus making things very expensive for them, they will always opt for solutions that cost the least whilst being able to claim that they did their best.

Remember the chip and PIN scam? One of the least publicised aspects of that was the part where they shifted the responsibility for keeping the cardholders security identifier (their PIN) secure onto the cardholder rather than the banks themselves as under the previous system (matching signatures).

I wouldn't mind paying for a card if it provided real security instead of this, as you observe, halfway house that is only secure in certain circumstances.

Home Office to hand out more Tasers to police

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3 told to cut rates

Roger Lee

Mexican Ofcom...

It is just me, or does that seem a strange and surreal concept to anyone else?

Just how can you be utterly useless more inefficiently?

Canon Digital Ixus 960 IS compact camera

Roger Lee

I don't see the point either

You can get a G9 for less than this, if you want a compact, or a 400/450D as John points out if you'd rather go a little upmarket. Or even an A650IS (very similar to the G9, but without RAW mode and a small number of bells and whistles, but MUCH cheaper).

I don't see what this offers, apart from being an IXUS with 12MP...

Secret mailing list rocks Wikipedia

Roger Lee


I'm astonished that anyone, anywhere, takes wikipaedia seriously. I have never seen a more obvious mutual masturbation club - These saddoes exceed even Mensa in their pompous mediocrity.

Why is this news? We've all (hopefully) experienced playground politics, but in the PLAYGROUND, which is where it belongs. That these losers would rather flick wet towels at each other than improve the lamentable quality of their "project" says it all for me.

Sadly, this is typical Web 2.0. It's like the Pajamahadeen who read genuine journalism, where someone has actually done some work, and then bend it around their preconceptions and prejudices and turn it into dishonest and misleading bollocks (allowing for one moment that it wasn't in the first place). Even better, this tripe is then read by other pajamahadeen and, through the twin mechanisms of chinese whispers and profound personal dishonesty, it trancends all reality and even sanity.

Consider Star Trek's Borg for a moment. Whereas it looks painful, and they obviously don't get out in the sun often enough, these are minor drawbacks compared to having all the dubious nonsense that their entire civilisation is thinking going through all their heads all the time. It seems to me that Web 2.0 has at least closed off that nightmare for us. In spades.

Do you rate Web 2.0 as anything other than the largest communal waste of time that H. Sapiens (Ho Ho) has yet come up with? Then you're an idiot.

Huge sea scorpion overshadowed humans

Roger Lee

Why call it a creepy crawly?

Why is everyone calling this thing a "creepy crawley"?

If I was an 8-foot long scorpion I'd tap-dance into the room smoking a Cuban cigar and singing "Zippity-doo-dah".

Be honest, what's anyone going to do about it?

Brown announces new counter-terror plans

Roger Lee
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John Wayne...

Strange as it may seem, "Dook" actually had something sensible to say about this:

"There's a lot more to freedom than just cowering in safety."

We have a far higher chance, statistically speaking, of being struck by lightning than being the victim of a terrorist outrage. In fact we have a far greater chance of dying because our bath water is too hot than from the attentions of the terrorists.

Has it occurred to anyone else here that "the threat of terrorism" is the biggest pork-barrel available in the UK, which is why the world and his wife are always talking up the threat? At the current rate of increase (assuming it's geometric rather than linear), judging from the MI5 chief spook's latest bit of singing for his supper, the entire population of the UK will be classified as either terrorists or sympathisers in a depressingly few year's time.

Japanese officials in tables-turned GPS tracking rumpus

Roger Lee

Do they not have tin boxes in Japan?

'Nuff said.

Plan for 20mph urban speed-cam zones touted

Roger Lee

A different approach?

Why not force drivers to concentrate on the road more?

If they ban manual gearboxes then drivers will only need to use half as many limbs, and worry about half as many things (speed/gear/pedal/etc).

Taking this one stage further, why not put a transducer that continuously measures the weight of the driver so the car can automatically cut its engine, lock the doors, and call the Police to arrest the driver for filling his face whilst in motion?

I admit that monitoring the drivers breath for carbon monoxide (a sure sign of intent to murder by passive smoking) might present problems, given the relatively high level of that gas in cars with the ventilation switched off, but why not capitalise on this and require all drivers to insert a cannula before driving so their blood can be monitored constantly for a variety of behaviours that society finds threatening.

I wonder if, in fact, they would be better remembering the thoughts of Lord Baden-Powell, who felt that all cars should have a spike sticking out of the steering wheel boss ending one inch from the drivers chest, and with the other end attached to the front bumper...

Strap-on stealth jetplane for special forces

Roger Lee

Check this out...


Securo-prof claims to invent new, much deadlier dirty bomb

Roger Lee

Just another movie plot terror scenario

Anyone interested should take a look at Bruce Schneier's site (http://www.schneier.com). He runs an annual competition for movie plot terror scenarios - This year the theme was terrorist plots whose prevention would stop air travel by requiring the forces of law and order to ban something without which air travel would not be possible. The lucky winner came up with a way to ban all water-based liquids from aircraft by the use of spectacles made of pure sodium, if memory serves, which seems at least as likely as the cæsium shower gel outlined by these unashamed grant hunters.

More to the point, he has written some interesting essays on human perception of risk, and why we fear, for instance, child abduction more than motor vehicles, although child abduction is extremely rare whereas motor vehicles exact a daily death toll which would be described as unacceptable, were it not for the amount of votes that would be lost to any politician who dared to upset the motor lobby.

My real concern about this is that terrorism (the threat of, rather than the fact) seems to be the latest cash cow for the security services. We already have the ludicrous "war on drugs" where far and away the largest beneficiaries are the afore mentioned forces of law and order, followed by organised crime. Much has been written about the drugs land grab perpetrated by what the newspapers call MI5 and MI6 at the end of the cold war in order to maintain their budgets - the war on terror seems to be much the same idea, but with the added benefit that some of those pesky civil liberties can be consigned to the wastebasket of history at the same time.

I had little time for Margaret Thatcher, but her approach to terrorists (proper ones who knew how to build and detonate real bombs made of real explosives and live to tell the tale, rather than idiots who think you can buy explosives at a DIY store and only manage to kill themselves) seemed far more sane and socially acceptable than that of the current lot. Hasn't anyone noticed that more people are hurt and killed by lightning strikes than terrorists in the UK?

UK mulls drink-drive limit cut

Roger Lee

Why stop there?

Hospitals report that over 90% of pedestrians involved in RTAs after 2100hrs have are significantly over the 80mg drink/drive limit (read "stoatious") so it's not unreasonable to assume that in many cases their level of intoxication was at least partially to blame for their predicament.

Why not ban alcohol completely? Think of the benefits. It would save the NHS oodles of money, Local Government (no vomit, pizzas, blood, urine or excrement sullying the streets), the Police (no fighting to sort out, no drinking and driving), smokers (no need to stand in the rain), non smokers (no need to sit inside like a lonely bastard whilst the smokers have all the fun outside), off licenses (no need to cower behind wire mesh screens), no danger of getting stuck in a lift with either CAMRA or Sunday Times Wine Club members - in fact the list is endless.

Prohibition has always been extraordinarily successful both in the USA and here - Just ask any gangster - so this would represent a real and sustainable benefit to that unfairly maligned minority community.

When we've rid the country of the blight of alcohol, we can settle down to some real New Labour entertainment. Watching Gordon Brown tell his "joke" over and over again on all TV channels whilst we get to drink unsweetened black tea (remember the high costs associated with Dentistry, and the acknowledged lethality of animal fats) at home gets my vote.

Rantin' Rodge.


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