* Posts by Colonel Panic

70 publicly visible posts • joined 22 Jun 2007


Counter-terror cops arrest pair for sending poo-smeared toilet paper to public figures

Colonel Panic

Your sub is an effing legend

Whoever wrote that headline summed up my days as a journo - buy them a pint.

I started out as a lowly intern reading the daily tide of crap that would get faxed in. They don't make loonies like they used to. Before the internet, the dedicated crazies would fax 20 pages of tightly scribbled brain-puke about how the Venusians are controlling the world using radios in our fillings.

Still, made better reading than the corporate drivel.

So why the hell didn't quantitative easing produce HUGE inflation?

Colonel Panic

Is that the sound of a can being kicked down the road?

Thanks for the really useful explanation.

There's one thing I still don't understand:

It was an asset bubble that got us into this mess. Isn't increasing M, and keeping interest rates low causing investors to (as you put it), "go out along risk curve" thereby keeping the values of assets artificially inflated (and just prolonging the problem)?

To put it another way, we were heading towards a cliff. We've bought ourselves some time by tipping rubbish money over the edge to create some landfill. But we're still headed towards the cliff, no?

Law changed to allow GCHQ hacking ... just as GCHQ hauled into court for hacking

Colonel Panic

This is what the Human Rights Act is for

The thing about "rights" is they are not actually rights at all. They are government dont's.

This provision is basically the equivalent of legalising burglary, if you're a rozzer.

Given that our parliament is too supine to exercise proper oversight, we need the courts to protect us.

The much maligned Article 8 (the one that the Daily Mail hates so much) as well as protecting your right to family life, protects your home and your privacy.

There may well be a strong argument that the exemption introduced is incompatible with Article 8.

If you get rid of human rights, you are trusting your government.

Offensive, iconoclastic internet trolls will not be prosecuted, says DPP

Colonel Panic

No need for publically funded sledge-hammers

If a communication is an incitement to commit an offence, an incitement to racial hatred, or likely to lead to a breach of the peace, then arguably the interests of the wider community are at stake, and prosecution at public expense may be warranted.

If the offensive message is defamatory or offensive to the person concerned, why does the public interest require the state to intervene? The courts have ample powers to settle disputes between parties - and the party affected can bring a lawsuit, and if successful, recover their costs.

There is simply no need to waster taxpayers money enforcing manners through criminal sanctions.

Apple Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Part One

Colonel Panic

Possible solution to AFP problem

There is an Apple Support note that talks about accessing "legacy" AFP services on OS X Lion Server - it may help (it seems access to AFP can be restored with some Terminal voodoo):



Good luck

The Colonel

Faking reviews? You should fret about more than illegality

Colonel Panic

Probably quite illegal

Section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006:

(1)A person is in breach of this section if he—

(a)dishonestly makes a false representation, and

(b)intends, by making the representation—

(i)to make a gain for himself or another, or

(ii)to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.

Paying someone to post a false review would very probably come within the definition of fraud.

Whether the Crown Prosecution Service would actually prosecute is another matter...

Of course there's nothing to stop any private person, or association, bringing a prosecution, provided they have enough evidence to show a case to answer.

Google's Wi-Fi snoop nabbed passwords and emails

Colonel Panic

And the problem is ?

How is this different to walking down the street with a tape-recorder ? If people are having a conversation in public, then they have no reasonable expectation of privacy.

If you broadcast information over an unsecured WiFi link, you are putting it in the public domain.

If you don't want it listened to, encrypt it.

Suspended-animation cold sleep achieved in lab

Colonel Panic

Literally frozen ?

"her body temperature plunged to just 16°C* before she was rescued, warmed - and came miraculously back to life, despite having literally frozen to death"

Hate to be a pedant (ok, I'm lying, I love it actually) but 16° C is not "frozen". Frozen is 0.

So she wasn't. Not literally or for that matter at all.

Volcanic Eyjafjallajökull dirt-splurt space snap

Colonel Panic

Yo Iceland, listen up

We said send CASH

McKinnon: The longest ever game of pass the parcel

Colonel Panic

There but for the grace of God...

Here is why you should be very, very careful of what you do on holiday:

1. You can now be extradited to many countries without them showing the Court here the evidence

2. The only requirements are that it would be an offence here and that you COULD get 12 months

3. Re-read point 2 - that's could, not would. Nick a Mars bar, you could get years - you would probably get a fine. No matter, you are off. What's that ? Life destroyed ? Tough.

4. For EU countries, it doesn't even have to be an offence here, provided you could get 3 years

5. Cops beat you up ? Torture witnesses ? You're still off - "it can be all be sorted out at trial".


Be careful out there...

Galileo sat-nav contracts, startup dates announced

Colonel Panic

"Precision" guidance ?

For nukes ? Surely the same postcode does the trick...

UK Border Agency suspends 'flawed' asylum DNA testing

Colonel Panic

"Ve haf vays of finding out...

...ver you are from. "

Jesus.. where to start ? Bigotted, stupid, racist and wrong on so many levels I don't know whether to puke, laugh or break something.

Met: We shan't scrap Form 696

Colonel Panic

"...now racist undertone free"

To be replaced presumably by racist overtones ?

US state bars sex offenders from 'social networking sites'

Colonel Panic

Already happens in Blighty

If you are convicted of a sexual offence in England and Wales, a Crown Court judge has the power to impose a "Sexual Offence Prevention Order" - SOPO.

The Crown Prosecution Service routinely draft these to include "not to use social networking sites" - particularly in indecent images or "grooming" cases. Some are drafted even wider - "not to use the internet" - but if defence counsel are even half-awake and object the judge will usually take a more realistic view: "Not to use the internet to contact any person under 18 unless authorised to do so by the Probation Service".

Which seems fair enough. If you are convicted of a sex offence involving minors, you lose your write to contact them unsupervised.

Boston student fined thousands for Napstering

Colonel Panic

Law 101

He wasn't "found guilty" or "fined".

This was a lawsuit - an action by a private party to recover damages from another for a civil wrong - not a prosecution for a crime.

The jury found him *liable* and awarded *damages* to the plaintiff.

Sheesh.. does no one watch tv anymore ? You pick stuff up...

Astroplumbers fix US space superloo

Colonel Panic


"Low earth orbit ? On a Sunday ? It's not the parts, guv, its the callout charge... it's gonna cost ya"

DataViz Documents To Go 1.0

Colonel Panic

Not very useful

At the moment, if you want to edit documents on your iPhone, there are pretty much only two contenders:



It doesn't look as if either have quite thought through how and why people would need on-the-go document editing.

If you can afford an iPhone, you likely have a computer. With a big screen. And a real keyboard too. So are you going to be doing all your word-processing on your iPhone - er, no.

Which means you'll be wanting to do a couple of things: synchronise different versions, and send the documents to people (after all, if you're using your iPhone rather than your main machine, its likely because you are out of the office and in a hurry.

At the moment, Docs-to-Go allows you to synchronise, but not send, and Quickoffice allows you to send but not synchronise.

Both need to try harder.

Apple iPhone 3GS

Colonel Panic

Zoom shmoom

Like the man said, if you're pictures are no good, you're not close enough.

Pudsey Bear refused UK passport

Colonel Panic

Judicially Review them

Officials can be compelled by the courts to do their duty:

1. It would appear that Ms Bear has legally changed her name.

2. The law (and the UK passport's services own guidance) entitle her to obtain a passport in that name.

3. The UKPS's purported discretion to refuse her one appears to have no basis in law or be founded on any lawful policy.

It is nothing to do with "human rights" - its to do with acting lawfully - which the UKPS appear to regard as optional.

Perhaps a quick judicial review would serve to remind them it is not.

(and yes, IAAL)

Private ID scans leave fetish club-goers feeling exposed

Colonel Panic

223 different IDs

The system can read 223 different IDs - presumably one is a Palace of Westminster pass ? That'll come in handy for expenses....

Pirate Bay judge and pro-copyright lobbyist accused of bias

Colonel Panic

Bias and appearance

Don't know about Sweden, but here the test in not just whether the judge is actually biased, but whether there is an appearance of bias.

"The question is whether the fair-minded and informed observer, having considered the facts, would conclude that there was a real possibility that the tribunal was biased." per Lord Hope in Magill v. Weeks [2001] UKHL 67

As Lord Hoffman found out to his cost when he failed to recuse himself from the Pinochet case - despite being a member of Amnesty International, which had filed amicus briefs in the case.

Verizon to prosecute anons for communications sabotage

Colonel Panic

Your healdine: prosecute != sue

The state prosecutes crimes. If defendants are convicted they may pay a fine.

Individuals or companies sue (by bringing a lawsuit). If the defendants are found liable (ie lose) then they pay damages.

Photocops: Home Office concedes concern

Colonel Panic


S.1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 applies to searches for stolen or prohibited articles, and requires "reasonable suspicion".

It would be a very long stretch to argue that a photograph comes under s.1.

Even if photos were capable of being "stolen or prohibited articles" the officer exercising a power must:

- hold a genuine belief/suspicion etc

- hold a belief suspicion that is *reasonable* (ie a genuine but bizarre or unreasonable belief is not enough)

- exercise any power reasonably (and where any European Convention prohibition is interfered with, proportionately)

So whatever power officers purport to be exercising, s.1 PACE is probably not a runner.

Miss Universe pops into Guantánamo Bay

Colonel Panic

There's a special place in hell

... waiting for this torture-apologist eye-candy. Ye gods, she's the only one in Gitmo who actually deserves wiring up to the mains for some enhanced interrogation.

As for the Public Affairs low-life who dreamed this up, hell's too good for him. Or maybe he's a twisted genius who's ironically referencing Apocalypse Now, sticking two fingers up to his superiors while pretending he's doing his job.

Nah. He's probably a white-bread all-American redneck proud to be defending Truth, Justice and the American Way.

We do need military commissions. To try these fuckers for offences against good taste.

‘Wikipedia killer’ pilfers blogosphere, taunts bloggers

Colonel Panic

Homosexual defamatory ?

Prof. Goldman would be right to say that (thankfully) we have moved on and being homosexual is not something that would lower someone in the estimation of right-thinking members of society. However, a statement that someone is of a particular sexual orientation (straight or gay) may be libelous if it implies to those who know the person that the subject of the statement has misrepresented their identity.

It may be potentially libelous for example to say that Graham Norton is in fact straight.

Battlestar Galactica eyes 'technology run amok'

Colonel Panic

Battlestar Galactica's real message...

If the Cylons could hear "All Along the Watchtower" in their heads (150,000 years ago), then there is only one way that everything makes sense:

Jimi Hendrix is God

But then we already knew that...

Apple plays catch-up with new iPhone features

Colonel Panic

Cut & Paste - why so long coming

The absence of cut and paste is due to the security lockdown on the iPhone. There is no common filespace, and rather than restrict access using POSIX permissions, Apple chose (in its wisdom) to have single user, but use signed executables and encrypted storage - each app can only see and read its own data (Apple apps can read each other's data because they are signed with the same key).

I'm guessing that's why cut and paste was non-trivial to implement (rather than the oft-quoted "we couldn't think of a gesture interface for it" excuse).

'WALL-E' robot grunt obeys military hand signals

Colonel Panic

Coming soon from Cyberdine Systems

What's the hand signal for "find Sara Connor" ?

US killer robo-plane makes strike without remote pilot

Colonel Panic

A modest proposal...

We live in hard times, and expense must saved.

We have more and more drones, more and more surveillance footage, and fewer and fewer qualified intelligence analysts and pilots prepared to take the strain.

The surveillance drone footage can be made available on the interweb, and members of the public can log into view it live.

If someone spots a person of ill-intent bent of destroying our way of life, he can log onto one of the drones flying in a holding pattern in theatre, take control and light that sonofabitch up.

It would keep costs down, keep more eyeballs on targets and give frag-hungry teenagers something to do. Hell, people would even pay for the privilege. Win-win proposition.

Ten of the Best... laptop stands

Colonel Panic
Thumb Up

iLap is great

I have an iLap, and its worth every penny. Its comfortable, light and above all it prevents my laptop overheating.

The metal stand, with the air gap it creates,h elps cool the laptop. Before I bought it, I was having problems with the chip overheating if I used the laptop on a soft surface for too long.

Microsoft moves Macs closer to PC parity

Colonel Panic
Gates Horns

Notes and Tasks sync ?

If M$ is serious about feature parity they need to drag Entourage into the 1990s and give us frackin' note and task sync.

Palm Pilot's could do this when Steven Jobs was still at Next for crying out loud... its not astrophysics people, get it sorted

Remaining UK plods to get mobile-data gadgets

Colonel Panic

Oldie but goodie...

...the device shall be known as an iPlod.

Late bets on new Who hit Paddy Power's pocket

Colonel Panic

Well surely the Doctor can fix that...

..what with being a Timelord and all. He can go back in time and - oh you work it out

Forgotten what an egg looks like? We can help

Colonel Panic

That's no stock photo...

...its plod's e-fit.

Freelancers might be taxed as employees after High Court ruling

Colonel Panic

Score one for The Man

Its not uncommon for large and reputable organisations (*cough* BBC *cough*) to use large numbers of "freelancers" - who basically work the same job as permanent staff, get taxed like permanent staff, except they don't have the pay, job security, benefits or protection employees have.

Bury council carries can over spycam binmen

Colonel Panic

Fear not, citizen!

If you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear! Therefore, if you fear, you must have done something wrong. Now bend over while I insert a rectally fitted GPS tracker. Its for your own good.

The Hadron Collider: What's it all about, then?

Colonel Panic

Don't take their word for it...

I mean, if Prof Hawking is wrong, and black holes don't evaporate, it would be a Very Bad Thing.

But you don't have to trust a bunch of gruyere-munching über-nerds - you can check it out yourself. The entire documentation for the LHC is available online: http://www.iop.org/EJ/journal/-page=extra.lhc/jinst

Now I happen to have a few bits left over from a radical hard-tail chopper project in the shed, and I've built my own. And just to reassure you all, I'm going to whack a few protons together at 10^20 TeV.

There, I've flipped the switch.

Its perfectly saf ---NO CARRIER---

Apple channels Pandora with iTunes 8

Colonel Panic

iPod Classic - New, now with less storage

There is now only one size of iPod Classic. "One size fits all" says Apple - and that new size is 120GB. So the message from Cupertino is if you have more than 120GB, you have too much music - get a life.

Or get onto eBay and snap up a 160GB Classic while you still can.

Game sharer gets £16K fine

Colonel Panic
Dead Vulture

Damages != fine

The Court ordered the Defendant to pay damages to the Claimant. A fine is where a court orders a criminal to pay money to the state after a conviction.

Since we're on the subject, damages are not punishment - they are mean to put the Claimant in the position they would have been if the Defendant had not committed the tort. So what the court is saying is that if Ms Barwinska had not done what she did, Topware would have earned an extra £ 16,000.

German medical team arms man, twice

Colonel Panic


He was disarmed and then rearmed. How very German.

Apple iPhone 3G

Colonel Panic

@jai Re: re: Wish list - cut & paste

"how would you implement the "cut and paste" on a system with no keys and only finger input?"

The beauty of Apple's approach (and the breakthrough idea arguably) is the use of more than one finger (eg pinch zoom).

There's already the magnifying glass tool to allow cursor placement - a chorded tap (ie tapping with a second finger while holding down the finger keeping the magnifying glass active), would not be beyond the skill of most users to learn - particularly if there are keen enough to want to cut and paste in the first place. A less elegant, but more obvious and less RTFM way would be to have an interface element (button, pop-up menu etc) that appears along with the text entry tools.

Not an insurmountable problem considering the gargauntuan pile of cash Steve & Co are sitting on.

Colonel Panic

Wish list

Stevey boy, listen up:

1. Cut-and-frackin-paste. MacOS 1.0 had that.

2. User filespace. We like to keep stuff and use different apps on it

3. Global search. We need to find stuff.

Having said that, it does what it does so well, I feel like I'm complaining my Ferrari doesn't have a cup holder

San Francisco's 'rogue' sysadmin still being paid while in jail

Colonel Panic

Government computer FUBARed...

...like they said when Calvin Coolidge died: How could they tell ?

Attack of the Italian space pod parachute babes

Colonel Panic

Cue quote from Moonraker

(an awful film, but appropriately cheesy)

[Closing sequence - Bond has got the girl - M comes on the videolink]

M: What are you doing Commander Bond ?

Bond: Attempting re-entry

Want a new career as a contract killer?

Colonel Panic

So 1998...

These days you use a Facebook app - just tick the friends you want dead. An for an add-on fee, you can have video of the hit sent to your iPhone.

Apple iPhone 3G

Colonel Panic
Jobs Horns

Very impressive, but....

Palm ate the Newton's lunch by doing four basic things right: contacts, calendar, notes and tasks (oh, and not giving its users a hernia).

The Palm was useful because those worked well on the device and synched with the desktop.

Does the iPhone do that ? er... nope. The "Notes" app still doesn't sync.

And fer fracks sake - three words Steve: cut - and - paste.

Senate approves FISA makeover and telco wiretap immunity

Colonel Panic

4th Amendment, RIP

Since our American cousins clearly aren't using their constitution anymore, can we have it ? We could do with a bit of judicial oversight...

God makes you stupid, researchers claim

Colonel Panic

Second-order correlation

AKA, the skeptics mantra - "correlation does not prove causation".

The poorer you are, the less percieved control you have over your life (google "internal locus of control" and "social status"). You are more likely to attribute your bad job, bad housing, bad health to external forces (star sign, evil spirits or bearded supernatural white guys with divine status)

The poorer you are, the lower you will tend to score in IQ tests (google "underfunded schools").

Not suprisingly therefore the two tend to co-occur.

Likely too that IQ will correlate with driving Bentleys - for the simialr reasons (with some statistical outliers for footballers)

Mobile fingerprinting heads to another 10 police forces

Colonel Panic

It does make ID cards pointless

If you've already been done for something, you're on the dabs database, so who cares what you're calling yourself - you're nicked.

If you haven't been done yet, you're a civilian, so plod have something better to do with their time than harass you for you bit of plastic. And surely there's more useful toys that the money for ID cards can be spent on.

MPs urge action as spooky caller ID-faking services hit UK

Colonel Panic

Legal to offer the service, but...

Whether it legal to use it depends what you do with it. The answer (which can be obtained by googling "Fraud by false representation" is left as an exercise for the reader