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If I Had a Hammer

Brendan_Jones Self-scanners at Supermarkets (732 comments)

Companies need a system to decide who gets retrenched first due to automation improvements: Those who use self-scanners at supermarkets get laid off first. It's only fair! :-)

But how will these newly unemployed cope? :-(

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2135284/How-cheating-checkouts-turning-nation-self-service-shoplifters.html
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/business/coles-to-combat-selfserve-thieves/story-fni0dcne-1226746394342

Problem solved! :-)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/26/big-y-self-checkout-machines_n_980886.html
http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2012/06/are-self-service-checkouts-on-the-way-out/

about 3 months ago
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PC Makers Plan Rebellion Against Microsoft At CES

Brendan_Jones It's the keyboard, stupid (564 comments)

One of the greatest advantages of a laptop over a tablet is having a nice keyboard, but lately laptops I've seen in stores all have horrible flimsy chicklet keyboards. They're so bad Officeworks for example has taken to selling Logitech keyboards alongside the laptops. Defeats the whole point.

Until laptop manufacturers wake up they can look forward to falling sales on top of the whole Windows 8 fiasco. Meanwhile I'd rather type on glass.

about 4 months ago
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Panel Urges Major NSA Spying Overhaul

Brendan_Jones Re:Snowden saved The Constitution that Obama defil (242 comments)

partisan bias? Only that I would have expected a right-leaning spokesmodel to do it. I would have hoped a left-leaning spokesmodel who preached 'Hope and Change' wouldn't. Ryoma Sakamoto said "A statesman must be pure of heart." Obama isn't.

about 4 months ago
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Panel Urges Major NSA Spying Overhaul

Brendan_Jones Snowden saved The Constitution that Obama defiled (242 comments)

> privacy and 'protecting democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law.'

LOL. As if they give a damn about any of those things!

Obama has set the dogs on Snowden (forcing down Evo Morales's plane like a Bond villain to try and catch him), but Obama has also violated the US Constitution itself. How much more serious can you get?

On the campaign trail Obama referred to himself as "a constitutional law professor" so he can't claim ignorance. Yet there is no penalty for him violating it; After years of accumulated abuse it'll eventually weave it's way to the US Supreme Court who will say "So don't do that then." What sort of a deterrent is that?

So what does happens when you give a left-leaning spokesmodel unfettered power and no accountability? SCOTUS J Brandeis on Absolute Power: "The objections to despotism and monopoly are fundamental in human nature. They rest upon the innate and ineradicable selfishness of man. They rest upon the fact that absolute power inevitably leads to abuse."

When the US founding fathers wrote the Constitution they wisely recognised the dangers of a despotic government, having just fought a war with one. The problem the US faces today is that despots ignore the law, and face no penalty for doing so.

about 4 months ago
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Australian Defense Scientists Plagiarizing Trade Secrets

Brendan_Jones Re:Australians have no Free Speech (60 comments)

Yes, under this US government the attacks on whistleblowers and pressure on the media to kiss ass has never been higher, but you still have a constitution and a bill of rights that can put things right. We in Australia simply don't have that.

about 4 months ago
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Australian Defense Scientists Plagiarizing Trade Secrets

Brendan_Jones Re:Australians have no Free Speech (60 comments)

> I honestly don't understand how these people can sleep at night. As a civil servant you're supposed to serve the people that employ you, not steal their work under cover of security statutes. And as for those "scientists" plagiarising (i.e. putting their own name on) ideas and inventions handed to them by state security ... words fail me.

These people are a very strange breed. They have a sense of self-entitlement, and because they are taxpayer funded there's no need to be efficient. If you don't meet your work targets, your boss complains he is underresourced and needs more of those sweet taxpayer dollars. And they're unaccountable.

Take the Australian Public Service Commissioner. His Minister claimed he had strong anti-corruption powers, but privately he claimed he didn't, and refused to take stop it. Yet despite the government knowing about this, he still has a job: http://victimsofdsto.com/psc

I've spent my life working in private enterprise, and I've never seen anything like this. Any company that acted like this would go broke.

> Plus that gem about that new Aussie law (the Defence Trade Controls Act) that seems so broad that it can criminalise you for innocuous acts like sending an email with an explanation or leaving a server open

It's startlingly bad law. They were supposed to draft it in consult with the universities, but they ignored them and treated them like crap. The public service was amazing arrogant, and remain so to this day.

> In all probability the Australian government just wanted to impress the US with its zeal and preparedness to go after proliferators.

One advocate I know said at the start of it a senior public servant told him it was because "We have to bring the universities under control."

> The only way to stay clear seems to be to either have a legal department vet each and every communication outside Australia (including accessible servers). Otherwise you put your head on the chopping block and all you can do is hope nobody will (with hindsight !) find cause to bring down the axe.

I think the best way to do business is to move offshore. Even in America, there are less restrictions and better access to talent, connections and venture capital too. Australia is already a bad place to do business (unless that's mining or farming). Like the DVCR at Sydney University warned, it will just drive high-tech research offshore.

> Now the US has got many things wrong, but this isn't one of them.

Yes, and as stuffed up as things are in America, it has a sound constitution. And even if SCOTUS takes too long and often lets its politics get in the way, the Constitution ultimately has the power to put things right. In Australia we don't have that. We have no Bill of Rights. When you get a bad law like this, you lump it or leave.

about 4 months ago
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Australian Defense Scientists Plagiarizing Trade Secrets

Brendan_Jones Communicating research to international peers (60 comments)

> Criminal charges and ten years hard time for researchers who communicate with their international peers (y'know, the ones from "peer review") is hardly a non-story, friend.

Exactly, and that's why the universities hate it so much: That's the way they do research; by collaborating with peers.

The University of Sydney Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research warned: "Our researchers may have lost their ability to freely conduct public-good research and communicate research results ... This legislation could mean a conference speech, publication of a scientific paper or sending an email to colleagues could require a Defence permit or become a serious crime. ... It would impede top scientists in developing technologies for tomorrow's high-tech manufacturing industries, new vaccines and potential cures for cancer. The Australian government worries about a brain drain in advanced technology, but is poised to pass legislation that could force our best and brightest offshore". http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/tighter-defence-ties-will-bind-academics-and-stifle-innovation-20121009-27b4n.html

But the government ignored the universities and rammed the laws through anyway; they wouldn't even accept amendments for basic research. The Commonwealth Chief Scientist dismissed the universities concerns: "Those boxing at shadows and guessing at what it (the laws) might mean to some unspecified but allegedly 'substantial' number of researchers can continue to do that if it makes them happy." http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/chubbs-defends-researchers-prospects-under-the-defence-trade-controls-bill/story-e6frgcjx-1226508483554

Charming!

about 4 months ago
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Australian Defense Scientists Plagiarizing Trade Secrets

Brendan_Jones Best not to reveal, but no longer an allowed (60 comments)

> Simply best not to reveal it, given nobody can be trusted

Absolutely, and what one company who lost a lot due to thefts did was simply refuse the DSTO physical access to their facilities. But under the DTCA they can no longer do that; they *must* let them in, give access, office space, etc. Defence can also issue a company with an order to turn over IP. Penalties for refusing are fines and jail time.

In the US the Economic Espionage Act is actually quite strong legislation for protecting trade secrets. Again, in Australia there is no such legislation, so you must really keep your cards close to your chest. Again, under the DTCA you can no longer do that. If you want to not just sell, but even communicate about your work (e.g. communicate with a peer, brainstorm a problem, ask a supplier a question) you must get a permit, so you can no longer keep it secret. Defence don't have (for want of a better word) "Chinese Walls". As soon as a scientist finishes looking at your product - even under a non-disclosure, they are free to do research in the same area.

This paper has a good analysis of the flaws with the DTCA permit system: http://www.ausairpower.net/PDF-A/APA-DP-2013-0801.pdf

about 4 months ago
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Australian Defense Scientists Plagiarizing Trade Secrets

Brendan_Jones Spying for Profit, not National Security (60 comments)

Australian spooks spy for commercial gain:

"Australian spy agency helped BHP negotiate trade deals"
http://www.smh.com.au/national/australian-spy-agency-helped-bhp-negotiate-trade-deals-20131106-2x1sw.html

"East Timor will launch a case in The Hague alleging the Australia Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) covertly recorded Timorese ministers and officials during oil and gas negotiations"
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-12-03/asio-raided-lawyer-representing-east-timor-in-spying-case/5132486

They also spied on the Indonesian President's wife because, well, they could:
http://www.smh.com.au/comment/spying-on-president-susilo-bambang-yudhoyonos-wife-a-step-too-far-by-asd-20131120-2xvu5.html

about 4 months ago
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Australian Defense Scientists Plagiarizing Trade Secrets

Brendan_Jones Australians have no Free Speech (60 comments)

A very big problem in Australia is that we have no right to free speech like Americans do: http://www.findlaw.com.au/articles/4529/do-we-have-the-right-to-freedom-of-speech-in-austr.aspx

Under the Public Figure Doctrine US journalists can report corruption in a timely manner. In Australia we have nothing like that - not even a public interest test - so journalists must sit on stories for years. The Australian media couldn't even tell the people of New South Wales that their Premier (Governor) was manifestly-corrupt until the day after he died. http://www.bmartin.cc/dissent/documents/Martin_def.html http://victimsofdsto.com/online/#freespeech

The right to free speech is so limited in Australia that this public servant was fired for anonymously tweeting her own opinion on her own equipment on her own time: http://www.psnews.com.au/Featurespsn3834.html In the US the Supreme Court holds that public servants (government workers) have the right to express their own opinions. In Australia, they don't.

about 4 months ago
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Australian Defense Scientists Plagiarizing Trade Secrets

Brendan_Jones Australia is very, very corrupt (60 comments)

This was the actual text from Clayton Utz, the law firm acting for the Australian Department of Defence: "“The reason we believe your claim will fail is because you allege that the Commonwealth owes innovators submitting products or technology for evaluation a duty of care to ensure that the evaluations are either fair, proper and accurate or that the confidential information is respected. There is no such duty of care in Australian law.”

They are very disingenuous: The DSTO publicly solicits businesses to submit inventions to Defence under the "DSTO CTD Capability and Technology Demonstrator Program", and then screw them over behind closed doors.

Here the Defence Science Minister Warren Snowdon announced a DSTO Probity Board "to protect against conflict of interest" http://www.dsto.defence.gov.au/news/6648/, while here he sends a letter to an independent MP in which he falsely claims the whistleblower didn't want the thefts from other companies to be investigated(!): http://victimsofdsto.com/doc/2011-02-28%20Letter%20from%20Defence%20Science%20Minister%20with%20false%20information%20to%20Independent%20MP%20(NAMES%20BLACKED%20OUT).pdf

Australia's Federal Police force, the AFP, are systemically corrupt. They ignore public service crime http://www.smh.com.au/national/public-service-keeps-fraud-cases-private-20110923-1kpdr.html and terrorise whistleblowers: http://pastebin.com/tD8Vd6Vd http://victimsofdsto.com/psc/#kessing

You can't use the civil courts: Under the Model Litigant Policy the Australian government has to keep legal costs to a minimum, must offer alternate dispute resolution, etc. But the government lawyers simply ignore it, run up huge legal bills and threaten to bankrupt you with a costs order if you dare step foot into court. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/legal-affairs/gillard-government-lashed-for-ignoring-breaches-of-model-litigant-rules/story-e6frg97x-1226325228917 Another department did actually bankrupt a guy. Not mentioned in the article, the DSTO also stole IP from some big defence companies (including an American one).

It costs about $2M to litigate the gov. I don't know of a single company who has seen litigation through: SMEs can't afford it, and the large companies said litigating their biggest customer would lose future contracts. The only law firms capable of taking on the government pro bono in Australia are all on retainer to them! Here's a very good book "Our Corrupt Legal System" by an investigative crime journalist; Page 157- describes all the dirty tricks lawyers play: http://netk.net.au/Whitton/OCLS.pdf . play.

about 4 months ago

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