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Greenpeace: Amazon Fire Burns More Coal and Gas Than It Should

FireFury03 Re:Apple no saint with 2 year disposable iPads (288 comments)

Oh come on. By the time the battery is half dead it will be replaced by the latest iPad lest the user be seen with last years model in public. Oh the shame that would bring them.

I still don't get the whole throw-away culture... People seem to think I'm nuts because I don't have the latest everything..

Examples: up until recently I had a ~12 year old ADSL modem running my internet connection. At one point my ISP expressed surprise about this and suggested that I should upgrade it. I have no idea why - a new one would do *exactly the same job* as the old one, which still worked fine(*), so what's to be gained in me spending money to replace it?
(* ok, it was a buggy piece of shit; but since every other consumer grade ADSL modem I've ever seen, including brand new ones, is also a buggy piece shit, an "upgrade" would simply be trading one set of bugs for another set of bugs).

I still have a CRT TV. It works fine, it gives a good picture, it sits in the corner of the room. Various people have said I should replace it with a flatscreen. Why? In the corner position it's in, I would gain no more space, a flatscreen would just have more useless space behind it.

My laptop is now 7 years old. It's got plenty of memory and a CPU that's fast enough to do everything I need it to do... Yet people take the piss out of me having an "old" laptop.

Hell, when my wife lost her iPhone 3GS a few years back, she *wanted* to replace it with another 3GS because she had been completely happy with it and it did everything she wanted. But the 3GS was no longer sold - she would've had to get an iPhone 5 instead. And the only reason I replaced my last phone (HTC Dream) was because it died - the one I replaced it with (Samsung Captivate Glide) may be faster, but the form factor is nowhere near as nice to use and the support is abysmal.

I just don't get the pressure to have the latest gadget - if what you've already got still works and still fulfills your needs then why the hell would anyone replace it? People think I'm weird for repairing stuff that breaks instead of throwing it away and buying a new one...

5 days ago
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Greenpeace: Amazon Fire Burns More Coal and Gas Than It Should

FireFury03 Re:Greenpeace... (288 comments)

Right! And Greenpeace wants us to use wind and solar which are also dirtier and more lethal than nuclear!

And also aren't great at providing base load supply.

Don't get me wrong, I think wind(*) and solar are good ideas, but pushing for them to be our *only* source of power is a pretty good example of why the political "environmentalists" like Greenpeace are a problem.

(* But I tend to think that the variability of wind power should be coupled with a load that can be varied to match rather than trying to balance wind power against other generators. For example, when there's an excess of power being produced, utilise some of it to do stuff like cracking water into hydrogen, etc. for use in cars; then when the wind drops just cut production of hydrogen rather than having to deal with a shortfall on the grid at large.)

5 days ago
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Greenpeace: Amazon Fire Burns More Coal and Gas Than It Should

FireFury03 Re:It's a shame (288 comments)

It's a shame with all this hostility towards environmentalists.

They were the ones who pushed for cleaner air and water. They were the ones who helped get lead out of gasoline.

The problem is people conflating environmentalists (people who actually give a crap about the environment, learn and understand the problems and try to figure out a sensible way to make our lives cleaner) with "environmentalists" (the likes of Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth who make a lot of noise about saving the planet but don't bother to actually learn about the problems and end up blocking every solution that isn't (in their eyes) perfect, failing to realise that there are no perfect solutions and an imperfect one is better than doing nothing).

5 days ago
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The Psychology of Phishing

FireFury03 Re:well (128 comments)

The thing with my bank is that they don't send links in the email, and they often warn people that they won't. If there's something you should look at on your account, like a notification of bill pay or something, they simply say in the email "log into your online account" without providing a link. Most people have their bank bookmarked, so it's not like it's some kind of hardship.

It is some kind of a hardship because you still have to figure out which emails are legit - I'm not going to go log in to my bank every time I get a phishing email. When the vast majority of emails claiming to come from my bank are phishing mails, I'm pretty much guaranteed to miss legitimate ones unless the bank give me a trivial way to know that they're legit - MIME signed emails would allow that, but no banks seem to be interested.

about a week ago
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The Psychology of Phishing

FireFury03 Re:well (128 comments)

How are spammers successful so often? Simple, companies don't train people.

Or they train them with exactly the opposite of good behaviour.

Case in point: a few years ago my (at the time) bank sent me a marketing email (and yes, I confirmed it was legit). It wasn't from the bank's normal domain name and it contained lots of links to product descriptions that were also on an unusual domain. It said that I could verify it's authenticity because it contained the first half of my post code (i.e. something that's trivial for anyone to find out). I complained to the bank and the regulator - neither of them would do anything. The bank's excuse was that none of the pages linked from the email asked for my bank credentials so it was ok. This kind of thing trains people to expect that their bank will legitimately send them emails with clickable links that don't go to the bank's main website - the distinction between a link that asks for your credentials and one that doesn't is going to be lost on a lot of people.

Similarly, my Paypal account is currently suspended because they sent me an email telling me I needed to "verify my ID" (by sending them a scan of my driving licence)... this email went into the bin along with all the phishing emails asking me to "verify my paypal account", so when I didn't send them any ID they suspended the account.

Now, banks _do_ need to communicate with their customers, and I can't discount email as a viable method for them to communicate, but they really really need to start providing a sensible method for people to authenticate the legitimacy of the email - why the hell don't they MIME sign the messages, for example? At the moment they are sending out emails that are indistinguishable from phishing messages and then blaming the customer when they get phished.

about a week ago
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UK Government Faces Lawsuit Over Emergency Surveillance Bill

FireFury03 Re:Biased and wrong summary (flamebait) (44 comments)

EU court just told UK that the data retention law is illegal - so what did they do? make another law to do exactly the same thing, WTF?

Well, not quite. As far as I understand, the ECJ declared the snooping law unlawful because it was too broad, and outlined what restrictions would need to be placed on any replacement snooping law. So parliament is basically just passing a new law with those restrictions in it to satisfy the ECJ.

Of course, that doesn't make the law right, but then neither was the original law.

I've written a bit about it on my blog.

about two weeks ago
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Russia Prepares For Internet War Over Malaysian Jet

FireFury03 Re:Black box data streaming (503 comments)

Why haven't all airplanes been upgraded so the black box data is streamed to satellites/ground stations? It's so dumb to have to search for a airplane to find the data, that should be the fallback plan. Hey FAA, you listening?

Because there's probably way too much data for that to be a reasonable idea. Have you any idea how many planes there are flying at once?

about two weeks ago
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Obama Administration Says the World's Servers Are Ours

FireFury03 Re: Maybe, maybe not. (749 comments)

You cannot serve warrents to search property in other countries.

You may not be able to serve warrants to actually force entry into foreign offices and collect physical evidence, but you probably can subpoena a domestic company and require _them_ to present things that are held in their foreign offices.

Of course, Microsoft et-al are right to fight this from a business point of view, since the "US can demand anyone's data" attitude is going to actively harm their foreign business.

In the UK, personal data has to be handled in compliance with the Data Protection Act. This generally means you're not allowed to store personal data outside the EU since it would no longer have the prerequisite protections. Microsoft usually guarantees to store your data in the EU, making it safe to store protected data on their servers. I'm not sure how this ruling affects DPA compliance - is it still ok to store your data with US companies on EU servers, given that the US now has the right to take it? I'm not sure, but it certainly muddies the waters.

Frankly, I consider it completely idiotic to store confidential data anywhere other than on your own systems, but a lot of people are pushing stuff out to the cloud with very little regard for the security of that data.

I do wonder if MS can just move their non-US servers into separate (non-US) companies in order to protect them from US jurisdiction. I'm sure they've got a building full of very expensive lawyers figuring that kind of thing out at the moment.

about two weeks ago
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Predicting a Future Free of Dollar Bills

FireFury03 Re:Not me... (753 comments)

To how many baskets should I pay a monthly fee so that I can ensure my money is safe?

Hmm.. I forgot that the US banking system is nuts. Here in the UK I have 2 current accounts, 2 savings accounts and 2 ISAs and none of them charge a monthly fee...

about two weeks ago
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Predicting a Future Free of Dollar Bills

FireFury03 Re:Not me... (753 comments)

As someone who has had a recent issue with a certain major bank(they closed the account and sent cashiers checks to me for the balance. Waiting 2-3 days without money wasn't pleasant)...I will never go cashless.

That's more of an "all eggs in one basket" problem than a problem specifically made worse by being cashless. If you split your money between multiple banks then this kind of thing wouldn't be an issue (or have multiple credit cards, etc.)

about two weeks ago
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Nano-Pixels Hold Potential For Screens Far Denser Than Today's Best

FireFury03 Re:What's the point? (129 comments)

I don't know if you read books or anything on your devices, but I've found that reading on an iPad Air to be *significantly* better than my previous devices.

I don't own a tablet - I use a desktop machine for every day work, a laptop around the house and an Android smartphone. I wouldn't really want to read books on my smartphone except in an emergency - screen's too small to be comfortable. And I don't want a bigger smart phone because then it wouldn't be convenient to carry around and I honestly can't think how a higher resolution display would make my phone better.

On the other hand, my wife does have a tablet... She occasionally reads books on it, but it mostly gets used for facebook, web surfing, photo browsing, etc. My experience of using it for reading books isn't great - if I want to sit in the garden in the sun I find the screen too reflective, and if I want to sit in bed at night then a backlit screen is really glaring.

I think, if I were going to buy a device to be an ebook reader, I would have to buy an epaper device to be really comfortable with it, and epaper is a bit too limited to use the device for non-book uses. So since I can't get a device that would be a reasonable all-rounder then I'm not likely to buy one soon. The perfect tablet for me would probably be one that has an LCD display on one side and an ePaper display on the other so I could just turn it over to choose which display was most suitable for the current situation - no one makes such a thing.

In truth, the prevalence of DRM on ebooks is likely to keep me from being especially interested in buying an ebook reader. Whilst I do consider tablets to be quite "shiny" and nice for surfing the web on, when I look at what I'd use it for honestly, I really don't think I'd get a lot of use out of it so there's not a lot of point in me buying one.

about three weeks ago
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The Least They Could Do: Amazon Charges 1 Cent To Meet French Free Shipping Ban

FireFury03 Re: Not France vs US (309 comments)

If publishers want to compete with piracy, they need to make it more convenient for people to get the books they want, at the price they want.

I don't think there's a lot of risk of piracy of paper books. eBooks are another matter, but they are one thing I wouldn't touch because of the DRM (yes, I know you can trivially remove the DRM, but if I'm going to have to break the law to use something I purchased I start questioning why I didn't just break the law instead of purchasing it in the first place).

about three weeks ago
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Texas Town Turns To Treated Sewage For Drinking Water

FireFury03 Re:because drinking water is so pristine (242 comments)

not like the wild animals and fish don't piss and shit into our water

who drinks straight from a lake or river?

Lots of people out in the country. Go walking in the highlands of Scotland and you'll frequently see pipes taking drinking water directly from the rivers and directly feeding cottages a few metres down stream - either no filtering, or extremely minimal filtering. If I go out walking in a mountainous area I have no problems collecting drinking water from streams - and after a week of drinking nothing but stream water, a glass of mains water tastes like drinking from a chlorinated swimming pool!

about three weeks ago
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The Least They Could Do: Amazon Charges 1 Cent To Meet French Free Shipping Ban

FireFury03 Re: Not France vs US (309 comments)

Amazon certainly doesn't pose a threat to variety of material

Sure they do - they try some pretty hard negotiation tactics with the publishers which sometimes results in books from certain publishers being withdrawn from Amazon. If Amazon is pretty much the only place you can get books then this is going to threaten the variety of material available to the general public.

about three weeks ago
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Nano-Pixels Hold Potential For Screens Far Denser Than Today's Best

FireFury03 Re:What's the point? (129 comments)

If the average human eye can't tell the slightest difference, what's the point of making displays that dense?

I would guess there may be applications for things like VR/AR headsets, where you're using a very small screen to cover a large field of vision.

However, I more or less thought the same thing about Apple's retina displays - I can see some restricted uses, but for the general case I don't notice the pixels on my non-retina phone so I'm not sure why I'd want to waste the battery power moving even more pixels around.

about three weeks ago
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Free Wi-Fi Supplier, Gowex, Files For Bankruptcy

FireFury03 Re:Nothing unusual (39 comments)

No, business are sat down and are interrogated like ordinary people. For some loans they just hit the credit bureau, just like ordinary people. Sometimes they go over the documents with a fine tooth comb, just like ordinary people. And just like ordinary people sometimes business enhance, fudge, or outright lie.

Also, even if your business is a limited company, you'll usually find that small business investments are often secured against the directors' themselves, so frequently it is _not_ the case that you can just move the money out of the company and declare it insolvant, coz if you do that you'll lose your home too. Where this tends to fall down is bigger companies, where the bank perceives the company itself to be worth enough to secure the loan... which is a problem if the company's value is fictional.

about three weeks ago
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Free Wi-Fi Supplier, Gowex, Files For Bankruptcy

FireFury03 Re:Nothing unusual (39 comments)

Why is it compulsory that I have to be sat down like a child when I want to take out a £1000 loan but nobody questions businesses or enforces them to give enhanced accounts or audits in their first few years of operation.

Well, to some extent I think people who run businesses are probably expected to have a bit more of a clue to managing finances than the average man-on-the-street. (And I guess you only have to look at the number of "pay day loan" companies that charge several thousands percent APR to realise that there are a *lot* of members of the public who really don't understand how to manage their finances). So the whole being sat down like a child thing is basically to stop people who don't know what they're doing ending up with mountains of debt _by mistake_, it's not to stop people intentionally cooking the books.

A company cooking the books is serious, but arguably, a privately held company cooking the books is probably not _that_ bad - yes they avoid paying a bit of tax, but auditing costs the government money so you have to weigh up this cost against the amount of extra tax revenues they're going to get (and certainly, my privately held limited company has never been audited by the inland revenue, not that I have any reason to believe that such an audit would raise any warnings).

Things are a bit more serious with a publicly held company though, since cooking the books will artificially raise the share price and then risk a crash (as has happened here) so innocent third party investors are going to get screwed over. Its hard to decide who should be paying the costs of an independent audit in this case though. Maybe investors should value a company's shares more highly if a independent audit has been published for that company since investing in that company should presumably be a lower risk.

about three weeks ago
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Radar Changing the Face of Cycling

FireFury03 Re:Haha (235 comments)

Worth pointing out that the British highway code says that you give bikes as much room as you'd give a car (i.e. you must pull all the way out into the next lane).

That's a excellent law, and certainly what I do. I do know a lot of auto drivers don't do this.

It is an excellent law, shame very few people follow it.

about a month ago
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Radar Changing the Face of Cycling

FireFury03 Re:Haha (235 comments)

But the bottom line is, if they are in the lane you are driving in, it is no different then another car except you can pass them without completely changing lanes.

Worth pointing out that the British highway code says that you give bikes as much room as you'd give a car (i.e. you must pull all the way out into the next lane). I say this as someone who still has a bunch of painful cuts from about 3 weeks ago when a driver decided that it was safe to overtake me on a single track road, leaving around 2cm between his car and the end of my handlebars (I swerved to avoid getting hit by his wing mirror, lost my balance and wobbled into the side of his car, which is exactly what leaving zero margin for error gets you. I ended up with cuts, bruises, grazes and a ripped T-shirt from where I hit the road, he ended up with an expensive handlebar scrape the full length of his car, which will hopefully remind him not to be such a bellend in future.)

about a month ago

Submissions

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New rules for government departments' compliance with open standards

FireFury03 FireFury03 writes  |  about a year and a half ago

FireFury03 writes "Effective immediately, all British government departments are to comply with a set of Open Standards Principles (OSPs) when procuring for IT contracts. This follows a public consultation in which around 70% of respondents said they believed it would improve innovation, choice and value for money. Government sources say that although some suppliers have expressed reluctance to move towards OSPs, very few were able to articulate why they wouldn’t be beneficial.

Hopefully this will lead to fewer monolithic multi-million pound IT contracts going to the same old big businesses time after time, and more opportunity for small businesses to participate. Carving up a project and handing it to small businesses is likely very beneficial — less risk since the risk is spread amongst many suppliers, cheaper since there is more competition so less chance to overcharge like the big contractors currently do, and supporting small local businesses also helps the economy."

Link to Original Source
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Illegal downloaders 'face UK ban'

FireFury03 FireFury03 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

FireFury03 writes "The BBC is reporting that the UK government may be planning to force ISPs to ban customers who are using their internet connections to infringe copyright. Apparently about 10% of the UK population regularly infringe copyright over the internet and there is no comment on how the ISPs are expected to detect infringement."
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Active glacier found on Mars

FireFury03 FireFury03 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

FireFury03 writes "The European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft has spotted an icy feature which appears to be a young active glacier. Dr Gerhard Neukum (what a cool name :), chief scientist on the spacecraft's High Resolution Stereo Camera said "We have not yet been able to see the spectral signature of water. But we will fly over it in the coming months and take measurements. On the glacial ridges we can see white tips, which can only be freshly exposed ice". Estimates place the glacier at 10,000 — 100,000 years old."
Link to Original Source
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Another warning over IPv4 address exhaustion

FireFury03 FireFury03 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

FireFury03 writes "The BBC is running a story on the IPv4 address exhaustion problem. The chairman of ICANN is warning that IPv4 addresses will probably run out in 2-3 years and we really need to roll out IPv6 now. The article notes that he is also Google's chief internet evangelist (Google still don't publish an IPv6 address for their search engine).

We keep getting these warnings, but very few ISPs and domestic router manufacturers seem to act (is it even possible to get a domestic ADSL router that does IPv6 without putting custom firmare on it yet?) Will we see a large scale roll-out of IPv6 soon, or will the industry wait until the sky falls in before acting?"

Link to Original Source
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Google Sky launches

FireFury03 FireFury03 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

FireFury03 writes "The BBC is reporting that Google have launched the Google Sky add-on for Google Earth. It will allow astronomers a chance to glide through images of more than one million stars and 200 million galaxies.

"Click a button and the world flips round and you see the sky from that particular location," explained Mr Parsons. "[The view] would be the constellations that you would see oriented in the sky on that particular day at that particular time." Users can overlay the night sky with other information such as galaxies, constellations and detailed images from the Hubble Space Telescope.
Although so far I've been unable to find any information published by Google."

Link to Original Source
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UK petition for government IT projects to be open

FireFury03 FireFury03 writes  |  about 7 years ago

FireFury03 writes "There is a Petition on the UK government's website calling for publicly funded IT projects to be implemented as Free software. From the petition: "This would allow for more of the public to benefit from the development of the software since the code would be available for anyone to use and improve. Furthermore, compatibility with other Free licences (such as the GPL) would promote rapid development and reduced costs through the reuse of existing code.""
Link to Original Source
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OSC threatten BBC over Microsoft tie-in

FireFury03 FireFury03 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

FireFury03 writes "After the BBC Trust approved the BBC's development of a Windows-only video-on-demand service in April, the Open Source Consortium is threatening the BBC with a complaint to the European Commission, since it gives Microsoft an unfair advantage and is not in the public interest. They have also complained to the regulator (Ofcom) and the BBC Trust comparing the situation to the BBC only making programmes that can only be watched on one particular brand of television.

As a licence fee payer, I feel that I should have the right to withhold a portion of my licence fee since the BBC obviously feels it appropriate to artificially restrict the content and therefore prevent a proportion of licence fee payers from legitimately accessing it. It is also interesting to note from the article that the BBC seems to consider supporting only Windows and Mac to be "platform agnostic", with no mention of other operating systems."

Link to Original Source
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FireFury03 FireFury03 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

FireFury03 writes "There is a petition on the British government's website calling for software projects funded by the tax payer to be released under a Free licence so that the tax payer can re-use the code they paid for and also examine the progress of the project. All to often these projects seem to over run and cost many times the original budget. This blog on the subject suggests that this is a common practice in the US — if corporate America can do it, why not everyone else?"
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FireFury03 FireFury03 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

FireFury03 writes "An unprecidented 19 countries have now responded during the contradictions phase of the ISO/IEC standardisation of Microsoft's OpenXML document format. At this time the responses haven't been made public and ECMA have the opportunity to propose resolutions, before the end of the month, to the problems cited. The question has to be raised — what will Microsoft do if the specification is rejected? Can they pressure the relevent people or will they have to withdraw the specification and work up a new, more sane one? In any case, it's good to see that there are some sane people who aren't completely under Microsoft's thumb involved in the standardisation process."
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FireFury03 FireFury03 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

FireFury03 writes "The British Standards Institute has issued a contradiction to Microsoft's OpenXML document format, blocking it's fast-track ISO standardisation for 90 days. The article states that "Proponents of the rival Open Document Format" are opposed to the format as there is "no point in having two document standards." This seems to miss the true problems with the (incomplete) OpenXML specification and the British Standards Institute have not yet stated the reasons for their objection."
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FireFury03 FireFury03 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

FireFury03 writes "linux.com has an article about how eBay are discriminating against Linux users after revising their Sell Your Item web tools.
"The tool is the sellers' auction setup wizard officially named Sell Your Item. eBay rolled out Sell Your Item 3.0 at the end of the summer, adding some more AJAX-ified flair and polish. It was October before I dusted off a relic in need of selling and tried the new form for myself, and found that it didn't work in Linux."
The article goes on to say that kludging your browser's User-Agent string to pretend to be Windows works around the problem, although I haven't got it to work (it serves up a different version of the page but it's still broken). Whilest you can still use the old system to list new items, there doesn't seem to be any solution for those of us who listed items with the new tool and now want to go back to revise the listing without any access to Windows machines."

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