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Comments

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Drawings of Weapons Led To New Jersey Student's Arrest

Gandalf_the_Beardy Re:America (630 comments)

I used to hunt with a .303 rifle. Single shot bolt action, precise headspacing, accurate as anything and lots of stopping power. You wont get that from a gas operated system with an automatic bolt. If you really do need that fast a rate of fire then you are using a 223 for birds, and a shotgun is a much better bet...

about a year and a half ago
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Drawings of Weapons Led To New Jersey Student's Arrest

Gandalf_the_Beardy Re:Great! (630 comments)

Sitting from the other side of the pond I wonder the same. We've slid down the same path in the UK and everyone is scared of terrorists, despite the fact we've had the IRA for 40 years, and they killed a lot more people over a lot longer time period than the current mob did.

I've never figured out why we stood up and gave the Irish the finger and refused to be cowed by them as much as they do with the current mob.

about a year and a half ago
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Israel's Iron Dome Missile Defense Shield Actually Works

Gandalf_the_Beardy Re:OMFG Reagan was right? (861 comments)

You need to keep the neutron count down in a fissile mass being compressed, to prevent premature detonation and a resulting fizzle. (which is why weapons grade Pu keeps the 240 percentage small, to keep teh background neutron flux down.)

Now imagine tossing that warhead into an evironment just after a nuke has gone off. There is a lot of background neutrons from the fission products and fallout. If you implode the next warhead too soon it'll fizzle from this external increase in the neutron flux. Hence the need to seperate them in time to give the active decay products chance to also decay and get the neutron flux down,

about a year and a half ago
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Dutch Police Ask 8000+ Citizens To Provide Their DNA

Gandalf_the_Beardy Re:Do you trust your government? (374 comments)

The British police did just that, except they lied from the start and said they were destroying the records. Several years later they had a huge illegal database, so got the law changed to make it legal.

IF the police want your DNA, do your level best not to give it them. Once given you won't get it back.

about 2 years ago
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Dutch Police Ask 8000+ Citizens To Provide Their DNA

Gandalf_the_Beardy Re:Do you trust your government? (374 comments)

Or the British way..

1. Ask for DNA samples to clear people from the investigation
2. Routinely sample DNA from people arrested.
3. Lie about keeping the samples.
4. Wait a few years
5. When get caught with a huge, illegally colelcted database whine it's useful and get the law changed so it's legal

Never trust the police. They have a binary few, Policeman, and guilty perps. If you are not a copper you are guilty, of something, and if not then we can find something.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Personal Tape Drive NAS?

Gandalf_the_Beardy Re:Tapes. Are. Useless. (268 comments)

If it costs that much in downtime you don't put it all on one server. Warm standbys or a failover cluster please....

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Personal Tape Drive NAS?

Gandalf_the_Beardy Re:Tapes. Are. Useless. (268 comments)

I'd have to disagree. I've got just under a third of a million tapes in library and these problems simply don't occur. What you are describing is a mangement issue, not a technology issue.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Personal Tape Drive NAS?

Gandalf_the_Beardy Re:Nope. (268 comments)

Are they garuanteed to start up again in six years time? No stuck spindles? How about in 20 years? Tapes are. I've yet to see a drive that is.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Personal Tape Drive NAS?

Gandalf_the_Beardy Re:Nope. (268 comments)

Learn how modern tape catalogs work then - you can seek with a tape to any position you want you know and then you start reading. you dont have to read the first file before you can read the end...

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Personal Tape Drive NAS?

Gandalf_the_Beardy Re:Nope. (268 comments)

LTO3 is 57 seconds to pony up and find the data from a cold start, and in my library that includes the time for the robot to find the tape, and load the drive. 15 minute seeks just don't occur anymore with LTO drives.

about 2 years ago
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UK Police Roll Out On-the-Spot Mobile Data Extraction System

Gandalf_the_Beardy Re:Using a phone in criminal activity? (145 comments)

The police could find someone standing over a dead body spattered in blood holding the hammer that fits the divot marks in the victims head, freely confessing to it and they would *still* be a suspect and no more.

They don't become a culprit, or rather a convict until the courts have had their say. Sadly there are too many coppers in the UK who think they are the law. They are the police - it's the magistrates and judges who are the law.

more than 2 years ago
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UK Police Roll Out On-the-Spot Mobile Data Extraction System

Gandalf_the_Beardy Re:Hack your phone (145 comments)

Since I never use my phone's data connection, and am so quaint that all I have on it is my phonebook there is mischeif to be had. Easily possible to build a 300V flyback converter inside the case of an extended battery, and use that to provide +/- 300V on alternate output pins on the data connector. I defy the machine to cope with that.

When asked I'll tell them it's a security feature, and knowing the woodentops if you tell them before it won't work that'll make them more determined than ever yo pulg it in and extract the data....at which point you've divulged your legal responsibility to warn them.

more than 2 years ago
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Pasadena Police Encrypt, Deny Access To Police Radio

Gandalf_the_Beardy Re:So? (487 comments)

Sympathetic to whom? The police or the public?

Over here we have something called the Levenson enquiry into press standards and next up the entirely nasty world of the police tipping off and getting too cozy with the media. I'd much rather the two didn;t cooperate - we see enough perp-walks here already, but you never seem to see them when the police realise they made a mistake and quietly let them out the side door so the police don't get embarrassed.

more than 2 years ago
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Pasadena Police Encrypt, Deny Access To Police Radio

Gandalf_the_Beardy Re:So? (487 comments)

Wireless Telegrapy acts from 1949 on and the successive Communcations Acts have made the mere possession of devices for wireless telegraphy illegal unless you have a licence.

Some licences are held by the Govt on behalf of the people, like CB radio licences, and a broadcast receiver licence, others like amateur radio licences you have to get yourself after paying the fee/exams etc. There is no licence that you can get to allow you have communcations equipment for TETRA, unless you happen to be a licencend amateur and they are using some of the amateur allocations (as will happen for the Olympics)

more than 2 years ago
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Remembering Alan Turing On His 99th Birthday

Gandalf_the_Beardy Re:Polymath? (146 comments)

Someone who is skilled in multiple different disciplines like Leonardo da Vinci, (Painting, sculpture, engineer, physicist, astronomer, anatomist, geologist, architect) or perhaps Jefferson, (author, lawyer, musician, botanist, diplomat)

more than 3 years ago
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Remembering Alan Turing On His 99th Birthday

Gandalf_the_Beardy And shamefully treated too. (146 comments)

I always wonder what more he would have gone on to if he hadn't been branded a pervert - one of the UK Govt's more shameful episodes.

As it was, the Turing machine remains an excellent means of terrorising computing undergraduates. I've never seen such confusion when we saw the concept for the first time in class.

more than 3 years ago
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FBI Seizes Servers In Virginia

Gandalf_the_Beardy Re:Just trolling, ignore. (405 comments)

"We also have Al Qaida supporters in the US, but they are not in any position to influence the country." - yes because they so spectacularly failed to influence anything before in the US didn't they? I presume you have heard that there is a big hole in Lower Manhattan?

more than 3 years ago
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Miguel de Icaza On Usability and Openness

Gandalf_the_Beardy Re:Windows is popular because it works. (349 comments)

You must have missed the part where I said I preferred Linux in the datacentre back end.

I never said pretty beats functionality - in fact I kind of said the opposite. For some usages Linux beats Windows, and also the converse holds true. Yet you choose to pick one situation and compare it against another - I'm sorry but the comparison simply doesnt hold true. If you had wanted a solid stable backend system then you should have researched and picked a better one than persevere with a broken one.

This, is essentially the problem that people seem to have when the do the comparisons. Would you write a CV/resume on a CLI only server using LaTeX? Yes you could, of course you could but it would probably be easier to write it using Word, or Openoffice if you prefer in a GUI.

You could write a scientific anaylsis tool on a large dataset using something like Python or Fortran - many people do of course. A spectacularly bad language to choose would be Intercal which wouold do it - it's Turing complete, but you wouldnt want to use it?

The point I am making is that computer is not and never has nor will be a one size fits all solution. For some tasks people will prefer to use *nix, for other tasks people will using Windows, for yet others they will use an embedded system like SCADA or whatever. Withint those worlds, change is bad *if* it stops you doing what you did before.

We have people coming from the US to our offices and they simply cannot get on with driving a manual rental car. The combination of the other side of the road and gear management is beyond them. It's the same task but it's sufficiently different that it causes too big a problem for them - so they just don't use it and get a taxi. For when I go to the USA I cope fine - because I have had plenty of exposure to other side driving in France, and I own both manual and autobox vehicles. If you make a sufficiently sudden change in a familiar environment, people will stop using it. This is why a rapidly changing environment such as Linux puts people off, and whan they pace of change introduces errors it makes it even more so. This is not a superficial issue as you so disparagingly try and make out with silly "oooh pretty" soundbites - it's a real problem that has good reasons for existing and it affects most everyone because that's how human nature works.

more than 3 years ago
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Miguel de Icaza On Usability and Openness

Gandalf_the_Beardy Re:Windows is popular because it works. (349 comments)

Oh I've had my fair share of suckyness from Fedora as well - although that's fair enough as it's meant to be a place for trying out new idea's. I couldnt comment on SuSE as I've hardly used it to be honest. For desktop/laptop usage i've jumped to the new Debian - it's by far the best in terms of stability and consistency. The contrast between that and Ubuntu is amazing. I'm almost hoping that Squeeze is going to be good enough to use for a proper desktop - so far it is actually looking fairly promising.

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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Juror jailed after Facebook contact with defendant

Gandalf_the_Beardy Gandalf_the_Beardy writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Gandalf_the_Beardy (894476) writes "From the article "A juror who contacted a defendant via Facebook, causing a trial to collapse, has been jailed for eight months for contempt of court."

This is probably one of the first, and certainly the highest profile cases in the UK about the problem of jurors doing their own "research" on the case. Judges routinely admonish jurors that they must only decide on the case from what they hear in the courtroom. However they are somewhat resigned to accepting that this could be a losing game.

What makes this case special is that it caused the collapse of an ongoing trial of a fairly high profile drugs case. The juror had tracked down one of the already acquitted defendants, exchanged copious notes and then befreinded her on Facebook, which meant the trial collapsed and had to be abandoned.

With routine jury sequestration in the UK being unfeasible, and almost certainly unacceptable to most jurors, courts have only one weapon to dissuade people from such actions and Joanne Fraill was duly handed eight months, pour encourager les autres."

Link to Original Source
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UK law firm halts legal pursit of file-sharers

Gandalf_the_Beardy Gandalf_the_Beardy writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Gandalf_the_Beardy (894476) writes "A law firm prosecuting 26 cases in the Patent court has dropped all the cases mid session. ACS:Law had brought the cases on behalf of MediaCAT

Andrew Crossley said he had now ceased all such work, citing criminal attacks and bomb threats as reasons.

"I have ceased my work...I have been subject to criminal attack. My e-mails have been hacked. I have had death threats and bomb threats," he said in the statement, read to the court by MediaCAT's barrister Tim Ludbrook. "It has caused immense hassle to me and my family," he added.

ACS is well known for sending thousands of speculative letters to alleged filesharers, including many that are almost certainly innocent of any such activity. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8129261.stm and http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8619407.stm

This latest action may leave ACS open to counter actions for harrassment, said law firm Ralli, which represents some of the defendants.

ACS are no stranger to controversy though — they have been responsible for leaking the details of thousands of people and currently are facing an investigation from the Information Commissioner which could ultimatly result in a half million pound ($750,000) fine. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11418970 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11434809"

Link to Original Source
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DIY "Space" Ballooning

Gandalf_the_Beardy Gandalf_the_Beardy writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Gandalf_the_Beardy (894476) writes "Robert Harrison has for the last few years been sending images back from the upper edge of the atmosphere, using off the shelf Canon cameras, a little home designed hardware and a radio tracking link.

From the article "Amateur Scientist Sends Digital Camera to the Edge of Space — Robert Harrison launches his Canon camera into the Earth’s atmosphere with astounding results." http://www.tonic.com/article/amateur-scientist-sends-digital-camera-to-the-edge-of-space/

The actual hardware is encased in a thermally insulated box the size of a six pack of soda cans. A weather balloon takes it up to 35km before it ruptures, and then it parachutes to the ground. Retrieval, control and monitoring is accomplished by an amateur radio telemetry link. Total cost of each "space shot" or rather, upper-atmopshere shot is approx 400GBP or 650USD.

There have been 12 launches so far with images that have piqued the interest of amongst others, NASA "...UK man says his hobby led to talks with NASA....He was able to capture some pretty amazing photographs of Earth......The rare images caught the attention of experts and it was not long before Harrison got a call from NASA. — They saw the pictures on the internet....'If we had to take these pictures it would cost lots of money"

http://www.wkrg.com/science/article/pictures_from_above/811582/Mar-26-2010_6-23-am/"

Link to Original Source
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Norton "conspire" to silence hidden activi

Gandalf_the_Beardy Gandalf_the_Beardy writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Gandalf_the_Beardy (894476) writes "The Register reports that Symantec are stamping down on questions about their own software activities. From the article, "Conspiracy theories are running rampant in the absence of a clear explanation of why Symantec deleted threads expressing concern about a file called pifts.exe from its Norton support forums."

In the absence of official sanction for questions, users are turning to other sites to discuss matters.

http://forums.zonealarm.org/zonelabs/board/message?board.id=Off-Topic&message.id=19880

http://blog.bull3t.me.uk/archives/internet/the-mysterious-norton-cover-up-and-piftsexe/

A perfect example of why you shouldn't trust a closed source system further than you trust the vendor. It's ironic that Symantec provide something to enhance the trust you have in a Windows platform and then break that trust in a different way.

"Many users running Norton Internet Protection began seeing a popup warning on Monday that a file called PIFTS.exe on their systems was trying to access the internet. The location of the file was given as a non-existent folder buried inside the Symantec LiveUpdate folder.

The appearance of a file in a non-existent folder suggests rootkit-like behaviour. PIFTS.exe attempts to contact a server in Africa, which has been traced to Symantec."

So far there is nothing beyond "It is part of Symantec Update" from the vendor, although all reputable antivirus sites have so far said that the file samples they have are not malware."

Link to Original Source
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NASA's Stereo sees the Sun "burping"

Gandalf_the_Beardy Gandalf_the_Beardy writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Gandalf_the_Beardy (894476) writes "The NASA Stereo (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) has spotted a pair of coronal mass ejections — solar flares pulling the tail off of Comet 2P/Encke reports the BBC.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7348064.stm

From the article

"Nasa's Stereo orbiters have captured stunning new images of spaceborne debris thrown out from the Sun.

The twin spacecraft have seen Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) hurling material into a comet, ripping off its tail.

Scientists hope the probes will allow better forecasting of CMEs, which sometimes disrupt communication systems on Earth."

The satellite system uses a pair of satellites to give a huge baseline and steroscopic image.

"The near-identical Stereo (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) craft orbit the Sun along virtually the same trajectory as the Earth.

One travels ahead of our planet, the other trails behind; and these twin vantage points allow the probes to image in three dimensional detail what happens between the Sun and the Earth.

Instruments on board include the Heliospheric Imagers (HIs) provided by the UK.

'We're able to image CMEs further out away from the Sun than we could before,' said Danielle Bewsher from the UK's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Didcot. "

The research was presented at a major science and environment conference in Vienna."

Link to Original Source
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Phorm could break EU law, according to UK

Gandalf_the_Beardy Gandalf_the_Beardy writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Gandalf_the_Beardy (894476) writes "The row about Phorm http://www.phorm.com/ and web tracking continues to rumble on..
From the article "Ad-targeting system Phorm must be "opt in" when it is rolled out, says the Information Commissioner Office (ICO)
European data protection laws demand that users must choose to enrol in the controversial system, said the ICO in an amended statement."
Interestingly the law being broken is not Data Protection but a requirement that the user consent if the use of the data "adds value".
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7339263.stm

This follows hot on the heels of news of BT's "illegal" trial which may well break the UK's RIPA act. The largest telco in the UK to acting in such a manner sets a worrying precedent. From the article "BT has said it trialled a prototype of Phorm, which matches adverts to users' web habits, in 2006 and 2007.
The company did not inform customers that they were part of the trial.
Nicholas Bohm, of the Foundation for Information Policy Research, said tests without the knowledge of users were "an illegal intercept of users' data"."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7325451.stm
Some ISP's however seem to have a better approach
http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/03/10/talktalk_to_make_phorm_use_optin_not_optout.html"
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UK Govt proposes three strike rule for downloaders

Gandalf_the_Beardy Gandalf_the_Beardy writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Gandalf_the_Beardy (894476) writes "The BBC report on a leaked Green Paper (for reference a Green Paper is a proposal by the Govt to introduce legislation and is the first step to creating a law) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7240234.stm From the article "People in the UK who go online and illegally download music and films may have their internet access cut under plans the government is considering. A draft consultation Green Paper suggests internet service providers would be required to take action over users who access pirated material. Under a "three strikes" rule they would receive an e-mail warning, suspension, and then termination of their contract." It turns the ISP into a largely unaccountable police force, and brigs up immediate issues of privacy, determination of copyright etc. How will they cope with legitamate large downloads like Linux images, determination of encrypted torrent contents. Not withstanding the substantial technical costs, circumvention of the DPA, etc that are also raised."
Link to Original Source
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Sears leaps into the spyware business

Gandalf_the_Beardy Gandalf_the_Beardy writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Gandalf_the_Beardy (894476) writes "The Register reports that Havard researcher Ben Edelman claims Sears Holding Corp — owners of Sears and Roebuck and of KMart has been tracking peoples online browsing after loading Sears provided software From the article "...Sears Holding Corporation, owner of Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Kmart, makes the pitch in an email sent to people shortly after they provide their address at Sears.com. Clicking the "Join" button invokes a dialog that requests the person's name, address and household size before installing ComScore spyware that monitors every site visited on the computer..." The alleged spyware's tracking activity was disclosed — on page 10 of a 54 page document. Sears alleges they have done nothing wrong saying the retailer "..goes to great lengths to describe the tracking aspect" of the software. He also claims a progress bar during the installation of the software gives users an easy way to back out if they change their mind...""
Link to Original Source
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UK Govt loses 15m unencrypted personal records.

Gandalf_the_Beardy Gandalf_the_Beardy writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Gandalf_the_Beardy writes "Confidential details of 15 million child benefit recipients are on a computer disc lost by HM Revenue and Customs, the BBC understands. The chairman of revenue and customs, Paul Gray, has resigned. Revenue and Customs says it does not believe the records — names, addresses and bank accounts — have fallen into the wrong hands."
Link to Original Source
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Gandalf_the_Beardy Gandalf_the_Beardy writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Gandalf_the_Beardy (894476) writes ""A new civil liberties controversy has flared up over the news that police chiefs are considering using high-powered microphones to 'eavesdrop' — as critics will see it — on crowds at the London 2012 Olympics." Compared to previous stories here, http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/11/25/05 4246 and Blunkett's reputation as one of the most oppressive Home Secretaries that Labour has had, his opposition, "....He told BBC Radio Five Live's Weekend News programme that the suggestion was "simply unacceptable", and smacked of the "surveillance state..." is nothing short of amazing. Full article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6186348.stm "

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