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Syrian Electronic Army Hits Financial Times Sites, Feeds

Keith_Beef Re:They are trying for fame and fortune! (24 comments)

But doesn't the exchange simply reverse the trades once it is discovered that there was some manipulation like this?

There's little point in trying to push a stock into a nose dive like that. The billions you make will last for seconds before they evaporate.

On the other hand, I see little point to "Syrian Electronic Barmy Army Woz 'Ere" type graffiti

about a year and a half ago

Ad Exec: Learn To Code Or You're Dead To Me

Keith_Beef Re:Actual coding, no. Knowing the basics, yes. (339 comments)


If you really cannot find a pattern in your problem's data, then reframe the problem until you can find a pattern. And write your program in such a way that data falling outside the pattern is handled elegantly.

about a year and a half ago

Is Overclocking Over?

Keith_Beef Re:It's not dead, it's fun! (405 comments)

Pavement is the material itself, such as asphalt, concrete, etc. The word "pave" means to cover a surface. Sidewalk, road, driveway, and such refer to the use of the paved area. You don't typically call your house "bricks" or "wood" or whatever it may be constructed from, so why call a sidewalk "pavement".

In British English, the terms "pavement" and "paved" also tend to have a strong sense of a surface being covered with "paving stones" as opposed to being covered by a continuously poured material such as tarmac, asphalt or concrete, a process known as "metalling". So the pavements are paved, and the roadway is metalled.

We adopted metalling for the roadway long before using it on the pavements, and it is still very common to find pavements that are flagged (i.e., covered with big flagstones) .

But we also use "footpath" and sometimes "causeway" (pronounced kz.i in some areas) for the bit reserved for pedestrians.


more than 3 years ago

Spanish Court Rules In Favor of P2P Engineer

Keith_Beef Re:That is like suing Ford (365 comments)

Eh? Am I having a slow brain day, or what?

To look at the car example, it would be like saying that we are going to take cars away from everybody except those who do hit and runs. We'll let them keep their cars and give them more targets when people start walking in the road since nobody else has cars, so they don't expect to be hit. Oh, and we'll also remove all stoplights and speed limits. See how well it works out for society.


The idea that you take the [cars|guns] away from reasonable people and expressly allow the unreasonable people to keep their [cars|guns], and to furthermore remove all restrictions on the use of those [cars|guns] is just ridiculous, and not at all what understood from errandum's post.

You already have gun control, and have the legal mechanisms:

  • - for removing guns from those who should not possess them,
  • - for preventing those who should not possess them from obtaining them.

This is just like the mechanisms that you have in place to try to prevent people from driving cars when should not do so

  • - because they have not demonstrated competence (i.e., not passed a driving test),
  • - because they have demonstrated disregard for the safety of others (i.e., been caught too often drunk at the wheel, speeding, driving without insurance etc.).

But your legal system does not have the practical means to enforce the legal mechanisms.

Fix your gun control system first: take the guns out of the hands of the unreasonable people.


more than 3 years ago

What Objects To Focus On For School Astronomy?

Keith_Beef Re:Celestia and Stellarium for classroom presentat (377 comments)

Not only that, but I find that using those programs is really useful for planning.

  • If you know which particular constellation you want to show the class, you can find out when it will be visible,
  • If you know that you have a particular time slot, you can find out which constellations will be over the horizon (and tree/building line) and whereabouts to look for them.

What you really don't want, when showing constellations to kids, is to spend ages looking around for something interesting in the sky. A few in the class might have the patience for it, but not the rest. And if you can'tshow them the Plough, Cassiopeia and Orion quickly enough, they'll start shouting to see Uranus.


more than 4 years ago

Woman Filming Sister's Birthday Party Gets Charged With Felony Movie Piracy

Keith_Beef Re:Good test case (705 comments)

If anyone's interested, here's the text of the law she's charged under:


(c) The owner or lessee of a facility where a motion picture is being exhibited, the authorized agent or employee of that owner or lessee, or the licensor of the motion picture being exhibited or his or her agent or employee, who alerts law enforcement authorities of an alleged violation of this Section is not liable in any civil action arising out of measures taken by that owner, lessee, licensor, agent, or employee in the course of subsequently detaining a person that the owner, lessee, licensor, agent, or employee, in good faith believed to have violated this Section while awaiting the arrival of law enforcement authorities, unless the plaintiff in such an action shows by clear and convincing evidence that such measures were manifestly unreasonable or the period of detention was unreasonably long.

Not only does the law appear applicable to this case, but the theater management is immune from any resulting civil action. That's a really bad law.

I read section (c) as protecting, from civil suit, that particular employee who called the cops. I did not read that as protecting the owner of the cinema, who has instructed the employees to take those measures.

I am not a lawyer, and not a US citizen... I'm English, and in English law we have a thing known as "vicarious liability" which, unless I'm mistaken (and I may well be) means that an employee following a company policy is not held personally liable for the errors in that policy.
Rather, the law would hold responsible the employer who requires the employee to enforce unreasonable policies including, but not limited to, calling the cops if anybody sings "Happy Birthday" or so much as takes a photograph which may include a small portion of a copyrighted work.


more than 5 years ago

Program To Detect Smuggled Nuclear Bombs Stalls

Keith_Beef Re:Congressional mandate (224 comments)

"Congress has mandated that, by 2012, all containers bound for the US be inspected overseas."

Eh, what'll it matter. It'll only be in effect for a few months.

Oh great...

I'm sure it's easier to bribe officials or otherwise get around the inspections in somewhere like Namibia, Pakistan or the Philipines, rather than at the US port.


more than 5 years ago

D&D Handbook Distribution Lawsuit Settled For $125,000

Keith_Beef Re:Nerds (124 comments)

Sounds like it... WHy don't you just go and pick up TSR editions of D&D and AD&D and get playing the real way, instead of the spoon-fed WotC way? L.

more than 5 years ago

Is "Good Enough" the Future of Technology?

Keith_Beef this is not a new situation (350 comments)

Good enough and affordable ALWAYS wins against excellent but unaffordable.

Also, never forget that in the USA and increasingly in the rest of the world, marketing trumps engineering.

Finally, the USA is the home of the "quantity beats quality" mantra.

'Nuff said.


more than 5 years ago

British Men Jailed For Online Hate Crimes

Keith_Beef Re:whats the crime in hate crime? (778 comments)

You make very good points, but fail to address the fact that the vast majority of people are not concerned with the long term effects, certainly not in the future.

Most of us are thinking about our own lives and futures, about those of our immediate family and of our direct offspring.

It is little comfort to somebody in a dead end job that "CEOs will see that racial hiring practises are detrimental to productivity".

To say "your great-great grandchildren will live in a more just society" butters no parsnips.

You get one shot at this life, that's it. Gone are the days (if they ever really existed) when you could say to the poor "be virtuous, you shall have treasure in heaven".

Everybody is playing a short term game, now.

My short term game involves doing my job, keeping my head above water and keeping my kids on the path to independence in both mind and body (i.e., intellectually curious and able to bring home the bacon). I'm on a 20-year programme.

The average politician is looking to prolong his trip on the gravy train beyond the next election. He's on a three-year programme.

What's your programme? K.

more than 5 years ago

RIAA Defendant Moves For Summary Judgment

Keith_Beef Re:About That Letter .. (117 comments)

There are times when "popular opinion" needs to be overruled by "expert opinion".

After all, this is why we have judges in the first place, otherwise there would just be mob rule, lynchmobs... Judge Judy and American Idol rolled into one... Idiocracy.

In the US you have thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people who believe that the world is flat... doesn't make it true.

If "popular opinion" is at odds with a particular current law, then maybe that law needs to be changed.
On the other hand, it may be that this law is a just law, but that "popular opinion" has not yet been educated enough to understand the justice of the law.


more than 5 years ago

Nielsen Recommends Not Masking Passwords

Keith_Beef who is the usability expert, around here? (849 comments)

I had to explain ONCE and ONCE ONLY to my eight year old son and to my six year old daughter, that the password shows as black dots so that nobody can read the password off the screen. It is such a simple idea, that they both understood it straight away.

Add to this, the fact that almost EVERYBODY (all the people I've watched, plus myself) will watch where their fingers are on the keyboard when entering a password, and you reach the conclusions that displaying the password on the screen as it is being typed:

  1. does not help the person typing the password,
  2. increases the chance of over-the-shoulder password discovery.

Ergo, the status quo should be kept, until change is proven necessary. K.

more than 5 years ago

On the Humble Default

Keith_Beef Re:Bollocks (339 comments)

A yard is paved. I think you mean a garden or a lawn...


more than 5 years ago

On the Humble Default

Keith_Beef Re:Bollocks (339 comments)

I do not consider "dictionary.com" to be a good authority on the definition of English words, nor to give good exa,ples of English usage.

You may choose to have a different opinion; in which case you will be wrong.

Next time you wish to appear pedantic, put a little more effort into it, old chap.


more than 5 years ago

Wolfram Alpha Rekindles Campus Math Tool Debate

Keith_Beef Re:Sweet, let's try it out! (339 comments)


I've been trying to get some useful answers from Wolfram Alpha for a couple of weeks... I still don't have the hang of it.


more than 5 years ago

Can "Page's Law" Be Broken?

Keith_Beef Re:Page's Law. (255 comments)

I remember Moore because he played Bond, James Bond.



more than 5 years ago

Can "Page's Law" Be Broken?

Keith_Beef Re:I don't think that holds up (255 comments)

All he has done is put numbers into Wirth's law.

I remembered this as "software gets slower faster than hardware gets faster", but Wikipedia has a slightly different wording: "software is getting slower more rapidly than hardware becomes faster".


In fact, that article also cites a version called "Gates's Law", including the 50% reduction in speed every 18 months.


more than 5 years ago

French ISP Orange Fined For Offensive Temporary Password

Keith_Beef bad translation, unsurprising judgment (18 comments)

Bad Google translation... The decision, as reported in the Canadian press, was that Orange was fined 500 euros (7700 $CAN) and ordered to pay 8 000 euros (12 400$ CAN) in damages to the plaintiff. This term "sale arabe" is more or less equivalent to "nigger". It's used as an insult to people of North African (i.e. predominantly Algerian, Morrocan, Tunisian) origin, and is considered extremey offensive. K.

more than 5 years ago



iTunes credit; how can I get a partial refund or credit note?

Keith_Beef Keith_Beef writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Keith_Beef (166050) writes "Imagine you went to a big department store and bought a pair of running shoes. You went home, and the following day got invited to a wedding. You realise your money would have been better spent on a pair of dress shoes, so take back the unworn running shoes. The store manager is happy to give you a credit not so you can buy the dress shoes, of course. After all, he still gets to sell you what you want, and he gets your money. Both you and the store manager are happy.

My young son made a mistake... Thinking he could use iTunes gift cards to purchase an iPad, he put the iTunes Gift Cards he had received as gifts into his iTunes account and then took all his cash savings down to CVS to buy more cards and put those into his account, too, to a total of $427.

Well, Apple won't allow you to use iTunes money to buy hardware, as we discovered. So I contacted iTunes Support at Apple to explain the situation, and ask how to organise a refund of the $427 so my son could buy the iPad.

Like the department store analogy: Apple had a chance there to keep my son happy, impress me with its customer service, make a device sale that would lead to future sales of apps, music and videos, and generally do the right thing by its customers.

So do you think Apple has been understanding and helpful? Not one bit. I even offered to accept a partial credit of $327, leaving $100 in the iTunes account for him to spend later. Apple doesn't want to help.

iTunes Support at Apple has refused to budge one iota: the response from the outset has been "iTunes credit is for the iTunes store; it cannot be used to buy hardware; there are no refunds". I managed to get the case escalated one level, but the person who has it now and who describes herself as "Senior Advisor iTunes Store/Mac App Store Customer Support" is not being helpful and is now refusing to escalate to a higher level. Here are two statements from her last email to me.

"My supervisor is the entity of Apple as a whole and therefore, I am here to help you directly. I am the end of the line for this matter."

"no further information pertaining to the issue is available, I do apologize however any further correspondence regarding the issue will not be addressed."

And just to put a cherry on top, she ends with this.

"Your experience is very important to us and we truly appreciate your continued devotion to the iTunes Store. Have a wonderful day."

Apple's left hand (iTunes store) apparently cannot talk to its right hand (the iPad and Mac store), even though the left hand and right hand need each other.

What I'm asking for here on Slashdot is for any advice on how to proceed, or for examples or links to stories about people having successfully persuaded Apple or another big corporation to take a more customer-friendly approach."


Cloning, astroturfing... and who is Rachel Ray?

Keith_Beef Keith_Beef writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Keith_Beef (166050) writes "So, I accidentally hit carriage return after only typing in the string "news" in the URL field... and Verizon took me to a list of pages and out of curiosity I opened the first two links in new tabs.

Well, I was treated to a very nice story, or was it two stories... about a woman, or was it two women? Anyway, she (they) is (are) named "Grace Connell from ," [sic] and "Morgan Johnson from ," [sic]...

Or at least, the woman (women) was (were) from no place until I temporarily enabled Javascript... and then magically both stories announced the woman in question to be from Rutherford, NJ...

Now what is even stranger, or maybe not, is that these two women look like identical twins! Wow!

You know by now what is going on. Some advertising blurb, dressed up as a "true life story" with a bit of Javascript to sniff my IP address that gets somehow mapped to a town not too far from my address, based on Verizon's block of addresses.

Look for yourselves:

Now, how is this kind of thing viewed by the FTC? Surely these two pages fall foul of the "truth-in-advertising rules", no?

Apparently, the FDA has bigger teeth than the FTC, because whoever registered (with NameCheap.com) the two domains gracesdiet.com and morgansdiet.com feels it necessary to put FDA disclaimers in page footers, but doesn't feel morally obliged to refrain from making up spurious "real-life stories" in order to sell dietary supplements of dubious usefulness...

So, what is to be done? Is there any hope? Or should I just go and buy shares in the Brawndo Corporation right now?"

Knowledge lost when old files no longer readable

Keith_Beef Keith_Beef writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Keith_Beef writes "According to an article on the BBC News website (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6265976.stm ), there is a real risk of knowledge being lost when computer systems are no longer capable of reading older file formats.

In the wider view, this would be true of not only the file formats, but of the physical media themselves. Who now has an 8" floppy drive to hand? How long before nobody knows what an Exabyte cartridge is? And in a couple of decades, maybe CD-ROM and even DVD-ROM will dissappear as Blu-Ray, HD-DVD or some other technology (like holo-diamonds) become affordable.

From the article:
Natalie Ceeney said society faced the possibility of "losing years of critical knowledge" because modern PCs could not always open old file formats.

She was speaking at the launch of a partnership with Microsoft to ensure the Archives could read old formats.

Microsoft's UK head Gordon Frazer warned of a looming "digital dark age".

So of course, rather than look for Free Software to solve the problem in an open, honest way, Ceeney has done the typical UK Gov't dance to Microsoft's tune."


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