ICE License-Plate Tracking Plan Withdrawn Amid Outcry About Privacy
If one thing the Edward Snowden releases have shown, is if the authorities are telling you they plan to do something, they are probably already doing it.
James Dyson: We Should Pay Students To Study Engineering
The UK is a basket case, it treats the arts in higher esteem than the sciences and engineering (unlike countries like Germany). The general public in the UK don't like people who takes sciences (how popular are science nerds/geeks compared to jocks in school?) Money is thrown at the arts like it's going out of fashion, the scienes however always have funding problems.
When I studied at university, the arts students were the ones who had lots of time to prop up the student bars, and could get any books they wanted very cheaply (say Â£5), whereas for sciences, it was normal to spend Â£50+ for just one book.
In the UK, the amount of effort you put into a science degree and pay you get, is inversely proportional to the effort and pay the arts students get (unless you're really really good in your chosen science subject)
So of course, the sciences should have their courses paid for compared to the arts. But I would add to that, to prevent people jumping onto a science course because it's free, they MUST have studied science courses and have good grades in them from lower schools before getting to university. This should prevent students from moving courses.
I think wearable computing will take off...
Never mind wearable tech, in the UK, mens trousers (pants to the US audience), are getting ever smaller pockets, and now same happening to coats too (or vanishing pockets). Guys put their stuff in their pockets, we don't want to look like idiots like ex-footballer David Beckham with bags trying to look as if men should have them to carry their stuff like women.
I'd rather be spied on by ...
"I'd rather be spied on by...." Girlfriend / wife :)
The Difference Between Film and Digital Photography (Video)
I'm not a professional photographer, but I do not like point-and-shoot cameras, shutter lag, limit of lens choices (actually no choice just the one), terrible f-stop range, terrible noise on sensors, tiny sensors, and they are way too light to be able to make steady shots, and not seeing through the lens at what you're shooting is totally weird with the electronic lag of CCD to LCD display.
With a DSLR I can shoot with very high shutter speeds, having the ability to change lenses allows me to get either macro close or very far objects closer up. You can also clip on filters to change the image, like polarisers.
Most people will not need a DSLR, but to claim that those cameras are only for professionals is rubbish. Even a cheap DSLR will out do a point-and-shoot. And let's not even get into thiny pinhead size sensors in mobile phones and claim that it's genuinely 8MP+.
Hackers, Gamers and Tech Workers: The UK Needs You For a New Cyber Army
What I meant was write better encryption for the masses. Change the email system so emails are not all sent like postcards. Nothing illegal in that.
Hackers, Gamers and Tech Workers: The UK Needs You For a New Cyber Army
If you're good enough to work in this so called "cyber security", bare in mind the crimes of NSA and GCHQ against the entire planet, you'd be better off being on the good guys side, the side of everyday people.
Ask Slashdot: Will the NSA Controversy Drive People To Use Privacy Software?
Recently, I tried to add a signed key to my emails so people could "prove" they were from me. I was requested by everyone using some Microsoft package for email, to stop, as Microsoft was messing up the formatting of the email, and adding the key as plain text to the email, unlike other packeges I was using and treating the signature a bit like an attachment, something you can click, but is not shown as part of the main message.
So until this rubbish is sorted out, people will not be able to use even simple things like signing messages, let alone encrypting messages.
UK Police Launch Campaign To Shut Down Torrent Sites
Serious crime is laundering drug cartel money through the City of London (as has been recently proved), but the City of London police don't want to police it's square mile. Money talks, and the bankers have bought all the "justice" they want.
BT Runs an 800Gbps Channel On Old Fiber
That's BT for you, instead of investing in the network, they flog the life out of the old crap they have to avoid investing in the network, and give more money to shareholders.
Mageia 3 Released
I've been a tester (and Mageia user) since before Mageia 1 was released, having decided to take the plunge in the new forked distro instead of staying with Mandriva.
I think the distro is working well especially considering it's small community. Only recent "controversial" changes have been like changing the log files from easy read text files to binary rubbish, but I think many distros are doing that now, and using the new Grub2 still needs some ironing out of small issues.
Why Your New Car's Technology Is Four Years Old
Having standard connectors could cut costs for car manufacturers. If you've ever replaced a car radio for your own instead of cheapo car radio, you run into the problem of needing different adapters to connect into a cars wiring loom.
How difficult is it to have manufacturers use ONE connector for +ve, GND, +VCC (for memory backup), and maybe one aux wire for security. Then there's the speakers connections! The car radio manufacturers have standardised more or less, but the car manufacturers have not.
Europe Needs Genetically Engineered Crops, Scientists Say
Cheaper food for how long, until the company that has the GM patent has 50% of food production, 80%, 100%? It's a one way ticket to economic disaster, let alone the long term health and ecological impact that nobody knows.
Nature wants bio-diversity, not the junk that GM is.
Siri Keeps Your Data For Two Years
Siri says "Let me check for the answer.. while I inform the FBI of your request."
Bitcoin Exchange Mt.Gox Suffers Serious Attack, Instawallet Offline
Bitcoin attacked? Sounds like the central bankers are worried people turning away from their paper rubbish with their unlimited quantitative easing.
If I could change what's "typical" about typical laptops ...
1) SSD's for the OS / storage by default.
2) Ability to have a second hard drive if you need that kind of storage, without the machine needing to balloon in size.
3) No "Trusted Computing", because I DON'T trust the hardware manufacturers or Microsoft.
The Activists Who Bring Security To the Oppressed
If you thought the Intel Pentium that displayed a users processor ID was bad, then you wait until the "Trusted Computing" platform is fully implemented on motherboards. Already manufacturers are colluding to make it very hard to find a modern (as in has USB3) motherboard without the TC garbage. Then there's Microsoft trying to lock down every desktop and laptop with "secure boot", to cripple Microsoft's "free" competition (still no squeels from the EU on that).
I hate mobile phones being locked down installing who knows what transmitting who knows what, now the manufacturers are trying to control the pc market too, makes it easier to track people.
Falling Windows RT Tablet Prices Signify Slow Adoption
BLUE = Bill Loses Ubuntu Encounter ?
Did Google Tip Off EU About Microsoft Browser Ballot?
If Google told on Microsoft, I have no problem with that. Now, Google should inform on Microsoft on trying to control the entire PC market and squash Operating System competition with "their" hated "Trusted computing" platform http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trusted_Computing ..
Based on Microsoft's track record, how can you a) Trust Microsoft b) Trust ANY company .c) Leave control of your hardware to a corporation that does bidding of governments / media cartel - especially if they are foreign governments.
Current favorite still-image camera type:
I bought a DSLR with a 35mm sensor. After a brief flirt with a digital compact when my film camera broke down, I decided on full frame as the APS-C type dimentions looked really weird compared to film, and even more so on a computer monitor.
The only problem is 35mm sensors cost many hundreds more than an APS-C sensor. but you got paid back for it with lovely images in the dark with much less noise.
One thing that the switch to digital has done, is to allow more experimentation in photography, as you are not watching how much money you're burning up on negatives that might be wasted shots, and also having to write down / remember what the settings were for that negative to have got a certain effect. In digital it's all in the EXIF.
I do wonder at people claiming they get brilliant multi-megabyte photographs from their mobile phones, when the sensor is the size of a pinhead.
Drone aircraft nearly brings down passenger airplane
Wowsers writes "A German drone aircraft was within meters of bringing down a passenger aircraft with 100 people on board. The link http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2335122/Terrifying-video-captures-moment-German-drone-missed-Afghan-plane-carrying-100-passengers-just-metre.html shows stills from onboard the drone. The incident had been hushed up for nine years, and is creating waves in Germany now the footage has been leaked out."
Link to Original Source
UN to debate taxing internet data
Wowsers writes "In an effort to get ever more taxes for doing absolutely nothing, the United Nations are to consider a European proposal to tax the internet based on data that gets sent. The proposal is designed to get money from large bandwidth users like Google, Facebook, Apple, and Netflix. Smaller companies that have high bandwidth would be forced off the internet due to the taxes.
The proposed measure is also claimed to be an effective tool for censorship as companies will just block access to countries to limit the amount of taxes they pay for data."
Link to Original Source
UK plans more spying of people on the internet under "terrorism" pretext
Wowsers writes "In vogue with other countries cracking down on freedom and democracy on the internet as discussed in Slashdot recently, the UK is joining in with plans to track all phone calls, text messages, email traffic and websites visited online, all to be stored in vast databases under new Government anti-terror plans. As reported in The Telegraph.
Security services will have access to information about who has been communicating with each other on social networking sites such as Facebook, direct messages between subscribers on Twitter would also be stored, as well as communications between players in online video games.
The scheme is a revised version of a plan drawn up by the ex-Labour government which would have created a central database of all the information. The idea later dropped in favour of requiring communications providers to store the details at the taxpayers’ expense."
US media companies force UK ISP to block internet
Wowsers writes "The American film and music cartel have won a landmark case in the UK, forcing an internet provider to block access to Newzbin2 that the media cartel say are infringing copyright, in an effort to protect the media cartel's failed business model.
The court case sets a worrying precedent as the ruling could mean that media companies tell internet providers to block access to any website, without a court order or any due process. The future looks more worrying as more companies use this ruling to silence critics of their companies., and politicians silence opposition parties."
Link to Original Source
UK politicians to get right to block websites
Wowsers writes "Whilst everyone thought that the UK's Digital Economy Bill currently passing though the government machine was going to have the contentious "block websites" clause removed, the government has re-introduced the clause at the last minute, in the hope that it will pass into law before the UK general election is called. With the three main political parties not having anyone with an IT degree between them, it looks certain to pass into law. The blocking of websites clause has been changed, but not by much. A government minister will now have to have a shame public consultation before blocking a website under pretext of copyright "piracy", however, it's no stretch of the imagination that the legislation will allow ANY website to be blocked, in particular of political opponents, or opponents of government policies. Who said the UK was free and democratic!"
Link to Original Source
UK consumers to pay for "online piracy"
Wowsers writes "An article in The Times states that UK consumers will be hit with an estimated of £500m ($800m US) bill to tackle online "piracy". The dinosaur record and film industries have managed to convince the government to bypass all laws, and get consumers to pay for the record and film industries perceived losses. Meanwhile the record and film industries have refused to move with the times, and change their business models. Other businesses have adapted and been successful in changing their businesses, but the film and record industries refuse to do so, taking the easy way out of protecting their cartels.
Surely the record and film industries should be the ones paying to chase up their perceived losses, not adding another stealth tax to all consumers."
UK state surveillance costs rocket
Wowsers writes "Whilst the public sector spending in the UK continues to run out of control with monthly record breaking deficits, there are no funding worries for state surveillance of the masses. An article in the Daily Mail, states that £380 a minute (about $630US) will be spent on surveillance in a massive expansion of the Big Brother state.
The £200million-a-year sum ( $331million US) will give officials access to details of every internet click made by every citizen — on top of the email and telephone records already available. It is a 1,700 per cent increase on the cost of the current surveillance regime.
State bodies including councils are already making one request every minute to spy on the phone records and email accounts of members of the public. The number of snooping missions carried out by police, town halls and other government departments has rocketed by 44 per cent in two years to a rate of 1,381 new cases every day.
Ministers say the five-year cost of the existing regime is £55.61million ($93m US), an average of £11million ($18m US) a year. This is paid to phone companies and service providers to meet the cost of keeping and providing private information about customers. The cost of the new system emerged in a series of Parliamentary answers."
Google / Microsoft to handle UK patient data?
Wowsers writes "The Conservative Party, widely seen in the UK as the political 'party in waiting' whenever there will be an election, have proposals for patients medical data to be handled by Google or Microsoft, in some sort of competition to the failed £16bn (US $26bn) National Health Computer system. Nowhere are there proposals to keep your private medical details with your local doctor and out of everyone else's hands.
Patients will be given the option of moving their medical notes to private companies after the Conservatives said that they would replace Labour's "centrally determined and unresponsive national IT system".
The Tories hope that users will be able to choose from a range of private sector websites, possibly including those operated by Bupa, the healthcare provider. This has raised issues of privacy and security, with MPs and health professionals warning it could hamper doctors' ability to access medical records quickly in an emergency.
Mr Cameron [Conservative party leader] has repeatedly promised to abolish large IT databases. The National Audit Office has said that Connecting for Health, the electronic patient records programme, will not be completed until 2014, four years late, and is expected to cost £12.4 billion. The recent termination of contracts with key software suppliers could add further to the cost.
The Shadow Health Secretary, has also raised questions over whether it is safe for a central database to store sensitive medical records and has asked the British Computer Society to review the NHS IT programme. It is due to report later in the summer.
Phorm strikes back at 'privacy' critics
Wowsers writes "As reported in the The Telegraph newspaper.
The Phorm company that intercepts and amends web pages users request (for now just adverts) is hitting back at critics, with Phorm's chief executive setting up a website stopphoulplay.com against two leading critics of Phorm whom he describes as "privacy pirates". Both men deny allegations including the claim that they could be supported by Phorm's rivals.
The Chief Exec. thinks Phorm's potential competitors are spreading lies about the content manipulation system. The reality is, people value their privacy, and can see the system as dangerous to full blown government system amending content of web pages on-the-fly for their advantage."
UK propose broadband expansion + music / film tax
Wowsers writes "First the tech illiterates in the UK government want to extend broadband internet connections to every home, whether it makes sense or not, then at the same time they propose a £20 per year (approx $29US) broadband tax which they claim will pay the record and film industries for their failed business models. Coincidence the two proposals are linked? And why should people be forced to pay for the failed film and music industries?"
UK government attempts grab of UK domain names
Wowsers writes "In an exclusive article from The Register, it is stated that the UK government is attempting to grab the private company that controls the UK domain names. Most worrying is that if the takeover occurred, it could lead to the government cutting people off who run websites that do not adhere to that party's line, snuffing out freedom of speech.
[The] Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) has asked Nominet, which is in charge of the .co.uk registry, to justify its independence from Whitehall.
Chinese Skype users spied on
Wowsers writes "A report in The Times newspaper says that the Chinese version of Skype called TOM-Skype has been archiving certain keywords of users when they send text with each other using the software.
Skype, which prides itself on the security of its system, issued an apology and said the breach had now been fixed. Josh Silverman, president of the US online text message and voice service, issued a statement of concern. "It was our understanding that it was not TOM's protocol to upload and store chat messages with certain keywords, and we are now inquiring with TOM to find out why the protocol changed."
One dissident, who declined to be identified, said he only ever communicated by voice and always used Skype rather than the Chinese-language TOM-Skype. "It's harder for me because I don't speak English, but I still write messages in Chinese. However, I have always warned my friends to be very careful when they create an account to make sure they go onto Skype and are not directed to TOM-Skype. I just always thought the US one should be safer."
Network Solutions target sub-domains for adverts
Wowsers writes "The register reports that customers have found that their defunct or forgotten about sub-domains have been taken over by Network Solutions to send users to advert pages. After going through a 59k word user agreement, you can find the following text:
You also agree that any domain name directory, sub-directory, file name or path (e.g.) that does not resolve to an active web page on your Web site being hosted by Network Solutions, may be used by Network Solutions to place a "parking" page, "under construction" page, or other temporary page that may include promotions and advertisements for, and links to, Network Solutions' Web site,"
Top UK ISP's sell browsing habits to advertisers
Wowsers writes "An interesting story is covered in The Register which states that the top three UK internet providers have done a deal to be paid in exchange for giving up their customer's browsing habits to serve them targeted adverts.
What the customers of these providers feel about their online whereabouts being known to external companies is unknow. BT, Virgin Media, and Carphone Warehouse have agreed to feed data on their subscribers' web activities to Phorm.Data will be fed into the Open Internet Exchange, Phorm's advertising network, where advertisers will pay to target interest groups. Frequent visits to the BBC's Top Gear site might result in being served up more car ads, for example. In exchange, the ISP trio will get a cut of new revenue. Analysts estimate BT's cut will be £85m in 2010."
UK laws to cut-off copyright file downloaders?
Wowsers writes "An article in The Times newspaper discusses UK government attempts to regulate the internet. Internet providers are to cut off people that are trading in "copy written" material, the fact that everything is copy written escapes the politicians. Obviously the Internet providers that are expected to police this are jumping at the chance to spending vast amounts of money and time, and also for a dwindling user base if they are supposed to cut off subscribers as proposed. Such law is what you get from politicians who's only qualifications are in art, history, politics, English, Latin, law."
Tightening of flight security to the US
Wowsers writes "In an article in the UK Guardian newspaper, the article discusses increasing lengths the USA wants air passenger data. Does the US want to ruin it's business traveller and tourism earnings, especially when the economy is not doing well?
The US administration is pressing the 27 governments of the European Union to sign up for a range of new security measures for transatlantic travel, including allowing armed guards on all flights from Europe to America by US airlines.
The demand to put armed air marshals on to the flights is part of a travel clampdown by the Bush administration that officials in Brussels described as "blackmail" and "troublesome", and could see west Europeans and Britons required to have US visas if their governments balk at Washington's requirements.
According to a US document being circulated for signature in European capitals, EU states would also need to supply personal data on all air passengers overflying but not landing in the US in order to gain or retain visa-free travel to America, senior EU officials said.
And within months the US department of homeland security is to impose a new permit system for Europeans flying to the US, compelling all travellers to apply online for permission to enter the country before booking or buying a ticket, a procedure that will take several days.
FBI want access to UK's identity data register
Wowsers writes "Senior British police officials are talking to the FBI about an international database to hunt for major criminals and terrorists.
The US-initiated programme, "Server in the Sky", would take cooperation between the police forces way beyond the current faxing of fingerprints across the Atlantic. Allies in the "war against terror" — the US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand — have formed a working group, the International Information Consortium, to plan their strategy.
Original article here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/humanrights/story/0,,2241005,00.html"
Privacy in the UK, kiss it goodbye.
Wowsers writes "The UK is about to have a new law in place that allows a vast number of public bodies to have access to a whole range of private data, most notably phone call information, finally completing the current UK governments project of making the country's population as spied upon and subjugated as the East German Stazi did on their population. It is of interest that the UK already has the most CCTV cameras in the world per population, and the largest criminal DNA database in the world (with over 1 million innocent people on it including 6 month olds).
Officials from the top of Government to lowly council officers will be given unprecedented powers to access details of every phone call in Britain under laws coming into force tomorrow.
The new rules compel phone companies to retain information, however private, about all landline and mobile calls, and make them available to some 795 public bodies and quangos.
The move, enacted by the personal decree of Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, will give police and security services a right they have long demanded: to delve at will into the phone records of British citizens and businesses.
Full story here:
By 2009 the Government plans to extend the rules to cover internet use: the websites we have visited, the people we have emailed and phone calls made over the net.
New version of my Linux distro released
A new version of the Linux distro I use got released, so after it managed to get decent propagation, I downloaded it and burnt it so I could install it. This is where I regret not jumping on the experimental code tree to check everything works, because now I find I'm still filing bug reports, but on a fully released version.
I decided that the next release I will install the experimental tree to make sure there are no bugs, or is ironed out before release.
So much for having a break from testing and filing bug reports.
Testing Linux, the experimental code tree
During the week I subjected myself to torture for the next few weeks / months. After spotting an article in /. that KDE 4.3 had been released, I wanted to install it. But it's not in any official packages for my Linux distro, so off I go and take the step to jump on the experimental tree of code.
Now, despite me not being a Linux guru, I've been on that experimental tree before, and submitting bug reports, most of them getting resolved when others join in the report. You get the felling you're mad when you're the only person to file a report and nobody else can confirm it. So I'm not totally alien to the concept of getting a broken system in some way.
After installing the updated code, KDE4.3 looks a bit better, runs a bit faster, fixed some things here and there. But you know experimental code, someone releases something that breaks something.
So my system starts to get borked by updates to PulseAudio, which was working mostly fine, now all applications hate it and do their best to crash it. Oh well, more bug reports....!
Experience of moving from Linux KDE3 to KDE4
My first ever journal entry on /., hope it's interesting for you.
Moved from KDE3 to KDE4 recently. KDE4 looks interesting, but after all this time it STILL looks like a work in progress and not something that should be rolled out, still lots of bugs.
I've been busy deleting as much KDE3 stuff to leave just the bits that I still need for it to function with KDE3 applications that are not written for KDE4 yet. Other applications have KDE4 ports, so switched to those and removed the KDE3 versions.
The biggest disappointment is Amarok's move to KDE4. The new version is over complicated, looks awful, and is difficult to use. The new version decided all by itself that your music collection will now be powered by MySQL, so all your user collection and statistics are lost from KDE3 (I was using SLQLite), also all your galleries for the albums were 'lost', you'd have to add them to all over again (although all the images are in the KDE3 Amarok directories). Most the scripts for Amarok KDE3 were not in the KDE4 version.
After half hour of tearing my hair out over it, I un-installed the KDE4 version and re-enabled the Amarok KDE3 version. Sanity!
The desktop no longer functions as a desktop, so mine is completely clear of everything. The KDE4 team missing the point of a desktop. It may be restored as a proper desktop in future allegedly. Who knows.
KDE4 promises to be lower CPU usage, I've yet to see the evidence of that, but it may be because I'm still using bits of KDE3 to keep full functionality. The kicker bar replacement is a major irritation, it's 100% width and can't be altered.
Looks like features to customise the whole KDE look have been deleted, and is a major irritation. I don't want a standard Microsoft Windows type experience. This again will allegedly be fixed, who knows when.
Overall, KDE4 has not totally fallen over and is usable, but it's not as good as KDE3 is. So if you're thinking of updating to KDE4, don't bother, there's no hurry.