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Ancient Planes and Other Claims Spark Controversy at Indian Science Congress

cardpuncher The number 0 is attributed to India... (381 comments)

... but I guess a paper entitled "Indians Invented Nothing" might not be selected for presentation.

about three weeks ago

Vinyl's Revival Is Now a Phenomenon On Both Sides of the Atlantic

cardpuncher Its audio quality compared to a CD is debatable (278 comments)

It's debatable in the same way as the audio quality of regular speaker cable compared with gold-plated oxygen-free copper cable is debatable. It's not a long debate.

If you look at the equipment the analogue-faddists are using, it is for the most part not the high-end audio equipment of a previous generation, but retro-reproductions of the portable record players teenagers used to have in their bedrooms, record players that sounded terrible then and sound just as bad now. The only thing that's changed is that there were a lot of genuinely hi-fi systems around in those days for comparison. These days tiny speakers with wildly exaggerated bass are the norm on pretty much everything you buy from mobile phones to TV sound bars; it's hardly surprising that the sound from a Dansette record player sounds better by comparison.

I still have the speakers I used with my pre-CD sound system and I don't regret ditching a turntable for the first model of CD player that was available - the sound quality is superior in every respect (noise, frequency response, dynamic range). Vinyl records are the audio equivalent of Instagram - washed out, artifically-coloured facsimiles of the original that have become a passing fashion.

about three weeks ago

GCHQ Warns It Is Losing Track of Serious Criminals

cardpuncher Re:Brought it on ourselves (229 comments)

Don't forget that the Telegraph is an extremely conservative newspaper which is very cosy with the British establishment.

The key phrases in the article, "the Daily Telegraph can disclose", and "a senior security official said", imply that the Telegraph has been explicitly briefed knowing that it will big up the story. You know the quotation:

"You cannot hope to bribe or twist
(Thank God!) the British journalist.
But, seeing what the man will do
Unbribed, there's no occasion to."

Mind you, the fact that they're talking about drug gangs is especially significant as on the one hand it's an attempt to deflect attention from the political nature of GCHQ spying whereas on the other it's suggesting that GCHQ has a routine role in what would normally be considered police work. They're obviously proud of their mission creep.

about a month ago

Schneier Explains How To Protect Yourself From Sony-Style Attacks (You Can't)

cardpuncher Re:Sure... (343 comments)

I don't know how Sony Pictures internal systems communicate, but I'm pretty sure they don't need to have direct access to world+dog in order to do so.

What seems to have happened here is that by network-based manipulation of external firewalls, direct communication routes were established between malilcious hosts on the Internet and internal systems. You can avoid that and still maintain e-mail communication by relaying your mail over something other than TCP/IP between your internal-facing and external-facing systems, for example.

And there are actuallly very good productivity reasons for restricting Internet browsing to dedicated computers on physically separate networks - it considerably reduces the amount of the day your staff spend on facebook and amazon.

I'm amazed the "Internet of Everything" mentality still prevails. It was a utopian dream of the 1980s and 1990s but we now have very clear evidence of what happens in practice with universal connectivity - a dystopian nightmare in which governments and criminals are in competition to gain the most effective control over people and commerce.

Perhaps we can ask Sony Pictures how their present productivity is looking compared to, say, RKO?

about a month ago

Apple's iPod Classic Refuses To Die

cardpuncher Re:Wrong conclusion (269 comments)

Actually, most people who buy stock are just speculators, however they might like to describe themselves.

If you buy newly-issued stock in a company, you're definitely an investor - the company gets your money. If you buy enough stock in a company to give you control and use that control to grow the business better than the previous management, you might be considered an investor. If you buy a small bundle of stock from an existing shareholder, you're not investing anything, you've just placed a bet - an indirect consequence of which is that the original actual investor was able to realise his gains.

about a month and a half ago

Slack Now Letting Employers Tap Workers' Private Chats

cardpuncher Re:Discovery nightmare (79 comments)

>As far as monitoring of sent messages goes, the first rule is "If you're on someone else's network, they can see everything you do."

That might apply in the US. The first rule in the EU is that they can see only what they've informed you they want to see, and only if doing that is proportionate. You can't in general snoop just because you own the wires.

about 2 months ago

A Brilliant Mind: SUSE's Kernel Guru Speaks

cardpuncher Re:patching a live kernel? (61 comments)

Quite. Telephone exchanges have had live upgrades for decades - upgrading not only the code but the data structures while calls are in progress. What is "nuts" is to assume that systems *need* to be shut down for upgrades - that really is a failure of proper architecture.

about 2 months ago

Congress Suggests Moat, Electronic Fence To Protect White House

cardpuncher Re:It's just vanity (213 comments)

For a country that believes so strongly in the free market, I can't see the economic logic behind providing any security for politicians. There's not exactly a shortage of candidates, so the correct free market response is to cancel all publicly-funded security for presidents, actual or potential, at least until the year of Cletus v Putin.

And I'm sure in a free market society, simple vanity wouldn't trump anything so fundamental as basic economics, would it?

about 2 months ago

British Spies Are Free To Target Lawyers and Journalists

cardpuncher Re:It's what you do with it that counts (184 comments)

The government were explicitly required to comment on this very aspect of the matter. Although they said they did not routinely keep data that would allow them to put a number on the number of trials that might potentially have been "tainted" by the transfer of data to prosecutors, they did confirm that they knew of "at least one" but refused to identify it.

In other words, the government are aware of a mistrial and are conspiring to pervert the course of justice and are prepared to admit as much.

about 3 months ago

NSA To Scientists: We Won't Tell You What We've Told You; That's Classified

cardpuncher Re:Propaganda (106 comments)

While I think you meant "rein in", you have accidentally uncovered a bigger truth:

Presidents *do* want to "reign" and the worst activities of the NSA conspire with them in that aspiration because it's mutually advantageous to both parties.

about 3 months ago

National Security Letter Issuance Likely Headed To Supreme Court

cardpuncher Re:DOJ Oaths (112 comments)

>Didn't these guys have to take an oath to defend the Constitution?

I'm always amazed how Americans treat the Constitution like some kind of sacred text and then argue constantly about angels and pinheads.

If you're looking to distinguish between right and wrong, a religiously fundamental obsession with scripture is going to get you nowhere - it's better suited to defending the indefensible.

Even if some bewigged and berobed supreme priest deems it constitutional, it's still wrong - and that's what matters.

about 3 months ago

London Unveils New Driverless Subway Trains

cardpuncher Re:I've been wondering why this took so long (127 comments)

The Victoria Line has had automated train operation since it opened in 1968. All the driver does is push a button at each station to close the doors.

It's not really a matter of technology.

There is a safety issue in that there are no escape routes other than the unilluminated and electrified track meaning you'd need some on-board staff member to ensure that people could be safely evacuated in the event of an emergency.

about 3 months ago

Will Apple Lose Siri's Core Tech To Samsung?

cardpuncher Tech Companies have become warring fiefdoms (161 comments)

Actually, nothing has changed.

The BUNCH vs IBM, Amdahl vs IBM, LANManager vs Netware, Word vs WordPerfect, Excel vs Lotus 1-2-3... The first big anti-trust case in IT was against IBM in 1969.

It may be seem different to anyone who arrived on the scene at a point in time when tech took its first Internet turn and there was enough virtual turf in cyberspace for everyone to have a piece of the action. However, most of those claims are now staked, so this is merely a return to business as usual.

about 4 months ago

UK Government Tax Disc Renewal Website Buckles Under Pressure

cardpuncher No alternative system is available ? (145 comments)

How about using the telephone, or calling in at your local Post Office? Both alternative systems and both available.

about 4 months ago

Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

cardpuncher Re:Not going to be as rosy as the YES! campaign sa (494 comments)

>Scotland can now refuse (to honor all debts contracted in their names),,,

Indeed it could. And the rest of the UK could in retaliation destroy bridges, roads and other publicly-funded assets to an equivalent value if it wished and impose an excise duty on all Scottish exports to collect the interest.

Both would be equally senseless and neither will happen.

about 4 months ago

The IPv4 Internet Hiccups

cardpuncher Not really to do with "BGP" or "IPv4" as such... (248 comments)

This isn't really to do with BGP or IPv4 as such, it's an inherent problem in the way "The Internet" regards addresses.

You might be able to get some efficiencies in IPv6 by incorporating formerly-unrelated address allocations under a single prefix. But that doesn't solve the problem of a continuously growing network, increasingly complex (and commercially controversial) peering arrangements, the fact that IPv6 addresses are actually larger and the fact that you're going to have to support IPv4 anyway in parallel with any IPv6 transition (I don't personally believe it will ever happen, but that's a different story).

You could, however, get rather more efficiency in core routing tables if network addresses only had a very transient existence and were related to the source/destination route to be employed (eg: look up a domain name, do some route pre-computation, allocate some addressing tokens that make sense to the routers on the path, recalculate the route periodically or in response to packet loss). That's not IPv6, though. IPv6 has the same order of dependence on every router knowing about every destination network as IPv4 does (give or take the slightly greater prefixing efficiency).

TL;DR - The Internet is getting bigger. Buy more kit.

about 5 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What To Do About the Sorry State of FOSS Documentation?

cardpuncher Re:Yes! (430 comments)

I suppose it's inevitable that people who are writing code for their own interest, and not because they're being paid to do it, will spend their time doing the things that they find most rewarding - and documentation is never going to be high on the list. However, I do suspect the motives of some people who make their code publicly available - it's not about demonstrating how clever you are, it's about sharing the solution to a problem.

And there is definitely an element of the FOSS community that wants to preserve the mystique of the brotherhood - they rail against the iniquities or proprietary software yet behave as if they were members of a medieval crafts guild. That's the only reason why anyone would refuse to spend a fraction of the time they would otherwise spend patronising the uninitiated writing a simple explanation.

about 6 months ago

Dutch Court Says Government Can Receive Bulk Data from NSA

cardpuncher Re:Just wow. (109 comments)

In 2004, the Court of Appeal in England ruled that it was OK to admit evidence obtained under torture into English trials, provided that the torture had been carried out elsewhere. David Blunkett, the Home Secretary at the time said:

"We unreservedly condemn the use of torture and have worked hard with our international partners to eradicate this practice. However, it would be irresponsible not to take appropriate account of any information which could help protect national security and public safety"

The Appeal Court ruling was finally overturned by the House of Lords the following year.

However, given the enthusiasm of the original judges and the Home Secretary of the time and the ever increasing use of the "because terrorism" excuse, I'm not sure that there would be similar hope of justice prevailing in the future. It's not just privacy on the line.

about 6 months ago

Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

cardpuncher Re:Correlation is not causation (619 comments)

Indeed. Look in awe as the honest citizens of Greece and Italy pay their taxes without demur.

about 6 months ago

Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots

cardpuncher Re:more leisure time for humans! (530 comments)

I think you'll find that the concept of "country" and "citizen", insofar as it applies to people and not capital, is what got us to this point.

about 7 months ago



UK Plans Secret Trials

cardpuncher cardpuncher writes  |  about 8 months ago

cardpuncher (713057) writes "According to the BBC , the UK is planning its first entirely secret trial in which the defendants are unnamed, all "evidence" will be heard behind closed doors and reporting will banned. Media organisations, who were not originally permitted even to report the existence of an order barring them from reporting the trial, are appealing against the banning order."
Link to Original Source

Metropolitan police drag feet on terror detention complaints

cardpuncher cardpuncher writes  |  about a year and a half ago

cardpuncher (713057) writes "At the end of a week in which oversight of the securocracy has been a prominent issue, Britain's Independent newspaper reports that London's Metropolitan Police Service has consistently refused to investigate complaints over border detentions such as that suffered by David Miranda, despite allegations of ethnic profiling and quota-filling. Although the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) used its powers to force belated investigations to take place, the Met is apparently refusing to hand over the results to the IPCC, resulting in the IPCC having to threaten the police with court action."

Heathrow closed by "Dreamliner Fire"

cardpuncher cardpuncher writes  |  about a year and a half ago

cardpuncher (713057) writes "The BBC reports the closure of London's Heathrow airport allegedly as a result of an "internal" fire on an Ethiopian 787 "Dreamliner" aircraft. The incident follows closely on the 787's re-introduction to service on April 27th after modifications to its battery system."

British government to grant warrant-free trawl of communications data

cardpuncher cardpuncher writes  |  more than 2 years ago

cardpuncher (713057) writes "Having opposed the previous government's attempts to introduce mass surveillance of Internet communications, the Conservatives are planning to introduce the very same policy they previously described as a "culture of surveillance which goes far beyond counter terrorism and serious crime". So no surprises there.

The plan is essentially to allow stored communication data to be trawled without the inconvenience of needing a warrant or even any reasonable suspicion.

More information from the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17576745."

Link to Original Source


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