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Australia Moves Toward New Restrictions On Technology Export and Publication

jonwil Re:This is not a new bill... (88 comments)

I see nothing to indicate that the list in that link is significantly different to the export control list that has been in force for years.

Yes it restricts the export of a lot of stuff including nuclear stuff, electronics, computer gear, telecoms gear, aerospace and more but unless there is some big list of "stuff added to the export control list just recently" that I have missed, I dont see all that much that is now export-controlled under this new bill that wasn't export-controlled before.

4 hours ago
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To Fight Currency Mismatches, Steam Adding Region Locking to PC Games

jonwil Re:Blah blah DRM blah blah (151 comments)

I see nothing to indicate this region lock stops anyone from buying games from the US Steam store. All it does is stops people who aren't in Russia from buying from the Russian Steam store at Russian prices and people who are in Russia from buying from the Russian Steam store then gifting the game to someone not in Russia.

yesterday
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Australia Moves Toward New Restrictions On Technology Export and Publication

jonwil This is not a new bill... (88 comments)

This is not a new bill, it is an amendment to the "Defence Trade Controls Act 2012".

I see nothing to suggest that, say, exporting open source cryptographic software without a permit is more illegal under this bill than it is as things stand right now. I did 6 months working for Motorola doing software development back in 2005 or so and I remember they had training and stuff regarding export controls including export controls on cryptography.

The actual list of what is export controlled is the same list as used in every other country that is a signatory to the same international export control treaty.

As for the bill itself, if it (or the bill it amends) DOES make exporting cryptography (or other software) illegal (or if that stuff is otherwise illegal) then people should use the public consultation process (or letters to their local MPs and senators) asking for exemptions that cover open source software so that it becomes possible to continue development and use of such software in Australia.

yesterday
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Attorney Yasir Billoo Explains NDA Law (Video)

jonwil Re:Flash? Really? (34 comments)

Given the number of people who read Slashdot using old browsers that dont do HTML5 video (like all those people stuck at work on Intercrap Explorer 6) Flash seems like the better choice here.

2 days ago
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The Personal Computer Revolution Behind the Iron Curtain

jonwil Re:We're so far from that now! (113 comments)

Too bad the same magic that throws up things like that cant throw up a few hundred of the obsolete Knowles speaker the Neo900 project has been trying to source (or the other hard-to-get components that project has a need for)

3 days ago
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Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

jonwil Airspace isn't closed (873 comments)

The airspace over Sydney isn't closed, nor is its airport. Flights are being diverted around the CBD (both by order from the authorities and voluntarily from the main domestic airlines agreeing to divert).

4 days ago
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Are the TSA's New Electronic Device Screenings Necessary?

jonwil Re:Domestic flying in Australia does it well. (184 comments)

I flew from Perth to Brisbane last xmas with a desktop tower case PC plus a bunch of peripherals and other stuff in my checked luggage (it was part of a permanent move from Perth to QLD) and there was basically no security checks of my luggage at all (despite the fact that the cardboard boxes or their contents could easily have contained explosives). In the US on a similar domestic flight, I am sure my 2 cardboard boxes and suitcase would have been run through all sorts of scanning machines and possibly opened (they may have even removed the cover off the PC to inspect its inside).

That said, I did learn just what a cross-country flight (and QANTAS baggage handlers) can do to a desktop PC when the only thing protecting it from damage is a layer of bubble wrap and a cardboard moving box...

about a week ago
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Bank Security Software EULA Allows Spying On Users

jonwil Why are banks pushing this crap? (135 comments)

Why are banks pushing this crap in the first place? I can't see entities like Bank of America spending their own money on security stuff unless its going to cost them more money not to.

about a week ago
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California Sues Uber Over Practices

jonwil Re:Yes, let's get rid of alternatives. (139 comments)

All the times I used a taxi (which were because I needed to carry more stuff than it was possible to carry on the bus and was unable to get help from friends/family) I only had to make one phone call, they showed up reasonably quickly and got me and my stuff where I needed to go without any problems. As for costs, the costs for those taxis were quite reasonable (although you better carry cash or else they will sting you with a ridiculous 10% surcharge for card payment)

about a week ago
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Keurig 2.0 Genuine K-Cup Spoofing Vulnerability

jonwil Re:Keurig's only reason is profit. (270 comments)

The satellite TV situation is different since you are obtaining a service without paying for it.

about a week ago
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Australia Pushes Ahead With Website Blocking In Piracy Fight

jonwil The carot works better than the stick (100 comments)

If the government and media companies REALLY want to stop piracy they need to make the content easier to legally acquire without needing to pay a lot of money for content you dont want. This applies to both new content and older content.

Some examples of how the local industry makes it harder:
1.Scorpion (2014 TV show). Channel 10 (local FTA network) aired up to episode 10 straight after the US airing. However, to see Episodes 11 and 12, you will have to wait for a few months. Episode 11 is already available online to download and episode 12 will likely follow shortly after its US airing next Monday.

Its a good bet a bunch of Aussies are going to pirate those 2 episodes rather than wait for TEN to air them. And its a good bet that when Episode 13 airs on TEN, it too will be weeks behind its US airing and have already been pirated by a fair few people.
If TEN aired these episodes straight after the US (and continued to put them on their catch-up-TV website), there would be basically zero reason to pirate them.

2.The films of Yahoo Serious. Aussie actor who was in 3 films, none of which is particularly popular but all 3 of which have their fans (myself included). Young Einstein is available on DVD overseas (and importing that DVD is technically illegal under Australian parallel import legislation I believe). Reckless Kelly is not available on any physical media format. No clue about Mr Accident. All 3 films seem to be available on the US Amazon digital store. None of the 3 films are available in Australia on either physical disk format or digital store.

3.Halt & Catch Fire (AMC TV series). As far as I can tell this show has yet to air on any Australian TV network (Foxtel included) and is unavailable on disk or digital in this country.

4.X-Planes (old Discovery Channel show about the X series of experimental aircraft). Totally unavailable in any form.

All 4 items above are items I would happily consume legally if there was an option to do so.

about a week ago
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Utilities Face Billions In Losses From Distributed Renewables

jonwil Re:bullshit (280 comments)

Rural areas are very much able to go off-grid. I have family who used to own a sheep station 100s of km from the nearest town and they ran for many years off a combination of a diesel generator and batteries with a small wind turbine (this was back before solar panels really became anywhere near viable). Provided all the power needs for the property. No reason why rural properties elsewhere couldn't do the same with solar/renewables and batteries with a generator (running off the same diesel they use to run the tractors and machinery most likely) for those times when the sun isn't shining and the batteries are dry.

about two weeks ago
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Utilities Face Billions In Losses From Distributed Renewables

jonwil Re:Regulated Monopolies Never Lose Money (280 comments)

It costs the utilities a certain amount to provide you with a grid connection (grid maintanence costs, power station maintanence costs, repairs, wages, capital expenditure etc) no matter how much electricity you use. So why shouldn't the electricity companies charge you this fixed cost directly instead of trying to roll it into the variable per-kWh cost?

My power company charged me for 420kWh of "anytime usage" and 56 days of "service to property charge" on my last bill and there is no reason electricity companies couldn't do the same thing everywhere (as long as they reduced the per-kWh charge in line with the maintanence costs that are now being covered by the service charge and not the usage)

about two weeks ago
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Utilities Face Billions In Losses From Distributed Renewables

jonwil Re:Reduced revenues != lost profit (280 comments)

Here in Australia more power companies are forcing residential customers (especially those with grid-tie solar connections) onto "time of use" metering where you pay more at times when demand is higher.

about two weeks ago
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Court Orders Uber To Shut Down In Spain

jonwil Re:Wait. Are gov't regs good or bad? (280 comments)

Government regulations that encourage or promote competition are good (e.g. regulations designed to encourage competition in the broadband market)
Government regulations that prevent a monopoly from abusing their market power are good (e.g. net neutrality regulations)
Government regulations that limit competition are bad (e.g. regulations banning or restricting services like Uber or regulations limiting the ability of municipalities or co-ops from running internet services in competition with the local telco or cableco)

about two weeks ago
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French Publishers Prepare Lawsuit Against Adblock Plus

jonwil If ads didn't cause so many problems... (692 comments)

If ads didn't cause so many problems, people like me wouldn't be blocking them. And I dont mean problems like obtrusive ads that hover over the page content. Or ads that play audio. Or even the tracking that ad companies do.

The biggest problem with ads is that compromised ad servers are a BIG delivery vector for malware though things like Flash vulnerabilities and drive-by downloads.

about two weeks ago
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Neglecting the Lessons of Cypherpunk History

jonwil Re:Respuctfully, Greenwald Is Wrong (103 comments)

If you live in the US, write your appropriate federal representatives (using an actual physical letter is still more likely to get noticed than an email I believe) and ask them to support the "Secure Data Act" which is designed to stop exactly this (the use of NSLs and other things to mandate backdoors and compromises in software)

See http://www.wyden.senate.gov/ne... for details of the bill and get behind it (and spread the word about it). Is it perfect? No. But it (at least to my non-lawyer reading of the relavent info) seems to be a good place to start.

about two weeks ago
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Why Elon Musk's Batteries Frighten Electric Companies

jonwil Re:Are they really that scared? (460 comments)

Here in Australia that's exactly what they do, local councils collect fees to fund garbage collection (usually collected as part of a general annual fee paid by property owners called "rates" that covers all the many services and things councils deliver) and then either runs garbage collection themselves or contracts out to a 3rd party to do it.

Even where its a private for-profit business being contracted, the business knows that if they jack prices up too much, the council could always buy some garbage trucks and do it themselves or find another contractor.

about two weeks ago
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Why Elon Musk's Batteries Frighten Electric Companies

jonwil Re: Are they really that scared? (460 comments)

They want it to be as cheap as possible for them to make so when they sell it (to other power companies or to consumers) they can maximize profits.

about two weeks ago
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Australian Target Stores Ban GTA V For Depictions of Violence Against Women

jonwil Re:Removed after Initial sales spike (310 comments)

I doubt Target or K-Mart are going to loose much in the way of sales for this game. The sort of hardcore gamers who play games like GTA are more likely to be buying their games at EB Games or JB Hi-Fi or through an online download service than through K-Mart or Target.

about two weeks ago

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