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Comment: Is this a double bluff ? (Score 1) 575

by Alain Williams (#48041149) Attached to: Obama Administration Argues For Backdoors In Personal Electronics

The spooks get various government loudmouths complain how the current adoption of better device security is only helping terrorists/drug-dealers/paedophiles/... and so please, pretty please, do not do it. The result is that those concerned about privacy & the tech-savvy crowd think ''f**k you - we now have our privacy back''.

The reality is that the NSA/GCHQ/... have the current technologies sussed/back-doored but are scared shitless that something better will be adopted. So: they convince us all that we have them on the back foot and so do not implement anything better.

Whatever the truth of the matter: we MUST continue to implement ever better security on all our devices - complacency is our enemy!

Comment: Re:why? Better for Comcast to not know (Score 5, Interesting) 418

by Alain Williams (#47908031) Attached to: Comcast Allegedly Asking Customers to Stop Using Tor

This raises the question of why Comcast would care.

Excellent question. There are a few things that an ISP can reasonably complain to a customer about:

* Excess use of bandwidth (I am not going to discuss what 'too much' is)

* Loss of IP address reputation, by this I mean getting their IP range blacklisted by spamming, etc

* Using up too much of their admin time. This might include dealing with copyright/DMCA type requests (again not interested here in rights/wrongs)

So, 2 reasons for wanting to know (roughly) what content a customer is moving. But these go away with TOR since the TOR IP addresses have nothing to do with the ISP, so they should not care. So what other reasons are there ?

* Requests from FBI/NSA/... that they comply with, willingly or otherwise

* Want to know what a customer is doing so that they can profile them to better monitise the customer (eg sell more targetted adverts)

Anything else ?

Comment: Re:This was not done by Sundance Vacations ... (Score 1) 116

And yet, a corporation is a person.

True, that is so that laws of property & similar can be made to apply to corporations, ie so that they can own things, pay taxes, .... However: a coproation does not have arms & legs so it cannot write documents, send emails, etc. These things have to be done by people on behalf of the company, typically these are employees. It is these people who should be made to be held responsible for what they have done with their arms & legs.

Comment: This was not done by Sundance Vacations ... (Score 4, Interesting) 116

Sundance Vacations is a company/corporation, as such it cannot do things. It is individuals who do things on behalf of company. This is important. The court is going to be very pissed off with forged court orders being used. They should prosecute the individuals who did this forgery and fine them personally and massively or even better put then in jail.

If Sundance Vacations is made to pay a fine, then this will be seen as part of the cost of doing business. The criminals who did this will not really suffer much and just be more careful the next time that they want to threaten someone. If the individuals have to pay the penalty then hopefully this will stop this ever hppening again - not only at Sundance Vacations but at other corporations that might think of doing this.

There is not enough personal liability within corporations for criminal actions with the result that crooks try all sorts of things knowing that at the very worst they could lose their job and have to find another. If individuals have to pay the penalty (money and/or jail) this sort of thing would be less likely and we would all be better off.

Comment: Use $deity to hit them (Score 4, Interesting) 251

by Alain Williams (#47758241) Attached to: TechCentral Scams Call Center Scammers

The trouble is how to hit back at them. Normally the most that you can do is to waste their time & phone bill -- but your time is more precious than that. I wanted to try to get some of them to stop scamming and, to a limited extent, succeeded.

I had a phone call from one of these crooks claiming to be from Microsoft security center trying to tell me about a problem on my MS Windows machine (I run 100% Linux). After a few seconds I interrupted him and asked him if he was a religious man. He was puzzled and, after a couple of prompts, said 'yes'.

I told him that I was worried about his eternal soul ending up burning in the fires of hell because he was trying to steal money from people while he was alive. I asked if it was really worth it spending billions of years burning in hell for the sake of making some money in the few short years that he is alive. None of us is alive for many years compared to the billions of years in heaven or hell after we die.

I asked him to think about it before he went to sleep tonight. Where did he want to spend eternity ? Should he be doing the job that he is doing ? Is it worth it ? How will he be judged by God ? He was by now sounding a very different man from the one who started the 'phone call a few minutes earlier. Thanked me for being concerned about him. The call continued for another minute or so, me laying the eternity bit on very thick. Him getting quieter, before quietly thanking me again before the call ended.

I don't know what long term effect this will have on him, but hopefully he will decide that he ought to get another job. I did this a few times, some just laughed, then I got bored with the game.

Comment: Re:LibreOffice (Score 3, Insightful) 190

by Alain Williams (#47746779) Attached to: Munich Council Say Talk of LiMux Demise Is Greatly Exaggerated

Any change to the document would change these bullets.

There are still small compatibility problems.

Yes: MS-Office/Word still has compatability problems with OpenOffice.

Why do people always complain that free s/ware is incompatible with proprietary ones ? OK: in this case he saved as a .docx - mistake, only use document formats that are properly defined, eg .odf - you will still find that MS Word will not import 100% -- in that case where is the problem: MS-Word or Open/Libre-Office ?

Comment: Here is the site (Score 2) 186

by Alain Williams (#47736615) Attached to: BBC and FACT Shut Down Doctor Who Fansite -- however, the domain is being transferred so the content might not stay there for long. At the time of writing (23 Aug 16.45 BST) there is roughly the story above and some chats at, and whois shows the domain still owned byJonathan Carlyle .

No real indication why it was taken down ... talking about Dr Who cannot be a problem. Was there copyrighted material hosted ?

Comment: Re:Popularity effects & user perception (Score 1) 579

by Alain Williams (#47712943) Attached to: Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft

As a smaller organisation a better strategy for you would be to install free s/ware on machines where it can do the job as well, eg: firefox instead of IE; thunderbird for outlook (depending on what you do for calendaring); LibreOffice instead of MS Office; ... Most (say 80%) user's requirements are simple and free stuff will work well for them. When a user's PC dies, you look to see what they are using - if it is all free s/ware you replace their box with one running a free OS; if not then you give them one running MS Windows or OS x

Comment: Re:Not so good if you are blind (Score 1) 91

More to the point the web site needs to comply with disability legislation. In the UK blind/partially-sighted people must, by law, be able to use the web site. This is one of the advantages of CSS - you can keep the site clean so that it works well with a screen reader. In theory a web site (owner) can be prosecuted for disciminating against people who have sight problems, in practice this does not happen very often.

So: all the bot would need to do is to claim to be blind and so avoid the game playing CAPTCHA.

Comment: Popularity effects & user perception (Score 5, Insightful) 579

by Alain Williams (#47699589) Attached to: Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft

Reading TFA I suspect that the sorts of problems are:

  • * Interoperability with third parties. Eg document exchange. In a world where most others use MS software then there will be issues, moving to ODF will help, but not eliminate all issues -- incompatabilities between the way that MS and Open/Libre Office interpret the spec will remain. People will still use other formats where Open equivalents may not exist - eg CAD
  • * Munich have gone out on their own, few are following their lead. They thus have to pay the first implementor's penalty. Those who follow will find things easier and cheaper.
  • * Hardware devices (eg mobile phones). Although many of these might have Linux as the base, the vendor will make sure that it works with MS products and not worry about Linux equivalents
  • * Users are using something that is new and will blame problems on it. This time they have a name ''Linux'' - this becomes perceived as the root of all evil.
  • * Similar problems would have happened with a roll out of a new MS system and these problems would just be accepted as teething problems of a new system. But because Munich is doing something different by having software running on Linux systems this will be seen as the cause of it and thus blamed, with a belief that return to MS will fix all the problems. It will fix some but cause others, but until then Linux systems will get all the blame.

The best way to fix Munich's problems is for others to grab the LiMux distribution and use it. This will:

* Reduce compatability problems. A tipping point will eventually be reached, look how MS IE was king and then it went to less than 80% and suddenly slid as web sites had to take web standards seriously.

* Hardware vendors will have to test against more than just MS Windows and its ecosystems

* Others will contribute software and patches, the cost to Munich will drop.

* Munich IT department will not be seen as maverick since others are also doing it. Eventually they will, hopefully, be lauded as pioneers and visionaries.

"When it comes to humility, I'm the greatest." -- Bullwinkle Moose