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Comment Re:ew (Score 1) 301

We have something of a similar situation in the UK: Our age of consent is sixteen*...

*With a close-in-age-exception, and it becomes eighteen if there exists a relationship that gives one party a position of power over the other.

I'm not aware of any close-in-age exception under UK law. Just the hard limit of 16 with, as you say, that going up to 18 if there's a power relationship (e.g. teacher, carer, etc.) We all know that the police & CPS may choose to turn a blind-eye in the case of under-16 shenanigans if they're close in age, but I'm not aware of anything in writing. Care to elucidate?

Comment Re:Prosecute this irresponsible hack! (Score 1) 57

Perhaps because ever since MI5 paid the Guardian a visit and smashed up that laptop of theirs in the basement, they don't want to do any more of this stuff?

Especially now it's under a new editor; whatever I might think of Rusbridger's qualities in comparison to his predecessor, I *do* give him credit for publishing the Snowden stuff.

Comment Re:Prosecute this irresponsible hack!I' (Score 1) 57

To be honest, it's never been the same since the legendary Peter Preston left... although Ian Mayes as the Readers' Editor kept it honest for a while. Once he left, to be replaced by some faceless lawyer type, the decline REALLY set in.

Any paper that purports to be "left wing" (as it then did) but then sacks first Mark Steel, then his replacement Jeremy Hardy, for "being too left-wing" on their op-ed pages, isn't a paper I want o read. The Max Gogarty affair (the paper's reaction to their readers' criticism, more than the deed itself) was the final straw for me.

And yes, Duncan Campbell (the investigative journalist, rather than the Grauniad journalist of the same name), is probably the UK's leading journalistic authority on these matters.

Comment Re:Rapidly diminishing Firefox (Score 1) 316

I've never used tab groups, but maybe there is a reason for that - if you want users to use a feature, DON'T HIDE IT. Seriously, the average user would have no idea that tab groups even exist, because there is no button for it by default, no menu for it. You either have to customise the UI, or know an obscure hotkey.

I'd never used it either, because I didn't know about it... but to be fair to Mozilla, as someone else here pointed out, it IS in a menu: press that down-arrow next to the New Tab "+" button on the tab bar, the one that shows you all your open tabs, and right at the top there's the Tab Groups menu.

Careful how you press it though... in particular do NOT click the X close button when the Tab Group window comes up, or you'll lose all your tabs!! (Although there was an Undo, which I hurriedly clicked.) Instead, just click anywhere else in that Tab Group window to go back to where you were...

So, um, yeah...

Comment Re:How do they know? (Score 1) 316

Before we all beat ourselves up too much, I just went to check if I had it turned on or off (off, as it happens), and discovered this:

This feature is turned on by default in Nightly, Developer Edition (Aurora), and Beta builds of Firefox to help those users provide feedback to Mozilla. In the general release version of Firefox, this feature is turned off by default.

So in fact it's mainly power-users that they'd be getting telemetry from in the first place...

Comment Re:Let ~anyone~ buy a TV license, please! (Score 2) 174

I've watched a LOT of BBC material and it's great. I love their science shows where they teach real science without hand puppets and crayons. Think Through the Wormhole with their idiotic animations. Brian Cox vs Morgan Freeman. WTF? Morgan Freeman is not a scientist. Not even a little. Also TTWH is always going on about the "god" thing which is extremely annoying. So much about that show is crap.

The funny thing is, that many of us Brit science-y types bemoan the state of BBC science programming these days, compared to what it used to be back in the 70s and 80s. By the 90s, all the old guys had retired and the young arts graduates had taken over, and it was all dumbed down hugely, on the grounds that if they couldn't understand it, then surely nobody could.

Thankfully this trend has reversed a little in recent years, although my blood still boiled when, during the first episode of Prof. Brian Cox's flagship series "Wonders of the Solar System", he managed to spend an hour twatting about the globe, being filmed looking dashing & windswept in various beauty spots, allegedly to "explain the workings of a total solar eclipse", yet without ever actually doing so. A fifteen-second animated diagram of the Earth-Moon-Sun relationship, as we used to get back in the 1970s, was all it needed, but nooooo, let's just have more of Brian looking mystical on a mountain-top.

An intelligent nine-year-old boy shouldn't, after watching a one-hour programme about solar eclipses, turn round and say "But I still don't understand WHY it happens". But he - my then stepson - did. It's not good enough.

Still, glad to hear how much you enjoy our TV programming. For all its faults, and declining standards, it's still good stuff, and most of us know it. :-)

Submission + - EFF joins Nameless Coalition and demands Facebook kills its real names policy (

Mark Wilson writes: Facebook has come in for heavy criticism for its real names (or 'authentic identities' as they are known to the social network) policy. Over the last year, all manner of rights groups and advocates have tried to convince Facebook to allow users to drop their real name in favor of a pseudonym if they want.

Now the Electronic Frontier Foundation is part of the 74-member strong Nameless Coalition and has written to Facebook demanding a rethink on the ground of safety, privacy, and equality. This is far from being the first time Facebook has been called on to allow the use of 'fake names', and the latest letter is signed by LGBT groups, freedom advocates, privacy supporters, and feminist organizations.

Comment Re:Because it toggles an LED! (Score 1) 698

Num Lock and Scroll Lock also provide the same functionality, but the positioning of Caps Lock just makes it convenient.

Careful! Not sure how much it's still true, but it used to be the case with many keyboards that Num Lock toggled the LED inside the keyboard, so it would still go on and off even if the main CPU was as hung as hung could be. Only Caps and Scroll provided a decent "are you still alive?" check.

Comment Re:I have wondered.. (Score 1) 492

I have wondered...

About how much money corporations spend to cause fragmentation and put people into positions to make shit decisions (Gnome). Yup, I'm sure some of that is simply paranoia. That said, watching some of the shit that gets made on projects like Gnome.. I have no other way to explain what they do.

Yup, I've said on here before that I thought it mightily suspicious that just as Ubuntu was really starting to gain some serious desktop traction, with Live CDs converting more and more of my friends and acquaintances, Canonical suddenly decided to dump Unity (and a half-finished Unity at that) on us, sending half the people scurrying back to Windows and the rest fragmenting to other distros.

I know one should always prefer cock-up to conspiracy, but it really couldn't have been better timed to wreck the best chance that Linux ever had to displace Windows on the desktop.

Comment Re:it's a C idiom (Score 1) 264

Someone I know has a fast way to compute CRCs without tables that use only a single loop. The method seems broken to some people... [snip] ...but when you do the math it all works out.

I don't doubt that this is possible but is it really faster than using tables on any actual existing processor? Even CRC-32 only needs a 1K table, it fits into cache, it's really fast unless you're doing CRC of very short strings. And is he perchance using his own non-standard polynomial to make this trick work? Has he proven that it's as strong as the standard polynomials?

I first came across what I think was the grandparent's "hack" when writing code back in the 1980s for an 8085-based EPOS-terminal. With a total address space of 64KB (albeit we did have paged ROM and RAM to extend that), any but the smallest look-up tables were a ridiculous luxury.

First time I saw the hack, I thought "you WHAT now?!" and so one bored Friday afternoon I followed it all through and bloody hell, yes, it worked. Kinda melted my head as to how on earth the (since-departed) author had come up with it, but it worked.

We used it to calculate CRC-16-CCITT and CRC-16-IBM in both normal and reversed versions (four in total), so it seemed to be flexible enough to use any polynomial you wanted.

I'd be very interested to see the code :)

Sadly, although I probably still have the code (only slightly naughtily, since I was also the guy responsible for doing the backups, including offsite backups), it'll be on a 5.25" floppy somewhere, and a quick Google doesn't turn up anything I recognise... so you'll have to wait for another day.

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Is it possible that software is not like anything else, that it is meant to be discarded: that the whole point is to always see it as a soap bubble?