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Comment DMCA, or.. (Score 1) 73

It's a kinda interesting conundrum. Obviously Simonds have a complaint against CHM Constructions but if their lawyers have advised them to do this, then I think they need better lawyers.

Blocking access to the site from Australia probably won't make a whole lot of difference, because the real reputational damage might arise elsewhere. Simonds need to get the site shut down or amended.

The most obvious way to do this would be to file a DMCA complaint. "But wait," you say ,"neither party is in the US!" True - but is hosted in the US, and all the major search engines are *also* hosted in the US, do they *do* have to comply with a DMCA complaint. In my opinion, there is sufficient copied material on the Indian site to justify a DMCA complaint. And you don't even need to get lawyered up for that.

The other way to do it is to hire a law firm in INDIA and threaten legal action over there. Indian lawyers are not expensive, but in my personal experience in a similar case.. they are of highly variable quality. Probably better than the Ozzie lawyers Simonds hired though. But if you actually want to *do* something about the problem, then India is the place to go.

Comment Re:I worked at Gateway 2000 from 1990-1996 (Score 1) 77

The cow-spotted boxes were marketing genius. Also I seem to remember cow-spotted mouse mats. The AnyKey programmable keyboard was.. interesting too.

Gateway boxes were sporadically available in the UK in the early to mid 1990s, imported from the US via a grey imported. They were a much higher quality than anything else we had, especially in terms of industrial design. The first Gateway box I had (I 386SX I think) lingered for years, but people often commented on how nice it looked ("Is that new?" "Errr.. no"). A few years later Gateway started shipping directly to the UK, for a while at least.

I don't think that they ever reached their full potential. But I guess the cow thing might have stuck in my head.


Comment Re:Wow, way to fuck that up (Score 4, Interesting) 172

I remember when AltaVista first came out.. it was a revelation. The result you wanted was normally on the first few pages. Don't laugh - that was a big frigging deal at the time. These days, if the result you want isn't number one then you assume something is borked.

But it was quite easy to game the system. To begin with, if you wanted to be #1 for "SEX" you would just repeat the word "SEX" a lot of times. It was all done on in-page factors. Of course, AltaVista engineers eventually tried to counteract the spam (use a word too many times and it counts against you, for example), but the whole PageRank idea did lead to better results.

I seem to remember that AltaVista was originally a project to show how powerful DEC's Alpha processors were. Instead, it opened up the idea that the whole web (or at least millions of pages) could be searchable on a full-text basis. That was pretty revolutionary at the time.

Comment Re:Not on List (Score 1) 311

Hah, I was thinking the same thing. Although I get them for free (well, through the taxes I pay), doctors are still reluctant to prescribe them because even the cheapest are around £25 ($40) for 50 retail.

Here, the companies that make the meters give them away to the health service for free, because they know they'll get the prescriptions for the test strips. It's a bit like inkjet printers.. the printer is really cheap, the ink is really expensive.

Comment (Score 0) 381

I read that the government is going to set up it's own porn portal for "approved" smut while banning everything else. I read it on the internet so it must be true.

Two things.. one, almost all of these porn sites are not in the UK so basically won't give a shit.

Secondly, isn't it the case the those people who are most on a crusade against porn are the ones with the really sick and disturbing fetishes. Perhaps I could have 30 minutes with David Cameron's personal laptop just to check?

Comment Re:Please insert Multics subthread here. (Score 1) 484

Agreed, GCOS is horrific and it is the OS That Will Not Die.

Multics (RIP) had some cool and interesting features. Everything was a file. Security Rings. A very consistent set of commands. But at a couple of million bucks at least per installation in 1980s money, it was a fairly niche product. I do remember having arguments with Unix folks about the strengths and weaknesses of both OSes. Of course Unix and its derivatives are absolutely everywhere now.

Comment The data (Score 5, Informative) 173

The data is a apparently a subset of 60 million records that the hackers are threatening to release.

I've had a look at the data, there are very many easily identifiable people, for some of those there is date-of-birth data, ZIP code, "preferences", details of any money spent etc. There are a few people using their .gov email addresses for this, some of those can be verified by the IP address, some other email addresses belonging to other corporations. I would suspect that those are the people who are most at risk of blackmail. Remember too that an email addresses can be used to look people up on Facebook, which would make it easier for blackmailers to find potential victims.

Not revealed in the breach (so far) are credit card data, real names (although many are obvious from the email addresses) or passwords. Although I notice that some people were smart enough to sign up with a throwaway email address, if they have actually paid for anything then they would have had to supply real contact details somewhere.

The background story appears to be that a pissed-off affiliate who claims they were owed hundreds of thousands of dollars had a contact hack the database. It seems the hackers are demanding money else they will release the rest of the data.

Comment Good points, bad points (Score 4, Interesting) 287

I've driven a car with a manual speed limiter for 10+ years now. I don't understand why all cars don't have one. Entering a 30mph/50kmh zone? Set that as the maximum speed on the limiter and you can drive around normally without having to keep checking your speed. Less time checking your speed equals more time looking where you are going. This is only a good thing.

In Europe, speed limiters seem to be common in Mercedes and Smart cars, Renault, Citroen and Peugeot cars, plus some of the newer Vauxhall/Opel models and Fords. It is built into the cruise control system.

The bad points? Well, reading signs is a so-so thing when it comes to accuracy, and satellite navigation systems sometimes get the speed very badly wrong if they have incorrect data. And just because the speed limit *says* that you can drive at up to whatever-is-on-the-sign, it doesn't mean it is *safe* to do so in the road conditions you actually have.

Nobody said computers were going to be polite.