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Comment: Re:Biased and wrong summary (flamebait) (Score 3, Informative) 44

by FireFury03 (#47487871) Attached to: UK Government Faces Lawsuit Over Emergency Surveillance Bill

EU court just told UK that the data retention law is illegal - so what did they do? make another law to do exactly the same thing, WTF?

Well, not quite. As far as I understand, the ECJ declared the snooping law unlawful because it was too broad, and outlined what restrictions would need to be placed on any replacement snooping law. So parliament is basically just passing a new law with those restrictions in it to satisfy the ECJ.

Of course, that doesn't make the law right, but then neither was the original law.

I've written a bit about it on my blog.

Comment: Re:Black box data streaming (Score 2, Insightful) 503

by FireFury03 (#47481547) Attached to: Russia Prepares For Internet War Over Malaysian Jet

Why haven't all airplanes been upgraded so the black box data is streamed to satellites/ground stations? It's so dumb to have to search for a airplane to find the data, that should be the fallback plan. Hey FAA, you listening?

Because there's probably way too much data for that to be a reasonable idea. Have you any idea how many planes there are flying at once?

Comment: Re: Maybe, maybe not. (Score 1) 749

by FireFury03 (#47455063) Attached to: Obama Administration Says the World's Servers Are Ours

You cannot serve warrents to search property in other countries.

You may not be able to serve warrants to actually force entry into foreign offices and collect physical evidence, but you probably can subpoena a domestic company and require _them_ to present things that are held in their foreign offices.

Of course, Microsoft et-al are right to fight this from a business point of view, since the "US can demand anyone's data" attitude is going to actively harm their foreign business.

In the UK, personal data has to be handled in compliance with the Data Protection Act. This generally means you're not allowed to store personal data outside the EU since it would no longer have the prerequisite protections. Microsoft usually guarantees to store your data in the EU, making it safe to store protected data on their servers. I'm not sure how this ruling affects DPA compliance - is it still ok to store your data with US companies on EU servers, given that the US now has the right to take it? I'm not sure, but it certainly muddies the waters.

Frankly, I consider it completely idiotic to store confidential data anywhere other than on your own systems, but a lot of people are pushing stuff out to the cloud with very little regard for the security of that data.

I do wonder if MS can just move their non-US servers into separate (non-US) companies in order to protect them from US jurisdiction. I'm sure they've got a building full of very expensive lawyers figuring that kind of thing out at the moment.

Comment: Re:Not me... (Score 1) 751

by FireFury03 (#47447001) Attached to: Predicting a Future Free of Dollar Bills

As someone who has had a recent issue with a certain major bank(they closed the account and sent cashiers checks to me for the balance. Waiting 2-3 days without money wasn't pleasant)...I will never go cashless.

That's more of an "all eggs in one basket" problem than a problem specifically made worse by being cashless. If you split your money between multiple banks then this kind of thing wouldn't be an issue (or have multiple credit cards, etc.)

Comment: Re:What's the point? (Score 1) 129

I don't know if you read books or anything on your devices, but I've found that reading on an iPad Air to be *significantly* better than my previous devices.

I don't own a tablet - I use a desktop machine for every day work, a laptop around the house and an Android smartphone. I wouldn't really want to read books on my smartphone except in an emergency - screen's too small to be comfortable. And I don't want a bigger smart phone because then it wouldn't be convenient to carry around and I honestly can't think how a higher resolution display would make my phone better.

On the other hand, my wife does have a tablet... She occasionally reads books on it, but it mostly gets used for facebook, web surfing, photo browsing, etc. My experience of using it for reading books isn't great - if I want to sit in the garden in the sun I find the screen too reflective, and if I want to sit in bed at night then a backlit screen is really glaring.

I think, if I were going to buy a device to be an ebook reader, I would have to buy an epaper device to be really comfortable with it, and epaper is a bit too limited to use the device for non-book uses. So since I can't get a device that would be a reasonable all-rounder then I'm not likely to buy one soon. The perfect tablet for me would probably be one that has an LCD display on one side and an ePaper display on the other so I could just turn it over to choose which display was most suitable for the current situation - no one makes such a thing.

In truth, the prevalence of DRM on ebooks is likely to keep me from being especially interested in buying an ebook reader. Whilst I do consider tablets to be quite "shiny" and nice for surfing the web on, when I look at what I'd use it for honestly, I really don't think I'd get a lot of use out of it so there's not a lot of point in me buying one.

Comment: Re: Not France vs US (Score 1) 308

If publishers want to compete with piracy, they need to make it more convenient for people to get the books they want, at the price they want.

I don't think there's a lot of risk of piracy of paper books. eBooks are another matter, but they are one thing I wouldn't touch because of the DRM (yes, I know you can trivially remove the DRM, but if I'm going to have to break the law to use something I purchased I start questioning why I didn't just break the law instead of purchasing it in the first place).

Comment: Re:because drinking water is so pristine (Score 1) 241

by FireFury03 (#47441709) Attached to: Texas Town Turns To Treated Sewage For Drinking Water

not like the wild animals and fish don't piss and shit into our water

who drinks straight from a lake or river?

Lots of people out in the country. Go walking in the highlands of Scotland and you'll frequently see pipes taking drinking water directly from the rivers and directly feeding cottages a few metres down stream - either no filtering, or extremely minimal filtering. If I go out walking in a mountainous area I have no problems collecting drinking water from streams - and after a week of drinking nothing but stream water, a glass of mains water tastes like drinking from a chlorinated swimming pool!

Comment: Re: Not France vs US (Score 2) 308

Amazon certainly doesn't pose a threat to variety of material

Sure they do - they try some pretty hard negotiation tactics with the publishers which sometimes results in books from certain publishers being withdrawn from Amazon. If Amazon is pretty much the only place you can get books then this is going to threaten the variety of material available to the general public.

Comment: Re:What's the point? (Score 2) 129

If the average human eye can't tell the slightest difference, what's the point of making displays that dense?

I would guess there may be applications for things like VR/AR headsets, where you're using a very small screen to cover a large field of vision.

However, I more or less thought the same thing about Apple's retina displays - I can see some restricted uses, but for the general case I don't notice the pixels on my non-retina phone so I'm not sure why I'd want to waste the battery power moving even more pixels around.

Comment: Theory says it is possible (Score 1) 415

by Sits (#47413033) Attached to: Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

Any Turing complete language can mimic any other Turing complete language (but at a price) so if your language supports condition driven loops you effectively have GOTO and IF. However if we see GOTO as syntactic sugar (and thus an efficiency optimisation/control flow obfuscator) wouldn't the combination of continuations and exceptions get you what GOTO can achieve?

Comment: Re:Nothing unusual (Score 1) 39

by FireFury03 (#47399623) Attached to: Free Wi-Fi Supplier, Gowex, Files For Bankruptcy

No, business are sat down and are interrogated like ordinary people. For some loans they just hit the credit bureau, just like ordinary people. Sometimes they go over the documents with a fine tooth comb, just like ordinary people. And just like ordinary people sometimes business enhance, fudge, or outright lie.

Also, even if your business is a limited company, you'll usually find that small business investments are often secured against the directors' themselves, so frequently it is _not_ the case that you can just move the money out of the company and declare it insolvant, coz if you do that you'll lose your home too. Where this tends to fall down is bigger companies, where the bank perceives the company itself to be worth enough to secure the loan... which is a problem if the company's value is fictional.

Comment: Re:Nothing unusual (Score 5, Interesting) 39

by FireFury03 (#47398039) Attached to: Free Wi-Fi Supplier, Gowex, Files For Bankruptcy

Why is it compulsory that I have to be sat down like a child when I want to take out a £1000 loan but nobody questions businesses or enforces them to give enhanced accounts or audits in their first few years of operation.

Well, to some extent I think people who run businesses are probably expected to have a bit more of a clue to managing finances than the average man-on-the-street. (And I guess you only have to look at the number of "pay day loan" companies that charge several thousands percent APR to realise that there are a *lot* of members of the public who really don't understand how to manage their finances). So the whole being sat down like a child thing is basically to stop people who don't know what they're doing ending up with mountains of debt _by mistake_, it's not to stop people intentionally cooking the books.

A company cooking the books is serious, but arguably, a privately held company cooking the books is probably not _that_ bad - yes they avoid paying a bit of tax, but auditing costs the government money so you have to weigh up this cost against the amount of extra tax revenues they're going to get (and certainly, my privately held limited company has never been audited by the inland revenue, not that I have any reason to believe that such an audit would raise any warnings).

Things are a bit more serious with a publicly held company though, since cooking the books will artificially raise the share price and then risk a crash (as has happened here) so innocent third party investors are going to get screwed over. Its hard to decide who should be paying the costs of an independent audit in this case though. Maybe investors should value a company's shares more highly if a independent audit has been published for that company since investing in that company should presumably be a lower risk.

Comment: Re:Haha (Score 1) 235

by FireFury03 (#47383595) Attached to: Radar Changing the Face of Cycling

But the bottom line is, if they are in the lane you are driving in, it is no different then another car except you can pass them without completely changing lanes.

Worth pointing out that the British highway code says that you give bikes as much room as you'd give a car (i.e. you must pull all the way out into the next lane). I say this as someone who still has a bunch of painful cuts from about 3 weeks ago when a driver decided that it was safe to overtake me on a single track road, leaving around 2cm between his car and the end of my handlebars (I swerved to avoid getting hit by his wing mirror, lost my balance and wobbled into the side of his car, which is exactly what leaving zero margin for error gets you. I ended up with cuts, bruises, grazes and a ripped T-shirt from where I hit the road, he ended up with an expensive handlebar scrape the full length of his car, which will hopefully remind him not to be such a bellend in future.)

Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable. -- Gilb