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Comment: Re:Also ban cars (Score 2) 160

Yes, the rhetoric for this week's episode of "Theresa May had an idea" has been particularly silly.

The statistics trotted out over the past week or so make for interesting, if depressing, reading.

For example, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, a very senior officer with counter-terrorism responsibilities, says they've been prevented on average one terrorist attack per year but so far this year it's been 4-5 already. (It's not clear whether this was in the specific context of "lone wolf" attacks, though.)

Just hours apart from that, we have Theresa May herself saying that almost 40 major terrorist attacks have been foiled since the 7/7 bombings, giving an average of about four per year. This means, she says, that the UK is facing the biggest terrorism threat in its history, which might be surprising to anyone who was around during the worst of the troubles with the IRA not so long ago. There are plenty of scary messages played over the PA system when you go through any major London railway station these days, but not frequent closures due to actual bomb threats and the like.

Also on Monday, there was a statement from Met Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley citing 271 arrests resulting from counter-terrorism investigations so far this year. Their Commissioner seemed to be implying in the above statement that all of these had led to charges, too. What they don't seem to have mentioned anywhere in this week's PR campaign is how many such arrests ultimately lead to convictions, nor how many of those convictions (or the arrests or charges themselves) are actually for terrorism offences.

The combined budget for our security services reportedly remains somewhere around the £2B mark, not counting additional funding for counter-terrorism units within other organisations such as the police.

In other news, in 2013 (the last full year for which stats are available) there were 1,713 people killed on our roads, and a further 21,657 seriously injured, not to mention damage to the economy estimated in the £15-30B range as a result of the disruption due to incidents on the road. Would anyone like to guess what's been happening to the annual road safety publicity budget in recent years?

Comment: Re:Ads (Score 1) 301

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#48457701) Attached to: Google Launches Service To Replace Web Ads With Subscriptions

OK, so maybe I spend a lot of time reading Slashdot and want money for it. That doesn't mean you actually owe me anything for reading this post, which I have nevertheless taken the time to write, nor that it is unethical for you not to pay me. I simply don't have any reasonable expectation that by contributing a post and allowing Slashdot to publish it and you to read it, I will then be financially compensated.

Comment: Re:Already making waves (Score 1) 106

It would appear that these professionals with jobs had better learn to deal with moving targets.

Why? There is no commercial advantage in repeatedly expending resources updating your software or intranet sites just to keep pace with the whims of some browser maker.

Whatever certain browser makers would like to happen, as the likes of Windows XP, IE6, and later IE8 demonstrated very clearly, staying with software that works for an extended period is a viable and sometimes very attractive option, even if it comes with significant disadvantages in other respects. Large organisations often work with multi-year roll-out plans for new technologies that will affect many staff or critical business functions, and they aren't going to be the slightest bit impressed by a browser vendor shouting, "But we push new features every six weeks!"

Stability and compatibility no longer exist in the old fashioned way.

Sure they do. They just don't exist if you give your business to organisations like Google, and the kind of web developer that relies on bleeding edge frameworks and joining the dots has no idea how to provide them.

Of course, this is good for those of us who make a lot of money offering businesses better solutions to their real problems using tried and tested technologies. It's not as glamorous, but it sure pays well if you can help your clients get stuff done without technology issues they simply don't care about getting in the way all the time.

TL;DR: Google, Mozilla and their fans wish that professional organisations would see these new developments and choose to adopt Chrome or Firefox as a result. What really happens in many cases is that those organisations see these new developments and say "OK, we'll just stick with IE, which version do we pin at to keep everything working?" and then throw lots of money at organisations like Microsoft that understand the real world needs and provide long term support accordingly.

Comment: Re:Already making waves (Score 1) 106

Cisco has more than enough software devs to remedy this in a years time.

This is a huge problem with this whole debate. People who work on certain browsers want the rest of the world to just dump 20 years of software history, significant amounts of which is still in use and doing its job just fine today, and spend what would collectively be a vast amount of time and money rewriting everything just to run on this week's trendy platform instead.

Newsflash: Professionals with jobs to do value stability and backward compatibility. They probably value their tried and tested software a lot more than a flashy port to your "living standard" platform. They certainly value tried and tested software a lot more than your latest technique for animating SVGs in demos that still doesn't scale up enough to use it in real applications without becoming unusably slow anyway.

See also: Why IE is still so dominant in business browsing, even versions from several years ago, and why neither Firefox nor Chrome got much traction in business at all until they started playing nicely with grown-up sysadmin tools.

Comment: Re:Which 6? (Score 1) 106

This is all too true, unfortunately. Java plug-ins have become increasingly obnoxious about security in recent releases, to the point that software that used to work just fine is now very awkward to use, and both Google and Oracle keep saying things that boil down to "we'll stop it completely, sometime, maybe".

What everyone seems to forget is how many serious/critical vulnerabilities quietly get patched in the major browsers each update. Go ahead and check the change logs. Thinking browsers themselves won't simply take over as the target as they incorporate some of these new features directly is like thinking you're immune to malware because you run Linux.

Comment: Re:Ads (Score 1) 301

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#48456635) Attached to: Google Launches Service To Replace Web Ads With Subscriptions

It is not illegal to be a freeloader it just means that you take without giving back.

Nonsense. I also run web sites. None of them is ad-funded. Some of them don't generate any "revenue" at all beyond good will and sometimes entertaining or useful discussions with others who share my interests.

In short, I "give back" in exactly the way I "take".

Comment: Class projects vs. professional projects (Score 4, Informative) 175

The pay cheque isn't the important thing. Experience working in a professional environment is. The difference between how you work on a class project and how you work in a professional environment is vast.

For example, class projects are typically:

- very small

- implemented by a single person or at most a very small team that does not change over the lifetime of the project

- finished within a short period of time

- built with unchanging requirements determined by a single authority and entirely known from the start

- implemented with little need or regard for ongoing maintenance.

Exactly none of those things will be true of a typical industrial software development project. The need to take these kinds of factors into consideration completely changes how you design your software, what tools you use, what processes you follow...

Comment: Re:Ads (Score 2) 301

It seems you forgot to quote the later part of that post, where I did acknowledge the problem of content that comes malware-laden... Personally, I don't buy AAA games any more (nor do I pirate them instead). I got bored of the generally poor quality and accompanying malware breaking things a few years ago. Given the comments I see every time gamers' enjoyment of a big new title is spoiled because someone's DRM screwed up again, I suspect my life is still better that way. However, I do miss and would gladly pay for the kind of experience I used to enjoy from the top end games of yesteryear, before everything went downhill when the Internet became an excuse for shipping software that wasn't finished yet (we'll just patch it later, or not) and using ever more obnoxious DRM schemes (of course we can expect gamers to be online with a perfect connection any time they're playing our game).

Comment: Re:Ads (Score 1) 301

Of course they are. But the fact is that when the law says things are required to work a certain way, and everyone knows the deal up-front, breaking that law is a different issue to just not doing something entirely voluntary that someone else would have preferred you to do.

Laws may not perfectly follow morals and ethics, but the intent is that they do at least reflect them reasonably well and provide a common standard for acceptable behaviour that everyone knows.

Comment: Re:Ads (Score 1) 301

So far, I don't see a lot of that happening. Occasionally I see sites begging you to turn your ad-blocker off, and if they're sites I like then I do have some sympathy.

Unfortunately, from bitter personal experience, ad networks are a threat. There is currently no way to reliably distinguish which parts are dangerous soon enough, so the default safest option is to block the lot.

Very occasionally, I do find a site that doesn't work properly because of the things I block, and then I just go somewhere else instead. Exactly zero sites I need to use have this problem, or rely on ads at all for that matter. It would be sad if all those ad-funded sites went away, but frankly it wouldn't break the Internet and whatever replaced them would probably be a better model for all concerned (except middle-man ad networks).

Comment: Re:Ads (Score 1) 301

So how does this not make you a worthless freeloader?

I may be literally worthless to such sites. I just don't think they ever had a reasonable expectation that I would be any more than that, any more than someone paying for an ad on a billboard has a reasonable expectation that every driver will stop and read it, or any TV advertiser has a reasonable expectation that no-one is going to go take a leak during the ad break.

There is no law requiring someone to give their time to the ads just because they are there, and there never has been, making this a fundamentally different situation to copyright infringement, fraud, or whatever other bad analogies people are throwing around in today's discussion.

Ultimately, if someone wants a promise to be paid in return for their work, there are a number of options available to them, starting with charging for it just like every other industry in the world that produces value. And if the work has some modest value to a lot of people but the overheads of formally charging are too great, there are plenty of other ways to accumulate minor contributions without spamming disreputable ad networks all over your site.

Comment: Re:Ads (Score 1) 301

Just like all the people who "share" music or software without paying the artists/creator a dime for their work.

Not really.

One obvious difference is that the law generally prohibits copying a copyrighted work without complying with the copyright holder's terms for payment etc. There is no analogous law about downloading freely available content without viewing the ads, unless you want to start arguing that the implicit permission to access that content does not apply if you don't view the ads as well, which is quite the can of worms to open.

Another obvious difference is that buying a legal copy of a creative work does not in itself subject me to severely degraded system performance, wasting arbitrary amounts of bandwidth I'm already paying for on things I didn't ask for, or assorted security and privacy risks. Not blocking ads and trackers on-line does all of these things. (Obviously some content comes with DRM and similar malware that also does some or all of these things, but let's not conflate buying from dubious sources with buying at all.)

Comment: Re:Difficult to assess (Score 1) 394

"If the userbase is really fixed then Mozilla should try to maximize their revenue by letting Yahoo! and Google bid for the rights."

They do exactly this. Yahoo's bid was comparable in terms of money, and "better" in terms of Mozilla's mission. For example, Yahoo agreed to respect the Do Not Track setting -- something Google will never do. Because tracking is Google's business.

Since Yahoo is the underdog in search, Mozilla has more leverage to get them to modify things ( evidently a 35-page "things you should change" document was also agreed to). Google's bid is always "Here's $_______ , take it or leave it, we keep our own counsel about how the web should work"

Comment: Re:Ask the credit card for a refund (Score 1) 306

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#48419321) Attached to: UK Hotel Adds Hefty Charge For Bad Reviews Online

It might not seem fair, but the fact is that levying a fee for any claimed chargeback was the industry norm for a long time, regardless of the final outcome. Remember, the card payments industry is fundamentally and systemically screwed up, and approximately 99.9% of the time it's the merchant who is the screwee when things go wrong whether or not they have actually done anything wrong.

As far as I'm aware, it's only relatively recently that some card payments services have been more fair about this and started imposing the fee only for successful chargebacks.

Comment: Re:Meet Streisand (Score 2) 306

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#48416105) Attached to: UK Hotel Adds Hefty Charge For Bad Reviews Online

I know it's Blackpool, but still, no one should expect much for 36 pounds.

You say that, but there are plenty of local B&Bs and some of the big national chains like Premier Inn that would charge little more than that for a night off season and still offer decent accommodation and a good breakfast. Short stay accommodation is a fiercely competitive market in Blackpool, and prices really can be much lower than similar places in most of the UK.

The difficult we do today; the impossible takes a little longer.