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Comment: Re:I won't upgrade. (Score 1) 669

HP don't seem to have ditched Windows 8 in the UK, at least not for consumer machines you buy in stores. (Source: Multiple friends and family have recently been in the market for laptops and we looked at several HP models via multiple suppliers. I can't comment on what their on-line or business sales are doing right now though.)

Comment: Re:I won't upgrade. (Score 3, Interesting) 669

I do think they care about hardware OEM's shipping old versions of their OS.

That seems to be one area where Microsoft have actually been successful so far. I know a handful of friends and family who have bought new desktop/laptop PCs since Windows 8 was released. The ones actually running Windows 8 are those who didn't have a reasonable alternative, because what they bought came with version 8 preinstalled by the manufacturer and for one reason or another upgrading to Windows 7 wasn't a practical option. Several of them have been extremely vocal about their views on Windows 8, which are typically not things you would repeat in polite company, but buying a good laptop that even has the option of Windows 7 preinstalled instead of 8 now seems very difficult, at least here in the UK.

Comment: Tired? (Score 2) 131

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#47344417) Attached to: Facial Recognition Might Be Coming To Your Car

There is already technology available in some high-end models that will monitor the driver and take steps to warn them if they appear to be losing concentration. That technology is surely going to save lives sooner or later, given the amount of road accidents caused by tiredness or falling asleep at the wheel.

I'm as concerned about creepy surveillance and illusory security as much as the next geek, but image recognition technology does have positive applications as well.

Comment: Re:It flies like a drone, it watches like a drone. (Score 2) 268

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#47340591) Attached to: That Toy Is Now a Drone

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you -- in fact, I suspect from your choice of phrase that we would very much agree on the basic principles of how laws should work -- I'm just saying the law should apply equally to everyone. If certain areas are acceptable for this kind of hobby, they should be acceptable for other similar "drone" flights. Equally, if for whatever reason certain areas are not acceptable in law for general "drone" flights or if the default in law is that these devices aren't considered acceptable but they are then allowed under specific conditions, the same rules should apply for hobby aircraft with similar characteristics.

Comment: Re:Why not? A crime is a crime (Score 1) 135

They're saying after you've been accused x times, you go to jail. I think they missed a few steps.

And for that reason alone, there is absolutely no chance this is going anywhere.

No British government is actually going to pass a law saying you can be sent to jail without having your day in court less than a year before a general election. They get enough flak for pushing in that direction with terrorism-related laws that are only used against a tiny number of people in practice, because of the principle and the risk of later abuse, and that's a subject where a significant fraction of the population will give them a free pass for one reason or another.

Even if some British governments might try anyway, the current administration is a coalition, with a junior partner desperate to prove they are still politically relevant in the face of potentially being wiped out for a generation at the next election. A juicy civil liberties debate would play right into their hands.

And even if they did somehow manage to pass such a law, the chances that it would stand up to the inevitable human rights lawsuit the first time anyone actually tried to use it are slim to none.

This is almost certainly just a relatively unknown MP trying to make a name for himself in the run up to the aforementioned general election. In this case, he's pandering to potential donors from Big Media, possibly because there are finally some changes coming into force that make copyright laws (marginally) less anachronistic in the UK and Big Media inevitably don't like them (despite having managed to water them down to being almost meaningless anyway).

Comment: Re:Well, this won't backfire! (Score 1) 268

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#47316339) Attached to: Wikipedia Editors Hit With $10 Million Defamation Suit

Wikipedia won't go anywhere just because some celebrities have opinions.

It doesn't have to, nor should it. But to create a potentially chilling effect on future contributions to Wikipedia, all you really need is for one life-destroying lawsuit against one contributor to succeed. That would remove any doubt that contributors are still responsible for what they say and can't hide behind the Internet, and in particular that Wikipedia has to cooperate in identifying contributors who break the law.

Frankly, being subject to legal action if you illegal defame someone is what should happen, because being on the Internet is not an excuse to be a dick. Still, several legal systems in the West can and sometimes do impose severe penalties for defamation, and rather like the threats of suing people for made-up copyright infringement in the US, there is unwelcome scope for abuse here even if there is also an underlying grain of truth and the intent of the law being abused is not in itself unreasonable.

Comment: Re:Paywalls (Score 1) 254

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#47304039) Attached to: The Bursting Social Media Advertising Bubble

I've long believed that the ad-supported model killed both micro-payments and distributed development.

I don't know about "killed", but I'd certainly agree with "arrived first and captured the market".

IMHO the most honest and transparent way to support worthwhile (but possibly worth-serious-money) content on-line would probably be some sort of universal micropayments system. Unfortunately, we don't have one yet, so the main commercially viable alternatives right now are free access (inevitably requiring funding some other way, such as advertising or affiliate fees) or charging significant amounts for access (paywalls).

Comment: Paywalls (Score 1) 254

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#47301601) Attached to: The Bursting Social Media Advertising Bubble

If you want to force people into it, then put your content behind a paywall. Then you will find out what it is really worth.

Be careful what you wish for. Without taking sides on the ad blocker debate, I'm just going to point out that:

1. the most valuable content that is available freely (not behind a paywall) today is exactly the content that could successfully be moved behind a paywall tomorrow, and

2. a lot of significant parts of the modern web, from discussion sites like this one to services like search engines and social networks, provide indirect benefits rather than content of their own that can be similarly monetized, and if you take away their funding model we don't yet have distributed, community driven alternatives of the same quality to fill the gaps.

Comment: Broken electoral systems (Score 1) 103

The others act outraged when foreign governments or Facebook spy on them but are a-ok with our own government doing it.

Why would you think that? Just because a majority of people voted for a certain political party, it certainly doesn't mean they necessarily support all of that party's policies. If you only get one vote every few years at a general election, then it is almost certain that you will have bigger concerns than "mere" spying activity that is potentially going to be harmful to you if abused or if someone makes a mistake. For example, you might be concerned about your child's education, or having a roof over your family's head tonight, or being able to afford to buy food without working three jobs at once.

The curse of modern party politics is that it reduces a very complicated issue (national government) to a single decision between a small number of often similar choices. Elections are dominated by a very small number of very high profile issues, even though the people elected will be responsible for a very large number of issues that can still affect many people during their term in office.

This is why I am increasingly in favour of a power of recall (where any individual elected office holder who isn't doing a satisfactory job can be kicked out by the same electorate) and of an overriding power of referendum (where a sensibly large proportion of the population can force a national vote on any single issue they want, and the result is then binding on the government).

Comment: Don't fear geeks, fear system manufacturers (Score 1) 289

I suspect most non-geeks who have SSDs get them as part of pre-built systems and have no choice about which parts to use.

Geeks tend to overestimate their influence dramatically in this sort of situation.

Now, system manufacturers, on the other hand, have their own reputations and margins to protect. If they are buying units by the thousand of a device that wasn't the one they previously evaluated, and then they start seeing a surprisingly high rate of failure, that is not good news for the device vendor at all.

If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, then a consensus forecast is a camel's behind. -- Edgar R. Fiedler