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Comment: Re:The frick? (Score 1) 238

by harryjohnston (#47463789) Attached to: Pseudonyms Now Allowed On Google+


I've been asked to sign up to Google+ for one reason or another a few times (and refused) and been signed up without being asked another few times. No promises, but the next time that happens I might not bother to delete the account.

As it happens I do use my real name, but I don't see why I should have to prove it to anyone. (And people, mostly Americans, do sometimes assume that I made it up; if I recall correctly, the phrase used on the most recent occasion was "sexually explicit joke username".)

Comment: American Civil War (Score 1) 371

Whenever this sort of thing comes up I always wonder ... was the Civil War unconstitutional? That also involved military action against US citizens, and presumably the Union didn't hold trials for each individual Confederate soldier before allowing anyone to shoot at them.

What are the significant differences, if any?

+ - $500k "Energy-Harvesting" Kickstarter scam unfolding right now.->

Submitted by FryingLizard
FryingLizard (512858) writes "For a while I've been following the saga of the Kickstarter "iFind" Bluetooth 4.0 tracking tag. Nothing new about such tags (there are many crowdfunded examples; some have delivered, some have disappointed), but this one claims it doesn't require any batteries — it harvests its energy from electromagnetic emissions (wifi, cell towers, TV signals, etc). The creators have posted no evidence other than some slick photoshop work, an obviously faked video, and some easily disproven data and classic bad science.
So far they've picked up half a million in pledges. With six days to go until they walk off with the money, skeptics abound (10min in) including some excellent dissections of their claims. The creators have yet to post even a single photo of the magical device, instead posting empty platitudes and claims that such secrecy is necessary to protect their IP.

Using just their published figures, their claims are readily refuted, yet still backers flock in. Kickstarter appear uninterested in what can only be described as a slow-motion bank robbery, despite their basic requirement to demonstrate a prototype.
It seems self-evident that such scams should not be allowed to propagate on Kickstarter, for the good of other genuine projects and the community at large.
Skeptics are maintaining a google doc with many of the highlights of the action.

Bring your own popcorn and enjoy the show."

Link to Original Source

+ - Windows 8.1 security enhancements backported to Windows 7->

Submitted by harryjohnston
harryjohnston (1118069) writes "If you read this story a few days back you might be excused for thinking Microsoft have abandoned Windows 7 to the dusty shelves of history. Only a few weeks earlier, however, update KB2871997 was released, backporting a number of enterprise-level security enhancements that first appeared in Windows 8.1.

This blog post from last week goes into more detail. It should perhaps be mentioned that many, though not all, of the new features are only useful if you have upgraded your domain controllers to Windows 2012 R2, so this is not an entirely altruistic move on Microsoft's part. (Many enterprises do not have to pay any extra fees to upgrade Windows on the desktop, but do have to buy new licenses to upgrade servers.)"

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Utter nonsense (Score 1) 278

by harryjohnston (#47069947) Attached to: The US Vs. Europe: Freedom of Expression Vs. Privacy

So, someone who smoked a little pot. Or jaywalked when John Q Law was having a bad morning. Or was guilty of the horrible crime of getting too hot and heavy with his two weeks underaged girlfriend.

OK ... and if any of this shows up in a Google search, who's going to care?

The law is an ass [...]

Certainly the "right to be forgotten" is.

The sooner you and the rest of the Americans get that the better off the universe will be.

I don't think you're paying attention. I've already pointed out that I'm not American.

Comment: Re:Utter nonsense (Score 1) 278

by harryjohnston (#47059851) Attached to: The US Vs. Europe: Freedom of Expression Vs. Privacy

Personally, I'm far more critical of their habit of incarcerating people for trivial reasons and their inhumane prison conditions. But I don't see that it's relevant to my question.

Do Europeans really say things like, "I lost my life savings by investing with someone who turned out to be a criminal, but never mind. Yeah, it would have been nice to know about his past convictions before I invested my money, but hey, privacy!"

IMO, if the state *is* going to forbid me from researching someone's past before making decisions about them, the state should also compensate me for any resulting losses, whether monetary or otherwise. Somehow I'm doubtful that the EU is planning to do that.

Comment: Re: The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (Score 1) 278

by harryjohnston (#47059699) Attached to: The US Vs. Europe: Freedom of Expression Vs. Privacy

I'm puzzled. On the one hand, we have someone making a donation to an organized group so they can pay professionals to manipulate public opinion regarding a referendum. This you say is free speech.

On the other hand we have someone joining a campaign to complain to an organization about their choice of CEO. This isn't?

What's the difference?

Comment: Re:Europe is shortsighted; the USA oblivious (Score 1) 278

by harryjohnston (#47053443) Attached to: The US Vs. Europe: Freedom of Expression Vs. Privacy

In this case, it's being used in a targeted way for what *should* be a good reason. For example, a 21 year old is in a bad patch of his life, ends up scoring a conviction for theft and rugs offences. When he gets out of prison, that conviction will haunt him for a while, restricting the fields he can find work in - this happens in the US as well. But, when that same man is 40 years old and has managed to clean his life up, should he still be punished for the mistakes he made half a lifetime ago?

Punished? Maybe not. But treated with caution? Absolutely.

Comment: Doubtful (Score 1) 217

by harryjohnston (#46865221) Attached to: How the FCC Plans To Save the Internet By Destroying It

The critical assumption behind this article is that the ISPs "slow lane" - i.e., the general internet - will degrade to the point where it isn't usable.

Now, the FCC claims to be planning regulation to prevent this, but it's unsurprising that people don't trust them.

However: the "slow lane" is still going to be most of the internet. The question becomes, will enough of a typical ISPs customers use *only* those mainstream, big business web sites able to pay the ISP's bribes (and assuming that they are willing to do so) that it is feasible for the ISP to lose the rest?

I find it doubtful, but if anyone has statistics it would be interesting ...

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