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Comment: Re:Yes (Score 2, Insightful) 157

by markyd123 (#41828247) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is TSA's PreCheck System Easy To Game?

[...] conditioning people to be more complacent about government intrusion and restriction on their daily lives.

Is that *really* what you think is happening? I'm a Brit and haven't been to the US for a while now so may well be talking out of my 'bum' ... but for that to be the case it suggests that someone, somewhere in the upper echelons of your government has taken an explicit decision that that is what they are trying to do.

I accept that the results make it feel more and more like a police state when you fly, but don't think the cause can be attributed to anything more than incompetence and laziness. As in: 'Hey, we need to make people feel more secure after a few hijackings. Screw it, we'll just hire a bunch of drop-outs in uniform to grope them every time they fly.'

The difference is important, because the way that you deal with an incompetent politician will probably be very different to the way that you deal with an 'evil' one, the latter being what I suspect you are alluding to. We may well be sleepwalking into a police state (the UK certainly has been over the past two decades) but my argument would be that the problem is the political apathy that allows it.

TL;DR: don't portray government as an evil genius when what's much more likely is a lazy idiot.

Comment: Off-contract cost... (Score 0) 401

by markyd123 (#34834930) Attached to: Microsoft Looking Into Windows Phone 7's 'Excessive' Data Use
These types of device admittedly aren't designed for lower spenders, but in the UK it's fairly common to have short or nonexistent contract periods, where data usage can incur quite hefty fees. On my 'pay-as-you-go' tariff the notional cost of data is £4/MB*, which would put something like this at £20 ($30) an HOUR... By comparison I could get a contract for a new HTC Wildfire for £15/mo. Surely half the idea (of lower-end smartphones at least) is function creep: to try and get more limited users gradually using more and more data so both manufacturers and carriers win. Maybe this is a case of too much, too soon? - * Of course, I would never use this for anything except -very- occasionally checking emails.

Comment: Re:Options (Score -1, Redundant) 789

by markyd123 (#33213884) Attached to: I Wish My Car Had A...
I wish *your* car had 3-5x stricter licensing requirements.

Seriously, as a cyclist and a moderate environmentalist, it seems that there are far too many people on the roads, making travelling more dangerous and time consuming for everyone, whose justification for driving a private car is rougly 'I can't take the bus, that's for poor people'. The right to drive needs to be balanced with the rights of local populations to safe and efficient roads and the rights of the global population to a clean planet.

By imposing far stricter driving tests and regular re-tests, it would still allow those with a legitimate business need (on-call nurses, tradespeople, etc.) access to a vehicle without prohibitive extra cost. Public transport, walking and cycling can easily fill the gap for the rest of us - in some places it already does.

Comment: Re:Options (Score 1) 789

by markyd123 (#33213684) Attached to: I Wish My Car Had A...
I wish *your* car, and indeed most cars, had 3-5x stricter licensing requirements.

Seriously, as a cyclist and moderate environmentalist it seems obvious to me that in many regions there are just too many cars on the roads, causing huge tailbacks and dangerous road conditions for those who actually have a reason to be using the road other than 'I can't use the bus, that's for poor people'. The right to drive a vehicle needs to be balanced against the rights of the local population to safe roads and the global population to a clean planet.

Tougher driving tests and regular re-tests would mean that people would actually consider other options and would not prohibit those that have a legitimate business need (on-call nurses, tradespeople, etc.) on cost grounds. Not everyone needs a car.

+ - Poll: Home Door Access

Submitted by markyd123
markyd123 (1070260) writes "Poll: Access to my primary dwelling is controlled by:

> spindles, levers and mechanical bolt
> radio bits and electronic bolt or mag-lock
> magnetic bits and electronic bolt or mag-lock
> number keypad and electronic bolt or mag-lock
> hiding from others at the bus station"

Comment: Re:The Register (Score 1) 188

by markyd123 (#28388403) Attached to: Newspaper Crowdsources 700,000-Page Investigation of MP Expenses
They have put out some quite revealing articles on tech issues in the public sector and with the current government in particular, for example ID cards, net neutrality and censorship, and the fate of Gary McKinnon, which have really been fascinating.

However, 'slightly dodgy' doesn't begin to describe some of their opinion pieces - the quality of some of them, particularly on environmental issues, is pure, fact-free nonsense. One recently attacked the industrial carbon-credits system citing its (admittedly major) limitations as reasons to abandon energy saving initiatives altogether. Would post link but it was a month or so ago.

(Disclaimer: I am a Green Party voter)

For every bloke who makes his mark, there's half a dozen waiting to rub it out. -- Andy Capp

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