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Comment: Re:You can still buy Windows 7? (Score 1) 118 118

That is exactly why the stickers are gone, IMHO too. It is rather easy to find XP Pro/Home stickers. Vista stickers happen occasionally. 7 stickers are rare though in residentials dumpsters.

I don't dumpster dive much more these days, it's not worth the effort.

Comment: Re:Trial and error (Score 1) 4 4

Mark Russinovich experimented a fair bit with this under Windows XP - there at least, you could actually kill off smss.exe and still have a working system; really, the only one you need to leave in place is csrss.exe, since that provides the userspace parts of the Win32 API, and without Win32 you can't run any "normal" Windows programs at all. Of course, you also lack important things like networking, making this rather academic - and you can't reboot any more either, since you've now killed off the process which handles that!

Comment: Re:Free Speech (Score 2) 180 180

If you run a messenger service, you aren't entitled to decide that select groups can't use your service. You can't decide that you will monitor the messages, and only deliver those messages that you approve of. You don't get to decide that you will deliver partisan messages that favor your position, and just lose messages that support the other side.

As an email provider/carrier/whatever, Google has a responsibility to pass the messages on, unless and until they actually violate some law.

How about if your phone company listens in to your conversations, and cuts you off when they disapprove of your conversation?

Now - you can twist a pair of panties into any kind of a wad you like, but you cannot twist morality and ethics enough to justify censorship of private communications. Nor can you justify political communications. Can't even justify censorship of business communications, until those communications violate a valid law.

Morally and ethically, you have a point - but legally, no. Telephone companies in the US have specific laws regulating what they can and can't do - but if Google decided that from now on, any email containing the word "viagra" would get blocked from Gmail, that's up to them. Probably not a useful choice (spammers already use workarounds like "\/iagra" anyway, and the occasional legitimate email would get caught) but it is theirs to make. Indeed, this very site has a few rules to reduce spam and misuse - so you can't post very long words without getting random whitespace added (to combat the old "page widening troll"), you can't post more than a certain number of messages in one period of time - all rules they are perfectly entitled to adopt and enforce, since it's their own site/service.

Someone posted here earlier that the domain looks quite "spammy" on some of the heuristics Facebook and co probably use internally: it wouldn't exactly be the first time legitimate content got caught by a spam filter. More likely than a conspiracy theory about Twitter and Facebook being so determined to stifle criticism of TPP. As of right now, stopfasttrack.com is not listed in Spamhaus's database; probably someone got over-enthusiastic promoting it, and some of those messages got reported as spam. Nothing new there, either.

Comment: Re:More importantly (Score 1) 8 8

My office is similar in this respect - the occupant of the next desk seems to think of heatstroke as a good thing. Fortunately, I work from home most of the time so don't need to sweat it out, but it can be pretty uncomfortable at times. No air-conditioning, this being the UK, but I do tend to open the office windows whenever she's out of the room...

Comment: Re:Soon (Score 1) 138 138

How would an ISP block them, however? The only mechanism I know about would be DNS blocking, whenthe DNS server is supplied by the ISP.. Is there some new British trick where pages of certain sites could be selectively blocked? If so, how long before "politically sensitive" human rights pages would be blocked, or whistle blower pages?

CleanFeed, built by British Telecom to block access to child abuse imagery, sold to other ISPs, then inevitably abused as a blunt instrument to enforce copyrights. It's a two-stage filtering system: a list of IP addresses gets loaded into the ISP core routers, which diverts all access to those addresses through a proxy server; that server checks against a (secret!) list of prohibited URLs and lets the rest through. It has already blocked part of Wikipedia by mistake or misjudgement, and the government has already announced plans to filter "extremist" websites too.

TalkTalk, another of the named ISPs, bought a more elaborate setup from the People's Republic of China for millions of pounds, and push their "adult" content censorship system on all customers who don't specifically opt out. It's been a big political issue lately, with the current government wanting to force all ISPs down that route so you'd have to ask your ISP specifically to stop filtering your connection.

Comment: Re:Blocking access (Score 1) 253 253

Easy. You call up the US vendor that sold China their Great Firewall and order another one. This one will be cheap, considering the UK's population is a fraction that of China.

Already done: TalkTalk (arguably the UK's worst ISP in general, as well as being the first to jump on the government's bandwagon) spent many millions of pounds (described in a related court case as "an eight figure sum") importing a horribly flawed censorship system from Huawei, which is one of the Chinese manufacturers of part of the Great Firewall.

A few principled UK ISPs are standing up to censorship, and still offering unfiltered services - though I do fear Cameron will attack them for it now: like most bullies, he can't handle criticism or opposition.

Comment: Re:"Surge Pricing" (Score 1) 96 96

Sometimes it's needed to help prevent a service being overwhelmed: our phone calls used to cost 4x more 9am to 1pm than 6pm to 8am because our phone service (government run) had limited available bandwidth. Now that is no longer an issue (largely c/o fibre optics) there is no pricing surcharge for the daytime peak.

In fact on a wholesale level from BT there still are three different time bands for pricing (daytime, off-peak, weekend) and different charges based on whether the call just goes through the local exchange, one regional ('single-tandem') exchange, or two ('double-tandem', which in turn is broken down into short, medium and long distances). Retail phone companies tend to lump them all together into a single rate, though - either an unlimited use bundle, or a simple flat-rate per minute.

For that matter, many of the better ISPs still have some time-based variation in charging: my previous one only charged for usage during the working day, my current one has three tariffs, one of which is much much cheaper outside working hours. (The worse ISPs tend to offer "unlimited" service, and accept that their network is congested and slow at busy times.)

Comment: Re:Why it is hard to recruit... (Score 1) 67 67

They don't need script kiddies, they need social engineers. Question number one in the job interview should be "Is your native language Russian, Chinese, Farsi, Korean or Arabic?"

No, that's the beauty of global outsourcing: all they need's a Hindu accent. "Hello, I am being Sanj - I mean, Bob, from IT. I am needing you to be visiting TeamViewer to be fixing the Windows errors on your terrorist cell's PC..."

More seriously, I thought the offensive hacking was more an NSA/CIA operation: Army cybersecurity would be all about keeping the Windows systems patched and stopping generals replying to hot students who want naked sexy time over Skype in exchange for their passwords. (OK, it turned out that one should have been a CIA job too lately...) There's only a passing reference in TFA to the US having offensive capabilities, everything else is about securing DoD and contractor networks from attack, as I'd expect.

A fail-safe circuit will destroy others. -- Klipstein

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