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Comment Gene Wolfe - The Fifth Head of Cerberus (Score 1) 1365

The Fifth Head of Cerberus is by far the most difficult book I have ever attempted to read, taking 3 months before I finally cracked the writing style and mood. By the end of it, I just wanted it over... I felt dirty, as though a part of me had been removed that could never be returned. My naivety died in reading that book.

Even now, just thinking about the book brings a darkness back into my spirit, which I cannot bring myself to look at. I feel hopeless and numb.

Such a profound and lasting impact I've never had from any other author. His words spoke directly into my soul, and I identified with - no, became - his characters in subtle yet powerful ways. I hope never to read his works again, but now they are a part of me.

If the book does not affect you, either you have not read the book, or your spirit is already broken.

Comment There is a "the" Internet? (Score 0) 454

About the only consensual requirement for The Internet is agreement on IP address allocation... and even that doesn't need to be globally unique - just look at all that RFC1918 overlap. It all comes down to routing.

Seriously, there's no reason why we can't have in Australia, India, China, AND the USA. Your network provider (y'know, the one that shares routes with its peers) would work out which ones matter, and route accordingly. It just becomes extra admin overhead.

So then you've got DNS issues. Since anyone can run their own DNS server (and lots of people do on a micro scale), there's nothing stopping some commercial entity known for brutal efficiency (perhaps with a share price to defend) from running up a DNS service, making money by selling domains. Bureaucracy confronts market forces...

So if the UN want to run an Internet according to their rules - that's great. I wonder how long it would take before Enlightened Persons just start routing around the inevitable problems.

And then we're back here again :)

Comment Re:Fair pricing? (Score 2) 267

Naturally the big banks win, that's the nature of underwriting a low risk, fabulously popular IPO - it's easy money. The problem is they they either get accused of failing (new) shareholders if the IPO price is too high and drops, or accused of favouring their own high-value clients if the IPO price is too low and rises. In the public's eyes, it's all the underwriters' fault.

Nobody likes the big banks and their tactics, but given the cash grab that is an IPO (and especially looking at the last-minute changes in FB's valuation), you have to remember that FB are playing their investors as much as the banks, only FB ended up with most of the cash.

Comment Fair pricing? (Score 1) 267

It's funny that when an IPO is priced too low, everyone first complains that it's the merchant banks doing favours for their already-wealthy customers (who naturally got the biggest IPO packages). Early investors (pre-IPO) may complain about the company failing to fully monetise. Then, when the founders take flight after selling their own shares at great profit, shareholders complain about deals done for management at the expense of the company's future.

Conversely, when an IPO is priced too high, everyone criticises the merchant banks, who have obviously lined their own pockets with a percentage of funds raised, although most of the money actually goes to the company that was looking for funds in the first place. This should be in the company's (and thus the shareholders') long-term interests - but who cares about that in these days of 2-4 year executive tenure with share options?!

Of course there should be accuracy in pricing an IPO, but who has ever fairly valued some of the crazy-assed business models of internet businesses over the last 20 years, and social media more recently..? For the life of the commercial Internet it's been 10% maths and 90% hype, and likely to remain so.

Comment Re:DOD considers climate change a serious threat (Score 1) 491

Coming to the table seems pointless... so our big polluters will ignore whatever's being done, and the small polluters will simply close shop and pollute even more in China...

Which is just the way we like it.

We (USA, Europe, Australia, ...) currently live in a world-wide capitalist cycle, where those owning the means for production (China holds the baton now) set the rules, and where we've had generations of training to buy newer and cheaper, and the environmental cost has never been at issue. Perhaps China knows this better than anyone else, since they've ironically destroyed the solar manufacturing industry in the USA with US government grants, and without actually improving the technology. Refer Solyndra, among others.

While price remains the issue, there's no incentive for the purchaser to be environmental - be it a person, a company, or a nation.

China is going to be a bigger polluter than the USA? If global warming is a genuine problem for you, don't buy "Made in China". Don't buy a new iPhone, or a Philips CFL, or a pair of Levis 501s, or any paperback novels. Educate yourself and others; support local industry, local employment, and keep your money out of China. Despite what Fox screams, it's both patriotic and good for the planet!

It sticks it to those undercutting, polluting capitalists in China, who don't care about global warming. It also sticks it to those flag-waving patriots who outsource all responsibility (industry, jobs, knowledge, pollution, etc..) and keep the profits for no good cause... Yep, those evil Global Corporations.

But no, we keep buying room fans for $10 because they're a bargain, and new iPhones because they rock.

So governments charge local industry for greenhouse emissions, and landfill tariffs, and recycling fees, without changing consumer buying habits... Then everyone shakes their heads as local industry vanishes, but everyone buys Made in China because it's cheap.

So what matters to you? Do you really know enough about global warming to act differently to nearly every one of your compatriots? Or are you a sheep, cowed (heh) by generations of subservience to price?

Even if these kids get press coverage, nothing will change until we all learn how to pass up a bargain.

Comment Unlisted option - Buy it! (Score 3, Interesting) 309

Most of my hardware is someone else's old hardware... usually corporate hand-me-downs... err, ex-lease. Auctions rock!

My employer keeps buying me the new toys, but my personal data centre is 2nd-hand everything. Thin clients are a fave - a bit of extra RAM and a USB stick becomes a firewall, VoIP PABX, or silent lounge PC. Even the rack is approaching 20 years old, from a corporate donor.

Old hard drives aren't worth keeping. Gigs-per-Watt heads North each year or so, so the oldest ones get a drill through them, then off to the recyclers.

Comment Re:Secure = Traceable (Score 2) 463

If it's secure, it's traceable, otherwise you can duplicate it.

Hard currency is secure because it's hard to duplicate, not because it's traceable. Everyone seems to ignore the fact that every cash note has a unique serial number on it, and the technology exists to scan and record each note and who it went to.

Of course, nobody goes to this effort because it's only useful if everyone's doing it, or it's centrally managed. But how do I know that the ATM is not recording each serial number against my card? And really, what's stopping any other major cash handler from simply recording cash note serial numbers against transactions - y'know, in case someone comes asking questions later...

Once you've got the tracking thing working it doesn't matter if you're using hard cash, or virtual coin. It's all traceable.

Comment Who else has been doing this? (Score 2) 197

Everyone seems to be getting all het-up about Google abusing trust, being deceptive, yada yada... But it's a fact: Google get headlines worldwide.

In a world of clouds, +1s, and Likes, people want to circumvent the 2001 P3P objectives because that's how they want the web to work in 2012. So if IE is quietly ignoring P3P for Google, what other unknown, untrusted, and non-headline-grabbing sites might have been doing the same thing for the last 10 years? It seems other browsers ignore P3P as pointless, but not IE.

It may be that by Google risking a minor PR hit, they might encourage Microsoft to drop the charade of P3P protection, and just maybe get enough people interested in pursuing a real solution.

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