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Comment Your ISPs 'smart host' (Score 1) 459

Usually when ISPs block port 25 (ostensibly because of all the botnets sending spam, a wise precaution that I advocate) they will provide a mail relay for their customers to connect to. They might not advertise it as that, but if your ISP (still?) provides a POP3 mail service, then they're going to give you an SMTP one too. Failing that, why not put a relay on any server you have in a datacenter or colocated? Configure it so only your computers can relay though it and it'll be fine.

Comment Deplyoment? (Score 1) 212

Forgive my ignorance (hey, I'm not French), but can someone explain how this works? If it's client-side monitoring software then it means users have to install it themselves, the government cannot force people to use this. Is it just a utility program that companies can deploy on to their own computers as a means of auditing their own computers? If so, that's perfectly fine and no different to software from the BSA and others that audits product keys. We need more information.

Comment Re:Free economy, regulate fraud (Score 1) 256

It's erroneous to believe that regulated business directly leads to stagnation. I give you a counter-example: health and safety regulations and regulations that established minimum salaries lead to the removal of manual workers from production lines to be replaced with by robots. That's an innovation caused by regulation.

Also, "freedoms" that can easily be taken advantage of by corporate entities rarely works out in your personal interests. What the Senators are discussing limits Facebook's "freedom" to abuse your information. I feel you're only opposed to this in order to be consistently libertarian. You need a new philosophy.

Comment Re:Random Levels (Score 1) 114

A few games from the mid to late 1990s had various "Instant Action" modes that created simple levels to play on, MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries had one, for example, that took a selected environment and dumped some structures and nav-points on it according to the mission parameters. It was crude, but provided for hours of amusement for pre-teens such as myself.

Comment Re:Shame on me, RTFA. (Score 1) 226

XNA is sandboxed on the Xbox 360 (in fact, XNA on the Xbox 360 runs on top of a variant of the Compact Framework and not the full desktop/server Framework distribution).

C-to-CIL compilers already exist, Microsoft includes one as part of VC.

Anyway, Silverlight actually disables unsafe code, so C# is gimped in this regard on Windows Phone 7 ( ).

Comment Re:More like a flaw in statistics (Score 1) 437

You may remember the case of Craig Philips from the first run of Big Brother, he donated his £70,000 prize money to go towards getting a Downs Syndrome-suffering friend of his a heart+lung transplant performed in the USA, total cost: £250,000 (then tack on the trouble of finding a good heart+lung match).

I remember him giving an interview on TV where he described how the NHS didn't consider her case a priority because she had a bad prognosis (indeed, she died in April 2008, meaning she got about 7 years). By a strict definition this is "rationing" (but please don't throw around the word "socialist" as though it's some derogative, you should know better than name-calling) but I ask how any (seemingly) amoral US-based health insurance company would possibly fund the same operation: fact it they probably wouldn't on account of the "pre-existing" Downs Syndrome so he would have had to shell out at least £250,000 (at least $450,000 in today's money) for the operation.

But in any event: isolated incidents like these do not provide an accurate representation of the system. The NHS saved my life, and countless others, and I'm not bankrupt because of it.

Comment Re:No .. (Score 2, Interesting) 104

Not quite so true, I'm afraid.

Whilst Microsoft was late to the party (we're talking early-1990s) they never had the impression they could supplant the Internet with something proprietary.

The "Walled Gardens" of the 1990s (AOL, CompuServe, The Microsoft Network, etc) were just value-added content layers on top of services provided by the Internet and all included access to the World Wide Web.

So basically MSN (the original one) was Microsoft's competitor to AOL and not "The Internet".

Microsoft didn't include TCP/IP in early versions of Windows because there just wasn't any demand, and third-parties were already making their own add-ons that provided this. Much the same reason IPv6 wasn't added to Windows until Vista even though IPv6's specifications were stable enough by the release of XP SP2 in 2005. I'm sure they had better things at the time for their developers to work on.

Comment Re:Keep up the pressure (Score 5, Insightful) 143

The problem with blocking "illegal material" is the definition of "illegal material". For example, at what point is a medical textbook photo of a paediatric condition considered "indecent"? From this you can get into debates about intent, and if there's titillating intent is that a "thought crime"?

Another example is text relating to the formulation of explosive materials: should that be considered "illegal information" too? From this we return to the concept of illegal numbers, then it all starts getting ridiculous.

I believe it's easier to hold the position that no information or data is inherently illegal, neither should possession (which becomes a strict-liability offence, a can of worms) than to get stuck in the debate of what is and isn't illegal. Besides, if you're really after a piece of information or data then you're eventually going to be able get it.

Comment Re:W3C dead already, WHATWG is the way to go (Score 4, Informative) 145

You've been asleep for the past couple of years: The WHATWG was formed in response to the W3C's slow pace on HTML standards development. After a few months of prodding the W3C took the point and subsumed the WHATWG's work on HTML5 (formerly Web Applications 1.0). The W3C has been making fine progress on HTML5 and CSS3 of late; whilst the WHATWG does still exist, it's only working on a handful of less-important specifications that won't impact the majority of web designers and developers.

As for the W3C, it's far from dead. If anything it's the WHATWG that's dying: none of their other projects have anywhere near the same community following HTML5 did.

Comment Re:Google Scholar (Score 4, Informative) 161

Microsoft Research has their own Academic Search site, which is pretty useful to me (I hardly ever use Google Scholar). It's more focused on academic research papers and the links between authors than the broader net GScholar casts (there's no Patent search, for example) but it is a free alternative.

Comment Re:Ads (Score 2, Insightful) 90

Some 'adblocker detection' services may flag your client if they see you've downloaded the page, but not the associated ad content, so they know your browser isn't displaying the ad, but if the client does download it they have no way of knowing if it's being rendered or not, short of using a DOM-inspection script. With the exception of Flash video adverts, I've never had any bandwidth problems with banners, except for those off-site advert scripts that delay the page loading.

Comment Re:Anyone else with horror stories with Demon? (Score 1) 259

I quite them over the 'Virgin Killers' debacle of 2008 (this wasn't the first time I had issues with their IWF implementation either), and like so many other customers I have issues with their customer support department. I wrote it up here:

It's a shame, because their network is actually alright, I didn't get that much downtime and had no limits or caps for what I felt was a reasonable monthly fee (I was on their HomeOffice 8000 plan, the one with the static IP address).

Comment Re:Make A Great Xmas Gift (Score 2, Informative) 42

Their full name is "Powerbocking Stilts" actually, and they use a bow-spring as well, they've been around since 2004. I think CMU needs to move with the times. The claims about 9-foot jumps seems about right, the world record for a bock-assisted jump is just over 7 feet. I was at a bocking event in London last weekend, actually. (Photos: )

Comment Re:library of congress (Score 3, Interesting) 495

In my head I equated orbit length to "width of the year" since I was thinking of a timeline, and a timeline has width (from 1st Jan to Dec 31st) and at each point on the timeline the earth is at a certain point on its orbit which corresponds to a distance from its initial position.

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