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Comment Re:Lol, oh sure (Score 2) 195

I can't find the reference but I do recall the earlier story. I also recall someone trying to get the company to accept his son and his associated student loan debts [plus provide said son with food, shelter...] - the company refused and I believe he threatened to take them to court for not honouring their contractual obligations.

Not sure how it ended up - but if a few highly publicised cases showed how companies weaseled out of their side of a bargain perhaps we could end up with more equitable and sane contract terms.

Perhaps that's too much to ask - maybe just settle for clear, simple expressions

Something like:

You give us money - we graciously let you use (not own) our stuff - we don't guarantee that it will work or that we'll support it - you can't bank on it working in the future (esp. if we decide to break it to force you to buy an upgrade) - if you even dare to think about looking at what you've rented we will bankrupt you - and "all your data are belong to us"

Comment Call me a cynic but... (Score 2) 114

I have search history, location history.... all turned off so I get a 'nothing to see here' level of output.

Does this mean that Google is genuinely not collecting my history? or is it more likely that they are and my opting out merely sets a flag used by the presentation layer to send back an empty set?

I'd be surprised if it were not the latter.

Comment Re:Too small of a parking spot? (Score 1) 180

There are also some national and local laws which govern the size of parking bays (to prevent exploiative charging by painting impossibly small spaces). If these are not observed then there is a technical defence against some charges.

There was a spot on one of the local BBC news recently about two men who were spending their retirement measuring various car parks as some local authorities had repainted the lines to squeeze in a few more places and were then issuing fines for "not parking properly" ie within the marked bays.

Although it's good to see their spirit in challenging authority, it was hard to have too much sympathy with owners of oversized vehicles who could clearly afford to spend seriously large amounts on them (both purchase and low fuel economy) yet were moaning over loss of access to low cost parking spaces.

Comment Re:It's a race (Score 2) 209

Don't bother -

If it's at all innovative or useful it will end-of-life itself (like Buzz, iGoogle, Wave, Glasses...).

Either that or it will get into the AI equivalent of navel gazing and recursively analyse how to sell adverts to itself whilst spying on all the messages used by other instantiations.

Comment Re:Initialisms (Score 1) 637

I agree that this is a good scheme - I use a variation of it myself.

In addition, to allow different passwords for different sites, I'd suggest adding a character in the middle so in your case Swbi99iTa5o becomes Swbi99SiTa5o for Slashdot, Swbi99GiTa5o for Google.... bonus marks if you use the second or third letter rather than the initial.

Changing the odd letter for a punctuation mark also helps for those sites that demand non alphanumeric characters - eg Swbi99iTa5o becomes Swbi99iT@5o

Comment Current Opportunity (Score 4, Funny) 130

Just use the daily finance / economic forecasts and predictions of the impacts on personal budgets, jobs, immigration.... that are being spouted by both sides of the current BREXIT** debate.

This can be generalised to any politician's promises but the current round are particularly egregious.

** Referendum for UK to leave/remain in the EU

Comment Re:This will not end well (Score 1) 103

As is often the case, Terry Pratchett had some wise/comic insights which are relevant.

"How Vetinari himself ascended to the Patricianship is a story yet untold. It is known that his advice was heeded by Snapcase's administration on at least one occasion: when a 20p bounty on rat tails was introduced to combat a serious rodent infestation, but threatened to drain the treasury dry without curtailing the rats' numbers. Vetinari's suggestion to "tax the rat farms" provided an early demonstration of his shrewd political insight. "

Comment Re:waste (Score 1) 157

I also pay for multiple commercial channels that I never watch.

They do not work for nothing so they get paid for by advertisers.

Advertisers are also not benificent charities and they get paid for by their customers (eg supermarkets, car companies...)

The companies get their money from the end customer - ie individuals like me.

So ... I end up paying more in my daily purchases to fund multiple levels of payments (each of which is abstracting their own profits).

Personally I think the BBC is good value for money and the fact that it doesn't need to worry about dancing to the tune of corporate bosses is worth the licence fee alone. As it is also attacked from both sides of the political spectrum it is also doing a fair job of balance (unlike the worst of the right wing press that seeks to destroy the most competent competitor)

Comment Non issue (Score 2) 187

This is likely to flare up and disappear just as quickly

To put things in context:

1) The UK Government has a TERRIBLE track record in terms of IT projects; the chances of this initiative going beyond blowing a few million on starting up another failed project are slim

2) This is part of a manifesto promise by the Tories. They have to be seen to discuss it. They can then decide it's too difficult and blame "Johnny Foreigner" for the problems.
It's part of the "something must be done!" - we've done 'something' - job done! syndrome. Whether the 'something' done has any effect or not doesn't matter; the box has been ticked.

3) It's in reaction to certain areas of the news media [though to call the Daily Mail and Daily Express newspapers stretches way beyond credulity]. Certain parts of the UK establishment have fixed, knee jerk reactions against anything post 1950.
Before others get too smug, this is more or less the sort of behaviour that would result in other countries where their particular sensitivities were challenged (e.g. wake me up when an atheist has a serious chance of running for US president)

4) Look at it as an opportunity for certain sections of society to vent feelings and then move on. Rather like a letting a child get a tantrum out of their system and then learning that the world hasn't changed to suit them after all. Actually this is true of a lot of issues - they are very rarely as extreme as some folks on Slashdot would like to believe.

Finally, as for the comments that people should take responsibility for what they/their children view - I agree. That said, there are far worse things on line [in my world view] such as severe violence that I would consider much more deserving of concern.

Comment Re:Amazing... (Score 5, Interesting) 169

I don't know for sure but I bet this was part of a penny pinching cost analysis up front.

I recall when moving to a new site setting aside some time/budget to ensure that every cable was labelled (so, for example, we could trace ethernet from port on switch to patch panel to underfloor cable to floor jack to desk cabling to desk port) and set up a simple database to keep the details.

Work was killed off by accountants as an expensive luxury, after all cables didn't move often did they?

Fast forward to a minor flood under the false floor taking out some (but not all) systems. Fortunately some of them were in the finance and commercial group.

Suddenly it was "why can't you reconnect me NOW??". Money was paid for an 'after the event' recording of wiring by external people (which cost about 5 times the 'saving' up front).

Still at least it was better than a LONG time ago [Vax and VT220 era] when I saw one person labelling connections by yanking out an RS232 cable from a patch panel, waiting for a call "My terminal's died", asking which room they were in and making up a label and then plugging it back with "I think that may fix it" and getting pathetically grateful responses in return.

Comment Re:Oooh...a Shiny Certificate! (Score 1) 63

Slightly off-topic but...

Some years ago (when cloud was still to become a commonplace term) some of my colleagues were setting up a marketing initiative on the grounds of identifying opportunities, planning and doing initial analyses.

The internal name for this activity was Cloud Opportunity Workshop.

I was asked to create a rapid prototype** tool for tracking various actions before, during and after the go-to-market engagements. For want of a better name [OK due to my mischievous nature] I called it the Planning Analysis Tool.

It was only when the flyer returned from graphics (and before it went to print) that the marketing team realised that the acronym appeared in big letters as COWPAT -- a veritable piece of bulls__t.

The name was changed before it got to the sales team.

(In the UK at least, the dried up remains of cow faeces is known as a cowpat)

** In other words, do it yesterday for minimum cost and with no hardware/software budget

Comment Re:Mass Surveillance Illegal in EU (Score 1) 74

Absolutely agree that we have idiots in charge.

How that happens with a broken, first past the post gerrymandered constituency boundaries "democracy" is another debate entirely.

Also agree with the point about police attitudes.

Cameras are the latest in the "ooh look, new technology, that'll save some costs!" approach - not only in policing but also endemic in most organisations [public and private].

What I was trying to say was that cameras are not as prevalent - and even less useful - as some people (esp. in US) have been led to believe and (b) that it's not a black and white issue** - not all cameras are 'spying' and even fewer are used by 'the authorities' and (c) the general public here would (as a rule) prefer to have cameras in shops etc. to allow miscreants to be punished when caught than risk alternatives such as being injured/killed by an overenthusiastic armed response.

**ironic really as most CCTV cameras are black and white rather than colour for operation in low light levels.

Comment Re:Mass Surveillance Illegal in EU (Score 2) 74

When will this meme ever die?

Firstly, the vast majority of cameras are privately owned, looking at back doors, stock rooms, car parks... Police etc have to request copies of videos (with a warrant if the owner doesn't want to hand over and/or their insurance company doesn't insist as part of the settlement following an incident)
This must be good for the Slashdot crowd because private==good and government==bad and the cameras wouldn't be there if it weren't for market forces (i.e. lower insurance premiums)

Secondly, although there are large numbers, many are dummies or of such poor quality that they're less than useful (see the footage shown on Crimewatch** and other TV shows). In one previous project, I've seen the images from safety cameras looking at dangerous rail crossings and you'd be hard pushed to tell if it's a man or woman in the picture, let alone distinguish facial details [to be fair it was mainly an infra red image to allow usage at night, but as a means of detecting who was acting dangerously/stupidly it's no good].

Thirdly- the figures often quoted were from a small and not very scientific study by looking at one or two streets and extrapolating.
This has as much validity as saying the population of the US is over 6 times that of the world -- by taking the population density of New York and multiplying by the land area of the US.

There is a debate to be had on mass surveillance - but cheap shots on poor foundations do not help anyone. The world is a lot more nuanced than stereotypes and slogans.

**Monthly TV show that appeals for help / witnesses in unsolved crimes -- local equivalents exist elsewhere

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