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The Courts

Xbox Modding Trial Dismissed 179

It seems the harsh words from District Court Judge Philip Gutierrez on Wednesday had their intended effect; prosecutors in Matthew Crippen's Xbox modding case have now dismissed the indictment. Quoting Wired: "Witness No. 1, Tony Rosario, was an undercover agent with the Entertainment Software Association. He told jurors Wednesday that he paid Crippen $60 in 2008 to modify an Xbox, and secretly videotaped the operation. Rosario had responded to Crippen’s advertisement on the internet and met Crippen at his Anaheim house. All of that had been laid out in pretrial motions. But during his testimony, Rosario also said Crippen inserted a pirated video game into the console to verify that the hack worked. That was a new detail that helped the government meet an obligation imposed by the judge that very morning, when Gutierrez ruled that the government had to prove Crippen knew he was breaking the law by modding Xboxes. But nowhere in Rosario’s reports or sworn declarations was it mentioned that Crippen put a pirated game into the console. ... [Prosecutor Allen Chiu] conceded he never forwarded that information to the defense."

Comment Re:Inverse-square law of radiation says no (Score 1) 542

It's only the drones (male bees) that do the nasty with the queen, and they only do that at the beginning of her career when she makes a small number of mating flights prior to laying eggs. After that she's kept so full of eggs and food that her formerly trim figure disappears and she's too fat to fly and her mating days are over.

The drones have a modified sting for a penis and when they mate with the queen several hundred feet high, it's ripped from their body along with half their guts and they fall dead to the ground. Some people report having heard an audible 'pop' as the poor/lucky devils consummate their desire.You do wonder why they bother ...

Comment Re:this is very exciting (Score 2, Informative) 135

Shome mishtake shurely?

When I was at university we used to brew nearly all our own beer (a good friend of mine was an excellent amateur brewer). For a laugh we made a batch of bitter with Guinness yeast grown from a bottle of bottle-conditioned Guinness - you could still get it back in 1973.

The bitter tasted STRONGLY like Guinness.

Though I claim no expertise in the way that yeast flavours beer, that one experiment left a memory that has lasted to this day.

Comment Re:Or in other words... (Score 1) 203

It's absolutely standard practice in the UK for clubs, associations and other similar bodies to be companies limited by guarantee. The risk would be that if they were not, the members would be seen in law as a partnership which is BAD for the members as partnerships by default have unlimited liability and each member is liable for all debts that may be incurred. You wouldn't want to join a trade body, have it sued and then find you lose your house and savings.

This is completely normal. Note that it's not a 'standard' limited company with traded shares etc.
It will typically have articles of association which prevent it from distributing profits unless it is wound up. The guarantee bit means that each member is limited in their liability (usually one pound) in the case of any debts or insolvency.

Comment Re:Police State (Score 1) 289

A pound to a penny that is not about terrorism but about taxes. Whenever you see a government doing ANYTHING these days, I strongly recommend that you think 'Hmm, is this revenue related?' before considering anything else.

The UK apparently believes that it's losing around GBP 15 billion per annum in tax to various offshore and other borderline legal tax avoidance schemes.

One such scheme is to claim that you are non-resident for tax purposes. It used to be the case that you could be non-resident and visit for up to 183 days (actually nights, so you could land at 6am one day, depart at 6pm a day later and call it one day) whilst potentially remaining non-resident for taxation. That has recently been tightened so that even one second before midnight now counts as a day for residence purposes. It is highly likely that a substantial number of people claimed non-residence but in fact forgot to count the number of days. Some of those people might well be those Russian squillionaires who own Premiership soccer clubs etc. I've gone non-resident myself once and there are no obvious checks - I reckon I could sit here for a whole year, tell the authorities I'm actually non-resident and have a fighting chance of them simply not noticing.

A database which is easily searchable to find when you left and re-entered the country puts a pretty firm stop to abuses of that.

You betcha they pretend it's about security but I betcha it's at least as much about tax.

Comment Re:Well-paid investigators (Score 3, Informative) 241

As a rule-of-thumb when hiring staff you use a 'fully costed' approach which takes employment taxes, telephone, expenses, office space, heating etc. etc. etc. into account - so employers will take the base salary of the person and then double it to get the fully-costed figure. 50,000 headline figure probably translates into a salary of 25,000 to 35,000 whi

Comment Re:Jobs Aren't About Education, Skill, or Experien (Score 1) 613

One way of looking at networking (since I'm replying to a post on Slashdot, not writing a f*cking book) is that it lowers social and financial transaction costs.

A key part of networking is doing favours to people. You give away 'stuff' in the natural course of things that cost you nothing. You recover those photos a contact lost because their PC caught a virus. You are funny and amusing company over drinks with your store of anecdotes, building social capital. As your network grows you put A in touch with B when they can solve each other's problems without asking a finder's fee (though you might joke about 'owing you one').

And then when stuff comes up you know nothing about, you have the favours in the bank to call Joe, or Mary or whoever, and have the advice and contacts to call on to fix whatever it is in seconds, not months, and often free or at worst at non-ripoff commercial rates.

Be nice, give away what costs you nothing but don't be the doormat pushover either. People will leech off you - watch for it and find other people. Learn some basic social skills and put in the time. If you are desperately shy and uncomfortable around others, try acting or learning an instrument: it did Tom Lehrer no harm way back!

There's a whole theory of business you can look up about 'internal transaction costs', why big companies exist; because it's just more efficient that way.

Your network, apart from giving you a life in the 'get a life' sense, also gives you dramatically reduced EXTERNAL transaction costs and hugely improves your life efficiency.

If the day comes when you start out in business yourself, then you bless your network. Over, and over, and over again. And when looking for a life partner, a recommendation from a friend who knows you well beats years of hanging around in bars.

In your teens you build technical skills. In your twenties you hone them and start building social skills (if not before). In later life you focus on life skills and social abilities more and more as your undoubted technical ability becomes less important than your ability to just make stuff happen quickly. And that's why you need a network.


Comment Re:The real question (Score 1) 595

It's worth being prepared. Repeat after me "I could never remember the key, that's why I wrote it on the blue post-it note I leave next to my laptop on my desk. What, you mean you don't have it? You mean you lost it when you raided my place? How the hell I am supposed to get my data back you bastards, I'll sue you blah blah blah".

There is, of course, and never was, any post-it note.

But you now have plausible deniability that you possess the key.


Submission + - British Standards Institute votes NO to OOXML (

mikeb writes: Although it's not as plain as a pikestaff from the wording of the press release at SI-News-Content/Disciplines/Information-Management /ISOIEC-DIS-29500/ , the key bit is "a number of technical issues in the document which need to be addressed before the UK can approve ISO/IEC DIS 29500 OOXML as an International Standard" — in other words, NO with comments (the alternative would be yes with comments but that cannot force a ballot resolution meeting). I wish anyone well who tries to resolve some of the comments!

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