Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/05/10/comments/
Extreme porn, hard drives and election strain
Phwoar, pass us some lethal skunk
Comments Windows XP Service Pack 3 dropped  this week, later than expected but finally here. This triggered an unending litany of cynicism and doubt from you. Keep up the good work.
Very well tested by those redmond jerks then. I just downloaded the iso and the faq.htm linked in by the installer says:
More information about installing Service Pack 2
How long will it take to install Service Pack 2?
How will the security of my computer be enhanced?
Where can I get more information about Service Pack 2?
How long will it take to install Service Pack 2?
Up to 2 hours, but it can be less, depending on your computer's configuration. When you see the progress indicator, no more input is required and you can leave the computer while installation is completed.
^ Back to Top
How will the security of my computer be enhanced?
Service Pack 2 includes the following new security enhancements for your computer:
Cannot understand why anyone with any experience of microshaft is installing this. The rule is always wait at least 9 months.
If you didn't realise this, you do now. Remember.
I installed SP3 on my laptop.
Windows starts as normal, and allows me to open various programs.
In fact my computer works just as it did before I installed SP3.
Obviously this Service Pack is bugged.
Well, I installed the beta SP3 on several machines, and they're all doing fine. I'm not convinced about this 'release' version though, I think I'll wait for more public feedback. If it ain't broke, it ain't Microsoft. Er, I mean, don't fix it.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith says cannabis is definitely to be un-downgraded to class B, and we ran a piece puzzling over why, exactly, such a move will be made. It doesn't really add up . But there may be something to it anyway, given how dope makes its users engage in bouts of destruction of innocent Jesus phones .
The govt is only concerned with making itself look good. Moving drugs in and out of various slightly arbitrary categories does absolutely nothing to solve any of the problems alleged to stem from Cannabis use. More to the point, most, if not all of the problems arise because Cannabis is illegal but these politicians don't get it. i.e. kids getting hold of the stuff and the lack of QA on the 'product'.
You know, there is some research that concludes that the mental health problems are not caused by the plant itself but the heavy metals contained in the fast-grow hydroponic kits used by most domestic 'cannabis farms'. Has Smith and rest of these moralising idiots ever looked into that? No way. This whole process is about getting The Facts to fit the conclusion. Screw data that might upset the apple cart.
Did I hear Smith say that Cannabis is bad cos nasty people are involved in its cultivation and distribution. D'uh Jackie, could it possibly be because decades ago, one of your predecessors decided, without any evidence, to make a friken plant illegal and create all the necesary conditions for a vast organised crime network to take root. But thats good huh Home Sec? Don't hear you talking about them those top level mafia types? Or the massive and sanctioned network that can only exist with tacit official consent to keep the habit well fed. Don't see you hitting out at official corruption Smith. Like I said, it's all about the govt making itself look good.
If you wanted to stop kids getting it, you'd make it legal. Would anyone seriously suggest we stop kids getting hold of vodka by making it illegal?
Aron A Aardvark
GORDON: "Quick, we've lost voters. We need to pick on somebody quickly to prove we're strong!"
JACQUI: "We've already put the boot in on car drivers, drinkers, fatties and smokers"
GORDON: "Not all the smokers..."
JACQUIE: "Time for a U turn?"
GORDON: "ABOUT FACE"
JACQUI: "I don't know who we're going to pick on next time"
GORDON: "There's always someone...
Stronger, better weed means it costs more to buy. You pay for the quality.
When you're buying 1/8 at £30 of the green herb, you tend to calm down on the amount you put in. Kind of like buying a bottle of Glenfidich or Lagavulin; you wouldn't shovel it down your neck like a bottle of Tesco Paint Thinner.
Having said that, though, the people who say that "skunk" is more potent than resin are talking out of their ass; Take them over to The 'Dam and get them a portion of Moroccan Black.
That one dude who died of smoking ganj has a lot to answer for... Idiot.
I'm living in Amsterdam and let me tell you the streets are just littered, LITTERED with the bodies of people who have been smoking lethal varieties of weed...
News of a hard drive-destroying drill  got your destructive urges going, though you thought the price was a bit steep:
How about thermite? If it can burn through an engine block it would destroy a hard drive.
It's a lot cheaper, a lot more fun and I'm convinced it would be more effective too :-P
Have one of these (drilled) and then attempt to walk past a customs official. He will ask for the password. Then what?
Them: What is the password?
Me: The drive is unreadable!
Them: I need the password!
eleven and a half grand?!?!?!?!?!? When a hammerdrill + a bench vice = ~$100-150 (if that)
OK - might take slightly longer than a minute per drive, but at that price you could buy two, and hire two monkeys.... err.. I mean students to do it.
Not Paris, 'cos I wouldn't want to drill her, even for $11,500
14lb club hammer, a cold chisel and a steady-handed, fearless co-worker - everything you need to render a hard disk unreadable, and a lot less than $11.5k
How about one of those ink re-filler Syringes a bottle of your fave fizzy drink (Irn-Bru for me)
Fill the syringe and pierce the "air hole" and fill the insides with the drink. wait a few hours or so and drain. The Fizzy drink has eaten some of the surface of the platters, and the sticky gunk makes the drive motors useless.
Heck see what those drinks can do to your teeth! :-\ :-/
But Thermite or Pick-Axe are better stress busting way's to go.....
I have drilled a drive once (for destruction reasons), but those platters are fscking hard, maybe you need a masonry drill - but that doesn' cut through the case.
Harddisks are amazingly tough things to destroy. For simple end user block, all you need to do it to spin it up and then drop (i.e. its head is unparked so you create a head crash), but that is easy for a recovery company - you need real physical damage to the platters before you can be sure it'll be hard work.
As for sledgehammer use - that doesn't guarantee unreadable platters but it's quite fun in a destructive sort of way. And you sure as hell won't do 60 an hour :-).
Reg veteran Lucy Sherriff volunteered as an observer of the London mayoral elections  and wrote it up for your perusing pleasure, complete with polling station direction confusion and spoiled ballot judging kerfuffles. There were grumbles:
While observing the vote count is certainly important I would imagine most fraud has already taken place by this point.
The fact that you simply had to write down names and send them to the council to get voting cards (with very little validation) and then they don't check IDs when voting... of course you could do it all by post too just to be extra safe when committing fraud.
As Mike Taylor points out, the various interested parties have been acting as election scrutineers for as long as I've been involved (I was first elected to Rugby Council in 1987, and have been at most election counts until 2002 when I jacked it in).
Of course, for a candidate the count is the final part of a four week campaign where, in my case, I would typically have knocked on 1,000 doors. Through election day, we'd have been tallying which pledged supporters had been through the polling stations, followed by three hours of frantic door knocking to winkle out the last few through the evening. We were always over-particular in our observance of election laws, removing rosettes as we entered the polling station with elderly voters.
We counted the votes mechanically just once - I forget who the company was, but not a major IT player. They gave us a good price, as it was bleeding edge, but it went remarkable smoothly. As Lucy describes, a screenshot of disputed ballot papers would be shown - but then we'd always have a few to deal with when counting by hand too. Returning officers have a big thick book of rules, including pages and pages of examples of incorrectly filled ballor papers and how they should be interperted.
As has been rightly stated above, the potential for electoral fraud in this country is not in the count itself, it's (particularly) in the registration and postal voting systems.
It's stupidly easy to "cheat" with a system that has no externally auditable trail. If the machines were to print out a barcode with your vote encoded (and tell you to keep it for a week or so) then that would give independent observers a chance to verify that it was valid... You could also make it possible to check on the web that a specific vote had counted the correct way (do it via a random ID generated on the day, printed on the barcode, and you can't trace it back to an individual either).
All in all, yes it's quite possible... But the audit trail becomes a lot harder once you don't have paper copies. It's also likely to be a lot more expensive. :)
I was an observer a few years ago, I agree with the article that everyone should give it a go, it was very interesting to watch.
The most amusing part was how some of the ballots had been spoilt, obviously people wanted it to be known that they could and would vote, but not for anyone on that particular ballot. You had the usual pictures of smiley faces, or drawings of genitalia, however the best one was someone had put a letter in each box spelling B. O.L.L.O.X
There was great debate as to whether the X counted as the vote (It didn't and wasn't counted)
The extreme porn bill has passed  and it's really got your collective goat. And all your pictures of your collective goat, soon enough. They'll definitely be illegal. The problem still comes down to ambiguity in the definition of 'extreme porn', and you lot were not happy:
I still don't know whether that extreme lesbian site at www.theregister.co.uk is going to be legal or not.
I don't remember consenting to [Gordon's] dominance over me - does that make a picture of him obscene?
This new law is a badly thought out piece of vote-grabbing legislation hanging on the coat tails of one family's tragic loss. It's unlikely to save a single life, but has the potential to create thousands upon thousands of new criminals and cost millions in enforcement.
As the (proud?) possessor of a mint copy of Madonna's masturpiece, it gladdens my heart to read that it's both illegal and worth a bit.
So how are we the 'Public' meant to check if an image is legal?
Do we take it down the local nick and get arrested if it isn't legal.
This is a stupid law, I think we should all take piles of magazines down to the local police station and go over every image with them so we will know if the images are legal.
When I saw the headline "Extreme porn bill for Lords" I just assumed it was another huge account us poor bloody taxpayers would have to pay....
No, that already comes under the heading of "toiletries and bathroom essentials". ®