Taking A Swipe At Skype

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Skype_logo

No, it’s not me who is taking a swipe at Skype. I use Skype a lot for communicating with people. I find it particularly good for contacting friends in foreign lands, which you can do for free, but also for making paid telephone calls too.

I have been using it for over a decade, almost from it started, and long before it was bought by Microsoft. Although other flavors have arrived on the scene I stick with Skype.

It’s the comfort of familiarity, something I wish the nerds at WordPress would pay attention to instead of continually making smart-ass changes that no one has asked for or wants. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it guys!

But getting back to Skype, it has now become a victim of the snoopers – again!

This time it has been told it has to appear before a court in Belgium because it refused to hand over customer data following a request for assistance by the Federal Computer Crime Unit of the Federal Judicial Police (FCCU) in a ‘criminal investigation’.

Microsoft acquires Skype

Microsoft has been very sensitive to appearing to buckle under when requested to release information about its Skype users ever since it was alleged that it had changed the architecture of the communications software to make it more “wiretap friendly”, something which it has always denied.

Despite Microsoft releasing transparency reports stating that it had not handed over the content of any Skype conversations in response to regular law enforcement requests, privacy and security analysts remain unconvinced.

Unfortunately, as usually happens when the lawyers get to work, the fundamental importance of this case – which is government’s mania for trying to remove the right to privacy of its citizens – gets lost in spurious legal arguments.

cartoon lawyers

Now, instead of defending the right to privacy, the court’s time is being taken up with deciding whether or not a VoIP service like Skype should be treated as a telecoms operator in Belgium. If it is then it would have to comply with Belgian regulatory requirements for telecoms operators and release data to the snoopers.

I said earlier that the request by the Belgian snoopers is in regard to a ‘criminal investigation’ but the alleged crimes under investigation have not been specified, nor has the identity of the suspect or suspects.

It’s another one of those government catch-all phrases like ‘terrorist activity’ or ‘national security’ that are used as a cover for intrusions into people’s privacy whenever they feel like it.

government Snooping

The result of this Belgian case will be an interesting marker for future attacks on the privacy of Skype users. My guess is that if the snoopers win their case then Skype should brace itself for a multitude of similar requests from governments all over the world. If on the other hand the courts rules in favor of the privacy of Skype users then the government will simply put their hackers to work and try to get the information illegally as they have done and are doing.

So it’s another one of those ‘heads’ privacy loses and ‘tails’ the snoopers win.

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RIPIE, YIPEE!!!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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In my post last Friday that I called ‘Looking Through The Windows’ (click here if you want to read it)   I mentioned that the demise of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser was imminent and Windows 10 would see a whole new ‘streamlined’ internet browsing system bundled with it.

Now it’s official.

Microsoft is indeed ditching Internet Explorer. If fact it is getting rid of the entire brand.

Microsoft has confirmed that it was re-branding its new browser, currently known as ‘Project Spartan’, when it is released in summer.

Microsoft-s-Spartan-Browser

As usual, the need to kill off Internet Explorer is Microsoft’s own fault. They have released a series of bloated and buggy versions of IE over recent years, every one worse than the previous one. Now IE has attained a very negative reputation with internet users, particularly experienced ones.

But IE’s death will not be a quick and painless one. Instead a lingering demise is planned. Why I don’t know.

Some versions of Windows 10 will apparently still be shipped with IE still on board. Presumably you will have to go through the rigmarole of deleting it and replacing it when the new version is ready. Possibly a reason not to buy the new Windows 10 system until they get their act together.

internet-explorer-9

On the positive side, the new browser will be free. Not because Microsoft likes to give things away for free (that’s not what made Bill Gates the richest man in the world), but because they started that trend when they were trying to kill off Netscape, which they successfully did.

Since then no one pays for a browser. Apple, Google, Mozilla, Opera and the rest are all freebees these days. Inadvertently I suppose Microsoft did us all a big favor.

The only thing that scares me is the hype coming from Microsoft.

Statements like, “Microsoft’s change in direction is a smart, albeit bold, and a symbolic gesture.” don’t fill me with confidence. It is the same type of nonsense that preceded the release of ‘Windows Vista’ and ‘Windows 8’, and if you read last week’s post you will know what disasters I thought they were.

So will a change of name, or re-branding as Microsoft calls it, mean that their new browser will be a good one? The jury is still out on that. Like everything else we will have to wait and see. If they stick with the name ‘Spartan’ the implication would be that the new browser will be slick, fast and not memory hogging. That would indeed be good and a welcome changes from recent versions of Internet Explorer.

Having said that, I don’t think Google Chrome is in any imminent danger though.

Spartan Browser 2

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Why Is Luke Always Warm?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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I hope you are keeping warm too.

Warm enough to Luke at a few more word plays because it’s Pun Day again.

You know what’s next…

Enjoy or endure!.

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rofl

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Just been to Greenwich in London.

Had a mean time.

London-Greenwich_Mean_Time

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There’s something I don’t like

about using touch screen technology

I just can’t put my finger on it.

touch screen technology

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I’ve just been offered

a free sky diving experience.

I’m not falling for it.

sky diving

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‘It’s the quiet ones that you’ve got to watch’

Especially at mime shows.

mime shows

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My new bulimia charity campaign

has been quite successful.

I’ve received a lot of feedback.

bulimia girl

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What do you call

an Indian in a cupboard?

A hiding Sikh.

sikh park 6

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What is a cocaine addicts

favorite type of joke?

A one liner

one line of coke

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Shotgun wedding:

A case of wife or death.

Shotgun wedding

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A French man walks in to a chiropodists and says

“I’ve got problems with defeat”

feet

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I’ve started dating couches,

but I’ve had no luck sofa.

sofa

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It’s hard to say what my sister does,

working for a travel agency.

She sells Seychelles overseas tours.

working for a travel agency

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I always get back on my bike when I fall off.

I’m a firm believer in recycling.

get back on my bike

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My friend, Angus finds it funny

not to pronounce the letter ‘g’.

Bit of an asshole really.

angus

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I had a dream last night that

our local Market had shrunk.

I woke up and thought,

“That’s a little Bazaar.”

a little Bazaar

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I just came back from a Blur concert.

I didn’t see much.

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The Opportunity Of A Lifetime!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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How often have you seen “The Opportunity Of A Lifetime” pop up on the internet or in your email?

This time it’s different, though.

This time it’s true!

Well, sort of.

stupid dog cartoon

Because this is your chance to own what is possibly the stupidest dog in the world.

And it won’t cost you anything either, we’re giving him away to the first good home

FOR FREE!!!

If you are stupid, and you want a companion at least as stupid as you are, if not more so, this is the perfect dog for you.

His name is ‘Scotty’, (and, yes, I have asked to be “beamed up” several times), but don’t let the name put you off.

You can call him anything you like, ‘Rover’, ‘Patch’, ‘Lassie’, ‘Monday’, ‘Tuesday’, ‘Wednesday’, ‘November’, or whatever, because it’s all the same to him – this dog is so dumb he doesn’t even know his own name.

His lack of knowledge is on such a vast scale I’m astounded the known Universe is expanding rapidly enough to contain it.

He doesn’t know how to sit. He doesn’t know how to stay. He doesn’t know how to come, or to stop, or to heel, or anything you can teach a normal dog to do.

He just doesn’t know anything.

And you won’t have to waste your time and money training him either, because this dog just cannot learn. Believe me I have done my best!

He is painfully stupid in at least the four different languages we have tried. He doesn’t speak English, nor does he hablar español, he hasn’t a clue how to parler francais, and you might as well try to speak klingon as sprechen Deutsch to him.

A big plus is that he is small and won’t eat you out of house and home. All you have to remember to do is buy cat food and not dog food and you’ll be fine. The cat beats him up every time he eats her food, but he doesn’t learn from that either. I don’t think he even knows he’s a dog.

The only one thing he has learned, is not to shit in the house, but in truth I think this has more to do with the fact that every time he tried he discovered he couldn’t with my toe up his arse.

He barks at strangers, which is good. And if he left it at that we wouldn’t mind.

But he also barks at people he knows, or rather, people he should know if he had the brains to remember who they were, which he hasn’t.

And some of the time he barks at nothing at all. It can go on for ages because, when he does bark at nothing, he must hear his own bark, think it’s another dog, and off he goes. Sometimes you can look at his face and watch him trying to figure it out.

“Woof!”

“Who said that? Grrrrr.”

“Woof!”

“There it is again!”

“Woof! Snarl.”

“WTF?”

“Woof!  Woof! Woof!”

“There’s another dog here somewhere.”

“Woof! Woof! Woof! Woof!”

And on it goes for a while, until it stops for no reason, the same way it started.

He also doesn’t know his left back leg belongs to him. When he notices it is there, he attacks it as if it is another animal trying to insert itself into his leg socket. I’ve seen other dogs chasing their tail, but this is just ridiculous.

stupid dog zone sign

Finally, every time the front gate is opened, he has taken to running down the street after bicycles and motorbikes – that he doesn’t know how to ride – and after cars and other vehicles – that he doesn’t know how to drive. What he would do with them if he ever caught one I just don’t know! Neither does he, but he does it anyway.

Somehow, and I find this rather incredible – and disappointing – he has always managed to find his way back home. I think it’s because he tries every other house on the way back and we are the only one silly enough to let him back in. I’ve told everyone to pretend they don’t know him when he turns up and he’ll just move on to the next house and then next, but they won’t listen to me.

So come on good people of the blogsphere, which of you is going to take advantage of this incredible opportunity of a lifetime?

You know how much I love dogs, I’ve said so before on this blog, but please get in touch as soon as you can and take this stupid dog off our hands before I crack up completely!

My father gave me a lot of good advice, and one of the things he told me many years ago was never to get a dog whose arsehole was bigger than its brain.

I should have listened! 

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It Never Rains But It Pours – Chicken Maryland Anyone?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”
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I did a short series a few months back about some of the stupid laws stupid politicians had made. They were quite funny and most of them dated back many years, they just hadn’t been taken off the statute books.

That excused the old laws, maybe.

But they are still at it even today!

I know that you shouldn’t expect too much when a group of uninformed and irresponsible people go out and vote to elect a smaller group of uninformed and irresponsible politicians, while most people stay at home. But we call that democracy these days. And in what passes for normal times you can get away with it.

economic-crisis

But these are not normal times we are living in. America, and most of the western world, is in desperate trouble economically. We need help from our politicians.

Help to stimulate economic growth; help to make it easier to do business in and from the US; help to protect us from cheap inferior crap being imported that has destroyed local jobs and industries; help for entrepreneurs to establish new wealth generating businesses; and help from the socialist bureaucratic nightmare that is completely out of hand.

As regard the stupid laws, these days most of them center around ways that bankrupt governments, whether national or local, can think up to extract more and more from the people who elected them.

internet-tax-increase

Currently US bureaucrats are frantically trying to think up another way to tax the internet. Previous attempts failed because of public outcry, but sooner or later they will do it and who will it help? Everybody who isn’t in business in America and the EU probably, because it won’t apply anywhere else!

The mantra of these idiot bureaucrats is to make America more productive and prosperous by making America less competitive and poorer. It sits nicely with their other mantra of solving economic woes by extracting more and more tax from less and less income. Neither works and never will.

Maryland Welcome

What prompted this rant? 

Well only the unbelievable fact that the idiot politicians in Maryland have decided to tax rain.

What????

Tax what????

Yes, you read it right, the idiot politicians in Maryland have decided to tax rain.

They call it by a fancy name, of course, the “Impervious Surfaces tax”, or ”storm water management fee”, but what it in effect does is to charge Maryland residents for rainwater that falls on their property.

rain tax

Naturally, the bureaucrats are dressing up this latest money grab with the lie that it is for the benefit of the people. It’s bit like a pick pocket excusing his theft by saying he was relieving you of the burden of carrying your wallet around in your coat pocket. And it makes just as much sense!

Thankfully, however, there seems to be a few with a working brain left in local government. Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman, for example, vetoed the tax proposal which unfortunately won’t kill it, but will give a little bit of breathing space.

But if the residents of Maryland are “chicken” enough to fall in line with this new tax – and so far it seems most of them have been dumb enough not to even notice it at all – then it won’t be the end of it.

martin-omalley

Democratic Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who guided the passage of the storm water tax earlier this month, despite efforts from Republicans to dismantle the bill, has already been responsible for implementing 37 other taxes and fees since taking office — at a cost to residents estimated at somewhere in the region of $3.1 billion annually.

Does anyone really think an idiot like this is going to let the people have air and sunshine for free???

 tax tax and more tax

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Now They Are Groping For Your Goodies Down Under

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The fallout from the attempt by the EU bureaucrats to steal money out of Cypriot bank accounts continues.

Many people have missed the significance of what has happened and the fact that sooner or later it will also affect them.

But it will, simply because the whole attempted theft in Cyprus has set down dangerous markers for the future.

First, anyone with savings of $100,000 or more is categorized as ‘rich’ and will be targeted by their bankrupt governments as fair game for confiscation of some of their savings.

Second, what happens in one part of the world will eventually happen in another. You can count on that.

Already there are signs of this in the most unlikely of places, Australia.

australia_kangaroo

Compared to most European countries and to the United States, Australia is in a relatively strong financial position. Although, like a lot of countries, it has been running at a net deficit for years, it was largely unaffected by the real estate bubbles and bankster debacles that has caused so many financial problems elsewhere.

Yet even in Australia the government is enacting new legislation that will penalize ordinary law abiding citizens who have responsibly set aside savings for their own retirement.

The Australian government now wants to tax income over A$100,000 withdrawn from what is known there as superannuation funds – US citizens know these better as  IRAs – elsewhere as pensions funds.

Previously one of the incentives to saving money for retirement in a pension fund was that when the time came for you to withdraw the money, you could do it free of any government taxes. In fact in most countries that was THE big selling point to entice people to open and save regularly into pensions funds.

But the Australian government has now decided to change the rules. When withdrawals are made from these accounts over the magic $100,000 mark, they will be taxed at a rate of 15%. (That’s 15% at the moment, once established these rates could increase depending on how desperate the government becomes.) 

What this means is that the Australian government now wants to tax the money you put into a pension fund when you put it in, AND then tax it again when you try to bring it back out! The archetypal taxation double-whammy!

Is that unfair, or that unfair?

Like what happened in Cyprus, these latest moves in Australia could quite easily happen in your country too!

Are you ready to be robbed???

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CLASSIFIED: For your Eyes Only, Part Eighteen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Welcome to the latest batch of classified ads that failed the one simple test that all advertisements should pass

– did it say what it was supposed to say?

These didn’t.

Enjoy.

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classad_kidspaywhattheyweigh

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classad_krispykremedrive.

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classad_last1000hoursinEnglish.

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classad_licolontowncar.

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classad_livetoiletdemo.

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classad_loseupto205poundsperweek.

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classad_MagSubscription.

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classad_manuresummit.

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classad_mathathon.

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classad_mercuryfishandchips

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classad_mensurnalmagazine

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classad_michaeljackson

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classad_mushmoms

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classad_nachoplatter.

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classad_newagetherapy.

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