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1426  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: March 13, 2013, 08:45:05 PM
@Giampy: " I will do the smoke".
Very droll.
1427  News and Reviews / Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: Google Reader - Mini-Review on: March 13, 2013, 08:35:39 PM
I'm trying out @40hz's suggestion re Sage. in the discussion: Re: Suggestions for a RSS reader
I've long since given up on something that's all-in-one.

These days I use the Sage extension in Firefox as my RSS reader and save what I want to keep to my Pocket (formerly ReadItLater) account or using Scrapbook depending on what it is.
None of the above have much in the way of bells & whistles.
Which is exactly the way I like it. YMMV. Wink
1428  News and Reviews / Mini-Reviews by Members / ARS Technica poll of alternatives Re: Google Reader terminating July 1, 2013 on: March 13, 2013, 08:22:54 PM
ARS Technica had two useful posts about GR being terminated:

The second item initiates a poll - Poll: What RSS service do you recommend for the newly Google Reader-less?.
1429  News and Reviews / Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: Google Reader - Mini-Review on: March 13, 2013, 08:02:33 PM
^ +1 from me. I feel the same (disappointment) as @alivingspirit.
Really annoyed me, as I find GR is such a useful information gathering/sifting tool.
I only knew about this when a pop-up appeared in my Google Reader a few minutes ago, saying that it would be terminated on July 1, 2013, and giving a link to a post where it says:
Quote
How can I download my Reader data?
Google Reader will be retired on July 1, 2013. If you'd like to download a copy of all your Reader data before then, you can do so through Google Takeout. You'll receive your subscription data in an XML file, and the following information will be downloaded as JSON files:

    List of people that you follow
    List of people that follow you
    Items you have starred
    Items you have liked
    Items you have shared
    Items shared by people you follow
    Notes you have created
    Items with comments

Click here to start downloading your Reader data from Takeout. Once downloaded, your subscription data should be easily transferrable to another product, where you can continue to keep up with your online reading.

    Mar 13, 2013

So, where to now?
Well, a quick search on DC Forum shows lots of discussions that have mentioned Google Reader or alternative RSS feed-readers - e.g. as follows: (not an exclusive list)

Bugger. Methinks I had better start prudently migrating/mirroring my Gmail and Google Drive elsewhere. The last thing I want is to get caught off-guard by an apparently unreliable supplier.
1430  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: I am so very very sick of copyright issues. (2013) on: March 13, 2013, 07:02:29 PM
I revived this old thread because the subject describes pretty much how I felt on reading this article - the subject of which was news to me:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
How copyright makes my home stereo sounds worse
by Stephan Kinsella on March 6, 2013

The other day I had my A/V guys over to make some adjustments to one of my systems. While there were there I asked them if they could take a look at a problem I’d been having for a while with my family room media system. I have an Anthem two-zone receiver. The first zone drives the TV and the speakers in the family room. Zone 2 drives speakers around the house through a speaker selector box. I often play music via the Apple TV on both zones 1 and 2, all around the house, say, on a Saturday. But I notice an odd echo effect between the sound coming from zone 1 speakers and that coming from zone 2: there is a slight delay, giving it a disconcerting feeling, if you are standing sort of between rooms.

I asked the media guys if there was maybe a polarity problem or an adjustable delay. They said that’s not it. Instead, all the big manufacturers of receivers have gimped their own systems due to copyright enforcement pressure from content companies: zone 1 is digital, but zone 2 has to be analog. What this means is that there is a delay in zone 1 because the DSP takes some time. So the sound coming out of zone 2 is slightly ahead of that coming out of zone 1. I said can I just buy a receiver with two digital zones? Nope, they said–the copyright enforcers don’t want you to be able to just duplicate that signal. So even if I am playing my own CD’s or streaming radio or spotify perfectly legally, I can’t have a device that digitally “splits” the signal to permit me to play it simultaneously on two zones. Instead, I can tap into the inferior analog signal and play it on zone 2, but then there are timing delays between the zones.

The media guys told me there are workarounds but they are complicated and not even guaranteed to work. I could buy some kind of add-on digital delay for zone 2, but the problem is you might never make it match up exactly, and further, the delay from zone 1 DSP varies by the type of music; it’s not necessarily a fixed delay, so there is no easy way to guarantee adding a delay to zone 2 will match it up to zone 1. I suppose I could buy two separate one-zone receivers, have all kinda signal-splitters at the output of my source devices like the Apple TV, but that’s kinda stupid.

Another example of how paying, law-abiding users are harmed by the copyright fascists.
1431  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Optimising large scale Cloud operations (e.g., Google). on: March 13, 2013, 06:21:43 AM
I was just clearing out my Google Reader, and came across this fascinating post on David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog at InfoWorld:
Solved! How to make Google's cloud 20 percent more efficient
Seriously interesting stuff. I've done work on optimising operating system queuing processes and large batch mainframe processing streams, and even tweaking optimising compilers, but, not having been involved, I had not realised that huge Cloud IT operations were open to such large performance improvements - I mean, 20% is a heck of a lot. How did that escape notice before now?
1432  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: March 13, 2013, 05:38:14 AM
Truth stranger than fiction:
Lack of swordsmen leads Saudi Arabia to consider dropping public beheadings as method of execution.
Difficult times. I blame it on the modern generation. No "real men" any more.
But it's not as thought the Saudis have run out of sensible punishment options is it? I mean, there's presumably still hanging and stoning and lashing, right? Maybe the French guillotine or the American electric chair might look interesting too, now. Could even be a nice little export earner there.
1433  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: March 13, 2013, 05:04:28 AM
Some evidence that the great British sense of humour is alive and well.
Apparently, they had a sweepstakes on the outcome for the now-infamous British MP Chris Huhne (who is reputedly AC/DC) and his (ex?) wife Vicky Pryce.
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
Huhne and Pryce Sentencing Sweepstakes Winner
Congratulations to @AngusCurran, who correctly guessed that both Chris and Vicky would be sentenced to 8 months. He wins a copy of Lee Rotherham’s “The EU in a Nutshell: Everything you wanted to know about the European Union but didn’t know who to ask”, and a dozen I’ve Been Kissed By Chris stickers.
Lucky Angus.
1434  Special User Sections / The Getting Organized Experiment of 2009 / Re: Do Visions and Missions work for you? on: March 13, 2013, 02:59:07 AM
Thought I'd revive this thread with an interesting (and relevant) blog post by the Dilbert creator, Scott Adams:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
Management/Success/Leadership: Mostly Bullshit
Mar 12, 2013

Sometimes I think the field of management/success/leadership is nothing more than a confusion of correlation for causation. For example, I blogged recently that "passion" isn't so much a cause of success as a result of success, and it grows as the success grows. Success can make anyone passionate about what they are doing. When the experts say we need passion to be successful, that's mostly bullshit. What you need is energy, talent, hard work, a reasonable plan, and lots of luck.

Company culture is another area that I think the experts get backwards. The common belief is that you need a good company culture to create success. But isn't it more likely that companies with awesome employees get both a good culture and success at the same time? A good corporate culture is a byproduct of doing everything right; it's not the cause of success as much as the outcome. Success improves culture more than a good culture can cause success.

And how about that charisma thing? That's important, right? Everyone says so. Look at Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, and Larry Ellison. Those guys have plenty of charisma so it must be important to success, we assume. But let me tell you what causes charisma: success.

I'm in a unique position to judge the success=charisma hypothesis because I slip in and out of famousness all day long. Cartoonists aren't normally recognized, and when I walk into a room as a "normal" I exhibit no charisma whatsoever. I might even be absorbing some charisma that is already in the atmosphere. But when I enter a room at an event where people are expecting me in my capacity as a semi-famous cartoonist, suddenly I appear to have some charisma. I feel like Moses in a room full of water. Trust me when I say that if Steve Jobs had not been successful so young, he'd be known as the lying asshole who needs a shower, not the guy with the reality distortion field. Charisma is bullshit.

Today I was reading an expert's opinion that companies get better results when managers learn to avoid micromanaging employees. But how do we know those non-micromanaging managers get better results? Wouldn't it also be true that wherever you have the most highly capable employees - the ones most likely to create success - you have a boss who knows he can back off the micromanaging? One would expect more micromanaging in companies with untalented employees. So how do you know what causes what?

Consider the thousands of different books on management/success/leadership. If any of this were real science, all managers would learn the same half-dozen secrets to success and go on to great things. The reality of the business world is more like infinite monkeys with typewriters. Sooner or later a monkey with an ass pimple will type something that makes sense and every management expert in the world will attribute the success to the ass pimple.

How about the idea that every hourly wage slave should "act like an entrepreneur"?  How do you think that would play out with Apple's 50,000 employees? The unsexy reality is that everyone in the company can't be creative risk-takers. Someone has to actually work. My guess is that Apple would fall apart if more than 5% of its employees acted like entrepreneurs. And maybe the tipping point is only 2%. Entrepreneurs are disruptive, rule-breaking risk-takers. A little bit of that goes a long way.

I first noticed the questionable claims of management experts back in the nineties, when it was fashionable to explain a company's success by its generous employee benefits. The quaint idea of the time was that treating employees like kings and queens would free their creative energies to create massive profits. The boring reality is that companies that are successful have the resources to be generous to employees and so they do. The best way a CEO can justify an obscene pay package is by treating employees generously. To put this in another way, have you ever seen a corporate turnaround that was caused primarily by improving employee benefits?

The fields of management/success/leadership are a lot like the finance industry in the sense that much of it is based on confusing correlation and chance with causation. We humans like to feel as if we understand and control our environments. We don't like to think of ourselves as helpless leaves blowing in the wind of chance. So we clutch at any ridiculous explanation of how things work.

My view is that success happens when you have a coincidence of talent, resources, and timing. One can explain the existence of successful serial entrepreneurs by the fact that once successful they gain resources, credibility, extra talent, contacts, and the opportunity to live someplace such as Silicon Valley where opportunities fall out of trees.  You would expect that group of people to get lucky more often than someone just starting out.

Dilbert came to fame in the nineties when the working world was experiencing an unprecedented "bubble" of management bullshit. Every time a new business book became a best seller, middle managers across the globe scurried to buy a copy and started spewing its jargon. Eventually the sale of business books dropped off when, I assume, people realized there couldn't really be 10,000 different sure-fire formulas for success.

But lately I've been feeling another bullshit bubble forming in the world. And I don't mean only the financial markets, which are sketchy for lots of reasons. It's just a feeling, but it seems to me that the management/success/leadership bullshit bubble is once again reaching full inflation.

Are you feeling the bubble too, or is it just me?
1435  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: March 12, 2013, 02:43:39 PM
Heh yeah, that's just a fairly famous lawyer joke from the net with some pic stuck onto it.
It's not just "some pic" stuck to it, it's a crack dealer's mug shot being passed off as an honest granny.  Grin
That, to me, was funner than the actual joke.

Watching two people argue about what's funny - now that's kind of amusing.    Wink
1436  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: March 12, 2013, 12:09:39 AM
I thought this was a silly made-up joke, but it's not.
Very droll.
See here:
Quote
On Wednesday, March 6, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee sent out a notice that its hearing on global warming was cancelled due to the chilly weather and a snowstorm that was about to hit the nation’s capital.

 - and the headline here:
Quote
Hill hearing on global warming cancelled by D.C. snowstorm.

I think there might be some comedians editing the headlines at The Washingtom Times though. New Zealanders would call that sort of thing "poking the borax".

We are having a rather delayed start and long overdue decent summer here in NZ.    Grin
1437  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: What are your favorite movies? on: March 11, 2013, 03:54:24 PM
Though I have seen him in archives of old TV Western/cowboy series (I forget which ones), after watching the superb "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" I reckoned that you could be guaranteed that pretty much any Western or other flick with Clint Eastwood in it was going to be worth watching. When he started acting in them and producing them, things took a step up.
Most memorable for me are: "A Fistful of Dollars", "For a Few Dollars More", "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly", "High Plains Drifter", "Play Misty for Me", "Dirty Harry", "Magnum Force", "The Enforcer", "The Outlaw Josey Wales", "Every Which Way But Loose", "Bird", "Unforgiven" "The Bridges of Madison County", and "Gran Torino".
1438  News and Reviews / Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: Qiqqa - Reference Management System - Mini-Review on: March 11, 2013, 02:37:22 AM
Update 2013-03-11 2034hrs: Opening post now includes links to some YouTube Qiqqa tutorials:
Quote

PLUS: The Qiqqa User Manual is now available.
1439  News and Reviews / Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: Qiqqa - Reference Management System - Mini-Review on: March 11, 2013, 01:50:36 AM
@DBC: In response:
Here are the current, full Qiqqa Ts & Cs: (location: C:\Program Files (x86)\Qiqqa\licenses\license.txt)
(Surprisingly, perhaps, it's not a PDF document in the Library!)
I have emboldened the bit you quoted.
I had scanned over the Agreement as it was quite a while back, and though I forget the details, my take on the Qiqqa approach then was that it was intentional to use your account/data info as legitimate aggregated (non-personal) marketing demographics to enable ad-targeting. I thought this only applied to the unpaid versions of Qiqqa, and if you had a paid account, then you would not get targeted ads.

Main points I would consider:
  • 1. Legitimacy: As a happy user of the unpaid version, I personally have no real/major objection to this kind of  "Agreement". I regard it as a nifty and legitimate way for them to claw some indirect (advertising) revenue out of the product, and it does not seem to be invasive, a breach of privacy, or a nuisance.
    Having several years' worth of solid experience in contracts - including the study of Contract Law and drafting and negotiating contracts related to the large-scale provision of IT services and software in different countries - I tend to read all contracts with a critical and jaundiced eye. I could be wrong, of course, but there was nothing untoward in the Qiqqa Agreement - or at least, not that I perceived, at any rate.

  • 2. Security + Trust: Act in haste, repent at leisure. Whilst the rule I advocate for clients is to trust no-one, of the few occasions that I have personally ignored that rule in my own affairs, I have only once had cause to regret it. Unfortunately it was a big time letdown and breach of trust by someone whom I had previously trusted implicitly, and I am still under the shadow of the potential consequences. It was actually criminal (common theft), but it had ramifications. However, I told the police that I did not wish to press charges (though they seemed quite keen), and I did not wish to take the perpetrator to civil court over it. The lesson is to enforce the above rule, and to get it in writing, and make sure that you are happy with the writing.
    You have a responsibility to yourself and your family to protect your assets from con-merchants and fraudsters. The world seems to be permeated by a class of seemingly well-meaning people whose primary and ulterior motive turns out to be to relieve other people of their hard-won money/property/rights by any means possible. Software developers - and even US Presidents - are not necessarily excluded from this class.
    So, I have not pointed Qiqqa at any highly confidential or proprietary files to take into its Library. If I did, then I might want to scrutinise and question the wording of the agreement more carefully first. As things stand, it's not an issue for me, but I can't speak for others.

  • 3. Applicability: The sentence:
    Quote
    "By adding Content to Qiqqa and/or syncing your Content with a Web Library..."
    - I rightly or wrongly assumed that to probably mean that if you have a paid account and you add stuff to Qiqqa, then it will be synced with a Web (Cloud) library. I do not think that the unpaid version syncs at all, and so you could probably be pretty private with a free account.

  • 4. Firewall control:
    You could always control Qiqqa's access through the firewall.
    For example, here is the default outgoing access in W7FC (Windows 7 Firewall Control) when set to LanOnly for Qiqqa:

    [attach]

     - and here are the W7FC settings after I have set it to IncomingOnly for Qiqqa:

    [attach]

    Note that the latter setting will defeat that functionality that Qiqqa uses through Internet access online - e.g., including the provision of library syncing, Google Scholar access and referencing.
1440  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: DOTCOM saga - updates on: March 09, 2013, 07:52:41 PM
Yes - Sigh.
That post also refers to ECHELON - which is referred to in the Wikipedia article I mentioned in the thread, above - New Zealand–United States relations.
Wikipedia has a fuller note on it here - ECHELON.
There have apparently been quite a few protests about that in NZ. ECHELON and the protests seem to be rather "under reported" in NZ media, possibly because it is even more hush-hush than SACCWG. The experience of people working on similarly top secret Defence projects indicates that that would be par for the course - i.e., would be typical.
From the first time one becomes engaged in such projects, the use of, and reliance on science, mathematics and sophisticated computer systems becomes starkly evident.
If such systems were indeed being used to push a monopoly commercial-political agenda and research, as Dotcom seems to be suggesting here:
Quote
"The NSA receives billions in funding to fight terrorism and drug cartels with #Echolon and now copyright cases. Well done MPAA."
- then I would suggest that something must have come badly off the rails for such a corruption as that to happen.
Of course he could be mistaken, though I doubt that he would be daft enough to make it up.
1441  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: DOTCOM saga - updates on: March 09, 2013, 07:21:23 PM
I would be extremely interested in seeing what's done about that more than anything else actually.
+1 from me. "By their fruits ye shall know them."
Though it is not so important/relevant to the subject of this thread, it is extremely important to me and potentially the greater majority of New Zealanders who would be concerned about maintaining the country's hard-won freedoms and democracy.
(It doesn't seem so long ago that the country voted for reform of the electoral system and switched to proportional representation under MMP, the first use of same being in the election of 1996 - see here.)
1442  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: DOTCOM saga - updates on: March 09, 2013, 08:12:00 AM
...@IainB - tried reading the article your link pointed to. Got this:...
Sorry, bad link. I had pasted the link wrongly. Fixed now.
1443  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: DOTCOM saga - updates on: March 09, 2013, 04:25:11 AM
This is interesting. Once again, NZ Justice looks like it is doing its job.
NZ Herald post. (Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
Dotcom wins right to sue
By Kurt Bayer KurtBayerAPNZ
5:26 PM Thursday Mar 7, 2013

Kim Dotcom has won the right to sue the Government for illegal spying.

A Court of Appeal judgement released today has ruled in favour of the internet mogul and will let him sue the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) alongside New Zealand Police.

Dotcom, Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk are defending accusations of mass copyright infringement, online piracy, and money laundering through their Megaupload file sharing website.

A decision by Chief High Court judge Justice Helen Winkelmann last year to allow the GCSB be sued and to allow Dotcom to seek compensation from the Government agency, as well as the police, was challenged by the Attorney-General.

During the High Court case, it emerged that the GCSB had been illegally spying on Dotcom prior to the raid on his Coatesville mansion, on behalf of the FBI, who now wants the Megaupload millionaire extradited to face trial in the US over copyright infringements.

The Attorney-General challenged Justice Winkelmann's decision to order the GCSB to cough up documents that outlined the extent of their spying.

It also challenged the decision to bring the GCSB into court proceedings as a party, as well as saying it was inappropriate for compensation claims to be added to a judicial review.

Now, the Court of Appeal has ruled that the GCSB will be added to the case, and allowed the compensation claim to be heard during the April hearing. While the appeal judges emphasised the importance of keeping judicial review proceedings "simple and prompt'', and that it was "not usually appropriate'' for reviews to include compensation claims, there was no absolute rule.

But the Attorney-General did win its appeal against the High Court decision for the GCSB to hand over all of its spying evidence against Dotcom and his Megaupload associate van der Kolk.

The ruling means that Dotcom's legal team will only be told what information exists and to where it was sent, but will not receive copies of the documents. The 24-page judgement criticised the Crown for the way its handled the compensation case and for failing to follow proper procedures.

A final comment urges both parties to cooperate so that the issues before the High Court are "determined as expeditiously as possible''.

No award of costs were made which the judges said "reflects the fact that each party has had a measure of success in this court''.

Last week, the Court of Appeal quashed a decision to force the United States Government into handing over its evidence against Dotcom in its internet piracy case.

Dotcom's US lawyer Ira Rothken tweeted today: "We look forward to holding GCSB spy org accountable doing so will not only protect @KimDotcom's rights but the rights of all NZ residents.''

No word yet on what is being done re the apparent perjury by police.

But some real concerns in this (unrelated case) report:
'CONSERVATIVE' REMARK IRKS SUPREME COURT JUDGES
1444  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: DOTCOM saga - updates on: March 07, 2013, 08:44:17 PM
...sorry if I somehow offended...
Don't worry, you didn't offend me. I'm very thick-skinned anyway and might not have noticed even if you had intended to offend me.
I spelt out the facts as best I could, because what you wrote seemed to indicate that you might be unaware of them all, and I figured others might be too, so I just tried to pull together all the most relevant stuff in a way that might make sense to a reader who was unfamiliar with the context.
  • The New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987 - and some implications:

  • SACCWG: You probably can't afford to disregard/exclude the significance of the SACCWG, when trying to understand the drivers behind the Dotcom raid in NZ (the drivers in the US seem pretty clear).
1445  Other Software / DC Gamer Club / Re: Prince of Persia - HTML5 on: March 07, 2013, 07:29:15 AM
I think it's not a fully-fledged game. Just a demo/prototype of a bit of the game. That's all that has been done so far. The author needs help and asks for it.
1446  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Firefox Extensions: Your favorite or most useful on: March 07, 2013, 02:37:56 AM
What type of metadata...?
Take a look here: Feature request: Copy/store/paste the highlighted text and any related metadata.
- and at the Quote URL Text add-on itself, here: https://addons.mozilla.or...refox/addon/quoteurltext/

I don't really know enough about CoLT to be able to offer suggestions.
1447  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: DOTCOM saga - updates on: March 07, 2013, 01:56:38 AM
Just for information:
NZ stats:
Area: 268,700 km²
(By comparison, area of England, Scotland and Wales: 229,848 km².)

1982:
  • People: 3.5 million
  • Sheep: 70 million
  • People with the surname "Dotcom": Nil

2012:
  • People: 4.4 million
  • Sheep: 40 million
  • People with the surname "Dotcom": 1
1448  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: DOTCOM saga - updates on: March 06, 2013, 11:18:50 PM
...I certainly hope so. Because despite being the setting for Jackson's Middlearth, NZ does not loom very large in the psyche of most Americans. AFAIK NZ is not an official (as in 'by treaty') ally of the US or Nato. And there is still rancor in certain circles over that ban on US Navy vessels in NZ ports which has gone on for the last thirty or so years. So if the citizens of NZ were to develop a sudden contempt for Americans, it likely wouldn't register as even the tiniest of blips on the radar screen of general public awareness here in the USA. Not that that should matter to anybody in NZ. Or stop its people from doing what is right.

Haha, yes, quite.    Grin
But:
  • (a) It would seem to bely the truth of the matter to say that "...NZ is not an official (as in 'by treaty') ally of the US or Nato" - e.g., see here. Furthermore, I am fairly certain that President Oama would himself say that "New Zealand is one of America's close allies and punches above their weight" - e.g., see here.    Wink
    Not only all of the above, but also NZ government agents have not committed any acts of war or terrorism against the US (as the French did against NZ, for example), but rather seem to have been there, risking their own lives and standing alongside US soldiers in most of the major military conflicts in which the US have engaged in foreign lands. So, not a good ally at all really? Hmm...   tellme

  • (b) It was categorically not "a ban on US Navy vessels in NZ ports", so you may have been misinformed - e.g., for the facts see here, and below.

  • (c) I was categorically not intending to suggest - as you seem to infer - that, if the citizens of NZ were to develop a sudden contempt for Americans, then it would register as even the tiniest of blips on the radar screen of general public awareness in the US. On the contrary, I feel sure it would not regsiter a blip, because NZ is probably largely politically impotent to do anything about anything on the world stage. Kiwis know this to be true and generally do not possess an over-inflated idea of their own importance, except perhaps when it comes to rugby.    Wink
    What I was getting at was simply that, if the NZ voting public perceived that their government had done something to allow the US to take a dump on the citizens and/or their due legal processes and in abrogation of either their own responsibilities or of any citizens' civil/legal rights, then they would probably tend to not vote that government back in the next election. As things stand, it would not seem correct to call the Dotcom fiasco "an example of the NZ police/SS acting responsibly and legally with the objective of protection and/or defence of the property or rights of the citizens or the country" (QED - per the Justice's ruling, the raid was illegal).

However, I should not complain, I suppose. Some people might say that, for a relatively insignificant, small and defenceless country, even belittlement or denigration by people from a large, powerful country might be interpreted as being a form of recognition, and so at least that way it was not being entirely ignored, but I couldn't possibly comment.

Sure, NZ has even been described as "a pimple on the #rse-end of the planet", and you get "How do you spell 'NZ' anyway?" and "Isn't it a state of Australia?". It's funny, and you hear such jokes quite often. Sometimes, of course, it's not intended as a joke and is just plain ignorance.
The US' main interest in the place (and presumably why it maintains an embassy and a low profile diplomatic presence in NZ) is probably the NZ strategic role in the SACCWG global intelligence-gathering, telecommunications and early warning defence network - eg., per Wikipedia, see New Zealand–United States relations. There's a lot of hush-hush stuff that apparently goes on there. This Strategic Alliance would presumably have been a decisive factor in the Dotcom raid.

[attach]

In addition there are the close ties between the US and NZ police/SS (referred to in the Wikipedia article above), and an NZ contingent will often go over to the US to take part in joint exercises learning to use the latest US police/SS technology and practices. The Dotcom raid would probably be a classic example of such a collaborative swat-fest, but being put into live practice on NZ territory - e.g., it was disclosed that there were even some of the senior NZ personnel watching events unfold via live video feeds, whilst they were ensconced in FBI offices in the US.
It must have been a marvellous opportunity to put the collaboration all together and test it all out, whilst engaging in a completely over-the-top, no-holds-barred, excessive violence and threat - "shock and awe" - exercise. Such adrenaline-pumping fun!
They probably didn't realise until somewhat later how ridiculous and potentially seriously dangerous/threatening to the public and civic society they might have looked in the public's eyes, in retrospect. Little boys playing with the Big Boys and their Big Boy toys - "and...and, like, we're using REAL BULLET-PROOF VESTS! and...and MACHINE-GUNS! and...and LIVE BULLETS! and...and HELICOPTERS!, and...and we're BREAKING DOWN DOORS! and...and things like THAT Mum!".
Sheesh.    embarassed

For example, my response on watching the published video footage and following the semi-documentaries and news on the subject was a general uneasiness and real concern about the illegal actions and use of needless and excessive threat/force/violence by NZ police/SS - and all apparently being done at the sole behest of a foreign power. The question was and is being asked: How had NZ come to the state where this could happen? It was astounding.
It would not be correct to call this a good look for NZ's potential for future freedom/democracy. In fact, it was beginning to look more and more like what increasingly seems to be a prevailing police state in the US, which already seems to many to have irretrievably gone to hell in a basket.
I wonder whether, had the NZ government fully known and understood what was planned, the Dotcom raid would have been allowed to go ahead in such a fashion. Or just maybe, they might have cynically turned a blind eye to it so as to be able to claim ignorance of the swat-fest the boys had planned for the raid. I don't expect to be told the truth, but an objective, public judicial review would have done done that - though now it seems that we are to be denied even that.    tellme

It is true that the Lange Labour government's passing of the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987 raised serious US diplomatic and US Naval/Defense concerns at the time, but since then US diplomats have murmured statements that "We're over that and now we're back to being good friends" (OWTTE), and NZ has continued - has never ceased - to send its soldiers to stand and die alongside US soldiers in fighting their battles. However, I remain somewhat skeptical regarding the sincerity of those statements. NZ is probably just a useful tool - a dog in it's kennel - and it will be told when to bark.

This all could backfire seriously on the NZ government and NZ's reputation as a relatively uncorrupted country, and the US wouldn't spare a thought for it. There was a joke I recall reading - I think it was in an old copy of Datamation - in an article about IBM's market monopoly. They had talked to and surveyed a large number of big corporate IT Operations Managers, whose operations had IBM mainframes in place, who had responded under strict conditions of anonymity - apparently through fear of a backlash from IBM (they could have lost their jobs). The issue of the magazine had a front cover that depicted two men's arms locked in an arm-wrestle. One of the arms was normal, and muscular, the other arm was blue-skinned and hugely muscular. It was clearly no contest. The joke went something like:
Quote
"Getting into bed with IBM is like getting into bed with an elephant. It might roll over and squash you in the night, without even noticing."
Well, I'd suggest that you could scale that up to NZ getting into bed with the US.

By the way, below is the world map as produced by NZ cartographers:    Wink

[attach]
1449  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: March 06, 2013, 06:22:33 PM
@Stephen66515 's NSFW post: Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content]
- reminded me of this joke:
Quote
Glass eye.
A man who had a glass eye was at a party, and he became very drunk.  As he was standing, weaving somewhat, and eating stuffed olives by the handful from a bowl full of olives, someone whacked him heartily on his back.  The shock of the impact caused his glass eye to pop out.  Thinking that it had gone on the floor, he got down on his hands and knees to look for it, but to no avail.  Eventually, he gave up looking for the glass eye and returned to wolfing down the stuffed olives.  What he did not notice, in his drunken state, was that the glass eye had fallen into the bowl of olives, and, sure enough, he eventually scooped it up and swallowed it.

The next day, he did not feel so well, and was very constipated.  He guessed he was still hung over from the party.  But the next day he felt worse and was still constipated, and his anus hurt.  The glass eye had blocked his colon, and his digested food was backing up all down his intestine - but of course he didn't know that.  The day after that, he went to the doctor's surgery and explained his condition, and that he felt really ill and his anus hurt a great deal.

The doctor told him to drop his trousers and bend over so that he could give him a rectal examination.

"Will it hurt?" asked the man.

"No it'll just be a little uncomfortable Mr.Jones.  Don't worry." the doctor replied.

So Jones took off his trousers and underpants, and was about to bend over when he observed the doctor putting on a rubber glove.

"Are you going to poke your fingers inside my anus?" he asked the doctor.

"Yes, of course.  That's the best way to examine you." replied the doctor.

"Are you sure it won't hurt?" asked Jones.

"Look Mr.Jones, you will just have to trust me on this. It won't hurt.  Will you trust me?"

"Oh, OK.  If you are sure then." said the man, and, as he proceeded to bend over, he added, "You are absolutely sure it won't hurt, aren't you?"

"Yes! Now please be still!" replied the doctor, becoming impatient, and at the same time moving forwards to examine Jones' anus.

The doctor then gently prised apart his patient's rectal sphincter and was amazed to see a single eye staring up at him from the sphincter.

"For goodness' sake Mr.Jones!  You really must trust me more than this you know!" the doctor exclaimed.
1450  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: March 06, 2013, 04:14:16 PM
Here's a spacey sound from something seemingly mundane.  Hot Nickel Dropped Into Water
 (see attachment in previous post)
That account seems to have closed. I found what is probably the original video here:
Hot Nickel Dropped Into Water

Interesting sound-effects.
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