Posts by B Jones

  • Hard News: The other kind of phone tapping,

    I'd heard of phone tapping as a kid, and how it worked, but I never tried it. Loved pushing Button B, though, just in case some money came out. Later on, getting a phone card with a sufficient balance was always a hassle, until you could use credit cards. Last time I used a pay phone was a miserable call home from somewhere in the bowels of Heathrow in 2002, which probably cost me $50.

    Prank calling was the dumb entertainment du jour of my peer group, aged around 12. Call, hang up as soon as someone picks up, teeheehee. There were plenty of opportunities for stupidity and nuisance with phones that caller ID and call return functions have probably reduced since then.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 826 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: It's good to…,

    Words can get you too. I found myself running at the eyes at breakfast this morning over this:

    I...vowed that rather than let Alzheimer's take me, I would take it. I would live my life as ever to the full and die, ­before the disease mounted its last ­attack, in my own home, in a chair on the lawn, with a brandy in my hand to wash down whatever modern ­version of the "Brompton cocktail" some ­helpful medic could supply. And with ­Thomas Tallis on my iPod, I would shake hands with Death.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 826 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: 1080, "eco-terrorism" and agendas,

    Other countries have native mammals they don't want to kill, surely.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 826 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Leviathan,

    I'd be happy to license the title "Turing's Bastards" to anyone writing a book about all this, for a nominal fee.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 826 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Leviathan,

    It really ups the cost of any kind of activism, doesn't it. Anyone heard when Nicky Hager's likely to get his computer back?

    What gets me is how you can actually make good decisions with all that info. With that much data, surely it's tempting to just confirm your own biases and ignore info that contradicts, or forget that you might only have part of a picture. Bletchley Park caught buckets of German sigint, and had a huge job deciding what was useful and not. This is orders of magnitude bigger. It must be really hard, without close oversight or contestability, to avoid poor decisionmaking the way other government departments are supposed to.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 826 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Leviathan,

    Do I understand this correctly: the difference between mass data collection and mass surveillance is that if I have left a blamelessly obscure life so far, chances are that nobody has bothered to read any of the emails I've sent, my purchase history, library books and other online communications and so on. But, if I decide to do something tomorrow that gets interpreted as worthy of surveillance, all that information back into the past is open to either the GCSB or NSA or both. And we have no idea what that trigger might be, or what they might do with it?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 826 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Oh, God,

    I just came across this impressive takedown of the alternative legal theory earlier in this thread. Apparently it's a sufficiently popular thing to warrant some judicial attention: The OPCA phenomenon. It's a long read but a good one.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 826 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Word of the Year 2014: #dirtypolitics, in reply to Sue,

    you’ve had a bit of a year for the family, and i know those tasty treats will be loved by your fantastic partner and 3 amazing small people.

    I can vouch for the power of a hamper to improve even the worst Christmas. Last year I had agonising back pain, couldn't drink, kids were sick, weather was crap and there were other complicated family things. The food hamper for last year's prize was a shining highlight, as was the whisky when I was finally off the painkillers.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 826 posts Report Reply

  • Access: Some aspects of New Zealand's…,

    There's a Film Unit clip about the Wilson home online here:

    Some of the language they use is harsh to the modern ear.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 826 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Word of the Year 2014: The Vote, in reply to Hebe,

    it's really got to be a new word or concept for 2014.

    I think it just has to be a big word or concept for 2014. Ebola's a good example - it's been around in the 70s but took off, I hate to say virally, following the outbreak this year in West Africa. What makes it a WOTY contender for me is that it's moved out of its original meaning and drifted into metaphor - there were a handful of examples of media commentators using it to mean something big and nasty, eg "it's the Ebola of politics".

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 826 posts Report Reply

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