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Battery for HP ProBook 6465b

The government has another robo-problem on its plate, also caused by opening up policy to the wisdom of the slacktivists.Last summer the IPO sought views (pdf) on industrial scale online copyright infringement.This is mildly remarkable in itself; we don’t normally invite criminals to decide how long they should spend in prison, and sentencing has historically been left to our independent judiciary, not crowd-pleasing politicians. An independent judiciary is regarded as the hallmark of a free and open society. But let’s park that one for a moment.In the UK, punishments for criminal-scale infringement are different for physical and online infringement, with punishments for physical infringement, such as bootlegging DVDs, set higher – to a maximum of 10 years. But broadband is now ubiquitous, and you can “bootleg” online by operating a pirate site on a far greater scale and far more easily than you can copy physical DVDs.The 2005 Gowers Review recommended raising the online sentences to match the physical sentences. The consultation posed the question: “Should the maximum custodial sentence available for online and offline copyright infringement of equal seriousness be harmonised at 10 years?”

Once again, a pressure group swung into action. The law shouldn’t keep pace with technology. The Open Rights Group, while acknowledging that online infringement could lead to economic losses in the millions, argued that sentences were already too tough.Like OpenMedia, the ORG raised a scare-based campaign, advising, improbably, that:“Many internet innovators, prosumers, online creative communities that create non-profit derivative works, fandom producers, etc. All these people – many of whom technically breach copyright in their activities – could find themselves facing prison sentences if making available carried a maximum sentence of ten years.”This was indisputably incorrect. A case of industrial scale infringement meriting a custodial sentence would never be brought to a fandom producer with an audience of a few dozen fans, and made to stick. Such cases are very rare anyway. The law simply doesn’t apply to these cases.However the IPO now has a problem. Altogether 28 organisations responded, with 20 supporting bringing the online law into line with physical. Eight organisations opposed. Sixty-six individuals responded. And 938 responses came from the Open Rights Group’s campaign. That’s 92 per cent of all responses.

Given that the ORG’s own response was misleading, we can conclude that many of the ORG-inspired respondents were in reality answering a question different to the one the IPO had actually posed. It’s a bit like asking the public whether grapefruit should be made illegal, and you get 1,000 respondents who are adamant that bananas shouldn’t be banned. What do you then do with replies? (There is a Two Ronnies sketch in this vein, which some older readers will remember).We gather that the IPO is weighing up how to grapple with this thorny issue. Perhaps it could it use 1/720th of the response, on the basis that even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day.And it isn’t just slacktivist NGOs. In India, the telecoms regulator TRAI has rejected more than three-quarters of the 1.8 million responses it received on a public consultation because they were auto-generated by Facebook.Either way, the strange notion that we people would participate more by doing less, but by doing less electronically, no longer looks very persuasive. Bastard Junket Watch, a website entirely devoted to plausible-sounding technical events, has sent up the email equivalent of an emergency flare. An event company which knows very little about IT (and cares even less) is hosting a five-day Service Delivery for Technical Professionals course in a month or so.

Ordinarily a course like this is about as appealing as the shower scene in a Turkish prison during stabbing season, however the company concerned DOES distinguish itself by awarding fancy looking achievement certificates at the end of the course which look impressive on the office wall.(Again) Ordinarily I usually ask the certificate printers to just ensure that the output of the printer is as adjacent to the input of the shredder as possible, however in this particular case the certificates are like gold – partly because they have gold lettering (told you they were fancy) but also because they act as a form of proof of attendance.The event company is about as interested in IT as I am in the finer points of regulation international lawn bowls‘ grass height, however they do put a lot of effort into their social events – which often start around the time you check in and finish about the time you check out – either from the event or life itself. They like to think of themselves as innovators. So obviously you’re in need of some proof that the course was robust and worthwhile…The Junket Watch priority signal is because the Service Delivery for IT Professionals gig has an overview of Investigating case studies of Service Delivery methods in local industry – the finer print noting that the local industry they’re talking about is whisky distilleries in Islay. And it’s basically a five-day coach tour…

Given the company’s policy of not permitting all members of a support team to be absent at the same time, the PFY and I are now engaged in an unspoken competition to be the person that the Director sends. In the words of the Highlander, there can be only one…The PFY lurches into play almost immediately, laughing at the Director’s rubbish jokes and promising to upgrade the RAM on his top-of-the-line Ultrabook. He choked on his words a little when he found out that the stuff was soldered into the motherboard, but then a promise is a promise.So here we are: the PFY with his static protected needle-tip solder reworking station, the Director’s laptop on the actively static-protected workdesk (which, to my knowledge has never been used since it was installed at great cost) – and me, with my paper bag to collect all the bits left over… which always happens when you take a priceless piece of kit to bits.In a rare show of sportsmanship I did point out to the PFY the wisdom of backing up the machine prior to starting work, however he just saw this as me trying to make the job take longer than he’d promised – so his hybrid solution is to plug the drive into a duplication cradle while he does the hot work. Sneaky.

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