Posts by Steve Bell

  • OnPoint: Leviathan,

    The point of the title-page drawing is that Leviathan is made of the people. I'm sure John Key and the GCSB would make that point if faced with the comparison. After all, "we" (Parliament on the people's behalf) passed the GCSB Bill, didn't we? & the Search & Surveillance Bill (after a struggle) and we all got the opportunity to comment through the Select Committee process.
    And even in full knowledge of what's going on, a large number (even a majority?) of the NZ public would probably support it, or at least refrain from expressing strong opposition - because they (of course) have "nothing to hide". Or, putting it another way, govt agencies haven't got around to looking at them (yet), because they haven't upset the right(wrong) people. It'll come to some of the complacent in due course; then they'll protest.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 8 posts Report

  • Hard News: Doing over the witness,

    If Hager had been around when the search warrant had been executed, the police would have been able to demand from him the access keys to the cloud storage where he would have put anything he really didn't want them to find. But they raided him when he was absent and forewent any such opportunity.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 8 posts Report

  • Hard News: The Public Address Word of…,

    A late entry into the daily media consumer's consciousness: Trans-Pacific Partnership.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 8 posts Report

  • Hard News: The Public Address Word of…,

    Mum & Dad investors
    Mixed Ownership (pronounced McStonership)
    And one more vote each, if I may, for "metadata" & "twerk".

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 8 posts Report

  • OnPoint: MSD's Leaky Servers, in reply to Thomas Beagle,

    And s252(2) says: "To avoid doubt, subsection (1) does not apply if a person who is authorised to access a computer system accesses that computer system for a purpose other than the one for which that person was given access."

    I think Keith could construct an argument that since access to the terminals was provided to visitors at large, he was "authorised" to access them for some purposes; therefore his access for any purpose did not contravene subsection (1).

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 8 posts Report

  • Hard News: This Is Not A Complicated Issue, in reply to Mark Rickerby,

    Was it purely cost-cutting? The "public communications" person I refer to in another post gave me the impression one motive was to get Hansard out more quickly (now down to 2.5 hours, she said).

    Surely Parliament still won't deny MPs the opportunity to "correct" the first draft. So where is the cost saving?

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 8 posts Report

  • Hard News: This Is Not A Complicated Issue, in reply to Lew Stoddart,

    I imagine the easiest way of providing live captioning would be to have an "interpreter" repeat the words of the speaker(s) with about a second's delay into a voice-recognition engine tuned to his/her voice.

    I try to do it this way when transcribing audio-recordings of interviews and conferences; I can hardly keep up a "flow" for more than a minute or two at a time; but then I'm not a professional in the field. If simultaneous interpreters at the UN can hear one language and deliver another in real-time, why can't this be applied to generating text?

    I put this to a "public communications" person at Parliament, who could only think of two snags (off the top of her head; I'm sure there are more) - synchronising speech and text with the camera image; not focussing on the wrong person (Teletext handles this by transcribing speakers in a rapid dialogue in different colours); and speakers' use of "specialist terms", which the transcriber might not render correctly (but which hearing members of the public are expected to understand instantly!)

    Having a real-time transcription of a speech involving specialist language might actually assist even those of us who like to think we have perfect hearing. An aid to disabled people is often an aid to all; it's called Universal Design.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 8 posts Report

  • Discussion: Regarding Auckland,

    John Banks is criticised on NatRad this morning for not objecting to the “supercity” plan that will probably give him an even more highly-paid job than the one he has now. We don’t want this city to be run by the rich and powerful, say objectors.

    What? The powerful run things; it’s almost a tautology. Do you propose giving the administration of our largest city into the hands of the “powerless”? Wouldn’t that make them powerful by definition?

    As for “rich”; well if you run any organisation, you’re usually in charge of its finances and it would be a pious hope to suppose that you’d vote yourself a pittance in salary and perks.

    If your mayor *was* that public-spirited, someone with the money to buy a good public relations advisor would be likely to overturn the “poor mayor” in short order. It’s the perception not the actuality that rules the advertising-conditioned public mind these days, so the winner is likely to be the one with the big PR budget. And don’t kid yourself that regulations restricting official “campaign spending” will achieve anything. The ambitious will find the loopholes and who will be able to afford the top lawyers to defend the stance that their spending was legal? The rich, of course.

    Suppose we could find a way of paying all our mayors, councillors and MPs a meagre stipend regulated by law. A good while ago, a man called Socrates pointed out why that wouldn’t work; it’s a recipe for bribery and corruption. If the rulers don’t have money, they will be offered it in return for subtly steering things in the direction of those who do have the cash.

    With that in mind, the logical people to put in charge are the ones who already have more money than they know what to do with.

    Sorry, by any practical and logical criterion the “rich and powerful” will rise to the top. We’re stuck with them.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 8 posts Report