* Posts by John H Woods

1733 posts • joined 14 Nov 2007

Don't look now: Fujitsu ships new mobe with EYEBALL-scanning security

John H Woods
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There must be a better way ...

... how about a small battery powered Bluetooth device (belt buckle? pocketable widget?). Or an RFID-bearing piercing of some kind?

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Mobe network Three is the magic number for FreedomPop

John H Woods
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"100mb / month? Waste of time. What are the charges when you go over this?" -- x 7

Yes, maybe useful for geotrackers or low data devices, but phones? My mobile data usage is 10-30GB/mo, which Three provide, bless 'em, for £15. They even throw in 300 mins of calls and 3000 texts.

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Scot Nationalists' march on Westminster may be GOOD for UK IT

John H Woods
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Question

Since when did 'sceptical about the desirability of Orwellian dragnet surveillance' become 'libertarian'?

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Swedish Supreme Court keeps AssangeTM in Little Ecuador

John H Woods
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Re: Rough guess

Can't see any problem with a Rough order of Magnitude estimate of a plod being £100k pa. But "cost to the taxpayer" stuff is not as simple as adding this up.

Firstly, a figure of 'millions' is negligible compared to the tax pot, so reporting it in absolute terms can mislead those who are not aware of the annual tax take. Secondly, at least half of the salary of the plod ends up back in the tax system (and the purchase equipment with which he is supplied benefits the businesses who supply that equipment, and their employees, and the taxman benefits from both of these --- same is true for the coffee and doughnuts he buys when off duty etc.). Thirdly, the police keeping an eye on Assange are presumably not exclusively dedicated to that: if a high priority incident occurs nearby, some of them will surely be redeployed appropriately.

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Lies, damn lies and election polls: Why GE2015 pundits fluffed the numbers so badly

John H Woods
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Re: "shy tory"

"The media were pretty anti-Tory this time around" --- AC.

They most certainly were not. Most of the mainstream press came right out and said who they were supporting: e.g. read http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/election-2015-these-are-parties-britains-newspapers-are-endorsing-1499763

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Uber and car makers jockey for Nokia's 'HERE' maps – report

John H Woods
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Re: commodity...

"...if your car insides could be switched out by a robot..." -- phil dude

That's an intriguing idea: taking it further, we could all just have caravans with all the personal stuff we want in them, and when we need to go somewhere an autonomous tow-car turns up and takes us there. Autonomous vehicles, nobody owning their own motive power, and caravans everywhere! The entire infrastructure could be powered by harnessing the ensuing rage of Jeremy Clarkson.

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Traumatised Reg SPB team barely survives movie unwatchablathon

John H Woods
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I see your unwatchablathon ...

... and raise you a UK election night coverage

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Spooks BUSTED: 27,000 profiles reveal new intel ops, home addresses

John H Woods
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Re: Dropbear MASTERSHAKE?

"... including long extant languages!" -- Matt Bryant

I know quite a few long extant languages and they're still quite useful, certainly much more so than long extinct languages.

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Tesla's battery put in the shade by current and cheaper kit

John H Woods
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Re: 2kW Clothes Iron?

"Such is the sorry state of science & mathematics in journalism these days that the above fool sentence was published. At least in the USA ..."

We don't all live in the USA. There are several devices in my house in the 2-3kW range that plug into the conventional circuit. (Furthermore our socket circuits are usually ring circuits rated at 30A).

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Rip up your AMD obits: Gaming, VR, embedded chips to lift biz out of the red by 2016, allegedly

John H Woods
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Re: AMD APUs with HSA look ground breaking

I agree. Price performance is where the AMDs still hold their own against Intel. My kids have a cheapo gaming rig that is able to deliver perfectly acceptable HD frame rates on modern games on most settings, using an overclocked (and boy can they overclock) A10. Even before we added a proper graphics card (need a way to get started without killing the 300 quid budget) we were getting fairly respectable performance just using the A10s own GPU. With a moderately good AMD card added, performance is pretty good, and that and an SSD still didn't take the total cost over 500.

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New Tizen phone leaked: Remember it's not all just Android and iOS

John H Woods
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Re: get the units right

"the battery is a 2.0 Ah not 2000 mAh" -- AC

You could call this battery a 7.200E+03 Coulomb (i.e. Amp second) battery, but as most people are interested in how long the battery lasts and what the phone's power consumption is, it is more appropriate, in this CONTEXT, to use the derived unit of Current x Time rather than Charge. Similarly, the scale, in this CONTEXT, suggests that we use mA rather than A (given the sorts of power consumptions that phones have) and h rather than s (given the sorts of durations that phone batteries last).

* Also, as an aside, 2.0Ah is not quite the same as 2000mAh: the former suggests (a hundred times) less precision (i.e 1950mAh to 2050mAh rather than 1999.5mAh to 2000.5mAh) although again an understanding of the CONTEXT would suggest to most people that the range of variability is unlikely to be as small as 1mAh

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Tesla Powerwall: not much cheaper and also a bit wimpier than existing batteries

John H Woods
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"Aren't these things driven by cookies set by, er, sites visited previously?" -- Zog_but_not_the_first

I thought so. I certainly find 10 minutes looking at lingerie on Amazon brightens up my browsing for up to a week afterwards.

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Mozilla to whack HTTP sites with feature-ban stick

John H Woods
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Re: why, why, why... what is the point?

You'd better read (a) the news and (b) some history books.

If you think your news browsing, video watching, Register-posting habits -- or even your musical tastes -- do not let The Powers That Be characterise you pretty fully, you need to think again. The Powers That Be, here in "The West", of course, are reasonably benign (to what degree is a matter of discussion) at the moment; but there is absolutely no reason to assume they will stay that way, wherever you place them on the malignity spectrum at the moment.

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London Coffee Festival: Caffeine, tech and martinis on show in Shoreditch

John H Woods
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Re: Getting a good cup of coffee?

Phil Dude, I believe you are spot on. Charbucks over-roast their coffee on purpose to give it a distinctive strong taste that is mistaken for quality by people who don't know better.

I love Italian coffee --- Illy is fantastic when it is on special offer, Lavazza will do when it isn't. And I think Lavazza's Modo Mio pod machines are pretty good. But, although it's pretty hard to source in the UK, I also love Portuguese blends like Nicola.

Bialetti's are good, but I've never really enjoyed cafetiere coffee, as I find it hard to get a grind that is uniformly coarse enough to avoid the muddy bottom you get from the material too fine to be filtered by the mesh. But then I discovered the Aeropress ... great coffee from a cheap, robust, easily cleaned device with minimal environmental impact (and a bonus miniature arm workout if you put in enough grounds) -- what's not to like?

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Who thinks Microsoft Edge SUCKS? Erm, Microsoft

John H Woods
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Re: Hatters Will Hate!

Who cares what hatters think? They're all mad ... I'm told it's the mercury ...

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Boeing 787 software bug can shut down planes' generators IN FLIGHT

John H Woods
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Re: RAT trap

"Even the best trained pilots are going to break into a sweat when much of the power goes off and the last ditch RAT deploys. " -- AC

True; the AF447 pilots flew their perfectly airworthy plane into the ocean just because their pitot tubes froze, and they lost an instrument (airspeed) that they could easily have managed without, if they hadn't made such a big and fatal deal about it.

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Tesla reveals Powerwall battery packs for homes, Powerpacks for cities

John H Woods
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Re: "the horrors of an electric stove"

"its an absolute doddle to keep clean" --

Yes, and if you want you can even heat your pan through a layer or two of kitchen towels! I have no gas and always complained until I got my first induction hob. When I did, I was only hoping for it to be less of a disappointment than a conventional hob, but within a few hours I realised it was far superior to gas.

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SHA-1 crypto hash retirement fraught with problems

John H Woods
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@Boltar, Antonymous Coward

I was over-simplifying; however my comment was for the benefit of those who might be misled by the statement that "...hashing (one-way) function) ... from which it is impossible to recover the original information" and who might not realise, given the context, that that is true of all hashes, and not just of secure ones, and that the defining feature of secure hashes was actually collision resistance.

My statement that it is only really "secure" hashes where you can "recover" the input should be taken in that context, just an ironic fun point. Of course I understand that, in the absence of size restrictions, there must be an infinity of inputs that have any given SHA256 value. But the chances of the original input having the hash I quoted having been something other than 'password' are very small indeed. So although you cannot really "recover" the information from the digest, you have a lot better chance of guessing the input than you do for, say, a given CRC function. (Although obviously such guessing is severely limited --- the input would have to be present in a "rainbow" table of inputs for which you have already precomputed the hash).

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John H Woods
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"SHA-1 is a hashing (one-way) function) that converts information into a shortened "message digest", from which it is impossible to recover the original information."

This might suggest that inability to recover the original information is what makes a given hash function secure: it isn't. In fact, secure hash functions are actually the ones from which you might* be able to recover the original information!

A hash function is secure if it is (very) hard to create any different inputs with the same hash --- most particularly that it is very hard to manipulate the input in any manner whilst preserving the hash value.

* by using rainbow tables. e.g. if you say 5e88 4898 da28 0471 51d0 e56f 8dc6 2927 7360 3d0d 6aab bdd6 2a11 ef72 1d15 42d8, I know the original message is "password", but that doesn't mean that SHA256 is any less secure.

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Facebook serves up shaved, pierced, tattooed 'butterfly' as CAPTCHA

John H Woods
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Never mind Not Safe For Work ...

... that's Not Safe For Breakfast! ew.

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SpaceX in MONEY RING shot, no spare juice for tail backdown this time

John H Woods
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Spooky smartphones

Sometime in the last decade, enough idiots (including myself) had asked vague questions on the Internet and had them answered by kind knowledgeable people that internet search itself has become spookily good at vague queries. Having access to this knowledge in a dark country lane in the middle of the night is pretty weird when you stop to think about it.

The other night, walking the dogs, an image popped into my head, frustratingly without the words that should go with it (I'm getting old). My old mastermind of a dad being dead these past twenty years, I risked it: "OK Google. What's the name of the famous American painting of the old couple with the bloke holding the pitch fork?" Not only did the phone get the speech word perfect, but there was the answer: "American Gothic" by Grant Wood. When did it get that good?

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WHY can't Silicon Valley create breakable non-breakable encryption, cry US politicians

John H Woods
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The only thing that's harder than breakable unbreakable crypto ...

... honesty and intelligence in the political classes.

What has the OK Bomb got to do with it? I mean really? Why wasn't the guy jeered openly when he mentioned it? If we carry on being polite to these people, we're going to be in trouble.

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David Cameron 'guarantees' action on mobe not-spots. Honest

John H Woods
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Re: Maps

" These clueless morons have never heard of the inverse-square law and don't realise that holding their mobes to their lobes is going to irradiate them many thousand times more strongly than the antenna some tens of metres away through a few walls....." --- AlbertH

It's even worse than that ... by insisting there are no local masts, they cause phones to operate at much higher power levels: if you want to protect your kids you should insist there are masts on the school roof.

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'Use 1 capital' password prompts make them too predictable – study

John H Woods
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The metric ...

... there's only one measure of password quality, and that is approximate - it is how long a decent password cracker can run on it without success. Anything else, as shown here is actually scoring passwords on 'how well they fit our rules on passwords'. And when those are bad rules ...

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Avengers: Age of Ultron – blisteringly big banter, brawls and brio

John H Woods
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"The Blacklist is truly dire television, even by TV standards"

No! It's great!

Does that count as a counter argument? If not, your position is hardly better supported: saying you don't like it because the acting, direction and writing is bad is pretty much the equivalent of the announcement that the train is late because it has been delayed. Dismissing something so popular and widely acclaimed (by both critics and the public) as if its lack of quality is immediately apparent to anyone with half a brain is the equivalent of publicly stating that you are smarter than everybody else. It might be true, but it's yet to be proven.

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The huge flaw in Moore’s Law? It's NOT a law after all

John H Woods
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Re: Spelling Police

"1990s => 1990's"

I think this is a mistake by people confused by '90s which is, of course, acceptable.

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John H Woods
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Re: Inspiring Entrepreneurs

"...by adding a bit of a highly inflammable and volatile liquid with the chemical formula C6H6O" -- Roger Kynaston

Phenol? You first!

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Stuff your RFID card, just let me through the damn door!

John H Woods
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Having been asked why I was laughing ...

... I have just found myself reading the entire article to my two teenage sons who are on the verge of wetting themselves with laughter -- great work!

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Fukushima nuke plant owner told to upgrade from Windows XP

John H Woods
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Re: I'm suggesting it.

"Even if you are pessimistic about long term effects, you cannot round up any realistic guess at the nuclear impact to a level where it even counts as a significant part of the tragedy." -- me

"That's a very simplistic viewpoint, basically that tragedy equals death and nothing else." -- 1980s_coder

I disagree. What it actually says is that NX << MY where

N is the number of people living in (unnecessary) fear, and I accept your point that it may be large

X is the tragedy of a person living in fear in some arbitrary unit

(What is the El Reg unit of tragedy? Perhaps a 'Verdi')

M is the number of people who actually died (~15,000 < M < ~20,000)

Y is the tragedy of a person dying

I'm not discounting the tragedy of hundreds of thousands of people living in fear, sucks for them, even if they are worried about basically nothing. But I am still saying it's insignificant compared to the tragedy of thousands of people dying.

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John H Woods
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"I get one lousy capital letter wrong and ... " -- Simon Sharwood

file not found?

tag not recognized?

function not defined?

password not correct?

Probably not the right forum to expect any sympathy with case errors :-)

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John H Woods
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Re: I'm suggesting it.

"... it's ok not to build a wall higher than 10m (or whatever it was), to protect the emergency backup generators for the nuclear core coolant system." --- MIke 125

It's off topic, but I need to rant (again) ...

This annoys me a bit, the idea that nukes can only be considered safe in they are protected from everything. The Tohoku earthquake was a 9.0 magnitude affair epicentered less than 100km offshore, and had an energy of not far off 10 Teratons of TNT --- five hundred million Hiroshimas. Relatively ancient nuclear plant was hit by a massive earthquake and a huge tsunami.

The Tohoku earthquake caused at least 15,000 deaths, probably 20,000. The Fukushima nuclear "disaster" caused, erm, pretty much none. Even if you are pessimistic about long term effects, you cannot round up any realistic guess at the nuclear impact to a level where it even counts as a significant part of the tragedy.

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Don't worry, Apple hypegasms haven't gone in the WRISTJOB ERA

John H Woods
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Re: collect it?

UK mail order rights (e.g. returning non-faulty goods because you don't like them) cease to apply when you click and collect. If they mail it to your house, you have vastly more rights than if you take it from a shop, regardless of whether the payment was made online.

So my guess is they're avoiding the DSRs (Distance Selling Regulations) rather than the Posties.

*IANALBIPOOTI

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Hi, Fi: Google JOWL-SLAPS mobile bigguns with $20/mo wireless service

John H Woods
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Wow!

The Americans sure pay for their data: I use anything from 10 to 30GB per month for £15 in the UK; Hell, I even get some calls and texts thrown in! $10/GB? And it's competitive? Please tell me it's a misprint!

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Thank heavens for the silicon chip: A BRIEF history of data

John H Woods
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Re: True dat

I think Turing might have beaten you to that realisation by about eight decades :-)

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Trading Standards pokes Amazon over 'libellous' review

John H Woods
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Re: It actually MAY block them depending what callback service they're using

"I don't see the "Press 5 or go away" working with the usual cold callers. They are persistent beyond belief even when it is clear you are not interested from the offset."

I have a slightly tailored approach: "Unauthorized access to this system is an offence under the Computer Misuse Act, 1990. The access code is 1234." But I think it's mainly academic - many autodiallers have 'grunt detection' - a bit of software that tries to determine, from aspiration etc., whether the voice on the other end is live or a recording. Anything that sounds dull and flat causes a hang-up. Try it: answer the phone as if you were recording a message!

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Mortgage data splashed all over the net. Thanks HSBC Finance

John H Woods
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This is negligence, pure and simple...

... there's some pretty cost effective software I have come across that automates the discovery of personal content on publicly accessible web and file servers, and raises alerts accordingly. I think you might even be able to do it with Google Alerts if you used your imagination.

Certainly the Goog, and other major search engines, could easily run a service which lets you know if it discovers things that look like bank account numbers, social security numbers, even addresses, on your site. You set up some exclusions, like the company's own address :-) obviously --- and as soon as you get a notification email, e.g. "The number of publicly accessible bank account numbers on your site has increased from 3 to 123,456, and the new instances are here: ..../path/to/cockup" then you can start doing something.

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The data centre design that lets you cool down – and save electrons

John H Woods
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Immersion ...

... is it still a thing? IS2R people were, a few years ago, pretty excited about liquid cooling - either immersing the whole lot in non conductive liquid or pumping it round the racks ... but googling just turns up futurology and hobbyist stuff.

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KABOOM! Billionaire fingers dud valve in ROCKET WIBBLE PRANG BLAST

John H Woods
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Re: The gopro footage

"Getting it right once, will prove nothing." -- eesiginfo

I disagree; surely getting it right once proves that it is not impossible?

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So why exactly does almost ALL tech live in Silicon Valley?

John H Woods
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" ... economics isn't really all that much good at predicting the next recession ... but it is pretty good at working out why the world is the way it is"

Science is pretty good at working out why the world is the way it is, and we know this because its explanations lead, eventually, to testable predictions. This definition of economics makes it look, to me at least, like little more than a highly specific branch of history.

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Let’s PULL Augmented Reality and CLIMAX with JISM

John H Woods
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Re: I prefer to call it ..

"This is where googles glass missed a trick, detect when you are gazing idly at a ladys bosom, and desaturate the rest of the picture..."

Actually, this is where The Guardian Aced it with their April Fools day Guardian Goggles --- check out 01:45 where the demonstrator picks up an abandoned Daily Mail in a coffee shop

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One small shot for Man, one espresso maker IN SPAAACE: Dragon snatched by ISS

John H Woods
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Re: Trash?

Many "American" words (fall, faucet), the -ize ending, and the weird date format are originally English exports that they kept. Trash is one of these words.

"Gentlemen all, I do suspect this trash

To be a party in this injury."

-- Iago, Othello, Act 5 Scene 1, W. Shakespeare

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Graphic designs: Six speedy 17-inch gaming laptops

John H Woods
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My son's Bargain Gaming Laptop ...

1) an old T420 from fleabay with a decent i7, 16GB RAM, 128TB SSD for OS and 1TB Hybrid SSHD for Content (£300 + £100)

2) a Village Instruments eGPU box with a PCI-E interface (£100)

3) a decent PCI video card for the above (£200)

4) (optional) external monitor (£200)

Not only does he get a cheap, tough laptop with decent battery life, but when plugged into the other stuff, back at the dorm, he gets framerates that challenge your average gaming laptop. Feeding the video back into the laptop, rather than an external screen, it's eminently playable (60fps on fairly high graphics settings for many games), but on an external monitor, the frame-rate for any given graphics setting is approximately double (I presume the constraint is the speed of the PCI-E).

Not as portable as any of these covetable boxes, but pretty good going for an impoverished uni student who is away from his home gaming rig for whole WEEKS at a time :-)

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What's Meg Whitman fussing over: The fate of HP ... or the font on a DISRUPTIVE new logo?

John H Woods
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Float

Does it look to anybody else that the green rectangle (I eschew the word pine as I am r/g colourblind) should have been in the whitespace in the bottom right, but it has somehow ended up on the top of the picture?

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Google's new scribble-tab-ulous handwriting interface for Android

John H Woods
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I just want...

a microwriter-style bluetooth device that sits comfortably in the (either) hand... Never really understood why the portable one handed chording keyboard has not been resurrected.

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Help! We need to pick a platform for our desert adventure

John H Woods
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Story of my life ...

Them: "We're starting a new project ... can you help us design a ... "

Me: "Sure, that'll be a fun challenge ..."

Them: "We've already committed to technologies X, Y and Z ..."

Me: *sigh*

A significant amount of technology is 'golfware' --- its role in your new project has been decided on not just before you or any other technical person has been approached, but before the decision makers have reached the 19th hole.

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Android gets biometric voice unlocking

John H Woods
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Pattern unlock (and to some extent PIN) not that secure --- many screens show some residue of the patters. Face unlock is fun gimmick (although I think I need to know why my eldest son can unlock my phone and not my youngest!) but not good enough to secure your phone.

Who's for an implanted RFID chip?

+1 for the Tasker ref. You can do other stuff as well - keep the phone unlocked if it is in certain locations (GPS) or if earphones are plugged. Redirect calls from certain numbers (boss? mistress?) if you are at home ... lots of great stuff, with such a good visual scripting interface that you can use it to get (certain sorts of) kids interested in scripting and programming ...

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Soil and sand harden as SPEEDING MISSILES and METEORS SLAM into GROUND – boffins

John H Woods
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"Sounds like the old experiment you can do with cornflour" -- 1980s_coder

+1 for ooblek reference, but is it really the same? In that liquid, it's the mechanics of the starch chains moving over each other (sliding or jamming) which is causing the behaviour --- seems to me that what is happening here is a sort of piling up of particles in front of a penetrating object, rather than any change in the inter-particle interactions?

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