* Posts by Mage

4606 posts • joined 23 Nov 2007

Little warning: Deleting the wrong files may brick your Linux PC

Mage
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Re: This is like BIOS flashing by Unix commands

Yes, though I'm surprised it's not mounted RO by default. Why even does it need to remain mounted after boot is complete, rather than mounting it only if something needs changed?

So, some stupidity by user*, but I wonder why it's implemented like this anyway.

(*I'd wonder what else such a use of "rm" might remove on some systems. Pretty much EVERYTHING appears as a file in UNIX like systems.

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Mage
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Old Linux Steam Client ...

I'm not a linux guru, though using and installing it since 1999 and flavours of UNIX since 1985 ... Is there a way to make "rm" command safer?

I don't remember any accidents with it, though I have used it. There is always a first time -_-

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Mage
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Re: So, exactly...

Don't wipe ALL of the OS, you CAN wipe all of the disk. A new partition or format (via boot from CD/DVD/USB stick) will not erase these files, as they only appear when the OS is running: "... it is not a file on the hard drive, just a set of special files that represent efi variables."

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Mage
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Boffin

Not on the HDD

Just like TTY looks like a file on your HDD, my understanding is that these "files" are not actually files on the HDD, but in the Mobo's flash memory. Hence by default it would be safer if they were mounted on RO mode. I believe it's possible for example to have a device driver that mounts the 64 bytes RAM of a RTC chip (as used in 386, 484, old pentiums etc) on any mount point in the filesystem.

Fortunately I don't yet have one of these new fangled machines. I did once send back a bricked Mobo. There was a flaw in the "CMOS /BIOS Setup" such that if you didn't exit (save or not) from the setup pages and simply hit the power button or unnplugged it (or had a power cut) it would brick the mobo. This is a quite different sort of flaw. UEFI sounds to me like a poorly thought out boot mechanism that is more vulnerable. I liked Mobos that had a physical jumper for flash RW vs RO as even on regular older non-UEFI, I've seen re-write utilities of flash via Windows on some DELL PCs. I didn't see one with a 2nd jumper for enable write to settings too. But if I was designing a system I'd have two jumpers. All security bets are off anyway with local access. Why not make it that remote access to BIOS (of any type) to change settings or re-write contents needs changing a physical switch. If people want it can be left always closed, or a cable to a panel keyswitch / button etc to avoid need to open box.

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Rooting your Android phone? Google’s rumbled you again

Mage
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Thumb Up

Re: This is not...

Payments on a Phone. Is it secure and private anyway? I agree, It may be your phone, but it's Google's payment system. c.f. Pay TV access, gas, electricity and water meters?

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Chip company FTDI accused of bricking counterfeits again

Mage
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Re: Goodbye FTDI

Impossible for most people to know if they are buying a counterfeit chip. This is unreasonable behaviour by FTDI.

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Most of the world still dependent on cash

Mage
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IBAN

It can work over mobile phone.

Anonymous is a separate issue, the problem is it makes it hard to pay bills via third party or get money back on faulty or undelivered goods. It's most attractive for purchase direct of illegal goods and money laundering.

Why has USA not adopted IBAN? It's better than Paypal and FAR better than Western Union or similar. Also better than credit cards or debit cards for safe payment.

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Cloud growth? Take a number, Microsoft. Two engines have stalled

Mage
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SQL Server, Systems Server, Systems Center products

So not actually "Cloud" (i.e. subscription hosting / Azure MS 365) at all!

Idiots.

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Intel and Micron's XPoint: Is it PCM? We think it is

Mage
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Duck

Sounds like a better duck?

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I love you. I will kill you! I want to make love to you: The evolution of AI in pop culture

Mage
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Nice review of Robots in fiction ...

The Three laws are a Mcguffin, a plot device to explore how they can be broken.

Iain M. Banks is self indulgent fantasy.

None of the examples are real attempts to propose what AI might be or do. They are irrelevant to AI research and development, which in reality has hardly advanced since Alan Turning mused about it. Even the Turing Test wasn't a serious proposal for a real AI test, but a bit of a thought experiment.

We still aren't too sure exactly what natural intelligence is, though we think that corvids (crows) are inexplicably smarter than some primates. There seems to be little or not correlation between brain size and self awareness, ability for language, creativity, problem solving, art, and tool creation and use, all things thought to indicate intelligence.

"AI" in broadest sense has only made progress by having a very narrow definition of it, and heavily relies on a human expert, human programmers and a database to initialise the system. It shows none of the sort of characteristics seen in children, corvids or other animals.

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31 nations sign data-sharing pact to tax multinationals

Mage
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Expand it now!

Caribbean countries, Singapore etc.

I'm not so worried about USA today, as its tax laws are a different problem to this one.

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Senate marks Data Privacy Day with passage of critical bill for Safe Harbor

Mage
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Devil

extend US privacy rights to Europeans.

Pull the other one.

Compared to Europeans in Europe, the Americans in USA have very little in the way of Privacy rights. USA rights do not meet European standards.

It's true of course that some aspects of UK and Irish practices don't meet EU standards, but way above USA.

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AI no longer needs to fake it. Just don't try talking to your robots

Mage
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Actually ...

This article is written by a buzz word fan with no real knowledge of AI, or some one trying to get funding for so called AI research. The examples are nonsense.

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Mage
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but simply to be automated in an intelligent way

1) That's a rubbish definition

2) No robot carpet cleaner or grass cutter meets it.

A lego mindstorms RSX 1.0 can do the same as "robo vac" and has no A.I. at all.

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Back to the Future's DeLorean is coming back to the future

Mage
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Re: Not a good idea

It was fibre glass with a glued on stainless steel skin!

Came off easily, dented easily ... Not particularly heavy.

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Mage
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Facepalm

Re: A couple points ...

Even at the time critics said:

Too low power an engine

bad handling

Stainless Steel skin shakes off the fibre glass body.

Questions about safety of gull wing doors (other gull wings since can open if car on roof)

He was a con man and the car was just styled to look distinctive, it's rubbish really.

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Google DeepMind cyber-brain cracks tough AI challenge: Beating a top Go board-game player

Mage
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Paris Hilton

Very Impressive

But like World beating chess playing computers, it's only AI if you redefine AI. It's clever programming by humans. Not AI.

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'Unikernels will send us back to the DOS era' – DTrace guru Bryan Cantrill speaks out

Mage
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Re: 80386 vs 80286

The 386 allowed more RAM. But the real advantage for PCs / MS was being able to to run DOS apps etc at same time. The 286 could only sensibly run a real OS.

The Pentium Pro didn't have the switching of 386, 486, Pentium I & II, so ran NT with DOS apps in NTVDM fine and WOW for 16 bit windows. But it ran Win95 or any mix of code bases slowly as it didn't have that rapid switch of the 386. Win95 killed the Pentium Pro. The multi chip PII in a plastic box and plug in card ran NT slower than Pentium Pro, but mixed bag of Win95 or Win98 stuff faster.

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Mage
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Re: "DOS was a retrograde..."

Yes, the x86 was little more than a beefed up 8085 / Z80 with 64K segments. Intel had a translation tool so CP/M 86 was a REALLY fast port of CP/M. DOS was MS's bought in reverse engineered CP/M 86

Wang and others sold 286 PCs with Xenix or UNIX.

MS even owned and sold Xenix for 80286 for a while. I installed it once, in 1987, though I don't know if the pre-troll original SCO owned it by then.

The 8088 and 8086 weren't real 16 bit CPUs at all. You could only do the same things as on a Z80. Actually later Z80s had MMU and 512K RAM. (The Amstrad PCW was years later). There were 3 or 4 real 16 bit CPUs before IBM even did the PC, which wasn't meant to be a serious project. Hence the catalogue parts and bought in DOS. That's apart from multichip solutions that ran UNIX before 1980. The IBM PC was simply a big metal version of Apple II with only text display (graphics later!) and only 320K floppy. Compare Victor 2000 / ACT Sirus 1 (same rubbish CPU) that was a year later in USA, but released about same time in UK, as IBM PC only really was available in UK in late 1981.

So the ENTIRE IBM PC HW & SW, held back desktop computing for 5 to 10 years!

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Mage
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Re: Windows/NT must be 20 years old at least.

1993. for NT 3.1 So 23 years old this summer.

Why is first NT, 3.1? Dunno really, but after MS & IBM fell out on OS/2, MS did have rights to MS OS/2 (with built in Lanmanager.). I saw this once with a class room of Win 3.11 workstations via cheapernet (thin BNC ethernet) in early 1990s

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Mage
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Mushroom

Embedded?

You, sir, are barking mad. Decent Embedded systems are even more secure and robust. They need to be with no user with a keyboard, mouse and screen to fix stuff, and maybe massive loss of equipment or life if it "crashes".

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WTF? Been seeing a lot of recommendations for Mint Linux to newcomers, why?

Mage
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Paris Hilton

Re: WTF? Been seeing a lot of recommendations for Mint Linux to newcomers, why?

Samba server is fine on Linux, if you DON'T use nautilus or any other GUI to set it up!

Samba Clients on GUI to an ordinary NT server (or pre-Active Director Domain Controller) or Linux server are fine and have been for years.

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Mage
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Coat

Plus 1: Linux Mint + Mate

Mate with suitable adjustments seems to be closest to a decent pre-Kool-aid Ubuntu and pre Vista/Ribbon Redmond if you tweak it. (less effort than removing eye candy Aero stupidity on Vista or Fisher-Price Theme on XP to have a more NT4.0 / Win 2K / Win98 sane GUI)

Excellent on 4G CF card Aspire One Netbook (switch off the stupid slide show on Login screen!) and on a uber cored 8G RAM 2.4GHz desk top with 2T HDD. As I'm doing nothing needing 64bit, I'm using 32bit mate (the 32bit OS will host a 64bit VM on suitable CPU & Mobo). Unlike MS crippling of RAM on Windows since NT 4.0 Enterprise, it uses all 8G bytes RAM, I think NT 4.0 Enterprise was last 32bit window to allow more than 2.5G app and more than 4G OS space on 32bits?

Been using

UNIX since 1986, inc Xenix and Chromix

CP/M 1979 to 1991

MSDOS since 1981, also DRDOS and DR Multidos

Win Shell on DOS from 1990 till 1996 (WFWG 3.11) Used Win 95 & win 98 for games machine.

NT versions from 1994 (NT 3.5, 3.51, 4.0, NT 4 Enterprise Cluster, Win2K, XP, Vista (rubbish, Win 7 is a bug fix), Win 8.x. Seen 10, don't want! I have old laptops and PC with DOS 3.3, Win3.11, Win2K and XP for legacy uses and old HW I/O).

Used & maintained OS/2 for a while

Regular Linux user since 1999. (Redhat, Barak, Clarke Connect, Suse, Debian, Ubuntu, Mint).

Used Max OS9. OS X seems an expensive way to buy an eye candy version of BSD?

Mines the one with Z80 handbook in pocket.

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Stop the music! Booby-trapped song carjacked vehicles – security prof

Mage
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Re: why? it's been understood since the 1980s,

Actually the 1970s, or maybe earlier.

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If you can't buy bootleg gear online in New York, this may be why

Mage
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Paris Hilton

Re: Possibly...

Some of the "real" stuff is poorer or as cheaply made as more generic labels and brands (legitimate ones). That's why the "counterfeiting" is popular and easy.

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Two Corsair SSDs destroyed thanks to faulty PSU from Maplin

Mage
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Maplin = Boys Toys

They also sell stuff not suitable for the local market in Ireland, despite having I think six stores. I get often same stuff at 1/5th price from china now.

I can't see what future they have c.f. Tandy/Radio Shack went down that route of selling cheap tools, toys and gadgets. They are gone.

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Folk shun UK.gov's 'expensive' subsidised satellite broadband

Mage
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Re: Satellite Broadband?

But even Scottish Islands are not "really far off locations".

Perhaps a very few people might need 100Mbps fixed wireless links, but fibre is cheap and easy and can go on the electricity poles, up water mains, inside sewers ...

No one anywhere in Europe needs Satellite. For 20Mbps + speed and >50G byte cap and low contention, fibre is cheaper.

This link showed (years old, about 2008) why even 10Mbps fixed wireless link will beat mobile, even "20Mbps" LTE. Even 100Mbps assumes a massive 20MHz channel, or 4 x 5MHz channels, only ONE user and less than 200m and/or perfect signal! At cell middle distance with and economic number of customers you have no g'tee you even connect. ALL mobile is connect on demand. Satellite the contention is customers over a vast area. It's a last resort for disasters, deserts, oil rigs, ships and jungles. Not the Highlands and Islands.

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Mage
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Satellite Broadband?

An oxymoron. Even with Ka Band now the caps and contention is terrible. One fibre fed street cabinet can have more capacity than the ENTIRE data via satellite for all of Europe!

Also the latency is terrible.

Satellite links spoof TCP/IP etc, so the modem and ground-station only support whatever VPN the provider has a proxy server for in the modem and ground-station.

It's not broadband, though apart from latency may be better than mobile, which is never broadband either.

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How to save Wikipedia: Start paying editors ... or write for machines

Mage
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Re: Catch 22

Make a few websites ...*

write the wiki article citing the sites (it really does happen, it's not just an XKCD cartoon).

The information may not actually be real

(* use Anoymisation of Whois data ...)

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Mage
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People kept using them hoping that the crashes would happen to somebody else ...

I thought this was going to be a stunning exposé of Windows 10 and MS Office.

Really Wikipedia has pretty much put many Encyclopedia compilers out of the business. MS claimed that's why they were shuttering Encarta, not that it was much good. Actually, very many encyclopedias 19th & 20th Century were not brilliant, Arthur Me, World of Knowledge, Crompton, Pears, Harmsworth etc.

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Apple CEO visits EU regulator to discuss tax bill

Mage
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Apple products support more than 1.4 million jobs across Europe

O’Reilly?

Doing what?

Actual employees?

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Davos 2016: It's now all about technology, but what actually happened?

Mage
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Fourth Industrial Revolution?

No. It's a gradual process that started in late 17th C. Accelerated in 1760s, Electrification and Electrical Communication accelerating since 1831, enabled by Volta's 1799 batteries. A huge acceleration in Victorian Age, which is really the birth of Electrical Age.

We are still in the overlapping Steam age, think how gas, coal, oil, waste, nuclear and even future fusion makes electricity? Large industrial solar plants may use mirrors and steam to make electricity too.

There is no 4th revolution, Automation is a gradual process that started with Jacquard Loom, then automated manufacturing in 1930s. From 1970s the micro-controller became increasingly dominant.

Web sales of physical goods is the Victoria Mail Order Catalogue with faster ordering (online) and only faster delivery from China etc, local delivery can be slower than Victorian Railways + Ferries (English Channel and Irish Sea).

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Mage
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Coffee/keyboard

... Davos was all about finance and politics

Still is. Don't anyone kid themselves. Technology is just as important today as in 1916, i.e. very, but only as a commodity to achieve the financial and political goals.

Nothing has changed, maybe press releases and commentators are simply using more tech buzz words to distract from real issues, or because it sounds good?

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Irish government websites hit by widening DDoS attacks

Mage
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Facepalm

Apple Fans?

Wouldn't Brussels be a more likely target than too friendly to USA Megacorps Ireland?

Or maybe it's someone that doesn't like Ireland for harbouring the EU & EMEA HQs, and sometimes world except USA HQs of USA corps.

Actually most USA Corps are able to avoid Corporate Tax no matter where they are (Starbucks, Amazon etc) and the real reason for the Irish based operations is the pathetic enforcement of regulations in Ireland (c.f. Financial Regulator and Irish Nationwide and Anglo Irish Bank, or Communication Regulator and anyone, or ASAI for adverts standards or the Government Consumer protection etc ..,)

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Mage
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Devil

DDOS

Not primarily about security. ANY resource excessively accessed by miscreants will result in the normal users experiencing treacle like response. That's not testing security but capacity and performance. Which is unrelated.

Malicious morons.

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Rust 1.6 released, complete with a stabilised libcore

Mage
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People are in Denial about C and C++

Yet this problem was well known in late 1970s. Languages, tools and frameworks to avoid it were ignored, especially by the PC programming community 1980s.

I hope this good idea fares better than previous ones. Problem is pressure to start producing code and belief that something so flexible it's insecure is somehow a "better" solution.

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Five technologies you shouldn't bother looking out for in 2016

Mage
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Re: Augmented reality

If you have coverage, can afford the data plan and can read rather that recognise obvious landmarks.

AR is pants.

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Mage
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Happy

Re: Five technologies you shouldn't bother looking out for in 2016

Because Windows is getting so bad, and Mac so expensive and Minimalist on ports etc we can't be sure that Linux won't be the last Desktop?

Excellent Dabsy.

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IRA’s former political wing takes aim at Apple over back tax

Mage
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Paris Hilton

Re: Republicans

Ordinary republicans in normal sense that want constitutional unification by consent are "Nationalists".

Traditionally "Republican" in Capital R sense is those that LOST the Civil war and don't accept the partition of 1921, the anti-treaty people. Since the 1950s "Republican" means anyone wanting the 6 UK Counties added to the 26 by ANY means possible. Fianna Fáil also known as Fianna Fáil, The Republican Party were on the "losing" side. Technically SF is really Provisional SF, the political wing of Provisional IRA, a splinter from the Official IRA, a Northern splinter of part of the Anti-treaty of 1921 side.

Some long while ago Fianna Fáil became The republican party as they agreed to abandon the Territorial claim to the Northern six counties. Only SF is now a "true" Republican party in the bizarre Irish sense of the word. They make the Tea Party, Trump, Palin etc look logical. They are in reality run by the IRA Army Council in Northern Ireland (the bit in the UK).

The last Irish High King was nearly 1000 years ago and the coronation stone was lent to the Scots, who managed to let the English take it to Westminster. No-one in Ireland's 26 counties has been wanting a Monarch for about 900 years.

Republican thus, like USA, doesn't mean what you think. Though the Irish ones are left wing and think Stalin, Cuba, Libya, PLO etc are great.

SF stand for Election to Westminster. They do not swear the oath, nor recognise the Government of UK. Till very recently they didn't recognise the Irish Government either. I'm not sure given recent comments about Supreme Court that they really recognise the Irish State.

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Mage
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thought to have a fair chance of ending up in government

Wash your mouth out!

Thought by who? The only plausible partner, Fianna Fail, has said absolutely not due to SF support of "Slab" Murphy and their attack on Ireland's Judicial system.

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Thousands fled TalkTalk after gigantic hack, confirm researchers

Mage
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“Customers have lost faith in TalkTalk as a trustworthy brand."

Ha Ha Ha

If honest advertising was enforced and easier to leave they not really be gaining any and losing a lot more.

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Continuum gets some Qualcomm mid-range support

Mage
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Paris Hilton

Daft

Since most phones ALREADY support USB Mouse, Keyboard and HDMI screen ... (My Ancient Sony Ericsson Z1 does) why isn't such a feature simply a HDMI + Bluetooth dock (or custom Power + USB Data + HDMI dock) with 1920 x 1080p 16" screen that works for almost any phone, no matter OS?

Even my Symbian E65 had some sort of option. Really this isn't hard and should have been in all Smart phones since Win Phone 6.0 Era.

I certainly don't want a proprietary dock that ONLY works with Win 10. I've tried my ancient Z1 Android with an HDMI screen, USB Keyboard and mouse on a hub. Main issue is some applications and lack of multiple windows.

If one had a phone with 32G byte SD card, dock with WiFi, ethernet, 4x USB 2.0 and HDMI for a screen, then many people wouldn't need a laptop. No need to sync.

You'll prize my real x86 32bit laptop out of my cold dead fingers, but really someone could have done this properly 14+ years ago (I had Nokia Communicator).

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Pentagon fastens lasers to military drones to zap missiles out of the skies

Mage
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Re: Isn't there a standard defence against lasers?

The Laser can't stay on one spot long enough. The mirror doesn't need to be perfect. The missile can even have some spin.

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Mage
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Interesting: Yes. Practical: No.

Makes the power supply issue worse.

I can't see how this can work from technical viewpoint.

Also anyone with missiles needing shot down can do two things:

1) Coat missile with what ever the laser's guidance mirror uses.

2) Shoot down the drone, which is going to have to be very big and slow.

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New open-source ad-blocking web browser emerges from brain of ex-Mozilla boss Eich

Mage
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Re: Sounds interesting

No, sounds creepy.

I can see no reason why I'd switch to this from Firefox, unless Mozilla totally mess up. As it is, I need "Classic Theme Restorer" on Linux Mint with Mate and Windows to have sensible GUI / UX interface. I had to install an addon/plug in thingy on Thunderbird too.

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Which tech stocks are suffering and – crucially – why?

Mage
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Etsy ...

eBay for pretty things of no practical use?

Amazon and eBay may eat them up...

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Mage
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Geocities?

Maybe you mean Friends reunited or Bebo?

Yahoo shuttering Geocities wasn't about money, If they were losing money on it they were idiots.

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Waving Microsoft's Windows 10 stick won't help Intel's Gen 6 core

Mage
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Flame

Innovation?

People want usability, stability, reliability and same or lower costs. Not 'innovation" of itself. Instead we have a version of windows that isn't what is wanted (people just want an updated XP) and stupid ill thought out Intel security.

Battery life? Well, nice, but if you really care as a user you might be taking a spare pack... Oh I forgot, to make some of these machines stupidly skinny so no optical drive can be fitted the battery is glued in.

Unless life is 10 hours with Screen lit and disks whirring, do people care if it's 3 hrs or 4hrs? On a decent size and resolution 15" to 17" screen a lot of power is the screen.

Honestly I don't see much "Innovation" on laptops giving me a much better one than I bought in 2002. I don't care for a skinny one with only USB ports and ethernet if lucky, shiny instead of matte screen, no optical drive and 17" wide to get 1080 vertical resolution instead of the 1200 vertical resolution on a 4:3 15" screen.

There are some high end "retina" resolution models, but you need 17" rather than 15" because 16:9 instead of 4:3. I only watch video on a TV. I use a laptop to create stuff.

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Inside Intel's CPU-level multi-factor auth (and why we've got deja vu)

Mage
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Devil

Oh dear.

So far I see no decent alternative to a separate password for each resource of style r2&Ha+bnjg^23 in a notebook kept in a safe place, not in the laptop bag.

You can't change biometrics if they are stolen.

A PIN isn't secure (I've opened a door lock by looking at which four buttons are more slightly worn).

Many personal details are easily found.

This is too complicated and inflexible.

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ETSI, CableLabs ask telco SDOs to help unscramble the NFV egg

Mage
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Coat

NFV & Software defined

"Instead of a system like a base station being wrapped up in a piece of hardware, it's turned into software that can run in virtual machines on generic (for example, x86) hardware."

Absolute hype and nonsense. You STILL need the real hardware and networking software everywhere. The "Software Defined" is really just a meta management layer on top to more easily manage a system of networks, edge routers, routers, firewalls, home servers, base stations etc rather than logging into a unique interface on each one separately.

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