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* Posts by cap'n

426 posts • joined 13 Jan 2008

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Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers

cap'n
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Re: living a lie

But you still don't know what is in Chaz's letters to ministers. And you probably never will. So you're really just guessing what him and the Queen think. Not that it would matter if you did know, since you don't get to choose your head of state anyway in the UK.

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cap'n
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living a lie

All those years we thought we were the good guys, we had freedom, rights to privacy, government of the people with proper oversight, and so on... it was a lie, and it has been for some time.

The most powerful dictatorship is the one in which the majority of people are convinced that it isn't really a dictatorship at all, by having a few crumbs such as 'free and fair' elections thrown at them every few years to give the illusion of choice. Surely the fact it makes no difference what government gets in should have been ringing the alarm bells, but apparently not.

In the UK, it emerged that Prince Charles actually has special powers, largely secret, to lobby and veto policies by the democratically elected government. The Guardian has been fighting unsuccessfully to reveal the scale of use of these too:

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/mar/12/attorney-general-unlawful-prince-charles-letters

Yet this quite huge constitutional issue has got hardly any coverage outside of the Guardian.

Here, look at these six pages of photos of some nice looking baby on holiday in New Zealand, please don't ask what his grandad has been up to in the UK and the compliant 'journos' will all get gongs in a few years while those at the Guardian will get added to no-fly lists or shaken down every time they even transit a 'friendly' country.

The rich and powerful are fully in control in the US too of course:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/04/08/rich-people-rule/?tid=pm_politics_pop

They're all at it... more power at the top, but don't let the people know about it and there is little they can do about it because most simply don't know enough to care.

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Look out, bankers! It's Lily Cole and her (Brit taxpayer-funded) WISH-PRINTING ATM

cap'n
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It's good to know that the British government has such excellent stewardship of our tax pounds.

Imagine what these politicians could do if the yoke of EU oppression was removed and their hands were untied?

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Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders

cap'n
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You can wipe off any 'profits' they expected to get from my Android purchases, I would not have purchased iDevices instead, it would have been a pure linux device instead

Not even that, Apple hasn't sued other Android vendors, they're just fixated on Samsung because it happens to have been successful. So you'd probably have bought an Android device from someone else who hasn't been sued by Apple, including Google itself which has of course shifted a lot of self-branded hardware.

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Heartbleed vuln under ACTIVE ATTACK as hackers map soft spots

cap'n
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Re: foss

One bug doesn't negate the fact that security via obscurity is a bad thing.

You're perhaps deliberately implying that closed-source is security through obscurity. This isn't the case. Many closed source software includes all manner of security measures which are published and explained in great detail, even if the source code itself isn't. Closed source is only security through obscurity if there are little or no security measures other than simply hiding how things work and hoping nobody figures it out. Very little major software operates on these lines in reality, though quite a lot used to.

This Heartbleed issue would tend to confirm that there is no silver bullet - code can be open source, and yet serious issues could still lurk in widely deployed code for years.

As someone who has worked on both closed source and open source projects, the level of complacency in the FOSS community is a real concern to me. I hope this issue is a wake up call and that people start to question their assumptions. You simply cannot assume that just because code has been out there in public view and widely deployed for years means it's safe... how many people have *really* looked at it?

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Uh oh! Here comes the first bug in the Windows 8.1 Update

cap'n
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Trollface

Re: MICRO$~1 net income ..

How much of this do MICRO$~1 spend on testing the software?

More than any Linux vendor spent testing OpenSSL?

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Running OpenSSL? Patch now to fix CRITICAL bug

cap'n
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Re: And this is why you cannot trust open source

The fact that world renowned security experts such as Bruce Schneier disagree with you and state that "security by obscurity is no security at all," leads me to trust their opinion, rather than that of some anonymous internet commenter

You're misinterpreting Bruce Schneier here to bolster your case. He did not say that closed source is not secure. What he said is relying on obscurity for security purposes is not secure. There is a difference - a very big difference.

As it happens, Schneier confirmed after the Snowden revelations that he primarily uses Windows himself....

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I QUIT: Mozilla's anti-gay-marriage Brendan Eich leaps out of door

cap'n
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really cannot see what the fuss is about

Mozilla is not some government department, it's a corporation.

The CEO is free to support whatever political causes he likes.

Anyone else is free to demand he be fired if they don't like that.

The CEO is entitled to resign if he wants to. And the board are entitled to fire him if they want to.

And all the people whining about freedom can organize a boycott to have him restored, if they want to.

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New Sammy patent trial: Apple seeks $40 PER 'infringing' handset

cap'n
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Re: Oh come on.

Apart from the fact that Microsoft has not sought to ban Samsung or other Android devices in the courts, and most manufacturers have eventually agreed patent fees with Microsoft without any litigation.

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GNOME 3.12: Pixel perfect ... but homeless

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Re: Nope

Is it really for someone else to finish this feature by providing a decent user interface for it? Think of the kicking Microsoft gets for Windows 8, even though there are several third party apps to add the start menu back. The reason is that it is not someone else's job to fix something that should simply be in there from the start.

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Spooks vs boffins: MIT bods say they've created PRISM-proof encryption

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better than nothing

The biggest problem at present with government surveillance is not that they can spy on terrorists or selected people that they decide to focus on - it is that they can pretty much spy on everyone simultaneously. And this is what they're doing.

And they can do this while the data is en route (even with SSL, it seems) or stored on cloud servers (where the big corps all conspire or are forced to grant them access), so there is no risk of discovery by the surveilled.

If this makes it harder to do that, increases the resources required such that they can no longer do blanket surveillance of everyone all the time, then it is a positive step. Of course there are still ways around this, trojans and backdoors. But those have a risk of discovery, especially if they attempt to roll them out to everyone.

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NSA spies recorded an entire COUNTRY'S phone calls for a MONTH: Report

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keeping us safe

They record the entire world's facebook and gmail, watch lovers doing rude things on yahoo chat and even monitor your angry birds activity. And they have spooks running round WoW looking for 'terrists' too.

But an airliner full of 250 people can vanish and 12 days later still be missing.

It's good to see they have their priorities straight after 911.

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Blighty goes retro with 12-sided pound coin

cap'n
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Re: iSIS...

Security by obscurity?

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cap'n
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Re: I'm not happy unless I'm complaining.

And Alex Salmond too, just in case they're bluffing.

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cap'n
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Re: ISIS Security

Yes, but mainly because the UK's cult of personality will be forced into worshipping a jug-eared twat who talks to plants.

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Straight to 8: London's Met Police hatches Win XP escape plan

cap'n
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y2k

Does anyone remember the hype over that? As a small business owner, I recall going on a 2 day course financed by the government in 99 (er.. 1999) to basically tell me to check all my gadgets for compliance statements on the internet.

Fast forward 15 years to this debacle. I still have customers contacting me with various issues, sending me screenshots of their Win XP machines running IE6. I point out to them they better get on and upgrade to something else, some seem unaware, others are but insist they only use this machine for occasional stuff so it's not a big deal if it gets burned. I get the impression that most just don't take the threat seriously, perhaps in part due to memories of the failed hype over y2k.

I suspect this is going to be one of the big stories of 2014.

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Roll up, roll up for the Commentards' Ball

cap'n
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jeez

I imagine that a night down the pub with Reg commentards would be like a night out with UKIP, only with more beards.

Some things are better kept online.

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Windows XP market share GROWS AGAIN, outstrips Win 8.1 surge

cap'n
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Re: only in the warped reality field of the Register...

If your stockbroker tries to tell you a company increasing market share from 50% to 55% is faster growing than one increasing its market share from 2% to 6%, I would suggest you get a new stockbroker.

Each % point of market share translates to a number of PCs. Let's keep it simple and say the market is 100 million machines (of course the market is considerably bigger, but you get the point).

So 29.23 million machines up to 29.53 million machines vs 3.95 million to 4.1 million

Which is faster growing now that it is no longer a ratio of a ratio?

If you actually believe the answer to this question changes depending on whether you quote the original number of machines or a % of the total, then that really is maths abuse.

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cap'n
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only in the warped reality field of the Register...

... could a rise from 29.23% to 29.53% be considered 'faster growing' than 3.95% to 4.1%.

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Apple to maintain phone profit lead through years of 'enormous transition' – report

cap'n
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Re: History says otherwise

Apple got a way back partly because Jobs had a clear picture of the niche they needed to target. But also because the rise of the web and email in the late 90s as the major use for most PCs. This effectively diluted the monopoly effect of Windows, because you could choose another OS and still view/create emails and web pages that everyone else could read regardless.

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Another climate change myth DEBUNKED by proper climate scientists

cap'n
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religion and politics

When I see those who lack the appropriate scientific credentials laying into the clear scientific consensus on the basis they seem to *know* what is really happening, seizing on any morsel of 'evidence' they perceive helps make their case I cannot help but conclude the person is either a religious or political nut.

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SkyDrive is dead! All hail Microsoft OneDrive! Happy now, Uncle Rupe?

cap'n
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cannot get rid of it

I am using Win 8.1 and a recent update has stuck a little sky drive cloud logo in my system tray. There appears to be no way to turn sky drive off, at least not what would be the obvious way of right-clicking it and accessing some properties. I have dropbox already, all my phone photos go to that, and it syncs all my work. I don't need skydrive, but I appear not to be able to get rid of it.

It all looks rather like Microsoft back at its old tricks - build in something which an innovative company has already provided, and don't let people remove it, so a lot of people just end up using it by default.

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Snowden journo boyf grill under anti-terror law was legal, says UK court

cap'n
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information useful to Al Qaeda

Greenwald has released huge amounts of Snowden's information via the Guardian and other places. The government, NSA and GCHQ tell us this information is of massive value to terrorists.

So then.... where are all the mass attacks, the carnage, the end of the world? I've just looked down my street and there isn't a terrorist in sight, or any mushroom clouds, or bodies lying everywhere. And Al Qaeda have known that the NSA is spying on Facebook and Angry Birds for **months** now.

None of these surveillance schemes were ever about terrorists - it was always about mass surveillance of the general public.

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cap'n
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Re: Not quite the same

Presumably it is fine for the North Koreans to arrest and harass people there, if they find them to be in possession of information contrary to NK law?

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Angela Merkel: Let US spies keep their internet. The EU will build its own

cap'n
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Re: Too late..Angela

But she obviously does have something to hide, because her phone was tapped by the NSA/GCHQ.

And as has been made plain repeatedly, it's all about terrorism, the spooks are not interested in reading your emails or mine, or conducting corporate espionage.

So the only logical conclusion is that they suspect Merkel of creating bombs on her kitchen table or some other underhand activity to forward the cause of jihad.

Then again, it might be that we've been lied to....

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Brit boffins brew up blight-resistant FRANKENSPUD

cap'n
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misinformation

While introducing jelly fish genes or whatever to potatoes may make some people uncomfortable, you should consider that genetic material is rarely exclusive to any particular organism. For example, human beings share 36% of the DNA of a fruit fly, and 15% of that in mustard grass. If 'alien' genes can contribute to improving the crop, then where is the problem really?

It is true that we may be introducing genes and creating organisms that would not happen naturally, but subverting nature is hardly a new phenomenon. Human beings cannot fly or go into space, or swim 200m underwater, and yet science has enabled us to do these things too. We can cure countless diseases, avert some natural catastrophes and give some childless couples fertility that nature has denied them. All of this is playing 'god' too.

I suspect in 50 or 100 years, the bulk of the anti-GM lobby will appear as Luddites, what with their smashing up scientific trials and so on. Most environmental opposition is based on an ideological view that nature knows best, but they've happily watched scare stories being fed to the great unwashed such that the average UK tabloid reader thinks GM food is poisonous or causes cancer.

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Samsung flings sueball at Dyson for 'intolerable' IP copycat claim

cap'n
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samsung

The way Dyson talks, you'd think Samsung had form for copying an innovative rival who'd revolutionized the sector with cheap and inferior knock offs designed to look as much like the original as possible.

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New password system lets planet Earth do the hard work

cap'n
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I really don't think they've thought about this

Surely, the input method for this is going to be exceptionally complicated? I want to select Taipei 101... so I have to go hunting on some map for Taiwan, find Taipei, and so on? And do that each time I login?

Or I suppose they could simplify the interface to a text box, and I can type in 'Taipei 101' as my password. Which I could do right now of course.

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No, pesky lawyers, particle colliders WON'T destroy the Earth

cap'n
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yes let's just trust scientists...

...unless it's about climate change, and then we'll trust right wing radio hosts and Lewis Page instead

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The UNTOLD SUCCESS of Microsoft: Yes, it's Windows 7

cap'n
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open goal

The new Microsoft guy must be rubbing his hands. It's an open goal in front of him.

After Vista, MS just had to do a bit of tinkering to produce Windows 7 which is generally regarded as the best ever.

It's pretty obvious what changes Windows 8 need, if MS had have listened to feedback on the pre-release versions, they'd have done this from the start:

1. Put a proper start button back

2. Have a proper start menu

3. Don't force anything to full screen, don't split settings between desktop and full screen places.

Basically if they really must have these Windows apps things, then just have it as something that can run in a Window within the normal desktop environment so people aren't forced out of their desktop.

It doesn't need a huge amount of engineering or research to know what the problems are or to fix them. And as with Vista -> Windows 7, if they do a decent job, then they'll be able to sell it.

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Object to #YearOfCode? You're a misogynist and a snob, says the BBC

cap'n
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superficial at best

I saw an article recently regarding this which commented that coding was the new Mandarin. I think that is spot on.

I see parents now having their kids go to Chinese classes, as though an hour or two a week is going to give them any real benefit. Having learned Chinese some years ago, I can say that it is probably going to do nothing other than make them disinterested. They're certainly not going to end up speaking Chinese, other than the odd word. Coding seems to be no different.

Chinese, coding and such skills can only be learned by people who have an interest and a desire to learn, and so commit their own time to it because they enjoy it. It's not a bad thing to have these options presented to kids, and to ensure that those that are interested have the opportunity to get access to the right facilities. But to think that forcing kids to reach a certain basic level in these things is going to make any positive contribution to the economy is wishy washy nonsense.

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Magento bug left user credentials vulnerable: researcher

cap'n
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wow

What a howler. I imagine they're trying to avoid checking credentials on ever page for performance reasons, given that Magento isn't exactly spritely and snappy. But if you're going the route of not verifying the credentials on every page, it's pretty staggering they didn't consider they'd need some kind of hashing of the account credentials to prevent tampering like this.

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Microsoft denies reports of scrubbing Chinese-language Bing searches

cap'n
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not necessarily deliberate

It seems to me they're being a little bit quick to jump on Microsoft for this.

I imagine the quantity and nature of material on the Dalia Lama and other issues in both English and Chinese is significantly different. So it seems more likely to me that the search engine is just basing its results on what it finds in each language. Considering that most Chinese content will come from China, and will obviously be heavily censored, a search engine is probably going to give the Dalai Lama less prominence if relying purely on what it finds in Chinese.

Similarly, I would imagine a search for EastEnders is unlikely to produce the same quantity and prominence of results in Chinese as it would produce in English.

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'No, I CAN'T write code myself,' admits woman in charge of teaching our kids to code

cap'n
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Facepalm

Decisions like this only highlight how brilliant and insightful our political class is.

If only the shackles of the EU were removed, our talented and inspired politicians would be free to extend such brilliance in governance to every aspect of our lives.

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Renault unveils mini-SUV equipped with a QUADCOPTER DRONE

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gimmick

A more efficient (and safe) way to know conditions ahead would be the kind of GPS traffic feedback Google maps etc. already have.

Having spent a significant amount of time in that part of the world, i noted that trucks squashing minibuses jam packed with twice the legal number of occupants were a daily occurrence. I further noted (judging by the large crowd of gormless onlookers who never seemed to help or be even slightly moved by the mass carnage) that fatal car crashes were also the most popular form of entertainment. So it seems to me this Renault guy is slightly sugar coating it by claiming it will be used to see 'how serious a traffic jam is' - what he means is 'get some great video of severed heads and body parts'.

In a country with some of the most dangerous roads in the world, you'd think they'd be focusing on making a car that could survive a collision with a truck driven by an imbecile. But no, they've decided to accept that's how things are and build in the ultimate robot rubber-necking tool.

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Indian internet tunnelers trump Chinese web deniers

cap'n
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Judging by the high level of fraud and hacking attempts, I imagine most VPN use in Vietnam is scumbags trying to make it appear they're not in Vietnam while milking stolen credit card details.

India and Philippines probably accounted for by remote working.

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Microsoft's new CEO: The technology isn't his problem

cap'n
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For all his faults, Gates is a clever and successful businessman. He also seems to be a pretty nice guy, at least in terms of committing his fortune to fighting various diseases in the third world rather than winning sailing boat races or just taking a bath in money.

I don't know who this new guy is, but on the plus side, he's not Steve Ballmer. If Gates is going to be more involved in the business again, that is probably a good thing for Microsoft.

At least they've gone for a candidate who has a computing background. Going for the Ford guy would have been catastrophic. The world of tech changes fast, you need a CEO with a bit of vision to see how different things could be in 5-10 years. Jobs had that vision, Gates did too (and maybe still does). Ballmer most definitely did not.

The days of MS monopoly are gone; both Apple and Google have entire offerings to rival Microsoft in OS, mobile, cloud, apps, etc. More choice, is good for the consumer, and despite the obvious hatred many seem to have for MS, keeping them in the game benefits the consumer - even if they prefer Apple and Google stuff.

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Cameron: UK public is fine with domestic spying

cap'n
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Facepalm

let's just give them benefit of the doubt

Dave reckons the public support it, that's good enough for me.

Like when Tony said 'trust me' Saddam has WMDs.

Sadly I think the politicians know that they can do what they like as elections are decided on economics rather than civil liberties or foreign policy.

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Sinclair's ZX Spectrum to LIVE AGAIN!

cap'n
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oh joy

I can now hook up my PC to a keyboard that is virtually impossible to type on, and which had a habit of coming apart within a year.

Can they make their next product a USB drive based on audio cassettes?

Some things are just better left to the memory, or for those lucky enough to own the real thing.

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cap'n
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Re: Promise the world - small claims

I went to the small claims court about 10 years ago over a claim of around 1000 GBP. Basically I had a left hand drive car I'd brought in from Germany and registered in the UK; someone rear-ended me, and my insurance only paid up what it's 'value' was, which being LHD was about 25% less than what I in effect had to pay to get a similar make/model/age/mileage car.

Took a long time, the other party's insurer ignored me until a week or so before, then tried to settle for peanuts. By that point, I wanted my day in court. They sent some junior lawyer to the court, which is really just a judge's office where you both sit down at a desk and discuss it. If you're a little guy vs a lawyer or big corp, the judge will probably do most of the talking for you, especially if he's read the case notes and knows your position which he did in my case. If this happens, just shut up and let him get on with it, and just answer any questions he spoon feeds you with to make your case.

I won the case, got my money. But most important, it felt good to feel the system worked and that I hadn't accepted being trodden on.

It's relatively cheap, the other side cannot claim legal expenses (despite the fact they'll threaten to bury you with them to try to get you to drop your action). So you have very little to lose.

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Snowden speaks: NSA spies create 'databases of ruin' on innocent folks

cap'n
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I am pretty sure cameras and microphones in every house will also general a fair few leads too. Far more than reading everybody's email.

People might at first feel uncomfortable that they're being filmed w*nking in the shower, and being recorded whispering in their loved-one's ear at night. But the NSA are not interested in this. As long as you're not a terrorist you've got nothing to fear.

As a first step, let's make it voluntary, and all those supporters like yourself who value security over privacy and 'have nothing to fear' because you've 'got nothing to hide' be the first to have the cameras and microphones installed in their houses.

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Apple’s Mac turns 30: How Steve Jobs’ baby took its first steps

cap'n
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Re: Wired ethernet is not a rarity for laptops

Most offices I go into have wireless. Aside from the proliferation of various devices like phones, tablets and laptops which connect, we even ended up putting wireless dongles on our desktops as it just made networking so much easier without cabling and to manage everything in the same way.

I think the Macbook air was ahead of the field here, kind of like when the first iMac came out, everyone thought it was nuts there was no floppy drive. I have an Asus ultrabook, it is my main work computer now and although it has an ethernet adaptor that comes with it, I have only used it twice in two years or so. Wireless isn't great if you need the optimum network speeds, but it's fine for 99% of users.

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US govt watchdog slams NSA snooping as illegal, useless against terrorism

cap'n
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the real reason

One needs only to see yesterday's report that senior police in England are asking for water cannons in expectation of protests as further austerity cuts are made to see the real reason for all this blanket surveillance of everyone.

It's not terrorists they're worried about, it's the general public reaching breaking point as politicians and bankers get richer and more powerful while everyone else gets a pay cut and a boot stamping on their face.

The people in charge know exactly where things are heading - so they're increasing mass surveillance and loading up on hardware to put down the dissent they're expecting.

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BT-owned ISP Plusnet fails to plug security hole on its customer signup page

cap'n
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Re: VPN would not make HTTP traffic secure....

I have to agree that the source's own grasp of internet security seems somewhat primitive if he believes that using a VPN provides some kind of alternative to SSL.

That said, I am often amazed at the faux outrage of those who complain about forms running http for submitting personal details like name and address on small e-commerce sites (that use off-site payment gateways with SSL to handle just the credit card transactions). For a start, anything they order is going to have their name and address written on it, then sent via the postal system (and posties are not renown for their honesty). And these people don't seem to have a problem being in the phone book or electoral roll, or posting all manner of stuff about themselves on Facebook.

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Boeing bent over for new probe as 787 batteries vent fluid, start to MELT

cap'n
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Re: Fixing problems the Microsoft way

Failures are inevitable, however when aircraft components show a tendency to fail far earlier and more frequently than the engineers expect, then action should be taken to STOP the failures, not just mitigate the resuts of them.

Boeing never managed to reproduce the battery issue after the planes were grounded, and so they never found what caused the problem. So they just slapped on some sticking plaster and sent the planes up again with fingers-crossed. The FAA rubber stamped the fix I suspect for economic reasons, rather than because they were really happy it was a fix.

Now there is yet another fire.

Planes should not be allowed to fly when they have an important component that catches fire, and which has been 'fixed' without success. This time, the planes should not be allowed to fly until they actually identify how these fires are happening and make changes to them to stop it, not just put more fire protection around it.

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Modern spying 101: How NSA bugs Chinese PCs with tiny USB radios - NYT

cap'n
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Re: Proving His Enemies Right

And EU trade offices? Are you going to tell us the EU is a totalitarian dictatorship too?

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Light, fast ... and pricey: Toshiba's Portégé Z30 – now THIS is an Ultrabook

cap'n
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Re: Ultrabooks

I've had an Asus 13" ultrabook for couple of years. And I am a travelling businessman.

DVDs... seriously? It's 2014. I suppose you carry your music collection around with you on CD too? Bad too for anyone who's still on vinyl as it also lacks a turntable.

My ASUS came with two small dongles, one to plug ethernet in and another to plug VGA into the HDMI port. But let's face it, hotels, coffee shops and airports all have wireless, so who really needs to plug in these days? I imagine like most business people, the majority of what I do online is email and web browsing. What docs I am working on are backed up to Dropbox, so a few MBPS internet connection is just fine for that.

I don't play games on the thing to be honest, so maybe it's not great on that front.

But it is light, thin, sturdy (metal chassis), fast (decent CPU and SSD).

My only criticism would be that like most laptops, the battery has had it after about a year, but since I typically use it plugged in most of the time, I can live with it.

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Windows Phone app devs, this is for you

cap'n
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Trollface

Re: Well,

Windows Phone's market share is quite small, which must surely mean it is both technically inferior and ultimately doomed and not worth bothering developing for. Rather like Linux on the desktop.

No... wait a minute...!

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ALIEN WORLD Beta Pictoris snapped by Earth's Gemini 'scope

cap'n
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I remember at school in the 80s being told categorically by my science teacher that it was impossible to ever see or detect planets around even nearby stars from earth because they were simply too dim and their stars too bright. Less than 30 years later, there are hundreds of stars detected via indirect observations and now even imaging. Scientists never fail to amaze me with their ingenuity.

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