* Posts by John Sturdy

338 posts • joined 22 Jan 2008

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Smartphones are ludicrously under-used, so steal their brains

John Sturdy
Boffin

Re: Meh

Yes, powerful phones have helped make such computing power a commodity, and the same technology might as well be embedded in the devices. But interfacing with the phone identifies you to the embedded technology, and gives it your profile / preferences / settings.

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DEATH by VEGETABLES: Woman charged with killing boyf using carrots. And peas

John Sturdy
Coat

At least she didn't resort to triangular flapjacks.

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Land Rover's return: Last orders and leather seats for Defender nerds

John Sturdy
Linux

Do the honourable thing at the end of production, please, JLR

Please, for such a heritage item... when you stop the production, please open-source the design!

Then those who wish to produce [upwards-]compatible vehicles can start from a common base, and be compatible with each other.

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ALIEN HUNT: Water similar to life-bearing Earth lakes FOUND ON MOON of Saturn

John Sturdy
Boffin

Re: Don't want to rain....

No doubt the Finns will be able to make a variant of salmiakki from it.

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Rackspace in Crawley: This is a local data centre for local people

John Sturdy

Re: Nice picture ....

They're all virtual, and hence too small to see ;-) That way, when the NSA break the door down, they won't find them.

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Lawyer: Cops dropped robbery case rather than detail FBI's StingRay phone snoop gizmo

John Sturdy
Black Helicopters

Couldn't happen over here, of course ;-)

Here we can just hold trials partly in secret. (My best guess about R. vs Incedal is that something like this was involved, but I'm probalby being naive.)

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EXPOSED: Google, Obama caught doing it once a week

John Sturdy
Thumb Up

Whatever the downsides are, it's refreshing to see a government paying attention to someone competent in a field, rather than the usual crowd of bootlicking cronies.

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Nesting falcons interrupt £200m Vodafone 4G mast upgrades

John Sturdy
Boffin

Is there anything harmful in the base station signal at such a short range? I can imagine the Daily Mail getting hold of the story and predicting huge mutant falcons within a generation!

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Cisco posts kit to empty houses to dodge NSA chop shops

John Sturdy
Black Helicopters

Re: Don't buy US kit

China seems to be a threat primarily to its own citizens, and the Taiwanese, Tibetans and other neighbours. In the west, we're more likely to be troubled by western spying.

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Google Glass DIED from TOO MUCH ATTENTION, Captain Moonshot admits

John Sturdy

Re: Step by step

A cameraless version would have been of interest to me, for a map display while walking in an unfamiliar city in weather cold enough to put me off using a touchscreen phone (the touchscreen-compatible gloves I tried weren't warm enough for all conditions).

Having a camera on the device would put me off though, because people's response to that would damage normal human interaction, e.g. creep them out, piss them off, etc; if I want people to react this way, I'm sure I can do it without augmentation (e.g. talking about politics), but if I don't want them to react this way, I can't do that with augmentation. I don't want to predetermine that by wearing such a device.

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Going on holiday? Mexico wants your personal data

John Sturdy
Thumb Up

Re: I'm liking this Dutch MEP Sophie In ’t Veld

Even more encouragingly, she's on the USA's Secondary Screen Selection list: http://www.expatica.com/nl/news/country-news/Dutch-MEP-a-security-risk_157801.html

Perhaps that's just for supporting privacy, though.

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BBC: We'll give FREE subpar-Raspberry-Pis to a million Brit schoolkids

John Sturdy
Childcatcher

Re: bbc pi is 8bit amtelmega 32u4

The limitations may actually be the point. When kids see something as "a computer" in the modern sense, and think they're going to learn to make it do things like the ones they see computers already doing (e.g. modern games) there's a lot they have to learn to get far enough to stop them thinking that programming is beyond them; and then they will have only just scratched the surface.

But give them something which inherently limits their expectations (for example, having a small grid of LEDs instead of a full colour screen) and they'll have much more chance of taking it as far as their expectations, which is much more rewarding, and likelier to get them to continue to larger systems.

I think the Beeb succeeded because at that time the limits of what you could expect of a computer were much more approachable. Modern desktop systems have so much more in them that making progress that looks significant enough to give encouragement is much harder, and is going to be above more people's thresholds for getting disheartened and giving up.

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EU's zombie data-grab plan climbs out of coffin

John Sturdy
Paris Hilton

How would that have helped Charlie Hebdo?

So where did the attackers fly in from? From their banlieu, of course. Right, let's log and arrest everyone who flies into central Paris from its suburbs.

Paris, obviously. Probably enjoys Oysters and their discount to deter you from buying Underground tickets anonymously.

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So long, Lenovo, and no thanks for all the super-creepy Superfish

John Sturdy

The resignations won't happen

Resignation in response to this would be part of having ideas such as honour and responsibility; and if they had those, they wouldn't have done this in the first place.

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Lenovo to customers: We only just found out about this Superfish vuln – remove it NOW

John Sturdy
FAIL

This wasn't a "mistake"; it was as deliberate as you can get, and they should be made an example of.

As for them not doing it again: at best, it's a matter of them not being able to get away with doing it again. A burglar who is not currently burgling just because he got caught and is in jail is not the same as an honest character.

Unfortunately, even that's optimistic: I expect they'll try again as soon as they can. I hope that enterprise buyers will also avoid their enterprise equipment; after all, who knows what's preloaded on them, that simply hasn't been found and exposed yet?

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Mozilla mulls Superfish torpedo

John Sturdy
FAIL

Re: Antivirus collusion?

I'm disgusted by the BBC's description of it saying it "offered shopping tips"; that's too close to collusion for me.

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Watt the CHIP!? ARM pops out THE most powerful 64-bit Cortex for mobes'n'slabs

John Sturdy
Boffin

Re: I'm wondering

Linaro have announced a standard for form factor and connector layout for credit card sized SBCs: http://www.linaro.org/news/linaro-announces-96boards-initiative-accelerate-arm-software-development/

And the first board available in this shape is quite decent: https://www.96boards.org/products/hikey/ (8-core A53 (64-bit) at 1.2GHz).

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Linux chaps want to recycle your mobe as a supercomputer

John Sturdy
Boffin

You could make a cluster with intact phones anyway; how about "wolftooth" for a beowulf cluster that works over bluetooth?

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Humanity can defeat SkyNet with BOOKS, says IT think tank

John Sturdy
Big Brother

Re: Reading books - wats dat ?

Unfortunately, it seems to have become a manual for some sections of the public sector.

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Buggy? Angry? LET IT ALL OUT says Linus Torvalds

John Sturdy
FAIL

Amateur? Professional?

I suspect you're trying to imply that Linux is written largely by hobbyists, with a low level of skill.

In fact, the standard of its developers is high, and many (probably most: http://www.infoworld.com/article/2610207/open-source-software/who-writes-linux--corporations--more-than-ever.html says 80% of kernel patches) are employed to work on it. And many who aren't paid to work on it will be people who are paid to work on some other software.

Not that the correlation between being paid to work at something, and being good at it, is perfect anyway.

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BMW: ADMEN have asked us for YOUR connected car DATA

John Sturdy

Re: So how much will I get paid?

Or you can let it display the ads, and deliberately not buy anything you remember having seen advertised.

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Kiss your Glass goodbye: Google mothballs techno-specs (for now)

John Sturdy
Boffin

It seemed a silly idea to me, until...

I thought it was just a gimmick, until I was trying to find my way around an unfamiliar city in sub-zero weather, when suddenly what I really wanted was a navigational display that I could use without having to hold my phone, and could operate without having to take my gloves off, and I realized that a head-up display with voice control would fit that spec very nicely.

That being said, I could have chosen a coat with a convenient phone pocket on the outside (and just hoped it was secure enough against pickpockets) and conductive gloves so I could operate the touchscreen. And when the weather's cold enough for me to wear gloves, I also wear a hat, so a head-up display in the brim / peak of a hat would have been OK. But I no longer dismiss the Glass as useless.

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This $10 phone charger will wirelessly keylog your boss

John Sturdy
Coat

So how long before some politico wants to ban Arduinos?

Someone's now sure to think the Arduino is a dangerous hacker tool that can be used only for nefarious purposes.

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Careful - your helmet might get squashed by a VOLVO

John Sturdy

Re: What a stupid fucking idea....

Or indeed educating them before the test, which is very rudimentary. One of my first laws on becoming dictator will be to make a reasonably advanced cycling proficiency certificate a prerequisite for getting a provisional driving licence.

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Hold the front page: Spain's anti-Google lobbyists lobby for Google News return

John Sturdy
Coat

This cloud thing may have a silver lining

It may be good for Spaniards (and even better for Basques and Catalans) to get their news about Spain from outside Spain, further from the influence of the Spanish government.

And with governmental behaviour like this, it's no wonder that parts of the country currently constituted as Spain want to get out of it.

It would be a delicious irony if this law is repealed first in the autonomous regions who would like to leave, and the rest of Spain has to get their Spanish online news searches from them.

"I'll get my coat" icon because I hope that the Basques, Catalans, and any other current Spaniards who would like to, can get theirs too.

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Osborne ponders giving fleeing bank customers an API getaway car

John Sturdy
Boffin

Captain CSV to the rescue!!

Well, it would be a start. Some agreement on column headings and even which order they come in. Surely not too difficult for a large industry to agree on... oh wait...

Yes, I'm sure it's not really that simple, but I'm even more sure that what they'll come up will be far more complex than really necessary, and perhaps too complex for almost anyone to use.

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Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'

John Sturdy
Alert

The timing is right

Perfectly timed for her to oversee her country falling behind its competitors, just like she did at HP.

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Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about

John Sturdy
Devil

Re: Why was Ireland 3rd most heavily targeted?

Because corruption in Ireland is pretty blatant, but there's probably a lot more material not yet public, that would be excellent for blackmailing senior politicians into compliance with external interests.

Or possibly just to make up a price list to see which ones to buy.

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John Sturdy
Black Helicopters

Re: Not Certain

The Chinese government seems very interested in spying on the Chinese people (a bit like the American government being interested in spying on the American people, and the British government in spying on the British people) so if the software isn't found in China, that doesn't suggest it's of Chinese origin.

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Yet more NSA officials whisper of an internal revolt over US spying. And yet it still goes on

John Sturdy
Black Helicopters

Re: In defense of data slurping

I doubt they're just "logging" the data, for inspection after an incident. They'll be analyzing it continuously as it comes in, looking for things they think should be prevented or at least watched suspiciously (as in McCarthyism).

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Cold? Cuddle these HOT GERMAN RACKS, yours for only 12,000 euro – we swear there's an IT angle

John Sturdy
Boffin

Computer-powered Aga

One company I worked for in the past had an old country house for its main office, which it had to get renovated (OK, the "had to" was the asbestos removal bit, but I digress). The MD was an Aga enthusiast, and the kitchen was next to the machine room, and they looked into cooling the machine room with a heat pump concentrating the heat into an Aga just one wall away. Would have been nice in the winter, not sure about the summer though. And they ended up going for conventionall AC anyway (probably cheaper to install).

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This 125mph train is fitted with LASERS. Sadly no sharks, though

John Sturdy
Boffin

Re: Good, but not good enough

I'd be surprised if detecting missing clips visually at that kind of speed is that easy. Some kind of proximity sensing might be better (sonar?)

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3D PRINTED GUNS: THIS time it's for REAL! Oh, wait – no, still crap

John Sturdy
Boffin

Re: Here's how a rational attempt behaves

Yes, publishing a file for use with CNC mills and lathes is more of a threat, but I don't think that the home-priced mills are up to the accuracy required. So you'd need fairly pricy equipment; but the G-code files would reduce the skill needed.

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UNCHAINING DEMONS which might DESTROY HUMANITY: Musk on AI

John Sturdy

Re: An optimist?

It doesn't have to be a plague infecting humans; a widely-adopted GM crop plant becoming relied on for a few years and becoming a significant part of the food supply for some areas of the world, then being hit by a pathogen that wipes it out, could do huge damage. The resulting human destabilization would then take it further.

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John Sturdy
Boffin

Pathogens engineer themselves (with a little help from us)

Who'll get there first, AI developers, or bacteria getting round each antibiotic we overuse? My money would be on the bacteria, by a few years at least.

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Ingredient found in TASTY BEER is GOOD for your BRAIN

John Sturdy
Boffin

Re: 3,520 pints a day?

Alternatively, they could put a lot more hops into the beer... just a way of saving time in drinking it, of course.

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Bruges Booze tubes to pump LOVELY BEER underneath city

John Sturdy
Boffin

Re: Don't forget it's a carbonated fluid........

The CO2 gas may be topped up at the bottling plant, so this can probably be worked around.

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Forget bonking, have ONE OFF THE WRIST with Barclaycard's bPay

John Sturdy
Black Helicopters

All these cashless systems will be guaranteed support those who like mass surveillance.

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Finally, a USEFUL smart device: Intel boffins cook up gyro-magneto-'puter bike helmet

John Sturdy
Thumb Up

Head-mounted accelerometer and speakers! Yeah!

This combination should be good for headbangers --- sync the music playback wih your head movements. While playing air guitar using smartwatch accelerometers a la "Pebblin"!

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Snowden leaks show that terrorists are JUST LIKE US

John Sturdy
Black Helicopters

Payphones in airports

So anyone other than your own agents using an airport payphone will come under increased suspicion of being someone else's agent, too?

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No more turning over a USB thing, then turning it over again to plug it in: Reversible socket ready for lift off

John Sturdy
Boffin

Connecting things properly

I'd much rather see USB replaced by Ethernet with a connector that can take a decent power level, has an obviously directional shape, and is genderless (like an Anderson power connector, but smaller and with more than two contacts). Then you won't get distinctions like "A" and "B" connectors, or like USB-on-the-go being different from USB; things can just connect, and let the software/firmware sort out whether they have anything to talk about. NICs are cheap now; from a quick look at the protocols, I think they probably take less silicon to implement, too, and you'd probably get far better performance for most things without the grossly inefficient USB protocol.

For a little extra, make the connection reasonably mechanically robust and it can even hold devices onto each other (e.g. bluetooth/wifi dongles onto phones/computers) without worrying about bending connectors.

Vendors could add value to the products a bit, then we can let market forces push the prices down; tiny NAS units could take the place of USB flash drives, wifi dongles could be routers, and so on.

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John Sturdy
Boffin

Re: Size Part 2...

If you've got the fingertip sensitivity to read braille, you should be able to feel which side of the plug/socket has the plastic strip in it (a blind friend of mine, who is an experienced braille user, does this without difficulty).

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Crypto Daddy Phil Zimmerman says surveillance society is DOOMED

John Sturdy
Black Helicopters

Frankpledge may have limited privacy

The frankpledge system (mutual legal responsibility in a group of households) may have encouraged people to keep informal surveillance of each other (although at least that would have been P2P).

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ALIEN BODY FOUND ON MARS: Curiosity rover snaps extraterrestrial

John Sturdy
Black Helicopters

Have they looked underneath?

Perhaps it's an MI6 bluetooth (or similar) dead letter box, like the one in Moscow?

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HUMAN RACE PERIL: Not nukes, it'll be AI that kills us off, warns Musk

John Sturdy
FAIL

I think our accidental creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is likely to wipe us out far earlier than any AI we can create in the same timespan.

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Tesla and Panasonic to build NOT-SO-SECRET GigaFactory in US

John Sturdy
Devil

Panasonic batteries? With DRM? And pyrotechnics? and price-fixing?

When I saw "Panasonic" and "battery" mentioned in the same article, I was reminded of the incident of Panasonic patching cameras to block rivals' batteries, and while looking for that article, I also found Panasonic pulls pyromaniac batteries (well, I suppose it's better than denying the problem) and Sanyo (a subsidiary of Panasonic) fined for price-fixing laptop batteries

I wonder whether Tesla use DRM on their battery packs?

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SOULLESS machine-intelligence ROBOT cars to hit Blighty in 2015

John Sturdy
Stop

Re: I want a driverless car!

"Driverless" might not mean "unattended"; legislation might still require a human to be in the vehicle, nominally ready to press a big red button to stop the vehicle in case of an emergency that the vehicle fails to detect.

Of course, they'll never press the button in time, because they'll be too busy texting, but at least there'll be someone to blame.

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Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network

John Sturdy
Big Brother

Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

They say "protecting privacy rights of hotspot users while making their usage of your Hotspot fully traceable", which suggests they have no more clue than the cops.

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Lawyer reviewing terror laws and special powers: Definition of 'terrorism' is too broad

John Sturdy
Unhappy

No, they spotted that one

They invented the term "domestic extremist" for those, in case anyone decided that they couldn't call them terrorists. There, a government thinking ahead. Who'd have thought it?

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When the robot rebellion comes, this Jibo droid will BORE you to death

John Sturdy
Terminator

"Your plastic pal who's fun to be with"

How large will the complaints department have to be?

I just hope anything like that won't be cordless, I want to unplug one already!

I suppose we'll get used to anything.

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