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* Posts by Nick Ryan

1350 posts • joined 10 Apr 2007

Android busted for carrying Fake ID: OS doesn't check who really made that 'Adobe' plugin

Nick Ryan
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Re: Patch cycle

That's weird, mine's been on 4.4.4 for a while now with a standard OTA patch. Didn't come through immediately the update was released as the devices are staggered but came through within a few days.

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Microsoft says 'weird things' can happen during Windows Server 2003 migrations

Nick Ryan
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Re: Testing

Shouldn't even be specific server testing, it should be protocol testing where different versions of specific protocols are clearly defined, documented and proven to not interfere with each other. Ah. Clearly defined and documented? That'll be the problem here...

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Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?

Nick Ryan
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Re: Promises

This just leads to the next thought: What defines a person as Scottish? (from the nation point of view, not just a passport) Ignoring the obvious jokes (short arms, deep pockets), do you have to be born there, live there for a certain amount of time, eat a certain amount of haggis or porridge (which is more popular in England).

Bearing in mind that Highlanders tend to consider themselves separate to all Southerners, some held in more contempt than others, where does it end?

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Promises

Strangely not too dissimilar to any normal political statements.

Now where's the equivalent UK vote on whether we'd like Scotland to stay or go? It's not all about Scotland...

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Indian techies-in-training face down MAN-EATING LEOPARD - and WIN

Nick Ryan
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Re: Why wasn't there a sign on the door

The door was locked and in the basement so why bother with a sign?

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Microsoft bakes a bigger Pi to cook Windows slabs

Nick Ryan
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Re: Looks much like an ITX board only much dearer

My thoughts as well, I was playing around with small boards (ITX) years ago - even when adding a case, power supply, hard disk, memory, Operating System, and, often, a discrete graphics card, the things came out less that that price just for a board and "free" OS (if you have an ongoing subscription)

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BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff

Nick Ryan
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somebody keeps putting the dead ones back.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who suffers with that. One of the few times I appreciate the expense of the duracell batteries with the charge test strips on them.

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AWS hell no: Can Microsoft Azure sales beat Amazon's cloud?

Nick Ryan
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Re: Stifel Nicholaus?

Colour me confused, what exactly does "Stifel Nicholaus" have to do with a comparison of speculated revenues for MS Azure vs Amazon cloud?

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Australia floats website blocks and ISP liability to stop copyright thieves

Nick Ryan
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Re: And and and

You forgot to include prohibitions on the developers of development software as development software tools should be limited to prevent the creation of copyright violating theft applications. This is important as It was most certainly their original intent to allow criminals to write criminal tools that allow criminals to copy steal the content that the hard working, entirely honest and benevolent content production corporations created.

Not that I'm against the principle that the creators of content should be suitably rewarded, but so many things like this smack of laws such as the UK's 1865 "red flag act" that were pushed through by the panicking train industries to have a man with a red flag walk in front of every road vehicle that had multiple wagons (e.g. towed something).

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Nick Ryan
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Re: This is what happens when it's time to vote

There does seem to be a general sense of 'It's time for a change, so let's give the other lot a go, regardless of how far they fucked things up the last time they were in power'

It would be sad if this weren't so true in so many countries that like to claim to be democracies. It's almost as pathetic as the voters who always vote for the same political party "because I've always voted for them" - that's not democracy either, although technically it is as a voter is free to vote for who they like but it is not an intelligent use of democracy.

Those that are in power or vying for power know this and capitalise on it as much as possible as it's what gets or keeps them in a job.

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Microsoft: We're making ONE TRUE WINDOWS to rule us all

Nick Ryan
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These reactions are largely Microsoft's fault - they are pushing a decidedly sub-standard consumer targetted interface where it is not appropriate. "Metro" on a server? Not useful at all. A "Metro" notification and monitoring application that runs on a remote device and can remotely monitor one or more servers, possibly quite useful because it's a substantially different usage protocol. I dread the next release of SQL Server where they'll doubtless Metro-ify the entire management interface on the server, dumbing it down to useless levels, removing all the sortable columns and filters that are useful and if current form is maintained, replacing all error messages with "something non-optimal has happened"...

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Simplicity

The overall concept isn't entirely awful, it's the implementation of the user interface, and the all too often lack of features or functionality that often requires reverting to "desktop mode" that savages the whole thing. The "not-metro" interface fails on so many basic, elementary user interface (now usually termed User eXperience) principles that it would be laughable if it weren't coming from Microsoft who in the past put a lot of good work into UX principles. They often ignored them in their own products, but that's a different problem.

One shouldn't have to randomly thumb areas of the screen in the hope that something, or anything, interesting happens. At the elemental level a user interface should be obvious, discoverable and consistent. Once "standards" are defined somehow, it is best to stick with them even if they are not the most optimal. For example, QWERTY has been proven to not be the most optimal keyboard layout for English language users, however it is an established standard. For mobile phones, pressing a home button is an accepted and expected method to wake up a device in order to use it, if there isn't such a button then the fallback is to press a button on the side, or at worst, top, edge of the device, this button will be a singular button on its own. On the other hand, pinch to zoom is not an obvious interaction method however it is an established standard interface and works very well and it's surprising how often even experienced users try it on devices or applications that don't support it.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: One OS

Shame I can't find any pics of it, but a long while ago I read a story about a horse that had learnt to drive a (heavily) modified flat back truck. It even had its own steering wheel contraption that it could turn with its teeth.

I'll have to ask some horsey friends if they know of the best way to mount a steering wheel onto a horse...

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Nick Ryan
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Re: The Plan

However Microsoft's marketing departments don't see any particular difference between OS and kernel. Luckily there is some remaining smart in there somewhere and while the shell and underlying OS / Kernel are often mercilessly interlinked, there is some semblance of separation.

Whatever happened to an API being consistent and the innards being implemented in whatever way was appropriate. An application may have to be recompiled for each API supporting system but in an ideal world (we are still a very long way from this on most systems), that should be it.

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Microsoft confirms secret Surface will never see the light of day

Nick Ryan
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Is this a Surface Pro (x86) device rather than a Surface (ARM) device? (They may as well have intentionally set out to confuse the problem).

If it's an x86 device then because much of the useful configuration is only possible under desktop mode and the real reason why many people want such a device is to run x86 windows applications on it and not "Metro" apps, then the thing will most likely be largely unusable in that form factor. A shame really, because I remember using an x86 full windows hand-held device sometime around 1997/8 and it was very, very useful even if you wouldn't want it as a main system or do anything much productive (creative) on it.

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Whoah! How many Google Play apps want to read your texts?

Nick Ryan
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Re: Old news but still not fixed!

I too have a Nexus 7, and install apps on it rather than my phone for precisely this reason - no SMS, phone dialler, etc. really restricts what apps can do. I've deleted and purged quite a few apps where it turns out that they implement cretinous behaviour such as install system notification processes, reminding you to come back to play the game and other nonsense. It's ****ing game, why does it need to know when my device starts up?

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YES: Scotland declares independence ... from the dot co dot uk empire

Nick Ryan
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Great big hairy ones at that.

So far I've yet to see any evidence of interest anywhere across the capital. The only "interest" seems to comes from those that are trying to sell them.

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Nick Ryan
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Ah yes, the wonders of hollywood rewriting history.

More "Scots" fought against William Wallace than for him and overall more English fought than Scots.

As for tartan, AIUI, it's generally a rather modern invention particularly with the concept of different patterns being unique, protected or related to certain areas. Previously it was just a name for a woven wool fabric that was traditionally patterned in horizontal / vertical patterns because it made it look more interesting and the colour consistency was generally so poor that if you attempted a plain colour fabric it would show the imperfections in colouring.

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Nick Ryan
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By fuss do you mean "ignore the useless new suffix entirely"?

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Can it be true? That I hold here, in my mortal hand, a nugget of PUREST ... BLACK?

Nick Ryan
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Re: BMW

Would it make that much difference? You generally don't see them until they are one linguine behind your rear bumper.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: This might need more study

They could have been drinking Guinness?

(yep, I know it's dark red, but it's called "the black stuff")

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New leaked 'Windows 8 screenshot': The Start Menu strikes back

Nick Ryan
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Re: Looking at this

Oh my... and if anything like that really came out when the C64 was vaguely new, it would have been torn to shreds for being a useless waste of screen space and being barely usable.

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Blighty's Amazon Cloud Lord: It's a battle of men vs boys, and I ain't no boy

Nick Ryan
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Re: During the meanwhile ...

On a slight tangent, is there an actual plan by jake to stress test El Reg by amassing an inordinate number of down votes?

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WinPhone iView app flap: Microsoft to pull 'unauthorised' app... coded by STAFFER

Nick Ryan
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...and without looking at it, I wonder if this app is just a wrapper around the HTML components that make up the website accessible version?

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'Ribbed' for your pleasure: Jony Ive unveils NAKED IPHONE

Nick Ryan
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Re: Engineering 101

(although sapphire != aluminium)

Just looked this up, and sapphire is essentially impure Aluminium oxide.

just my contribution to the useless factoid of the day.

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Weaponised Flash flaw can pinch just about anything from anywhere

Nick Ryan
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I'm actually rather thankful that Apple kick started the (not fast enough) demise of Flash on the web...

It's still occasionally a PITA where some sites still insist on using it (looking at you, BBC) but I am surviving quite well these days without it installed on my home PC. Now if I could just do the same with .PDF files which really shouldn't need entire embedded executable environments inside a document...

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Reg reader fires up Pi-powered anti-cat garden sprinkler system

Nick Ryan
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Re: Prevention or cure

Most of the cat shit problems are caused by lazy "owners". Properly kept cats are trained to only defacate in their litter tray. The lazy owners who don't care and are too lazy to do the basic cat training (in as much as it is possible to train a cat) are the problem. Get a pet? Learn to look after it and do the basics properly. Just because a cat will shit elsewhere does not solve the problem.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Roof of my convertible

I fecking hate the things - what sort of ''pet' wanders the streets and other peoples property ?

Cats are not pets. Dogs have owners, Cats have staff.

Interestingly, cats meet the definition of vermin.

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Insecure AVG search tool shoved down users' throats, says US CERT

Nick Ryan
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Not come across one so far.

Unless by "useful" you mean "slows browser down to a crawl".

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Report: UK.gov wants to legislate on comms data BEFORE next election

Nick Ryan
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"The retention of communications data is absolutely fundamental to ensure law enforcement have the powers they need to investigate crime, protect the public and ensure national security," May's department said. "We are carefully considering the European court of justice's judgment on data retention and are currently examining potential next steps."

Translation: "We need to push forward May's dreams of a thought police state but don't be concerned, important people such as politicians and your favourite 'celebrities' will be excluded from monitoring. If you have done nothing wrong then you have nothing to hide. We will change what 'nothing wrong' means in the future. Muhahahaha. What? This thing is still recording? Turn it off immediately and delete that last bit, yes delete it from the Internet. Wait, your administrators say that it isn't possible? Fire them and hire some new administrators."

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Star Wars: These are the 'unknown' actors we were looking for

Nick Ryan
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Re: Fan Bingbing?

A brief poll with those that I can quickly ask here who can read Chinese (Cantonese) "Bingbing" is the more literal character translation of her name, rather than as it is likely to be pronounced where the first and second components would be pronounced differently. Basically you'd have to ask her, or at worst somebody from the same region and ethnic group exactly how her name is pronounced.

Still, she has a classy, attractive look, almost regal but with a smile that lights everything up and changes her demeanour completely which would fit in nicely with some of the visuals that Episodes I-III featured. A "stuffy princess who is human in more intimate / personal scenes" look?

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El Reg is looking for a new London sub-editor

Nick Ryan
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Re: Nominating...

Yes but unlike SuperJake, he hasn't don't everything. By hand. Twice.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Where is the bit about fighting off black helicopters

Nothing whatsoever, move along now.

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Nick Ryan
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It should be noted that Register sub-editors are involved in managing interaction with our vast, knowledgeable but occasionally passionate readership: this is not a job for those with overly delicate sensibilities.

Oh dear. They will have been warned, but... get the asbestos underwear out anyway just in case.

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Windows 7, XP and even Vista GAIN market share again

Nick Ryan
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Re: MS should have

You might have a troll icon... but... ah dammit. There does appear to be a concerted effort to **** everything up doesn't there?

Not all interface devices and not all user interfaces are suitable for all form factors and uses. There's a reason why we don't have mice on our phones and a reason why we don't poke the screen on our desktop computers.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Still asking why (anything post XP)

Microsoft's problem is likely that they insist on being in control (and able to charge) for every part of an application installation and distribution system. The Windows 8 App store system provides updates for installed applications, however it does not allow a user to add additional repositories in the way that we can easily do with Linux.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Windows just gets slower over time

That's pure nonsense, like the rest of you post which talks about Windows, ActiveX and NET (the myth of Windows getting slower has been debunked a long time ago, and saying that a growing Registry is slower just shows your lack of understanding of how the Registry actually works).

Really? So a badly structured and inefficient database that grows and grows and never shrinks and is referred to repeatedly and continuously by the Windows Shell won't slow a system down?

.NET is inefficient. While there are a lot of optimisations in there (particularly on the fully compiled side), it is still slower and less efficient than non-managed code. This isn't always a bad thing, just an important thing to understand when using .NET. ActiveX / COM is the same.

There are continuous new viruses coming out, although you are quite correct in the reduction as the difficulty level of introducing new viruses has steadily risen and the alternative attach vectors that are easier to attack. The daily definition updates and AV software updates demonstrate this (and from a marketing point of view, make the AV software look more useful). However it is not possible for an ever growing definition database to not have a steadily increasing impact on scanning resources. While a lot of clever filtering goes on, the more definitions, heuristics and adaptive scans that are required, the more resources are used.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: "windows gets slower"

Optimise software by deploying new hardware? That's Microsoft thinking...

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Still asking why (anything post XP)

Windows just gets slower over time, the more modern incarnations suffer more through increased complexity. While I haven't wasted a mammoth amount of investigation time into it, there are a few main culprits:

1) The Registry. Bloats and bloats and bloats, never shrinking, always getting slower.

2) The entire .COM / ActiveX DLL hell, requiring huge numbers of the same libraries, in a version number hell, all underpinned by the registry. The smallest of changes adds even more bloat to the registry.

3) .NET - it is neither fast nor elegant. The more this becomes used for operational parts of an OS, the slower the OS will run. When .NET is used with device drivers, it gets worse - luckily this is still very rare.

4) Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware software. While these are more stable than they used to be, they do seriously impact system performance. With more templates and variations to check with every new virus / malware that is released, the more work these systems need to do.

5) Application update software. Little can bring a system to its needs quicker (ha) than multiple competing applications all running their own update check process every time the system starts. A good, flexible API and service from Microsoft could have helped with this, but no... and the hoops that some of these applications go through to provide background updates without a stream of UAC prompts is just horrible. And then the AV/AM software checks every file access and update by each of these update processes....

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Amazon snubs FTC: We'll see you in court over kids' in-app cash blowouts

Nick Ryan
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Re: Upgrade Password

You can manage In-App purchases for Amazon Apps very easily, it's a configuration issue.

It is easy to disable In-App purchases entirely.

It is equally easy to leave them enabled but to require a PIN to be entered.

The Amazon App Store clearly lists that an App features "In-App" purchasing, and while Amazon could do more to publicise it's useful controls on this, it's much better than others.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Easy access?

While I don't like the lack of a number to call, so far I have yet to have a problem with refunding or getting items replaced with Amazon. Getting to the refunds area could be a little easier, which when you're annoyed doesn't help any, but once there you can request that they call you (they do this quite quickly), message them or just use the automated process.

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Amazon sues former employee who took Google cloud job

Nick Ryan
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Re: Can't see the gray area here

It's a weird one. Generally when you leave employment you are terminating your contract. Once a contract is terminated then it can't be in force.

Is it generally just technical or IT fields where it's considered "acceptable" that an employer tries to decide where an employee may work afterwards?

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MONSTER COOKIES can nom nom nom ALL THE BLOGS

Nick Ryan
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So what this really means is that for any shared website domain service (commonly blogs, but not restricted to this), one of these shared resources could prevent the user, or more accurately a specific User Agent (web browser), from accessing any service on the same shared website domain.

In other words, if you have a structure of:

site1.example.com

site2.example.com

site3.example.com

site3.example.com could respond with an abnormally large number or large cookies for example.com, in total more than the web server is designed or configured to support. These maliciously sized cookies would be included with every request to any example.com resource, effectively blocking access to example.com and all sub-domains.

Ouch. All we need now is for a Cross-Site-Cookie vulnerability and a malicious website could block access to any arbitrary website.

Interesting to hear where the most appropriate fixes for this will be, my guess is the only possible or sensible location is a fix to web browsers as the web servers can't tell a given UA to not send cookies and AFAIK it's not possible to limit the upward propagation of cookie paths on the server either as these are client controlled. That'll scupper those that can't update their web browsers due to supplier lock in.

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Linux turns the crank on code for cars

Nick Ryan
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Re: Huh? Ransomware?

Exactly. Industrial control systems and monitoring systems have been done for a long time and don't have to be directly connected in unsafe ways at all. The key is having a standard, or at the very least, tightly defined interface between the two systems that is only usable for the information that is required.

In the past I've dealt with industrial systems that are linked by a serial cable which, while running standard-ish protocols over the link and using standard comms libraries at each end is pretty damn secure. While in theory it may have been possible for somebody to somehow overload the remote serial link and handling software and exploit it somehow (more likely at the higher application level) but given the simplicity of the communication structures it was definitely secure enough. Anybody going to that trouble to exploit such a link would have found it much easier to just walk over to the control system itself. Even at the control system, there were physical limits and safety protocols implemented at the electromechanical level, not overrideable in software. Similar levels of isolation are currently and will be built into automotive systems.

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Overclocking to 5GHz? We put Intel Devil’s Canyon CPU to the test

Nick Ryan
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Re: 4,0 GHZ? THat's so 2004...

And for no apparent reason your applications will still sit there "not responding".

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Upgrade time :D

It's at the lower, utility system end, that AMD seem to be strong at the moment. Good performance low cost systems with integrated GPUs that aren't appalling are a good thing. Likely the reason that Intel's integrated GPUs are now usable as well.

AMD also seem to be ahead of Intel when it comes to making more general use of the integrated GPU as a specialised compute core rather than solely as a GPU.

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Catch cack-handed baggage handlers in the act with Ericsson's SPY SUITCASE

Nick Ryan
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Re: Same here...

Same here. One of the (luckily not very) regular couriers that delivers parcels to my village is either illiterate or just a thief. Often items get delivered to a nearby village instead (duh, postcode, clearly printed correct address, nobody of the correct name to sign for the parcel, none of which seems to matter) to items getting delivered and "signed" by somebody no neighbour has ever heard of but after complaints the items tend to miraculously reappear the following day as if they were originally delivered nearby - for example, boxes have appeared opened but re-sealed in the neighbours shed when they weren't there when they were apparently delivered (neighbour is a keen gardener and tends to spot this kind of thing).

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Google Glass faces UK cinema ban: Heaven forbid someone films you crying in a rom-com

Nick Ryan
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Re: I see

"as well as film theft."

Aha! I've just figured out how Google Glass could really help with film theft.

While the cinema and the finest rent-a-lump security staff are pointing at and laughing at the Google Glass wearer, an accomplice can sneak up the stairs, break into the projection room and steal the can of film that is about to be shown. That is theft. A fine plan only only slightly hampered by the fact that modern cinemas use digital projectors and don't have cans of films.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Just a thought

You can clearly see that one is in use, here's a random image that shows the effect: [Image]

It is not enough to ruin the darkness, certainly a lot less than the obligatory mobile phone use in cinemas.

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Nick Ryan
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WTF?

"While our position on mobile phones is that we ask people to put these away when the film is playing, with wearable technology – whether Google Glass or otherwise – we believe that it is generally more difficult to detect when they are and are not recording, so our approach is a precautionary one."

Huh? Google Glass has a light to indicate that it is recording and despite the idiots claiming that the sky is falling down, that they will punch anybody wearing one and that the google mothership is monitoring everything a google glass wearer sees, the google glass device doesn't have the battery or storage capacity to record for long, or in any particular good quality. On the other hand, my mobile phone doesn't have a light to indicate that it is recording and has the battery and storage capacity to record video for two hours and can record in very nice quality.

Go figure. More knee jerk reactions by the clueless.

On the other hand, wearable technology will only improve it's capabilities therefore at some point it will be possible to record two hours of dubious quality movie video using a wearable device, but having specific rules for specific devices is just stupid. It's already prohibited to record the films, why are new guidelines needed? Also as noted above, cam copies in cinemas aren't the real risk to a film's distribution.

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