* Posts by Nick Ryan

1684 posts • joined 10 Apr 2007

Self-driving vehicles might be autonomous but insurance pay-outs probably won't be

Nick Ryan
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Re: Enjoy driving

I've never really understood why when driving you never(*) suffer from motion sickness. Doubtless it's something to do with concentrating.

* There's always an exception: I've felt motion sickness when driving a Renault Twingo (not sure which year / model). The most hateful, idiotically designed vomit wagon I've ever had the mis-pleasure to drive.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Hmm, air travel or autonomous vehicles

There is *always* a volunteer to take point.

They are otherwise known as your "crumple zone".

On a continued point: it is critical that if you drive a white, grey or silver vehicle that you must not, under any circumstances, turn your lights on when it's foggy. :-/

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Get out and walk

IANAL but my wife worked in the "interesting claims" department of a leading motor insurance company. If you leave the keys in a car and it's running then you are responsible for it. For example if you leave the engine running and (automatic) gear engaged and your dog jumps onto the accelerator, then the last driver is responsible for what happens next.

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Playmobil cops broadside for 'racist' pirate slave

Nick Ryan
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Re: Common Lego !!

Stick it on the white guy and have a giggle.

And much more apt. There were far more non-black (e.g. white) slaves than there were black slaves - call them "indentured servants" or whatever you want, they were still slaves. However that doesn't ring well with the popular culture that (evil) white people raided Africa and made away with black slaves. The fact that the European powers tended to buy the slaves from black Africans (i.e. they sold their own countrymen or enemies) or that black slaves were apparently treated better and were more valuable than white slaves because they were harder workers doesn't matter jack. There are also a lot of stories where the slave owners treated their slaves very well indeed, much better than is usually portrayed - discovering this kind of humanity makes for some good reading even if they make for appalling popular culture.

History. Sometimes it's quite interesting to read what actually happened and its comparison to popular or hollywood culture.

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Microsoft tool-crafter Idera buys database, app firm Embarcadero

Nick Ryan
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Re: Will Delphi survive?

They basically decided to "do an IBM". As in screw the core developers every which way they could and instead focus solely on "enterprise". While utterly failing to appreciate that the biggest reason their tools were in use in "enterprise" environments was because of the number of developers using them.

It also didn't help that various versions of the RAD Studio IDEs were so unstable that they were barely useable and their previous fixation with the aberration that is/was the BDE.

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BBC joins war against Flash, launches beta HTML5 iPlayer

Nick Ryan
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Re: About time...

And what makes you think that the various media players used by the browsers aren't full of different holes? Any good player will try and offload the decoding to the GPU and this means that privilege escalation is always possible.

There's no guarantee, of course, however the surface of attack is considerably smaller and rather importantly doesn't involve Adobe. When a plugin, e.g. one initially designed to provide nothing more than a simple augmentation of a website but extended mercilessly and thoughtlessly, has access to the entire client system and particularly when Adobe is involved any problem is much more likely to be serious compared to what's likely through a "simple" (hahaha) video decoder.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: About time...

Agreed. Finally.

I'll be very happy when I can use the BBC's websites using something other than a security hole propagation system.

I've had flash uninstalled for my main PC for a few years now and, partly thanks to initially Apple then others, there are steadily less and less websites that rely on Flash.

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Thousands of 'directly hackable' hospital devices exposed online

Nick Ryan
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Re: Nice to have confirmation of expectations

True. The intersting point as well is that many of the systems supplied into hospitals are/were designed as utility systems and are not expected to be connected to the Internet. Unfortunately the lure and convenience of network connectivity for devices to communicate is strong and therefore many of these devices had network connectivity patched in later. Again, not the most serious of issues when within a trusted network however as soon as even one node is the network is not trusted, the entire house of cards falls down.

There is also the very real point that these systems were sold to solve a problem, not sold as an ongoing maintenance burden for OSes to be continually updated, applications supported and defences put in place for changing connectivity. As such, many are "sell, install and forget" type systems.

For what it's worth, when I was in this industry one of the first things I did was insist that our systems (often private networks) were segregated from the wider network through a hardware firewall which only permitted specific communictions through. While this doesn't protect our internal network from the situation where an engineer introduces a virus to one of the systems, it does protect the wider network. Many thanks to MS and their virus deployment auto-run scheme which even if you turned the bastard off, still auto-ran unless you had XP SP3 installed. Gits. However our internal network was also safe from whatever unpleasant things happened elsewhere and given the state of much of what we saw, we were very happy to be segregated.

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'Miracle weight-loss' biz sued for trying to silence bad online reviews

Nick Ryan
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Re: When they show me their nobel prize

No need. Scumbag lying toads like this are advertising, and paying for their space, on hundreds of supposedly "reputable" websites.

The sheer anount of complete lying shite that is linked to on otherwise not entirely unreasonable websites is ludicrous. Think all the targetted lies of "5 tricks millionaires don't want you to know", "<local area person> makes <x>£ a week from this", "miracle slimming tricks that your doctor doesn't want you to know", "how to get the latest iDevice for only £1" and the slightly more benign but still outrageous, "you wouldn't believe what happened next in these holiday photos".

And the problem is, the more this shite is present and seen the more it is perceived as being "true".

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332M Kick Ass pirates get asses kicked by scareware ass-kickers

Nick Ryan
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If I were to partake in such underhand computer use such as accessing torrent sites, I'd use a minimal software Linux VM. Makes it pretty tough for windows executables to run when there are no windows libraries and makes a mockery of popup windows "errors".

A purely theoretical situation of course and there are plenty of legitimate uses for torrents.

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Ouch! Microsoft sues recycling firm over 70K stolen Office licenses

Nick Ryan
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Re: Customers may not be guitly...

The "Sales of Goods Act" is more correctly titled the "Sales of Goods and Services Act". However Microsoft are correct that computer software, as a licenced service, is not covered by the act as there is the technicality that the software itself is in the digital domain and therefore a copy of it is provided, without such a licence for the copy the customer would be in violation of copyright. (Note to the F.A.C.T. bullshitters: this would be a violation of copyright, never theft). So in some ways what you're really getting with software is a contract exempting you from copyright violation of the software.

On the other hand the provision of this software is a service itself and is therefore covered by the Sales of Goods and Services Act, with the details around how much this provision extends into the software and how much is the supply of the software. For example if the medium that a company such as Microsoft supply the copy of licenced software on is found to be faulty or deficient, this is definitely covered by the Act. However beyond this point it starts to get very messy on the legal front with activations, licencing servers, product support terminations and so on.

Anybody would have thought that the legal system hasn't noticed the birth of computers and is 50 years out of date...

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You call THAT safe? Top EU legal bod says data sent to US is anything but

Nick Ryan
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It's always been useless

Safe Harbour (harbor for USAians) is and has always been utterly useless.

The basic premise is that data is covered by the voluntary Safe Harbour agreement when it is stored for the specific purpose that it was registered for. For example a US company registers with Safe Harbour for the storage of EU personal data for the support of their product "ABC". Should this US company release another software package "DEFG" then the storage of EU personal data for support for this software package is not covered unless they specifically have another Safe Harbour registration for this as well. A US company stating that they have registered with a voluntary Safe Harbour agreement means nothing without examining the details.

While this seems reasonable given that the US company should only be storing EU personal data for the stated purpose, the reality is that most companies will forget that the data is to be used for a single specified purpose and merrily use it for other purposes or forget to register another Safe Harbour agreement. As a result, the chance of EU personal data actually being covered by a voluntary Safe Harbour agreement is pretty slim.

To compound the problem, while this data is in hands of a US organisation, any US body with the legal authority to do so may request and must be given full access to this data. Once the EU personal data is in the hands of such a body the Safe Harbour agreement does not apply and this data may be used and disseminated at will. Again, this doesn't seem unreasonable until you understand that the scope of organisations able to demand this data is extremely wide and not just limited to law enforcement agencies, i.e. it covers every municipal and county service imaginable.

Even after all of this - what happens if a US company violates the voluntary Safe Harbour agreement for the storage of EU personal data? Absolutely nothing, that's what. There is no legal recourse as it's a voluntary agreement rather than a statutory requirement.

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POLAR DINOSAURS prowled ARCTIC NIGHT, cast doubt on COLD BLOOD theory

Nick Ryan
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Re: Warm blooded dinos

A couple of years ago I had a long chat with a professor who knew considerably more about dinosaurs than I ever will (not especially hard) and he stated that he believed that there was no evidence for dinosaurs being cold blooded and the belief that they were cold blooded was more likely a cultural "they must have been primitive as they were such a long time ago" attitude than anything based on fact. He specifically pointed to birds and asked the question "when did they become warm blooded"? He also doubted that a such broad genus(?) could have been been so successful if it was made up of large land based cold blooded animals as in the current world the only incidences of successful "large" cold blooded land animals are in niche environments.

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LTO-7 has it taped, but when will 'bigger/faster' thinking hit the buffers?

Nick Ryan
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What's the real capacity

What's the real capacity? Without the lies and FUD of the "compressed" capacity?

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It's alive! Farmer hides neglected, dust-clogged server between walls

Nick Ryan
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Re: Not quite a farm

Similar-ish: We had in a PC on a site where every hard disk started to fail randomly losing or corrupting data until they wouldn't boot. We replaced the system a couple of times, the second time we had a two week long burn in PC that suffered no problems at all until it went onto site...

Turned out that the PC was leaning against a pillar that contained the conduit in which ran the multi-phase power for the entire complex. We moved the PC 2m away and never had the same problem again.

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Bookworms' Weston mecca: The Oxford institution with a Swindon secret

Nick Ryan
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Re: Very interesting.

Yeah, open to the public. How strange, having had a "readers ticket" (or whatever they were called) it was quite an odd, arcane place to visit and a world apart from your average municiptal library in just the sheer scale, feel and atmosphere in the place.

Ah the Turf Tavern... mmm... one place that's a possible candidate for being responsible for a chunk of my student grant being "missing". Also a great place to take visiting tall people! My favourite incident (I may have an evil streak) was a 7'1" friend attempting to order at the bar and having to lean over sideways at near 90 degrees but then he had to all but crawl through the doorway and there was no way he could stand in the main bar anyway even if the ceiling there was a few inches taller than the door.

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Wall Street turns off music at Adobe results after-party

Nick Ryan
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Subscriptions grew more than 51 per cent year-on-year to $829m, while licences sold in the classic way fell 21 per cent to $275.3m and services and support edged up to $113.3m from $108.8m.

Well duh. Adobe stopped selling anything new except through their pepetual revenue generation scheme (aka. the scheme that's bad for any consumer capable of basic maths). It shows the strength of their lockin in the marketplace that they've managed to force so many users into the perpetual revenue model.

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We are the Knights who code Ni!

Nick Ryan
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Splendid. Took me a minute to figure out what was going on there as dynamically generated / self modifying code algorithms are never particularly easy to read. This is particularly true when you're used to procedural code and know the pain of working professionally with dynamically generated code (e.g. often found in JavaScript) all too well.

On an aside, why do so many new language designers manage to make their syntax only barely more legible than INTERCAL? (and never as polite)

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Asus ZenBook UX305: With Windows 10, it suddenly makes perfect sense

Nick Ryan
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Re: RAM?

Cloning a windows disk is easy as pie. Samsung, for one, supply the appropriate transfer software and all you need if you don't have multiple drive slots is an appropriate adaptor, often USB, costing around £10-15.

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Google ponders purified Pakistani YouTube

Nick Ryan
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Re: China threw google china staff in jail

Well that was quite hard to read. But I suppose there is a point there.

On the other hand if people can't take challenges and questioning of their beliefs without resorting to violence, persecution, prohibition or derogation (is this a word?) of others then they have a serious problem.

A suitable XKCD would be appropriate however I can't think of one offhand therefore here's "How to suck at your religion" instead.

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Sign of the telly times: HDR shines, UHD Blu-ray slides at IFA

Nick Ryan
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Re: 4K pipeline isn't ready yet

True. The digital processing of films for quite some time was done at 3k or so. The excuse given was usually that it was a higher resolution than the human eye could perceive (at any distance) however this always ignored the inconvenient fact that humans tend for focus their eyes on parts of a scene rather than the entire scene as a whole and therefore more than 3k would be required. For example I can easily distinguish and see pixels on the 2k monitor I am using at this moment even though it is taking up a less than half of the width of my vision (it does depend on the colours though).

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Nick Ryan
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Re: When HDR becomes prevalent ...

Sky have the unfortunate but inevitable problem that they have restricted total bandwidth and increasing the available effective bandwith is a case of improved compression techniques or sticking yet another satellite up in orbit and having the receivers handle this. AIUI there is still (or was some) available capability on the receivers themselves which is very sensible and forward thinking of them but this still requires one or more satellites to be deployed to use it.

I have a lot of sympathy for the poor bastards at Sky (and VM and other similar digital providers) who have to manage the total bandwidth available and counter this against the guaranteed rates that some channels contractually require along with the negotiations for enhanced bandwidth bursts for premium events which force other channels into lower bandwidths during these events (try watching the less premium channels when a big sporting even is shown, for example). Some channels have minimum bandwidths with capacity up to a certain amount, some a fixed rate regardless, some with a desired rate but with contractually agreed drops to lower if necessary... basically every which way they can be agreed upon.

When the shift to adding HD channels came in this must have thrown even more complications into this mess with "standard" definition channels all being reduced in quality to allow the bandwidth for the "high" definition channels. The upshot of this was great for marketing drones because it accentuated the improvement given by HD channels... by reducing the quality of SD channels.

It's no wonder than your average digital channel has somewhat less quality than the previous analogue equivalent.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: UHD Blu-ray is already sunk

Add to that the fact that still the vast majority of consumers want to put a "film" into a "player" and have it automatically load, present a menu and then off they go into the menu.

I can't answer for the "vast majority" just a straw poll of everyone I know is that we don't give a flying rat's arse about a menu, we particularly don't care or want to have be forced to endure an indeterminate amount of unskippable adverts for films we are either not interested in or already have and we definitely don't want to have to endure minutes of unskippable lies (or "copyright is theft" shorts and walls of text - copyright violation is copyright violation it is not, and never has been "theft"). We just want to watch the bloody film. Now. Right now. In addition we definitely don't want to have to wait for five minutes (feels like it) for a media player to piss around with DRM (Java VM) and try to synchronise it's arse with the disc so it can start to show the above crap we're not interested before we start to watch the film that we are interested in. Sometimes I swear it feels like it takes 15 minutes from sticking a disc in a BD player and the film starts.

On the other hand a ripped copy of a film will start pretty much instantly and that's what we, as consumers, actually want. While there may always be those that want the tactile feel of disc cases, to admire the artwork on the disc case and whatever is in them but I strongly suspect that the majority really just don't care. They may occasionaly be interested as to who the actors are playing particular roles, the plot synopsis or even the filming locations but any good media centre will have this information automatically and there's always a quick manual search of the Internet (or just IMDB).

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Well, what d'you know: Raising e-book prices doesn't raise sales

Nick Ryan
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Re: Shift to paper?

I haven't spoken to many professional authors (OK, 2) but they'd firstly much rather that what they write is read, and secondly that if somebody owns at least one copy of it they don't really care beyond that. The mentality of authors doesn't always equate with money, or getting much of it in, which possibly explains why most authors really don't have a lot.

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Britain’s device-theft capital is now … lovely Leicestershire

Nick Ryan
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Lifting phones (or on the odd occasion just MP3 players) is something that would appear to be ludicrously easy on London's transportation systems - mainly underground, trains and buses.

If I had a mind for it I'd have been able to snatch lots of phones and likely purses as well. How? Why? It's simple: For some reason a huge number of people (mostly female) feel a need to keep their bags open with their purse and phone on the top within easy reach should a call or text come in. They then helpfully (for the would-be tealeaf) sling the bag on their shoulder in a busy place and the only thing protecting their goods is the watchfulness of other passengers as they themselves are totally and utterly oblivious to everything around them. Until they try to find their phone and it's not there of course...

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Boffins raise five-week-old fetal human brain in the lab for experimentation

Nick Ryan
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Re: Do vat grown brains dream?

I wasn't sure how to feel about this, and I read the article unlike some here and understand the difference between 5 week fetal and 5 week (or old) baby. It is getting a bit creepy. However a few things to remember that appear to be missed:

This proto-brain was not grown from a human egg and sperm. It was grown from a single adult donor's cells. Consider it this way - if an adult agreed to donate some of their functioning brain cells for medical research would we consider this a problem? While different this is not so far removed from that.

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Two weeks of Windows 10: Just how is Microsoft doing?

Nick Ryan
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Re: "Despite these concerns...

Because Gartmer have always been the paragon of reliable and unbiased information...

Sarcasm or not, that's half true. You pays your money (to Gartner), you gets your reliable information.

As for unbiased... hmm.

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Introducing the Asus VivoMini UN42 – a pint-sized PC, literally

Nick Ryan
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Joke

Re: For space retrieval hints.

Modern file systems have ways to reduce this problem

Bigger disks? :-p

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'Sunspots drive climate change' theory is result of ancient error

Nick Ryan
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Some comments here slag off climate research because it does not achieve a precision that is (and will continue to be) simply beyond the capabilities of scientific research.

Yep, largely because the entire biosphere is extremely complicated with lots of interacting cycles, altering one may not be serious because others may compensate, others may be created (even small, previously unoticed cycles) or the effect may or not be predictable.

The climate modellers can only genuinely prove their models after the event and even then there would be questions as to whether or not they got the correct answer through coincidence or through accurate modelling. It's made worse because if they are predicting something unpleasant that we'd rather didn't happen it's a bit late at that point.

Dumping pollutants into the environment is demonstrably and quantifiably bad in a local area. Somehow there are those who find it in themselves to deny even this. Past the local area it becomes harder and harder to accurately predict and even measure impact because many aspects are cumulative with time based modifiers. Weather forecasting is hard enough (and is largely built from previous recorded experience of weather patterns), biosphere forecasting is next to impossible except for broad generalisations.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Here we go again

When will the madness stop.

I give up. Are you being sarcastic or trolling?

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Android faces SECOND patching crisis, on the same scale as Stagefright

Nick Ryan
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How serious is this? Seriously? While it sounds bad and has been written up to sound even worse, it reads to me like it's a vulnerability in remote control software. What remote control software? Software to remotely control a phone or for a phone to remotely control something else?

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AIDS? Ebola? Nah – ELECTRO SMOG is our 'biggest problem', says Noel Edmonds

Nick Ryan
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Re: Minions

Well it certainly wasn't for him - all ego and no (nice) personality (IMHO).

"Everything is about energy," said the former associate of Mr Blobby.

On the other hand, this is one amazing quote and attribution assasination in one. Can a QOTW come from a staff writer?

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New study into lack of women in Tech: It's not the men's fault

Nick Ryan
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Re: Its the mothers fault mostly...

While boys and girls are biologically different and it's been proven that there are differences between male and female brains and how these changes take effect at different points in our lives (puberty, pregnancy / parenthood, etc) these differences are broad generalisations such as "spatial awareness" or "empathy / social skills" and these general traits are usually found to be compensatable through learning.

Such core general traits can usually be attributed to "hunting" compared to "nurturing" activities that are usually segregated in most human societies to males hunting and females nuturing. Some of this just logic as a heavily pregnant female or one tending to a baby just isn't going to be as good at hunting compared to another individual that isn't so encumbered but it's also comes from observation of remote and largely untouched human tribes who still operate this way of segregating male and female duties.

Social learning happens at a very early age and a key aspect of social learning is learning how to interact and how to "fit in" with peers. For example at this age if a lot of girls are pushing prams and playing with dolls then most young girls will do so too because they observe what is expected of them so they can do the same and therefore fit in with them. This doesn't mean that young boys at this age won't be found playing with dolls and pushing prams (I know a few that just love it) but when faced with their peers who don't do this these boys will usually change to fit in.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Maths != IT

Some of the worst coders I've come across are those that while they were highly qualified on the maths front just couldn't think in a logical manner and could barely break a task down into manageable steps even with help. The most polite way to describe it is that their code was not fun to review or work with in any manner.

Not to say that being good at maths means you can't be a good developer, just that one doesn't equal the other.

Then there are the mathematical zealots who will swear blind that developers will be out of a job "real soon" because of 5GL or whatever inane bit of crap they've been told by another maths zealot. While it is true that limited scope computer algorithms can be defined mathematically, as soon as a system extends beyond the mundane, let alone anything event driven, requiring user interaction or where different systems interact, the required mathematical scoping would be so complicated and unweildy that no system could ever be developed in a reasonable time frame or at a reasonable cost. The fact that such a system would likely never be remotely efficient was something entirely lost on these idiots and on the rare occasion that they recognised the efficiency problem their response was either "systems will be faster, it won't matter" or "the designer can design for that" (a.k.a. a developer).

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How much of ONE YEAR's Californian energy use would WIPE OUT the DROUGHT?

Nick Ryan
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Re: UK problem

Absolutely. There's no way, whatsoever, that some form of convenient, already extremely well researched and implemented technology could help. Nope, definitely, absolutely not something like canals that could be used to transport water from one part of the country to another while also providing a phenomenally cheap, if slower than road truck, way to transport heavy goods (cheap on fuel). It'll never work.

It's not as if there's another country in the world that's putting this kind of thing in place. Oh, except China.

</sarcasm>

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Lottery chief resigns as winning combo numbers appear on screen BEFORE being drawn

Nick Ryan
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Re: how that could be reliably faked

While such a trick may affect the weight and therefore probability of certain balls being "picked", it's unlikely to also affect the order in which they were picked unless you managed quite a distinction in the weights and therefore quite a high weight at one end of the scale - which ought to be obvious.

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Assessing the power of Intel’s SSD 750 … but check your motherboard before buying

Nick Ryan
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Re: Does it work on AMD-compatible motherboards?

The MSI 990FXA board supports NVMe (not sure if there are additional PCIe v3 x4 slots for it though). It's rumoured that much more widespread NVMe support for AMD will arrive with new chipsets in Q4 2015.

Given the price of the buggers I'm happy to wait for 6 months anyway.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: A Hard Disk - on a card?

2.8" DSDD? 1Mb?

You wur lucky! We 'ad 36" single sided 'alf density disks that wur so 'eavy it took a team of three operators to mount one. T'storage capacity wer nobbut 360kb, and if you forgot to press Ctrl-C you 'ad a BDOS ERR and everybody 'ad to go 'ome for t'rest o' t'day while you rebooted t'system.

What's especially scary is that at one point this wasn't far off the case. Although IIRC you'd also have to be careful what terminal you were using when switching drives (i.e. wheeling the damn things across the computer room on a trolly) possibly because of the VT compatibility you'd managed to bodge in place using a paperclip in place of a jumper. And then there was the strange case of that one terminal connection that for some reason, despite having apparently "identical" wiring, would only accept a certain VT... something like VT100 rather than VT102 (this wasn't the master terminal, some arbitrary other connection).

Some things are better left forgotten.

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Got an Android phone? SMASH IT with a hammer – and do it NOW

Nick Ryan
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Re: Bloody tools

Isn't this video processing? That's not something you'd want to do in anything other than as efficient a way as possible, particularly on a mobile device.

I'm shuddering right now at the thought of a video decoder written in C# with regular pauses in playback when the garbage collector kicks in. Yes, I know that smart coding and a sensible approach from the start can mitigate this but then this is another complication - https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms973837.aspx.

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Jeep breach: Scared? You should be, it could be you next

Nick Ryan
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Re: CAN Bus

CAN Bus is a great implementation given the age of the standard and the fact that it has to operate in an electrically horrible environment with as cheap as possible (e.g. as few a wires as possible and as little heavy duty shielding as possible - and often cheap wire as well). However as noted above, by other posters, it's not designed for security as it's just a relatively low level transport mechanism.

To implement security in a CAN bus network you don't connect anything remotely insecure to the CAN bus network; it's that simple and is a simple method of implementing security. Unfortunately in this instance some numpty brain dead fool decided that a good feature would be "remote start", "remote control of lights" or similar utility functions which while not bad as such, their implementation would have to be extremely well thought out. In this case it's very clear that the implementation wasn't thought out at all and a relatively direct connection between the public Internet and an internal CAN bus device was established, most likely for ease of development and cheapness of implementation. What should have happened is that the public Internet device was connected solely to the CAN bus through a dedicated communication route, i.e. communicating with a CAN IO module that simply fired specific messages across the CAN network in response to the IO signals. The worst that could happen in this case is that the specific remotely enabled functions could be triggered and no more however it's plain that the Internet connected device is directly connected to the CAN bus network and can therefore send whatever CAN network messages it wants. Such as an implementation is flexible (in case UConnect want to add interaction with other systems), cheap to develop, implement and support but utterly, fucking stupid.

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HP slaps dress code on R&D geeks: Bin that T-shirt, put on this tie

Nick Ryan
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Very blinkered attitudes here

What's very evident here is that are some very blinkered attitudes here in these comments and while that's not be unexpected given the techie readership, it is a little disappointing when smart people don't understand the value of appearance.

Firstly, everything we wear is effectively a uniform - it doesn't matter if it's a suit, grey hooded tracks and a flourescent yellow fly attractor, jeans and t-shirt, summer dress, cocktail dress or skirt and blouse. It's all a uniform of sorts and the clue is in the word "uniform", as in a common appearance - to whatever paramaters you assign "common".

First impressions do matter and we are perceived by what we wear and our appearance. If you dress like a builder then you'll be treated like one because that's what you look like and you'll find it easier to relate to other builders as a result; we only have limited time in our lives and that doesn't allow for asking every person we see that's dressed as a builder whether or not they are a builder or are in fact a security guard. And so on... security guards dress in a distinct manner so they can be recognised as such and of course this is used in reverse where sometimes they pointedly don't dress as one so they aren't recognised.

So rather than hissing and spitting about how bad it is that some companies have dress codes (aka uniforms), start with the understanding that how you dress really does affect how others see you. This is still the case even if you claim not to care how anybody else dresses, although if in your next statement you claim that "everybody in a suit is evil" you evidently have a false = true problem. How we dress is a tool we can use and it's one I learnt that lesson a long time ago and even directly experimented with it at trade shows where my business partner and I took it in turns to wear a suit or more casual clothes and the change in how we were treated even while standing next to each other was dramatic.

Not that HP's sudden insistence on a stronger dress code will make a lot of positve difference to such a large and laughably inefficient company...

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Microsoft delivers Exchange 2016 Preview

Nick Ryan
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(groan).

In general anything that "requires" Sharepoint is bad, very bad. If Microsoft are having to use this kind of tactic to force enterprises to use Sharepoint then this indicates a serious problem.

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Happy birthday, Amiga: The 'other' home computer turns 30

Nick Ryan
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Because Commodore lost the plot. :(

While it appeared that they languished on their success they were developing some remarkable new systems to replace it with - I had the technical details of some parts and they really were very clever, efficient and way ahead of their time. Unfortunately they struggled with the hardware development including one point where, according to hearsay (I lost my contacts within Amiga HW dev at this time) they had to reverse engineer their own chipsets as they'd "lost" the designs; I still don't understand this or know the truth behind it. One of the more interesting developments that they were apparently attempting was hardware windowing support where each window could have it's own colour palette, colour depth and (possibly, was never sure on this) even DPI resolution. This was an evolutionary change from the multiple screen system where each screen could have its own resolution and could be split vertically (horizontal bands of differing display modes), simultaneously splitting the screens horizontally as well and effectively creating hardware windows would have tasked the chip designers somewhat but the efficiency and performance could have been amazing had they pulled it off.

As a result of Commodore's failure to capitalise on their success they let the (initially) technically inferior PCs overtake them in the market and with the opening up of the PC market by OEMs and the subsequent reduction in costs Amiga's fate was effectively sealed.

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UK.gov makes total pig's ear of attempt to legalise home CD ripping

Nick Ryan
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Re: Has anybody ever been convicted of format shifting?

Unfortuantely and largely started by the previous bunch of lizards (who to a large degree were either lawyers or closely linked to them) a huge number of what were previously civil offences were changed to become criminal offences. Great for lawyers and marketing-statistician-liars, not so great for everybody else including the police who then got lumbered with a lot of extra, usually petty (jn the schems of things) and quite often unenforceable offences to deal with.

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Ginormous HIDDEN BLACK HOLES flood the universe – boffins

Nick Ryan
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Re: so...

There's quote a lot of unanswered physics questions that aren't particularly answered and are likely to have some significant bearing on the "missing matter" and "missing energy" problems.

For example C is assumed to be a constant therefore the obvious questions are such as why should it be a constant, why should it have the value it has and how to definitively explain why this is a set velocity regardless of the emitter's velocity and if there is such a set velocity, should there not also be a set lack of velocity, e.g. absolute zero velocity. While absolute zero may never be achievable by standard matter in the same way we can't accellerate an atom to C (just very close) but some particles / waves may achieve it in the same manner that EM manages to propogate at C.

Then there's the rather interesting question as to what gravity exactly is and how it's effect is propogated. Similar questions apply to the other fundamental forces which while they've been isolated and identified their mechanisms, or how and why they work, are rather less so.

But then I'm not a physicist... :)

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Microsoft: Stop using Microsoft Silverlight. (Everyone else has)

Nick Ryan
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Re: Dear MS, Please put your own house in order

I can't remember where I found it (so don't blame be), but drop these in a batch file - it works for me:

reg delete HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Silverlight /f

reg delete HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\Products\D7314F9862C648A4DB8BE2A5B47BE100 /f

reg delete HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Installer\Products\D7314F9862C648A4DB8BE2A5B47BE100 /f

reg delete HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\TypeLib\{283C8576-0726-4DBC-9609-3F855162009A} /f

reg delete HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\install.exe /f

reg delete HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AgControl.AgControl /f

reg delete HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AgControl.AgControl.5.1 /f

reg delete HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\{89F4137D-6C26-4A84-BDB8-2E5A4BB71E00} /f

rmdir /s /q "%ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Silverlight"

rmdir /s /q "%ProgramFiles(x86)%\Microsoft Silverlight"

Normal disclaimers apply: i.e. use at your own risk, do not apply to first born children, it's not my fault if your system goes up in smoke and triggers the apocalypse, yada yada yada.

You may have to reformat the lines depending on El Reg, and your browser. If you can't do this you probably shouldn't be running them in the first place. I think after this you just need to tell Windows Update exactly where to go with the Silverlight "essential" install and that's it. If some cretinous app installs Silverlight on you, you can re-run these commands (and break the app, no doubt).

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Migrating from WS2003 to *nix in a month? It ain't happening, folks

Nick Ryan
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Re: Sorry...

Pah! I just try to select the most appropriate tool given the requirements. Once I've managed to disentangle the tool from the requirements of course. Far too many folk out there are too stupid to know the difference and state their solutions in the same breath as their requirements.

If the solution happens to be running Windows because it's easier for them to manage and easier to transition them to that's quite possibly the "correct" tool for the job even if there are slightly better alternatives. Similarly if Linux (or any another OS or platform) can do the job then I'll consider it in the same light as Windows and weigh up the costs vs the benefits and disadvantages - and generally all platforms will have some disadvantages for any given scheme. So whether the decision is to run a file server service on a NAS box (often Linux derived), deploy MS-SQL server because it's what clients and partners are expecting (even if integrating it into a Linux type environment is annoying), then this is what happens - there is no "one size fits all" solution and there is no need to be either. Only muppets attempt to deploy one solution or technology regardless of best fit.

And if a pen and paper is a customer's optimal business process platform... then that's what should be considered.

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Amazon just wrote a TLS crypto library in only 6,000 lines of C code

Nick Ryan
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Re: I applaud this and hope it is clean. However we could have written this in Perl in 1 line.

Maybe you need more imagination? :) The lunatics at The International Obfuscated C Code Contest make this an artform. And a competion.

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Who wants a classic ThinkPad with whizzy new hardware? Lenovo would just love to know

Nick Ryan
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Re: I'm gonna get flamed for this...

Regarding tweeking the thinkpad ... no. Not unless they sorted out that FN+CTRL mess.

Having the stupid FN key in place of where on every other damn keyboard the CTRL key was the biggest single problem common to the old Lenovo keyboards. It made switching from one keyboard / system to another stupidly awkward because while you could get used to the dumb positioning of the FN key in place of the CTRL key, as soon as you switched to a normal keyboard layout you had to get used to it all over again. I frequently had to switch from thinkpad to normal system so this was a common problem. However as noted elsewhere, at least these could be swapped in the BIOS.

The other major dumb-ass "innovation" was the navigation "back" and "forward" keys sited in such a spot where it was all too easy to mis-press them or to accidentally press them in place of a normal navigation key such as cursor or Page Up / Page Down. I never found a software fix for these cursed keys (the Lenovo remapping tool refused to remap these) so I just popped the keys out and left a hole in the keyboard.

At least there was an option where the function keys weren't mapped to "special" functions by default and to use the function key as a function key you had to press FN and the function key. Oops.. sent the system into hibernate. Again. All I wanted to do was refresh the page...

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Yahoo! displaces Ask in Oracle's Java update crapware parade

Nick Ryan
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Maybe there's some money to be made from installing ****ing useless and pointless toolbars that do nothing other than slow down the browser and make it crash more often?

Other than that... yeah. Almost as relevant as AOL.

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