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* Posts by Pascal Monett

2899 posts • joined 10 Apr 2007

Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace

Pascal Monett
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Big Dog

Not knocking the technological achievement, which is remarkable, but it seems to me that there is yet progress to be made because those robots may be semi-autonomous and capable of carrying the necessary munitions to the front line where required, but given the racket they make to do so, I can't help thinking that "the enemy" will quickly learn to target the tinny quadrupeds and do a one-stone-two-crows thing.

Big Dog needs to get stealthier or more heavily armored for the battlefield, either of which will require an order of magnitude improvement in energy management and production. Even the civilian version could be of more use if rendered half as audible as it is now.

I wish them good luck finding the solution.

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Innovation creates instability, you say? BLASPHEMY, you SCUM

Pascal Monett
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Ah, teenagers.

When they try to communicate with me I generally wait for around ten seconds (or their first breath) before I hold up a hand and say "slow down there, old ears can't keep up."

Generally they understand and provide an audible speech pattern - for about a minute before diving back into 7th gear.

Rinse & repeat.

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Spy-happy Condoleezza Rice joins Dropbox board as privacy adviser

Pascal Monett
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Re: Mastery of technology, not bloviating brought down the Soviet Union

If the Soviet Union is no more it is because the best rhetoric cannot fill an empty stomach, not can it make widespread corruption invisible.

The Soviet Union imploded on itself due to financial mismanagement and blatantly well-known underhanded dealings on a national scale. Even if the hadn't been a Cold War to funnel even more precious resources into a mad bomb race, the USSR would have undoubtedly crashed because of its own internal instability.

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Melting permafrost switches to nasty, high-gear methane release

Pascal Monett
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Re: James Micallef

Thank you for the link. I have briefly reviewed the page and I will most definitely read it in detail later.

In any case, that is exactly the kind of information I prefer : scientific, clear and precise, and nothing said without proper justification. Makes a welcome change from all the hyperbole and unfounded exxageration.

I appreciate this opportunity to educate myself and will relish the opinion revision that it will entail.

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Pascal Monett
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So, nuke it then ?

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Pascal Monett
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Re: "Amount of CO2 in the atmosphere because of human activity is a known quantity"

Really ?

Because you have measured and recorded every single charcoal fire, log burning and every single emission of coal-burning furnaces all over the world ? Every year ?

Nice to know. So what are the exact figures, down to the kilo ?

Of course not. Nobody can. We can, however, agree that with 7 billion people on the face of this planet, the consequences of our activity are more important than when we were just a billion. That is obvious.

The issue is that everyone is approximating everything without exact figures because we don't have them because it would be prohibitively expensive to record and measure all we need in order to know what it is we need to measure.

So please do not go around spouting nonsense like we know the quantity of CO2 that we pump out. We don't. We approximate it more or less accurately and then we start deriving conclusions because we have to in order to make mistakes and correct our conclusion-making process in order to make better predictions the next time around.

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Which sweaty exec dreamt up Office for iOS? Ballmer, Ballmer, Ballmer

Pascal Monett
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No use betting

Steam OS is on its merry way to becoming available and will happen some time this year.

Microsoft Linux ? Not even in Ballmer's most heavy chair-flinging-induced trances will THAT ever get authorized.

And yes, I know Ballmer's not CEO any more. Unfortunately for Microsoft, he's still on the Board, and last I heard, a CEO reports to the Board.

So if he says no to something, it's still no.

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Bendy or barmy: Why your next TV will be curved

Pascal Monett
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Nice to see them upping the resolution

For the rest though, I'm not interested, and a bent screen will never be on my list.

My current TV was bought in 2005 and it's working fine. Pixel Plus means the image is very good and people who see it for the first time still comment on that.

For my next TV my needs are simple : it needs to look at least as nice as what I have now, and have an Ethernet connector I can plug into my home network to stream films from my media NAS. No connecting to Internet, no complicated user interface and nothing more difficult than "show image from this source".

Make something like that and I will happily buy it.

Try to flog me some bendy "smart" thing that incessantly nags me to connect to the Internet or is a nightmare to use and I will leave it in your shop.

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The cloud awaits... but is your enterprise ready for the jump?

Pascal Monett
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"Large cloud services are in secure data centres to which access is strictly controlled"

And I am glad that they are, but physical access is hardly the problem.

The problem is the NSA, or other shady organisations or even criminal ones, with the ability to worm their way into said secure data centers without ever showing up at the front door and, once in, cherry-picking whatever fits their fancy. How are you going to find out that your data has been taken ? It might be because you lose an important deal to NSA's corporate spying program. It may be because your customers start getting targetted ads and leave you. In any case, it will likely be far too late to do anything about it.

Frankly, in this day and age using the old "iron door" argument as a reference for security is a tad ridiculous.

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MtGox boss Karpeles ordered to Dallas to face bankruptcy probe

Pascal Monett
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I find your point of view perfectly reasonable, and I subscribe to it.

However, I have no doubt that there is some leeway in how all this is handled and, given that it is US citizens filing complaints, it may also be logical that MtGoX might want to seek protection in the US.

The real question is : why does a company in Japan care about a court case in the USA ? US citizens could win anything they want, I don't see that a US court has the power to force anyone in Japan or elsewhere to pay up. The the CEO isn't even an American citizen, and if he were it would grant no special powers to a US court either.

After all, that is, if memory serves, one of the prime reasons some people scamper to a non-extradition country with millions in a suitcase, is it not ?

Except that Japan is hardly a non-extradition country for the US.

Nevertheless, this whole thing should indeed be handled by Japanese law. That's where the company is located.

Otherwise, the Microsoft CEO could be summoned by any court in the world as soon as Windows keels over or loses data, and we don't see that happening, now do we ?

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UK cops: Keep yer golden doubloons, ad folk. Yon websites belong ta PIRATES

Pascal Monett
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Re: "Then how am I supposed to check ..."

You're not. This is a Double Jeopardy thing where, if they find you guilty on one account, they can automatically double the sentence by grandly stating that you were also in cahoots with one of these evil (as defined by corporate copyright holders) sites to defeat Freedom and Liberty for All.

Then they do a Grand Slam by noting that your nefarious activities were tantamount to terrism, and the heavy metal door goes Clang! on your future while the music industry snorts another line of white off a pristine hooker's bum in celebration of its benevolent oversight.

All they're doing is setting up a stool so that we fall from higher up when they "catch" us.

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Meet the man building an AI that mimics our neocortex – and could kill off neural networks

Pascal Monett
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Pint

"If his bet is wrong, then Hawkins will have wasted his life"

I simply cannot let that line pass. That is so primitive a reflection as to be ridiculous.

Whether Hawkins succeeds or fails to build an AI is actually irrelevant. Whatever the end result of this endeavour, he will have succeeded in furthering our knowledge of the brain and the corresponding neuroscience. For that alone, he deserves recognition.

Personally, I fail to understand how anyone can hope to build an artificial brain without understanding how a real one works. If we have impressive car simulators today it is because we have a very good understanding of how a car works. Without the practical knowledge we have of tire grip, shock absorbers, torque and power, how could one possibly build a proper car simulator ? Building an artificial brain must be the same.

And Hawkins' remark that the brain does not come with a set of predefined instructions hits the nail squarely on the head. If the opposite were true, we would have no trouble raising children and only one book on the subject would ever have been written.

I don't know if Hawkins will succeed in his quest, but I sure wish him the best of luck - if only to shut up the naysayers with their precious math.

Now, supposing he does succeed, I have one question. What will the first AI's favourite distraction be ?

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Judge throws out lawsuit lobbed at Facebook for using kids' pics in targeted ads

Pascal Monett
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T&Cs are not contracts

And shrinkwrap agreements that you cannot read before buying the product aren't either.

If you review your commercial law, a contract is an agreement between two parties for an exchange of goods and services. Once the agreement is signed, it becomes legally binding and cannot be changed without the consent of both parties. Any clause that is deemed illegal is automatically void and cannot be invoked by either party. Any clause that allows one party to change contract clauses without consent from the other party is therefor illegal.

T&Cs are imposed on the user and can be changed without user consent (usually via a clause that explicitly states the fact) ergo they are not a contract.

I am sick of hearing companies spout this nonsense without getting shot down by a first-year law graduate.

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Pascal Monett
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Didn't LinkedIn get in similar trouble ?

But if I remember correctly, LlinkedIn got its fingers rapped and did not get to use Ts & Cs clauses to get itself out of hot water.

Funny that, there aren't supposed to be any kids on LinkedIn.

But I'm probably not remembering correctly the hows n whys.

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Life support turned off: NHS Direct dies silent, undignified death

Pascal Monett
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That certainly explains some of the "spiralling" costs.

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Pascal Monett
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WebMD is not a public service medical site

It was founded by a computer scientist, not a doctor. It is not governed by doctors and no doctor has vouched for its content.

It has apparently been accredited by some healthcare organization, but the credibility of said accreditation is in doubt.

In short, WebMD is certainly a good idea, and probably contains reliable information for many cases, but I wouldn't trust my cancer diagnostic to it, much less my treatment (not that I have cancer, that's just an example).

Get WebMD under the wing of a truly certified medical body and then we can start using it in confidence. Until then, I'll just keep using it for general queries.

Oh, and just for the principle of it I will certainly not create a medical profile on a US site.

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

Pascal Monett
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They are being told that this is needed to find terrorists.

And they are under orders, probably, which means firing squad if they run off.

Tends to make you think twice before goofing off.

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Twitter sneaks in Facebook-ish photo-tagging – how to switch it off

Pascal Monett
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Re: "any time one of these companies go public the whole idea of privacy [..] goes out the window"

Of course it does. They don't go public to respect your privacy, they go public to have the means to strip-mine it.

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Full Disclosure redux: under new management

Pascal Monett
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Great idea, but there's just one thing

Don't base the site in the US.

ISPs in other countries are much less inclined to bend over and spread just because some nitwit files a complaint in the US.

Also, DMCA is not valid outside US territory, and that removes a very efficient take down mechanism.

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US-Russia Soyuz 'nauts STUCK IN SPACE after ISS dock fail

Pascal Monett
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"They have supplies to keep them in orbit for many, many days,"

Yeah but,

1) aren't those supplies for the ISS ?

2) do they have enough toilet space ?

3) btw, does anyone include human dejections in the list of things whizzing around our planet and posing a grave risk to satellites et al ? I'd hate to read that a comms sat got hit by a curry turd and didn't survive.

Okay, okay, I'm going already.

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Apple vows to add racially diverse EMOJIS after MILEY CYRUS TWITTER outrage

Pascal Monett
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I am so happy

It is wonderful to think that there is nothing more important in the world than the alleged "colour" of a group of signals with arbitrary definitions.

So nice to know that the heavy issues of last millennium like world peace, hunger, misery and sickness have been purged and we can devote ourselves to the rest of the necessary steps in improving our world : making sure the racists are properly reassured about "diversity".

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Forget sledgehammers – crooks can CRACK ATMs with a TEXT

Pascal Monett
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Indeed. My interest waned notably when I read that they had to "connect phone to ATM".

Sorry, if they have access to connect the phone, the rest is just details. The basic rule still applies here : if the crims get physical access to the hardware, all bets are off and there is no more security.

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No Notch niche: Minecraft man in rift with Oculus after Facebook gobble

Pascal Monett
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Re: "The guys from Oculus"

The guys from Foculous have no more credibility than a banker now, although they are considerably richer than before.

The Kickstarter community that backed them must be positively incensed. I know I would be if had given money to help bring a promising product to the world (and promising it was with Carmack on board) only to have it Zuckified before it became anything.

If I were one of the Kickstarters I would be seriously thinking of suing right now.

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Hold on, everyone ... Prez Obama thinks he's cracked this NSA super-snooping problem

Pascal Monett
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Keeping who safe exactly ?

"We look forward to working with our colleagues in the House and Senate to enact a bipartisan proposal that will ensure the highest levels of privacy and civil liberties while still maintaining the tools our government needs to keep us, and our allies, safe," said the select committee chairman Congressman Mike Rogers (R-MI).

When you say "our allies", you mean the same people it has been proven that you're spying on ?

You really think we believe that this is about keeping us safe ?

What was actually said :

We look forward to keeping all our politicians under heel in order to enact the necessary actions that will ensure we can continue screwing over the world and its dog in complete and utter invulnerability while mouthing platitudes about civil liberties and respecting . . what's that word again ? . . uh, right : privacy."

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Pascal Monett
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Re: Give them an inch

More like give them an inch and they'll realize you exist and then they'll come and take everything you've got and bug everything they couldn't cart away.

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Windows 8 BREAKS ITSELF after system restores

Pascal Monett
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Oh come now, blaming Win7 for faults in Win8 ?

Win 7 is the best PC OS that Microsoft has ever made. Or will ever have made, if MS continues on its current course.

That said, I'm just biding my time, waiting for Steam OS to be released. The day that happens, I'm done with the MS world outside of work.

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Nvidia unveils Pascal, its next-gen GPU with hella-fast interconnects and 3D packaging

Pascal Monett
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5 to 12x the PCIe bandwidth

Humongous strides are still being made in the computing space. This is another stepping stone towards more and more computing power available to individual users. I can hardly wait to see this become a reality.

I wonder what kind of eye-candy future game developers will throw in to make their plotless games look even better. Maybe some kind of mix between Battlefield 6 and Minecraft ? Truly deformable terrain and structures without any scripting ? Bodies and rubble that stay for the duration of the round ? Blood spurting out of severed arteries ?

Who knows, we might even get a game with an actual plot ?

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Facebook swallows Oculus VR goggle-geeks. Did that really happen?

Pascal Monett
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Headmaster

"Imagine [...] studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world"

And what exactly would that bring me ? How is that going to add value over showing me what it is I'm supposed to be studying ?

Apparently The Zuck thinks that everyone in the world wants to be seen doing something, or that everyone is a 12-year-old that has to do everything with his schoolmates. It might be a selling point for the 12-year-olds, but for adults I don't see any interest in being put in a virtual classroom.

The point of the Internet is to bring the information you're looking for directly to you, on your screen. It is not to put a virtual town hall between you and what you need to study. The days of going to University and sitting ten yards from the board are not interesting when you use computers. Only a narcissistic show-off can find it more interesting to be viewed studying than actually studying.

This sentence does, however, reveal a lot as to how Facebook is going to pervert the system. Whatever you look for, be ready for a wave of user names flooding the screen with the possibility to "Like" every one of them. I wonder how you'll actually be able to see what you're looking for ?

For that matter, I wonder how much bandwidth this thing is going to need ?

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Pascal Monett
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Re: You JUST DONT KNOW

Yes we do. We have largely enough data on Facebook history to know exactly where this is going.

If it gets to store shelves, you won't need to sign in to Facebook, you'll be plugged in automatically. You will, of course, have a sign in option for those who are stupid enough to think that it is a good idea to tell The Zuck and his minions that this new online thingy belongs to someone who you already know everything about, but I'm sure Zuck's minions will find a way to correlate their records without your help.

Oh, I'm sorry, you didn't realize that the Foculous is going to phone home ? Oh but it will, because it's Facebook and Facebook means ads and personal information harvesting. And that means that El Zuck will watch what you're watching while he's watching you, to "better" serve you ads.

And you can bet the Foculous will be dirt cheap - gotta get them ad views in somehow.

El Zuck must be sporting a heavy one right now, bitch.

I feel so sorry for Carmack. What a way to end one's career.

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Improbable: YOU gave model Lily Cole £200k for her Impossible.com whimsy-site

Pascal Monett
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Absolutely right !

And I'll go a step further and say that if MY taxes are funding you, you have the choice of either justifying every cent you take or refusing to take anything.

Personally, I would have sent a police car with orders to get either the information, or the people responsible into custody.

But then some people would go calling names and invoking Goodwin for some reason.

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Apple says sayonara to Samsung's ninjas: iPad, iPhone don't infringe comms patents – report

Pascal Monett
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Got yer Snickers nicked by some colored kid in playground, did ya ?

Or are you just trolling ?

Yeah, must be trolling.

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Pascal Monett
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No, you're still right. The lawyers aren't on either side.

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Pascal Monett
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Nonsense !

Jaguar is NOT a famous German luxury car manufacturer, it is a famous Indian luxury car manufacturer.

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ISPs' pirate-choking blocking measures ARE effective – music body

Pascal Monett
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So, the "music" industry wants to go after Google now ?

I wish them good luck there. I really do.

And I'm going to buy a truckload of popcorn to watch the proceedings. It's not every day you get to see a cage fight between a white-collar junkie and a gorilla on steroids. The IFPI won't even know what hit it.

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GSMA: EU net neutrality reforms are the enemy of business

Pascal Monett
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ISP Reality Check

An ISP offers Internet access. Businesses, like consumers, pay for getting connected. Once they are connected, what transits on the lines have NOTHING TO DO WITH ISPs any more.

And it's not because we're talking about mobile that that changes anything. The only thing an ISP has the right to do is count the bits and charge according to contract.

Throttling, or interfering in any way over the kind of data, is simply not in the contract and should never be.

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5 Eyes in the Sky: The TRUTH about Flight MH370 and SPOOKSATS

Pascal Monett
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Just FYI, SOSUS is apparently only for the Northern Hemisphere.

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'It is disappointing that the government secretly did this stuff'

Pascal Monett
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Big Brother

@Titus Technophobe

The bit I don't understand is why folks feel the Internet is any different from the 'real world'

That's probably because in the Internet you don't feel the surveillance, it happens in the ether and you have no way of even knowing you are being watched.

If the Internet was not there to allow them to do the job invisibly, there would have to be a Security Officer in every Post Office, reading your mail (in back rooms, or maybe not). Another one would be at every intersection recording all cars that went by (maybe stopping them to do so without missing any). You wouldn't place calls directly, you'd have to first call Homeland Security and ask them to connect you to someone (while they record the call).

In every shop you'd have to present your ID to an officer so he could record your purchases and cross-reference them to your name. Every place you could buy something you would give an officer your card so he could make the transaction for you in a Homeland Security-approved manner (with your ID tagged to the purchase).

Etc.

I think people would rather object to that, generally speaking. But since it is happening on the Internet and they don't see it happening, it sails through almost unhindered.

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Haunted Empire calls Apple 'a cult built around a dead man.' Tim Cook calls it 'nonsense'

Pascal Monett
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Happy

Re: the sheer unthinking inanity of what passes for comment on the subject

Welcome to the Internet !

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Pascal Monett
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Not yet.

I fully expect to see Jobs' face on toast shortly.

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Imagination brings real-time hyper-realistic ray tracing to mobile kit

Pascal Monett
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enterprise product lines ?

What company do I have to send a CV to to get paid to play ?

I do hope this tech filters . . up to a proper PC platform and I think it will - eye candy is <u>the</u> criteria for selling games these days, after all, before story, innovation or literally anything else.

And that little bugger can really do eye candy, apparently. If the hype is true, that is.

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WhatsApp founder: Privacy WON'T vanish under Facebook

Pascal Monett
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WTF?

Pardoned ?!??

In what world ?

The NSA has most certainly not been pardoned. If it had been, the citizens would have dropped the subject and moved back to sports.

The NSA is not "pardoned", it's just that the NSA doesn't have to give a flying one whether the People like it or not.

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Sorry Dick: 3 reasons why Twitter will NEVER be unblocked in China

Pascal Monett
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a lot of data ?

You mean ALL the data, don't you ?

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WTF is … the multiverse?

Pascal Monett
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Not "outside" our Universe

The idea of the multiverse - as far as I understand it - is that there are an infinite number of parallel dimensions in which variations of this universe exist.

In some, Man never came to be because something kept that from happening. In other, closer variations, nuclear war happened after WWII. The possible infinites are unimaginable.

I do not see that this theory contradicts the "all possible quantum statistical outcomes of an event actually exist together". It all depends on your definition of "together".

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Pascal Monett
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Obvious answer

Someone, somewhere, would try to recreate the initial conditions to validate the theory !

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Google hit by Monday morning blues: Talk, Hangouts, Sheets crash

Pascal Monett
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Re: What is this cloud thing they keep talking about?

It's that thing that is managed by people who don't know you nor care much about you or your needs, but will take your money and promise 24/7 service.

Then they turn around and stop things you need because they scheduled a major upgrade during a work week, which, as any private-company-employed sysadmin knows, is something you do over the weekend so as to not disrupt business.

But they got their business when you gave them your money. Your business ? No worry, Sir, we'll be back online soon. When ? <click>

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Win XP holdouts storm eBay and licence brokers, hiss: Give us all your Windows 7

Pascal Monett
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Never ease up on pressuring Microsoft

There will never be enough people on the Bandwagon, given that we're dealing with a company that has a history of doing what it wants and not noticing user backlash.

Nobody can "make this O/S useable". It isn't. It was designed not to be.

We don't like it and we won't use it, thank you. We didn't need your permission anyway.

Oh, and I have a new car for you. Here, take a seat. There you are. What's that ? No steering wheel ? No, I've removed it. No clutch either. At least, not visible. The brakes and accelerator are hidden as well. Look how streamlined your car interior is !

How do you get somewhere ? Well I'll just let you discover that on your own. Have fun !

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Pascal Monett
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@Steve : Microsoft system requirements, really ?

You justify your argument by using Microsoft-supplied system requirements ?

Please. Everybody knows that Microsoft system requirements are the minimum resources needed to BOOT a PC, not USE it.

4GB and oodles of disk space (preferably more than one disk) are needed to USE Windows (whatever version). Having only 1GB on Win 8 is going to impose vast amounts of swapping time and generally crappy PC responsiveness.

I use Win7/64 with 16GB of RAM, an 8-core CPU and almost 5TB across 7 discs. It runs fine. Use a PC with 1GB of RAM ? I'd rather go watch a film on TV - the framerate will be smoother.

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Pascal Monett
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Oh Microsoft is still that stupid, don't worry.

The thing is, even a complete moron can spot a train barrelling down on him while he's tied to the tracks, and when he does, he will start wriggling and squirming and attempting to break free.

Microsoft is tied to the PC world track, and the browser train is due to pass any time now. I call it the browser train because every pad, tablet, phone and whatnot that people are using today to do what they did - and more of what they didn't - on PCs, every thingamabob people are sticking their fingers on now has an HTML-type interface to the various walled gardens Apple and the rest are trying to herd them in to.

PCs are going to back to a minority position for the simple reason that they got foisted onto everybody only because there was no other choice. There is choice now, and people are choosing, and they are not choosing PCs because those bloody things are complicated to understand and maintain. A tablet, on the other hand, is simplicity itself - or so the marketing department would like us to think.

So the threat is looming, casting a shadow over Microsoft headquarters, and there is panic in the upper spheres. And Microsoft does what it always has done : create a new One OS for everything, this time touch-enabled because the future is very much to do with touchscreens, whether or not said screens are attached to a PC.

The Start button, not-Metro issue is Microsoft squirming and wriggling and not getting out of its situation. It's not getting out of its situation because there is a mindlock at the MS board : it's Windows or nothing.

No problem guys, it'll be nothing then. When consumers will have entirely moved to the next generation of whatever we'll call a computer at that time, Windows will be a dead dodo for the public, good only for programming, heavy-duty data management and business applications.

I'll be curious to see how MS manages its situation in the coming years, when a generation that has not grown up on Windows starts entering the job market. I think that is when MS is going to start seeing a growing dent in its money tower. Because until then, MS has more money than it needs to weather the situation - well, unless it goes on gobbling useless startups at billions in costs which, in its current state of near-desperation, it is entirely capable of doing.

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Pascal Monett
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Re: "Many regard [..] Windows 7 as a small downgrade"

Not to dispute what many regard, but Windows 7 is not a downgrade at all (unless many confuse Office 2010 and the Ribbon with Win7 - entirely possible, I agree).

Windows 7 is much more stable than XP, doesn't freeze annoyingly when you accidentally click on an empty optical unit (although that issue is still not perfectly dealt with) and generally is much better at keeping one programs' issues away from the rest of the system.

Additionally, the 64-bit environment works much better than I thought it would. I can use all of my application library without trouble, almost all of my games, and with 16GB of RAM, I practically never run out of memory anymore.

So Win7, especially the 64-bit version, is a great improvement over XP - now that all my hardware has the proper drivers, of course.

That said, I would never install Win7 on a PC specced for XP. I'd rather get Ubuntu on that.

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

Pascal Monett
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Re: Unbelievable lack of stregic planning

Coincidentally, I'm once again watching my Yes Minister collection.

Having read this article, in light of my current experience, I believe that when the circumstances are right, in the fullness of time, you will no doubt be enlightened to learn that the plans concerning this migration are extensive and have been and are still amply discussed at every level.

There is absolutely no lack of planning. On the contrary, every minute detail is being planned and the plan is being revised as we speak. I'm quite sure that the Division of Departmental Planning will have its report ready on time as forecast, in 2016.

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