* Posts by bazza

1071 posts • joined 23 Apr 2008

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Petrol cars are dead in the water, says Tesla CTO waving numbers on the back of an envelope

bazza
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Good point!

Plus they're no good if you want to go on a long journey. For a lot of people, buying electric means also buying a fossil fuelled car too. That's pretty wasteful.

When they can be charged in 5 minutes and go 400 miles and we get the bulk of the electricity from fussion/fission/hydro/etc, then it's worth it.

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Don't want pranksters 'bricking' your Android? Just stop using the internet, duh – Google

bazza
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Re: A patch? sure, and pigs might fly

There's a lot of Chinese Android mobiles that have effectively told Google to shove it. Degooglised Android is all the rage over there.

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Invisible app ads slug smartmobes with 2GB of daily downloads

bazza
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Re: @bazza

Why do businesses spend money on advertising? It's not because they like to reduce their profits by throwing money away, it's because advertising, like it or not, has been demonstrated to increase sales volumes and hence revenues. Greater sales volumes allow fixed costs to be spread over more units and hence tend to reduce prices, not increase them.

What rot. Businesses are spending more on advertising now than they ever did pre-google simply because there are now so many digital advertising places to advertise. Businesses primarily fear not being seen, so they advertise. The advertising market is roughly half digital, half not. Digital effectively doubled the advertising market. But we're not buying twice the quantity of washing powder, crisps, cars, etc.

It's not for nothing that it's called the Google Tax.

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bazza
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Re: T'was a good speech from a balcony in Folkstone, though a bit germanic...

I do hope that UK companies also have customers outside Blighty and the Falklands?

Have you seen the balance of trade recently?

Seriously, citation needed.

Oh good grief, have you spent the last decade asleep?

"Also note that this money supports people who might be on the dole without advertising revenue, so you ACTUALLY PAY LESS TAXES FOR DOLE SUPPORT! Isn't that great?"

Are you seriously suggesting that everyone involved in forcing unwanted information into peoples' eyes in the many imaginative ways they do so is otherwise totally incapable of earning a living in any other way? Sounds to me like you're insulting them. And whilst I may not be paying tax for their dole money, everything I buy to house my family, feed them and keep them clothed costs more because of the advertising commissioned to try and persuade me to buy more of it.

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bazza
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Re: The poor advertisers...

"I may have little sympathy for the advertisers"

Your sentiment is misplaced. Ask yourself, who pays the advertisers?

When you think about it you'll realise that ultimately its the unsuspecting user getting stung, all the time. Advertising is just a business expense for retailers, suppliers, builders, etc who pass the cost on to us.

So also ask yourself how ethical is ad funded software and online services? Before you answer that, consider these points:

* The likes of Google are perfectly happy for this type of fraud to take place, they cream off the top every time. In fact, Google have been particularly effective at inventing new services (maps, search, mail, etc) specifically for creating new avenues for adverts. Businesses then have to take up advertising on those services for fear of falling in the public conciousness and losing market share. And every man, woman and child has to pay for that no matter what phone or computer they buy.

* The whole of the UK advertising industry is worth £14billion per year, about £600 for every wage earner, and about half of that is online digital. That's about £300 per year paid to companies like Google by every wage earner in the country. And every time a company like Google invent a new service, that figure goes up.

I think the answer is that it's not very ethical at all. There's already way too much advertising, we can hardly be more advertised at, yet we all pay extra for it without the option.

Worse, Google don't really pay any tax anywhere either.

So Who Owns Google?

That's also a worthwhile question. Google, Facebook, etc. have shareholders, and ultimately shareholders tend to be a small number of individuals and financial institutions who are themselves ultimately owned by pension schemes. That's right, some of that £300 per year in the UK is going into funding foreign pensioners, without it being taxed to help support the UK population first. Terrific.

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Fiat Chrysler recall BLUNDERING could lump carmaker with $105m fine – report

bazza
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Dose of Reality

The car industry needs an injection of reality into their thinking on the security of connected cars. They are sleep walking into huge liabilities, and this incident for Fiat Chrysler should act as a wake up call. They must first ask themselves what do they really think they're getting from all this connected technology, and do they think it will be worth it?

The insurance industry should start getting worried too. It's going to be very difficult to blame a driver for a crash if they can realistically claim, "wasn't me that pressed the throttle, the car must have been hacked.". Eventually the insurers won't be able to push back against such claims, and they will then have to pick up the bill.

If the manufacturers are looking for increased sales from a "connencted car" they might have got it hideously wrong. The ones that can say "no radio connections here" could do very well in the market once a few more scare stories start circulating.

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What goes up, Musk comedown: Falcon rocket failed to strut its stuff

bazza
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Re: That's what happens...

@Boris the Cockroach,

"At least they found the cause, just need to make sure it stays fixed."

Well, they think that's what's happened, it's their best estimate.

With any engineering project you can either over engineer it to achieve a required strength, or you can par everything to the bone and be fastidious about materials testing, manufacturing process and quality control. The former doesn't work for a rocket, it would be too heavy. The latter takes total commitment everywhere in the organisation and supply chain, right down to the smelters. Space X have found themselves somewhere in between.

So it's not just a failed part that's wrong, their working processes that are supposed to ensure quality are also wrong. That needs redesigning too, and then run from scratch across the whole organisation. That's a lot more difficult and expensive than redesigning a simple strut.

I'm also puzzled as to why they chose steel. Steel does some weird things when it gets cold, and this one was immersed in liquid oxygen. It gets brittle, it can fall apart all on its own, you have to test it in its working conditions not at a cosy lab temperature, it reacts with oxygen and rusts (and there's nothing quite as reactive as liquid oxygen). It just doesn't sound like the right material. Even stainless isn't that good; as stresses open up micro cracks in the material the passivation layer is breached. I wonder if they'll change material choice too.

I'd be slightly surprised if they can return to flight within a few months. Process changes are not quick.

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bazza
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That's what happens...

...when you go down the scrap yard for rocket parts.

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WHOA! Windows 10 to be sold on USB drives – what a time to be alive

bazza
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Just like the good old days

You get your software comes on this ROM chip thingy that has no legs on it that you plug into a socket and you turn it on and eventually <bing bong> you computer is up and running and then you do this weird 'install' thing that hardly seems necessary really and instead of getting a good old fashioned BASIC prompt you get this strange cartoonish picture on the TV with an arrow that moves around everytime the cat chases that mouse thing and its a devilish job getting the old cassette player with a data tape working these days.

Going back to my BBC Micro.

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HSBC takes Twitter tongue-lashing over failure to offer Apple Pay

bazza
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Re: Why?

Whilst not wishing to attack or defend Apple in any particular way (I'll never own an iThing in my life if I can help it), weren't Google trying to take a whole lot more with Google Wallet?

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bazza
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Re: ublic transport?

"You cannot rely on a means of payment that itself relies on a power source."

Well that depends on how likely the device is to run out of power, and what form of payment or transport you're taking.

Air travel isn't so bad. I've seen plenty of people use mobile phone based boarding cards. They don't let you on board unless you've already paid, so no one is interested if you're phone is flat by the time you land in Malaga or wherever. And even if you lose your phone you can easily get a paper boarding card replacement at the ticket desk (unless its Ryan Air or similar).

Trains though, well that most certainly is a different matter.

I've always thought NFC was a good idea for travel, especially in Oyster card form.

* Lose your Oyster card, perhaps someone gets to travel free for a day until you get home and cancel the card online.

* Lose your NFC credit card, well maybe then they get to take a bit more off you first.

* Lose your phone and, presuming there's a fingerprint reading or PIN extra security step, no one gets your money. However they do have your phone, which might be worse...

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Apple and Samsung are plotting to KILL OFF the SIM CARD - report

bazza
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Re: And the carriers smile

No doubt you think UEFI, "Seecure Boot", etc were done for your benefit too?

Actually Secure Boot, which can always be turned off (at least it can on the hardware I've seen), is for your benefit, if you want a signed boot process.

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ARM servers look to have legs as OVH boots up Cavium cloud

bazza
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Re: 2x1600W PSU?!?!?!

Well in terms of power consumption, it's 1x1600Watts. They're a redundant pair.

Also there's 384 cores in this box, plus storage. That's significantly more cores than you'd have if you maxed out a 2U box with Xeons.

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Uber to drivers: You make a ton of dosh for us – but that doesn't make you employees

bazza
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"Uber is a taxi operator, and needs a taxi operator's license."

Doesn't have one

"The drivers are self-employed taxi drivers, who need a taxi driver's license, driving their own vehicle, which needs a taxi vehicle license,"

Uber don't check that they do, in fact they positively avoids doing so

Just like any other non-employee taxi operator.

Er, no. A local firm isn't allowed to trade without the correct licenses (or at least that's the law here in the UK). Uber escape such legal control by being an Internet based service with no real geographical presence anywhere. Didn't stop France finding someone to arrest though (and good on the French I say).

"Just another remote taxi booking service."

Er, again no. Uber's massive mistake is to not understand what a license does and means. Does a license protect the consumer? Yes. Does it protect the company? Also yes. A taxi company doing everything by the book according to local rules can hardly be blamed (or sued) if one of their drivers commits a grievous crime.

On the other hand an unlicensed company like Uber would be liable should something terrible happen. Ok so they're American with a lot of expensive lawyers on a retainer so they're difficult to sue on their home turf. But elsewhere in the world that doesn't count for shit. An Uber driver rapes a UK customer, Uber are going to lose in court; joint venture, or some other such entanglement. People go to jail for that kind of thing.

As much as anything else Uber are exploiting their executives around the world. They're the ones who will carry the can in countries outside of the USA, as their French chaps are now finding out. If I were a non-US Uber officer, I'd seriously consider quitting before it's too late.

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bazza
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Re: Wrong subtitle Reg

Maybe or maybe not done before, but well worth repeating!

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Google says its AI will jetwash all traces of malodorous spam from your box

bazza
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They bought it

Google purchased Postini, and have now rebranded it. They didn't invent it at all.

In the process they've not exactly covered themselves in glory. The migration was a fairly shoddy. The web view of your spam folder is now not viewable from inside email clients such as Outlook. They've gone and changed the terms and conditions without asking, allowing them to rummage round your email for advertising hints ("to improve the service we offer"), whilst also charging customers for that privilege. Postini charged but didn't rummage, made them quite attractive.

They can only filter spam from email because they now see such a large portion of the whole world's email. No one else can hope to compete, because unless everyone for some reason decides to send their email to them they cannot get a wide enough view of emails to spot the replicas. So Google have a monopoly on it, allowing them to rip off the market.

They've taken something good and made it less good. Thanks. Thanks a bundle.

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How a Cali court ruling could force a complete rethink of search results

bazza
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Re: Irritating

Your counter-example is flawed and stupid.

Which outcome would you rather have when going to the your local supermarket?

You: Hi, do you have any Grey Goose?

Employee: Nope!

Who would ask for a specific brand if they actually wanted a generic thing? If one is interested in vodka generally, ask for goddamned vodka. Being told that a shop has vodka and refusing to confirm or deny the availability of a specifically requested brand is not helpful at all and a waste of time. And possibly illegal.

I hate when comments aren't exactly relevant to the post being discussed. When I jump into the comments I expect it to be rant free and on topic! It's these lazy commentators that fill up the comments with pages of off topic rants, I just wish they'd actually pay attention to the thing I came to discuss.

Did you read that before you posted it, or are you just being ironic?

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bazza
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Irritating

I'm increasingly irritated by search engines returning results I'm not interested in, and Amazon are just another example. If a search returns no result, I want to know that instead of having to plough through the vast swathes of useless results just in case the one I want is actually in there somewhere on the 10th page.

When I use + and quotes on a Google search string, I just wish they'd actually pay attention to that. Instead more often than not they they present a bunch of pages that actually do not feature the words I've supposedly specified as being compulsory in the search. Not useful at all. I long for the days of Alta Vista which simply did nothing more than straight string matching, not some hocus pocus bullshit algorithm whose only purpose is to encourage me to view pages that I already know I don't want to see.

Search engines have become the lazy answer to poor organisation and maintenance of data, and there's plenty of services out there like Google, Amazon, Bing, etc. that exploit that laziness as an excuse for pushing adverts. Microsoft's help is appalling these days, where pressing the help button on an in focus dialog box generally fails to being up the help page for that box.

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BB10 AND Android? How BlackBerry can have its cake and eat it

bazza
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"More to the point it would be better if BB switched to current winphones rather than android....the concept of BB making "secure" phones is laughable when you consider the point of an android phone is to SHARE your data, not secure it......."

There hardly seems any point BB taking on WinPhone as an OS, native or VM'ed. WinPhone does not do the enterprise thing anywhere near as well as BB10 and is miserably unpopular on the consumer market too. Seems precious little to be won there.

Also if BB can run a full Android as a VM, it would be able to share all the data it can without affecting the the BB10 VM's stuff. Technically this is a step backwards (BlackBerry Balance is a far more elegant solution to the BYOD problem), but if it works in the market place then you'd have to say it's the better solution.

Now, if only they'd do a BB10 slider phone...

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UH OH: Windows 10 will share your Wi-Fi key with your friends' friends

bazza
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Re: Oh that's just great.

It would be interesting for see it tested in court, though I would not want to the the one having to rely on it!

The courts in the UK are notoriously slow to pay heed to what actually happens in the world of science and technology. Overturning established precedence is very difficult, especially if it has already been relied on to convict a bunch of people whose cases would have to be reopened. They just hate acknowledging mistakes. There would be a single opportunity to do so in the first relevant court case after Windows 10 goes on sale, after which it would become very difficult. As things stand it will be extremely difficult to persuade a judge that Windows 10 is in any way different or relevant.

So a guest SSID it is, and the password will change after someone has visited.

Sane law enforcement is becoming increasingly difficult with the tech that is being developed. It is becoming increasingly difficult to have both technology freedom and stopping bad people exploiting it to help them harm others.

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bazza
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Oh that's just great.

In most countries in the world, the owner of a WiFi network is legally responsible for the traffic flowing through it. Someone downloads dodgy porn, it's the owner the police will prosecute.

So that's fine, you don't give out your WiFi password to all and sundry, least of all your kids.

With WiFi Sense, most people will lose control of who has their WiFi password. May as well just run an open network.

Sure, it's easy enough to stop it happening, but to do that first you have to know that it is happening and then take the necessary precautions. However most people will be utterly clueless about all of that, and most will be completely vulnerable to the inevitable consequences.

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KRAKKOOM! SpaceX Falcon supply mission to ISS EXPLODES minutes after launch

bazza
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Re: Physics Says...

"As pointed out above, it seems* more likely that the problem was a loss of pressure"

Elon Musk tweeted that, "There was an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank. Data suggests counterintuitive cause".

I'm presuming that if there had been a puncture and loss of oxygen or something else that provided pressurised structural integrity he would have tweeted accordingly, but he didn't.

We'll see what the counterintuitive cause is thought to be sooner or later.

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bazza
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Re: Physics Says...

Sorry, should read:

An explosion would have destroyed everything, yet the first stage was clearly still operating after the upper stage had got into difficulties.

One day I shall try and learn English...

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bazza
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Physics Says...

...that the only way the pressure could rise in the oxygen tank is if

1) More oxygen were added

2) The oxygen warmed up

3) The tank got smaller

The first is not possible. The second seems unlikely; a fire near oxygen normally would result in some sort of explosion, not a gentle warming up. An explosion would have destroyed everything, yet the first stage was clearly still operating after the first stage had got into difficulties. So it might have to be the third.

That implies that there was a structural failure of the upper stage resulting in the oxygen tank crumpling up as the stage collapsed lengthwise.

If it is a structural collapse, that's pretty bad. That's the most basic and easiest part of rocket science. It would be most unfortunate if this were indeed the cause of the failure. Some panel falling off from higher up could result in a puncture, which I suppose might weaken the stage structure. There did appear to be quite a lot of gas streaming off the upper stages during the ascent.

As Mark85 quoted, "The rocket science is the easy part, the doing is the hard part.". A launch failure due to a structural failure obviously won't help convince any future astronaut that it has been built right, never mind designed right. Safe flight operations is largely about having the right process and sticking to it; SpaceX's process clearly still has some flaws which need to ironed out.

As the great Feynman said:

"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled."

I'm hoping that Elon Musk has that put up on a large poster opposite his desk in his office, and everyone else's too. NASA were serially guilty of putting PR first, and it cost Astronauts' lives.

Anyway, I'm sure they'll find the problem and get it ironed out. I hope so. If there's one good thing to come out of this, it should be the question, "What else have we missed?".

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Britain beats back Argies over Falklands online land grab

bazza
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"What the hell happens when there isn't the backstop of the US government and global political disputes are left in the hands of 20 nerds lined up in a long crescent?"

That's easy. They'll make a mess of it.

If control of domains starts being influenced by whatever is politically trendy at any given point in time then the whole organisation will be brought into disrepute.

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Give us your software BlackBerry, we love it. The phones? Meh

bazza
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Re: Great company, great products...

Completely agree with all that. The Z30 is the best phone I've used.

There's talk that they're going for run Android inside a hypervisor. Neat trick. Thing is that Hub, Balance, BES and everything else are also pretty neat, but that doesn't help significantly in the market. Why is that?

I reckon it's because most buyers don't go looking for anything better than what they know. And if they're coming from Android or iPhone, what they know is pretty basic. They have to put in effort to learn what the neat tricks are and how they can help them. Advertising doesn't do enough.

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WikiLeaks slips out YET MORE Sony SECRETS

bazza
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Joke

Vulture Memory Loss

"For the record, we've searched the trove for “The Register” and can find nothing incriminating."

Surely they've not forgotten this?

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Open-source Linux doesn't pay, said no one ever at Red Hat

bazza
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Re: Even if it doesn't pay.

Gnome for example is two years tops away from being unportable.

Well, no loss there then. They are seriously screwing up Gnome, and Nautilus is now useless as a file manager. Amongst other things, apparently they've decided that no one should ever need to know the time stamp of a file more than 24hrs in the past. They're rapidly coding their way towards irrelevance, whilst everyone else (esp Cinnamon) just gets better and better.

I have a thesis that's possibly worth exploring. Inside Redhat there are a bunch of programmers working on Gnome, and they've run out of ideas. If they stop doing stuff they'll get fired. So they make it up, say that everyone else is an idiot when the latest release is derided and hope that their boss never realises that he's been had.

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Apple CORED: Boffins reveal password-killer 0-days for iOS and OS X

bazza
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Whooooops!

That is all.

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Hacked US OPM boss: We'll fix our IT security – just give us $21 million

bazza
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Re: Given the way this works...

Got me coat, I'm going for a long walk and try to not get pissed that there's really no where in the world not run by idiots.

Well, we've got our own brand of idiots over here in the UK, but overall it's pretty good. Why don't you come and give it a go?

The beer is a lot better for a start, despite the impressive advances of the US micro breweries.

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Wikipedia to go all HTTPS, all the time

bazza
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Re: Playing to the gallery

Because privacy isn't only for the privileged.

Hmm, browsing Wikipedia isn't exactly on the same level as Internet banking... I can't see any MITM attacker being delighted to have discovered what embarrassing medical conditions someone has been reading about.

The only possible motivation is to allow, say, Chinese readers to safely read pages about democracy, etc. Now that really is a noble aim and one worth applauding.

Unfortunately it will probably backfire. China will simply block access and then everyone is worse off.

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BlackBerry on Android? It makes perfect sense

bazza
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Re: Agree with the title, but...

The problem with Blackphone is that it's just another non-mainstream platform. It may well have Android roots, but unless it hooks into Google Play Services and lets you run everything there is on the Google Store, people generally won't want it.

Mainstream sells. Non-mainstream does not. Unless the mainstream gets serious about security, nothing good will happen on a wide scale. Apple aren't too bad, but have their failings. Google seemingly hardly care at all about what happens on Android handsets people actually own. Neither have a commercial incentive to do anything about it. Nor do the app developers; it's hard enough supporting maybe both iOS and Android, but to pander to something like Blackphone too just costs time and effort for very little reward. That's exactly the problem Blackberry have; technically pretty good, know one cares.

I've said before that those whom really, really care about security (banks, governments, etc) have had a free ride on the Blackberry popularity wave. Now that Blackberry are less popular they're likely to discover that security costs. Without a mainstream consumer base to subsidise it that cost can become very high indeed. Like $billions.

With there being no one single completely compelling alternative out there no one really knows what to buy. There's solutions out there that have good security but effectively amount to locked down handsets where you cannot install anything personal or fun. Might as well carry a second phone then. There's solutions out there that are more permissive but consequently have more questionable security. There's clunky solutions that let you swap between a secure and a personal instance of the OS, but that's hardly the unified convenient solution that we need. Booking a meeting in a calendar then becomes a chore.

What everyone needs (even if they don't know it) is a proper, well developed multi-level security system in their mobile OS, not sticking plasters added on top. And there is one. It's called Blackberry Balance. But most IT people ignore that, probably because they don't know what a multi-level security system is or what it can do for them.

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bazza
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Re: relevant?

BlackBerry Balance has no equal anywhere else. There are approximations, but because they're not part of the OS (they're layered on top) they cannot hope to fully emulate or be as nicely integrated as Balance.

Of all the phones out there that claim to support Exchange, BB10 seems to be the most complete. iOS doesn't do To Dos, Android is pitifully (and deliberately) poor at talking to Exchange servers. AFAIK WinPhone barely talks to Exchange either, and that's coming from Microsoft...

Also Blackberry's hardware and boot loader is properly designed from a security point of view. Security starts with the hardware, moves on to the boot loader and only then is the OS and apps involved (similarly on PCs, which is what Microsoft's secure boot for Windows 8 is all about). Get that wrong and its difficult for the OS and applications to be sure that their environment isn't being manipulated / debugged externally leaving them vulnerable. Apply also try hard to stop that kind of thing going on in their handsets (it's difficult to jailbreak and root them), and for all I know they have a signed boot process too. I'm not sure that Android phones have the same level of assurance...

Blackberry Travel is brilliant, though Google are now seemingly going to try and copy it. No doubt they'll claim to have invented something marvellous, but only because they won't have bothered to take a look around to see what is already out there.

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Spaniard sues eBay over right to sell the Sun

bazza
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Re: Well, at least in the US...

No no, good things come to those who wait. One day the sun will swell to be a red giant, and may very well encompass the earth's orbit. So the sun will deliver itself, though it might be only a partial delivery.

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Busy BlackBerry wheels out BB10 and QNX updates

bazza
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Re: @ bazza: No.

I was assuming that the OP meant both dialling and keyboard sound feedback; the word 'keypress' was used. The setting I pointed at is indeed for the latter.

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bazza
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Re: Very confused.

The built in tutorial app is a good place to learn the various different swipe gestures.

Keyboard sounds are controlled in System Settings -> Language and Input -> Feedback.

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Japan, EU: we'll research 5G unicorns together

bazza
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Good idea

This is something to be glad about.

GSM, UMTS and LTE came about through cooperation, and they've worked out pretty well for everyone including the punters. Qualcom's CDMA and CDMA2000 didn't get much traction outside of the US, and even the US went for LTE; the price of trying to go it alone and corner the whole market to oneself...

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American Idle: Seacrest keyboard startup Typo goes nowhere after BlackBerry bust-up

bazza
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Re: Seriously?

Anyone know if the key shape thing is a design patent (like rounded corners is) which is a different class of patent than a normal one, or if it is a utility patent, implying that it improves the functionality over other potential key shapes as the previous poster said?

Apparently they're utility patents.

One of BlackBerry's biggest strengths is their patent list. Because they've been in the business so long they have developed a lot of good ideas long before everyone else.

I'm surprised that some one like Apple haven't bought them yet. It's easy to dismiss a shrinking company as valueless, but when you see exactly what they can do with antennas, enterprise back ends, battery life, etc. and keyboards, someone like Apple would probably buy them ASAP. My Z30 easily outstrips my wife's iPhone 5 for hanging onto a signal, lasts two days on a charge, etc. Mind you, since when did Apple ever think that any of those things mattered to anyone?!

BlackBerry have not disappeared as was widely predicted, and are almost making a profit again. If anyone was going to buy them, the cheapest price has probably already gone past.

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bazza
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Re: Seriously?

The fact that this victory happened in settlement talks before the cases went to trial suggests that the courts' opinions had little to do with it.

Oh I dunno, sounds more like the court's opinion was, figuratively, written in six inch high letters carved into the granite by the front door of the courthouse. The writing being so clearly on the wall probably had a lot to do with Typo going for a pre-trial settlement. No one sensible contests a trial knowing they're going to lose.

In previous trials the court had concluded that BlackBerry had been wronged. Presumably nothing substantive had changed.

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bazza
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Re: Seriously?

Er, no.

BlackBerry designed and patented a particular way of shaping the keys on a keyboard so that they can be used easily despite being sized to fit on a small handset. Typo copied that key shape without even thinking about it. They could have tried to license it, but didn't even bother doing that.

If you've never typed on a BlackBerry keyboard you really won't understand why they're good. One with featureless flat keys is a lot harder to type on it than a BlackBerry keyboard.

Whatever one thinks of such patents, it's certainly more valid than one involving round corners on a rectangular handheld device. The fact that BlackBerry seem to have scored a decisive victory suggests that the courts themselves consider the patent to be valid.

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Your CAR is the 'ultimate mobile device', reckons Apple COO

bazza
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Re: What?

It is a crazy idea. Imagine getting off a long haul flight and discovering that your watch had gone flat so you couldn't get in you car and drive home. The last thing you'd want after that flight is fight with everyone else who is trying to claim the mobile charging station...

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NEVER MIND the B*LLOCKS Osbo peddles, deficits don't really matter

bazza
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Re: Super!

"You're probably thinking of Operation Bernhard."

That's the one. Your Google-fu is superior to mine...

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bazza
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Deficits are like chocolate...

...nice to have now and then, but too much all at once will make you sick. Especially when you're young and small. It takes a real grown up economy to get away with binging on them

Plus they kill dogs.

(may have stretched the comparison too far there...)

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bazza
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Re: Super!

I vaguely remember a story about how the allies in WW2 planned on printing millions of forged Reichsmarks and distributing them from bombers, to upset the German economy. Or was it the other way around? Or both!

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Driverless cars deal DEATH to Detroit, says Barclays

bazza
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Misses the piint

This completely misses the key selling point of a car. People buy cars to have as their own, that's the whole point.

Everyone knows that there are plenty of people out there who'd have no respect for a shared facility. Who would want a shared driverless car if it turns up full of pewk, half eaten hamburgers, cigarette smoke, bogies, etc?

Having your own car is a guaranteed (unless they crash into you) way of insulating oneself from the careless and thoughtless behaviour of others, even if they are family. No one wants to lose that, automated or not.

Oh, and this rather presupposes that anyone can get a fully automated unsupervised vehicle driving on the road. I doubt that they'll ever manage that. Legally at the moment you have to be behind the wheel, sober and qualified and paying attention. Hardly seems worth it to me!

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Airbus warns of software bug in A400M transport planes

bazza
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Re: Under "wraps"? Seems odd....

Under the inquisitorial system of justice that they have in most of Europe it is up to the court to discover the facts. It is quite proper for the judge to keep the evidence confidential until the court is satisfied that it knows what the facts actually are. That means looking at all avenues of inquiry exhaustively prior to reaching an official conclusion.

You have to recognise that whatever the inquiry finds it is going to have a serious judicial impact on some individuals, if in fact there is anyone to blame. You cannot have half complete theories being espoused by the court because that would unfairly affect those who in the fullness of time would be shown to have no involvement.

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KA-BOOM! Russian rocket EXPLODES over Siberia minutes after lift-off

bazza
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Re: Tomorrow, tomorrow...

" One does wonder if Skylon is being developed by one old boy in his garden shed, who's funding it from his pension."

Well, perhaps you and maybe Elon Musk might count £60million from the UK gov to be "garden shed" levels of effort. But at the stage of proving the principals fo the propulsion system and design work, that sounds like a good level of funding.

Once the propulsion system is well understood the actual design and building of the whole aircraft should be a fairly low risk. It's not like there's any particular mystery about how to make a vehicle operate in space, and guidance and control systems for that kind of thing simply build on the many successful developments done previously all round the world over the past 6 decades.

Too Good to Pass Over?

Really the only question is will anyone stump up the money? There in lies an interesting question with a heavy dose of politics.

First, the Europeans backing Ariane have gone for an Ariane 6. They might not be too keen on funding a competing launcher that might show up their initial choice of Ariane 6 as having been a waste of money.

Second, the Americans sometimes suffer from bouts of "not invented here" syndrome, though they did buy up and get interested in Russian engines.

Third, the current wave of space-enthusiast private investors have all plumped for rockets, and even they might find it too difficult to toss all that away and buy into Skylon.

Fourth, the Russians simply haven't got the money.

Fifth, the Chinese like to be able to say that they did it all by themselves.

Sixth, British investors are often not ambitious enough for something like this.

Seventh, investors / backers / competitors all over are probably at this moment asking themselves whether they can afford to buy into the project.

Whatever. Given that it looks pretty certain that the propulsion system would work it is arguably simply a case of when, not if, it gets built. If it does get built and it works, whoever owns it will own the launcher market. The rocket guys would be instantly out of date, uncompetitve and doomed.

The first investor that asks themselves whether they can afford to not buy into it, that's the investor who might clean up.

It's not even as if the project could be bought, canned buried. UK gov has a stake in it, so the IPR is not wholly purchasable. And besides, ideas are difficult to bury forever. Once thought of, forever known.

(I have no connection whatsoever to REL, Skylon, etc).

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bazza
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Re: Just a reminder...

No they're not

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bazza
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Skylon has had backing from a variety of agencies, including the ESA and UK government.

It looks like the basic idea does work, and that the precooler (the most important part) is indeed a practical technology.

There's some really neat ideas in Skylon. For example the heated helium coolant from the precooler is used to drive the turbine pump that pressurises the hydrogen fuel. The cold fuel in turn is used to condense the coolant for re-use back in the cooler. They have turned the heat that normally limits high speed jet aircraft performance into a useful energy source.

And the whole precooler idea means they can run on atmospheric oxygen for more of the flight profile, which in turn brings about big savings. It really is a masterful collection of engineering ideas that complement each other to minimise the energy needed to get to orbit.

Skylon works in principal and if built would likely end up dominating the space launch industry. If someone really went for it, they would certainly become way cooler than Musk and his boring old rockets.

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Don't look now: Fujitsu ships new mobe with EYEBALL-scanning security

bazza
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Re: Standard biometric flaw

There were articles floating around here on El Reg a few years ago reporting exactly that. Iris scanners of the day could be fooled by taking a photo of someone with a modest camera, printing out their iris with a hole cut for the pupil and presenting that in place of the actual person.

Though to be fair this is meant to be for unlocking a mobile, not for safeguarding a nuclear bomb...

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