* Posts by Fred Flintstone

2261 posts • joined 9 Jun 2009

Stuff your RFID card, just let me through the damn door!

Fred Flintstone
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Re: RFIDs are interesting things.

BlueProxmity

Yes, got a Bluetooth proximity lock for OSX as well. Very handy when working on site, and an easy way to impress the natives :).

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Fred Flintstone
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Re: ID - try business cards

I once had this in Paris - nobody had told me that the site we were going to visit needed ID, so I had all of that locked away at the hotel. Duh.

Much to my surprise, a business card was acceptable too, so I took one out of my pocket. Only as my hand moved towards the desk did I notice that it was someone else's business card (someone I met the day before).

Like a true professional, I decided to go with the flow and sure enough, I got away with it :).

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Apple Watch RIPPED APART, its GUTS EXPOSED to hungry Vultures

Fred Flintstone
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Re: Quinting

Ah, but it doesn't seem to be about solving a problem. It's more likely doing something for the sake of doing it, just because they can. Design awards and press buzz as a bonus.

I rather like the stubbornness of not giving up on an idea just because it happens to be difficult or even pointless. It reminds me of the Useless machines. They truly do nothing useful, but it's fun nevertheless.

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Fred Flintstone
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Re: Rolex

My personal favourite has always been Quinting. I recall stopping mid stride after walking past a shop in the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich, because my brain had only then registered that was something weird with the watch I just glanced at - there was seemingly nothing driving the arms in this totally see-through watch.

It doesn't come out well in some pictures, but you can look through them - there is no mechanism visible as it's all in the edge.

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Apple Watch: Exactly how many vids does it take to teach a fanboi to tell the time?

Fred Flintstone
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Re: Look like Tag Heuer

But I think there would be a market for really top quality watch faces being sold for not insignificant amounts of money.

I suspect that market would collapse soon, either under the weight of IP lawyers or by the release of an SDK so people can cook up their own watch faces (that is probably the watch app development equivalent of "Hello world").

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Fred Flintstone
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Please gives us tools to upvote articles..

The sarcasm in this article is so *precisely* why I read El Reg, it should get its own pedestal.

Thank you :)

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Surveillance, broadband, zero hours: Tech policy in a UK hung Parliament

Fred Flintstone
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Meanwhile, in Brussels they do Good Things..

The EU has just published a couple of interesting YouTube explainers that tackles "nothing to hide" excuses etc:

For citizens, an explainer with annoying fashionable tingle-tangle music, and a more business focused version.

In that context it's brutally ironic they rely on we-track-anything-that-moves Google based services, but hey, it's a start. The full STOA "Mass surveillance of IT Users" reports can be found on the LIBE main page under "highlights".

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Apple Watch shipments: Pick a number, double it. Hey, it worked for them

Fred Flintstone
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Re: Well, I'm still not buying it ..

There is probably some serious data somewhere (think airforce or NASA studies) about how long it takes a human to grok information from displays.

I know from experience that you can translate an angle (analogue) much quicker to a too high/too low assessment than a digital number - that's also why I dislike digital speedometers (I was about to say "speedos", but somehow that conjured up a different image :) ).

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Google pulls plug on YouTube for older iPads, iPhones, smart TVs

Fred Flintstone
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Re: So as a rule...

So as a rule...

...when it comes to Google, as a rule, if it's over 3 years old, it's unsupported and landfill?

I sense you're thinking about something in particular. Android? Smart cars?

:)

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Fred Flintstone
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Re: My computer does YouTube...

You touch on another aspect of this story: the 'so what?' part. I see a lot less of YouTube since it got saturated with unavoidable ads (AdBlockers don't work against ads inserted into your video stream), and that's on a laptop.

Despite having a smart TV, I have as yet not used anything of the built in apps, simply because I bought the thing for being big, not for being connected (unfortunately, it's impossible to find a decent size TV without this crud).

If there is one thing that's mislabelled on these units, it's the "Smart" part. The UI is terrible (at least on a Samsung), and the only way to fix that is to connect a keyboard and mouse .. at which point I'm basically back in laptop land, and that is easier if I just punt the stream straight into the wireless link and play back via the AppleTV unit (the non-Apple kit runs Airparrot 2 so it can do the same - excellent for meetings).

So, in conclusion, personally not really bothered about these plans, but I must admit I'm surprised that Google is willing to cut off so many eyeballs from its advertising and data collection efforts.

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The data centre design that lets you cool down – and save electrons

Fred Flintstone
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Re: Immersion ...

Yes, it seems to have sunk without a trace (sorry :).

I suspect that it's possibly a heck of a lot harder to do this in a data centre used by all sorts of different people because they all have different needs, but liquid cooling in itself seemed to be far more efficient at transferring heat to where you could vent it all. It doesn't reduce the *amount* of heat you need to get rid of, just makes transport more efficient.

Interesting question - would love to hear of anyone who has an insight into that one.

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Watch: Nasty JPEG pops corporate locks on Windows boxes

Fred Flintstone
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Re: Nasty JPG

So similar in concept to a spam email containing "open_me.doc.exe"?

Yes, but still a bit more evolved than the Irish virus :)

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Let’s PULL Augmented Reality and CLIMAX with JISM

Fred Flintstone
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I prefer to call it ..

.. Demented Reality. Mainly because the people who try to sell me this technology seem to have entirely different ideas about what my reality needs to augmented with than I do.

My preferred augmentation is not augmentation at all in the dictionary sense: it's reduction. Most AR projects add data to sensory overload which is not exactly helpful. What I'd like to see is AR that takes away irrelevant data (maybe use the tech that allows you to lift an unloved person out of pictures) and only then add information to stuff that matters.

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The Internet of things is great until it blows up your house

Fred Flintstone
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Re: Deeper thought

A sensibly design IoT oven would not allow independent control of those items from outside

Let's take a step back: a sensibly designed APPLIANCE would not accept instructions that would override some basic safety measures. It's not like this is a new concept - SCADA environments with components that can cause serious trouble tend to have an isolated, wholly independent ESD (Emergency ShutDown) segment which you cannot touch from the outside: when that triggers, it will independently do what is safest to shut things down (which could be a sequence to shut down a complete plant).

If a supplier brought out an IoT gas oven which enabled unsafe situations through a hack or otherwise it would be sued into oblivion, hopefully even before the thing made its first victim. If something can possibly say "boom" and make victims, the term "negligence" tends attracts criminal aspects. I think *that* is at least not a worry.

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Hybrid IT? Not a long-term thing, says AWS CTO

Fred Flintstone
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Re: The cloud is secure...

Many people may factor that into their risk analysis and come to the conclusion they are okay with it because their data is not that sensitive, but it does not mean the system is secure. It just means people do not care that much.

Succinct - I like it.

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This open-source personal crypto-key vault wants two things: To make the web safer ... and your donations

Fred Flintstone
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Re: More anonymity for OUR CHILDREN

Strong crypto makes it harder for paedoterrorists to stalk our CHILDREN and do horrible paedoterroristy things to them.

Applause for conflating the current Bad People To Scare The Public With :)

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US govt bans Intel from selling chips to China's supercomputer boffins

Fred Flintstone
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a better idea would have been to allow the sale but ensure the chips are sufficiently degraded to give false results.

Err - it's Intel you're talking about. That occasionally happens even by accident. :)

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Fred Flintstone
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Re: Excellent

Should lead to a whole new set of breakthroughs as china invents its own line of chips instead of just buying Xeons.

Like when we banned US companies from launching satelites on Chinese rockets and so the chinese built their own satelites.

It's very nice of them to stimulate other economies, really. They denied Russia decent computers, so the Russians became *very* good at efficiently eking the last erg of power out of what they had. They denied the Japanese a sufficient allocation of IP4 addresses, so they are now over a DECADE ahead in the use of IPv6.

Well done, very generous of them.

</sarcasm>

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Nice SECURITY, 'Lizard Squad'. Your DDoS-for-hire service LEAKS

Fred Flintstone
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Re: A misdirection play?

I think it's more evidence of the usual asymmetry in security: it's easy to break things, and hard to protect against people whose sole talent is to break things.

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Ex-cop: Holborn fireball comms outage cover for £200m bling heist gang

Fred Flintstone
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Fun theory, but it's hardly 'nearby'. Other end of High Holborn, and beyond.

On the Internet, there isn't such a thing as distance. Only ping times and latency :).

I think the theory has merit, though, it's *exactly* because it's not next door that it makes sense - you wouldn't want to have the emergency services on top of you when you're pulling off a heist like that, you want them elsewhere engaged.

But for the moment it remains a theory AFAIK - I haven't seen anything tie the two together other than timing.

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Euro ministers trade data for data protection – yes, your passenger records

Fred Flintstone
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Re: "like a twisty turny thing..."

It's a reference to Eddie Izzard, who has used this in various ways. I think the sketch is either called "turney button things" or "they lie to use" - have a look on Youtube.

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Don't be stiffed by spies, stand up to Uncle Sam with your proud d**k pics – says Snowden

Fred Flintstone
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Re: So, the conclusion is ..

Personally, I thought the interview was clumsily handled and John Oliver did himself no favours with his playing to 'the Russians are gonna get me' cold war gags. Normally very fond of his shows, this one not so much.

To be honest, that's what I originally thought too, but I have changed my mind (took a fresh one from the freezer etc etc). I'm the first to agree the interview was far from perfect and I am frankly still stumped to find a real focus point in the whole duration, but it did one thing that nobody else has bothered with: it started to address the "so what?" factor for Joe Public.

The topic privacy has been made very, very complicated, not exactly helped by technical people slinging jargon at it as if that improves the quality of their warez. As with the finance industry, I am reaching the conclusion that that complexity is not by accident. People eventually go numb, even if the topic at hand has the potential to negatively affect their lives, and I have spoken with various journalists who have detected a sort of "Snowden fatigue", not helped by the fact that the average tabloid reader (of which there are many) has been trained to have the attention span of a mosquito on acid.

The mechanism was IMHO very crude (but that may be me being old fashioned) but what he did was strip out all the BS, all the stuff that plays peripherally but distracts, and make it real for people without going completely into "think of the children" pictures-of-your-teenage-daughter mode - also because it would otherwise lose its audience (it's still comedy, albeit with a more realistic edge). Sometimes, knowing too much doesn't help getting the message across.

The result was that, on reflection, the interview has more value than I originally picked up, because the current problem with privacy (as amply demonstrated by the interviewees, selective or not) is that the majority of people are not really aware of what is happening and what the consequences are, and even in a pretend democracy, the "majority of people" means the majority vote (it saves having to rig the voting system with all the risks inherent, but e-voting discussions are for another day).

Was this a good interview? No, it was only moderately entertaining, but for a first attempt at bringing something down to a level for mass consumption I do think it worked - now this approach needs refining (and maybe a bit less crude). Privacy matters, but the collective *we* (of which I deem myself part after enough coffee) need to find more tools to communicate exactly WHY. In that context, I liked the interview.

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Fred Flintstone
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So, the conclusion is ..

.. that the public is mostly concerned about dick pic programs.

Shocking reduction of focus :(

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Sony tells hacked gamer to pay for crooks' abuse of PlayStation account

Fred Flintstone
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Re: PR own goal

@Sir Runcible Spoon, you may find this one helpful to assist the unwilling victim, for two reasons:

1 - it explains the whole unfair contract terms thing for normal humans, but, even better,

2 - it states the EU directive that that implements, which means Sony doesn't just have a problem with those clauses in the UK, it has that problem in the whole of the EU.

Ah, I love the smell of executive trouble in the morning...

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Fred Flintstone
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No, and I think Sony is on very dangerous ground indeed

Security is our responsibility, not Sony's.

Not quite - it's actually a shared responsibility insofar that the only aspect the client can control is the quality of their password. However, a strong password is of no use whatsoever if Sony have done sod all to protect the network itself. They can insert contract clauses all they like, but if we have clear evidence of a hack and it is NOT the user, liability falls to Sony, in addition to the fact that that clause is actually invalid under UK law as it's unfair.

Having just looked it up it appears even worse for Sony: it is an EU directive so their silly "we keep your dosh" clauses are not just invalid in the UK, they are invalid in the whole of Europe!

In other words, it appears we're heading straight into a Europe versus Sony here, and it's at this point I personally regret not being a Sony customer that got hacked myself because I would have *so* much fun with this one. I'd make them sorry for ever having tried run that scam on me.

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V&A Museum shows Guardian's destroyed MacBook as ART

Fred Flintstone
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Re: Security Alert!

Hmm, I wonder what would actually be a suitable domestic means to properly destroy data, and by that I mean something that survives the experience (sticking things in microwaves or blenders tends to damage the appliance as well). The grinder would indeed do the job, but that's not an average household tool (well, unless the resident cooking skills resemble mine :).

Maybe 3 hours in the oven at 200C?

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Apple's 13-incher will STILL cost you a bomb: MacBook Air 2015

Fred Flintstone
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It also rather depends what you buy it for. If you want to run OSX (which is really the point of that machine), it's not like you have many options. If you plan to run Windows or Linux I would indeed wonder why you'd buy a MacBook - there are some impressive alternatives out there.

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Fred Flintstone
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Re: Apple Macbooks are basically pointless to steal.

1. The internal media isn't soldered, it's on a PCIe daughter card. However there are no third party upgrades as of yet.

Hmm. So you could use a second Mac to access it by swapping the board. I know you can repartition the disk once you have it in terminal mode, but it's at least not for the casual thief. Now you have me thinking of super glue..

2. No need to set a firmware password anymore, Find My Mac - part of OS X, will prevent booting from other media - it just displays the lost notice form the original owner.

You can also set a login message, but that is not used if you use Filevault. Duh. However, "Find my Mac" creates possible tracking risks - not everyone's favourite.

3. You could set a "Finders Fee" notice in Find My Mac too.

As per 2 - not always of use, and I suspect it needs a network first before it will display that. I can see this of use to some people, but I'm personally not a great fan of electronic stalking. You never know just who is using that data and for what.

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Google and Obama: You’re too close for comfort

Fred Flintstone
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Big Brother

controlling contents is much more dangerous because you don't control what people use - you control what people think.

Have a bucket of upvotes for that one.

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Our 4King benders are so ace we're going full OLED, says LG

Fred Flintstone
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What tech does your TV use?

"What tech does your TV use?"

"Oh? LED!"

(with apologies to Stephen Fry :) ).

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Zuck: Get your FULLY EXPOSED BUTTOCKS off my Facebook

Fred Flintstone
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Devil

Re: Run by an arse

Run by an arse

but won't run pictures of an arse

Yeah, clearly not enamoured by any competition :p

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Yay! Wearables! It's the future! Uh-oh! I'm going to be sick

Fred Flintstone
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Re: Regarding lack of brains*

It's called neurofeedback, and it can do some pretty nifty things, like assisting people with ADHD.

Mind you (pardon the pun), I would stick to the read-only stuff. Apparently they're now experimenting with injecting signals, but I'm personally not too keen on that idea, and not just because I keep getting flashbacks to an old movie with a scene where a guy is yelling "he's aliiiiive" :).

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Ad bidding network caught slinging ransomware

Fred Flintstone
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Really, that's a word now? Who is responsible for this?

Given the crud I have had levied at me by some sites, I would say advertisers themselves. The criminals simply carried it further later.

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Hackers' delight? New Apple wrist-puter gives securobods the FEAR

Fred Flintstone
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This is all interesting to watch.

Upvote for the pun, accidental as it was :)

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Give biometrics the FINGER: Horror tales from the ENCRYPT

Fred Flintstone
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Re: Just not found the right 'biometric' to use yet

It's turning "sitting on your money:" into a literal expression :)

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The car in front has Kaspersky deep inside

Fred Flintstone
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>>"Thank you for using Kaspersky Norton."

I wouldn't worry about that one - that would take so much in resources it would not even leave enough to power the solenoids to open the doors :)

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And the buggiest OS provider award goes to ... APPLE?

Fred Flintstone
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Re: This is not a football match.

I have many memories of hours spent editing xorg files trying to get it to work right.

I still have the occasional nightmare featuring sendmail.cf :)

I rather liked HP-UX, more than IBMs AIX (use the force menu, Luke). SunOS and Solaris weren't bad either, provided you got GCC installed asap. Ah, memories.. :)

I think it's a good thing that this apparent myth of invulnerability got cracked, because it ensures people go back to actually paying attention to security. This whole "it can't happen to me" feeling was dangerous IMHO.

Having said that, I still prefer a Unix derivative over Windows but that has more to do with expertise. I know what to look for to make a Unix derivative safe, whereas someone who works with Windows on a daily basis as sysadmin is always going to be better than me at keeping that platform clean.

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Not even GCHQ and NSA can crack our SIM key database, claims Gemalto

Fred Flintstone
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Re: No air-gap?

One would hope. But even an air gap is vulnerable to a well paid employee seeking to add to his/her salary.

Yup. Wasn't that called sneakernet? :)

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Boffins baffled by the glowing 'plumes' of MARS

Fred Flintstone
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Where's amanfrommars

Who do you think is making that cloud? :)

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Microsoft's patchwork falls apart … AGAIN!

Fred Flintstone
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Thumb Up

Re: A patch that breaks powerpoint?

A patch that breaks powerpoint?

What's wrong with that?

.. and so we got the Comment of the Week already, and it's only Monday .. :)

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Now Samsung's spying smart TVs insert ADS in YOUR OWN movies

Fred Flintstone
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Black Helicopters

Re: Sony : 1 - Samsung : 0

They got burned early and badly so on the overall they have been pretty well behaved on both the home entertainment and mobile front as of late.

.. or they found people that were better at hiding what they are doing ..

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Back seat drivers fear lead-footed autonomous cars, say boffins

Fred Flintstone
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Re: Roller coasters

Now imagine getting into an autonomous taxi with a Fitipaldi driver profile and the passengers screaming all the way to/from the airport...

And suddenly, hacking cars becomes interesting .. :)

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Fred Flintstone
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Safe distance

The definition of "safe" distance is an issue here. Is that safe to stop for the computer, taking into account grip, speed and calculated vehicle mass, or is that safe for the passengers, for whom this may feel like the computerised equivalent of throwing out an anchor?

It very much depends if smoothness is part of the programming. I know enough "digital drivers" to know that safe does not equal comfortable. Personally, I tend to plan ahead so my driving is reasonably smooth - it's a bit of a hangover from the fact that I'm also licensed to drive HGVs where smooth speed changes are important for fuel consumption and risk management.

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UK official LOSES Mark Duggan shooting discs IN THE POST

Fred Flintstone
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Re: "The discs were password-protected but unencrypted"

"The discs were password-protected but unencrypted"

What? Are you telling me that the data was in plain text? And how does the password come into play?

Maybe it's along the idea of the Irish virus? The first line of the data has a line that says "the password is xxx. If that is not the password you were thinking off, please do not continue."

I mean, there is no other way to interpret this, other than that the spokesperson has no clue and is committing the cardinal media management sin of making assumptions when talking to the press.

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Wham, bam... premium rate scam: Grindr users hit with fun-killing charges

Fred Flintstone
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Re: permissions

At least on iOS, you can (out of the box) deny specific permissions to apps.

Ah, but dialling isn't one of them - instead, iOS always requires user permission for a call precisely because abuse gets picked up too late (it's a second layer of security if the app screening process didn't catch it). There are couple of things like that in iOS, you can also not intercept an incoming SMS unlike in Android. The latter is a bit of a shame because it makes encrypted SMS like the stuff from Whispersys impossible.

However, I wonder if this may be the cause of the latest iOS update to 8.1.3 - most of the CVEs were about exceeding bounds to potentially execute malicious code.

I don't quite buy this, though - you must be rather deep into an app's code to make it do something COMPLETELY different in a controlled way via an inserted ad, that's an awful lot of barriers to overcome just to clock up some premium rate profit. If you're that talented I'm sure there are more interesting targets out there. Something grinds here (sorry).

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Microsoft rolls out even cheaper 'Notkia' Lumias

Fred Flintstone
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Re: Meh.

When you record a live band/gig on it, and play it back in your living room, it actually sounds like you remember it!

Depending on how much you drink, that could actually be achieved by any phone :)

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