* Posts by Fred Flintstone

2294 posts • joined 9 Jun 2009

Get off the phone!! Seven out of ten US drivers put theirs and your lives at risk

Fred Flintstone
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Is the US the last country on the planet to ban hand-held mobes while driving?

Well, on the plus side, they have the right to carry arms.

This one can be solved *really* quickly. All it takes is some pragmatic joined up thinking :)

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Manchester car park lock hack leads to horn-blare hoo-ha

Fred Flintstone
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Re: turn off by key

And on some cars, but probably not modern ones, turning the engine off by key could cause the steering lock to engage. Not a good thing in a moving car

I think that only happens when you actually pull out the key - just turning it to an "off" position will not cause the steering lock to engage. That is, in the cars that I have used, I don't know if this applies to all makes but it strikes me as a sensible safety measure.

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Hackers pop submarine cable operator Pacnet, probe internal networks

Fred Flintstone
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Re: METADATA...

No biggy, remember, METADATA can't stop bombings at marathons, can't lead to the revelation of another person, contains nothing personal about you!!

Yup, we definitely need a <sarcasm> tag, but just on the off chance you meant it, the obligatory link to a remark made by someone in public about meta data. Note that there was no indication he didn't mean what he said, and he's in a position to know.

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Milking cow shot dead by police 'while trying to escape'

Fred Flintstone
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Re: Just for you townies...

a classic T-bone accident

Yup, spotted. Nice one :)

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Fred Flintstone
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Re: I'm sure...

the good burgers of North Tyneside were well served by their local police force

I saw what you did there..

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Fred Flintstone
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So they needed to go up high instead of walking close?

When a cow has beef (sorry) with you, best keep out of its way - there is a lot of kinetic energy in a cow that decides to start moving.

They had to shoot it, the steaks* were too high.

(* actually by the late Tommy Cooper who could do that sort of material really well)

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Welsh police force fined £160,000 after losing sensitive video interview

Fred Flintstone
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Re: Victim Compensation

It's the price you pay for cutting a service to the bone and expecting 5 people to police 200,000.

Let the down voting begin!

You won't get one from me, because that is unfortunately true.

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Nissan CEO: Get ready, our auto-wagons will be ready by 2020

Fred Flintstone
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I can see the future already..

.. I'd have to go and find the &^% car because it drove off by itself.

I just realised that this is going to introduce an entirely new type of car theft: some hacker in China activating your smart home's garage door, then telling your car to drive itself to the nearest mechanic to be stripped down for parts.

Just when you think you'll pay less insurance because of an (apparently) lower risk of accidents, up goes the risk of theft.

Oops.

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Microsoft: Free Windows 10 for THIEVES and PIRATES? They can GET STUFFED

Fred Flintstone
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Re: Microsoft licensing - a Mystery wrapped in an Enigma

in licensing you are guilty until proven pennyless.

Now THAT is my personal favourite quite of the week. I salute you.

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All hail Mad Frankie Maude, noble Lord of Cabinet Office Axemen

Fred Flintstone
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Re: Thank god

We really need a <sarcasm> tag here..

:)

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Stolen an Apple watch? Want to pawn it off? Good news!

Fred Flintstone
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Re: Version 1.0

Not to mention and perhaps more pertinently, from a distance it would be quite difficult for a potential watch nabber to pick out a Rolex from among the Citizens, Seikos and generic brand bling watches et al so their chances of selecting a rewarding target for their wrist-snatch job (oo-er missus) are pretty slim.

I suspect that of someone specialises in this sort of activity they will have also developed an eye for the right watch. The clues are not just the watch, but also generally what the target wears.

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

Fred Flintstone
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Re: Standard biometric flaw

Can you just use a photo of your iris? Because that's really not secure at all.

I think it's too early to tell, but in my opinion you're looking at a clever volume test of new technology that Fujitsu is developing, smartphones are a really quick way to do a mass rollout of something that is still subject to improvement. In case you didn't know, Fujitsi also develops sensors for palm recognition, and how these work may give a clue as to why eye recognition may actually work.

For a start, these are depth readers, so they look "beyond" your skin for vein patterns, and a picture won't do. Next, they had to simplify analytics already as the original ones produced so much data that a pass/fail took seconds (if I recall correctly the first ones took well over 10 seconds) so they may have found a new balance between resolution and security and may have ported all that learning to this phone and iris scanning.

I'm now entering the realm of speculation, but I think it's plausible to assume that this eye scanner may look for vein patterns instead of iris matrix. They may swell up after a night out, but AFAIK the pattern doesn't change (anyone with a medical background? Is this correct?). Alternatively, few are focusing on iris recognition of late, so Fujitsu may have come up with something new.

As for how to use that, there are already various deployment models out there that don't require your biometrics to travel off the device - you'd just use a locally stored hash of the biometrics to open a credentials strongbox in the phone (which is where all the more traditional challenges hide :) ).

So, based on past performance, I reckon this may indeed be interesting enough to keep an eye on, so to speak :)

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Time to get your babble on: Microsoft opens Skype Translator Preview to all comers

Fred Flintstone
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Re: German is probably the worst…

Here is a lovely one that is a whole paragraph in one word: "her­kömm­lich".

It basically amounts to a putdown of other, similar objects, acts or events that are similar, but not quite as good. It's impossible to translate but it's a Godsend for marketing.

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Cheers Ireland! That sorts our Safe Harbour issues out – Dropbox

Fred Flintstone
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Re: Don't think it changes anything

It's not about where your data is hosted, it's about where your legal agreement with the company is hosted.

It's a bit more complex than that, because the company also has to comply with the laws where it is located, and on top of that you also have the jurisdictions of all the countries through which your data travels - a factor you usually have no control over but which could in Europe involve countries such as Sweden where the FRA law was only tuned down a bit after protest.

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Microsoft springs for new undersea cables to link US, UK, Asia

Fred Flintstone
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Coffee/keyboard

'm assuming that these links are being put in place to distribute various Linux ISOs

OK, that's my keyboard gone. Thanks for the laugh :).

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Spooks BUSTED: 27,000 profiles reveal new intel ops, home addresses

Fred Flintstone
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Gasp - you read *books*?

Thumbs up :)

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Security bods gagged using DMCA on eve of wireless key vuln reveal

Fred Flintstone
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Crude as it is, I would opt for another letter substitute (L to C)..

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Boffins turns landfill WinPhones into microscopes

Fred Flintstone
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Re: They chose ms to keep the NSA happy

Actually, he could be wrong this time.

It is apparently Apple who may be the assisting party..

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Intel raises memory deflector shields in Xeon E7 processor refresh

Fred Flintstone
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Re: Hmm...

there's something that doesn't quite up there

That wouldn't be the first time..

The one with the Casio FX 602P, thanks.

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Apple about to make Apple TV WAY LESS SUCKY - report

Fred Flintstone
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Re: Progress - what progress..?

I'm not still sure if its the case, but don't Apple TVs only play video if it's in very specific formats?

Not if it's Airplaying from a MacBook running VLC :)

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Public prosecutor waves big stick at German spies over NSA data slurp claims

Fred Flintstone
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Re: Only the naive...

I think if we had an Edwin Snowden-type come forward in every major European country (or even the smaller ones) people would be very upset with how fast-and-loose European intel agencies are playing with the law.

We'd also soon run out of safe havens for them...

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NSA-restraining US law edges closer to reality, leaves just 6.81 billion under mass surveillance

Fred Flintstone
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My sincere compliments ..

.. on the superbly appropriate picture leading this article.

Honestly, this is the proverbial case where that one picture speaks a thousand words. Not that I didn't enjoy reading the article, mind, but my personal feelings about the impact this bill will have are pretty much summed up by that image.

Excellent choice.

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Major London rail station reveals system passwords during TV documentary

Fred Flintstone
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Re: Red herrings.

Having the password on a note stuck to the monitor isn't a bad idea. It stops people bothering to watch what you're typing when you sit down and enter the real password.

Thumbs up for the Health & Safety excuse :)

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Tesla reveals Powerwall battery packs for homes, Powerpacks for cities

Fred Flintstone
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Does it fit in the boot?

I can see this as an extra range facility for the Tesla :).

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EU Commish is rather pleased German BND and NSA thought it worth spying on

Fred Flintstone
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Privacy understatement of the year

President of the Commission Jean Claude Juncker said that in his experience (as former Luxembourg PM) intelligence service personnel “are very difficult to control”.

Ah, what a nice way to put it..

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TomTom MyDrive brings satnav syncing to PCs and mobiles

Fred Flintstone
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Re: TomTom can go

I'm generally OK with it. The only issue I find is that part of the route mapping seems to have been outsourced to politicians - in some places you get lots of U-turns :).

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Fred Flintstone
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Re: Google maps does all this already...

The biggest benefit of the in car system is the availability of power, the biggest issue is the usual lack of updates

In-car systems also tend to have access to wheel motion detectors. That in combination with a magnetic compass allows an in-car nav system to continue guidance in, for instance, long tunnels. The TomTom kit like the app in my phone tends to sort of make things up for a while :).

What I really like of the phone version is that it checks the route for traffic jams and tries to reroute me if possible, but I suspect it's not hard to add that to modern car media systems (especially since they may have to dial 112 in the future, so the electronics will already be available).

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Airbus to sue NSA, German spies accused of swiping tech secrets

Fred Flintstone
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Re: Easier way

but I can't think of anything that airbus knows how to do that Boeing, for instance, doesn't

It doesn't have to be technical. Just having knowledge of their bidding process and plans is enough to create an advantage for Boeing by underbidding them by a percentage. Of course, if Airbus dreams up something that Boeing wants it's handy yo have the spying already in place, but financials and bids in that industry are worth the effort alone.

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Google officially doubles EU lobbying – but true figure is surely higher

Fred Flintstone
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...and finally, sir, a wafer-thin mint?

Thumbs up for the Meaning of life reference, I can so visualise this in some swanky Brussels restaurant, especially if I add a French accent :).

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Facebook policy wonk growls at Europe's mass of data laws

Fred Flintstone
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Re: Good, more regulation will attract higher quality software companies

Speaking as someone who operates an American software company actively considering a corporate move to the EU, I can say that this kind of activity makes me want to move over there that much quicker.

It may actually be your only option to still get revenue if it goes on like this - EU companies have to follow privacy laws too, and they're not going to buy services that put them in a position where they can be accused of breaking the law, which is the case by default with US located facilities. That's the big elephant in every Silicon Valley boardroom.

We've been asked to execute a few moves like this now - not by design, but as soon as we profiled the corporate legal exposures, the boards got nervous because there are not that many ways to reduce that exposure other than moving the company HQ, main functions and service platforms (usually, a sales & support subsidiary is left behind to offer local support). As a former US company it is easier to retain access to the US market and also sell to the EU than it is for a US based company to sell into Europe, so the next step is usually gaining shareholder agreements and then planning the migration.

It's quite an exercise to do it right, so good luck with your move.

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Intel's wristjob envy sparks reorg

Fred Flintstone
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.. and as if by magic:XKCD

:)

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NASA 'UFO' pops a leak, lands in outback Australia

Fred Flintstone
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Is that twirly bit at the end of the track

where it went plplplplplplplplplplp as all the helium got out?

:) Do helium balloons do this at a higher pitch?

The one with the folded acre of mylar in the pocket, thanks.

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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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