* Posts by Nigel 11

3186 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

FBI says NY judge went too far in ruling the FBI went too far in forcing Apple to unlock iPhone

Nigel 11
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Locking down an iPhone harder?

Have Apple made more recent iPhones so that they simply cannot be forcibly unlocked? In other words, programming them so that they require the unlock code to be entered before they will reload the operating system?

If they haven't, are they going to?

If they aren't, I wonder what is the point of all the legal manouverings?

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Dead Steve Jobs is still a crook – and Apple must cough up $450m for over-pricing ebooks

Nigel 11
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Re: hubris

But is the cost of printing and distributing a paper book less than the 20% VAT on an e-book? I need convincing, especially at the low-cost end of the market.

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Microsoft wants to lock everyone into its store via universal Windows apps, says game kingpin

Nigel 11
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Re: No baby and no bathwater

. In the rare cases when you need to code against a kernel-internal interfaces, you may be in trouble but this is equal to the use of undocumented APIs on Windows which is always a gamble.

No, much less of a gamble. The linux kernel that you have forced yourself to require will remain available forever. As will its source code. So you will have the option to restrict yourself to using an obsolete kernel until you can make your code work with a new one, and you will have the option to port the obsolete interface you require up to a more modern kernel. (In some cases that may not be do-able without unreasonable amounts of work, but at least you can study the source codes to arrive at a well-informed decision! )

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Microsoft has made SQL Server for Linux. Repeat, Microsoft has made SQL Server 2016 for Linux

Nigel 11
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With sufficient thrust pigs fly just fine

Don't they tend to fall apart in mid-air?

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Bruce Schneier: We're sleepwalking towards digital disaster and are too dumb to stop

Nigel 11
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Re: Internet-off switch

Er ... just don't plug in the network connection or let it know your WiFi password?

If it's a fridge, washing machine, etc. or even a TV, and it does not say in large letters on the box CANNOT BE USED WITHOUT AN INTERNET CONNECTION, then you will be completely within your rights to reject it as unfit for purpose if it doesn't work disconnected.

And if it does say that a connection is required, just don't buy that one.

There are still a fair percentage of houses in the UK that cannot have an internet connection (well, apart from a dial-up modem) because BT does not have any incentive to connect them to broadband.

BTW routers are now so cheap that it's hardly a major expense to plug a second router into your primary one to connect doubtful IoT things to. The resulting double-NAT is also some degree of added security, if the routers are anything like secure. But I've yet to see any IoT thing worth having.

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Nigel 11
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Re: History repeats itself

Resonance is pretty well understood these days and yet people getting into lockstep could shake a modern bridge.

Except that the form of the resonance was different and new. It was well-known that people marching in lock-step might excite vertical resonances in a bridge. The millennium bridge was proof against that. What was not known was that a horizontal mode of vibration could cause people's gait to synchronize into a side-to-side pattern that further excited that particular mode of vibration. Which is what happened. Incidentally, subsequent modelling showed that the bridge could not realistically be excited to destruction. It was just bloody disconcerting for the pedestrians using it (and since that was not at the time understood, they played safe and completely closed the bridge).

It was not an inexcusable cock-up. It was a new discovery for bridge engineers. Any new design always has the potential to bite back. Pre-construction simulations are only as good as their inputs, and in this case the input model of human beings was wrong.

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Nigel 11
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Re: It's gonna be difficult...

Laws do not protect you from law breakers

Depends on what sort of laws.

Laws that criminalize (say) ignoring safety and financial regulations will work, if the penalty is stiff enough. Nobody in VW would have authorized the cheat devices if the penalty once discovered was certain to be jail time. Bankers would probably not have created the recent financial crisis, if the penalty would have involved sequestration of all personal wealth howsoever acquired on top of certain jail time. They saw it as "heads I win, tails you lose" and in many cases they were not actually breaking the then-existing law, just working in dark grey zones of arguable legality but total amorality.

And of course, laws and regulations that impose safety or financial regulations are in general followed by the law-abiding majority, at least if people can see that there is a modicum of sense behind them. So company accounts are audited, electrical products and cars are rarely unsafe, food no longer contains untested and undisclosed additives.

In case you are bristling about unwarranted regulations, there needs to be a mechanism for striking down regulations that have outlived their usefulness (and a lot of EU nonsense that had no useful purpose in the first place. In what way will reducing the maximum power of a kettle save energy? The amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of a litre of water from A to B is a physical constant. Worse, if it takes longer to boil, more energy will leak out of the kettle. Idiots! )

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Nigel 11
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Re: "The problem is in the design..."

Have you any idea how dangerous ebola is?

And before that, SARS. The world has had two narrow escapes from global pandemic. Both diseases were insufficiently infectious to continue spreading once people were sufficiently informed and convinced to change their behaviour. In Africa, abandoning funeral and other rituals that might have been designed to spread Ebola. In Asia (SARS) avoiding body contact where unnecessary and wearing facemasks.

When the next killer flu arrives, we won't be so lucky. Hundreds of millions will die, if medical science hasn't come up with an effective anti-viral or a fast way to make a vaccine by then.

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Nigel 11
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we are due for another Carrington event and if it seriously screwed up 1860ish technology it will screw us over like no rogue nation can.

Wrong.

The threat is that a Carrington event induces what is effectively a high-power DC signal in transmission lines. It's worst for long ones, over 100km, with low impedance.

Back then data-transmission used copper wire and DC coupling to make a telegraph. The wires glowed erd-hot and shocked the operators and in places burned out. Today, long-distance datacomms is optical fibre. Telephone wires are rarely if ever long enough to get affected and I don't think a telephone offers a low-impedance path these days. Things have moved on since the days of bakelite boxes with electromechanical ringers.

The greater threat is to the power grid which is intended to carry 50 or 60 Hz AC. The power transformers through which it is coupled cannot cope with high power DC inputs and might burst into flames. Back in the 1950s we were terribly vulnerable(*) because the threat was not well known and there would have neen absolutely no advance warning.

Today, we have satellites watching the sun and so electricity utilities have an early-warning system. (about 15 minutes, but a lot better than nothing). Also the threat is understood and I hope that there are last-resort protection systems in place on the transformers connecting the long grid cables to monitor DC currents and internal temperature, that will disconnect from the grid if necessary to save the transformer.

So the result ought to be somewhere between a controlled shutdown of the national grids, and a cascading power failure caused by automatic protection systems triggering in an unplanned manner. A blackout is no fun, but it has happened several times (for other reasons such as carbonized squirrels) on the USA Eastern seaboard. Civilisation didn't collapse. A few hours to a day later when the event is over, they'll reconnect the grid to the power stations.

Move on a couple more decades, and the long-distance AC electricity grid will start to go the same way as the telegraph. It's more efficient to transmit power as high-voltage DC, and the technology of AC-DC-AC conversion is rapidly falling in cost. What was once impossible, then too expensive to use except on submarine grid links, will soon become the norm for any long-distance grid link. With a DC link, a Carrington event would just either add or subtract a small amount of energy compared to what is being transmitted. There would then no longer be a need to create a short-term blackout to save civilisation.

(*) I'd speculate, not actually on the edge of losing 20th century civilisation. The big transformers would have different times to catastrophic failure. As soon as the first one or two exploded all hell would have broken loose with the AC power they were transmitting, and ordinary AC overload protection systems would have cut in creating a cascade failure blackout but saving enough of the grid for life to go on fairly normally th next day. I'm glad it was never put to the test, though!

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Bill Gates can’t give it away... Still crazy rich after all these years

Nigel 11
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Re: Humanitarian!!

I'm no great fan of Bill Gates, but I attribute most of the Microsoft Evil to Ballmer, who succeeded Gates as CEO in 2000 and may have been responsible for a lot before then.

There are lots of "philanthropists" who spend their money on monuments to their own ego stuffed with expensive artworks. Bill is spending his on medical and other research. In such endeavours, throwing more money at the problem today is rarely an improvement over guaranteeing that the supported projects will remain funded until success or failure are properly established. Its also likely that if he arrives at (e.g.) a cure for malaria, the people who most need it are people who could not afford it, unless Bill pays for them to get it for free.

In short he deserves a lot of praise for what he's been doing outside and after Microsoft.

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SpaceX Falcon 9 grounded by 'sledgehammer' winds

Nigel 11
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Re: Why super-cooled fuel?

Thanks for answers.

A larger tank is a heavier tank, so you waste more fuel on lifting the tank. So you don't get that big a gain in propulsion.

But (to first order and for small changes in diameter) the volume of a cylinder goes as radius r squared whereas its weight goes in proportion to r. So there's a definite gain. A 5% increase in radius equates to a 5% increase in fuel to tank weight ratio (provided you didn't need to add any strengthening to the walls).

Getting more fuel into the engines with the same plumbing and pumps sounds like the most likely answer, and possibly transportation issues. I was thinking that redesigning the cylindrical rocket body and tanks wouldn't be too expensive. Redesigning the engines, far more so.

And of course Musk and SpaceX would have worked out all the trade-offs a long time ago. I was curious!

@cuddles: the question is not why LOX rather than compressed oxygen. It's why supercooled LOX compared to LOX at its natural temperature, the one at which it starts to boil off. They're also chilling the RP. Liquids are somewhat denser at lower temperatures, but keeping them supercooled is nontrivial.

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Nigel 11
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Why super-cooled fuel?

Anyone know what is the rationale for supercooled fuel? Obviously you get a higher density, so more energy packed in a given size of tank. But it adds complexity and trouble. Why not increase the diameter of the rocket instead? Is it because they already have a proven mechanical design and are "stretching" it to the limit, or is it because the extra aerodynamic drag caused by a larger diameter rocket would be a significant loss?

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Photographer hassled by Port of Tyne for filming a sign on a wall

Nigel 11
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One business park nearby is patrolled at night by a private company, and people are always being stopped while driving through (they usually get told to fuck off)

Is it a public road or a private road? That makes all the difference. If you want to be sure, the council should be able to tell you. The land registry can supply chapter and verse (for a fee).

If it's a public road, "security" are breaking the law. You should ask the police to sort them out. You pay road tax to be allowed to drive your car on that road, and private security have no right to stop you.

If it's a private road, you should, er, go away. You have no right to be there. They have the right to tell you that and to enforce its owner's rights against a trespasser (i.e. you).

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Nigel 11
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Re: Not all security is like that, I'm not

It certainly cannot be to aid security.

I'm not sure. Asking a photographer a few civil questions may mildly annoy him and waste a minute or two of his time, but what they are (or ought to be) looking for is

The photographer who runs away when he spots security coming over, or who hides his camera.

The photographer who tells them obvious lies.

The photographer who makes them think "he's a wrong 'un", which category you may place yourself in, if you get up on some high horse about authority having no right to ask. Which should not carry any adverse consequences, other than that you are making yourself into an extra grain of noise that slightly increases the chance of the bad guys getting lucky.

They have every right to ask. You have every right to refuse to answer. They are not the police and you are not under caution. But in most cases you have no good reason to refuse, so why not give them a totally banal true answer?

Personally, if any security people ask me civil questions about what I am doing I'd answer. If I have a camera that can provide instant replay, I wouldn't rule out showing them the recent photographs, provided they were being civil rather than insulting, and provided they were not claiming that I was breaking any laws or breaking any themselves.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Not all security is like that, I'm not

Is there any actual evidence that bombers/terrorists are stood around taking pictures of buildings they are going to target.

ISTR that the ones who were recently jailed for planning to blow up the Westfield shopping centre did precisely that. I don't know if that interior is accessible via Google, but it's private property so there's no right to take such photographs. Anyway, they didn't get stopped from taking snaps with a mobile phone like millions of other innocent tourists do, and they didn't get identified as suspicious at the time.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Apparently Security Guards have no rights and could be guilty of assault.

and as a result they can’t obstruct you from taking pictures if you’re standing on public land,

Actually if they do it by standing in front of you about a yard away, they probably can. That's not obstruction in the legal sense. That's just them exercising their right to walk on public land -- the same right you are exercising. You've got a right to take photographs but no exclusive right to the view.

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Nigel 11
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Re: The best way to get their backs up?

You're displaying the fact that you have more to spend on your hobby than they earn in a month (or possibly in a year) so they hate you for it. And because they've got a uniform, and possibly because nobody has ever told them anything about the relevant laws they are supposed to be upholding, they decide to throw their weight about.

Such is life.

Or maybe, they are just trying to do their job to the best of their sadly limited intelligence and imperfect training.

There's no law against anyone asking you a question, even if it's of the general form of "have you stopped beating your wife yet"?

What happened next?

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Nigel 11
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Re: Both sides didnt help

You can't have privacy in a public place, or on private property that can be seen from a public place without artificial aids. As the old ditty goes, "Don't make love by the garden gate. Love is blind, but the neighbours ain't". Which is actually good legal advice.

As was observed above, the answer for the inside of a private dwelling is ... draw the curtains. Outside ... well, assume someone might be watching, and don't do anything illegal or anything that would embarass you.

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Nigel 11
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Re: guard

There really should be an offence of "gross stupidity in public office",

And the penalty should be a day in the village stocks. (Im the case of MPs there's a convenient green space just outside the houses of parliament).

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Nigel 11
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Re: In Italy, you should not take photos of railroads and stations...

why aren't those regulations null and void?

It might be fun to take that all the way to the EU courts (if you have nothing better to do with your time).

What's the penalty? A 1000 lire fine? Or summary execution?

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Nigel 11
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Little Hitlers

I think that's the more appropriate term.

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Nigel 11
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DPA them?

It may also be worth a tenner to fire off a Data Protection Act request to the Port of Tyne, requesting all data concerning yourself acquired since the date of the event (explicitly referencing CCTV imagery) They'll probably deny that there is any, and hopefully they'll later prove themselves to be lying. Or you can go back and photograph their cameras and ask why they were not working, because faulty security cameras really do help terrorists!

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Nigel 11
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Re: In Italy, you should not take photos of railroads and stations...

That said, in such cases is always better to make your intentions explicit in advance.

Alternatively take a friend with a camera with a telephoto lens and tell him to film you filming them. At least in this country you don't have to worry about being shot dead for having the wrong colour skin or haircut in a public place, so you can take the idiots down a few notches if you want to.

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Nigel 11
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Add libel. They must have made an untrue statement to Twitter, alleging that the tweets were illegal, resulting in his account being suspended.

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Microsoft releases Windows 10 preview for Raspberry Pi 3

Nigel 11
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Re: PCs fading away...

The PC ought to disappear into the monitor. Except, an RPi is not a PC. (Runs Linux just as well as an old PC, though).

Has anybody attacked the back of an old monitor with a Dremmel to retrofit an RPI with its power supplied by the monitor? Just add keyboard, mouse, and Ethernet cable. RPi3, Ethernet cable optional.

Perhaps some enterprising monitor or TV manufacturer could make up and popularize a free-to-copy "thin PC" connector. Something mechanically chunky like the old SCART connector so no extra mechanical support for the "thin PC" would be needed. Just click one into place. 10 seconds max. Connector for power, and (optionally) USB to ports in the sides or front of the monitor.

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Google robo-car backs into bendy-bus in California

Nigel 11
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Re: One at-fault accident in > 10^6 miles

Have they even started testing self-driving cars out in the wilds? On one-track roads with potholes deep enough to eat a tyre? At night? In the rain? Well-greased with mud? Fog? All of those at once? Even on a good day who knows what's around the next corner (a jogger? a cyclist? a mega-tractor towing a spiky thing? a rider on a horse? A lorry delivering heating oil? An escaped bull? )

I made up the escaped bull. The rest is the last few months where I live (nowhere particularly remote: just rural Northamptonshire! ) Still time enough to add snow to the list.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Automation is like that

It is the "unexpected unexpected" where automation fails.

Which would be a very good point, were it not that meatbag drivers are also most likely to get it wrong in this sort of event.

A good driver or pilot will analyze what happened in the run-up to the "unexpected unexpected" event, be that a crash or (far more often) a near miss. Did he do something that ate into his margin for error? Did the other party do something of that nature? Or was it truly a case best summed up as "shit happens".

The accident rate will nevr be reduced to zero. If the average robot is better than the average meatsack, that ought to be good enough. Especially so, if they are better at avoiding the serious and fatal accidents that insurance-average teenagers are noticeably bad at avoiding.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Blind-sided?

"why they do not automate trains"

Like BART (San Francisco) or the DLR (London), and several others?

The attitude of various unions ("over our dead bodies") has a lot to do with it.

Also, outside of a completely walled-in urban transit system, the possibility of unsignalled objects on the line is very real. It's only recently that robotic vision has reached the point where it can apply the brakes in such circumstances (landslides, fallen trees, cars barrier-dodging level crossings, kids playing silly games ....) and it is still(?) beyond the wit of robot to get out of the cab to investigate the object that it has stopped for which turns out to be a large empty cardboard box blown on the wind, or to not stop at all for what is clearly a wind-inflated carrier bag snagged on trackside shrubbery.

Back to self-drive cars I wonder when they'll start testing them on one-track wiggly deeply potholed rural roads where there are riders on horses to be aware of.

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Building a fanless PC is now realistic. But it still ain't cheap

Nigel 11
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Mushroom

Re: MINERAL OIL !!!!!!

MINERAL OIL !!!!!!

People have been running their FANLESS systems in MINERAL OIL for quite some time now. Cheap, cool, easy.

Explosion hazard too, should a motherboard fault boil off the oil into a sealed room and then someone rolls up and sparks it with the light switch.

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Nigel 11
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Re: MINERAL OIL !!!!!!

MINERAL OIL !!!!!!

People have been running their FANLESS systems in MINERAL OIL for quite some time now. Cheap, cool, easy.

Fire Hazard!

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Nigel 11
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Re: Been there, done that.

Now PCs are generally so quiet that the slightest change in noise level and the user is on the phone complaining about the "loud whirring noise".

Have some genuine no-moving-parts PCs with a fanless J1900 motherboard and an SSD. Offer the user one of these to try, unless you know that his workload precludes anything less than a high-end i5 (video editing, high-end CAD, number crunching ...)

If that's his dream PC, you'll be his hero (and it's almost certainly also a cheaper PC than the one you swapped out, and a helluva lot more reliable). If it's too slow, at least you tried, and can explain that what he wants is beyond today's technology.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Cheating ...

I've often wondered if one could create a single big fat cable (bundle) to carry, say 2 x USB3, 4 x USB2, 2 x 1Gb/s Ethernet, 2 x HDMI and just run it down from, say, the attic in a single piece of trunking. Is it even physically possible?

Maybe. Ethernet and HDMI no problem. USB maximum cable length is 3m(*). So it depends on the height of your ceiling. All is not lost if you need 6m. You just need to invest in USB{2,3} hubs and accept a cable bundle that looks like a satiated egg-eating snake.

(*) Unofficially, 5m may work, but its not tested or supported that long and reputable suppliers won't sell a single cable that long. I have also heard of 3m "extension cables" that have a one-to-one hub/signal booster moulded into the socket end.

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Nigel 11
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Re: easy done

an old AMD system I had was fanless for a very short while

It actually killed the CPU? Or do you mean without any heatsink at all?

I got called in once to a system that "kept crashing". Took the lid off, spotted the fan not turning, unwisely touched the heatsink and my finger sizzled.

It worked OK until the heatsink got some way above boiling point. At which point the CPU went off the rails and the system wedged. Which gave it a chance to cool down so it worked again until the user next made the CPU try to do some real work. (Booting was/is hard-disk limited, the CPU idles most of the time waiting for seeks to complete).

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Nigel 11
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Re: How about

the cost of acquiring another room proved prohibitive...

Do you have a loft? If you do, think vertically.

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Feds spank Asus with 20-year audit probe for router security blunder

Nigel 11
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Re: Free Markets

You don't get automatic security updates because with a router they are likely to require you to reboot or at the very least to drop existing connections. So you are likely to want to schedule the update yourself. Or you can install your own automation. The market at present is Linux-capable enthusiasts and maybe a few businesses.

If they ever start selling a router with an OpenWRT derivative (or similar) to the general computer-using public, they might decide it's better to ship the thing with an auto-updater that installs security-critical updates immediately, and others overnight around 4am. The few for whom these defaults were wrong would be able to change them -- or indeed, to load some other open router distribution altogether.

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Nigel 11
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Linux can and does do the job well if you have fiber or cable broadband, and load (say) openWRT into your router box. Unfortunately AFAIK there are no currently marketed routers with ADSL modem ports for which open-source drivers exist. So if you are using ADSL you have to use proprietary router software.

Perhaps the FTC could be persuaded that this is an anti-competitive conspiracy? Or does the conspiracy include the NSA or the FBI?

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Nigel 11
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I mean, for a new router, you have to have default admin/password to allow the user to get going...

Rubbish. You install a random default password and print that on a label stuck to the bottom of the router (personally I think the top would be better, and also a duplicate label stuck to the setup guide).

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Nigel 11
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Asus, according to the company website, was named after the greek Mythological Pegasus creature, but dropped the "peg" to show up more prominently in the alphabetical listings.

I think I still prefer the version I have heard, that it once was "asUS" with creative typography to try to hoodwink USA customers into thinking it was a US product. Not quite as blatant as "made in Usa", Usa being a town in Japan which changed its name for commercial advantage.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Free Markets

Given time Asus will go out of business and the problem will be solved free market style

I can't help thinking that "free market" is about as far removed from this case as one could imagine. Could it have happened to Netgear (who have also shipped some incredibly insecure crap)? Hint. Netgear is a US company. Asus is not.

Personally I think there s no hope until routers go fully open and run Linux (for example, OpenWRT) so that security updates happen in a timely manner and keeping one's router up to date does not depend on any hardware manufacturer continuing to actively support hardware which it no longer sells and which it would much rather you replaced with newer hardware. Sadly, at present I do not think there is a single router on the market with an ADSL port that has an open source driver available.

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Meet Barra's baby: Xiaomi arrives with a splash

Nigel 11
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Re: Nice looking phone.

I did read your post. As long as Xiaomi are actively marketing this model of phone everything will be great. My jaundiced opinion concerns afterwards, and is not specific to Xiaomi.

Xiaomi will at some future date launch a new model and cease manufacturing this one. Where are the cast iron legally binding promises about software support and security updates 1,3,5,10 years after this happens? (And promises concerning the battery life, since it's not replaceable? )

If there are any such, please let us know. Any such really will set them apart from the crowd.

Of course they may go bust or get taken over by Microsoft, which is even worse for future security updates.

Maybe I'm unusual in not wanting to throw away a perfectly good piece of hardware because the manufacturer has deemed it obsolete and stopped maintaining the software, or because the manufacturer no longer exists, or because the battery cannot be replaced. Also in not thinking "new shiny" == "good" and in not being happy to throw out everything I have learned about the apps and UI on my old phone and having to learn all over again on my new one. I run Linux on an "obsolete" (but plenty fast enough) PC at home, and would like to run Linux on a phone if a sufficient ecology of linux-able phone hardware and linux-phone distributions ever arises. Until then, next phone will be all-Google, as the least bad option.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Nice looking phone.

If I need a new phone next week it will be a Google Nexus. I am completely fed up with apps that I don't want and cannot get rid of, and of depending on a vendor who no longer makes my particular model of phone for its security updates. They have no incentive to produce updates in a timely manner, if at all. Worse, they have a positive incentive not to. Make the phone as obsolete as possible as soon as possible so the muggles buy another new one. Glueing the battery into the phone and hoping(*) it fails a few months after the warranty runs out is another form of the same.

Some time in the hopefully near future I may switch to a phone that runs Cyanogen or some other truly open OS so I'm not dependant on any single company for updates. Then I might even be able to keep the exact same familiar UI after my obsolete phone finally breaks.

Sorry, Xiaomi. It looks very pretty but I suspect you want me to throw it away as soon as the warranty has run out. Once bitten and all that ....

(*) or engineering it to fail? How can we tell?

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Linux lads lambast sorry state of Skype service

Nigel 11
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Short term gain, long term lose

Now Microsoft has completely cut off Linux Skype, the open source community will be forced to write an easy to install Windows client for an open equivalent.

So Microsoft will repeat the Internet Explorer history. A short-term gain, during which time some businesses do it the Microsoft way and just ignore the growing number of customers who can't or won't run IE to access their IE-only web service. Then Mozilla and Safari and Chrome and the growing realisation that they are losing customers and being slagged off by those potential customers. Ending with Microsoft being handicapped by having to support open WWW standards properly while still maintaining backward compatibility with ancient MS server-side proprietary rubbish that's still embedded in "mission-critical" intranet stuff.

Those who fail to remember their history are doomed to re-live it. Prediction: a decade from now Skype will be dying out.

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Gosh, what a huge shock. Ofcom shies away from BT Openreach split, calls for reform

Nigel 11
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USO?

Why no Universal Service Obligation recommendation?

Some time in the last century a telephone went from a luxury to an essential. Around that time the Post Office, as it was then, was placed under an obligation to connect a telephone for anyone who wanted one, anywhere in the UK, for the same flat rate everywhere.

Broadband (say 8Mbps) has gone from a luxury to an essential. So why not extend the telephone obligation to specify a network connection capable of supporting broadband at a speed of no less than 8Mbps, anywhere in the UK?

Sure, it'll cost. Everyone else will be subsidizing the remotest locations. But that probably translates more into a reduction in the rate at which prices fall, rather than any rises.

Market forces will never accomplish this. It will never be in the interests of anyone to provide broadband to the last <5% if doing so incurs a competitive disadvantage recruiting or retaining the other >95% of customers. So they'll be stuck forever with 56K modems or impossibly expensive high latency satellite broadband.

Sigh. (Counting myself lucky: 8Mbps when it's dry, 3Mbps when its raining, fiber coming "soon")

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Google human-like robot brushes off beating by puny human – this is how Skynet starts

Nigel 11
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I bet the built in battery pack lasts about 5 minutes max.

But I also bet programming it to plug itself into a mains socket would be trivial compared to what they've done already.

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Don't take a Leaf out of this book: Nissan electric car app has ZERO authentication

Nigel 11
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Coat

Re: VIN is on the front window in Europe

Insecurity by transparency?

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'I bet Russian hackers weren't expecting their target to suck so epically hard as this'

Nigel 11
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Re: endianness @#define

Intel i32, x64_64 is little-endian. So were PDP11 and VAX. Not "wrong"-endian.

I know it's an issue like the Lilliputians' eggs, but little-endian is surely the logical way. Put a 64-bit integer at X. Load the byte from X+1. You have the bits representing 2**8 up to 2**15 of that integer (8 being the number of bits in a byte). Extending this, you can search an allocation bitmap, define a bit address as 8 times the byte offset of the located bit plus the bit offset within the byte, and go straight to an identified logical block in some storage device at a logical block address matching the logical bit address ( = 8 times byte offset plus bit offset within byte). VAX could do that in one beautiful instruction (back when people still sometimes coded in assembly language)

Having less-significant bits at higher byte addresses is illogical. If only we wrote right-to-left like some other cultures do, or if pre-computer mathematical convention was to put the least significant digit of an integer first so we'd carry left-to-right just as we write left-to-right, there would be nobody arguing for big-endian, and probably no big-endian hardware at all.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Almost

Seriously, it would have been interesting to know how it was almost exploited.

All you really need to know is here

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Nigel 11
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Re: OmegaIsNull

The programmer has chosen to redefine the concept of null to also include non null variables with no value yet assigned, or with a value of a single space.

Under the (unlikely) assumption that the code does precisely what is required, then its worst feature by far is its name. Call it OmegaIsNullish or OmegaIsEmpty or even YukkyTest. Badly chosen names are one of my pet hates, especially when they've found their way into widely-used libraries or systems from where it's impossible ever to evict them. "select" to wait for IO completion, I ask you!

Also, comments matter as much as code. Again if the comment said "is Nullish (null or empty string or space)" ...

But I actually think this is a prize specimen from a person who can't code. There are people who are tone deaf, people who are number blind, and people who can't code. They imitate the forms like any good cargo cultist does, and simply cannot understand that they should find a different employment before somebody fires them (or murders them).

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Plane food sees pilot grounded by explosive undercarriage

Nigel 11
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Re: "aircraft fumes"

There's no definitive evidence for this

I thought it was well-documented that engine faults have led to dangerously contaminated cabin air, leading to flight crew donning oxygen masks and making emergency landings. ISTR that what pilots are concerned about (without definitive evidence) is that lifetime exposure to low "normal, safe" levels of these chemicals might be dangerously cumulative. They are organophosphates, an overall nasty group of chemicals.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Is there anyone on board that can fly a plane?

ISTR reading that if you have landed a big jet a good few times in a flight sim you are likely to be able to land one for real (wiith assistance from the control tower) if it ever becomes necessary. There are cases of non-pilots being talked down successfully even without any sim experience.

However, I am surprised that they don't give cabin staff a few hours in the real flight training simulator and a refresher every couple of years. Or do they (and impose secrecy for PR reasons)?

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