* Posts by Nigel 11

3206 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Dodgy software will bork America's F-35 fighters until at least 2019

Nigel 11
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Re: May I be the first to say...

@Locky Do the Russians still use incredibly simple avionics based on pea-sized thermionic valves?

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Google puts a gun to the head of IT middlemen – the ops teams

Nigel 11
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Eating their own food?

Google's own Artificial Idiot generating targetted advertising seems to need a lot more, er, training, if it is ever going to be a boon to consumers rather than yet another reason to install ad-blockers.

What does it tell you, if someone does a fair bit of searching for information about kitchen worktops and wall-mounted spot lighting, and then stops? The AI seems to think that I will be buying another worktop and more lights, months after I ceased searching on those topics. Anything (or anyone) smart would realise that the cessation of searching meant that I had placed my orders, and will now be rather less likely than a random Joe to be buying either of those products again for the next few years.

AI Ops? Will it turn out any better than outsourcing ops to script kiddies in Bangalore did?

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Troubled Acer is going to chop itself into three bite sized chunks

Nigel 11
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Customer (dis)service?

I tangled with Acer customer service (over warranty repairs) many years ago. The result was that I swore that I would never buy anything again from Acer if there was a sensible alternative choice.

I wonder whether the brand-name is now a liability rather than an asset? They would not be the first large consumer products company to discover the cost of poor service.

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Error checks? Eh? What could go wrong, really? (DoSing a US govt site)

Nigel 11
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I then handed it to one of the technicians to run as a test...

Someone once asked me why he could not type a file (on VMS: think "cat" on Linux). QVX was not a well-known file type. The error was a well-known VMS error message which I am reproducing from memory, perhaps not quite correctly

$ TYPE myfile.QVX

%SYSTEM-E-FNF, File "myfile.QVX" not found.

$

I was starting to worry about a possibly corrupt filesystem (we'd recently had disk drive troubles) when the penny dropped as to what was really going on.

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Nigel 11
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Re: It could always be worse.

It's one of the recommended ways of getting out of a deeply nested structure in any well-structured programming language. Was the problem with a lousy language that did not allow an all-but-infinite number of distinct user-defined exceptions which can be handled while allowing other exceptions to propagate unchanged? If not, raising exceptions is a perfectly sane thing to do. Often the best.

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Nigel 11
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Cut and paste?

@joeW My thought the same. Cut-and-paste coding where the coder got interrupted halfway through, before the crucial replacement of one of the #img

Lesson to be learned? Maybe "Let the phone ring. If it's important they will call back later".

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Your money or your life! Another hospital goes down to ransomware

Nigel 11
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Re: That's because Ibuprofen is prescription-only in the USA

My knowledge is clearly out of date. So now it's just the UK refusing to sell Naproxen OTC. Ibuprofen was invented in the UK, Naproxen in the US.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Hmm the ransom...

That's because Ibuprofen is prescription-only in the USA. Pop down to your USA pharmacy for OTC Naproxen instead. Naproxen is prescription-only in the UK. Care to guess where Ibuprofen and Naproxen were invented?

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Hackers giving up on crypto ransomware. Now they just lock up device, hope you pay

Nigel 11
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I hope it is a result of perceived risk/reward amongst criminals. If you effectively destroy data you make yourself a greater target of the law's ire. If you merely force somebody to copy their data and reload their PC, you may stay at the bottom of the pile forever. Should you get caught you'll receive a lesser sentence.

If I'm wrong, it means that the effort involved in catching crypto-ware criminals and the sentences imposed when they are caught both need to be increased, several times over if necessary, until I'm right.

Sort of like the difference between burglary and shiplifting, or kidnapping and blackmail.

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Champagne supernova in the sky: Shockwaves seen breaking star

Nigel 11
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Re: Safe distance

Any closer than 100 Light-years would be worrysome. Anything closer than 30 Ly is probable extinction-level event. Luckily there are no red supergiants within 100 Ly of Earth at present. Betelgeuse will be spectacular but safe when it explodes some time well within the next million years.

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US Supremes to hear Samsung's gripes about the patent system after Apple billed it $550m

Nigel 11
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In the interests of justice ...

The eight should secretly toss some coins to decide who gets to be indisposed on the day that they consider this case. Although if the Supreme court can be as much relied upon to always split along political party lines as the US government can be, that ain't going to happen. It also means that the USA has bigger problems than I realized.

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Big data boffins crunch GPS traces, find altruistic route planning is good for everyone

Nigel 11
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Do the better surfaces on motorways improve fuel efficiency?

Near where I live I can choose to do 70mph on the M40 or 60mph on the B4100 (which used to be the main road before the motorway). The odd thing is that I get better fuel economy going faster on the motorway rather than slower on the scenic route. Both routes are fairly flat and straight.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Hmmm...

Stupid machines indeed. Last generation things. Scrap.

Google Maps seems to be smart enough and well-informed enough to use the current average speed of the traffic rather than any unrealistic estimate. (Turn on "Traffic" display to see in glorious techicolor what it knows). It is also more accurate with its estimated journey times than it has any right to be! Better than some train services I have known.

BTW I drive to work on various back roads where I can do 55-60mph on a fine day. The average is quite a lot lower because you have to slow down to 30 through the villages and 15 at some bends. One section is a main road with a 50mph limit. I don't know why. 95% of drivers on that road do 60-65mph anyway. If you insist on 50 cars will overtake you and you'll soon have an HGV driving two feet behind you. Wonder if Google maps routes using average traffic speeds or legal maximum traffic speeds?

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Nigel 11
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Google Maps

with a downside: they funnel everybody onto the same congested route.

Not if you are navigating using Google maps on your Android.

I recently got taken on a tour of Coventry suburbia by my phone. I did wonder what it was up to until I re-emerged onto the main road about fifty yards past a major accident.

On the minus side it introduces other people to various unclassified Northamptonshire roads which I'd far rather remained known only to myself and the locals. So please ignore your phone. Has it warned you about the potholes? They eat tyres out here, you know.

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Bloody Danes top world happiness league

Nigel 11
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Denmark - an alternative theory

Denmark is a very small country and a member of the EU. So if you are not happy in Denmark, there is pretty much nothing stopping you from moving elsewhere. So unhappy Danes move out leaving the country "happiest" by their self-exclusion from the sample.

Based on a sample of one Dane who found his homeland the most boring place on Earth, moved to the UK and married an Englishwoman.

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Microsoft Surface Book: Shiny slab with a Rottweiler grip on itself

Nigel 11
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Re: The Dance while you wait to get permission to remove a drive/device

You can just yank it out if you're sure that nothing is writing to it.

But can you be 100% sure that there is nothing cached and not yet flushed to the device? On Linux you have sync. On Windows ... well, lots of kids do mostly get away with it. But I have to wonder, how many of the corrupted USB sticks that despairing students have asked me to try to salvage got mangled by being unceremoniously yanked out of the socket?

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Nigel 11
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Re: looks much cheaper

This is the Audi-VW-SEAT-Skoda model

More like the Maserati model. Looks great, goes great on a track, but does it survive much contact with the real world of speed humps and tyre-sized potholes and multi-storey car park spiral ramps?

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IEEE delivers Ethernet-for-cars standard

Nigel 11
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Cat-5 and 100BaseT

Cat-5 (and 5e, 6) cable has four pairs but 100BaseT uses only two of them (1000BaseT uses all four). So this new standard is saving just one twisted pair.

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Here's what an Intel Broadwell Xeon with a built-in FPGA looks like

Nigel 11
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Re: timing seems interesting....

you just wouldn't reprogram an FPGA at each context switch

I was wondering about that. Conventionally, reprogramming FPGAs is rather slow because they are using some sort of non-volatile PROM to store the programming in the absence of power. But I cannot think of a reason it has to be that way. If the programming is RAM-fast, it becomes a matter of how many kilobytes of programming state have to be saved and how often. Every context switch would be excessive, but maybe rescheduling of the FPGA resource ten or even a hundred times per second might be OK. Most processes will not be using the FPGA so scheduling them won't involve saving the FPGA state - the OS will just not let them access it. The ones that do request the FPGA will be in FPGA-specific scheduler queues.

Some work to be done on schedulers and resource queues but I cannot see any fundamental difficulty, neither for Linux nor for Windows.

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Linus Torvalds wavers, pauses … then gives the world Linux 4.5

Nigel 11
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Re: PS/2 Mice

More than a few current desktop motherboards still have a PS/2 port, or even ports. Why force people to throw away perfectly good or better optical mice and KVM switches just because the interface isn't the latest?

Also there's the original IBM PC "clicky" keyboard which some insist is still the best keyboard ever made. Certainly they'll never make one like that again!

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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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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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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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