* Posts by Nigel 11

2973 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Swiss watch: Cuckoo-clock cops threaten Win 10 whup-ass can pop

Nigel 11
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Re: Switzerland?

'openness'?

I read it as demanding privacy be respected. Openness, only in the sense of MS admitting how they are violating privacy, and ceasing to do so without its end users' well-informed consent.

No inconsistency that I can see. Switzerland seems to be the only country left that actually believes in privacy, rather than merely pretending to do so.

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BT commences trials of copper-to-the-home G.fast broadband tech

Nigel 11
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I'm skeptical

I can't help thinking they are doing this because it's cheap and they'll be able to advertize "up to 300Mbit/s" service, while deflecting political attention from the minority who can't get usable broadband at all.

What is really needed, is a universal minimum speed guarantee. They shouldn't be allowed to say "up to 20" and deliver 2 and say "Tough! Anyway, it's BT's fault, it won't be any better with any other supplier" because of the ropey bit of old aluminium wire to your house which is indeed BT's fault. Of course, it's even worse for the folks in rural parts who at present can't have broadband at all because they are too far from their telephone exchange.

Broadband is no longer a luxury. 8Mbit of data should be as much a universal right as a water supply. It's achievable - all it requires is politicians and monopoly regulators to grow a few teeth!

Would splitting Openreach from BT help? I doubt it. Just give BT a tough but achievable plan, backed by massive fines ( significant fractions of its annual profits) should it systematically fail to deliver. Then when there's no "phone line" anywhere in the UK that can't support 8Mbit, tell ISPs that "up to" is no longer allowed and that a 24/7 miniumum guaranteed bandwidth must be quoted. Repeat for higher speeds once universal minimum service is achieved.

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Does Linux need a new file system? Ex-Google engineer thinks so

Nigel 11
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ZFS on LInux

Yes. ZOL (ZFS on Linux) runs ZFS in user-space. That gets around the licensing issues, because it's not a non-legal derived product of both CDDL and GPL-licensed code. But running in userland reduces efficiency ( and probably makes it impossible to access ZOL filesystems early in the boot process).

Just because two free open-source licenses both permit you to use code without payment, doesn't mean that one can produce and distribute a work derived from both. In this case GPL is the more restrictive. You'd have to get the whole Linux kernel re-licensed or dual-licensed under CDDL in order to merge ZFS in the kernel. This is practically impossible. So no ZFS in the Linux kernel. Sad.

There's also a fork in ZFS licensing. When Oracle took over, it ceased to distribute newer versions of ZFS under CDDL, and nobody trusts Oracle! So now ZFS refers to two feature-incompatible filesystems (with a common base feature set). Also sad.

BTRFS is coming along quite nicely. I've been using it for one level of backing up (huge numbers of snapshots), with other backups in case the btrfs falls apart. So far it's worked perfectly for me. Not sure why another similar FS is needed, but competition between projects is probably a good thing.

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IRS: Tax-record snaffle scam actually 200% worse than first feared

Nigel 11
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Paper tax return?

One of many reasons I stick to communicating with HMRC on paper, is so that when they corrupt my data or even worse, spam it to the world, at least I'll have proof that it was their IT at fault, not my IT. (Well, at least until the post office loses my tax return ... hasn't happened yet. )

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Nigel 11
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Realy 334,000?

not 334,000,000 ? (I'm guessing that's a good fraction of the US-resident US taxpayers).

Where better to bury the truth than in a grovelling "apology"?

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Anti-privacy unkillable super-cookies spreading around the world – study

Nigel 11
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Spain?

Isn't this sort of invasion of privacy illegal in the EU? Don't EU rules say that a site has to have the user's permission even for the everyday sort of browser-clearable cookies. (That's click-OK permission, not something formatted white-on-white in paragraph 397 of the Ts&Cs).

Can someone check up on the UK's networks?

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Huge explosion kills 44+ in China, blasts nearby supercomputer offline

Nigel 11
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Actually, NaCN will complex with Fe ions to make nice stable Ferricyanates which have pretty low toxicity. There's a lot of iron around in the environment, and you can always add more if you need to. Cyanide is also not a cumulative toxin - if you don't ingest enough to kill you in the next few hours, you're OK for the rest of your life. So NaCN is probably the least of their worries.

Acetylene gas from CaC2 getting wet would account for the violence of the explosions ... but neither Acetylene gas nor Calcium salts present any long-term environmental hazard.

Not sure about TDI, and you have to wonder what else got blown up ....

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Nigel 11
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I just can't imagine storing what appears to be explosives/chemicals going off in the middle of a city.

Um. Ever considered moving to Portsmouth? (Though I certainly trust the Royal navy a lot more than some random Chinese import-export company).

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Nigel 11
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Re: Talk about risky locations..

You shouldn't even think about what is in the various tankers on the roads in the UK (or any other developed country). Liquid Chlorine gas (as used as a weapon in WW1) is only halfway up the hazard scale.

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Nigel 11
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Back to the supercomputer ...

I do hope that there wasn't a huge on-site data-store with no remote backup. I heard the sad story of a server close to Buncefield. The explosion there ripped half the disk drives out of their enclosures, and the pressure wave killed most of the others that weren't actually dumped onto the floor while still spinning.

(The concept of no backup may seem strange to non-scientists, but there are many classes of problem where you generate such vast amounts of data you cannot afford even redundant storage let alone the bandwidth to a remote site for continuous data-churning. In the worst case you re-run the calculations, but the loss still hurts and the usual assumption is that you'll lose a disk or an array, not the entire data-store! )

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Nigel 11
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As for shipping explosives ... ask someone in Halifax (Canada). Ok, this was in wartime, though not anywhere near a battleground. Possibly the largest non-nuclear explosion ever.

http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2008/11/kaboom-worlds-biggest-non-nuclear.html

There was also an incident when a warehouse full of ammonium nitrate fertilizer had a leaky roof, and the whole contents became one solid mass. Some soon-to-be-deceased genius had the bright idea of loosening it up using a few sticks of dynamite.

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CAUGHT: Lenovo crams unremovable crapware into Windows laptops – by hiding it in the BIOS

Nigel 11
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Re: Belkin/Pinto

Never bought a Ford since. Not that that was a particular hardship

Actually they're making pretty good cars these days. Next car I might consider letting them off my don't-buy list. Though probably only to end up with something made by VAG on its perceived merits.

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Nigel 11
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Re: So I guess we better check thier mobile phones too

To see if they have a similar rootkit that records everything and sends it back to HQ too

Would I care (just as long as they hid the cost of the bandwidth on someone else's budget). I mean, GCHQ is almost certainly recording everything we say into our phones already. I worry rather more about what our government does with those recordings, than anything that China's governmernt might.

(Might be different in wartime, but what are the chances such a war wouldn't be over in days and end with MAD? )

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Nigel 11
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And another name to add to the 'Sony' list..

Lenovo, or Microsoft? It appears from the above discussion, that Microsoft provided the enabling technology, and Lenovo merely used it. I know which I think is the greater evil incompetence.

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Nigel 11
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Re: @thames - Windows only though

Nothing is hidden from the OS, with a rootkit stuff is hidden from the end-user.

Not true, if something has write access to the OS kernel copied into RAM before it is invoked. Which is exactly what a BIOS does have. It's even able to subvert the bootloader, which comes before the OS and which is equally capable of subverting any OS it loads.

A simple example with non-malicious intent, would be to intercept disk IO operations and to cause any access above a nice round number to return an error as if the disk were that nice round number in size. This was actually used back in the days when disk manufacturers were playing sillybuggers shipping a 1002Mb drive that was bigger than a 1000Mb drive so if you bought a manufacturer X disk and used all its available capacity, you couldn't later replace it with a manufacturer Y "1Gb" disk. Of course, then manufacturer Y shipped a 1002.25Mb disk ....

There's also Ring -1, the hypervisor, to consider in the case of Intel CPUs, though I'll accept that in this context you may use OS to refer to the hypervisor itself, not the OSes that it supervises.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Windows only though

t could misunderstand ext4 as it tries to read it as NTFS and corrupt the filesystem if it's badly written.

It could. Then your system would fail fsck after every boot (if it managed to boot at all). Then you'd send it back as having a defective hard disk. Then the replacement wouldn't work either. Then you'd demand a refund from your supplier as "goods not fit for purpose".

They *might* try labelling it very clearly as usable with Windows only. At least then you'd know what not to buy. This is assuming that MS would allow use of their trademark in this way. Given their previous history with the EU authorities, I'd advise them against it.

The greater risk would be if it shipped with a BIOS that understood Linux filesystems, and rootkitted them as well. Are we sure that they don't? Maybe it's time to start putting / on an encrypted FS even if you don't want /home to be on one!

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Patching a fragmented, Stagefrightened Android isn't easy

Nigel 11
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Re: A general problem

And how do you do that when the manufacturers are located in countries that simply don't care?

Put the manufacturers on a banned list should they fail to honour their legal responsibilities. That threat would certainly keep the big guys like Apple and Samsung and Sony in line. There would doubtless still be "grey" (or outright black) imports of dodgy mobiles from companies you'd never heard of, but at least you'd have the option of buying a trusted brand and getting better.

The strange thing is how little the big brands seem to care about this issue. When the general public decide that there's really no advantage at all in buying a big brand over buying "cheap and cheerful", because the hardware is no longer sufficiently distinguishable and the software is all equally crap, then the cheapest will be the best. For similar reasons the "free" phone on an expensive 24-month contrick is another doomed business model.

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Nigel 11
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A general problem

Vendors of devices containing software are allowed far too much latitude to escape any product liability with respect to latent bugs. Contrast the auto industry, where if a serious latent problem is discovered with a car, they have to recall and fix all the cars (or face paying out billion-dollar damages, witness the Ford Pinto). They can't get away with just saying "it's out of warranty" or "it's an old model" or "read the license disclaimers". Similarly, phone manufacturers should be obliged to fix bugs that were present in the device at the time it was sold, or in subsequent versions of its software, use of which is required to provide a fix for day-zero bugs. This for at least five years after sale, preferably ten.

Of course, the result of stricter product liability would either be more expensive phones, or fly-by-night manufacturers of cheap phones whose business plan includes going into liquidation within a year.

If Samsung don't patch my S4, the next phone I buy will be a Google one (the only company that pretty much can't evade its moral responsibilities). That, or there will be a breakthrough for a properly open source phone with Linux-style community support.

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Doubts cast on Islamic State's so-called leak of US .mil, .gov passwords

Nigel 11
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Where it came from

<paranoia class="professional carefully-nurtured">

The data came from a 3-letter agency. Anyone who has made any use of it will be bumped up their watch list. Like the Reg's journalist (except journalists are probably already a lot higher on the list than John Doe, it goes with the profession).

You'll note I say "up" not "onto". Everyone who has ever made a phone call is on the list already.

</paranoia>

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Take THAT, Tesla: Another Oz energy utility will ship home batteries

Nigel 11
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Re: What ?

Not actually true that there's no daytime household usage. Trouble is, a fridge is high-wattage low-duty-cycle device, whereas a solar panel is low wattage continuous, and the electricity utilities don't have means or incentive to take electricity off your hands now and give you credit for it when you want it back a few minutes later!

Now, here's a sensible use for "smart" appliances (fridges especially). Let the inverter know (via WiFi) when it is running its compressor. Then, an inverter with a one-hour battery (maybe even a 15-minute battery) would make perfect sense. Synch your generation with your fridge's demands. Cookers, dish-wasters, washing machines, might join the party, but the fridge is the appliance that's always in use.

Seems like a complete waste of high-grade energy, but the most cost-effective use for a small solar PV installation here in the UK under current rules is probably to run a low voltage immersion heater in your hot water tank! (No inverter needed, just a thermostat)

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Introducing the Asus VivoMini UN42 – a pint-sized PC, literally

Nigel 11
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Re: Footprint

If you want to know how big are the files in various folders (and assuming Windows 10 still uses NTFS) ... shut windows down and boot a stand-alone Linux CD. du is probably your first port of call once you've mounted the hard disk under Linux (read-only if you are paranoid).

I'm assuming you can still do an install without obstructive things like secure boot and encrypted filesystem.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Maybe...

Unless there's some thermal contact in that design between the CPU chip and a largish metal plate in the case, there's a fan in there. Also the case design doesn't seem to gave enough holes for passive (convection) cooling. Also convection cooling works best in a "chimney", i.e. a case orientated vertically with air holes bottom and top. (If you stick to SSD you don't have to worry about your data getting trashed when the cat knocks the PC over).

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Nigel 11
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Re: I assume this is a fanless design

If you don't understand the difference between a "quiet" fan and no moving parts, try spending a night in a bedroom containing one ... just one ... mosquito.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Celeron?

why anyone would put a Celeron in anything for any reason

Because they have nice low TDP figures and can run with passive cooling (without requiring ludicrously expensive heat pipe and case solutions). And yes, because it is Intel, not ARM, for software compatibility.

My home desktop is a Gigabyte J1800 Celeron-based mini-ITX board coupled to an SSD. A PC with absolutely no moving parts, which is therefore totally silent. It's also quite fast enough for everything I use it for. (It's running Linux not Windows, which may be part of the explanation).

Back to this review .. an "exceptionally quiet PC". Does that mean, with an irritating mosquito of a fan in there, that will get louder and louder as the heatsink clogs up with fluff? If I'm wrong, the right word is silent. BTW if you have to have a fan, you want a big one not a small one. The slower it rotates, the quieter it can be.

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'Sunspots drive climate change' theory is result of ancient error

Nigel 11
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Re: Deniers?

"Is there any solid, proven evidence for anthropogenic global climate change? Serious question".

Is it?

By the time there is that sort of evidence, it will be far too late to do anything about the changes. we'll have to live with them, or perhaps die because of them.

What is certain is (a) the measureable increase in atmospheric CO2 since the industrial revolution, and (b) the certainty that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. I'd far rather we stopped raising the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere *now*, rather than after it's too late. Especially since we now have the technologies to do without burning stuff for energy, and lack only the will to develop and deploy them. (Taxpayers are still *subsidizing* fossil fuel production, FFS! )

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Intel building Xeon into lapwarmers as designers, content creators call the shots

Nigel 11
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The Difference

One acronym: ECC. Or one word: professional.

For gaming, you don't give a monkeys that your RAM might drop a bit or two, and corrupt the results that it is generating. But if you are designing bridges or buildings or chemical plants, or even if you are just doing research for a Ph.D or big-money financial planning, you certainly ought to!

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Random numbers aren't, says infosec boffin

Nigel 11
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Re: Brainstorming ....

You really don't want anything radioactive integrated into a VLSI chip. Each radioactive decay can corrupt a bit of data, just as well as contributing to a bit of random numbers. It all depends on what random direction it is emitted in!

OTOH all motherboards ought to include a noise diode and supporting electronics, and a "gold standard" radioactive-decay noise source on a USB dongle shouldn't be expensive.

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Boffins: The universe is DOOMED and there's nothing to be done

Nigel 11
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All assuming ...

This is all assuming that the dark matter and "dark energy", about which we know little and less, aren't "up to something". And anyway, the Earth is doomed far sooner, either when we loose all our water, or when the sun gets hotter and we fall out of its goldilocks zone.

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ISC ’15 Student Cluster Competition: Euro kids answered the calls to arms

Nigel 11
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Eek! Cthulu! RUN!!

This resulted in an ugly cut on the finger of their team leader and added some quantity of human blood to their cluster mix

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Wait, what? TrueCrypt 'decrypted' by FBI to nail doc-stealing sysadmin

Nigel 11
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Could *you* remember a strong 30-char pw?

Yes - sort of.

Generate a print-out of a lot of entropy. Say a 10 x 10 grid of 5-digit random numbers. Keep it with you. On its own, it can't be used.

What you remember is a hash algorithm for combining the something you have with something you remember to generate a password, that's computable in your head.

For example: Row 8 column 5 reading vertically upwards, six 5-digit numbers. Hash the first by adding d,d,m,y,y of your birthday, each digit modulo 10. The next one, your Mother's birthday. Sister, Spouse, bank sort code (five digits of), bank account # (ditto)

remember: 8, 5, up, self, mum, sister, wife, bank, bank. Not hard.

Better still make the something you have into something(s) with innocent utility. Bank cards. Driving License. Loyalty cards. Torn-off corner of a newspaper stock prices page with a reminder scribbled on it. These don't raise suspicion like a page of explicit random digits does.

Other people will find the surreal imagery trick works better, which is how people have managed to memorize entire telephone directories. Construct a sentence of words that don't normally go together but which do parse correctly. "Green ideas sleep quickly in well-padded spoons". That sort of thing.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Pretty obvious - a keylogger was installed

Or there having been a webcam pointed at his keyboard ... one of his hacked by the FBI, or one of theirs artfully concealed.

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Sengled lightbulb speakers: The best worst stereo on Earth

Nigel 11
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Re: Yet again....

Is a pair of normal speakers in a room THAT much of a problem?

Depends on your wallet, your room size, your partner, your landlord, and your masonry.

Speakers: large doesn't always imply good (there are crap big ones for poseurs with defective hearing). However, given the best at any particular price, the smaller it is the more restricted its bass output will be.

If you're willing to accept studio monitor speakers, you can get them out of your normal living space by wall-mounting them several feet up. Except, the location on the wall has considerable effect on the sound. You may have to try several different locations for your speaker brackets, each requring the drilling of several holes into the masonry, plugs, big screws .... So allow a day for audio experiments, and another one to fill and paint over the holes that were in the wrong places.

If your walls are single layer plasterboard, they may not be strong enough ....

( If you don't understand why simple corner shelves from B&Q aren't the answer, and can't hear the reason after installing them, then there's something wrong with your ears! )

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Screw your cutesy plastic art tat, the US govt has found a use for 3D printing: DRUGS!

Nigel 11
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Re: Rounding error

Except that I doubt whether a 200 mg Ibuprofen tablet is actually within half a milligram of that dose. There wouldn't be any point given that adult human body masses vary by a factor of two or more (depending on your definition of normal adult human). 200mg +/- 10% would be just fine. (Manufacturing accuracy is probably better than that without adding any cost). Scientists quote the amount without gratuitous extra digits, and the error separately. 1 gram or 1000 mg +/- 0.03g or 30mg is fine. 1000.0 mg +/- 30mg would be silly. 1000mg equals one gram and shouldn't imply anything about the error when no error is quoted.

Drugs for which a 50% extra dose is dangerous are unusual, and require individual prescriptions based on a patient's body mass and/or metabolic variables, also careful ongoing monitoring for toxicity. An ideal drug hits its maximum therapeutic effect at one dose and doesn't become toxic until a much higher dose. Ibuprofen (which I know about) maxes out at around 2400mg per day (a doctor-prescribable dose) and doesn't usually have serious toxicity issues at considerably higher doses ... it's just useless to take more. A greater danger is the long-term effect on your body of the drug doing exactly what it is supposed to do (ie suppressing inflammation).

Incidentally with many drugs (including Ibuprofen) it's safe to take a doubled first dose for a more rapid effect. That first dose finds your body "empty". When it's time for the next, half the original dose is still not present. The third dose finds a quarter of the first and half of the second ... Don't try this trick ("front-loading") without asking a doctor, or at least carefully checking the literature. There are exceptions.

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Nigel 11
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Re: Next step...

But just how many do you have to 3D print each day to make the printing process profitable? (If the answer is a large number, increase the price.)

Most pharmaceuticals have extremely high margin over manufacturing cost during their period on patent. On the flip side, they also have huge development costs to recoup, and the profit has to cover the development cost of a large number of other drugs which fail their clinical trials and never make it to market.

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Nigel 11
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Re: I have to admit...

Why is a gram of this drug packaged as a conventional pill so much larger than a 1 gram vitamin C or fish oil capsule? (I take these daily with no difficulty at all swallowing them).

A good use for 3D printing might be time-release medication. Print a complex microstructure of cells with walls of different thicknesses containing a drug, that will release as a constant rate over 12 or 24 hours inside one's digestive system.

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Epson: Cheap printers, expensive ink? Let's turn that upside down

Nigel 11
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Re: @nigel

OfficeJet 8000 models and predecessors - replacing a print-head is as easy as replacing a cartridge. But buying two print-heads costs more than a new printer, and if one has just failed you have to consider that there's a high risk of the other one following it soon.

They don't change the head design very often. ISTR that there have been only three iterations in the last two decades: the type 10/11, the type 88, and the type 940 (ink cartridge numbers, I think printheads use the same numbers).

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Nigel 11
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Re: Yes, laser is the solution

Universal drawback for Laser printing.

If you leave a stack of laser printer output bound under pressure for years (such as in lever-arch binders or just a big heap), the ink will tend to adhere to the opposite page. The pages peel apart when needed, but there's some ink transfer which at best makes the single-sided pages look grubby, and at worst makes the double-sided pages illegible. Related to this is the (theoretical? ) possibility of someone malign lifting selected characters off the pages. Lawyers will advise printing your will using an ink printer for this reason.

Colour Laser printers are either expensive to buy or expensive to run or both. (The quoted running cost never seems to include replacing the drum, which can last as little as 10K prints).

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Nigel 11
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There are two different methods of providing ink, typified by HP on the one hand, and the older Epson printers on the other.

To be fair, it' s the cheaper HP printers that use this model.

The HP OfficeJets use ink-only cartridges, and print-heads that are also user-replaceable. The running cost of these comes out pretty competitive in the field of printers in that price bracket (broadly £70 to £200).

The problem with expensive printers and cheap ink is seen when some idiot loser wrecks the printer by poking his fingers somewhere he shouldn't, or by yanking out a jammed sheet of paper gorilla-style leaving bits of paper jamming up the works ( or bits of printer scattered on the carpet). This is one reason I like the OfficeJets. They're just about cheap enough to replace out of the consumables budget when the losers wreck them.

My one puzzle is why are the replaceable print-heads so expensive, that it's cheaper to replace the whole printer shoud a print-head fail out of warranty? How does HP make more money out of shipping a vast lump of plastic and metal, than print-heads sold at half the price that they currently charge?

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Speed freak: Kingston HyperX Predator 480GB PCIe SSD

Nigel 11
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No reason I can think of why you can't run two of them in a Linux software RAID-1 set.

What I wonder about, is whether SSDs of any sort can be trusted to report data that's gone bad in the same way as hard drives can. Checksums and ECC codes are utterly fundamental to spinning rust drives, but even with these it's possible for a controller failure to allow undetected data corruption. And RAID-1 normally assumes that if a write succeeded without error, a read may be satisfied with data off either disk in the RAID array without checking that it's (still) the same on the other device.

For the paranoid, these devices might be fast enough that a new RAID class could be defined and used without crippling loss of performance. Minimum three mirrored members. On read, get the data from all three members and check for equality. If one differs from the other two, it can be assumed to be the bad one. Two members wouldn't let you know which was the good one (assuming that the bad drive wasn't detecting its own failure state).

Like navigating with one chronometer or three chronometers, but never two.

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Nigel 11
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240Gb version price

Wasn't in the review? Anyway, Googled it around £180 for anyone wondering.

Yes, you can buy a SATA SSD for less than half the price. But if you need the speed of a PCIe drive, SATA is useless however much cheaper it is! Hopefully competition will rapidly drive PCIe drive prices down to SATA SSD levels.

I want one, but don't need one!

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Intel tests definition of insanity with (leaked) typoslab Skylake CPUs

Nigel 11
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Re: "ECC etc"

Its about time some of the reliability enhancing technologies used in servers migrated down into 'user' devices.

You can't have been around for long. It was only a decade or so ago that Intel stopped selling Desktop chipsets with ECC support. (Cure 2 Duo CPU era). ISTR that AMD chipsets still do support ECC, although for some reason most MoBo manufacturers disabled it at the board level. Certainly it wasn't many years ago I constructed a microserver around an AMD Sempron rather than anything Intel for this reason. It didn't need speed but it really did need not to corrupt data without anyone knowing that it was failing.

Doesn't happen often, but I have seen filesystems trashed by an undetected RAM failure. I also wonder why O/Ses don't try to protect themselves by running a memory tester on unallocated memory pages, maybe one minute per hour whenever the system is lightly loaded or idle. Nowhere as near as good as ECC, but better than doing nothing and hoping for the best.

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Nigel 11
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Another possibility

the assumption is that the main motivation for these chips is to displace ARM from the tablet etc. market.

However, they may also be a very good way of field-testing technological advances that they will later use in chips aimed at the server market.

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Desperate Microsoft PAYS Win Server 2003 laggards to jump ship

Nigel 11
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Legal difficulty?

Is there some implicit promise or omitted disclaimer of liability in Windows 2003 licenses? Only explanation I can think of. It's not as if Linux is a rarity in the data-centre.

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Blighty tablet sales plunge 31 per cent in saturated market

Nigel 11
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Re: Ooooh..

Re Core 2 duo desktops

My last desktop "upgrade" was to complete silence, and in CPU terms was a downgrade possibly even from Core 2 Duo. SSD + fanless Celeron J1900 Mobo in mini-ITX case may well be the last desktop PC I ever need to buy, apart from replacements after hardware failure. The are good reasons for full-spec Core-i5/i7 systems, but none that make me want one at home.

I have a tablet as well, it does all I want it to (not very much!) And a £50 Kindle with paper display, which I find the most "magical" of my devices, and a perfect replacement for a daily paper made of mashed tree.

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OnePlus 2: The smartie that's trying to outsmart Google's Android

Nigel 11
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Re: So...

For those that need them well there are plenty other (more expensive) options available.

None less expensive? (My guess is that there's a feature-rich but plastic-y phone out there somewhere, probably made in China. Don't know the market or care enough to find it).

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Cyber poltergeist threat discovered in Internet of Stuff hubs

Nigel 11
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Re: Never

Actually there are a few primitive sorts of connectivity that are OK. One day I will get around to connecting my central heating to my home PC ... with a single signal to a relay, so that the PC can turn the heating on and off. With a manual override switch, for if/when the PC doesn't do what it's supposed to.

I get to come home to a warm house, and/or tell the computer not to waste heating when I'll be home late.

Someone hacks me, worst they can do is waste some fuel (and lay waste my PC which would be far worse).

A few ...? I'm having trouble thinking of any others that would actually be useful.

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Nigel 11
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Re: But I "Want / Need" IOT it will make my life easier........

given all that ...

(a) software will still have remotely exploitable bugs

(b) the number of IOT systems will reduce to two or three (cf Apple, Android or MS for your mobile; MS or Linux for your desktop)

(c) So sooner or later the very bad guys will exploit a bug in a high percentage of the national /global IOT-enabled households to do something horrible. Like crash the nation's power grids. I hope that my hypothetical prankster gets to a lot of fridges first, to deliver a nonlethal warning by stink and lawyers that couldn't be ignored.

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Nigel 11
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Re: An often underestimated threat

Connecting radios, tvs, kettles, even the toilet to the net ...

OBSF: Robert Heinlein, "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress", in which the lunar rebels made the toilets run backwards.

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SpaceX's blast shock delays world's MOST POWERFUL ROCKET

Nigel 11
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Re: OK Say you get to Mars

Mars (or just about anywhere in the solar system) would be a lot easier with a nuclear-powered ion drive interplanetary stage. Assemble (fuel) it in Earth orbit, so there's never a critical mass or anything more radioactive than Uranium at risk to a rocket failure in Earth's atmosphere. Of course, you'd still need to lug along a conventionally powered lander.

Pity about the mindless politics concerning "nuclear".

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Nigel 11
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Re: Re-Use

There's going to be some reticence around loading up your multi-million dollar satellite on a slightly used rocket.

The same reticence there is about loading it on a rocket with a short track record, or one that's suffered a recent failure. Which will be balanced against the reduced launch fee for early flights or multiply-reused launchers. Market forces really do work!

Also one would hope that a bathtub curve might emerge, and that a second, third, ... launch might actually have a lower failure rate than the first one. But it's never been done before, and it'll take a good while to accumulate anything like useful statistics. So to start with it'll involve a lot of guesswork by all parties.

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