* Posts by Number6

1424 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

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Beware of merging, telcos. CHEAPER SPECTRUM follows

Number6
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Re: We all paid for Brown's auction

We all ended up paying for Brown's auction.

We all ended up paying for pretty much anything he did. All those complicated little taxes to generate red tape. I didn't see any improvement in anything provided by the state to account for the hike in taxes, so where did it all go?

About the only thing he was worse at than being Chancellor was being Prime Minister.

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Misfortune Cookie crumbles router security: '12 MILLION+' in hijack risk

Number6
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Re: ZoneAlarm advert?

To be fair, I don't know how many embedded devices have the hardware to do deep packet inspection. My Drobo doesn't. And it would probably murder battery life on a mobile. CheckPoint can't fix that.

An embedded device doesn't need to do deep packet inspection, it just needs to only respond to what it's supposed to handle and to safely reject everything else. If you send it a packet that is too long then the network stack should discard it without overrunning a buffer, if you send a malformed packet of suitable length then the application should correctly parse it and throw out anything that doesn't make sense. Many flaws are there because the software writer was lazy, or didn't think of all the corner cases and handle them. It was many years before people even really thought about deliberate malicious attacks on software, much error-handling was intended to deal with benign mistakes.

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Number6
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Re: ZoneAlarm advert?

So how do I install ZoneAlarm PRO on all the non-PC devices on my LAN? And will it conflict with iptables where I've got that installed? Perhaps they need to produce ZoneAlarm Fridge or similar...

As far as I know the latest OpenWRT isn't going to be vulnerable and that's what I have protecting my system, having switched the cable modem to bridge mode with my own router behind it.

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Yes, Obama has got some things wrong on the internet. But so has the GOP

Number6
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VATMOSS

The US only needs to watch what happens with the EU's foray into imposing VAT on all cross-border on-line transactions.

Then drop the idea like a hot coal.

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Number6
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Re: Common sense

If they really must have taxes on on-line sales, do it at a federal level at a nominal fixed rate and then split up the proceeds between the states. They can spend the next decade or so arguing whether it ought to be done on the basis of relative population, equally between states or try to determine which states spend the most. If they ever get agreement they can implement it. Then each state can decide whether to keep hold of the money or repeat the process and distribute it down the tax tree. All of that should keep it safely in the long grass for many years.

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Number6
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Re: Taxes; it's not that simple.

Any time one of my US friends mentions 1776 and Independence, I point out that after successfully objecting to British taxes, they then came up with the IRS, so I reckon that Britain got the last laugh.

Then there's this lark of taxing their citizens anywhere in the world, a practice followed by very few other tinpot regimes.

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Number6
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Re: Oh, the republicans think, AC ...

But corporations are people too...

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Denmark BANNED from viewing UK furniture website in copyright spat

Number6
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Re: Two words...

That's the one I was thinking of, too.

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El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

Number6
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Icons?

You put all that work into a new look for the site and didn't add more icons for us commentards to use? Shame!

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This week it rained in San Francisco and the power immediately blew out. Your tech utopia

Number6
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Re: Still Going

Understandable, because the people there now will probably not like whatever displaces them over the next twenty years. My original comments were based on conversations with people who lived there twenty years ago, some of whom still live there, others moved away and are now back in the area.

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Number6
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Still Going

It started raining about twelve hours ago and it's still falling. Makes me feel like I'm back in England :-)

SF is a pale shadow of what it was twenty years ago, caused in part by the way the locals were pushed out by the influx of well-paid tech people overpaying for houses, either buying or renting. There are articles on the web that explain how the short-sighted policies of San Francisco and other cities in the Bay Area are making it worse.

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Mom and daughter SUE Comcast for 'smuggling' public Wi-Fi hotspot into their home

Number6
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Re: What if someone uses it to download copyrighted movies or child porn?

I have my modem in bridge mode talking to my own router/access point. The modem still appears to have its own IP address 67.something, whereas the IP address of my router is 50.something. I am guessing that if the public wifi is still functional with the modem in bridge mode, it's going to be using the 67.something IP.

If all else fails I can put the modem in a biscuit tin with a couple of mesh-covered holes for ventilation.

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Must diarise: UK.gov Verify ID system will 'definitely' work by 2016

Number6
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Re: there is no delay to its 2016 target

In other news, 2016 has been postponed for two years. After 2015 we will have 2015A and 2015B.

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How HAPPY am I on a scale of 1 to 10? Where do I click PISSED OFF?

Number6
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Re: Reminds me of a post-"training" form we were asked to fill in...

I got sent on a training course once, for budget reasons - the project was running out of money but there was some in the training budget. I complained about it being a total waste of time but they still sent me anyway.

I remember filling in the post-course form:

1. What did you expect to learn from this course? Nothing.

2. What did you learn from this course? Nothing.

Another time, as part of a drive to remove dodgy software from the company we were going to be given proper Word Perfect licenced copies, except we were told that company rules stated we had to attend a training course first. Note that at this point the team had been using WP for several months, writing various proposals and requirements specifications and were pretty competent at it. We looked at what the course was supposed to teach us and pointed out to the engineering manager that we all knew all of that. However, rules are rules, and he insisted we had to go do the course. Then he found out that it was going to be charged to his overhead budget and suddenly we didn't.

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Number6
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Happy with Airport Security

Be very careful about pressing the Pissed Off button at airport security. If too many people start expressing unhappiness with the process we'll have another ratchet up on the War On Terror so they can point to all the precautions they are taking and how they are all justified because of this.

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BOFH: Santa, bloody Santa

Number6
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Re: Wonderful, just great

There was the kid who asked his mother how Santa Claus managed to be in every shop, so his mother had to explain about subordinate Clauses.

Mine's the one with the grammar guide in the pocket.

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FCC puts AT&T and Comcast gobbles back on the table

Number6
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Resale

While not saying it should go ahead or not, if the FCC do approve the Comcast/TWC merger, they ought to require a separation of retail and wholesale, along the lines of what happened to BT in the UK. Added to this, the wholesale side should be required to sell broadband access to independent ISPs, again in the manner of BT. They should be required to provide what they sell, so a 50Mbit pipe should be capable of delivering 50Mbit from the ISP's end point to the subscriber and not slow down at peak times due to congestion on the Comcast network. Obviously if the ISP has crap throughput then that's between the ISP and its customers. A regulator with a big stick should oversee all of this to make sure that faults don't mysteriously affect only non-Comcast customers.

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Pebble: The brilliant stealth wearable Apple's Watch doesn't see coming

Number6
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Re: Bluetooth and planes...

You're probably supposed to. You can't switch the watch off, but you can turn off Bluetooth.

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Number6
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Re: EU Price difference

That can be made up from differential transport costs to Europe compared to the US, different import duty and the fact that if you compare the pre-VAT price with the US price it's a lot closer. In a lot of places the US price gets bumped up by sales tax - over here the price on the tag doesn't include tax so you always have to remember to add that when working out what it will really cost you. So you're not being ripped off by quite as much as you might think at first sight.

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Number6
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Re: +1 for a Pebble here!

Quality Control is a little hit & miss. My first Pebble lasted 3 months, before failing to charge properly.

Mine does that occasionally, it turned out in my case to be that the charger connector wasn't making a good connection with the phone, possibly due to grease on the contacts. Provided I make sure it really is charging then it's OK.

I've had mine almost a year now, it was a gift last December. Once I finally got around to upgrading my phone from an old HTC Wildfire S, the watch got to be far more useful.

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systemd row ends with Debian getting forked

Number6
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What is systemd

I've seen plenty of arguments about whether it's a bad thing or not. Is there a good article on the web that details what it is and how it's supposed to work? (And how I'm supposed to hack it if I want to?)

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UK.gov mulls three-point turn on three-point turn thanks to satnav. Weeeeeeee. THUD

Number6
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Doesn't have to be three...

Technically it isn't a three-point turn. When I took the test it was "turn the car around, using the forward and reverse gears". There was nothing in the rules to say it had to only be three points, you could take more provided you did it in a safe manner. I always wondered what would happen if someone started by reversing, in theory you could do it in two.

The road on which I did mine was almost wide enough for a U-turn, but that might have been a way of apologising for the reverse-around a corner bit which was up a steep hill backwards to the turn, then down a steep hill having made the turn. This was followed by another couple of steep hill starts to get back on to the main road.

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Number6
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Re: Old Style?

I learned to distrust computer navigation a long time ago. I was playing with a copy of Autoroute, asking it for routes to places I'd been, so I could see how it compared with my choices. One of those was Southend, which apparently is in Scotland. Southend-on-Sea is the one in Essex. Ever since then, whenever I've needed to follow directions from Satnav, I've always checked them in advance on a map to make sure I agree with them. Mostly I print out an overview map and a local street map courtesy of Google and do the rest from memory. That works unless there's an unexpected event such as a traffic accident that forces me to divert from my memorised route.

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Right to be forgotten should apply to Google.com too: EU

Number6
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Re: First Amendment ?

I assume this is one reason why Google tell people when they've had a link blocked, so that it is not done quietly and behind closed doors. The other would be that by drawing attention to it, the Streisand Effect may well discourage people from requesting blocks.

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BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?

Number6
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Re: Dopp

You have to put a couple of characters on each page, otherwise someone can just collect the paper from the output bin and re-use it. Although a mostly blank stack with an occasional rude word or image does appeal.

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All ABOARD! Furious Facebook bus drivers join Teamsters union

Number6
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Re: Other issues

You can do anything you want in the Land of the Free, provided you've got the appropriate permit.

I can understand some of the restrictions, it is an earthquake zone after all, but there are a lot of petty little things thrown in as well.

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Number6
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Re: @Queasy Rider - To not sound stupid, read article before posting

Try living over here in the UK where "gas" (ie petrol) currently costs around £1.20 (=$1.88) per litre and tell us again how "expensive" it is!

Put it in context. In the UK you've got a reasonably efficient car, possibly doing 40-50mpg. Not many of those in the Bay Area, not helped by the California emissions regs that make them even less efficient. Juggling to achieve the same units (US gallons being smaller than Imperial, so headline mpg looks even worse) and allowing for some of the stupid big trucks, 20-30mpg is more typical. That's $7500 a year, and given that fuel has varied from $3/gal to $4/gal in the past year, it's a lot to handle. It's quite possible for commute costs to be 20% of someone's gross income.

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Number6
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Also, *where the hell* are these people living that they can't get there and back in 6 hours? It must be a real bitch to spend 3 hours getting to work and 3 hours getting home

You have clearly not experienced Silicon Valley traffic.

For starters, in most of the Valley, you're looking at half a million dollars minimum to buy a house, and if you're in the nice bits like Palo Alto or Menlo Park or Mountain View, then you're either looking at a rabbit hutch or the wrong side of a million dollars (or both, in some cases). Rental for a family-sized house or apartment is probably a couple of thousand dollars a month minimum, and there's quite a bit of competition for what's available. I know a few people who live out towards Modesto, which is 80-90 miles away and therefore 90 minutes drive even with no traffic (apart from cops with speed guns encouraging you to take 90 minutes and not 60). Various highways, 85, 101, 880, 237 etc, all put the M25 to shame when it comes to imitating a car park, so that last 20-30 miles can easily take over an hour.

So, if you can't afford to live in the Valley itself, you're stuck living some distance away and yes, of that six hour gap you could be driving for at least four of the hours. There are probably dire consequences for failing to be there on time for the evening pick-up, so you've got to allow for contingencies. The morning/evening trips to home may be relatively OK, but if you've got to get to the bus garage to get your bus, then drive it to your pickup area, all as traffic is increasing for the rush-hour, the necessary start time gets earlier and the final end time get later.

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Sarong it's right: Coining it in Thailand without a visa

Number6
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Re: The "where does he work" question is interesting

I remember pointing out to Canadian immigration that I was basically there to train one of their people to do a particular job so that he could do it and I didn't have to. They let me in. A colleague on another visit told them he was there to interview locals for jobs with a view to employing a few of them.

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YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins

Number6
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Re: One trick I heard of..

Businesses, particularly those with only one admin person, should have a policy of root passwords being written down and kept in a safe and regularly tested to ensure they still allow access, and that password changes are recorded and done for good reason[1].

The one I've seen for small companies is for the critical passwords to be written down, sealed in an envelope with a couple of signatures (sysadmin and manager) across the seal. If any sort of access is needed in the absence of the sysadmin then it can be done, but then the passwords need to be changed and a new envelope created. It's more a way of ensuring access if the sysadmin wants to check out the underside of a bus, or similar, but doesn't protect against a malicious sysadmin.

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Number6
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Re: One trick I heard of..

It wouldn't work now unless you made sure to pick a flight without on-board wifi...

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Fake antivirus scams: It's a $120m business – and alleged ringleaders have just been frozen

Number6
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Re: Finally!

Well clearly they were correct. Your registry was unreadable.

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Mozilla SELLS FIREFOX MOBILES ... in Greece

Number6
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I hope they're insisting on real cash up-front for these sales and aren't offering credit terms.

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EU Ryanair 'screen-scraping' case could affect biz models

Number6
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'Open source just means big companies can steal your code.' O RLY?

Number6
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Re: About the flash drives

A good quartz crystal gets more stable with age and they're surprisingly robust. If I can still find them, I have some in B7G glass holders that probably date back to the 1960s or even earlier. I've got a 1MHz HC6/U crystal from about 1968 (it's datestamped) and that still works.

Now, if you were talking about dilithium crystals, that's entirely another matter.

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Number6
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Cuntville

If you're sad enough to put 'Cuntville' into Google Maps, it takes you to a place in Australia.

My excuse is that it was more interesting than de-greasing the cooker, which is what else I've been doing today.

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BAD SANTA: Don't get ripped off this Christmas

Number6
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Re: Further shopping tips

Lots of places don't take Amex in Europe. I've been told that it's because compared to MC and Visa, they really screw the retailers on charges. I've heard 5% instead of the 2-3% from others. It may have changed, but I remember (to my amusement) that even Schipol railway station didn't take Amex, to the irritation of my work colleague who tried to buy a couple of tickets for us with his corporate card.

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DEATH fails to end mobile contract: Widow forced to take HUBBY's ASHES into shop

Number6
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I left the country, gave a month's notice and then cancelled the direct debit. It was quite amusing to watch what happened next, although they did resolve it without the need for a dead body. I even got a bit of a refund.

I have no problem with automatic systems provided I have control of the off switch.

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Walmart's $99 crap-let will make people hate Windows 8.1 even more

Number6
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Apart from the fact that I'd have to go into Walmart (not done that since I arrived in the US last year), it would almost be tempting to see if it will run Linux. One of those with a bit of plastic welded to the back and a couple of cheap speakers might make a nice Squeezeplayer platform, a bit like the O2 Joggler (which I still have and use).

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This 125mph train is fitted with LASERS. Sadly no sharks, though

Number6
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Re: Just getting these trains running at normal network speeds is a *big* step forward

That's probably the peak time for needing such trains - overnight maintenance needs to be checked, so they run the train over the bit that's been worked on overnight. In theory it's the last bit of the job, assuming no problems were detected.

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Could YOU identify these 10 cool vintage mobile phones?

Number6
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I never had any of those, I went from a Nokia 6210 to a SE K800i, then back to Nokia for an E71, an HTC Wildfire S and now a Galaxy 4. Phone companies must hate me, only my fifth phone in thirteen years (and the G4 is only a month old).

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Redmond aims to outshine Eclipse with FREE Visual Studio

Number6
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Can I run VS on Linux yet? Until I can, I don't care whether it's cross-platform, it's no use to me.

It sounds as though they're trying to stop people migrating away from Windows by providing them with relevant toolchains on the Windows platform rather than try to support those who don't run Windows with useful services and products.

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Facebook: Over half a BEELLION loyalists have SPURNED our Messenger app

Number6
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Do they post figures of how many people only use the mobile platform and how many users never use it? I looked at the permissions they wanted for their apps and so they're not installed on my phone.

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Got a STRAP-ON? Remember to TAKE IT OFF at WORK

Number6
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Re: Try looking at the real world ...

I used to average two years between breakages. Then I got a cheap Casio plastic watch and that's still working thirty year later, at least if I remember to replace the battery. I'm currently wearing a Pebble watch (a gift) after not bothering with a watch at all (having failed to replace the battery in the Casio).

I seem to have a reasonable inbuilt time sense, usually good to within fifteen minutes, so I never needed to consult the phone unless I really needed to be sure of the time.

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Fire fighters call for no-drone zone around bushfires

Number6
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“it's almost impossible for a fire-fighting pilot to see a drone in the air”.

That spoils my idea, which would be to give authorised choppers the right to shoot down the drones. Although it still has merits as a secondary solution - fly your drone in the declared exclusion zone and you may never see it in one piece again.

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At last! Now you can STIFLE dull chums you can't really unfriend on Facebook

Number6
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I already use that, it's probably what has kept me on FB because I don't think I'd still be there if I had to put up with the unfiltered feed.

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Number6
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What I want is all of the friends I have selected, filtered by content I have selected (i.e. no apps/games), ordered by recent activity and without anything that FB thinks I might like, because invariably they're wrong.

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Home Depot: Someone's WEAK-ASS password SECURITY led to breach

Number6
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Re: Bah!

The natural firewall in the system should be to have the barcode scanner and associated computer kit attached to the network - the worst that happens here is that customers get charged the wrong price. The checkout operator should then read the total off the screen and enter it into the card-reading system, which is entirely separate from the other network and the customer can verify the amount.

Of course, they still need a proper security protocol and decent network for the card readers, but there's no reason for all their suppliers to be talking to that network - it's a machine in a locked room with secure access to the card companies for verification and links to all the card readers in the store. The network switch should enforce MAC address validation to raise the bar a bit higher, and I'd even go as far as putting in a mechanism that noted when a terminal goes off-line and requires manual intervention to put it back with a security code. This gives some line of defence against a terminal being unplugged and the MAC cloned - the attacker it still won't get to talk to everything else until another step has been completed.

Security could be a lot better than it has been to date, and hopefully the big retailers with centrally-managed systems are starting to realise that it's cheaper than dealing with a security breach.

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BYOD: don't let the dream turn into a nightmare

Number6
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Re: There's an essential contradiction here

My device, my rules. I don't use my phone for company business (I haven't even given them the phone number so they can't call me on it) and when at work, it connects to the guest wifi. I don't always like the IT security policy but I understand why they see fit to implement one (and I've and anything from complete freedom to do what I want to having to ask for approval for any changes to my desktop PC).

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REVEALED: Apple fanbois are 'MENTALLY UNSTABLE' - iShop staff

Number6
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Re: Be nice to shop workers

Be nice to people, full stop.

That's always a good starting point. It is highly unlikely that the person you are talking to is personally to blame for your problem, and being polite is the best chance you've got of getting things fixed quickly and painlessly. If there's been a big corporate screw-up then chances are the person has been dealing with irate customers all day, so being polite will be a refreshing change for them and you'll get good service.

However, if you start by being polite and the support person is a jerk despite that, I don't mind a bit of escalation but it's important that the other person started it. If we all did that, we'd all get along really well because we'd all be waiting for the other person to start the jerk circle.

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