* Posts by Number6

1663 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Remember Netbooks? Windows 10 makes them good again!

Number6
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Re: Pah!

I have a couple of Aspire Ones with Linux Mint and LXDE. starting to struggle a bit but still going and still in use. Not bad for 8 year old machines.

Netbooks never went away, MS saw them as a threat and screwed the market.

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Reminder: iPhones commit suicide if you repair them on the cheap

Number6
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Not Very Secure

If it doesn't brick the device until the next firmware upgrade then it is about as effective as a chocolate fire-guard at preventing unauthorised access. If data security is the claimed reason for lock-down then it should happen immediately after a power-on scan by the existing firmware has revealed dodgy hardware.

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When customers try to be programmers: 'I want this CHANGED TO A ZERO ASAP'

Number6
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Re: Volatile?

What does catch folk out is when "SUCCESS" is supposed to be changed in some asynchronously called function (interrupt, or signal), maybe in another file, in which case the bug is usually not declaring it as 'volatile' and the compiler optimises the test to an endless loop, instead of checking the memory location "just in case"

Been there, done that, a few times. I've also done the simple version as above - usually as a quick hack to fix/check something else and then kicked myself a few minutes later when I actually read the code. Sometimes one has to really screw up to hammer home the point, at which stage the embarrassment (even if only internal) stops it happening again.

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Samsung trolls Google, adds adblockers to phones

Number6
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Re: refusing to serve content to browsers with an active ad-blocker

Same here, if I click on a link that tells me me I have to disable my ad blocker to view the content then I just go elsewhere. When I get one that promises to fully compensate me for my losses should their adverts contain malware then I might consider removing the ad blocker.

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You've seen things people wouldn't believe – so tell us your programming horrors

Number6
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Step 3: A comment describing what you're actually trying to achieve; Best case, someone else will know how to fix it;

I often put assumptions in the comments. "At this point x, y, z should be the case" "Assumes argument non zero" or whatever. Sometimes it's because I want to go back and put in the error checking once I've verified that I'm on the correct track (i.e. go write it properly second time). This helps with debugging and hopefully provides some level of documentation for the poor sod who has to fix or upgrade it once I've moved on. Fond memories of spherical geometry and a few short cuts and assumptions based on the real world usage of the code here.

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Chip company FTDI accused of bricking counterfeits again

Number6
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I'm sure there's room for a lawsuit in here somewhere. If it was a virus that damaged the computer or its files then I'm sure various governments would prosecute. How is this any different? I could see writing a driver in such a way that it only works with the genuine article, but active damage to a system is not good.

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Brit censors endure 10-hour Paint Drying movie epic

Number6
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I was wondering if they'd use Pink Floyd, but that might have made it too exciting.

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BOFH: In-depth IT training needs a single-malt distillery

Number6
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Management Assistance

I wouldn't use a soldering iron to remove delicate stuff, I'd use hot air. Of course, the trick there is not to dislodge all the other components around the target device because they'll all be floating in molten solder too and are easily moved...

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Aereo TV boss is back ... pitching gigabit internet and a $350 Wi-Fi router

Number6
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Shared?

So if you're using wireless, unless you've got a really wide spectrum allocation or very directional antennas and a lot of radio kit, no one's going to actually get a gigabit. Ten users sharing an access point are going to average 100Mbit, a hundred users 10Mbit. I'm sure the mobile phone people have the lowdown on what sort of investment is needed to handle multiple wireless users in an area.

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Death to clunky, creaky rip-off cable boxes – here's how it will happen

Number6
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They sort of fixed it for cable modems, you can rent the box they supply or buy your own. There's still the speed bump of being able to buy a modern modem that is properly supported by the cable company, although I can understand why they'd want to do some basic quality control on a new product. I bought my own cable modem a year ago because the one they supplied was old and crap. Given the saved rental costs I'm probably now into the "free" part of ownership and it's done a decent job. The box supports IPv6 too, which their clunky old one didn't.

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Lincolnshire council shuts down all IT after alleged 0-day breach

Number6
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Re: Dissapointed

As you get older you need the elastic around the bottoms of the legs more. Holds in the evidence better until you can get to the bathroom.

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Show us the code! You should be able to peek inside the gadgets you buy – FTC commish

Number6
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Open Source FTW

It is possible to look at the source when it's under the appropriate licence. Of course, very often it's only the supporting code that's under GPL or similar, but it's a start. Not that there are many people capable of making use of the availability of source, and who's to say that they're not going to use it to find the holes and exploit them.

Peer review is good, but it is not the golden solution that one might think.

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That one weird trick fails: Google binned 780 million ads last year

Number6
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Re: So they're cracking down on some scumbags...

The way to fix Scientology and others like them is to give at least equal prominence to the anti brigade. Google have enough clout to perform a public service and deal with takedown demands. They've even found a way to deal with the ones they have to obey, by publishing the fact that someone asked.

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Number6
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My system binned quite a lot of ads last year too, but probably not quite that many. The wonders of ad and script blockers.

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It's not just you: Massive Comcast outage blows Bay Area offline

Number6
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I didn't notice an outage, it was certainly working at 11pm Tuesday night and 6am Wednesday morning because I stream BBC radio at those times. Perhaps they missed us.

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Adblock Plus blocked from attending ad industry talkfest

Number6
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Quote apart from the fact that the sort of ads being pushed (flashy, distracting and all that) are the sort that put me off doing business with the company so advertised, I would want the advertising industry to guarantee the safety and security of all adverts served up and compensate people for losses incurred when malware gets into the system, all without the need for expensive litigation. If they're not prepared to cover my losses, I'm not prepared to risk letting their dodgy scripts have access to my system.

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Late night server rebuild led to 'nightmares about mutilated corpses'

Number6
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Re: Delete unused files?

It makes you wonder about the de-duplication technology. Sometimes having made a temporary copy last week is the one thing that saves the day when everything else goes wrong. If it was de-duplicated then trashing those sectors on the physical media would take out all copies.

Or is that not how it works?

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Evil OpenSSH servers can steal your private login keys to other systems – patch now

Number6
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Re: My workaround...

I assume you use double-ROT13 encryption as well?

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Beware the terrorist drones! For they are coming! Pass new laws!

Number6
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Re: GPS Blanking

The GPS restrictions on altitude and speed are meaningless outside the US sphere of influence. All that happens if you've got a GPS that ignores them is that the US consider it to be a munition and try to stick all sorts of export restrictions on it. I very much doubt if the Chinese are worried about that, but it might cause pain if you try to export such a device from some countries.

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Number6
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GPS Blanking

So you take the drone controller and drive it around to see which areas it doesn't like, thus building up a map of places the government doesn't want you to access. OK, there's a bit of work needed to compile the list but it's a bit like giving the terrorists a cheat sheet. This also assumes it's not just simpler to extract the list from the device firmware.

I agree with Lysenko - most current mass-market drones have very poor performance and anyone wanting to cause serious harm with one is likely to have something custom that avoids all the legal restrictions.

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Dry those eyes, ad blockers are unlikely to kill the internet

Number6
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Security

Given that malware can be distributed by dodgy ad server scripts, the reputable side of things could clean up their act and come up with a solution that did not use scripts. It can't be that hard to do it all server side, it would just put all the processor load on the ad server but would mean that NoScript and its ilk wouldn't filter things out. At the moment I have full-on ad and script blocking by default because otherwise my system has a security hole. Make your product safe and I might consider using it.

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YouTube puts T-Mobile US on naughty list for throttling all vids to 480p

Number6
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My tablet is wifi-only, As for screen resolution, I'd have to go look up the maths, but it's all tied up with the smallest angle the eye can resolve so I'm not sure 1080p on a tablet would be worth the effort. 720p might be though.

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Number6
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If I wanted to watch a video of any great duration then I'd want it on something bigger than a phone screen. I'm not sure I could tell the difference between 480p and 1080p on my phone given my eyesight, even if the phone supports the higher resolution.

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There's an epidemic of idiots who can't find power switches

Number6
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Re: Image @ John Savard

Yes, got a few of those. When I first saw one I was all "30A through that? Really?"

You might guess I was unimpressed with the construction and general flimsy feel, given the high-current stuff I was used to from the UK.

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Number6
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Re: Image @ John Savard

The UK power plug/socket is the safest system in the world with the shutters and tolerances to make sure the bits that bite are safely connected. To my way of thinking the US socket is upside down because if you've got a plug that is not completely inserted and you drop something conductive that slips between the plug and socket, it can land on the live terminal. If the socket was the other way up, it would hit the earth pin first.

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Number6
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Various embarrassing experiences in my early career mean that "is it plugged in?", "is it switched on?", "Do I have volts on the power source?" are automatic checks for me now, having spent time trying to diagnose faults while missing the bleeding obvious. If I'm working on it and expect it to be powered off then the power cord is either in my lap or at least in a highly visible place so I know it's not still live.

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Australian government urges holidaymakers to kill two-factor auth

Number6
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Sounds like the Aussies need a bit of two-finger auth to express their opinion to the Oz government.

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Chicago cops under fire for astonishingly high dashcam, mic failures

Number6
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A good start is for the courts to rule against the police in any case where the police fail to produce corroborating evidence for their claim due to a failed body cam. Perhaps reliability would improve amazingly with that simple fix.

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USA doubles visa fees for migrant IT workers

Number6
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Unlikely to be that much for a company that specialises in them. Either they've hired their own lawyer to do it, or they've got other in-house staff who know how to do it. US visas can be done by normal people without needing to consult a lawyer, once you've figured out what sort of answer each question wants.

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GOP senators push FCC to kill support for local broadband

Number6
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Re: verbatim, from ATT...

That's how it is in a lot of places, crappy low-speed DSL even if your line supports more. At least if Comcast is in the area there's an option for higher speeds, and when it's working there's nothing wrong with it (except the price). Perhaps the municipal broadband ought to work like Openreach with independent ISPs - here's the infrastructure, pay us to get access to it and offer services to your customers.

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Doctor Who: Oh, look! There's a restaurant at the end of the universe in Hell Bent

Number6
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Re: Could we do a poll...

I joined with the third doctor, gave up shortly after Colin Baker took over, then picked up again somewhere with Tennant.

Part of the problem is that it's harder now, the Doctor has been to most of the important events in the Universe and on Earth, so the writers have to get more imaginative (although I did like the Doctor's instruction to President Nixon about recording everything...)

I think the multi-part stories were an improvement, less of the trivial and a bit more chance for character and plot development. I thought Capaldi was suffering from poor scripts when he first took over, a bit like what happened to Peter Davison, but he's shown how good he can be. I don't think Moffat is as good as Davies but he's produced some good stuff along with a sprinkling of dross.

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Sysadmin's £100,000 revenge after sudden sacking

Number6
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Re: Late to the thread, but with an idea...

There's a time limit on there. I think if you make someone redundant then you're not allowed to hire for that position for six months, although I might be well out of date on that. Asking if he knew why the phone bill was so high isn't really anything to do with the supposed redundancy of the job, that just shows a degree of incompetence and lack of proper records in some departments.

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Number6
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Re: ISDN

I got kicked off the Freeserve unmetered internet because a machine on my network kept trying to phone home and kept the link up enough that they got upset. Fortunately Demon started theirs about that time so I just switched. It did spend an awful lot of its time on-line, almost as good as (and much cheaper than) a leased line, and the near-zero link set-up time after the 56k modem made it quite good. I still have the ISDN modem and the spare somewhere around.

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Unsourced, unreliable, and in your face forever: Wikidata, the future of online nonsense

Number6
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A purpose for WikiData

Provided we can maintain an accurate record of reality elsewhere, WikiData would allow people to compare reality with what large corporations and governments would like to be the truth. The hard part would be educating those who would believe it simply because it was on the internet and therefore must be true.

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Number6
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Re: So, Wikidata is Wikipedia's bastard child ?

Progress is a vector. Magnitude and direction.

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Windows 10 lags 7, 8 … and even Vista in the channel race

Number6
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Pre-installed != Activated

The last three laptops I bought came with Windows 8.1 (x2) and Windows 10, but in each case they were never activated, all three having Linux installed instead. So even the pre-installation numbers may be an overestimate of the total in use.

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Brit hardware hacker turns Raspberry Pi Zeros into selfie slayers

Number6
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Been Done

Didn't some US hotel get on the wrong side of the FCC for pretty much doing this? They were sending deauth packets to anything trying to use a mobile hotspot in the hotel in an attempt to encourage everyone to pay to use the hotel WiFi instead. All this guy has done is slimmed it down and made it more selective about what it attacks.

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Cisco plugs WebEx for Android bug

Number6
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Enough with the permission grab

I've given up on installing apps on my phone because of the excessive permissions demanded. If my company want me to do Webex on a mobile they can provide the mobile. They already handle incoming calls by allocating a VoIP extension that can be diverted to your mobile. I don't have one of those either and actually, I find life a lot easier without phone calls - email only, which I can deal with when I've got time.

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VPN users menaced by port forwarding blunder

Number6
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The obvious fix for this is that the VPN endpoint IP address should only be used for connecting to the VPN service. Anyone who wants a port-forward needs to have it attached to a different machine/IP to avoid bypassing the tunnel.

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Doctor Who: Even the TARDIS key can't unpick the chronolock in Face the Raven

Number6
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Now he's been given some good scripts and stories to work with he's doing quite well. Ecclestone and Tennant had all memory of the War Doctor activities repressed but Capaldi's incarnation is fully aware of what he is capable of if he lets himself do it. What we see is that internal struggle of someone trying not to take life and to save it where possible despite him and his friends being attacked and threatened.

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Doctor Who: The Hybrid finally reveals itself in the epic Heaven Sent

Number6
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Re: The Hybrid is Ashildr

She was featured in the "next week" clip at the end so I'd expect her to be in the credits for it.

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Number6
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Re: Finally it starts to come together.

The only clues that got left each time were the word "bird" in the sand and the skull with the electrodes on it, plus the shovel. The blood streaks got cleared up each time, they were shown disappearing as it reset the first time.

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Ex-IT staff claim Disney fired them then gave their jobs H1-B peeps

Number6
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Re: H-1B nonsense

If it's a "legit" H1-B and the first company is prepared to let you work notice while the 2nd gets the paperwork done it's probably possible.

I'd say the way it probably works is that you talk to company 2 and agree to go work for them when the H1B approval comes through and when it does, you drop a letter on the HR desk of company 1 on the way out. I don't know if you need anything from company 1 to facilitate the transfer of an H1B, not having had to do it personally, I could be talking bollocks.

It depends on the job level, but places I've seen ask you to give them two weeks' notice if you're quitting, and I've seen that work OK with H1B people too. Perhaps I've just been lucky with my choice of employers.

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Number6
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Re: H-1B nonsense

I know people who've changed jobs while on an H1B. I suspect there's pragmatism in there from the immigration people - provided the application is in, either they give you an extension while they process the application or it takes less than 30 days.

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Number6
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Re: H-1B nonsense

That's not true, an H1B is transferable once you've got it. The L1 internal company transfer is the real slave labour potential, it is flexible in that it allows you to work in the US with less hoops to jump through than an H1B, but it is not transferable - get fired and get out.

The catch for an H1B is that the employees probably signed a bit of paper promising to pay back exorbitant fees to the sponsoring company if they quit too soon. At some level this is OK - if a company invests money in you it wants something back if you leave before it gets a return on that investment, but that assumes everything else is reasonable about the deal.

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Suck it, Elon – Jeff Bezos' New Shepard space rocket blasts off, lands in one piece

Number6
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Humbug

Thunderbird 3 was doing that back in the 1960s.

Still impressive though.

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Cat discovers GNOME desktop bug

Number6
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Well behaved cats

The cats around here are pretty well behaved. One is sleeping on the desk, another on the floor the other side of the desk and the third is not in her usual chair. They don't wake me up at stupid o'clock for food (I leave dry food down at all times and feed them tinned food once a day when I get in from work) and the one that likes to sleep on the bed seems to manage to remain there comatose from before I go to sleep until after I wake up. I will gloss over the furballs, mainly because if I'm not quick enough, the dog cleans those up.

I do lock the keyboard when away from the PC though, I don't trust them that far, and they don't appear to have cracked the password yet.

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Hillary Clinton: Stop helping terrorists, Silicon Valley – weaken your encryption

Number6
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Perhaps if the US (and other governments) would stop pursuing policies that encourage the rise of terrorism in the first place...

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Big Bang left us with a perfect random number generator

Number6
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Passing of Random Data

I'm still inspired by the scientist who would regularly send himself large blocks of random data over the internet. If enough of us shared email addresses and swapped random blocks it would play havoc with the spooks trying to look for interesting stuff. Not quite sure how you'd handle being asked for the decryption keys, although if you had an electronic copy of War and Peace, you could generate a key on the fly by xoring it with the random data.

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Voting machine memory stick drama in Georgia sparks scandal, probe

Number6
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You can't have a recount if a box is missing, or you believe that its contents have been tampered with.

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