* Posts by Pete 2

2510 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

The last time Earth was this hot hippos lived in Britain (that’s 130,000 years ago)

Pete 2

So what are we supposed to think?

Although it's a given that the Earth is getting warmer, the "approved" belief is that is could only be a bad thing.

After reading this piece, there is doubt. Are we really warding off an ice-age? If so, surely that's good and if a bunch of ugly insects and a few cute, furry, things can't cope - well that's life! Many more ugly insects and cute furry things would become extinct in an ice-age, so aren't we doing them a favour?

The real issue seems to be OMG! Change is happening! We're scared of change! We must stop it!". Without anyone being able to run the model forward to work out what the options or outcomes of more or less global warming would be. Maybe we should be cranking up the CO2 and CH4 emissions¹ - just think of the cute furry animals.

[1] Just add water to make booze and free oxygen. What's not to like?

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Full of fear at work: Blame the boss, or yourself?

Pete 2

When to panic .... and when to stop

> When we are afraid, we have only our intuition and built-in responses to draw on.

And we all know that "intuitive" answers, in IT, are frequently wrong and rarely the best choice.

However, when it hits the fan a good bit of JFDI style panicking can work wonders. So long as it's limited to digging yourself out of the mire. The crucial next step is to know when to stop panicking and start on the first stage of recovery: the witch hunt learning, and ensuring something similar won't happen again.

However, when organisations are crisis-driven and seem to be continually reacting to one problem or another, then someone - someone very high up - needs to recognise this as a failure of management and to step in (or find a new position).

The sad thing is, that so many IT shops these days are so hidebound with processes, reviews, buy-in, "quality" (ha!), and all the other buzz-word stages that get between a dam' good idea and making it happen that it's often more rewarding, much less effort and a lot of fun to move the fan closer to the brown stuff - and instead of avoiding problems, let them happen and then be a superhero. After all, who doesn't like a good panic every now and again?

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$30 webcam spun into persistent network backdoor

Pete 2

Re: Second hand kit

> The attacker might not always get the device into a juicy target, but whats the risk/cost? Buy it second hand, flash, resell for much the same price.

The place this is most likely to happen is with used phones. Yet we don't hear of it. We do hear of people buying s/h phones and finding all the stuff from the previous owner still on it, so it's clear that there are many people who have neither the knowledge nor the inclination to protect their privacy.

I'd use the phone market as the "canary in the coalmine" for this sort of thing. It's a bigger market and therefore potentially more open to exploitation. The buyers seem to be an order of magnitude less savvy and the scope for illicit gain is much greater.

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Pete 2

Applies to everything?

So, the guy reflashed a commercial product and added a backdoor.

What was special about this particular camera, that couldn't be applied to pretty much any device capable of being upgraded by its owner or a potential baddie? [ See below for the answer ]

ISTM the only "weakness" on this device is that the researcher was able to work out how it worked and to add code that didn't screw up it's operation (although given the parlous state of the software on some of these cheapo cameras, it's difficult to say what "normal operation" actually is).

As for

> A fix would require a Trusted Platform Module or specialised chip to verify software updates.

That's not going to happen, so it's probably best that these devices remove the upgrade / reflash option (although how you'd stop people whipping the lid off and reflashing through the internal programming / debug interface, I do not know). Alternatively, since this device can already be hacked to run OpenWRT (why? FFS!), maybe the easy access and hackability that Linux provides is becoming more of a liability than a benefit?

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'Personalised BBC' can algorithmically pander to your prejudices

Pete 2

So we'll still have 500 channels full of crap

> Rather than taking the viewer beyond their prejudices or acquired experiences, it’s confining the viewer within the prejudices and experiences that they have already acquired

So very like choosing which newspaper to read?

Although I would fully expect that the prospect of tailoring programme content to individuals will be far too difficult and expensive. Rather, this technology will merely become a way of tailoring advertising to the punter.

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Most businesses collecting data they never use, survey finds

Pete 2

The natural balance

> Most companies ... collect data they never use,

That's OK. Most people provide data that is completely made up.

4
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LHC records biggest bang ever with 1 Peta-electron-volt jolt

Pete 2

Re: Theoretically there are quark stars.

> The article you cite says that their existence has not been confirmed theoretically.

All right then, how about this:

Theoretically, there there are theoretically Quark stars.

1
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Outsourcer didn't press ON switch, so Reg reader flew 15 hours to do the job

Pete 2

Need I continue?

> pressed the eject button on the floppy drive and went home

The lone techie in a far away office was instructed to insert *the* one and only diagnostics CD into the drive of a rather large server box to determine what the fault was. The CD drive didn't have a tray to put the disc in, it had a slot that you pushed the CD into. sadly, there was a small gap in the chassis just under the CD drive.

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Ofcom asks: Do kids believe anything they read on the internet?

Pete 2

Just the kids?

from the report:

> Figure 55: Childrens belief in the truthfulness in [ social media ] websites ... 28% of 12-15's think "all or most is true"

How many people read this article and thought it was true?

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Second UK teen suspect arrested over TalkTalk hack

Pete 2

The fly on the wall.

You can imagine the scene inside Talk Talk's IT department:

The IT boss is there, yelling at his/her/its subordinates: "Your (note the shifting of ownership) security was so crap that even children could break into it! Maybe I should sack the lot of you and employ some kids, instead?"

and from the back of the room comes the anonymous, quiet reply: "We've been telling you it was hopeless for years, but you management did nothing about it. Maybe we should replace the management team with some script kiddies who know the importance of security in IT systems?"

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US military personnel investigated for splashing $96,576 on strippers

Pete 2

£30 for a whole weekend - brilliant!

The last stripper I hired was fantastic. Cheap, Friday night to Monday morning. Very easy to get along with. Did exactly what I expected and left the living room walls completely undamaged and free of wallpaper.

Thoroughly recommended.

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Journos to be spared replacement by robots, BBC claims

Pete 2

They would say that, wouldn't they?

Journalist writes article saying journalists won't be replaced by machines.

The triumph of hope over experience, or was that article already written by a computer?

Although I can see a large number of sub-editors being replaced, After all it can't be that difficult to automate the spelling / grammar / fact-checking aspect, can it?

The two rules for defending your job against all-comers, including automation:

1.) Don't tell them everything you know.

2.) Well, that would be telling. Wouldn't it?

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Look! Up in the sky! It's letters on a plane read with a 250MP camera

Pete 2

New year's resolution

The abilty to read small stuff a long way away is a function of the pixel size and focal length (magnification, to the layman) of the lens. Not the number of pixels on the sensor. That will increase your field of view, but not your resolution.

It's still an impressive chip. Gimme call when I can get the colour version in my DSLR for < (a grand).

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Spanish developers strike gold with ‘Mr Mayor’ dodgy dealings gaming app

Pete 2

Amateurs!

> Players are encouraged to bribe, do deals with drugs lords, set up shady contacts with weapons traders, flash money around and make a killing, all without getting caught.

What a real corrupt person would have done would be to claim this was a training programme, not a video game and then applied for a grant to develop it.

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Pete 2

> They're so going to get shut down when their own mayor hears about it and takes it personally.

Nah, they just bung him or her a couple of €50s and keep going.

(Anyway, isn't it "Alcalde" who is the top person in a spanish town hall?)

3
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Susan Sheridan, voice of Hitchhiker's Trillian, dies aged 68

Pete 2

Re: Sad Day for the Universe

> the wake will be held in the Restaurant at the end of the Universe

> Attendance by Invitation Only

And invitations may be posted to oneself from the Big Bang Burger Bar where you can also deposit 1p which, by the laws of compound interest will be more than enough to pay for the funeral service when the universe ends.

Definitely worth growing an extra arm for.

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Moronic Time cover sets back virtual reality another 12 months

Pete 2

Looks and perceptions

> don't understand why Time decided to show everyone what the Oculus looks like when you're observing someone using it, instead of an illustration of what the experience of using the Oculus is like

Two obvious reasons: first, more people will see someone else using one of these than will ever use one themself. Since most people form an opinion of another (a) very quickly and (b) almost entirely based on visual perception it is important for potential buyers to be aware of how others will perceive them if they are seen wearing one of these. It's similar to buying a little motor-scooter, Segway (remember them?) or the "wrong" sort of car. It still gets you from A to B, but many will not like being the object of ridicule.

Secondly, it's impossible to depict to someone on the web, or reading a magazine, what the user-experience is like, as it will look just like the innards of any other video-game screenshot.

As a final offering, the shot also shows that the user (or wearer) is basically blindfolded while using this device. That should alert all pranksters to get their thinking-caps on as to how best take advantage of the user's predicament.

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Pete 2

Parallel universe?

So when will be the year of "Oculus on the desktop?"

Seriously, needing a dam' wire to connect it and generally being so big, ugly and intrusive this thing doesn't stand a chance of adoption - except by the sort who are attracted to the tech for its own sake.

Think: 3-D TV headsets, but without the attraction of content that ordinary people want to watch.

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Ditch crappy landlines and start reading Twitter, 999 call centres told

Pete 2

Just don't add LOL

Tweets are fine for conveying factual information in one direction if you don't require an immediate response - or any response at all. However I would assume that the emergency services would usually like a bit more information than can be packed into such a short message - and that the additional information would depend a lot on the circumstances of the emergency.

And then we have the question of how, exactly would you report a fire in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (or even it's abbreviated form: Llanfairpwllgwyngyll) if you spell it wrong and the tweet-operator, possibly outsourced and completely unfamiliar with Anglesey and tries to Google the place you're talking about? Or, worse: your spell checker "autocorrects" your location and sends the emergency services somewhere completely different.

Personally, on the few occasions I've called for emergency assistance, the reassurance that there is actually someone there is very reassuring. To simply fire off a tweet and maybe (or not) get a response sometime doesn't seem very helpful.

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Unlucky, Palmer: Facebook's going to BAN Oculus pr0n apps

Pete 2

Sabotage your own product?

> pornographic content will be forbidden from appearing on the Oculus store

Well, I suppose that's one way to kill it off.

I guess the smut-mongers will either have to wait a few weeks until there is a cheaper chinese clone on the market, or wait a day or two until someone roots the device and makes an absolute fortune for themselves with their own Succubus Rift store.

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Microsoft to Linux users: Explain yourself

Pete 2

Re: Just use Linux and be done with it!

> However, Microsoft could release their own Linux distribution and this would be (almost) comparable to Apple utilising similar technology in their O/S.

The thing is, no user cares, any more, what the underlying O/S is. They do care about the quality, range and ease of use of the applications they want to run.

And this is where Linux still falls down, flat on its face. Sure, it provides some apps that are said to be "compatible" - where compatible means they can read some of the same file formats and perform some of the same functions: GIMP and OpenOffice/LibreOffice are the examples used to "prove" that Linux can do anything that Windows can.

Until. that is, you actually try to do that "anything" with these free tools. Then you find that they are lacking in basic features, have such terrible UIs, simply don't work or have major bugs at the highest priority for many YEARS, that will never be fixed as the support team says: Just to be honest - it's very unlikely that this will be fixed soon. We are a community of volunteers - people fix what bugs they want to fix generally. In the grand scheme of things this really isn't a big deal - compare to crashes [ ref: https://bugs.documentfoundation.org/show_bug.cgi?id=37960&redirected_from=fdo ]

And it turns out that most Linux advocates simply don't understand that people are willing to pay for stuff that works. Everything past Windows XP has been at least as usable and reliable as Linux, supported a far wider range of peripherals and has professionally written and supported apps that actually work.

And if, like me and everyone else who works for pay, you can place a monetary value on the personal time spent dickin' about trying to dig out obscure documentation, patches, fixes and "how tos" - Linux is no longer "free" in financial terms, either.

And for those people who do want "free" AND who want simple to install, easy and intuitive to use and only costs pennies, there's always Android.

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Pete 2

Data, not information

> Microsoft says it can measure 43 metrics* and spit 'em all out into a pretty, GUI-fied Azure console.

And as usual, all these monitoring tools do is find easy to record data from the kernel and present it in wizzy, pretty graphical format.

Even though it is all totally irrelevant.

Providing this is like telling a car driver the piston temperature, the headlight colour, the average pressure exerted by passengers on the seats and the methane content of the cabin. What drivers want to know is answers to the important questions, such as: am I going too fast? will something break? do I need to take corrective action?

And so it is with computer monitoring. All the monitoring services seem to be in a race (and, truth be told: have been for decades) to provide the greatest number of different measurements of obscure, irrelevant and often inter-related factors. However none of them provide anything that is of primary importance, such as: how long do I have to wait for the answer to appear? can I run something in the background without affecting the important stuff? Is there time to back my stuff up before I go for lunch?

So if Microsoft want to merely mimic all the crap that today's tools produce, they'll go down the metrics route. Even though most of the stuff is irrelevant, has little effect on the BIG QUESTIONS and in itself (without knowing what the applications are doing) provides nothing of value. As all the other monitoring tools that have come, promised and then disappeared into oblivion have done since the 1980s (remember "sar" and "vmstat"?).

However, if they want to truly provide something that is useful, user-centric and actionable they will extract I-O data (volume, latency, cache efficiency) on a per-file basis. Query times broken down into CPU, storage and network latency. Internet access times by site (or IP address), memory usage per processs - identifying shared, CoW'd and local volumes - best of all - a calculation of how much "slack" is available in these key areas for users to fill up with additional workloads.

All of this is hard. And most of it is not available from Unix or Linux kernels without a lot of hacking about. If it was easy then the dozens of other capacity planning / performance monitoring programs, companies and freeware would have done it years ago. However they have all failed to produce information that users value - which is the tricky bit, but, ultimately, all that matters.

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The weapons pact threatening IT security research

Pete 2

Oppress "1" to start

> stop repressive regimes around the world from buying sophisticated software that can be used to spy on political opponents and others

But it's only repressive regimes who WANT to spy on "political opponents and others¹"

[1] where "others" would imply everyone who isn't a political opponent. So that has pretty much all of us covered.

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Virgin Galactic will get into space 'within 18 months to two years'

Pete 2

Re: And we should give a Rat's Arse about this why?

> It's simply some disgustingly expensive carnival attraction.

First of all, the money is NOT destroyed, it's merely moved from one individual who has too much to a company that is at the very least doing something that no-one has done before (or yet). Making progress, if you will.

Although it won't get us to Mars or the Moon, it's investing in technologies and techniques that make space travel better, cheaper, (hopefully) safer and more accessible. That adds to the sum total of moving in the right direction and is probably better for us all and the person involved than other ways of blowing the same amount of cash.

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Pete 2

The spacefaring equivalent of 2 weeks?

Whenever someone asks when a piece of software will be ready (or any other IT goal met, for that matter) the standard response is that it'll take "another couple of weeks".

That is long enough to make progress - possibly even get close to something that works. It's also long enough in the future that you can hope whoever you made the commitment to will have forgotten. It's also close enough to satisfy the person asking, without them criticising or objecting too much.

Of course, it's incredibly unlikely that you will have it all sorted by then - but when they come back you can say "oh there were a few complications, but I reckon it should be ready in a week ..... or two"

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Intel imagines chips in nappies to create the Internet of sh*t things

Pete 2

At last!

A real-life implementation of Sturgeon's Law

1
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Back to the Future: the internet of things as imagined in 1985

Pete 2

Re: Why the obsession....

> Why the obsession with using smartphones as remotes?

It's arguable that a true IoT device shouldn't even need a remote. In fact, most of them shouldn't need a person to tell them what to do, at all.

Take an IoT'd lightswitch as an example. Instead of a boring old PIR to detect the presence of people and then turn the light on or off accordingly, a better solution is to design in a $5 ultrasonic Doppler sensor to detect the direction of people: into or out of the room. When $number_of_people == 0 OR $light_level > daylight then turn off the lights.

All that this obsession with remote controls does is to add one more level of indirection into the equation. Instead of a person making a physical action to control a device, they are now required to do so by means of another piece of equipment. As a design concept it's as daft as calling for your butler to do these trivial things for you: more trouble than it's worth, so I'm told.

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RAF radar station crew begs public for cash to buy gaming LAN kit

Pete 2

Buy your way in

Let's just sit back and see how long it is until the station receives a donation of LAN equipment from, say, Iran, the PRC or N. Korea. I'm sure it would all be perfectly fine and that there would be no chance it would have any backdoors, bugs, covert comms channels, spyware or other nasties.

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Lies, damn lies and election polls: Why GE2015 pundits fluffed the numbers so badly

Pete 2

Re: 3% margin of error

Although the pollsters claim a 3% margin, that is clearly shown to be false. You just have to look at the results of the various polls, where the spread from one poll to another was much greater than 3%. When Sky News was broadcasting before the election they had a rolling graphic on the screen that summarised the most recent polls. Looking at the numbers as they went by, one could see that few of the polls were within 3% of each other.

It would be easy to dismiss the spread by saying that the polls were taken on different days. However, if there really was so much variation: one day to the next, then the pollsters were measuring a quickly changing variable to too high a degree of accuracy. The poll might have been accurate to the stated degree, but its shelf-life at that accuracy was so short that it was probably obsolete before it was even published.

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Pete 2

Measure what you value ...

... don't value what you measure.

> This put Tories and Labour within a whisker of one another around the 34 per cent mark.

But that's an irrelevant statistic. Who wins a First Past the Post election (as we have in the UK, designed primarily to produce clear, if somewhat less than truly representative, outcomes) is the party with the most seats, not the most votes.

The system is supposed to be highly sensitive (there's only 1 winner, whether the majority is 1 or 10,000) to small differences in numbers of votes between the most voted for and the next candidate.

Everyone: the pollsters, the media who commissioned them and the general public all know this. So to huff and puff and say "well, we were almost right with a measurement of something that's useless" is a ridiculous defence.

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ISS 'naut: How we collect our POO and DROP it FLAMING on hapless Earthlings

Pete 2

Dropping in.

Further proof, as every pigeon will tell you, that being higher up the gravity well¹ beats being higher up the food-chain.

[1] provided of course you're in a self-sufficient environment and not dependent on those below.

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Tesla's battery put in the shade by current and cheaper kit

Pete 2

Double or quit

And if you really are off-grid and rely on this technology to keep you powered up, you'll need a backup in case of failure (guarantees are nice, but they don't keep the lights on and if it takes a week to deliver a replacement to your remote, off-grid location ... ), or for those times when your "old" battery is being replaced.

The thing about multiple LA batteries is just that: you already have the makings of a resilient solution. Or at least one that can operate at reduced levels, rather than being a single all-or-nothing proposition.

So, as with all H.A. systems: computer or home, the cost of a truly reliable system is a multiple of the cost of a single purchase.

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High-speed powerline: Home connectivity without the cables

Pete 2

The IoT thing

> a fan of the Internet of Things (IoT)

If you're a true geek you'll be rolling your own IoT out of ESP8266's and looking seriously at the possibility of configuring them as a mesh network. Given that they are < £5 a pop, any geek's house should have these in every room (they also work as wifi APs and stations) and should be hooked in to the home internet, too.

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New EU security strategy: Sod cyber terrorism, BAN ENCRYPTION

Pete 2

Saying what you mean

> the concerns of law enforcement authorities on new encryption technologies

Encryption is just one form of obfuscation. Another is substituting one word or phrase for what you really mean: like saying "the product" instead of a crate-full of weapons, or "collateral damage" instead of dead civilians.

However, it goes further. We are all aware that in broadband sales the phrase "up to" means less than, "unlimited" means we know you're stupid enough to believe that and saying something "may" happen means it's a dead cert. - unless that would be a good thing™. So would banning encryption also outlaw weasel words used in advertising, or require politicians to tell the truth or for government communiques to contain facts?

If only the European Commissioner would stop speaking in code.

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Cash register maker used same password – 166816 – non-stop since 1990

Pete 2

Re: Experimental data

> Let the world hope that you're not in security, since you clearly lack any understanding of it.

Lack understanding - hardly. Because asking for a considered and quantifiable measure of risk and downside is such a bad thing?

At least with that information people would be able to make a proper assessment of the threats they face and hence to apply the correct amount of effort. Instead of employing Wild Assed Guesses that either address the wrong issues, fail to resource their security teams correctly or even learn how to identify a real threat from ignorant media jibberings.

You never know, the next step might even lead to fact-based professionalism.

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Pete 2

Experimental data

> “Nine out of 10 times when we see equipment from that manufacturer, 90 percent of the time, this is the password.

And exactly how many cases have there been of this being exploited? It would interesting to see a study of how many times "well known" security holes do actually get compromised.

What a lot of security professionals do (and you can't blame them, since that's how they make their money) is to point at every vulnerability: whether theoretical, practical or exploitable for gain and say "LOOK! it's a massive security hole. everyone must fix it immediately".

Now, it's true that once a weakness has been "outed" it's far more likely to be explored - especially if hackers can get some material gain from it. However, that doesn't mean that every single weakness is in that class. At least not until some security geek goes blabbing to the entire world about it. It may even be that the small cost of having a single password across a long-lived range of equipment is far outweighed by the savings and speed for maintaining it or having to call someone in when you've changed the password and subsequently forgotten it.

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'Why don't you buy from foreign sites?' asks Commish, snapping on the gloves

Pete 2

> 13% of people can comfortably understand foreign languages.

13% of people know about Google translate AND have the nous to find the same product described in their native language AND manage to get a decent price for inter-country delivery charges AND trust "foreign" postal / courier services.

Sounds like a pretty high percentage, to me.

3
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A Quid A Day for NOSH? Luxury!

Pete 2

Re: True poverty still exists in the UK

> If you want to fix the world, then economics is the way to do it.

I would humbly suggest that economics describes the problem - though that is the crucial first step before it can possibly be fixed. In order to fix it, the world needs education (foremost for Guardian journalists opinion-scribblers).

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Cyanogen finds $80m in collecting tin after busking session

Pete 2

Testing times

> The company will use the funding to recruit more developers and help build the alternative Android ecosystem.

And hopefully some (professional) testers, Q&A-ers and documenters, too.

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PIRATES and THIEVES to get Windows 10 as BOOTY

Pete 2

Killing the competition

MS have finally realised that they were their own biggest competitor.

People didn't feel the need to upgrade from XP to something newer, as what they already had was good enough. This isn't so much a compliment to XP: that it's stood the text of time. It's more a criticism of everything that's come since as failing in innovation, backwards compatibility, or being too expensive in terms of what you got, and not providing anything sufficiently "must have" that people were willing - or able - to ditch it and invest in a newer product.

It's still unclear that W10 has addressed these failings. But I think we can expect MS to have built something into W10 to force its adopters out of their "bad" habits.

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Watching porn makes men BETTER in bed, say trick-cyclists

Pete 2

Re: Data or hearsay?

> they should collect data by strapping cables to them connected to machines that go ping

And yet cosmologists and astrophysicists manage to collect volumes of science-standard quality data from other planets, stars and places they couldn't hope to visit (or attach wires to) by making observations and fitting them to their understanding and theoretical models - and then refining their knowledge and testing the predictions that result.

Maybe psychologists (or is it psychiatrists? who knows - who cares? ) could learn a thing or two from watching proper science as it's done by those who know how.

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Pete 2

Data or hearsay?

From the article:

"were asked" ... "completed a "questionnaire that measures levels of sexual desire"" ... "rate their experience" ... "self-reported their level of sexual arousal"

So basically not a single objective, quantifiable, piece of information in the whole performance.

But, on balance can anyone substantiate the opposing view claim that "watching erotica makes men unable to respond sexually to ‘normal’ sexual situations".

It would seem that we - or rather: the trick cyclists - are still at the myths and legends level of their subject and have a long way to go before anything that a scientist would recognise as repeatable, verifiable data would appear in any pieces of research.

8
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Zuck: Get your FULLY EXPOSED BUTTOCKS off my Facebook

Pete 2

Bum, beach-bum or *hole

> focusing in on fully exposed buttocks

Given that "arsehole" can describe both a part of the body and a person who displays ignorance, it's a shame that exposing a buttock isn't construed by FB as pointing out the failures or views of such a person.

There would then be much less need to unfriend or block peoples' posts.

1
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Attack of the Digital People: The BBC goes fully Bong

Pete 2

Re: bbc + digital = fail

> It works with web browsers. You should try it.

Correction. It works occasionally with web browsers (I use, or used, this for Radio 2, straight off the website). However, it frequently drops the stream or halts with the message "this content is no longer available".

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Pete 2

Omit the remit, dammit

> So expansive and vague is the BBC's current Royal Charter, that BeebWash would actually tick all its boxes (not only the "mission to inform, educate and entertain", obviously, but also "sustaining citizenship and civil society") and happily sit within the corporation's remit.

I have the sneaking suspicion that whoever wrote the BBC charter naturally assumed that the phrase " ... by making programmes and broadcasting them " was such a blindingly obvious limit to the scope of the British Broadcasting Corporation's charter that it simply did not need to be explicitly stated.

However, the BBC has always had a penchant for jumping on trendy bandwagons (sometimes even creating them, then jumping on). When it involves something that few of their "customers" understand, then it allows them to go into full patronising mode, too. As well as collecting "charter" brownie points to make up for all the crap they push out, which clearly has no (positive) charter content, at all.

But it is just that: a bandwagon. The BBC has many more influential ways to promote "digital" stuff. The most effective, cheapest and least popular with its management and programme makers would be to present "techies" in a positive light. Have someone on Eastenders who does more than argue in cliches with the other characters and (say) gives them advice on how to fix their PC, or load apps onto their phone, or scan for viruses. They could even have programmes (gasp!) that don't ghettoise "geeks" by either assuming a set of interests, being banished to obscure channels and times (e.g. Click), talking to people as if they were 8 years old and limiting each "segment" to a sound-bite friendly couple of minutes - with all the annoying electronic background music that is used to inform us that this is a technical subject, and the worn-old theme of a literal "journey" of discovery.

1
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BBC: We'll give FREE subpar-Raspberry-Pis to a million Brit schoolkids

Pete 2

Re: why does every small computer get compared to the Raspberry Pi?

Because it wouldn't make sense to compare it to an olympic sized swimming pool or a double decker bus.

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Pete 2

What can you do with a 74HC00?

> a springboard for more advanced products such as the Arduino

If an Arduino counts as "more advanced" than this jobbie, it's difficult to imagine just how basic this Micro-bit device will be.

[ Edit: though since you could make an S-R flip-flop out of a 7400, I think you'd already be bordering on the limit of understanding of most 11 y/o's ]

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Never escape the boss again: Salesforce tracks down your best people any time, any place

Pete 2

An interesting proposition

> the intelligence will be added on as a paid-for upgrade

Please can we (the callers) have this, too?

Most of the time calling the "support" desk is a screening process to weed out those callers who aren't absolutely desperate to get help, assistance or support. The trial-by-patience means that while you are on hold you will either be flipping through the (badly worded, inaccurate and out-of-date) instruction manual, or searching out solutions on the web, or scanning through Amazon for an alternative product that will have different and hopefully not show-stopping faults. If you succeed in finding a fix of your own, then you ring-off before you get connected to the (non-flying) drone who's only suggestion, after taking all your personal details for the Nth time. is to "turn it off and on again".

If only there was a way of getting through to the "right sales or support staffer for a particular task no matter where they are". Something along the lines of "Press 1 if you're an idiot. Press 2 if you've already turned it off and on again. Press 3 if you think there's a race condition in the interrupt routine. Press 4 if you're prepared to pay £10 to get in front of the other 23 people in the queue and talk to our 1 single qualified techy RIGHT NOW".

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Super SSD tech: Fancy a bonkers 8TB all-flash PC?

Pete 2

Re: 'ow do you do that, then?

> writing the same chunk of memory over and over is common

Quite so. And when the marketing people stick their oar in, "10 full drive writes/day for 5 years" sounds a whole lot more impressive than a single block life of less than 20,000 write operations.

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Pete 2

'ow do you do that, then?

> Endurance of five years at 10 full drive writes/day

OK, I admit I needed my fingers and my toes to work this one out.

But 10 "full drive writes" per day seems to me to be 80TB of data.

A day contains 86,400 seconds. So to write 80TB (80,000 GB) in that number of seconds requires a write-rate of:

80,000 / 86400 or about 0.9 GByte/sec.

But the drive spec says it can write less than 560MB/sec.

</confused>

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