* Posts by Charles 9

6352 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Gates: Renewable energy can't do the job. Gov should switch green subsidies into R&D

Charles 9
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Re: very old news, deliberately ignored for too long

The closest thing we have to an energy storage innovation is the US Navy's research into artificial hydrocarbon production. They at least have a genuine incentive to push this through (their carriers have power to spare and the carrier jets need plenty of jet fuel to stay in the air), so if they can't do it, odds are no one can.

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Charles 9
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Re: Current Renewables are a Band-Aid

That's also some claim when Germany is in such tight electrical straits they've had to buy a sizable chunk of their electricity from France lately. Would love to see this claim backed up with some hard data and plenty of details that spell out exactly what they mean by renewable sources.

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Charles 9
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Re: Stop proposing....

"80% of civilization lives where there is a WINTER season!

80% of the US population lives somewhere that needs AC."

And plenty of the world lives in an area where BOTH conditions exist, usually in turn, which means the area requires climate control for most of the year: double whammy. That's why the heat pump is popular in these kinds of areas: one device that can handle either temperature extreme as needed.

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Charles 9
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Re: Nukes....

"perhaps Charles, risk assessment comes into vogue again. As in how idiot human factors play a major causative role in the "accidents" As for other deliberate events, a read of the technology article on how hard, dangerous and generally fatal attempts to steal and manufacture nuclear weapons from powerplants would be to the terrorists. Electronics Australia July 1987? ITIRC, had a reprint of article. Was a hilarious read on a greenie pushed nightmare."

But that was nearly 30 years ago. We know some people CAN be that damn crazy and they may have found ways to get around the dangers if they're that bloody determined.

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Charles 9
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Re: Nukes....

"Maybe the "duck and cover" generation need to die off before the fear goes away."

No, because they teach the next generation and keep stoking fears of Chernobyl, Fukushima, and the nightmare scenario of a 9/11 attack on major nuclear plants.

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Abort, abort! Metal-on-metal VIOLENCE as Google's robo-car nearly CRASHES

Charles 9
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Re: Not a near miss

Until two cars on opposite sides of an opening in the middle lane choose to commit at the same instant. Either they crash halfway or they'll yoyo in and out.

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Cambridge boffins: STOP the rush to 5G. We just don't need it

Charles 9
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Re: I'm of two minds here

"What I would encourage would be to emphasize the "LT" part of 4G LTE - Long Term. Rather than a new standard, how about just working on getting the existing 4G up to where it was promised. On that note: Does anyone know what happened to VoLTE? Has that actually been sorted?"

Not yet, primarily for the reason you describe: legacy momentum. The big catch is this: any VoLTE solution can't talk to the vast numbers of legacy tech without something in-between and vice versa. And as long as the legacy tech exists, devices will be built to use it, especially if the tech can't use LTE at all (which many phones still being built today can't).

IOW, for VoLTE to have a decent chance of taking over voice communications, it has to wait for LTE to be the norm rather than the exception. That's not expected to happen on a worldwide basis anytime soon. VoLTE is basically too far ahead of its time.

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Charles 9
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I would think you need BOTH at the same time. Just as you need to spread the coverage, so too do you need to improve the speed within the covered area to handle two factors of growth: new customers and increased demands of existing ones.

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Shadow of the Beast: Amiga classic returns from the darkness

Charles 9
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"As are the developers responsible. They overlooked that fact that video games are supposed to be fun, not bloody hard work."

You have to consider the context. In the late 1980's, arcades were still alive and well, and what was one surefire way to get a determined gamer to divest his coinage? Make the damn thing hard. Even going into the late 90's there was a breed of gamer who lived on the challenge which was how the "Bullet Hell" shooter genre emerged.

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Wake up, sheeple! If you ask Siri about 9/11 it will rat you out to the police!

Charles 9
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"That one would pop up in IRC: "Press Alt-F4 to get channel Ops""

What happened when a Mac user complained (since IIRC the close/quit mechanic in most Mac programs was Command-Q)?

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Charles 9
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Re: Which is why

"Surely you can select 12 or 24 hour on any watch?"

How can you select between 12 and 24 hours on a dial watch...or clock for that matter?

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Charles 9
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Re: Which is why @Charles 9

"I think the pound weight and pound currency have different derivations (does anyone know?)"

If I read my sources correctly, they were originally one and the same, based on the weight of 1 pound of silver coinage (20 shillings, 8 half-crowns, or 4 crowns) in the old system. There was no silver pound coin (it was based on collective), but the sovereign was the equivalent value in a gold coin. 240 pence was the equivalent value in copper(s).

Of course, this all went out the door when the currency system was replaced with the Pound Sterling.

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Charles 9
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Re: Which is why @Charles 9

"Does your clock faces also indicate AM & PM? Digital clocks here have 24 hours."

Most digital clocks only show 12 hours and use a dot to indicate which set of 12. Some clocks have a 24-hour option, but you have to set it. Military and other specialist fields make sure to obtain clocks with that capability. Meanwhile, I'm talking analog dial clocks, which typically have no AM/PM indicator. Wanna know which half it is, look out the nearest window. Most of us can keep a general reckoning of which half we wake up on; it takes a real bender, insomnia, or the swing shift to confuse us significantly, and again it's usually just a quick glance out a window to know which is which (yes, even sunup and sundown, since the sun rises in the east and sets in the west). It's extremely rare to see a 24-hour analog dial anywhere, and the ones that do typically have a specific reason for being there.

"How many can convert sq miles to sq feet or do you just memorize the factors? What about cubics?"

It's not to hard to remember a factor of 9 to convert square yards to square feet. And we're taught it's 4840 square yards to an acre. Beyond rough estimates, we break out the measurers and calculate on paper. As for cubics, we tend to stick to feet unless it's fluids, which we then switch to gallons.

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Charles 9
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Re: Which is why @Charles 9

"Our 1 pence piece weighs 1/8 ounce, 2p weighs 1/4 ounce."

And thus why the pound is associated with both currency and weight, IIRC. And BTW, aren't heavy things still weighed in stone?

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Charles 9
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"Another factor in choosing 999 as the UK emergency number was that, on the old dial phones, it was the number that took the least time to dial having the shortest distance to travel on the dial itself before allowing another number to be chosen."

I would LOVE to see a picture of such a phone because every rotary dial phone I've seen has it the other way, with 1 being the shortest distance (one pulse) and 0 the longest (10 pulses). 9 would be second-longest at nine pulses.

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Charles 9
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"All right, who's the lunatic who downvoted this post? 8601 is in fact the only unambiguous date format."

8601 is just pretty darn convenient since sorting alphabetically automatically sorts 8601 dates chronologically (by year, then by month, then by day; time can be sorted next using a 24-hour clock).

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Charles 9
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Re: Which is why

"We're very militaristic over here. Which is strange given we don't have anything like as many weapons or do as much invading. My systray clock says "Wednesday 24 June 16:43:58". Which, too, is strange as I thought it was Thursday!"

We SEPARATE our conventions in America. If you go to a military installation, then 24-hour time is drilled into you (And you say it, "Twelve hundred hours," mister!). Outside these establishments, clocks still have 12 hours on their faces, and that's the way we like it, just as we like our feet and inches just the way they are.

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Charles 9
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There is NO unambigious number-only date format as long as the date is within the first 12 days of a given month. SOMEONE is going to get it wrong, guaranteed.

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Killer ChAraCter HOSES almost all versions of Reader, Windows

Charles 9
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Re: Microkernels vs. Monolithic kernels...

The main reason microkernels aren't used is performance, especially in things like graphics where you may be interacting user-mode apps with kernel-mode drivers many times a second. Microkernels try to shove everything nonessential into user space, but what's considered "nonessential" differs from application to application. Take SeL4, the only kernel to have a formal proof. It contains a caveat; this proof assumes no device has Direct Memory Access. Now take performance gaming and GPGPU applications. To make the most out of these applications, you need DMA both ways. So you end up with a dilemma. You can make the place tighter than Fort Know, but that means lots of hoop-jumping that irritates users. Irritated users start looking for shortcuts. Meanwhile, there's continual demand for performance which demands streamlining. How do you balance performance with security?

FTR, most kernels in use today are hybrid kernels (this includes NT and Linux): trying to find that balance between security, performance, and modularity.

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THIS TIME we really are ALL DOOMED, famous doomsayer prof says

Charles 9
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Re: The "We're all going to die" hand-waving aside

"I think this is the thing that jars - there's no 'going' involved; a species that becomes extinct hasn't gone anywhere, at least not anywhere it is possible to come back from."

But your very statement gives the justification: they're going away...forever.

"This might lead to a reduction in human population, probably in a rather unpleasant way for large numbers of us, but I don't think it's likely to do us in as a species, nor impact life in general on the planet in the long term."

You should look up "thermogeddon". There's a very real concern that certain parts of the world, if allowed to warm significantly, will become literally uninhabitable: not because it's underwater but because it'll become too warm for our bodies to cope without outside assistance. Thing is, if things get warmer, habitable land will start becoming compressed into fewer countries which can have a significant political effect.

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Charles 9
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Re: The "We're all going to die" hand-waving aside

"FWIW, I take unreasonable exception to the phrase 'go extinct'..."

I suppose you also take exception to the phrase "go spare" (or as we Americans put it, "go bananas").

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Cisco posts kit to empty houses to dodge NSA chop shops

Charles 9
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Trollface

Re: Grammar pet peeve - it's boxii not boxen, as in virii not viruses

Then why do we live in houses and not hice?

House => Houses

but

Mouse => Mice

Louse => Lice

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Charles 9
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Re: Hmm

Because they'll just hide the stuff in another chip using mask concealments and other stuff to hide even from decapping and x-rays. And this stuff will just override anything you flash AND return false flags to anything you try to use to authenticate it.

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Charles 9
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Re: Wouldn't it be simpler...

Courier services can be infiltrated or subverted, too.

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Incoming! Linux 4.1 kernel lands

Charles 9
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"Support for what exactly? Most common PC hardware works out of the box."

Talk to performance gamers. High-end graphics support tends to lag in the Linux front, which kind of puts a crimp on Valve's effort to push Linux gaming with Steam Machines. Flaky graphics support is one reason I had to abandon Xubuntu (spontaneous resets), and my Radeon 6850 should've been near the top of the support list.

"IMHO hardware support under Linux is far superior than any other OS."

Oh? I tried Ubuntu on a old Dell Inspiron. Fell flat because no nVidia driver worked on it. Noveaux was too slow and the nVidia blob wouldn't support the chipset. Dead end. And this isn't the first time.

"Linux is a kernel. It's not really the kernel's fault that the current desktop market share is mostly Windows so that's what commercial developers target. There's nothing particular about the Linux kernel that means the type of applications that run on Windows couldn't run on Linux."

But the Linux community, which includes the kernel community, should be pushing for most mainstream support, but they're not, so they're in the rut they are now.

"So you're not talking about Linux. You're talking about common types of applications that desktop users need whether they are running Linux, OSX,... Anyhow this is going to be less and less of a problem now that everyone wants to use more portable development tools etc so they can get their stuff running on the desktop, web, mobile etc."

Except the desktop will continue to exist for performance applications like gaming. See the above common beef PC gamers have concerning their video cards.

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Charles 9
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Perhaps, but it's still far from the preferred choice in terms of overall adoption. If Linux wants to be THE OS for the desktop, it will need several boosts here and there.

Support has improved considerably, yes, but it can still have teething issues, particularly where vendors aren't exactly forthcoming with hardware support for various reasons such as protection of trade secrets. The closer to mainstream, off-the-bleeding-edge you get, the more likely you'll have a smooth time. And then there's the software selection, particularly for the consumer end where people just want to put it in and work. There are native applications that can do a lot such as GIMP and LibreOffice if they're to your taste (I've spent time on it so can speak from experience), and thanks to the WINE project, Windows compatibility continues to improve, but it will always trail the bleeding edge (and that's what killed it for me since I like to game).

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So why the hell do we bail banks out?

Charles 9
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Re: Houses are consumer goods.

"Eventually the US is going to go for the straight default or some way of printing itself out of the whole, soaking the holders of US securities."

The government is forbidden from doing that, as the Fourteenth Amendment specifically states. "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned."

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Charles 9
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Re: Why not nationalise all the banks?

So how do you live with two competing utilities without having two competing sets of infrastructure (since the utility will also own the infrastructure as a matter of control)? Note that most industries with high upfront but low marginal costs trend naturally toward monopolies simply because this structure always favors the incumbent who's already gotten past the high barrier of entry.

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Ecobee3: If you're crazy enough to want a smart thermostat – but not too crazy – this is for you

Charles 9
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Re: Your thermostat needs to be a datacentre!?

"For an upgrade, there are a handful that don't need 'clouds' to work (Heat Genius is my current favourite). Nest, Hive and these lot don't need to be told your every move to have weather-reacting temperature control. Indeed, a house that needs that probably just needs some extra insulation."

But if the thermostat has to be more human-reacting than weather-reacting? What if you're in a house with central heat (or a heat pump which can work both ways) and no radiators? What if you have a mobile household where people can come and go at just about any hour (including overnight—night owls)? IOW, what if you have an unpredictable house that can't be efficiently handled with fixed timers AND have BOTH heating and cooling needs which means individual radiators won't work for you?

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Disk is dead, screeches Violin – and here's how it might happen

Charles 9
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"Yes; but then, Flash has even more aggressive physical limitations due to the minimum practical die size."

But at least Flash can still go 3D and has plenty of room in that regard. Magnetics are already 3D (both in terms of platters and in terms of perpendicular recording) so are running out of ways to cram more data.

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Charles 9
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"Currently, yeah. I do recall reading something about crystal-based storage technologies being worked on at one university or another a few years back; they were claiming a practically infinite life expectancy (measured in Thorium half-lives or some such equally preposterous unit of time), exobyte-scale capacities and very, very low costs, but glacial read/write speeds. But traditionally, new offline archive techniques haven't really been commercially viable."

That tech has been "around the corner" for nearly 20 years. Australians and Americans may have seen the tech once or twice on an episode of Beyond 2000. From what I can tell, the big problems with the tech has been (a) getting the writing and reading to work together in a precise and reliable manner and (b) media longevity issues that aren't immediately apparent, such as destructive reading and thermodynamic stability (as in most crystals aren't as stable over geologic time as they appear; even diamond isn't that stable).

http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2013/jul/17/5d-superman-memory-crystal-heralds-unlimited-lifetime-data-storage

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Chrome, Debian Linux, and the secret binary blob download riddle

Charles 9
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Re: We need another rule for free software

"complex system of interdependent modules"

Isn't SysVInit a complex system of interdependent modules, too, only built by a hodgepodge of developers who don't talk to each other, meaning the modules don't know how to talk to each other, leaving real-life issues like waiting for network interfaces to go up only to have the whole works go wrong when they go up in the wrong order?

"There are whole unixoid systems which have far less lines than that."

And as I recall, far less versatile. If you're going to build something that can accommodate all sorts of hardware and where just about everything is dynamic and can go up and down anytime, including things like the video and networks, you better be prepared to do some juggling. SysVInit wasn't built to juggle.

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Charles 9
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Re: Ban Hammer

Iceweasel is due to trademark issues. Mozilla will NOT allow the use of the official Mozilla names like Firefox unless the browsers are put into the system vanilla: unaltered. You're free to alter the code to your tastes, and some distros do this (so does the Tor Bundle). But you must also alter the name and graphic as well. They give you free use of the blank Mozilla globe to use as a base, but beyond that must come from YOU.

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Charles 9
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Re: If youre serious about security

"alternatives to graphical captchas are trivial (what is ten minus four ?)"

Most alternatives that use text can be interpreted by a natural language processor. As in run that CAPTCHA through Google and you're likely to get an answer.

"tabular formats are often *easier* in monospace font"

Not for DYNAMIC content. When HTML was first developed, it was designed for STATIC content. Indeed, how does Lynx handle modern CSS styles where things can be revealed and hidden dynamically, which DOES have practical uses regarding context? Put it this way. I once had to do certain transactions by telephone. And that was my only option as I was away for a an extended period, my nearest branch two hours away and I didn't have a car. Compared to that, I consider online banking heaven-sent in terms of practicality.

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Charles 9
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Re: We need another rule for free software

Except we're hitting minimum limits on NECESSARY complexity. For example, how can a system effectively manage itself when its vital resources can come from any number of sources, including network-based? And since these things can interrelate, it's harder to just "do one thing and do it well" when that one thing is dependent on other things: things that may not be done so well.

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Charles 9
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Re: How can you trust...

"The compiler? Dennis Richie demonstrated decades ago how to propagate viruses through the compiler by making the compiler recognise when it is recompiling itself and then inserting the virus. You can then remove this hack from the compiler source code and it will continue to propagate through every subsequent version of the compiler built by itself or it's descendants."

Except someone found a solution. All it requires is one known-safe compiler and then you can cross-compile the source code several times with differing compilers to see if the compiler's tainted.

As for the hardware, microscopy perhaps?

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Using leather in 'leccy cars is 'unTesla', rages vegan shareholder

Charles 9
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Re: @James Cane - and the electricity?

OK, so EV stinks in polar latitudes. But what about tropical latitudes and arid areas where the heat from the IC engine works AGAINST the air conditioner, which has to route air intakes from outside the HOT engine (thus reducing airflow efficiencies)?

Here's another thought. If IC engines were so bad in terms of efficiency, why haven't more cars gone the IC/electric route, using the engine as an electric generator and powering electric motors and so on like that (removing the transmission losses and enabling you to use the IC as a heat engine to improve efficiency)?

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How much info did hackers steal on US spies? Try all of it

Charles 9
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Re: One-stop shopping for ID thieves; but necessary

So what do you do about it? The very NATURE of the form and need to access it readily for security reasons MAKES it a damn juicy target. IOW, easy for you, easy for them, no way around it.

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Sprint: Net neutrality means we can't stamp out download hogs

Charles 9
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Well, the carriers COULD be FORCED to be blunt and put all their natural limitations in black and white. That way, the download hogs can see they'll be limited no matter where they turn and either pay up or pack up.

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Charles 9
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Unfortunately, over-selling is the ONLY way to get customers' attention. They're too jaded to be attracted to any honest advertising.

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Charles 9
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But the reason they have to use the Unlimited term is because it's about the only way to attract jaded data-hungry customers. Flat-rate pricing is practically the only way to steal these kinds of customers. Well, that and raw metered rates in the past tended to be highway robbery.

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Charles 9
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Re: Pure BS

But that means it's NOT "unlimited" (a rather clear and concise definition). IOW, NO data plan in America should be allowed to EVER use the word "Unlimited," as it AUTOMATICALLY amounts to False Advertising, in violation of federal law. Throttling of any kind, after all, is—by definition—a limit.

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Silk Road boss Ross Ulbricht to spend LIFE in PRISON without parole

Charles 9
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Re: Not a Victim, He's a Volunteer

"The present prison system is a very poor substitute."

But it may be the only option for true psychopaths. Attempting to "keep them under observation in regulated communities and allow them to apply their talents legally" will inevitably result in one of them gaming the system. That's how psychopaths work and why they're beyond treatment: they simply can't see beyond themselves and see everyone else as enemies: either opposition or prey. You basically can't reform someone locked into full Don't Trust Anyone mode.

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Charles 9
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Re: The Real Scary Thing...

Trouble is, none to date have faced an empire in a genuine position to take everyone else with them. That's why wars turned cold or proxy in the last few decades. This is the main reason Vietnam ran the way it did; since the Soviet Union was involved, they couldn't cross certain lines for fear of making the Soviets retaliate with full force. ANY large scale conflict risks antagonizing a nuclear power (US, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, etc.)...with nightmarish consequences.

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Webmail password reset scam lays groundwork for serious aggro

Charles 9
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Re: Insane

"Ask me for my ZIP code when I'm purchasing something at a shop, you're getting my work ZIP (or a random one)."

Then your transaction gets declined because the ZIP doesn't match your home address, which is the one already on file with the credit card company. That's why they ask for the ZIP at gas stations and decline at-the-pump purchases if your ZIP doesn't match (or if you don't have one because it's a foreign card).

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Charles 9
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Re: solution is not to avoid registering mobile phone number with webmail providers

So what alternative is there to out-of-band authentication if you can't trust your mobile as the second factor?

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Charles 9
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Re: How stupid do you have to be?

"How stupid do you have to be to not be even the slightest bit suspicious?"

They could make it more indirect and less suspect by instead saying enter the code at a given site they provide which could be well-disguised and pretty plausible. If they know the mark's e-mail address, they can post the same information that way and make it look even more plausible than the real deal.

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Mozilla's Flash-killer 'Shumway' appears in Firefox nightlies

Charles 9
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Re: vSphere Console

"The console works in Chrome without adding any extra plugins."

Chrome contains an internal Flash unit (Google does this to maintain a fixed frame of security reference). The free fork Chromium doesn't, so you have to install it manually (if at all possible).

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AT&T fined about 3 days of profit ($100m) for limiting 'unlimited' plans

Charles 9
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Thing is, other carriers like Sprint and T-Mobile then steal customers by using the word themselves. The only solution is to level the playing field and declare that any "unlimited" plan is automatically False Advertising since there is no way to achieve this within the confines of physics.

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