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* Posts by Charles 9

3632 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Samsung Galaxy S5 in El Reg's claws: This time the 'S' is for 'sensible'

Charles 9
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Re: Oh Gawd

The hint is that you can't buy a phone that has BOTH Qi charging AND a removeable battery at the same time. Reason being the QI coil has to be near the back to be effective and needs a decent amount of surface area: enough that fixing it in place would block battery placement. Even now, all the Qi chargers for S4 and up have to be placed ON TOP of the battery, requiring them to be removeable. That makes for some fiddly stuff, so save them for people who know what's involved.

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Zuck: Web drones, not balloons (cough, cough Google) are way forward

Charles 9
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Re: FB & Google...

I think Bill's missing a bit of a trick here. When people in a remote village come down with something, it would help a lot if the local clinic was able to get Internet access, look up the symptoms, and come up with a possible treatment.

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Stop skiving: Computers can SEE THROUGH your FAKE PAIN

Charles 9
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Putting a stone or pin in your show, even the old biting your tongue trick might throw it off.

I was wondering about that. People might go to the lengths of actually self-inflicting intense but brief sessions of actual pain so as to "fake out" the computer.

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RISE of the LIVING CHAIR: Boffins recruit E coli to build futuristic materials

Charles 9
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Re: "Imagine having a chair where you sit on it for a long time...

We could really do with more watch-eyes pointed at our decision-makers (since they are so keen on recording our every movement for future use, it's obvious they need careful watching for the inevitable other signs of delusion and meglomania).

Trouble was, people already saw a problem with that approach, thus the question, "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" (or "Who watches the watchers?"). For anyone set as a watcher, who watches her, and then you have to wonder who watches that watcher and so on.

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IBM PCjr STRIPPED BARE: We tear down the machine Big Blue would rather you forgot

Charles 9
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Re: Floppy drives

The 3.5" drives were mostly either 720K or 1.44M. The Mac version used variable-speed rotation to squeeze 800K on an otherwise 720K disk, which made the older disks incompatible with newer drives. We ran into that when we got our first iMac--the 800K floppies for Civilization wouldn't work with any USB drives.

I recall that the floppy drives on Commodore Amiga computers were powered by a programmable controller. In its normal mode an 3.5" Amiga disk could hold some 800KB, but since the controller was programmable, you could do some peculiar formats if you dared. This not only allowed for exotic formats but also for rather unique forms of copy protection.

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Charles 9
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Re: Floppy drives

Other way.

A 5/14" floppy disk provided up to 180KB of data per side. A double-sided disk had the potential to store up to 360KB per disk. I remember the days when I routinely had to handle them on a 486, and I recalled their formatted capacity to be in the ~350KB range. This is also consistent with other computers of the time like the Commodore. A single-side-formatted Commodore disk reported 664 256-byte blocks free, which equals 169984 bytes.

If you're thinking a DSDD floppy has 720KB on it, you're thinking of 3 1/2" floppies, which did indeed have that capacity rating in MFM formatting.

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Charles 9
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Re: still have one of these

That was something I wanted to bring up. IBM may have flopped with the PCjr, yet Tandy was able to get on the map with the 1000, basically a clone of the jr. It gained enough traction that the sound and graphics systems it uses, again the same as the PCjr, tended to be identified as Tandy graphics and sound rather than PCjr graphics and sound.

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They want me to install CCTV to see what YOU did in the TOILET

Charles 9
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Re: The cameras are out of arm's reach

Vandals are good at throwing things. Arm's reach is irrelevant.

It still is relevant since how else do you blind the camera without getting yourself in its eye? Laser pointers only work temporarily, plus you normally have to get in the camera's eye to get a good line of sight. Throwing things only work on exposed cameras. How do you blind a shielded/domed camera without getting in its eye? Plus like I said, good camera arrangement covers the blind spots so that in trying to avoid one camera, you usually end up in another camera's view.

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Charles 9
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"Besides, the proliferation of CCTV tends to encourage vandalism: specifically, people will try to vandalise the CCTV cameras. This means you’d need a second CCTV system with cameras pointing at the first CCTV system, and a second set of bored security guards to watch live video feeds of motionless video cameras."

I always thought that was part of the art of CCTV arrangement.You tried to position cameras with two ideas in mind:

1. The cameras are out of arm's reach (since spray paint isn't effective much beyond that). That way, any attempt to paint the camera involved a climb or other endeavor which inevitably meant significant face time (defeating the purpose of painting the camera).

2. The cameras had overlapping coverage, meaning as well as covering various complementary areas, the cameras also covered each other's danger zones: places where another camera could be attacked, perhaps even from a distance (using say a paintball gun). That way, any attempt to attack a camera puts you in the view of another one. I know the quote mentions this, but I'm saying this "watch the watcher" doesn't necessarily have to mean you cover just that camera. A good field of view means you can see plenty else besides that camera.

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AT&T and Netflix get into very public spat over net neutrality

Charles 9
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Re: AT&T's internet service sucks anyway

Singapore has been providing their citizens wired Gigabit ethernet connectivity for years now. Why can't the rest of the world's nations follow suit?

Probably because the entirety of Singapore comprises a tiny little flyspeck island off the tip of the Malay Peninsula. Geography matters when it comes to wiring up a place. South Korea is relatively small in itself, thus their high-speed rollout didn't cost so much. OTOH, the United States is huge (one of the biggest countries in the world) with tons of rural area. In order for New York to be able to talk to Los Angeles at gigabit speeds, you needs a gigabit link all the way down, across two mountain ranges and more than a few rivers.

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Charles 9
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Re: There are plenty .......

Google already owns and operates a private network.

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Virtual reality? Two can play THAT GAME, says Sony: New headset revealed for the PS4

Charles 9
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It depends on the type of scene you're watching, particularly in terms of travel (motion in gross that is not dependent on head motion--for example, going forward). If travel is limited and the head tracking is good, the brain can usually cope, and you don't suffer ill effects. OTOH, if your travel is significant and unusual (such as experiencing a first-person roller-coaster ride), the senses get mixed up. Your eyes say you're twisting and turning, but your ears (which carry organs that help the brain sense orientation) don't agree, saying you're still upright and motionless. As a TV show once put it, the senses are "not singing from the same song sheet." Then you're probably going to start feeling simulation sickness.

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Charles 9
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Re: Today's gaming rigs aren't powerful enough

Actually, last I checked, the latest Occulus devices being shown match the Morpheus: 1920x1080 using 3D in side-by-side mode. So resolution-wise, the Occulus and the Morpheus are currently in the same boat.

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Charles 9
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Re: Correction

So the PS4 would output 3D in side-by-side mode and the Morpheus automatically accommodates this. I wonder if this means you could use the same device attached to any HDMI 3D output that can do side-by-side mode (given the specs, I wonder if the Morpheus attaches to an HDMI port)?

Perhaps not a game-changer, but it could be a way to get in on the ground floor and make 3D acceptance at least a little easier.

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Charles 9
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Re: A few problems with these things

They're working on those points.

a) The benchmark to compare this against will be the Occulus Rift.

b) Dual-1080p tech is already at the consumer level. Now, whether this is at 30 or 60fps, we don't know, but 60 is within the realm of possibility and feasability.

c) That's due to "simulation sickness", the perception of motion when you're not moving. Basically, airsickness in reverse. That's probably why such a big emphasis on head tracking. This will make the motions more natural and less nauseating.

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Planes fail to find 'credible' candidate for flight MH370 wreckage

Charles 9
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Re: what happens

Probably what happened to Helios Airways Flight 522. Once the engines lose power, it will continue to glide for a short period until airspeed falls below the minimum needed for gliding, at which point it will probably start losing altitude faster and faster until impact.

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Charles 9
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Re: Mobile phones don't have remotely enough range

I still don't understand why they had enough time to turn the jet but not enough to radio a distress. Mostly this makes more sense, however, than anything else I've heard so far.

Pilots are taught there are three priorities when it comes to flying a plane:

1. Aviate (Keep the plane flying)

2. Navigate (Keep the plane on course)

3. Communicate (Keep tabs with others)

It's quite possible that an event that knocked out everyone aboard (similar to Helios Airways Flight 522--note everyone was knocked out before (3) occurred here, too) occurred at the (1) or (2) stage but before (3) could be conducted.

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NASA: Earth JUST dodged comms-killing SOLAR BLAST in 2012

Charles 9
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Re: Why would a compass not read true during this nonsense

Also, odds are the air itself will ionize and start to hold a charge. The same thing happens when lightning strikes.

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Europe approves common charger standard for mobe-makers

Charles 9
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Re: Whatever happened to a multiple-port USB charging base...

So if any one knows of a 4-port USB hub that sits on the back of a mains plug and can concurrently charge 4 iPad's etc. ....

Don't think you can do that just yet. Power limitations. 2A@5V = 10W of power, and that's pretty much the standard for charging tablets and high-end phones (including those from Apple). Multiply that by 4 and you're likely getting into power ranges better suited for bulky dedicated bricks rather than svelte inline adapters. I'm suspecting 15W is about as much as they dare for an inline: enough for a 2A and a 1A port.

1. Not all mobile phones recognise them - I have particular problems with Samsung, but the Nokia sometimes objects - never had a problem with the HTC & Hudl.

I see that once in a while with my S4. I've come to realize it stops recognizing a charger if it's underpowered: that is, it doesn't feed it enough juice to outpace its drain.

The "cheapest" multi-port USB-A-Female charger which can charge anything I throw it at is the Cambironix Series8 - Which is a 350$ piece of kit.

No bloody wonder. 8 ports able to deliver a full 12W per port (2.4A@5V)...thing's built like a brick (as it should given its total power draw of ~100W) and full of air vents (to draw away the heat losses from all that power conversion).

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Charles 9
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Be fortunate it's the plug that breaks. That was part of the USB Micro design (that most of the wear and tear, like the springs, should occur at the easily-replaceable plug, not the socket that's usually built into the very-expensive phone/tablet, like it was in USB Mini).

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Charles 9
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Except the A plug is diverging, too, with USB 3.0. What's to stop that plug changing in future also?

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Shuttleworth: Firmware is the universal Trojan

Charles 9
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Re: End Of Life

There would probably be unintended consequences, but what if there was a policy that prescribed that "working life" periods were determined by someone other than the manufacturer? Of course, the obvious question becomes, "Who?" DTA mode again...

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Charles 9
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But the thing is, trade secrets and patents are protected by law. That's why industrial espionage is illegal. The blob shows intent to keep secret, sorta like the DMCA provision.

Also, hardware patents prevent people from rolling their own, so you're up the creek with a Hobson's choice.

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Charles 9
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Trojans are one problem, the other being their reluctance to allow third parties to redistribute their blobs, which of course is their way of controlling their blobs.

That's because those blobs represent trade secrets if not patents. The blobs represent a guard against industrial espionage by a rival firm, so there's a money angle for them meaning they won't give them up. Firm like this, if forced to open up, would probably pack up and go home instead, leaving no one to offer innovations.

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Charles 9
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Re: But then we'd need hardware standards

Basically, you wanna ban trade secrets. Never gonna happen since trade secrets are one of the valid business differentiators still legal under law. It's what allows for nVidia and AMD to keep trying to one-up each other. As long as there is a need to protect trade secrets or patents (and I mean honest hardware-based patents), then there will always be a need for obfuscated, proprietary hardware to guard against industrial espionage if nothing else.

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Charles 9
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Re: He's right... and wrong!

As for flashcards and wrong size reporting - if you find a way to tell the firmware of a hard disk to mark its allocated contents as bad blocks, you will find that that content is no longer touched, and that includes any wipe or delete routines. Worth thinking about..

Is this true even on the low level?

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Battery vendors push ultracapacitor wrappers to give Li-ions more bite

Charles 9
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Re: Bah!

He meant it was accidentally detonated. The AN was held in the ship in a fertilizer form (normally considered denatured), but the fire in the ship (exacerbated by fuel oil and some ammunition on board) combined with the confines of the ship destabilized the fertilizer, resulting in a spontaneous detonation.

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Charles 9
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Re: Bah!

Ammonium Nitrate was known to be dangerous for decades. That's why it's normally mixed or denatured to keep it from becoming explosive. The Texas City explosion occurred due to fire helping to destabilizie the product. The men behind Oklahoma City found a way to renature the fertilizer to make it a useful part of homemade ANFO (not an easy thing to do). The military don't use the stuff themselves mainly because they have something better in RDX.

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Google's Drive SLASH, secret 'big upgrade': Coincidence? HARDLY

Charles 9
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Re: 1TB of digital parking space has one other problem

And the big problem with North America and to a lesser extent continental Europe has simply been geography. To maintain high-speed rates from coast to coast in the US requires high-speed links all the way down, which means running them across vast rural areas, big rivers, and one or two significant mountain ranges. I recall Europe can have foibles of its own if data links have to cross places like the Alps. The obvious question: who foots the bill when the customer is price-sensitive?

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Q. Can your Linux PC run Crysis? OK, it can. But will it run natively? A. Soon, very soon

Charles 9
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Don't blame Gabe for the lack of PR. Blame Epic Games. The issue is not the Engine, as the Unreal Engine has been pretty portable for years (consider that UE-powered games have been on the PS3, which uses OpenGL). It's just that few companies actually bothered to port UE-powered games to Linux. Perhaps one could put pressure on them.

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Tiny heat-sucker helps keep Moore's Law going

Charles 9
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Re: 24% bah!

We already have heat pipes that give us 250x (ie. 25000%) the conduction of copper. That is 200 times as good as this graphene/copper sandwich.

So why aren't they actually being used if they're so good? Probably because they're too novel and expensive. The one thing we don't know about is how much this new process costs. I mean, 250x improvement doesn't mean much if it costs 300x as much, but if a 25% improvement only raises the cost by 10%, most would consider that a practical ROI.

PS. I have a thing about these research article. I see so many research articles and not to many "going to market" articles about new tech. I feel the research articles could stand some control so that we mostly see things that actually have a reasonable chance of actually going to market. Otherwise, we're just being teased.

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Apple iOS 8 'will put end' to crap map app rap flap misery

Charles 9
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Re: will it have downloadable maps?

It's available on Android, too. Got it for free while it was on a promotion.

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Charles 9
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Re: will it have downloadable maps?

And while Google's own Maps app tends to prefer a mobile connection (you can try to cache a path ahead of time), there are at least alternatives out there that offer offline downloading and (if you wish) only use the mobile connection to get traffic data, which isn't nearly as demanding on mobile data allowances.

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Neil Young touts MP3 player that's no Piece of Crap

Charles 9
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Re: Oh Emperor! Your new clothes do look wonderful!

Thing was, he came upon his deafness later in his life, meaning he still had plenty of experience and exposure to music, thus he was still able to compose. The same would not be expected of someone born deaf and never having gained aural experience.

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Charles 9
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Re: PoC

Most consider 256-320kbps encodings to be near the point of "perceptual transparency" (IOW, the average person can't distinguish between this and a lossless encoding). provided the source (GIGO) and encoder (algorithmic tweaks for performance or architecture reasons can alter the end result, thus the qualification) are also of good quality. Perhaps a well-trained ear can still pick out the artifacts, but it's normally tricky in a blind sound test.

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Charles 9
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Re: We don't need no steenkin' PonoPlayers

I think the term you want is "lossless" rather than "uncompressed".

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Charles 9
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Re: all digital recordings

Choppiness is usually the result of bad processing. As for audio quality, it depends on the source (GIGO). Me, I have a decent ear and can distinguish the artifacts from low bitrates so I stick to straight rips at the spec limit of 320kbps. It may be lossy, but it's close enough for my ears, and I can still pack a nice collection into a few GB. Anyone asks, I just say I lack the ear for better and go my way.

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Charles 9
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Re: Am i being a numpty

The "audiophiles" are claiming the loss occurs sooner: at the point of digital conversion (like at the ADC). They figure humans have an Uncanny Valley of audio perception and can subconsciously detect the discrete steps.

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Charles 9
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Re: CAPS LOCK MUSIC

I'd be curious to know if research can prove a true audiophile exists and, if so, what this person would use as audio equipment.

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Euro cops on free Wi-Fi not-so-hotspots: For pity's sake, don't use them for email

Charles 9
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I would ordinarily say if you limit your use of public WiFi points to basic web surfing (news sites and the like), there would be little to worry about, but then you hear those stories about hotspots being hijacked and any new connections being probed by malcontents for direct penetration points (since by logging in you obtain an IP hackers can use to probe your device directly---part of the spec).

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Charles 9
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Re: Smartphones

As for a VPN connection, I'm seeing more home-grade routers support the ability... EXCEPT...they only work in Bridge Mode (TAP). Wouldn't you know it? Most smartphones and the only ONLY accept VPNs in Tunnel Mode (TUN). Make routers take Tunnels or smartphones accept bridges and perhaps more people will be inclined to use them by default.

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Not just for Glasswipes: Google to drop SDK for all Android wearables

Charles 9
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I was thinking that, too. I was under the impression that "dropping" something means to discontinue development on it, not to release it. Perhaps "Google to DEPLOY SDK..." would make for a more sensible title.

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The land of Milk and Sammy: Free music app touted by Samsung

Charles 9
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After reading the article, I went to the Play Store to check. Be advised that little bit about "ad-free" has a footnote attached: for a limited time

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Boston court confirms Peeping Tom's right to upskirt

Charles 9
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Re: When is an upskirt not an upskirt

""No one taking pictures of her in a public environment can be accused of voyeurism."

Really?"

In a swimsuit on public property? She's exposing herself.

So Yeah, Really.

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Charles 9
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Re: Bob Camp

Even if the skirt were ankle-length, it still wouldn't be long enough to cover up the infamous "shoe camera" (and note they said the perv took movies, which means the shutter wouldn't sound), as a show can still slip under the skirt from behind where she wouldn't notice. Any lower than that and the skirt risks scraping the ground and potentially getting caught on ground obstacles.

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Charles 9
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Re: When is an upskirt not an upskirt

Simple answer: When there's no skirt up which to look.

A woman in swimwear is basically self-exposed at or near the limit of decency. No one taking pictures of her in a public environment can be accused of voyeurism.

Pants and shorts of a decent length don't provide sufficient opportunity to look up them, rendering the matter for them moot.

It's only with skirts and the like where we run into the thorny issue of an expectation of privacy concerning body parts covered by said garment. It's an edge case in this case and needs to be addressed by a specific law (which is what the court is telling the legislature to do).

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Charles 9
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Re: Wrong law.

The point is that the peeping tom had the right because it wasn't abridged by any law (that was the finding of the court--that he can't be charged with a crime because, as the law stands it's not a crime).

Note that the court's ruling is very specific and with a narrow justification. In essence, in addition to telling the state why the peep can't be convicted but also how to prevent a repeat performance ("You want to make the practice illegal, pass a law saying so.").

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Google's mystery barge flounces out of San Fran, heads to Stockton

Charles 9
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Re: Block 1 of new off-shore tax haven

Yeah yeah, the old libertarian offshore city idea. Here's the rub. How does the chocolate factory get to their new offshore city without attracting the fed's attention ON THE WAY? IOW, moor offshore and the US can just consider the installation an international location and impose taxes, tariffs, customs dues, etc. on anything heading to or coming from there. And given that a lot of Google's customers are in the US, it would be kinda hard to avoid the port of entry.

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Apple to grieving sons: NO, you cannot have access to your dead mum's iPad

Charles 9
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So Apple believes people are willing to commit a felony (falsifying a government document; I know it's a felony in some US states but what's the case in England?) in order to commit a misdemeanor (stealing the iPad)?

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Charles 9
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Re: @ Dodgy Geezer

I suppose it depends on what is meant by a probate. If you mean a full hearing and so on, not really. Wills are meant to minimize the need for such hearings. In one case, I was designated executor in a will. I took the will to the City Hall where the deceased last lived (where it goes depends on the location, but it's most often the lowest judicial authority for your area--the one that handles all the local affairs). Your basic municipal hall should contain a probate office or the like. Armed with the will and proof of ID, one should be able to submit the will to the office, have it probated by a clerk (the will now becomes their property and is now legally binding--but it now acts in lieu of a probate ruling). They then issue you a document officially declaring you executor of the estate, giving you the authority to attend to estate matters in the deceased's name.

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