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* Posts by Jonathan Richards 1

486 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

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You'll find Yoda at the back of every IT conference

Jonathan Richards 1
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Headmaster

Summoner's Tale

Chaucer wrote The Somonours Tale, I believe. No apostrophe for Geoff. I don't understand where Sting's alleged error lies, though. If there is one Summoner, and he has ten tales, then are they not properly grammatically described by the noun phrase Ten Summoner's Tales?

Edit: I see I am not the first PGN to hit Submit! Didn't know that about the Summoner/Sumner thing, though. That's illuminating.

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The internet just BROKE under its own weight – we explain how

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Sadly

Eh?

As I understand it, this isn't a traffic issue, it's about the number of routes that a Border Gateway Protocol device must keep in its routing tables. There are now more than 512K routes, i.e. links between Autonomous Systems, on the Internet, breaching another one of those arbitrary limits which someone set *ridiculously, humungously huge* way back when your operating system ran from a 5.25" floppy disk.

If device operators are lucky, then increasing the routing table size is just a configuration issue (for values of 'just' involving taking down your network), otherwise they may have actually to replace the physical devices.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4: 4G Android tablet is easy to swallow

Jonathan Richards 1
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Unhappy

@Kubla Cant - MTP instead of USB HDD mode

Yeah, this was really off-pi... um, off-putting. I have an HTC One X with fixed internal storage: no SD card.

I managed to work out (with difficulty) how to make Kubuntu on my PC communicate using MTP, but I'm stuffed when it comes to the car: I used to be able to connect with USB and play podcasts, music, etc. from the phone. Now the car headunit just reports "Media Error".

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Cut price Android on steroids: OnePlus One – should we look gift horse in the gob?

Jonathan Richards 1
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Happy

Re: Buy one? Really?

> you can buy one, providing you know someone who already has one

Well, you do. Mr Orlowski has just told you that he has one. Isn't that sufficient?

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ALIEN BODY FOUND ON MARS: Curiosity rover snaps extraterrestrial

Jonathan Richards 1
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Sky-iron

Watch out for the Panserbjørne!

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When the robot rebellion comes, this Jibo droid will BORE you to death

Jonathan Richards 1
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Technological gap

OK, in the promo video this thing seems to understand natural language - "You know me so well" is interpreted as an affirmative - so its language processing is going to have to be done either by an offload server in the house, or more likely in the cloud. We all know where that leads. It's clearly envisaged (ha!) that this thing will know everyone's facial characteristics and be able to label the meatbags around it. It listens and watches and records... oh, yes, I want one of these, NOT.

Finally, that promo video house was distinctly two storeys. The little guy is going to have to learn to climb stairs, or have a lift of his own, unless you've got to carry it around with you, in which case it's only a mobile phone in a funky case.

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British cops cuff 660 suspected paedophiles

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: for some definition of paedophile...

Leaving aside cartoons etc., every picture of child abuse, from which people profit, is made at the moment of some poor child suffering actual abuse. In the sick marketplace for such images, the suppression effort is being aimed at both suppliers and consumers, in an effort to stop the latter from becoming abusers and suppliers in turn.

I'm with everyone who wants to see the real perverts meet justice, and with everyone who doesn't want by-standers caught up in some indiscriminate trawl based on dodgy evidence. But this is what rules of evidence, and courts, are for.

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Jonathan Richards 1
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Government control the police...

...they wish. Your scenario kind of implies that there's one "Chief Inspector" that can make stuff like this happen. In fact there are nearly fifty independent constabularies in the UK, each led by a Chief Constable (or equivalent; Chief Inspector is a relatively low rank). So Mr Cameron would have to be able to have dozens of top policemen to go "Righty-ho", and you only have to look at the Andrew Mitchell case to know how popular the politicos are with the constabulary, and to see how this sort of conspiracy simply wouldn't work, and wouldn't remain secret for more than a few minutes if any particular PM were to try it.

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Whoah! How many Google Play apps want to read your texts?

Jonathan Richards 1
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Unhappy

Don't forget the camera...

Several apps I run have recently asked to add to their permissions on update to be able to take pictures and record audio at any time. I am sufficiently creeped out by this to have installed Disable Camera.

I totally agree that the permissions model is not correct, and the recent "simplification" has made things worse. Updates *used* to tell me which permission requests were new, and now they don't.

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SpaceX FINALLY lobs six sats into orbit (don't mention the landing)

Jonathan Richards 1
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Boffin

Tall items don't fall intact

Just look at chimney demolitions. Although the initial tilt from the vertical begins with the chimney intact, the fabric cannot transmit the forces necessary to accelerate the top of the chimney along a circular arc, and it breaks at its weakest point. I don't know if anyone has tried toppling a Falcon 9 to see what would happen; I guess a bit of computer simulation would give the answer as to whether its stiffness was up to it.

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FBI: We found US MILITARY AIRCRAFT INTEL during raid on alleged Chinese hacker

Jonathan Richards 1
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Coat

su bin?

jonathan@Odin:~$ egrep ^bin /etc/passwd

bin:x:2:2:bin:/bin:/usr/sbin/nologin

jonathan@Odin:~$ /usr/sbin/nologin

This account is currently not available.

Ha! My leet system configuration defeats you again, # su bin!

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Watch: DARPA shows off first successful test of STEERABLE bullet

Jonathan Richards 1
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Record distance...

... for the calibre, note.

Cpl Furlong's distance was beaten, *twice in succession*, by two confirmed kill shots taken by Household Cavalry Corporal of Horse Craig Harrison at 2,475 m. However, he was using .338 ammunition.

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El Reg nips down IKEA's 'I've Got A Screw Loose Street'

Jonathan Richards 1
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Happy

For extra bonus points...

... one of the screws in the signs ought to be somewhat oversized and not properly tightened. Sigh. One can't have everything.

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Amazon begs Feds for drone test permission slip

Jonathan Richards 1
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Stop

Ah, we thought of that, Grumpy!

"So that we can be aware of the situation of the aircraft at all times, it is equipped with high-resolution cameras which continuously transmit back to the operator and record to remote storage. In the event that nobody appears at the property to receive an air-drop delivery, the drone will fly to windows and other suitable apertures to survey the interior to ascertain occupancy.

While this will have the useful effect of deterring theft or violence directed at the aircraft, it may also prove to be a useful source of data, e.g. to recommend exciting deals on replacement of tired home furnishings.", a company spokesdroid did not say when asked.

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Snowden seeks Russian asylum extension

Jonathan Richards 1
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FAIL

Automoronic

Snowden was born in 1983. The Soviet Union ceased to exist at the end of 1991. So they'd have had to have recruited him sometime between birth and the age of seven.

Get a grip.

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Today's Facebook fury: Coppertone-like baby pic ban baffles US mom

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: I say bullshit

>T&C's don't hold up very well in courts.

[citation needed]

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Man FOUND ON MOON denies lunar alien interface

Jonathan Richards 1
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Splendid sentiment, but...

...sloppy supporting remark:

> Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat

No they didn't. People have known that the earth was spherical from antiquity, and Eratosthenes even made a pretty good measurement of its size in about 240 BC, i.e. about 2,300 years ago.

> humans were alone on this planet.

We've never been alone on this planet. (Sorry, I put you and me together in that sentence, assuming that you are in fact human). We're accompanied by endless more or less related species, with some of which we have remarkable and productive relationships. There have been times since our species appeared that we might even have had other hominid species that we could communicate with. While I'm in the camp that finds it more likely than not that there is life beyond the thin shell surrounding the Earth, I'm also firmly of the opinion that we'll never get physical intelligent visitors. Space is hugely, mind-bogglingly big.

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Revealed: SECRET DNA TEST SCANDAL at UN IP agency

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: on a technical note...

> how good the DNA results were at identifying the targets?

para 14 of the Pooley report states "Everyone who provided samples was excluded as a suspect".

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That 'wiped' Android phone you bought is stuffed with NAKED SELFIES – possibly

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: One punter was so casual...

You beat me to it.

"One punter was so keen to get the cash when selling someone else's iPad they did not even turn off the device, let alone wipe photos and emails stored within."

There, that sounds more like it. Behaviour like that would make me, as a buyer, call off the deal instantly.

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Dead letter office: ancient smallpox sample turns up in old US lab

Jonathan Richards 1
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Facepalm

Variola

Let's hope firstly that there are no more of these little surprises lurking elsewhere, and failing that, hope that the rest turn up before the meaning of 'variola' is lost on the young team tasked with turfing out garbage from the back of storage room Z9. "I thought it was OK, boss, because it didn't have a ☣, or nuffin'". [1]

[1] Biohazard symbol developed in 1966-7, I find, though I'm sure I remember reading about it as being a novelty in the early seventies.

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Xiaomi: Hidden Android dragon is growing fast, despite being unknown in the West

Jonathan Richards 1
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Should be popular with budgerigars

According to Google Translate Xiaomi (小米) translates as millet. No stranger than Apple(R), I guess.

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Lords try shoehorning law against REVENGE SMUT into justice bill

Jonathan Richards 1
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Stick

Oh, come! It's pretty easy to dodge that stick if you're an ethical and decent photographer. The courts are perfectly able to distinguish between a revenge porn posting (as someone above said, usually with vile comments attached) and a proper photo shoot upload, or public place photography.

In general, the computer types from which El Reg draws its readership like to think of the law in terms of "if this then guilty", and then to highlight the ridiculous corner cases and cry "Foul!". In practice, the law is mediated by many and disparate real people, who investigate, decide whether or not to prosecute, and then take into account the individual case circumstances before convicting.

As a pretty good example, I give you Clive Ponting, whose admitted actions were absolutely a breach of the Official Secrets Act, and yet was acquitted.

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Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: I can see this backfiring.

"An easier solution in my view would be societal change. Stop shooting porn! The internet has plenty of boobs, yours are not special."

FTFY

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ISPs haul GCHQ into COURT over dragnet interwebs snooping

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Here come the lawsuits.

Why is it at all important that we reassure MPs that they are, once again, especially privileged?

Well, for starters because parliament is sovereign in our quasi-constitution, so one would hope that no shadowy powers were bugging and suborning parliamentarians, as Harold Wilson was convinced was the case. Even though subsequent investigations have turned up no evidence that he was right, it's clearly the case that the *suspicion* that he was being bugged altered Mr Wilson's behaviour, and perhaps his decisions. Thus any assurance we can get that parliamentarians are not being spied upon will be welcome. This does not mean that they get those assurances and the rest of us don't, of course.

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Golf bloke to Richard Branson: Get on board the future bus, where there's 'NO WEATHER'

Jonathan Richards 1
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Headmaster

Re: Perhaps it is just sitting still for a bit...

Is not London Eye but a few hundred yards across the river from where Pepys sat under a tree and played an air on his pipe during that little problem with the Armada?

No, and for a variety of reasons. Samuel Pepys worked for the Navy Board, in Seething Lane [1], close to the Tower of London, which is some considerable way down the river from where the London Eye now stands. And the ironically named Grande y Felicísima Armada sailed from Spain in 1588, forty-five years before Samuel Pepys was born.

[1] http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/483/

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SPACE: The FINAL FRONTIER. These are the TEN-YEAR images of star probe Cassini

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: A hearty well-done to NASA and Cassini.

+1, but if you recall, you scoop fuel from the Sun (or similar fine stellar object), not from gas giants. For those for whom the allusion brings back fond memories, see http://www.oolite.org/

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Indian rocket set to sling five satellites

Jonathan Richards 1
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Mushroom

Uh oh!

@DropBear

If you're right, then you just nullified the UK's defence strategy for the last fifty or sixty years. The purpose of nuclear deterrence is to assure your potential enemy that a military incursion will be met with a nuclear response. The aggressor cannot assume that he is starting a "classical-weapons-only type campaign".

It gets scary when, as in the nineteen sixties, two nuclear powers try to see how big they can puff themselves up behind such a threat, and I guess that neither India nor China want to go there. So what we have at the moment between them is a sort of nuclear deterrent deterrence.

Oh! a good reason for the icon, for a change!

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Jonathan Richards 1
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Headmaster

One point

You got an upvote for the sentiments; I'd just like to point out that Hinduism is a religion, not a race, so while you're right about castes not being racial, your reason isn't relevant.

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Amazon offers Blighty's publishing industry 'assisted suicide'

Jonathan Richards 1
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Alien

What could possibly be next?

Here comes CHOAM

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Facebook 'manipulated' 700k users' feelings in SECRET EXPERIMENT

Jonathan Richards 1
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Unhappy

Surprising...

...that they got a statistically significant measurable effect from that methodology, if all it was was assessing emotional content on the basis of contained words. I'm fond of quoting my Second Law of Information Retrieval: "The set of words in a document do NOT tell you what the document is about."

How would a lexicon approach distinguish the emotional content of "I'm off down town to see 'Cry Freedom'" (at least two "negative" words) from "The sweet-talking git would never have made me happy, I should be glad that he's gone" (at least two "positive" words).

I suppose I could go to the PNAS and read the paper, but I don't feel like giving them the satisfaction, really.

Icon: says it all without saying it. Did the trick-cyclists categorise emoticons, too?

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Own goal as World Cup Wi-Fi passwords spilled in newspaper snap

Jonathan Richards 1
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Stop

Re: How many users over the years...

> a long complex password written down is better...

Except that if you read your online banking terms and conditions you'll find that writing down your password in this way is forbidden, and you'll be liable for fraudulent losses should they occur.

I protect my passwords from family and friends, and expect them to protect theirs from me; there seems to be this weird idea floating around that F&F ought to be trusted, which IMHO undermines the correct mindset with respect to front-line security.

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Google starts selling Glass to Brits – for £1,000 a pop

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: No symmetrical frames

> Double the lumps and put extra battery or features in there like a laser pointer.

I read that as "laser printer", which is (a) funnier, and (b) more practical. A laser pointer that you aim with head movements? "Look, Glasshole, an aeroplane! Ha ha, now the plod are coming for you."

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Hackers reverse-engineer NSA spy kit using off-the-shelf parts

Jonathan Richards 1
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Go

Physical security

Generally speaking, if the bad guys have breached your physical security then you don't have much chance anyway.

It's remarkably difficult, and hence expensive, to maintain physical security around the clock for a 'normal' office environment. Your server room may be secure, but most companies do not employ, e.g., cleaning staff from agencies that conduct background checks. Everyday access by their personnel, or even yours, who have been suborned, or socially-engineered access by the black-hats directly, could give opportunities for deploying devices like keyloggers, which could then sit unnoticed in desk cable-management conduits for a very long time.

What the production of these devices does is illuminate our threat perception. For most companies most of the time, the CIO or security boss is going to be thinking "who's going to go to *those* lengths...?". Reading this, they will realise the lengths are shorter than you might think.

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PICS ON GROUND: Cabbies PARALYZE London in Uber rebellion

Jonathan Richards 1
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Stop

Re: But

> there's nothing to stop the cabbies doing this [charging a premium price]

Yes there is! A taxi driver will charge you EXACTLY what the fare reading on his taximeter says!!

A regulated taxi service is a gem, and not one you should consider throwing away for the "privilege" of summoning some jerk with a TomTom and a Fiesta who'll charge you whatever he thinks he will.

Plus, hands up who has actually navigated around greater London using a satnav? They're crap, for anything but the simplest journeys, based on my experiences with both Garmin and Google Maps.

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Microsoft poised to take Web server crown from Apache

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: "Microsoft poised to take Web server crown from Apache"

> Obviously this is a nonsense metric

Yes. Agreed, but nonsensical in another sense, too [1]. Market share is just a number. There is no reason to suppose that it correlates with any quality measure at all, especially when the offerings, as here, are both free (as in beer), so there is no financial investment appraisal being made. If I was in the position where I was selecting a web server, the very last question on my mind would be "Am I going with the herd?"

[1] If you see what I mean. I think I do!

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Ukrainian teen created in lab passes Turing Test – famous nutty prof

Jonathan Richards 1
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Language skills?

Was the conversation conducted in Eugene's native language, which I presume is Ukrainian, or in English? If the latter, I suggest that this is not the scenario that Alan Turing was envisaging. I'd make an uninformed guess that the best discriminators between AIs and humans are currently language-based jokes.

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PARTY TIME! MIT slips $100 to each student ... in Bitcoin

Jonathan Richards 1
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Childcatcher

Re WTF, man?

I'm tending towards the time-traveller theory to explain S11. It still capitalises the occasional Noun, as was common in English writing before the seventeenth Century.

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Trolls and victims watch Supremes for definition of meaningless patents

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Patent purpose

> The purpose of a patent is to protect an invention

Bzzzt. Wrong. The grant of the limited time monopoly is the *incentive* that the state offers to the inventor in order to publish his invention. When everyone can see how the novel mechanism is constructed, then progress is promoted, because other inventors can build on the idea. It's the progress of technology that is the purpose of a patent regime.

Thus it follows that a patent must be drafted to *teach* a practitioner in the relevant field how to build the patented device. If it's too vague, then the state is not getting the quid pro quo of the monopoly deal, and the courts will invalidate the patent.

In my opinion, the USPTO is improperly incentivized. As an agency, it gets more revenue the more patents it grants; that's not going to produce the correct result, as any fool can see with a moment's thought.

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New Reg mobile site - feedback here!

Jonathan Richards 1
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Thumb Up

Works for me

I'm coming a bit late to the party, so some of the issues {mentioned | whinged about} above may have been fixed.

I too would like an analogue of the desktop /week page, i.e. chronological presentation of posts, since I find the Top Stories/Most Read idea unappealing.

Previously-visited stories appear in red for me, which is just as I like it, and both internal and external hypertext links work properly.

I'm not a frequent user of the site using my phone, but the m. site as it stands now is eminently usable for my setup.

Hardware: HTC One X

OS: Android 4.1.1

Browser: Dolphin Browser v 11.0.0 + Jetpack 6.1.2 + Text Sizer add-on

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EE & Vodafone will let you BONK on the TUBE – with Boris' blessing

Jonathan Richards 1
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Unhappy

Limited devices

Wonko wrote:

Worse than that, these "trials" only seem to involve specific models of phones, rather than any phone with an NFC chip

The EE flavour, called Cash on Tap [ee.co.uk] only works on 9 models of mobile phone (none of which I own), and you have to have a 4GEE contract and a special NFC-enabled SIM card, too. This is some way from replacing the convenience of cash, or the Oyster card. As a very occasional visitor to the metropolis, I shall probably just stop catching the bus...

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How Microsoft can keep Win XP alive – and WHY: A real-world example

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Liability mentality

> Lawsuit

I really don't think so. Read through the EULA some time when you have a spare four hours. Microsoft has foresworn any liability that they possibly can, and (from memory) where they can't, the limit of their liability is the price you paid for the software.

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Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: XP will only be insecure if connected

Procedures, procedures, procedures ...

Said machinist then takes the USB key home

Bzzzt. Machinist to collect cards from office.

Procedure: Securely fasten CNC machine USB devices to 15 cm mild steel angle iron. Fixed.

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Dropbox nukes bloke's file share in DMCA brouhaha – then admits it made a 'HASH OF IT'

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: hash

> it's also possible...

Yes, if I was sharing a draft of my first novel with my editor, for instance. But in that case, it's hardly likely to be the subject of a DMCA takedown notice in the first place, is it? DMCA takedown has to be initiated by the copyright owner or his agent.

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Jonathan Richards 1
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Inappropriate emoticon?

Prolly thought it was a reasonable facsimile of an "arms in the air" celebration

\o/

|||

/ \

PS El Reg's insistence that it knows where I want to put <p></p> tags is a bit irritating sometimes...

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US Supreme Court Justices hear arguments in game-changing software IP case

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Similar programs

Steve Davies wrote:

Until I do, I am very reluctant to release any of my software under a GPL License

I'm not sure what your concerns are. If we are talking about software that you wrote, then the GPL is the licence you might choose if (a) you want people to have the freedom to modify, change, and improve your code and (b) you want to ensure that those improvements are similarly free (as in freedom), i.e. that nobody can take your work and make it proprietary.

Many people seem to think that releasing under the GPL is equivalent to putting something in the public domain, and that's just SO wrong. You retain the copyright to your GPLed code, and license compliance is enforced by the automatic removal of the copyright permissions if someone is foolish or ignorant enough to transgress.

On the other hand, if you do not want to GPL your code, in order to keep it proprietary, then please don't. Or if you want it to be freely available, but without the protection at (b) above, you might consider a BSD licence?

None of the above is legal advice, b.t.w., for the good and sufficient reason that I'm Not A Lawyer!

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Jonathan Richards 1
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@ willi0000000

I think "substantial copying" is indeed established by the evidence of experts, though in the US I believe that experts are hired by the opponent parties rather than by the courts. It is a defence against the charge of copying, though, if it can also be established that the code in question is the only sensible way to write something for interoperability, hence SCO's claim of copyright infringement relating to errno.h failed.

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Jonathan Richards 1
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Stop

Re: A thought experiment

Your thought experiment terminates after parsing the first sentence.

Suppose I have an algorithm.

Algorithms are mathematics, and ergo are not patentable: this is well-established in both the UK and US courts. To extend your experiment, suppose I have an algorithm for fast factoring of huge prime numbers? Such a thing would be hugely valuable. Could I patent it? No, I could not. If I made some silicon which implemented the algorithm, then the exact form of the carefully arranged sand would be protectable, but the algorithm wouldn't. Somebody could extract the algorithm, and implement it again in whatever way they liked, because it's just mathematics: pure ideas are not patentable.

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Raised £350bn in crowdsourced funding? Tell me about it (not)

Jonathan Richards 1
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Go

Daily FAIL

> *Insert item* causes cancer

*Insert item* causes cancer and reduces house prices.

FTFY.

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Brit game devs WILL get tax relief for, er, EastEnders Game and Legend of Slough

Jonathan Richards 1
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Holmes

Sixty three comments...

...as I write, and nobody has pointed out Sir, You Are Being Hunted.

Sir, You Are Being Hunted is a procedurally-generated first-person game of stealth and survival set in a very British world where robots hunt humans for sport. You must use your wits and possibly a flask of tea to stay alive.

Deerstalker FTW!

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Dear Reg: What is a 'Lag' and a 'Jacksey'?

Jonathan Richards 1
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Search terms, pl.

The "offending" article isn't very long; one wonders what Cecilia was searching for when she discovered the report of our hero's charger discomfort. Presumably "lag" and "jacksie" weren't in the search string, since Cecilia is unfamiliar with those terms, so was it "Swaleside Prison"? "drug and phone smuggling"? "cannabis and cocaine"?

Unfortunately, the original story at The Sun and Lester's story are both on the first page of GoogleTM results for "Tony Pile".

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