* Posts by Jonathan Richards 1

784 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

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Idiot flies drone alongside Flybe jet landing at Newquay Airport

Jonathan Richards 1
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Megaphone

OT re St Columb Major

>...hamlet...

Oi! It's been a chartered market town since the fourteenth century! Well, there was still a cattle market there when I was a boy, but now ... not.

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IP mapping hell couple sues

Jonathan Richards 1
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Marketing 101

> why didn't they just say no data was available for that IP address

Because it's hard to sell a dataset that looks like

nnn.nnn.nnn.nnn NaN NaN

[repeat] ....

....

....

....

What would be interesting is to know just how many "default" locations, i.e. non-data records, were being sold to MaxMind's customers.

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BBC will ‘retain your viewing history’

Jonathan Richards 1
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@Andrew

Could you ask the BBC specifically whether it has carried out a Privacy Impact Assessment [PDF]?

If they have, could they share it with us, please? And if they haven't, pray why not?

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By 2040, computers will need more electricity than the world can generate

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: No, it just means the end of the desktop pc

Why do you think that the silicon running the "cluster" will use less electricity per bit than the silicon in a single-user device? In as much as there is any sense in the press release, it's about pointing out that the physics is becoming the limiting factor, rather than the technology.

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Jonathan Richards 1
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Boffin

Re: That is one serious bullshit chart

> Energy production line stays flat?

Looks flat; isn't flat. There is a very slight upward slope on the energy production line (only three pixels across the years 2010 to 2040, dy/dx = 0.008...) but it's on a logarithmic Y axis. I can't be bothered to do the arithmetic, but I think that represents a pessimistic forecast for growth in electricity generation.

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Jonathan Richards 1
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Boffin

Re: Good thing world electricity production won't flatline until 2040

@DougS

That was my initial reaction, too. But look again at that graph: the Y axis is logarithmic. Even if you plot a line on it where electricity production doubles every five years [1], it's still going to intercept the IC demand lines some time before I'm a centenarian.

[1] I'm reminded of a Dilbert cartoon, in which Dilbert points to a presentation slide, and says "In phase 3, we meet an alien civilization which shares its advanced technology with us".

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London Stock Exchange's German mega-merger: It's a go, despite Brexit

Jonathan Richards 1
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Pirate

Distance matters...

...when high-frequency trading comes into the picture. If your way of (making money | sucking blood) relies on arbitrage between prices on a scale of milliseconds, then you can't afford to be waiting even a few milliseconds for information from distant markets. London already has the IT infrastructure to support this (important financial mechanism | disturbing parasitism).

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Google Chrome deletes Backspace

Jonathan Richards 1
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Mushroom

Re: Long overdue

Alt-SysReq-b works better on Linux systems...

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Panama Papers finally online

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Torrent file

... and a rich set of relationships, too, with over 80 unique labels for those 1.27 million relationships, e.g.

Auditor of; Beneficial owner of; Nominee Director of; Power of Attorney of; same address as; Tax Advisor of

Now I shall embark on a script to convert the CSVs to Graphviz :)

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Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Torrent file

Indeed, but a substantial quantity of data if you want to extract some relationships:

/offshore_leaks_csvs-20160510$ wc -l *.csv

151128 Addresses.csv

1269797 all_edges.csv

319422 Entities.csv

23643 Intermediaries.csv

345646 Officers.csv

2109636 total

So, approximately 1.27 million relationships between 840 thousand nodes.

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The 'new' Microsoft? I still wouldn't touch them with a barge pole

Jonathan Richards 1
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Hello, my name is Gavin

Interestingly, when the scammers are asked point-blank if they're calling from Microsoft they get a bit jumpy, and hedge around the question: they say things like "We are the Windows Support Department", but hesitate actually to lie about being Microsoft(R). I guess that Microsoft's lawyers are a bit scary, even in Mumbai.

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Router hackers reach for the fork: LEDE splits from OpenWRT

Jonathan Richards 1
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Go

You say downside, I say upside...

... but nobody calls the whole thing off.

First of all, forking a project when it has the maturity of OpenWRT is not 'very easy', I suspect. However, your analogy with a childrens' ball game is inapt. The whole point is that there isn't just one ball. The forkers are taking a clone of the ball, and starting a new game in the same field. Current and future players can decide which game to play in: hell, we can play in both, if we like. Meanwhile, there are two games going on, rather than "tough conversations" on the sidelines which cut no code.

Some forks are what you might call 'hard', with a disagreement about technological direction, e.g. the Devuan thing, but this seems to be softer, more about project management. Don't rule out a merger in the future.

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Ex-HP boss Carly Fiorina sacked one week into new job

Jonathan Richards 1
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Headmaster

Re: Great Britain

It's a size thing. Great Britain is a geographical entity, not a political one. It's just the largest of the British Isles, with Ireland second, then Man, Wight, etc (several thousand all told). Great USA? Well, it's big, but not as big as Russia ...

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Greenpeace leaks TTIP texts, reveals strained negotiations

Jonathan Richards 1
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Stop

They expect WHAT, now?

> companies complaining that new regulations would spoil their expectations of a stable business environment

On what planet, in which galaxy of which multiverse has it ever been reasonable to expect a stable business environment? There's a joke in there about livery stables not being remunerative any more, but I can't be bothered to go after it. The serious point is that over my lifetime we've seen vast innovations that have destabilized loads of business models. Where are the typewriter manufacturers, and the videotape rental chains? They didn't go out of business because of regulations, but the manufacturers of ethyl lead fuel additives, and most purveyors of tobacco products did.

Bottom line: businesses do not have a right to expect stable business environments. Negotiating the perils of unstable ones is the risk that C-level executives already get paid obscenely large salaries for.

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Good enough IT really is good enough. You don't need new hardware

Jonathan Richards 1
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Not only is good enough good enough...

... but better has to be >= (good enough + cost of implementation) where 'implementation' includes but is not limited to capital costs, installation, training, modification of test procedures, overhauling backup and disaster recovery, and the salesman's fat commission.

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NASA eyes stadium-sized orb launch: Part 3

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Wanaka is a lovely place.....

Why Wanaka Works Well for NASA Balloons

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Jonathan Richards 1
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Another abort?

20:10 UTC, and the doozers [1] seem to have brought the launch vehicle back up the runway and are unloading the payload, again. Not calm enough, or some other glitch? wanakaweather.co.nz reports very little wind at surface level.

[1] See explanation, if req'd.

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The web is DOOM'd: Average page now as big as id's DOS classic

Jonathan Richards 1
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@1st 2nd 3rd

> average el Reg piece is 2K to 3K bytes

I downloaded the article with lynx, which packs the html into a 6K gzip file. Unpacked, it weighs in at a smidgin under 21 KiB.

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Lotto 'jackpot fix' code

Jonathan Richards 1
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FAIL

ROM?!!

>code that was installed after the machine had been audited

Why was the code not in Read-Only Memory? There are so many things that don't add up, here. A "security boss" with access to the code repository and the code release mechanism... Mutable code in the actual machine which draws the numbers (I assume there is only one, or maybe two, to give redundancy)... No checksumming of the audited code, to be verified before each run? And this for a lottery enterprise, that by definition depends on the trust of its users. At least in the UK national lottery, the numbers are chosen by an assured chaotic physical system in plain view. Why is anybody using digitally generated random numbers, anyway?

Ref: National Lottery Commission

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ExoMars probe narrowly avoids death, still in peril after rocket snafu

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Don't Panic

You did. It's a Beagle.

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Gov opens consultation on how to best to use your data

Jonathan Richards 1
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Reverse anon.

I'd be more happy with the prospect of data sharing if there was a specific offence of de-anonymising. It's not hard to write programs to put together two or more "anonymous" datasets with a personal one, and infer the identity of the data subjects. Writing, possessing, using, or using the products of, such programs should be specifically dis-allowed.

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Gopher server revived after 15 years of downtime

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: "a file system is a good model for locating documents and services"

> Copy of New Folder (1)

Ah, yes. An essential element of my plan (i), i.e. a filing system for document retrieval, is that you NEVER let the users create a folder; there has to be a very controlled process for that, along with updating the file plan.

Slightly OT: this is where the metaphors get a bit mixed. In the formal filing systems which I have in mind, viz. the UK Civil Service of thirty years ago, paper documents were sequence numbered by a Registry and inserted into folders (colour coded for security classification). One or a series of folders constituted a Registered File. In the computer metaphor, most often, a "file" is the same thing as a "document".

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Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: "a file system is a good model for locating documents and services"

> hunting for a document in a filetree

Yup. For effective information retrieval, you need either (i) a filing system with associated fileplan, or (ii) indexes and and a unique document ID/location. There's a reason that many libraries implemented the second of those two concepts hundreds of years before computers were invented. Mis-filed documents in plan (i) are effectively lost, and as the quoted post says it's almost certain that human error will result in mis-filing, and soon. Compiling and maintaining the indexes for documents is resource-intensive, but provided that the documents are on the literal or metaphorical shelf where you're expecting them, then retrieval is much more precise.

HTTP became the protocol of choice across much of the Internet, but it needed search engines (web indexes) really to bring it to life; Lycos, Alta Vista, and some other outfit that I mis-remember...

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Investigatory Powers Bill to be rushed into Parliament on Tuesday

Jonathan Richards 1
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Go

Many eyes...

... make bugs shallow; maybe this works for draft legislation, too.

Instead of unfocussed beefing to our MP's why don't we divide up the draft bill between us, and give just our bit a good read, then pool our problems, to be distributed to said MPs. After all, there's a wealth of expertise here, a wide range of opinions, and a fortnight to go before the second reading.

However, as I post this, the draft bill does not appear on legislation.gov.uk. Does anyone know where to get a copy?

Edit: Found it

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Crowd-funded OpenShot 2.0 delivers graphic Linux package

Jonathan Richards 1
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Version compatibility

I used OpenShot 1.4.3 last year to edit a couple of videos from a friend's camera, so was pleased to see v2 beta. However, v2 will not open the Project files that v1.4.3 wrote, so for future edits, I'd have to re-import.

In fact, I expect that I won't want to do that, but this is heads-up: don't change versions in the middle of a project.

Edit: The release notes say:

"Projects should be completely portable now, between different versions of OpenShot and on different Operating Systems. This was a key design goal of OpenShot 2.0, and it works really well now."

Doesn't for me, as described above. YMMV.

J.

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SCO vs. IBM looks like it's over for good

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Completely wrong

@Mark 85

Amen to the sentiment, brother, but SCO v. IBM was in re. literally dozens of things, none of which were patents. As they say in these parts, "What happened, was, -->" [groklaw.net]

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Canonical accused of violating GPL with ZFS-in-Ubuntu 16.04 plan

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: @HCV - I don't quite get your point

> considering GPL to be unmodifiable is the height of conceit

I don't think anyone has said that they consider that, have they? Of course the GPL is modifiable: we're currently on Version 3, already. What you *can't* do is go back and retro-actively modify Version 2. Re-licensing the kernel under a later version would require the assent of all the kernel contributors who hold a copyright. I'm unaware that there's an appetite to undertake that task.

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Microsoft urges law rewrite to keep US govt's mitts off overseas data

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Worrying - I agree with an American politician!

"Reasonable suspicion" seems to be a bar that is set WAY lower than "probable cause", just on the basis of English semantics ('cos I ain't a lawyer, either). 'Probable cause' implies that one has to be able to articulate some evidence pointing to probability, whereas 'Reasonable suspicion' just has to demonstrate that a suspicion is not unreasonable. Arguing over the applicability of the word "reasonable" in any given context has paid for the private education of generations of lawyer's children...

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Jonathan Richards 1
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Joke

Re: I already got mine

>I call it my computer. Because it is mine.

Famously, MS Windows labelled PCs "My Computer", and for exactly the same reason!

RFI: I've never seen Windows 10. Does it still have 'My Computer'?

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US Congressman calls WIPO 'the FIFA of UN agencies' at hearing

Jonathan Richards 1
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Mushroom

Naming of parts

> Blatter isn't a good Chinese name

The scientific name derives from the Latin blatta, "an insect that shuns the light" Wikipedia.org

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Yelp minimum wage row shines spotlight on … broke, fired employee

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Not just Trump

Oh Homer wrote:

> Most shocking, to me anyway, is the fact that this sick attitude extends to the deeply impoverished working class majority

I'm coming late to these comments, but shortly after seeing an even older Youtube video on the subject of US wealth inequality. It's difficult, as an outsider, to see how this situation survives in a democracy, except that the phrase 'indoctrinated by centuries of neoliberal doctrine into the delusion that they are all merely "temporarily embarrassed millionaires"' [Oh Homer, op cit.] sums it up very nicely. I can't be the only observer from the Old World, where "liberal" is a respectable description of a political outlook rather than a deathly insult, who wonders at the instability of the US system. By that I mean an analogy with the stability of the spinning plate trick: it requires constant intervention to prevent it from coming crashing down in an irretrievable mess.

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The field at the centre of the universe: Cambridge's outdoor pulsar pusher

Jonathan Richards 1
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Alert

Re: Pulsar GPS?

Both Pioneer and Voyager spacecraft carry a plaque indicating the position of the Sun in relation to pulsars, so the first people to use pulsar navigation may not be people at all...

Wikipedia article

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Move over, Google. Here’s Wikipedia's search engine – full of on-demand smut

Jonathan Richards 1
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Coat

Embedded reality

> Why trawl the world, when the world is inside Wiki?

"He's on an intergalactic cruise... in his office"

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Thirty Meter Telescope needs to revisit earthly fine print

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Time to move to La Palma

OK, pedantic wet blanket moment: the Milky Way is composed of billions of stars, but you can't resolve them with the naked eye. Despite the apparently overwhelming number of points of starlight in a dark sky, there's probably no more than 5,000 that one can see.

Source: earthsky.org

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Reports: First death from meteorite impact recorded in India

Jonathan Richards 1
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OT Re: Ludicrous false claim

Thank you for the link, it's good to know that somebody has done some decent anecdote collection.

But... my eyes! my eyes! I haven't had to read orange on black since I elected to have that colour scheme on a DEC VT320, circa 1987. The site colour scheme brought it all flooding back: the hours writing extensions to EVE...

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That's cute, Germany – China shows the world how fusion is done

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: RIBrsiq & thanks

Oh, well, YMMV, I guess, but that's not my experience, I often get an ack. Tips and corrections are the right way to go, I think, unless you want to discuss large-scale problems with an article.

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FTC: Duo bought rights to Android game – then turned it into ad-slinging junkware in an update

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: "... complaints and fines from the FTC"

Under UK law, government computers have no greater legal protection than any other (although if you exfiltrate Official Secrets, then there's that, too). Computer Misuse Act 1990 <- here you go!

I just noticed that the Act contains no definition of a computer. Maybe sneaky peeking at somebody's slide rule might be an offence, who knows?

Obligatory disclaimer: IANAL, nor do I play one in any medium whatsoever.

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Who would code a self-destruct feature into their own web browser? Oh, hello, Apple

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Like a moth to a light

El Reg won't let me post the quoted html from crashsafari.com here, but somebody has already done so at pastebin. I don't know whether the Google Analytics thing is the culprit within the javascript, or the huge loop shoving stuff into the browser history. Probably the latter.

Edit: explanation here[github.com], including why it crashes not only Safari.

Second Edit

Who the hell thought this was a good idea?

HTML5 introduced the history.pushState() and history.replaceState() methods, which allow you to add and modify history entries, respectively.

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Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: come on now Mr Dabbs

> tools available "just in case".

lynx. Seriously, a lifesaver sometimes [1].

I've just used it to look at the source of crashsafari.com, which seems to be some Javascript voodoo involving Google Analytics objects. It's beyond me.

[1] Hyperbole license 0018b9f5d

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What's it like to work for a genius and Olympic archer who's mates with Richard Branson?

Jonathan Richards 1
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Pint

Inexpert Excel

Some years ago, I was working in one of about a dozen different teams which were improving Information Assurance throughout a UK department of state. In order to track the performance of these teams, and hence the Department, the central organization devised a monitoring tool, which they were pleased to call a 'dashboard', implemented in ... Excel.

So, the teams sent in their performance measures to the centre, where they were entered centrally into the spreadsheet, which was then published.

So far, so good, and this went on swimmingly for many months, until one of my team members looked hard at the formulae underlying the pretty graphs and pie charts... It turned out that at some point in the dashboard's history [1] somebody had inserted a row into a "table" and put all the values off by one, so that reported values for target X were contributing to the charts for target X+1. Executive summary: Borked and meaningless. And this for a product that was meant to be tracking Information Assurance!

Irony overload, you might think, but that would leave you nowhere to go when you heard about the response from the central Information Assurance team. They acknowledged the fault, but declined to fix it, because "it would make the previous reports look different, and they had already been published to the Secretary of State".

If there's a moral, it's to have training for Excel operators in the use of the rather excellent but (IME) underused Auditing Toolbar, and then to audit its use!

[1] version control? No, that would have been a good idea, wouldn't it?

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College kids sue Google for 'spying' on them with Apps for Education

Jonathan Richards 1
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Trollface

Re: The State University of California bought the package....

Uninformed AC is Uninformed, and frothed thus:

>[UC] are the ones who clicked on "ACCEPT" the terms and conditions of sale that included the harvesting of data from students emails.

They didn't click any such thing, and the terms and conditions specifically excluded the harvesting of data processed under the agreement.

Do read the article before spouting off.

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Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: did no one read the small print?

Answers can be had by the simple expedient of reading the link in the article. To save you the bother, in answer to your question: Allegedly, yes.

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Jonathan Richards 1
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Alert

Re: "brings a whole new meaning to 'Hello Google'"

>Then you can't disable it...

Come at it from the other direction, then. Disable the microphone device, except when you need it. This advice is clearly only useful if (a) we're not talking about a mobile phone, and (b) we can rely on Chrome not to fiddle with the hardware settings behind your back. Perhaps running as an unprivileged user would help?

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Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Normally I hate the lawsuit mentality

Richard wrote: >Sorry if they did not understand terms of trade

And SW10 [1] wrote: >It's not clear to me that they made this trade

This appears to be the nub: Google made several statements to the effect that student and college emails were not being processed for ad-related purposes (see para 16 of the complaint, et seq.) and then admitted in April 2014 that they were taking steps to remove ad-scanning, i.e. they were then going to stop doing what they had said they wouldn't do.

Now, if you consider the terms of trade to be "ignore our stated privacy policy, you just know we're going to mine your data", then the suit is meritless. I don't consider that. I am one of those people who read privacy policies before agreeing to them, and consequently rely on them. If I thought that a company had reneged on that agreement, I'd consider suing them, too.

[1] Kensington & Chelsea? :)

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Lights out for Space Vehicle Number 23: UK smacked when US sat threw GPS out of whack

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Hmm...

Hmm... indeed. One of those low-risk:high-impact failure modes that crop up in these discussions is a solar coronal mass ejection that takes out a significant number of orbiting electronic devices. Unless we believe that Galileo, GLONASS, etc. satellites are better hardened against radiation damage than GPS, they don't constitute an effective backup (for that scenario).

As far as I remember (haven't looked it up) we're currently on the downslope of the 11-year solar activity cycle: I'm sure we'll have reduced our dependency on orbital electronics by the time of the next maximum. [Insert unwarranted optimism icon of your choice].

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Uber rebrands to the sound of whalesong confusion

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Paradigm shift?

^

What Alister said.

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Little warning: Deleting the wrong files may brick your Linux PC

Jonathan Richards 1
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Stop

Re: Sounds Really Clever?

> unix presents non-file data as if it were a filesystem

Exactly so. This is the Unix way: in Unix, everything looks like a file, which means that you *can* pipe things between program outputs, network sockets, logical disk volumes, physical devices, and, crucially in this case, firmware (flash memory) on the motherboard. This is a Good Thing.

The bad news is that, for some broken implementations of UEFI, if one clobbers the firmware, the computer is bricked. Bricked, as in won't POST; as in {attach suitable chain && redeploy > boat anchor}.

All the fuss arises because the developers of software systems that make it possible for a (super)user to create boat anchors from expensive IT gear have a limited appetite for protecting people from their own, umm, creativity.

rm -rf appearing on a command line should strike fear into you, even without the EFI angle. I didn't really like even typing it in a Reg comment just then... hence the icon.

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UK taxpayers should foot £2bn or more to adopt Snoopers' Charter, says Inquiry

Jonathan Richards 1
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Stop

Re: ICR

I think that's confusing an Internet Connection Record with a World Wide Web Connection Record (it wouldn't be surprising if the Home Secretary was unaware of the difference). If I cause to be executed:

jonathan@Odin:~$ ping 185.53.177.8

have I created an ICMP ICR to horsesex.com that would be of interest to the plod? [1]

If I did

$ lynx 185.53.177.8

I should certainly create an HTTP connection [2], but no objectionable images would be retrieved, so the WWWCR had better remember the browser's User Agent string, too. I would take a moderately large bet that the Home Secretary doesn't know what one of those is.

[1] Source:

jonathan@Odin:~$ dig horsesex.com

; <<>> DiG 9.9.5-3ubuntu0.7-Ubuntu <<>> horsesex.com

;; global options: +cmd

;; Got answer:

;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 22088

;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 1, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 1

;; OPT PSEUDOSECTION:

; EDNS: version: 0, flags:; udp: 4000

;; QUESTION SECTION:

;horsesex.com. IN A

;; ANSWER SECTION:

horsesex.com. 600 IN A 185.53.177.8

[2] I haven't done so, and don't intend to, so I can't tell you anything about the site, or even if it responds on port 80!

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Random ideas sought to improve cryptography

Jonathan Richards 1
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Facepalm

See published work...

I searched for relevant publications by Coward, A. but found little. Can you give us a more precise reference?

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'Printer Ready'. Er… you actually want to print? What, right now?

Jonathan Richards 1
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It ain't necessarily so...

> yes, you f***ed up the page size settings

Not if the program you're using has come from the good ol' USA with default settings for Letter paper, and persists with them despite your local settings for GB-en all over the place.

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