* Posts by Ivan 4

528 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

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Meet the man who inspired Elon Musk’s fear of the robot uprising

Ivan 4
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Maybe he should have read Two Faces of Tomorrow by James P. Hogan before he wrote his book.

All he is showing is his fear that he might just be totally irrelevant to mankind in general so he writes a book that should ensure that he will be remembered.

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E-voting and the UK election: Pick a lizard, any lizard

Ivan 4
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Re: Please, no e-voting!

or even 2 mins to fill in a postal ballot

Postal votes are the easiest way to fiddle the results and should be banned with a few very well defined exceptions - British forces stationed overseas and those people that are in hospital/ care homes come to mind as the main exceptions.

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Why recruiters are looking beyond IT's traditional talent pool

Ivan 4
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Boltar, I never said, and I hope I never implied, it was simple - it isn't and never will be.

The developer you know sounds as if he is dedicated to his work and as such should be earning big money for what he does. The last team we employed for one of our clients walked away with just over £1m for 9 months work and we will employ them again when we need their expertise

Selling industrial control systems is a business. Just read what Eric has to say in the comment just above yours.

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Ivan 4
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Re: Ivan 4

@Lallabalalla

We do give them all that information and, when it is critical, the timing of each operation.

In one case we even went as far as filming the operation on a slightly older machine - the operating sequence was exactly the same and the only difference was newer components, stepper motors, enhanced sensors etc.

I am not trying to get a dig in at all developers, they do their best, but a lot of them quote to do the development without knowing what is entailed. Industrial machine tool control is somewhat of a specialist field that developers without some specialist knowledge should be very wary of.

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Ivan 4
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@boltar

Any good developer can turn his hand to any task given a decent spec

So you are saying that your employer is going to carry several million indemnity insurance just to cover your cock ups. You obviously know nothing about industrial control software and the equipment it is running.

We have the job of writing the specifications for such software and include with the detailed specifications full operating instructions, photographs and diagrams as well as being on the end of the phone line to answer questions and still the developers that have never been out on the production floor get it wrong by missing some essential sequence of operation.

The usual attitude of the developers when questioned about their cock up is that they thought it was 'near enough'. Near enough when applied to a £5m machine is not good enough especially if it means that machine will have to be replaced.

Those developers that have a background in industry are way better than those that don't. Machine tools are very unforgiving.

Also theres a reason most serious software houses and other companies that do in house coding have Business Analyists as well as coders.

A Business Analyst might be necessary in developing financial services software but is useless for industrial control software.

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Ivan 4
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@Naselus

I couldn't agree more. Having seen a full production line come to a grinding halt because the programmer didn't know that you only switch off the lubrication pumps AFTER everything has stopped moving, even in an emergency shutdown situation - for him emergency shutdown was just cut all power. That little SNAFU cost several million before that line was up and running again.

Now, every bit of software that is intended to go into that plant comes to us first for inspection and testing and there had better not be any binary blobs that we can't get into - if there are then it is rejected at the developers expense - they don't get paid since the requirements are in the contract.

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So how should we tax these BASTARD COMPANIES, then?

Ivan 4
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I know Tim will think I am being rather simple but I do wonder why we have tax at all. If my memory is correct, it may not be, this last round of taxation started as a way to fund a war. That war has been over for a very long time but we still have the tax which everyone bitches about. I assume we still have it because government became a rather hungry beast that thought it could grow on the backs of the population that were earning money.

Now, maybe the country should be run as a company for the benefit of the shareholders - the population - and should therefore make a profit with dividends being shared out among the shareholders. The question is why wouldn't such a system work? I know the government would be dead against it because it would force many in government out of the feed trough be it MPs, department heads and/or hangers on.

If we must continue taxation why not negative income tax for individuals and something based on that for companies. That way startup companies get a chance to grow and we do away with the welfare state.

Then, who am I to think such things, after all I've been an engineer for nearly 50 years not an economist.

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Watch out for the products that have snuck in behind your back

Ivan 4
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I think the iThings are mentioned because they are the things that attract the 'empire builders' in any company.

I agree that new hardware is interesting, especially if I can take it apart to look inside, but the results of people trying to use ShIT software can be very amusing since in most cases it a) won't install and b) if it does install somehow it generally doesn't run. In house we use OS/2 and our clients use OS/2 modified to run industrial systems and engineering equipment.

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Ivan 4
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Re: Not just IT, but largely

@Edwin. That is exactly what I do here, I run the company and the IT department. In fact we started as an IT company and then added the other 'bits' as needed to keep clients happy and operational.

While this works very well for a small company I think, as the company grows, there becomes much more 'empire building' in departments which is a very strong driver of what this article points out.

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Google versus the EU: Sigh. You can't exploit a contestable monopoly

Ivan 4
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Re: Be careful of what you ask for!

Goody, let's do that - pillory the EU commission I mean, after all they are an unelected monopoly that dictate what we can and can't do.

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Kremlin hackers exploited TWO 0-day Flash, Windows vulns

Ivan 4
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Ah, FireEye the 'reds under the bed' company. According to their stance everything has to be caused by communists, be they Russians or Chinese, it can't be anyone else.

The thing they seem to forget is that most governments have lousy security on their IT which is an open invitation to anyone to try and see if they can get into the systems.

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Tortilla de patatas

Ivan 4
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Re: Success!

@CarlW, you could do what I have been doing for years - using the leftover mashed potato.

Because the potatoes I get from our local market come in many different sizes it is very difficult to work out the exact quantity to use for mashed potato so I generally have some left over - rather than dumping it to waste it is stored in the fridge for a few days (in fact I generally cook more potatoes than I need just to have some on hand). They are then used with lightly fried chopped onions and lardons to make my version of this dish.

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You! GOOGLE! HAND OVER the special SAUCE, says Senate (of France)

Ivan 4
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Good, they are just about useless because there is little in France that anyone wants to search for.

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DTS announces DTS:X – sparks object-based audio war with Dolby

Ivan 4
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Consequently, with DTS:X you could boost the dialogue level of a movie to suit specific listening conditions.

Will it compensate for the mumble effect that actors use? I assume they mumble because they have not learnt diction. It is most annoying to have to crank up the volume and then still not be able to understand what they are saying.

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Bluetooth SIG launches dev studio to encourage development

Ivan 4
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Re: What OS then ?

I think it will be either windows or android based with preference going to windows unless it is web based in which case heaven help us.

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Google's new scribble-tab-ulous handwriting interface for Android

Ivan 4
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Re: I'm genuinely surprised Android hasn't had this kind of thing until now.

This has been available on the Entourage Edge Dual book - both 7 and 10 inch versions - since 2011. It is much easier there since the Edge is designed to use a wacom stylus on both the e-ink and LCD screens.

The biggest problem I can see with this new implementation is the lack of a precision stylus that works on a capacitive touch screen.

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WHAT did GOOGLE do SO WRONG to get a slapping from the EU?

Ivan 4
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Re: but...

If Google were operating decently they would show the top rated shopping/comparison sites so you could get the best deal, not them!

The point is that if I am looking for detailed information - specifications, manuals, power usage, etc. - I DO NOT WANT OR NEED to have to trawl through shopping and/or comparison sites, they are just a hindrance to me getting the information I want.

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Ivan 4
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AndyS, so what, it is a true statement. The fact that a lot of people can't be bothered to change what they have been doing for years in no way changes that fact. Just as people complain about adds in the search results because they don't use AB+.

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Lib Dem manifesto: Spook slapdown, ban on teen-repelling Mosquitos

Ivan 4
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Re: British politics in a nutshell

I think that's unfair - New Labour has shown it can be just as corrupt as the Tories.

Those two are the same party but use different colour rosettes. They are as bad as each other, nothing they say can be trusted except their releaving the the British tax payer of their hard earned cash with the help of the Libdems.

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EU says dominant Google ILLEGALLY FIDDLES search results

Ivan 4
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Re: Eh?

Ah codejunky, you miss the point of how the EU commission works. The pronouncements all depend on the size and how well stuffed the brown envelopes are. It has absolutely nothing to do with right or wrong, good or bad practices or anything like that.

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Conservative manifesto: 5G, 'near universal' broadband and free mobes for PC Dixon

Ivan 4
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Re: The Tories are no strangers...

I would go further and say that no one wanting to be a politician in ANY public office could do so unless they had at least a 15 years proven record of ability in industry and then, if they get elected they can not serve more than two terms in that public office.

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Ivan 4
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Re: Some political minds might be concentrated if...

Vimes, the big problem is that people don't know when a PPE graduate is lying - to be certain you need to see their lips, if they are moving it is a lie.

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Verizon to world: STOP opening dodgy phishing emails, FOOLS

Ivan 4
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Re: Dear El Reg...

You can always use AB+ to kill it.

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'Chinese hackers' were sniffing SE Asian drawers for YEARS

Ivan 4
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You must realise that FireEye are always finding 'reds under the bed' even if they are only a shadow.

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ICANN urges US, Canada: Help us stop the 'predatory' monster we created ... dot-sucks!

Ivan 4
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Re: The photo

AC, the socket shrouds the pins until they are well free of any electrical contact. In fact it is impossible to get a finger in the socket and touch the exposed metal of the plug.

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Ivan 4
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The photo

Shame on you El Reg displaying a photo of how NOT to pull a plug from a socket.

On the other hand, being a US plug with exposed pins that may be the safest way of doing it ;)

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Because the server room is certainly no place for pets

Ivan 4
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Re: So much bollocks spouted in the comments

AC, I assume you have several hundred million euros to spare and can afford to shut the factory down for over 12 months while everything is ripped out and all mew machinery is installed and the workers are retrained to use the new equipment. Or is it that you are still wet behind the ears and have never been in a real world manufacturing situation.

What you are talking about will work most of the time in an office type of situation where there are regular upgrade cycles, it will not work out on the factory floor where machine-tools are expected to have a minimum life of 30 years and that includes all the hardware that controls them.

If NASA followed your short sighted plan then there would be no probes leaving the solar system and not many satellites in orbit still working.

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Ivan 4
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Err... can you connect real I/O ports to a virtual machine ?

Virtualisation is good in only some cases where you don't need dedicated I/O but just run office type software. It does not work where cables to the metal are an absolute necessity. In a lot of those cases the legacy hardware was supplied with the machine-tools and as long as those tools run that hardware will be in use and repaired as necessary.

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Can you recover your data if disaster strikes? Sure?

Ivan 4
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Cloud services are fine, just don't expect the pigeons to carry more than a usb stick at a time.

Trevor, like you we manage the IT of a manufacturing plant. The big problem is that it is out in the countryside and about 10km (as the cables run) from the nearest exchange. ADSL speeds are 'problematic' to say the least - sometimes they get a better service using dial-up. There is no way they can use cloud services in any meaningful way.

I have a lingering doubt about cloud services being the general panacea for the IT industry. They might be in the cities with all the high speed cable services but it is going to be a long time before that type of service reaches out into the countryside - we even have a problem trying to get a 3G signal out here in many places.

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It's all got complicated: The costs of data recovery

Ivan 4
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The elephant in the room with the cloud that no one wants to look at is the physical access to said cloud. It might be fine in the cities where you have a high speed link but there are places in the country where that will never happen.

We have a client that was 'persuaded' to use the cloud for storage and backups. The problem was his ISP could only give 512kbs so backup took over 10 hours if they didn't need to use the connection for anything else.

When we took over looking after the IT there we rationalised just what they needed to backup and what they needed to store. A second-hand storage array and a server obtained from a large company that was upgrading brought what they needed in house. The addition of a wireless link gave them off site backup. We do remote checking of the logs overnight and if there is any question or apparent problem I send someone there in the morning.

Result, one very happy client that is saving money compared to what the consultants insisted he needed.

As I said at the start, the cloud option may well work and be cost effective for those that have a high speed link but not everyone does and it is those that don't that also need consideration.

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Ivan 4
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Hear. Hear.

That is a very good description of what we did when we took up the maintenance of the IT foe a couple of small businesses. The main difference was that we used USB hard disks for the archive because only a small number of machines had optical drives and they were CD players (if it aint broke don't fix it).

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SPY FRY: Smart meters EXPLODE in Californian power surge

Ivan 4
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Re: disinformation

Err... (120 V single-phase in North America and Japan, 220-240 V two-phase in most of the rest of the world.)

Here in Europe (I think we count as part of the rest of the world) we have 240V single phase as do those parts of the world that use 220-240 volts as standard household power. As far as I know it is places like the US that have 220-240 V two-phase power for such things that require high power.

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Energy utilities targeted by Office-spawned recon attack tool

Ivan 4
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Security

I do have to wonder if any of the upper management in some of these companies have heard of security, or is it just a meaningless word to them.

Any one that runs the office and industrial process control on the same network should be taken out the back and put out of their misery.

On the two systems we manage the only point of contact between the front office and the manufacturing section is a networked laser printer that sits in the office and gets input from manufacturing and prints our daily production figures. It is locked to the manufacturing network by mac address as well as being on a different subnet to the office. In one company some idiot thought he could get direct access to manufacturing by using the printer network cable. All he got was fired - we had thought of that and set access alarms.

The big question is, why if small companies can do this type of security why can't large ones? It is not difficult but it does require thought which seems to be sadly lacking in senior management today.

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Judge greenlights class-action suit accusing AMD of securities fraud

Ivan 4
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I wonder just how many of Intel's fingers are stirring this because it seems rather odd that the investors didn't know this at the time they invested. If they didn't then it is their fault for not exercising due diligence.

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Prostrate yourself before the GNU, commands Indian DEITY

Ivan 4
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Re: Would The Reg please stop

A well managed Windows deployment will give a performant and smooth running operation.

Are you sure about that? Several of our clients either have already moved away from windows or are in the process of doing so all because of problems and costs.

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Does your broadband feel faster? Akamai says it went up 20 per cent*

Ivan 4
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Re: Eh?

Agree. Mine has gone up - 1Mbps to 1.5Mbps, not that I notice the 'improvement'.

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Dutch companies try warming homes with cloud servers

Ivan 4
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Re: Use the same electricity twice.

The one thing that is not mentioned, what happens when the days get warmer and you don't need the heat?

Also, who pays for the electricity to run the servers?

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Hey, Woz. You've got $150m. You're kicking back in Australia. What's on your mind? Killer AI

Ivan 4
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Re: No AI for computers ever

Maybe you should read - The Two Faces of Tomorrow by James P. Hogan - to get a rather more balanced SF view of AIs

The big problem with most people is that they are afraid that the computer will know and remember a lot more than they can and as a consequence they think they are inferior.

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Honey, I shrunk the Windows footprint

Ivan 4
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Re: Still Gigabytes

Agreed.

All our OS/2 boxes have a boot partition of 1GB for the operating system which gives us space to add utilities as necessary. IF microsoft can get this new version of windows down to that size then we will be interested in having one VM with it for testing for clients.

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Gaffe-prone EU digi chief: We still want our single digital market

Ivan 4
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Why do I get the impression that Germany wants to run everything in Europe?

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We're not sure what it is, but we like it: Lexus NX300h hybrid SUV

Ivan 4
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Not sure what it is

Simple answer - a Chelsea tractor.

It is not the type of vehicle that you would take across a field or down along the beach or use for actual work. It is something you would use to show just how 'cool' you are because it is a hybrid.

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Hated smart meters likely to be 'a costly failure' – MPs

Ivan 4
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Hear, hear!

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Ivan 4
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Re: Curious

Most of them are designed to use the mobile phone network to call home - an even bigger security failure.

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Australia threatens to pull buckets of astronomy funding

Ivan 4
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Re: Thus continues...

Are you saying you Australian education to go the way the left forced British education - the 'everyone must have prizes' dumbing down of the last labour government?

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Forget 1,000 lashes for Facebook posts, Saudis now want to behead blogger Raif Badawi

Ivan 4
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Wahhabism at its best and we allow them to setup schools in the UK, US and Europe to promote their warped outlook. Not only that but we also allow them to provide textbooks to our schools. Is it any wonder that the kids that have been through those schools and their indoctrination then go on to join ISIS and continue the barbarism?

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C’mon Lenovo. Superfish hooked, but Pokki Start Menu still roaming free

Ivan 4
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Re: Blank box

I too wish we could but then how would microsoft guarantee that its software gets installed and where do you get the necessary drivers for any other operating system from?

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Leaky battery attack reveals the paths you walk in life

Ivan 4
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Terry 6, that is exactly my point. I have yet to understand just why people aren't more careful about what they install and, more to the point, what it uses.

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Ivan 4
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So this requires the target to install an app that, in turn, calls home and sends the power consumption figures.

Now my question. Who in their right mind installs odd apps just for the sake of it without knowing exactly what those apps are going to do?

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'Net neutrality will turn the internet communist – and make Iran's day'

Ivan 4
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Re: The Internet turning Communist?

At least he stayed bought.

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EU ministers hold Big Meeting on Big Data. But how will they get you to hand it over?

Ivan 4
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Ministers?

This does lead to the question, what exactly does any politician and ministers in particular know about this digital thing they call big data?

Past experience says the answer to that is they know nothing except how to mess things up for everyone else.

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