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* Posts by Henry Wertz 1

1637 posts • joined 12 Jun 2009

The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?

Henry Wertz 1
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Programming classes? Sure. Mandatory? No.

IMHO, programming classes? Sure. I do think it's a good idea to have available programming classes. Those who are interested, and possibly don't know where to get started, or don't have a home computer to use for it, or don't have the time outside of classes, should have some classes to take.

Mandatory? No, I've heard at programming interviews, question 1 can be as simple as writing a program to print numbers from 1 to 10, without using 10 lines of code (i.e. using a loop), and that eliminates 90% of candidates. If anything was made mandatory, the most I can see being sensible is a few sessions to weed out who can at least write a simple loop when shown how (and the ones who can't, don't waste their time.) Some people just have no aptitude for this kind of thing, and some of them already know it. I wouldn't want to be stuck in a full semester worth of classes with a high fraction of the class (probably) disinterested and just not getting it, it does them a disservice as well as those that can get something out of the class.

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Apple flings iOS 8.1 at world+dog: Our AMAZEBALLS 9-step installation guide

Henry Wertz 1
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Happy

Nice

Nice, I did find those install instructions quite amusing.

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Mobile carriers keep the promised land on an ever-receding horizon

Henry Wertz 1
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Thank goodness for unlimited

Thank goodness for my grandfathered unlimited plan ($30/month unlimited data, including 4G LTE). Current US pricing is downright predatory -- the carriers that don't offer unlimited will with a straight face sell you 2GB for $30, with $10/GB overages. Oh, but you can't just get that -- it's force-bundled with *at least* $50/month of voice and text services (no option to buy very little voice or text or none at all.) You want shared data? Suddenly that minimum data price is even higher, and even higher overage rates...you know, just because they can.

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Damage control (noun): When Microsoft's CEO kickstarts diversity plan after women pay gaffe

Henry Wertz 1
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"So while the diversity programs may seem unfair, they are a the "lesser of the evils" and should stay in place as long as they are needed, because they are a "randomization" factor which gives people who are disadvantaged on 1 and 2 a chance to try to succeed."

No they aren't a "randomization" factor in any meaning of the word, and do not give people who are disadvantaged on 1 and 2 a chance; in your example, it's based ONLY on #1 (in this case gender), NOT #2 ("What school did you go to?") This just makes sure sexism (favoring women over men now) is institutionalized, and that any man who does evereything right except going to the "right" school (and has been subject to the glass ceiling all along) has even less of a chance than before.

It is what it is, and it'll work as a kludgel to even things out I suppose, but I'd say overall it's just as evil as excluding women to favor men and is in no way "lesser of the evils".

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Henry Wertz 1
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Two quick comments

Two quick comments:

a) I don't think his comment ("Don't ask for raises because blah-de-blah") was sexist *or* incredibly sexist, just completely out of touch with reality; he assumed for whatever reason that every company automatically gives periodic raises based on either time or performance. Still, he did put his foot deeply into his mouth with this one.

b) "We all need to think about how Connects are written" . Could someone turn this into English please? I don't care if it's the Queen's English or American; as it stands I can't even make heads or tails of what he's getting at.

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Nobody wants to look at your boobs: Snapchat gets ads 'that interest you'

Henry Wertz 1
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So, which is it?

So, which is it?

"The best advertisements tell you more about stuff that actually interests you," Snapchat said."

or

"We want to see if we can deliver an experience that’s fun and informative, the way ads used to be, before they got creepy and targeted."

It can't be both. Hulu's system is very targeted; it eventually figured out I liked car ads but *not* Hondas. The ads I get on there are actually ones I enjoy watching. I don't have the cash to buy a car but the other ads it picks are stuff I have some chance of actually buying.

On the other hand, general (untargeted) US ads are dreary. They have the attitude that "these 5 minutes of ads" (OK, 15 or 30 seconds online) are here in the middle of thoe show, so you must watch it, no need to make it good (they seem to ignore the existance of DVRs). One has people shrieking so shrilly they break the glasses around them in the ad; some are just dead silent and expect you'll stare at the screen (which I don't). Feminine hygiene ads. Ads for random medicines that you need to go to a doctor to get anyway. Right now, endless political ads and yes that includes online; no useful information, they pick a 5 second quote and distort it to make the politician look like a dirtbag (the main-party candidates *are* dirtbags and the Libertarian candidate died in a plane crash, but still these ads are annoying while also being completely uninformative...)

Banner ads (with no targeting) are a little better, but not much! You'll end up with constant ads for casino apps, and apps that imply they'll have nudity (which they won't because Google Play store doesn't allow that.) Ads that just claim "your phone is slow!! Speed it up!!!" or for battery-saver apps, or for antivirus products. And political ads. And maybe 10% ads for physical products and services.

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Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody

Henry Wertz 1
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Flip beat me to it...

Flip beat me to it, I was just going to say, one minor critique but Picard was if anything overly "PC". I swear if an alien ship showed up and started firing on their ship, he'd want to have a dialogue with his crew to figure out what the alien's point of view was to make them fire, rather than raising shields, firing back to disable weapons THEN worrying about that. I couldn't see him seducing a crew member in a million years. Minor point I suppose.

Back on topic... sheesh, the book doesn't sound good!

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GP records soon wide open again: Just walk into a ‘safe haven’

Henry Wertz 1
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Not for commercial use

Agree mostly with Neil Barnes. I don't think anyone should be *forced* to give up their privacy to get free services. But, I wouldn't object to sharing my medical info IF it were being aggregated for statistical purposes. It's being sold to private companies? Oh, yes, I would definitely opt put of this.

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Torvalds CONFESSES: 'I'm pretty good at alienating devs'

Henry Wertz 1
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Sounds like a culture clash to me

Sounds like a culture clash to me. Between people who are genuine coders, want to cut through the BS and call crap code crap code if it's crap code. They have a passion for functional, clean, and correct code that gets work done. Versus people who want to hold hands and discuss each others feelings, and make sure to NEVER show a strong opinion about anything, because that might hurt someone's feelings. I think you can tell which side I favor.

If someone's just out chewing people out all the time? That can be a problem in any organization. But in this case, it's really not a problem at all, Linux is a complicated and important piece of software and the barrier of entry to submit code to it is relatively high anyway (usually, people submit any patches they may have to someone 1 level downline and *they* vet and submit the patch to mainline.) And people are chewed out based on the merits of their technical discussions and patches, not just because.

If you want to see what happens when you favor politeness and sensitivity exclusively, read up on companies where wasteful policies are never eliminated, and new products rarely come out, because nobody wants to risk theoretically insulting anyone else by "rocking the boat" and suggesting there may possibly be a problem with the current processes, products, and services.

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US government fines Intel's Wind River over crypto exports

Henry Wertz 1
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Time to leave...

"This penalty should serve as a reminder to companies of their responsibility to know their customers and".... get their crypto divisions the f*ck out of the US. Thanks a lot BIS, now there'll be even fewer tech jobs here.

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HBO shocks US pay TV world: We're down with OTT. Netflix says, 'Gee'

Henry Wertz 1
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"It is an exciting development but I do wonder if it will end up being more expensive for consumers."

Nope. Cable and satellite prices n the US are pretty bad, due to the current price structure. Cable? I have a package for like $13.95 with *just* WGN, and the channels I could pick up over the air if my place wasn't so low (or if I could pop up a taller antenna.) The next package up is over $50 a month. Over 100 channels, but of course probably 90 that you'll never watch. They are now planning to ram on a "sport surcharge" (so they can pretend they aren't raising cable rates) to pay for sport channels, instead of having these people pay for a sports package and not forcing everyone else to pay for these overpriced channels.

I love the idea of getting my channels OTT. I already watch the TV I do watch exclusively on a computerized DVR; and I wouldn't mind buying something like HBO, but the cable co WILL NOT provide HBO alone, they require you to get that $50 package first.

I also love the idea of ala carte. The reason before for not having it before was the cable co having to "trap" off the channels you don't pay for via signal traps (and providing descramblers for the pay channels.) It would be impractical to individually trap and untrap channels. This is pre-digital. Now? Although you have a cable or dish package, when a "hit" is sent to the cable box (or it's subscribed to a new package), in fact the box is sent a command to deauthorize all channels, then sent command to authorize each channel one-by-one.

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Is living with Dolby Atmos worth the faff?

Henry Wertz 1
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Why these movies?

Why this selection of movies? Now that I think about it, it makes a sort of sense. The main element Atmos is adding is height. So, Transformers and Hercules, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Step Up All In and The Expendables 3, I'm sure there'll be all kinds of stuff flying over your head in the course of all of these, the Atmos will get a good workout. I don't know if I'd want to watch any of those even if I got to see it on an Atmos setup but there ya go. However, I think it sounds great for better action movies. It'd be quite effective for forest scenes, if the trees are rustling in the wind then having some overhead rustle would add a lot to the immersiveness. It'd be pretty nasty to be watching some horror movie and hear things skittering overhead too. 8-)

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FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones

Henry Wertz 1
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So...FBI wants extra powers then

So, the FBI boss compares wanting to read any and all correspondence on your device at any time, with being able to tap phones with a warrant. Nothing has been lost then, the FBI is still permitted to tap phone calls with a warrant. This is in fact the FBI wanting extra powers (with a warrant or not) that they currently don't have.

Plus, of course, backdooring people's phones is madness from a security perspective.

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Solaris fix-it firm offers free BASH patch for legacy Oracle kit

Henry Wertz 1
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Also...

Also a bit tricky, because if the license with the Sun^H^H^HOracle hardware included perpetual support, then it seems to me that this contradicts Oracle's terms that restrict distribution of patches. Oracle's assertion that "perpetual support" means third parties can support the hardware perpetually is a bit silly. Once I've bought software and hardware, I have every expectation (once warranty or expected support from the original vendor is run out) to be able to get support for this hardware and software from anybody I want; it's up to the license to *remove* this right if it's not allowed for a specific piece of software or hardware. I assume that the "perpetual support" term is probably courtesy of Sun, and Sun probably had every expectation to at least provide patches for the useful life of the hardware they shipped (you'd pay for new OS versions but get bug and security fixes for your existing OS free.)

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City council thinks what we're all thinking: 'Comcast is terrible – and NOT welcome here'

Henry Wertz 1
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City manager may not sign

This is somewhat symbolic, if the city manager just signs. But, cities don't have to. It's unusual, but cities have before refused to "rubber stamp" the renewal with a cable company. That cable company's then gone -- someone else gets to move in and use that cable infrastructure, or (occasionally) the city takes it over and runs a system themselves.

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Securobods RAGE over $600k Kickstarter Tor box components

Henry Wertz 1
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No problem...

I don't see a problem here...

a) Tor doesn't need bespoke hardware to run. If they found a design with the ports, RAM, and CPU speed they need, more power to them. Honestly, unless I was doing something needing radically custom hardware, I would take an off-the-shelf embedded system and either user it as-is or modify it to fit my needs. It still will cost something to develop into a product, and the developer wants some level of profit.

b) They only asked for $7,500. Is the amount of development they've (most likely) done worth $600,000? In my opinion, no; but those who continued to fund this Kickstarter saw it's $7,500 goal and that it already had $10,000, $50,000, $100,000, $500,000, whatever, and continued to fund it; nobody forced them to do so.

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Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar

Henry Wertz 1
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US Cyber security tsar Michael Daniel is a numpty

Sounds like US Cyber security tsar Michael Daniel is a numpty.

Point 1:

Face recognition instead of password -- my notebook and desktops don't have cameras. Facial recognition is complicated. The systems that use "points" will have less total information than a decent password. Finally, how is one supposed to rotate their password when the password is their face? If you get fuglified by an accident or age, are you then locked out of all your accounts?

Point 2:

"He went on to say that the use of encryption models seemingly designed to lock out law enforcement should allow for lawful access."

Numpty deluxe; any useful encryption system doesn't have a way to allow "lawful access". If a crypto system has a backdoor, cryptologists can and will find it, making it worthless. See Clipper -- the feds swore up and down this thing would last decades, and it was fully cracked before the (very few, since nobody wants compromised encryption) products using Clipper even got on the market.

Point 3:

What's all this nonsense about "virtualised moving gateways" and so on? Sounds like nonsense to me; DHCP exists (meaning addresses and gateways are not fixed), and routers support dynamic routing protocols (routes are not fixed.) I actually think having everything kind of be even more dynamic like they seem to be vaguely suggesting would make it *easier* for attackers, the dynamic routing and addressing protocols would provide extra protocols to exploit to perhaps make your remote device appear to be on the local network, compared to a less dynamic setup.

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Microsoft left red-faced after DMCAs dished out to Windows bloggers

Henry Wertz 1
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Counternotification anybody?

Did anybody file a counternotification? The person or group who asserts a DMCA problem does it under the penalty of perjury. If one gets their video (or whatever) removed via DMCA, the counternotification process allows the victim to get their video (or whatever) immediately put back up, and at that point the person or group who filed the improper DMCA notice is also liable for perjury.

Know your rights!

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Sway: Microsoft's new Office app doesn't have an Undo function

Henry Wertz 1
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Not a beta

" Microsoft kindly gave me early access to the preview, emphasising that it is not yet a finished product."

El Reg headline: "Microsoft's new Office app doesn't have an Undo function"

Guess Microsoft didn't emphasise the "not yet a finished product" enough. There are some people you simply can't give beta releases to, because they immediately start complaining about the kind of things that a beta release doesn't have."

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This is not a beta; outside the Microsoft world at least, betas are feature-complete, but may not be bug-free. This is pre-alpha software at best. I think it's completely fair to call them out for releasing a preview that is *THIS* incomplete and limited in functionality.

Really, what IS the point of this? Powerpoint allows pulling in all these disparate data types onto slides, including the web links and everything. It supports output to several online formats; these currently assume rigid formatting (I suppose using fixed-width divs), but I can't see any reason why they couldn't have gotten more functionality than this pre-alpha by just supplying a second output driver that does not use fixed-width elements, allowing word-wrap etc. to happen based on the width of the screen (which is what it sounds like Sway is doing.)

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Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods

Henry Wertz 1
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They do need to specify...

If they are going to do this, they do need to specify *what* cryptosystems are acceptable. There was one rights restriction system here in the US (which has been abandoned) that was using *XOR* to encrypt the data; they figured this would count as "encryption" and they could then use the DMCA like a bludgeon to hassle anyone who says "Hey, that's just XOR" and builds a player for it.

If this isn't clarified, you WILL have a few companies use XOR or ROT13, and claim this means they don't have to report data losses.

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Coughing for 4G, getting 2G... Networks' penny-pinching SECRETS REVEALED

Henry Wertz 1
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AT&T has that beat

2% EHR? 5% half-rate? AT&T (here in the USA) has that beat. For years, they had been running *100%* half-rate codec (except a few markets, like Seattle, where they ran the network properly.). Why? I have no idea, obviously they don't need the capacity when it's like 2AM or whatever, and half-rate *does* break up in poorer signal conditions where a full-rate codec has enough additional error correction to keep working, and sound tinny and crappy the rest of the time. They recently FINALLY began to seriously worry over voice quality when T-Mo began advertising "HD Voice" calls.

I don't know what the percentage is, (I think pretty uncommon) but T-Mo would also reportedly use half-rate... but *only* when the site is near capacity, and *only* when you're close enough to the site (i.e. good enough signal quality); when the user gets further away from the site (or deeper indoors or whatever to lower singal quality) they'd get pushed to full rate anyway to avoid call breakup.

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South Korea faces $1bn bill after hackers raid national ID database

Henry Wertz 1
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Actually is illegal

"It does happen to be used as such somtimes, but there is no legal reason to do so"

In fact, the text of the social security act makes it *illegal* to require use of SSN for anything except social security purposes (tax forms count, so an employer can ask for it so they can fill out that W9, since your taxable income is the primary determinant of how much social security money is sucked out of your paycheck.) Companies aren't prohibited from *asking* for the SSN (or more often the last 4 digits) but it's illegal for their to be any consequence of saying "no".

For example, when I worked at the cable co (as a temp), we were to ask for the last 4 digits of the ssn... if they weren't in the system, we'd put them in. If they *were* in the system, this was supposed to make sure the caller was really the caller. (I think for the very few accounts that went to collections*, I think it made it slightly easier for the collection co to ding their credit.) But, if the caller refused to supply them (and they weren't in the system), we were to just put "xxxx" or "----" and add an account note indicating refusal to supply SSN (the purpose of the note was so someone wouldn't think the previous rep was just in a hurry and didn't fill it in). At the customer's option, we could put "see notes" so it'd show on the account screen, and put some other passphrase or password into the notes.

*This was EXTREMELY uncommon, the local cable co works with people pretty well so if they either got a crazy amount of pay-per-view, or lost some income (but had the deluxe cable package) or whatever, pay off the past-due amount over time rather than cutting them off and (when they then don't pay, since they've already had service cut off...) sending them to collections.

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Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First

Henry Wertz 1
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"My question to you is would corporations be willing to trust experimenting with this privacy violating monster if it is being used around business sensitive information?

Would a medical facility consider using a copy of Windows 10, in anticipation of future conversion to Windows 10, if just letting that computer on their network with patient sensitive information would be a violation of HIPAA?"

They should not be using pre-release, untested software on their secure LAN. Doing so would be irresponsible. However, the hospital I'm familiar with, they have a LAN for the HIPAA-protected stuff that's locked down tight (if I had to guess, if the Win10 machine was hooked up to this it would not get an IP address, and the unrecognized device trying to get a DHCP address would set off intrusion alarms); a guest LAN that is (as the name implies) for guests, and I think an intermediate-level LAN or two so machines that don't handle HIPAA stuff can get on without being exposed to random guests PCs and tablets. Really testing a Win10 machine even in it's current state would be no problem if it's just tested on anything but the most secure LAN.

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Henry Wertz 1
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2 points...

2 points, one defending Microsoft and one not.

1) Every pre-release type thing (anything earlier than a beta, if not some betas) from Microsoft has made it REALLY clear in the contract they Microsoft needs debugging information, that Microsoft can and will collect more information than crash reports and phone home with it. They basically say to use these prereleases to test out functionality and NOT use it for any important work, particularly work involving any kind of privacy agreement. It would be a good idea, however, for someone or other to find the code IS doing this invasive logging, to make sure it's removed (not just disabled waiting for later re-enablement) in later releases. I find it EXTREMELY unlikely this'd be left in though, companies know how debugging works and to remove debugging code in release versions of software and Microsoft is no exception.

2) On the other hand... no, sending the list of all software installed on your system is NOT required for updates. My Ubuntu systems update themselves just fine, without sending out a list of all installed software. It downloads a full list of available software, dependency info included, and the update list is calculated locally. Of course in double-tinfoil-hat-land, one could eventually determine what software I have installed by seeing what updates I've downloaded.

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Windows XP refresh will DO NOTHING for lame PC market next year

Henry Wertz 1
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0 for 2 I think

"She reckons the industry has “another six to eight months of the XP refresh”, but expects the Windows Server 2003 replacement cycle to be as dramatic. "

I think they're 0 for 2 on this one.

Regarding "another six to eight months of the XP rerfresh", I would venture this may not be that accurate. I'm guessing the remaining XP systems will be replaced over years, essentially as the PCs become unreliable (so I do think "Windows XP refresh will DO NOTHING for lame PC market next year" is accurate, the replacement will be spread out over years so it won't be a big factor in any given quarter) . Those who have not already ditched XP, you'll have a group that just can't be bothered, and I see no reason they'd now decide to change their mind over the next six months (I expect they'll replace machines as they die due to age, i.e. fan failure, hard disk failure, power supply failure, blown caps, or much less likely some other motherboard or CPU failure.) The other group are those who have not replaced an XP system because it has specialized software or hardware that are not 7 compatible, and they don't want to replace the whole lot. When this is limited to a small number of systems, it's feasible to deal with compared to a whole LAN full of obsolete XP systems.

Also, I don't see how the Windows Server 2003 replacement cycle can be as dramatic. Fewer customers each with much fewer systems compared to XP.

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Radiohead(ache): BBC wants dead duck tech in sexy new mobes

Henry Wertz 1
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"If they tried that now, there would be many independent data streams, to individual mobiles, many carrying identical data. To reduce that, there would need to be special, additional, mobile data broadcast channels to be supported by the mobile operator and by each mobile phone. Maybe that could be the 'new DAB'?"

It's called multicast. IP broadcast will broadcast a piece of information to everyone on the network -- whether they want it or not. It is used for network control info mainly; DHCP uses broadcasts (because your computer doesn't have an IP address yet when it's asking for one), Windows fileshares use broadcasts to broadcast the file server exists, and so on.

Multicast, on the other hand, on a wired LAN usually a multicast is still broadcast over the LAN; they designed multicast so it uses a subset of ethernet broadcast addresses at the hardware level, most network cards (i.e. anything but a 1980s-era antique) can filter these out in hardware so your computer can get the multicast if it's interested and not be bothered by the traffic at all if it's not. AFAIK, mobile standards *also* supports similar broadcast and multicast filtering (a control packet tells the phones the next broadcast is broadcast/multicast address (foo) and the phone just doesn't listen if it's not interested in (foo)). If you *do* want a multicast, your computer A) quits filtering it out B) sends out a standardized request requesting a given multicast. If your upstream already gets the multicast it's sent your way from there. Otherwise, your ISPs upstream equipment forwards the multicast out so eventually it gets where it needs to, and this multicast comes your way. If *nobody* is interested in a given multicast on your network, it's not even sent to it. It's just like a broadcast in terms of avoiding sending the same data thousands of times, but allows it to not even go out to a network segment where nobody's interested.

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Henry Wertz 1
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"So if you leave the radio crowd, and the audio codec, out of the picture, DAB/+/DMB actually gives you the basis of a "Broadcast IP" technology which could feed everyone real time sports, news, weather and finance content, either as audio, video, text and pictures or just metadata to feed apps."

DAB is hideously obsolete (and inefficient) as a broadcast data mechanism too.

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Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author

Henry Wertz 1
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Yeah

Yeah, Nokia was in a tough position, and may have run out of cash anyway. But, he really didn't handle Nokia well. Selling to Microsoft? By then Nokia didn't have the funds to change direction (at least they'd be cutting it close), and Microsoft offered a fair price.

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Philip Morris seeks pay-per-puff patent to help you STOP smoking

Henry Wertz 1
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Re: Better hurry

"An e-cigarette is still a drug delivery system and that drug is still nicotine. So if cigarettes are banned is a place, so are e-cigarettes.

BTW, you owe me a new keyboard because of the stupidity of the idea that e-cigarettes could be allowed indoors."

In US states with indoor smoking bans, the purported (and I think actual) reason was the air quality issue from the copious second hand smoke from the cigarettes, not that these people were getting a nicotine fix. E-Cigarettes don't smoke. So if the state law is based on use of nicotine or tobacco indoors then you can't do it indoors; if it's based on smoke or combustion then you can. The vast majority of E-Cig smokers I've seen go outdoors to do it anyway though to hang out with the smokers.

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Something ate Google's 8.8.8.8 at about eight in Asia's evening

Henry Wertz 1
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Yeah...

8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 aren't foolproof. But they sure are a lot faster and more reliable than both Mediacom's (local cable ISP) and Centurylink's (local DSL ISP) DNSes (the ISP DNS's are also both non-compliant, they falsely return a ISP-owned IP for non-existant domains instead of NXDOMAIN.)

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Xiaomi boss snaps back at Jony Ive's iPhone rival 'theft' swipe

Henry Wertz 1
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Xiaomi

If these show up on the market with US specs (i.e. the bands I need) I'd definitely consider getting one. Not the $400 one but still.

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Greedy datagrabs, crap security will KILL the Internet of Thingies

Henry Wertz 1
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A few points

A few points on "iot"

a) A lot of this stuff, I don't want. I don't want to spend extra for an internet connected fridge, washing machine, dish washer. I don't really need a remote thermostat either although that could be useful. A lot of this will be a device looking for a market, I'm pretty geeky and still don't feel the need to spend lots more to get "remote control" versions of devices, just to be able to remote control it.

b) I don't want devices tied into some single vendor, i.e. you get it and it "phones home" to the company website to get it's functionality. I think a lot of these products do just that, they tie into a online service. I'd like to be able to access the product directly. It sidesteps privacy concerns regarding widespread data grabs if the data stays local, and avoids the problem of having a company decide to discontinue it's service meaning your device lost functionality or completely went kaput. But...

c) Some devices really are designed with security as an afterthought (or not there at all), they assume a LAN with no hostile devices. This is usually a safe assumption with IPV4 but not really with IPV6.

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Wide Open Data: NYC taxi dump catches strip club Johns

Henry Wertz 1
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Yeah...big problem

Yeah, this is a big problem. The people who think opening up all information is no problem, I've talked to one recently who was in college studying data mining. It was weird though. They knew they could de-anonymize most of the (supposedly) anonymous information they were using. They pushed for more and more information to be made available despite knowing it was not usefully anonymous, while simultaneously making it clear they'd be REAL pissed if their private information was let out. You know, like the facebook people who post (on what is after all a public forum owned by a 3rd party company) then get all pissed when someone finds this page.

I think it's in some sense cultural. I don't mean "Western culture", "American", etc. I mean some subset of online culture, where people simply stick their heads in the sand. They still are quite unhappy when their privacy is violated, but up until the very second their privacy is violated, they figure they don't have to worry in the least about their privacy (and, oddly, even AFTER their privacy is violated many will get made but still continue to do nothing to help protect their privacy.)

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Rebellion sees Chromium reverse plans to dump EXT filesystem

Henry Wertz 1
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Practical reason

ext3/4 seem *much much* more resilient to USB devices that like to drop of the bus now and then than FAT and somewhat more than NTFS.

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Jonny Ive: Flattered by rivals' designs? Nah, its 'theft'

Henry Wertz 1
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And Samsung

And Samsung got the IPhone design, time travelled back before the IPhone came out and released a phone. Those bastards!

(As I recall, Samsung showed photos of one of their phones with design elements Apple claimed were copied from IPhone... but the Samsung had already been out for 6 months! Samsung's lawyers made a procedural error and Apple got this declared inadmissable.)

Another good reason not to buy Apple products. I won't support a company that tries to go sue anybody that ends up with a vaguely similar looking product. The hardware or software (if proprietary) was copied outright? That's not theft (unless they stole a prototype) and Ive sounds like an idiot abusing the term theft for things that are not theft; but this is nevertheless a serious legal problem. Ending up with a product that vaguely looks like another product? Suck it up guys.

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U2? 81 million Apple iThing-strokers know a place where the Beats have no shame

Henry Wertz 1
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Another reason I'm glad I have no Apple products

Just another reason I'm glad I don't have Apple products. Bono's a douchebag, and I don't like any U2 music. Going into an online store and having it advertised? Sure. Having things force-loaded onto my device without my authorization? Hell no. Then using the unauthorized load as a basis to brag over some kind of sales figures? Double hell no, it's even worse to be counted in sales figures towards something you don't even like.

As for Beats... this was founded by Dr. Dre and one or two of his cohorts, to produce speakers and headphones. It was sold to Apple. I don't see why anyone would expect money from this transaction to go to all sorts of musicians, they didn't have a stake in the company.

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Red Bull does NOT give you wings, $13.5m lawsuit says so

Henry Wertz 1
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Not literally...

I don't think he was literally thinking it'd make him grow wings (I sure as hell hope not). But the ads kind of vaguely implied that you would get faster, stronger, and smarter when you drink it (rather than just being more awake and alert.) If you're some kind of numpty. But, this is the US, where they have a few car ads where the car is like parkouring off the sides of buildings and shit, and jumps on top of a moving train, with the disclaimer "This is not real. Don't drive on top of moving trains."

On the other hand, advertisers here seem to get away with a hell of a lot compared to in Britain. Just off the top of my head. The cable *and* DSL companies locally both LOVE to list "Just $x a month for y months", while not giving even a hint of what the cost will be when those y months are up, even in the fine print. A local cellphone carrier that has regional coverage of like 10% 3.6mbps HSPA 3G and 90% EDGE 2G advertises their "nationwide 4G network". A prepaid cellular co advertising cell phone "unlimited data" then terminating your service at just 2GB (they price it so it's a very good price for unlimited and poor price for 2GB.)

The false advertising over unlimited cellular is bad enough that one company has ads where someone's signing up for "unlimited" service with someone else and is like "What's that!?!" and points at a guy in a big asterisk-suit. "Oh, that's the dumb ass-terisk. The plans unlimited, but if you go over a limit there are.... consequences." (Then the asterisk kicks the customer in the nuts for presumably going over their limit.) They then point out their unlimited is truly unlimited.

There's even been a case or two where the company owner was arrested and thrown in jail for deceptive advertising -- BUT NOT ORDERED TO PULL THE ADS, SO THEY DIDN'T (so they kept having money come in by duping people while in prison.)

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Judge nukes Ulbricht's complaint about WARRANTLESS FBI Silk Road server raid

Henry Wertz 1
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Heh

Yeah Matt Bryant sums it up. The feds should have used a warrant. But, sure enough, you can't really assert fourth ammendment protection over some property *and* claim the property isn't yours and you have nothing to do with it.

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OMG, we're gonna be invaded by NEXUS 6 replicants – no, wait. It's just a rumored phablet

Henry Wertz 1
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"It's not like it's got many-gigabytes of RAM to manage (3GB can be managed in a 32 bit address space), or that it needs to handle large integer or high-precision floating-point numbers.."

And in fact ARM already has LPAE support. Just like PAE on Intel CPUs, it adds a bit of kludgery (which the Linux kernel already supports) so you may still be limited to 3GB or so per app, but can access 1TB of total RAM on a 32-bit system.

I'm not sure how much speedup you get in general from going from 32-bit to 64-bit ARM, the kind of intensive operations that would get the most speedup already use 64-bit or 128-bit operations using VFP or NEON instructions.

I'd say the reason right now to not drop in a 64-bit chip is simply Android's not ready for it yet; Android-L is supposed to support 64-bit but is in beta. The kernel's supported 64-bit ARM for years, but the Android Runtime is being worked over as well (running a 32-bit userland on a 64-bit kernel works but you wouldn't gain anything compared to using LPAE.)

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Trolls have DARK TETRAD of personality defects, say trickcyclists

Henry Wertz 1
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Troll versus debate

"It amuses me that all this hatred of trolls is coming at a time when most mainstream media is deliberately controversial in order to 'spark debate'"

Mainstream media is dead to me in terms of a news or conversation source. I don't care what they are doing. However, being controversial to spark debate is not trolling.

Trolls will post comments that are derogatory and probably offensive, but also usually completely off topic. When the troll is successful, they will get lots of responses, but not spark a debate in any meaningful way. The debate *in that thread* will be a back-and-forth between trolls and anti-trolls, off topic and not even a true discussion usually.

Being controversial to start debate, the quality of the debate varies greatly but it does usually start a genuine conversation of some sort.

Except when it's political; due to the US's broken 2-party system, the 2 parties true political views are nearly identical, but any discussion devolves into "Republicans" and "Democrats" each pretending their party and the other party are totally different and it's the other party's fault for all problems. Each claims they want to cut the deficit and it's that other party that wants to spend.. then goes on to list a bunch of stuff they want to increase spending on. They'll say the other party excessive government intrusiveness and they don't, then state a list their own big list of things they want the government to step in on. It's really both parties supporting huge government and just squabbling over the details. Oh and both parties think there's some media conspiracy to make them look bad; in reality, Fox News and NPR are pretty slanted, but most news coverage just reports what happened. The problem here, of course, is 3rd partys cannot gain significant support when the polls used only list R or D candidates, not even a general 3rd choice of "none of the above" or "3rd party"; so then these invalid polls are aired to claim there is no 3rd party support; sometimes properly conducted polls have shown as high as 20% 3rd party support while the invalid official polls (unsurprisingly) show 0%.

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Apple KILLS SUPER MARIO. And Zelda. And Sonic

Henry Wertz 1
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Apple blocks software because they feel like it...

Apple blocks software because they feel like it... film at 11.

Time for y'all to get Android kit. I can stick on whatever emulators I want.

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Adobe spies on reading habits over unencrypted web because your 'privacy is important'

Henry Wertz 1
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That's DRM for you

I would not purchase any DRM-infected product where I cannot strip off the DRM and have a clean file to use. The couple ebooks I've gotten, they were available DRM-free so of course I got that; some have a obvious watermark (the back page has my name on it!) and I wouldn't be surprised if there weren't a hidden watermark or two. It's fully effective -- I can use these files with whatever software and hardware I'd like, since they are DRM-free. But, a pirate's going to have problems getting anyone to supply them with content to pirate when the purchaser's name is on it!

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Remember that tale of a fired accountant who blamed Comcast? It's kinda true, says telco

Henry Wertz 1
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"Really? Why would you want to work at a place that treats you like that again? And that will put you on the top of the next inevitable round of layoffs?"

Problem is, there's no way he'll get his old job back. Although investment firms seem to act rather shady in some aspects, they are subject to SEC regulation (among others) and have some ethical rules employees are expected to follow. One of these is to not use your investment influence for personal vendettas, or threaten to do so. I do feel bad for him... what is it with these cable companies and random cockups? Of course if the recording turned up and he didn't say anything he'd be exhonerated and owed every penny; however, how likely is it that Comcast would pursue anything if he didn't say something first?

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I want to TRANSPLANT your storage BRAINS: WD desktop NAS refresh

Henry Wertz 1
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Desktop versus enterprise firmware

Regarding desktop versus enterprise firmware, there are a few differences. The main difference, desktop drives are shipped so when the drive hits a bad sector, they tend to hang attempting to recover the bad portion (if it succeeds it's copied to a spare block); the enterprise drive will almost immediately return a read error, failing to retrieve that block but not hanging the disk. The array controller can then either offline the disk, run the degraded array, and set off lots of alarms; or keep the disk online for speed and set off lots of alarms.

Regarding disks, I saw one setup where they had like 64 drives racked onto this custom rack thing they'd built, with all these external port multipliers hooking it all into a couple SATA ports on 64-core system. Apparently it worked OK, although I think they were turning everything off to change failed disks.

Regarding disk interchange, there are enclosures that support both SAS and SATA; the brackets either have a SATA connection, or SAS can be converted to SATA via a plug adapter. Some come with an adapter to plug right into a regular SATA port on the controller (only supporting SATA drives, not SAS, in that case.) They're still expensive though.

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WOMEN, your 'SUPERPOWER' is ... NOT asking for a RAISE: Satya Nadella

Henry Wertz 1
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Yeah, but...

Yeah, I mean, you don't want to go around constantly asking for raises. But, some places if you don't ask for a raise, *you don't get a raise*. If there isn't something structured like quarterly reviews, or some bosses that keep on top of things informally, the pay rate is put into the payroll system, the hours are tallied up and a check's printed and mailed out. The boss may be busy with day-to-day operations and the topic just will never come up. I do have a neighbor that finally asked his employer for a raise after like 5 years, the boss simply hadn't realised what his pay (set 5 or 6 years ago) was, he was like "That's what you're getting? Damn" and he got a nice raise.

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Was Nokia's Elop history's worst CEO?

Henry Wertz 1
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Well, both are true to some extent

I still think Elop was a very poor CEO; I don't know about history's worst, but he wasn't that good.

It is true that Elop inherited a dysfunctional company. Nokia's phones were selling well, but the Symbian S60 and S40 technological bases were technologically obsolete, apparently S60 made some pretty unusual use of C++ to speed things up (and probably save RAM) but making the API much more difficult than usual to use. They had multiple development projects dividing up resources, and several seemed to clearly be dead ends.

I'd say the first problem, Nokia was investing too much time and money into S60; they got Qt running on it, which extended S60's useful life some more years, but they really shouldn't have kept working on it further.

The Linux phone development was going pretty well, they had shipped a few nice wifi-only devices and one or two phones (N900 and the like.) They did have problems in that it sounds like this development was also quite scattered, including some team trying to make an S60-like environment to run on the Linux kernel. They were also (if I recall correctly) working on both Maemo and Meego. It sounds like these Maemo devices may have shipped a bit before the software was ready, but the software was fixed up pretty nicely via updates and these ended up being pretty nice; Nokia had been planning to ship the next iteration of these within a year or so.

Elop stepped in. He announced their current products were crap, making sure sales of their current devices would dry up quick. He axed development of all projects (other than hardware development of the next phone), including the ones that were shipping working products, to go with an unknown from Microsoft exclusively. I know the claim is that it was unforseeable that Windows Phone 7 turned out the way it was for them, but it kind of was clear that with Windows Phone 7, it was effectively a version 1 product (in terms of being so significantly different from Windows CE), and was therefore high risk.

If it were me... 1) I wouldn't say your existing products are crap! If people are still buying S60-based stuff, go ahead and sell it. 2) I would have cancelled some of the dead-end development projects, but Elop axed basically everything but the hardware development. I would have seen Maemo was shipping working products while Meego was not close to being there, and scrapped Meego development (pulling the useful portions into Maemo if possible.). 3) They should have worked up the new phones, but running a choice of Maemo or Windows Phone 7, since both were already running on it during development. They wouldn't have had their stock dive from the S60 sales dropping dead, and they would have had some S40 and S60 phones to sell, along with Maemo if Windows Phone 7 didn't sell how they hoped.

Microsoft did have a similar situation, the Windows CE API and kernel resembled Windows 3.1 more than a modern Windows version. Windows 7 Phone (and 8) do have a reasonably complete win32 API; they also went right to managed code so a lot of this is inaccessible, which from a security perspective is probably just as well.

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Sprint will KILL OFF WiMax in 2015 – report

Henry Wertz 1
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WiMax versus LTE

Technologically, WiMax and LTE ended up using almost indentical modulation and data encoding techniques. WiMax was already on the market when LTE was still being finalized. But WiMax was really designed to provide high-speed wireless data to a receiver (usually stationary, installed at the home or business). It wasn't designed to be part of an existing network, no power saving (initially), no data handoffs to 3G (UMTS/HSPA or EVDO) or 2G (GSM/EDGE or CDMA 1X) and no plans for carrying voice (like VoLTE does on LTE.) It made sense for Clear to go WiMax at the time (LTE wasn't available yet, and Clear was in fact providing data service, not cell phone service...) but once carriers started using LTE the economies of scale etc. greatly favored LTE.

As for frequency and power, WiMax's in-building penetration is weak because Clear's (and Sprint's) rollout is at 2.6ghz. Once Sprint flips this to LTE, it'll still be at 2.6ghz and have the same building penetration problems (there's nothing inherent in WiMax to make it lower-range.) But, Sprint also has a little lower-800mhz (formerly the SMR band) from Nextel, which they are running a little (like 5mhz or so) LTE on, so deep in buildings your device should just switch to that.

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You folks probably don't have much to say on the Comcast-TWC merger ... FCC extends deadline for comments anyway

Henry Wertz 1
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In short

In short, Time Warner Cable has unlimited data plans, with a few with a cap ($1/GB overage but limited to $25.) Comcast is all capped plans (300 GB cap, and $10/per 50GB over.) So, there are some few places with two (or more) choices of cable, people which have actually switched from Comcast to TWC obviously don't want to be switched back to Comcast. Elsewhere, TWC customers are concerned about being changed to capped plans. I don't know how plan prices compare, whichever side has lower prices is I'm sure concerned about price increases.

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Why US Feds and g-men kick up a stink about a growing smartphone encryption trend

Henry Wertz 1
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"Goering Hadn't got CNN to Contend With"

Hah, I laughed when I read that. When was the last time you've watched CNN? They're not as bad as Fox News (who basically said Snowden was a war criminal and that the NSA is just doing their job and shold be left alone). But CNN still spent more time covering Snowden himself than the numerous legal abuses of the NSA; they accepted the lie hook, line, and sinker, of redefining "collecting" information as being when it's actually looked at (so they could claim they don't "collect" much information). They did very little to nothing that would cause despots to have to contend with them.

What would give the likes of Goering problems now is online coverage; stories that would ever get mainstream media coverage now get coverage online. And occasionally some story that the mainstream media initially missed will be picked up later. (The so-called network news here in the US is about 1/4 sports coverage, 1/4 tabloid crap like actor X marrying actress Y despite having tabloid shows for this to go on, 1/4 advertisements, leaving about 7 minutes out of a half hour show for news and weather, so important news is frequently either bumped outright, or dumbed down to a sentence or two so the viewer doesn't REALLY know what's what.)

Before you could get online coverage, previously the choice was "nothing" or (if you're near a university) "self-published local newspaper" (which may have had info of dubious accuracy -- and unlike online you couldn't do a further search to verify if the info is likely true or not.)

As for the original article -- several of Google's engineers are pretty mad about the NSA tapping their fiber links, they may go for a proper encryption setup where Google doesn't even have the keys. In the US there's no law compelling me to give up my crypto keys, and furthermore the 5th ammendment prohibits requiring anyone from giving up self-incriminating information. The devil (whether this crypto is actually useful or for show) is in the details really

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Doctor Who becomes an illogical, unscientific, silly soap opera in Kill The Moon

Henry Wertz 1
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Summed it up for me

SuccessCase, you've summed it up for me. I don't need the Doctor to be cold and callous. But it's way too inconsistent, one episode dozens or hundreds will die and it doesn't seem to trouble anyone one bit; the next episode, he'll be angsting the whole episode "one person to save billions? Can I do it?" (even if that person's a villain), and then some dues ex machine will pop up so he can. Also, Dr. Who has always been quite soft sci-fi, but it seems like it's gone right off the rails, from more-futuristic-than-Star-Trek pseudoscience running the Tardis etc., to (far too often) "If you believe hard enough you can do anything!" type of fluffery.

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