* Posts by Henry Wertz 1

1769 posts • joined 12 Jun 2009

Linux 'GRINCH' vuln is AWFUL. Except, er, maybe it isn't

Henry Wertz 1
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I agree with Redhat

I agree with Redhat's assessment. The wheel group is meant to be given only to users who are expected to have root access to the system. I.e.you give it to admins, not every user on the system. So, this particular package installer permits wheel-group users, if and only if they are logged into the physical console, to install packages without asking for a password. It's like being surprised that a Windows user who has been added to he Administrator group can perform Administrator activities; not particularly a surprise at all.

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Are we ready to let software run the data centre?

Henry Wertz 1
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Doesn't sound too bad

I really hadn't heard any clear definitions (before) of what SDN was exactly, it sounded like a lot of unfinished software + hype. But it doesn't sound to bad to me from this description. To me, it sounds like the combination of (in summary):

1) The existing mechanisms various virtual machine environments have to allow these virtual machines to have their own MAC addresses and (if you want) VLAN tags.

2) "Q-in-Q" allowing a second layer of VLAN tags (802.11q) within a VLAN tag. So, "development" and "production" for example could each be on it's own VLAN. But "development" could then define their own VLANs within this VLAN, if (for example) you wanted to test something (with either physical or virtual hardware) that really should be on it's own LAN, without risk of it accidentally setting the "wrong" VLAN ID and stepping on production's toes.

3) Some kind of standardization in terms of how to deal with setting up and removing VLANs and "sub-VLANs" on the switches.

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The future looks bright: Prepare to be dazzled by HDR telly tech

Henry Wertz 1
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What I don't want is a picture is 2 or 3 (or like 10) times as bright as it is now. Avoiding having stuff get washed out is good though.

A note on this... when HD was somewhat new, there seemed to be a spate of films and shows where they went rather over the top on making everything razor sharp; eventually it was used to just present shows and movies at a higher resolution. My guess, if HDR catches on, there'll be a while where anywhere they'd use a lens flare, it'll be an astoundingly bright lens flare. I like the idea of having a bit better dynamic range between "almost black" and "black" though.

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WD and HGST: We tried to merge our two drive makers, MOFCOM said NO, NO, NO

Henry Wertz 1
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Over the long term (like 20 years), these companies have kind of taken turns... sometimes a company had a production problem, bad batches and so on; sometimes they try to push the bit density a bit too high before the next generation technology comes out.

Oh, and occasional firmware failures... I had a drive back in the day, 420MB WD AC2420, that I got replaced under warranty 3 times (after the 1st replacement failed I used the replacement as a spare...) So, after a few weeks or a month it'd get a bad sector or two; not uncommon at the time (they'd gone from the printed factory defect list to remapping them at the factory, but no SMART yet, so you'd use DOS or Linux's bad block handling to map out any other bad sectors.) Once it got 1 or 2 bad sectors, you had about a week... the bad sectors didn't grow, but (even if you mapped them out!) it'd start repeatedly whacking the heads against the side of the case, and you'd get a 25% drive failure as 1 of the 4 heads could take no more. Unfortunately each replacement I got had older firmware than the last, because apparently this drive is known online for it's longevity.

Nevertheless, there's an awful lot of consolidation in the drive market and I'm not too chuffed with the idea of WD taking over HGST either.

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No more free Windows... and now it’s all about the services

Henry Wertz 1
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Thanks Microsoft for stopping this policy

"Also.. when did Microsoft ever give Windows away for free ?"

If you read TFA, they started giving Windows (8/8.1 I suppose) away for free starting in April for OEMs making devices with under 9 inch screens. They have either significantly discounted or given away Windows 7 and XP in the past as well.

For example, netbooks were shipping with Linux; Microsoft basically killed the netbook market by 1) Releasing Windows cheap or free for them... I think then itwas also based on 9-inch screen limit and 1GB RAM limit (initially Windows XP, well after the point when they were supposedly going to stop selling it) ... 2) Vendors found the netbook than ran Linux fine was inadequate for running Windows (especially Windows 7). 3) The OEMs then bumped the specs up on these netbooks, all of a sudden that ~$200 netbook cost like $500+, which put it out of the price range of really being considered a netbook; so they no longer sold well.

I'm pleased that Microsoft has given up on this ploy. Please, Microsoft, play fair in the market, give people Windows if they want and let them not get Windows if they don't want it. Thanks.

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Yes, Obama has got some things wrong on the internet. But so has the GOP

Henry Wertz 1
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"If sales taxes were also imposed on online sales, it might even spark competition between states to pass low online-only taxes as a way to drive business to their jurisdictions."

Well, the problem is, the sales tax is supposed to be paid based on where the stuff is going, not where your business is located.

Municipalities already bend over backwards to say "Well, we won't charge your business x, y, or z taxes if you move it here." (usually property taxes and some other tax breaks.) And then, in some cases, act surprised when it doesn't work out... The city of Dubuque here in Iowa is STILL complaining about Google... the city offered all these tax breaks since Google was going to bring hundreds of jobs (based on the size of the buliding, assuming it was going to have a factory inside or something.) Google straight up TOLD the city, *multiple times* during this process, that it was largely automated and would hire 50 people max. The city stuck fingers in their ears and kept claiming the hundreds of jobs would be so great, it came as this big surprise to the city when they actually hired like 50 people like they said they (repeatedly!) said they would.

As for Democrats versus Republicans... well, that's the US's broken political system. We effectively have a single-party system, both parties favor large, intrusive, and expensive government, while blaming the other party for all the country's problems. Even though these two parties political views are almost identical* (compared to what is available in a proper democracy with wildly different political parties), well, look at the comments... people will defend their almost-identical political party, swear up and down it's SO different, say the members of the other are party are wingnuts, fascists, hippies, use "liberal" and "conservative" like swear words, blame that other party for all the problems, and sooner or later start swearing at each other. Oh and swear at anyone looking in from the outside pointing out how screwed up it all is. US politics are truly dreary and awful. I say this as a Libertarian.

*I'm not saying they are 100% identical. But, they're closer than is healthy compared to places with like 5 or 6 parties in the mix.

What is the root problem? Polls and reporting. When an election comes up, the polls will ask ONLY if people are voting for the republican candidate or the democratic candidate -- not even "or somebody else". If you plan to vote for ANYONE else, they'll either no record anything at all for you, or say that means you're "undecided". No, I'm not undecided, I'm not voting for either main party! We've occasionally had third-party candidates hit 20%+ of the vote (and win in a few jurisdictions.) They'll show up as 0 on the polls (since the poll excludes the possibility of a third party), the news will report the poll result just claiming high numbers of "undecied" voters up to the point they get surprised by the election results; and in debates, it's strictly republican+democrat, the third party candidates are NEVER invited. This then feeds into this sick view I've heard from some that they can't stand either main-party candidate, but they are "throwing their vote away" if they vote for someone they actually want in office because they don't have a chance of winning (of course, for some odd reason, this doesn't stop the republicans in places that are like 75% democrat -- or vice versa -- from voting even though their candidate has no chance of winning.)

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NASA prods sleeping New Horizons spacecraft: Wakey, wakey, Pluto's calling

Henry Wertz 1
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Re: PLUTO.......Planet, planetoid, Celestial Body or what?

"Have they made their minds up yet as to what it is?"

Well, it's somewhat controversial. From what I read at the time, the IAU vote that stripped Pluto of it's status as planet... Those who wanted to strip Pluto of it's status made their case. It was pretty clear that a majority of the astronomers there did not support this. So, what the "Pluto is not a planet" supporters did is waited until the meeting was wrapped up and most IAU members were leaving or had left... THEN reconvened and voted to strip Pluto of it's status (it sounds like they probably didn't even have enough people there to have a quorum; but they made sure to not formally take a headcount so it couldn't be overturned for that reason.)

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Vendor lock-in is truly a TERRIBLE idea ... says, er, Microsoft

Henry Wertz 1
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"Why am i using docker over just packaging an application as a meta-package depending on the bits I need.

So if i only want a sane webserver setup, I package corp-httpd and job done.

The only hard bit is to decide what a host will do, and that can be a shell script that sets a hostname and installs on first boot."

Packaging your application as a meta-package works fine for making your package easy to install on Linux distros that use the same package format as yours.

If you have (for political or business reasons, it really doesn't matter) multiple groups who cannot even agree on what distro they want to use but they don't want two largely-idle servers... well, the one group can use Redhat Enterprise Linux, the other can use Ubuntu, and more or less pretend they each have their own server. This isn't really possible without containerization or virtualization.

There's also the case of sloppy commercial software that the vendor won't support unless it's on "it's own" computer. If that's because they judge resource usage to be so intense it needs it's own machine, I don't expect them to support it under Docker either, you're still effectively violating the system requirements whether a second daemon is running in Docker or bare metal. if the software requires "it's own" computer because the installer's an unholy mess that spams the filesystem, or it requires particular versions of some libraries but doesn't include them in it's own private /.../lib directory, well, Docker would be perfect for that (just as chroot jails were effective for this in the past.)

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Henry Wertz 1
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"What a load of total utter ballcocks. Locked in my ass - you're only locked in if you can't be arsed to learn how to cross platform your data."

Yes. And part of this is... if you use/used some vendor's products, they include support for mixing and matching with products from other vendors, and help move your data out if you have to. Other vendors, they range from pretending other vendors don't exist to actively hindering mixing and matching with products from other vendors, and hinder moving you data out if you have to.

IBM in the mainframe era was infamous for this, running from the hardware to the use of EBCDIC instead of ASCII all the way up through the software stack. Microsoft is well known for this; being pretty much the only vendor to not support ODF (until they eventually caved in and did); Exchange using proprietary data formats, with no provided solution of getting e-mail etc. in or out of it. Outlook, same. Various products (including .NET frameworks) that are tied in to SQL Server and only SQL Server (for example, I tried to use Entity Framework with MySQL since it claims to use SQL... it doesn't, I got it to *connect* to MySQL but it actually uses *T-SQL* i.e. non-standard SQL Server SQL and refuses to generate standard SQL for even basic queries.) The list goes on and on. If you're used to Microsoft products you might consider it the norm to have to purchase third-party software to perform some operations that competing software supports out of the box in the interest of interoperability and industry standards.

But, I think this time it's possible they are being genuine (rather than "embrace, extend, extinguish" of the past.)

I think they simply had to own up that many *many* pieces of "cloud" software, frameworks, and development environments, are for Linux and not Windows. Furthermore, I'm just not sure how much Windows-based cloud software will start coming out; Visual Studio is currently frankly a bit of dog's dinner (not that the software is necessarily bad; but the current state of the software and documentation makes it extremely hard for someone to either port software to a "cloud" or start from scratch.)

Lockin in this case fails, and just locks people *out* of using Microsoft products; if they want to sell much more than some hosted SQL Server and Exchange instances, they must support Linux and all that software people now use for cloudy-type services.

Similarly, the container formats, management utilities, and so on, are probably not Linux or Windows-specific. Microsoft past would not have supported this stuff, they would have preferred vendor lockin, viewing supporting standard container formats and so on as helping people move from Azure to other clouds. I think now they have recently realized potential customers will view "Well, these containers and utilities support most clouds and hypervisors except Azure and Hyper-V" as an excellent reason to go elsewhere for their cloud services and hypervisors, so they best support them when reasonably possible.

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Give nerds their own PRIVATE TRAIN CARRIAGES, say boffins

Henry Wertz 1
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Would this work?

Would this work? Honestly, the few times I've been on the train, I have not felt like talking to anyone. If anything, I'd want to get some work done or zone out before getting to work; which I don't need a special train car to do.

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That sub-$100 Android slab you got on Black Friday? RIDDLED with holes, say infosec bods

Henry Wertz 1
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System updates

Yeah, I always assume any phone or tablet I get will have the capabilities it has NOW. Too many vendors never ship any updates.

Not just the Chinese vendors; I've never had a phone yet that got an actual Android update... my Droid 2 Global got an update from 2.2 to still 2.2... I got it up to 2.3.something using Cyanogenmod. My previous phone got no Android version update at all, but updated the LTE radio firmware. My current phone got updated from 4.1.2 to still 4.1.2, but using a newer radio ROM.

So.. if I get a phone *assuming* it'll get an Android update or two, I'll be sorely disappointed when it doesn't. If I make sure the version it *ships* with is at least "new enough", then I can't be disappointed, but may get a pleasant surprise if there's a nice upgrade down the road.

(Of course, the "Google phones" are the exception -- since Google *will* ship updates for them for a certain length of time, I wouldn't sweat buying one expecting future updates.)

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Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked

Henry Wertz 1
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What are they talking about?

My question, what are they talking about? After reading both the El Reg article, and the Arxan site, I can't tell.

By a "hacked" app, do they mean:

1) Exploits exist against an application, so unauthorized information can be retrieved from the application and phoned home to some naughty malware author?

2) The unauthorized copies of these applications have various malware added into them?

3) Just like cracked PC software; the "adding or modifying many attributes and behaviours that the app did not originally have, such as having security controls bypassed or unauthorised functions" means bypassing licensing checks and enabling the paid features you wouldn't get otherwise (in the case of apps with a free and feature-added pay version)?

Don't get me wrong, the software on offer from Arxan appears to be meant to harden Android apps, so it would likely help against all of those 3 scenarios (make it harder to exploit, harder to crack, and so harder to ship "malware added" versions of the software too.) But I'd be more worried about loads of exploitable apps than finding out that dodgey free versions of paid software exist (which honestly wouldn't surprise me much at all.)

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That dreaded syncing feeling: Will Microsoft EVER fix OneDrive?

Henry Wertz 1
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"Most people run Windows on their PCs because they have no real choice. When people are given a choice very few people chose Windows"

Yup, I've gotten plenty of "Don't you hate it when your computer..." (insert laundry list of Windows-only problems, real or imagined.) I reply "My computer doesn't do that, I'm not running Windows, those problems are all Windows-specific."

Anyway... OneDrive. What would be so hard about having a choice -- the "remote-only files aren't visible" for those users who want it, and the choice of showing *all* files but having remote-only files greyed out to indicate they aren't there yet. If you had an internet connection, it'd retrieve the file when you go to open it; or you'd right click the file or files and choose to retrieve a copy now if you need them pre-retrieved. *shrug*. I dunno, I just thought this kind of thing (distributed file system with offline capability) was the kind of thing that had been solved decades ago, with giving it a nice UI the only thing that needs to be worked out. But it sounds like Microsoft has released a suite of incompatible products under the OneDrive name and now trying to mash them together. Yeah.

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Docker: Sorry, you're just going to have to learn about it. Today we begin

Henry Wertz 1
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Difference between this and virtualization

In a virtual environment, you either have Type I (bare metal) hypervisor or Type II (runs on top of an OS). VirtualBox for instance is Type II. Either way, you end up having a speed hit for any kernel code, although with modern tech like VT-X it's much lower.

First assume zero overhead. Your application generates requests. The requests are processed by the virtual machine kernel and passed to the virtual machine drivers. The drivers get the data to the hypervisor, the hypervisor passes along requests to the kernel and the real kernel's drivers finish the requests. There could also be dual caching as the VM kernel and real kernel both cache data.

In a container, your app generates requests; there's a little overhead while some layer vets the requests to ensure one doesn't break out of the jail; they're passed to the kernel and the driver finishes the requests. Much fewer steps.

In reality, virtio network and disk drivers can cut the virtual machine driver overhead down quite a bit; without it the virtual machine drivers and hypervisor are faffing about with various registers and whatever emulating a real network card, SATA controller, IDE controller, or SCSI controller. You also usually have to statically allocate RAM to VMs, whereas with containers you can set RAM usage limits but you otherwise just have a pool of available RAM.

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Tough Banana Pi: a Raspberry Pi for colour-blind diehards

Henry Wertz 1
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Seems to me...

Seems to me (as a few commenters have commented),the current feature set (SATA port, gigabit ethernet, but not working video accel) makes this sutiable as a nice little server. Looks like the VPU is not supported yet. I wonder if ffmpeg is built with NEON support, that would provide a good speedup.

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Pity the poor Windows developer: The tools for desktop development are in disarray

Henry Wertz 1
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SL failed because Flash was multiplatform

"I can understand the Silverlight debacle; they tried to replace Flash and didn't notice that plugin-based RIAs were going to disappear altogether as a category in a few more years. It was a mistake, but this sort of stuff happens."

I'd say, more accurately, they thought they could displace Flash; but in their arrogance, they failed to notice that the Windows-only plugins that preceded Flash were displaced by Flash BECAUSE of it being ported to multiple platforms. They thought they could displace multi-platform Flash with Windows-only Silverlight, and use it as a disincentive against using anything but Windows to surf the web. HTML5-style functionality wasn't really a factor back when SL came out.

At the time SL came out, Flash supported Windows back to Win98, OS9, OSX, Linux, Solaris, and I think a few other UNIXes. Silverlight supported Windows 2000 on up. And a little later a somewhat buggy OSX port. Moonlight (based on Mono) doesn't really count, I tried it on Linux and it didn't actually work; I got ONE demo (that showed a cube) to load, a second demo that just showed a single triangle failed; I never saw a single Silverlight-based site (the few that there were) work under Moonlight before I removed it as a waste of space.

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Microsoft: It's TIME at LAST. Yes - .NET is going OPEN and X-PLATFORM

Henry Wertz 1
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"The real question is .Net going to still be relevant by the time its been fully developed and is truly production ready on non MS platforms.? After the Silverlight debacle Microsoft has in past given mixed signals about .Net's long term future. In some ways this may turn out just like it did with Symbian."

To be honest, i've done some test programming with C#, it's fine. I must agree about the mixed signals though, I had though .NET was considered essentially defunct, that Microsoft was done with it and .NET 4.5 was it.

I don't really develop for Windows, other than dipping my toes now and then. But, I certainly do hope for Windows developer's sake that Microsoft comes out with SOME kind of clearer roadmap.

When I did some Windows development recently, I decided to find out what the "best practices" were; since I was starting from scratch, why use outmoded and no longer recommended toolkits and techniques? Well, I found no recommendation, every desktop toolkit was either formally deprecated or not really deprecated but they were making it clear(ish) that development was done. Some developers said the newer toolkits weren't feature-complete and to use the older formally deprecated ones. Very confusing. The only formally recommended development path at that point was to develop Metro apps, which I was obviously not going to do since a) I don't think enough people had Windows 8 then or indeed now, and I don't have a Windows 8 VM either for that matter. b) I didn't like any aspect of any Metro app I've ever seen, since it's not really a desktop interface but a tablet interface forced onto a desktop.

So I decided on WPF (despite it also being considered to be kind of on life support on that point) and found it acceptable; XAML and WPF reminded me the most of the old Swing toolkit for Java. However, I can see where people could find it inflexible for their purposes. But again, even WPF was not recommended at that point, and indeed it sounded like even .NET was kind of being placed on life support (although specific addons like Entity Framework were even then clearly still being actively developed.)

At least Microsoft has indicated they will continue to work on WPF and .NET, giving SOME kind of guidance.

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The cloud that goes puff: Seagate Central home NAS woes

Henry Wertz 1
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Something else to watch/listen for...

Something else to watch/listen for.. I had a HD enclosure (not a NAS, but I'm sure this could happen on some NAS systems too) that was using dual hard drives, to provide double capacity (i.e. not mirrored.) THE NUMPTIES DIDN'T USE AN UPGRADED POWER SUPPLY.

So, after a while, it was effectively providing the drives with a "brownout" amount of power. You get fair warning, the drives did not sound healthy for a few days, and the power supply was audibly hissing. I ordered a replacement power supply... basically, they went bad like clockwork about every 6 months due to probably being inadequate rating for the power used. On the second power supply, before I realized what was happening, the motor on one drive burned out, and the other drive was damaged (anywhere it had written when it did not have enough power was irrecoverably mapped out as a bad sector; whether there was REAL damage or not, the drive used up it's spare sectors, so it had *visible* bad sectors (that would not map out any more due to the spares being used up), and would not even try to zero out these bad sectors and mark them no longer bad if I zeroed the disk. Boo.)

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That's all folks! US TV streaming upstart Aereo files for bankrupcy

Henry Wertz 1
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"Indeed, much as the idea of Aereo was innovative and no doubt a valuable service to the people that used it, it was piracy of the TV companies' signals that it was selling."

Nonsense, there was no piracy involved whatsoever; it was taking over-the-air signals, that to remind you anyone in the area could receive over the air; and making those signals available on the person's device of choice.

To be honest, I'm not surprised this service was shut down; however, I see it as really a disservice to both the TV viewing public and to the stations themselves (although they did not see it that way.) It sounds like the most common use of this service was to watch *live* TV (advertisements and all!) on devices that otherwise would be unable to receive TV at all. To me, this would be a win-win, increasing viewership of the station.

As for the antenna... given the description, I have my doubts if it was actually functional or not as opposed to being an attempt to work around some outdated law or other; you can use an arbitrarily small antenna if your signal strength is pretty high. I know in my market, a postage stamp sized antenna would get zero stations, no matter what technological trickery you claim to use with it.

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All aboard the Poo Bus! Ding ding, route Number Two departing

Henry Wertz 1
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How about the exhaust?

You know how those fry oil-powered diesel vehicles kind of smell like french fries? Yeah, hows the exhaust from this bus smell? 8-)

(In all seriousness I do suppose it smells like nothing at all. But I'm surprised that exhaust from biodiesel vehicles smells like anything identifiable either, so I don't really know.)

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Culture CLASH: Wuzhen Declaration spurned at World Internet Conference in China

Henry Wertz 1
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What they must realize

What they must realize, is the internet routes around damage; and censorship is regarded by some users as damage. The GFW is ineffective to anyone who wishes to get around it; if a Wuzhen Declaration encouraging allowing countries to implement widespread censorship passes then users will simply ignore it and work around it.

Of course, a clause trying to reduce the spread of pornography is pretty useless, there's so much pornography already online I don't know if there's anywhere further for it to spread (edit: El Reg, you're welcome to accept this as a challenge and spice things up with a Page 3 girl if you wish. Just kidding, that may not go over too well 8-) . Re-edit: Of course this is a problem with this kind of declaration; I'm sure the Page 3 girl is just considered racy in UK; in France or wherever it may not even be that racy. In US, we're prudes and I think it'd be unheard of to have a photo topless woman outside of the likes of Playboy. And the kind of people who would want to significantly restrict online pornography to begin with, instead of realize adults are adults, probably would want to go for the lowest common denominator.. worst case you'd end up not being able to show exposed ankles. ) And, again, any attempt to restrict products and services that people want to get to, they will get to it anyway.

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Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers

Henry Wertz 1
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" Consider making the lid of your laptop computer a solar panel, one that can be flipped up to collect energy when the screen is open."

They did consider that in a sense I think; solar panels, the generators in wind farm wind mills, use rare earth metals, and more power regulation and power storage hardware would have to be put into the grid. The existing solar and wind arms may well save more CO2 than used to make them, since they are in pretty ideal sun and wind locations. Once you try to replace a large percentage of current power usage with it though, the prime spots would be taken and you'd have some panels and windmills not contributing that much power. I think a laptop solar panel sounds cool, but honestly mine's almost always indoors or in a bag.

And yeah, my understanding is that the conventional reactor produces these depleted fuel rods as waste, a breeder reactor will use the depleted rods as fuel and you end up with nice hot plutonium fuel rods to go back into the conventional reactor. But, some percentage of this plutonium is weapons grade, so reprocessing depleted rods was stopped dead in it's tracks years ago and it's all stored away. Some of the reactors running presently, the designs are not as safe as they could be and they are getting very old; it would be a good idea to decommission them eventually. But even 1980s-era (as opposed to 1960s-1970s) designs were much safer (Chernobyl used a 1973-era design with a few later 1970s revisions), newer design reactors are particularly safe.

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Leaked screenshots show next Windows kernel to be a perfect 10

Henry Wertz 1
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I was surprised they didn't do this before...

I was surprised they didn't do this earlier... xxx or xxxx is the build number... Windows NT 3.1 used 3.1.xxx kernel vesion; NT 3.5 used 3.5.xxxx and 3.51 3.51.xxxx kernel versions. NT 4.0 used 4.0.xxxx kernel version, and Windows 2000 5.0.xxxx kernel version. This is quite sensible. THEN:

XP 5.1.xxxx

Server 2003, XP 64-bit 5.2.xxxx

Vista 6.0.xxxx

Windows 7 6.1.xxxx

Windows 8 6.2.xxxx

Windows 8.1 6.3.xxxx

So, I guess since "XP", "2003", and "Vista" aren't really numerical version numbers anyway.. whatever. But I really don't know why.... wwhhhhhhhhyyyyy..... they didn't have WIndows 7 have a 7.0.xxxx kernel, given that the previous version already had a 6.0.xxxx kernel. Windows 8 then could have had an 8.0.xxxx kernel and 8.1 8.1.xxxx. Oh well, giving Windows 10 a 10.0.xxxx kernel, better late than never.

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Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop

Henry Wertz 1
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"My Nexus 5 ran like crap for about an hour after the update. Swiping between screens juddered, the lock screen would take a few seconds to respond to pin code input. I'm assuming it was just doing something silently in the background because the next morning it was back to buttery smooth."

You know what it probably is? I don't think Lollipop uses Dalvik VM any more, the phone probably boots up then is rebuilding all those apps. Or it's doing the encryption. I assume it wouldn't take that long to go through pictures.. but it depends how many are on there. When it's going to update whatever, it probably should probably do a notification that it's updating your (whatever it's updating) so you know that's why it's slow. Good to know, I don't have to warn my mom off updating hers 8-).

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Pure: We've created the Everlasting Gobstopper of Storage – 'Forever Flash'

Henry Wertz 1
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"Intriguing news item but colour me cynical, I have to wonder how “perpetual” storage will pan out in the real world. Is this perchance a marketing spin?"

Some companies prefer the predictable costs of an all-inclusive M&S (maintenance and support) contract over the probably lower overall costs but more unpredictable of paying for replacement kit all at once. They could make plenty of margin (profit) and still get plenty of customers. Flash prices are dropping, controller prices will be stable or (most likely) drop, and if the customer needs a higher performance controller, and more storage, I'm sure they will pay more for M&S on that next contract.

Openstack's storage (like ZFS, and some other cluster or high reliability storage systems), lets you add devices at will (to add more space), remove devices, and offline bad devices, and have the storage be spread out over whatever kind of network of computers you've got (obviously the faster the better.) Using it as a basis for a flash storage system should make maintenance pretty easy (it could either offline flash automaticcally as it approaches the wear limit, using new flash they periodically put in; or they may remove them manually from the pool and add new flash to replace them.) The actual maintenance of an Openstack system is not too difficult, it'd be nice for a field tech to work with I think.

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Hackers seize Detroit's database, demand $800k. Motor City shrugs: OK, take it

Henry Wertz 1
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10 years ago, Detroit looked post-apocalyptic

I just have to laugh about someone trying to extort a bankrupt city. I guess it doesn't cost them anything to do it, but... .they (finally!) formally declared bankruptcy a year or two ago, they would be unable to pay this ransom no matter how important the database is.

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My trip to Detroit

Seriously, it's possible Detroit is in better shape now (and I have heard some of the TARP bailout money that was not wasted paying off incompetent banks did go to road repair specifically in the Detroit area)... but when I was there about 10 years ago, the highway (this was 100% overpass, i.e. elevated roadway, bridge) was so rough I hit my head on the rough of the car; I was a bit alarmed to look out and realize some of the potholes had NO CONCRETE LEFT AT ALL and the tires were running on metal rebar, I could see THROUGH the bridge*. When I got to my friend's house and we went to get on the highway, we found nearest onramp to my friends house had a "road closed" sign with a pile of rubble, the onramp had collapsed. The next one, my friend and I debated if we should go fast and get up the ramp before it (potentially) collapsed, or go slow to minimize the chance of collapsing it (he went for slow.) Off the highway, I drove through blocks of cracked road with what looked like 5 or 6 foot grass on each side, the buildings had collapsed and grass grown back over the foundations. One street was flooded due to a broke water main -- when I left a few days later, the water had not even been shut off let alone any repairs being done. The buildings that were left, about 1 or 2 per block were in good shape, the rest had broken out windows and so on. To me, it seriously looked like I was driving through a post-apocalyptic city that had been leveled by an atomic bomb 30 or 40 years previously and never rebuilt. It didn't look as bad as the random rubble in the Terminator movies, but worse than the "post-disaster" cities I've seen in most any other movie; amusingly the supposedly run down due to bankruptcy Detroit in Robocop looks WAAAAY nicer than the reality.

*Two other people I know who went there around 10 years ago... one did major damage to his front end, he hit a piece of concrete that had broken out and was sitting on the road... probably he should have seen it, but what can I say, he is the kind of driver that would not notice. The other person bent up all 4 rims on his Acura on the way into Detroit, got them replaced, and the replacements got all bent up on the way *out* of Detroit and he had to replace them a 2nd time when he got home.

end trip to Detroit

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"Feel free to be smug but Office 97 is".. actually I wouldn't object to that, although they probably should be using LibreOffice or the like.

But, they shouldn't be running that old of *server* software (the server software was branded "Office" or "BackOffice" back then), and should probably not be running Microsoft server software to begin with if cash strapped; since, after all, running an e-mail server and calendar sync is simply not rocket science, and you can (legally) get up to date, secure software to do it if you stay away from Microsoft products.

"How do you seize a database? " Probably either encrypted it, or deleted it and said they'd give back a copy. The concern about confidential data being leaked is of course legitimate.

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Want to STUFF Facebook with blatant ADVERTISING? Fine! But you must PAY

Henry Wertz 1
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My friend's on Facebook

My friend's on Facebook. He's not a hipster but is 50. It gets a bit silly...

He complains about how 'they' keep spying on Facbeook. I point out, info posted on someone's wall is 100% public, and reading info posted online for everyone on the planet to read is in no way "spying". (The complaint about "spying" never relates to something even remotely questionable like someone's private posts being handed over.)

He complains about Facebook "banning" various things and complains this is a freedom of speech issue. I point out, this is a corporate run web site, and they can allow or disallow anything they want, and that there ARE sites that are essentially "anything goes".

He complains about the advertising. Again, nobody's forcing anyone to use FB, I wouldn't use a site with ads thrown in all over the way FB does either.

I've seen this in people young and old, they act like they are forced into using it and seem to pretend it's a public utility like power or water instead of an ad-laden but popular web site.

Oh well.

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VINYL is BACK and you can thank Sonos for that

Henry Wertz 1
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Also thank DJs

Also thank DJs... happy hardcore, dubstep, and the like, these guys'll have stacks of vinyl and some fine turntables. In the interim between tapes and CDs taking over from recordings (early 1990s?) to recently, they probably single-handedly kept the remaining places pressing vinyl in business 8-)

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FCC: You, AT&T. Get over here and explain this 'no more gigabit fiber' threat

Henry Wertz 1
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Hah, burn! AT&T's been pulling out this odd argument for years, that if they don't get their way they will just take all their toys away and go home. They claimed if the T-Mobile purchase was allowed to go through, they'd be able to extend LTE to reach 95% of POPs (population) but only about 75% without it. Without the T-Mobile merger, they were already at 92% at the beginning of 2014.

So, trying the same argument, the FCC's calling their bluff this time and wants the numbers.

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4G is quicker than 3G, says Ofcom. Can't we get you on Mastermind, Sybil?

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Not a given

Indeed, it's not a given that 4G is faster than 3G. There are markets here in the US where a companies 4G LTE network has saturated to the point the 3G is definitely faster. Why they don't shift load back and forth, that I do not know. This is even true with the CDMA carriers -- where a channel of EVDO 3G maxes out at 3.1mbps... you can find some spots where 4G will get like 1mbps but the 3G get 1.5-2mbps.

The reason the 4G is not too exciting right now? Amounts of spectrum deployed. LTE with 2x2 MIMO gets 37.5mbps peak in 5x5 (5mhz down, 5mhz up) versus HSPA+'s 21mbps. That's almost double the capacity. But, right now there is probably quite a bit more spectrum running HSPA+ than LTE.

As the article mentions, current phones also don't support carrier aggregation; however, I think the improvements from carrier aggregation may be a bit overblown. Here in the US, you have areas where LTE is pretty saturated, and people thinking carrier aggregation will double their speeds. I think they won't. CA will double your peak speed (if you get 2 channels the same width as the 1 you get now). CA will increase speeds to a lesser extent on a realistic network. On a heavily loaded network, your device will be limited as to how many resources it can use whether it gets those resources from several LTE channels or all from one channel, and I don't really think CA will help at all.

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Jony Ive: Apple isn't here to make money. And students shouldn't use computers so much

Henry Wertz 1
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He kind of sounds like a jerk

He kind of sounds like a jerk, claiming they don't do it for the money, when Apple charges the highest margins in the industry, and the most valuable company in the world. If they weren't in it to make money, they could run at a break-even like Craigslist etc. Not that I suggest really doing that, I'm just saying.

Also... the saying is that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. if they aren't in it for the money, what do they care if there are some imitators out there? Complaining about copying while saying they aren't in it for the money makes him sound like a jerk. Improperly referring to copying as theft makes him sound like a jerk.

And, even bringing this up makes him sound like a jerk; for example, if you look at the Samsung phone Apple showed at trial as an example of Samsung copying IPhone design, *Samsung's phone shipped first*. Due to a procedural error on Samsung's part, Samsung was not permitted to submit this information at the trial.

Apple fanbois (including employees I think) like to be all revisionist, and pretend they invented the first portable music player (they didn't), invented the first smartphone (nope), among other things. They didn't even come up with the first *good* smartphone; revisionists like to think it was all candybar and flip phones up to the second the IPhone came out, but it simply isn't true; better, thinner phones had been coming out for several years already at that point.

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Apple: Want a PATCH for iOS Masque attack? TOUGH LUCK, FANBOI

Henry Wertz 1
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Historically, what Apple would do to make sure their products are free from flaws, is scour their forums for any mention of a defect, remove those posts, then remove the posts wondering why the first posts were removed. Problem solved, then they can say there's no mention of a problem, so it probably doesn't exist.

"WireLurker claimed a small number of victims (principally in China), according to Kaspersky Lab, a finding that runs contrary to Apple's assurance to nobody has been hit."

Well, I suppose the IPhones in China are black market, the owners are therefore unpersons and do not count.

Seriously, Apple, if you want people to take your products seriously, you must take security seriously.

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Walmart's $99 crap-let will make people hate Windows 8.1 even more

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Hmm....

Sounds like utter crap for Windows. I ran a 1.6ghz Atom (I assume an older Atom model, it was a Dell Mini 9) with 1GB and it ran Ubuntu well enough. Just. Tempting for $99, particularly knowing that Microsoft is getting $0 out of it.

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Henry Wertz 1
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Hmm....

Sounds like utter crap for Windows. I ran a 1.6ghz Atom (probably older Atom model, it was a Mini 9) with 1GB and it ran Ubuntu well enough. Just. Tempting for $99, particularly knowing that Microsoft is getting $0 out of it.

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SCREW YOU, net neutrality hippies – AT&T halts gigabit fiber

Henry Wertz 1
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Buh-bye AT&T

If AT&T does not wish to invest in faster speeds, I'm sure others will be only too happy to. Buh-bye!

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OMG, that CLOUD has a TV in it! Sony goes Over The Top in telly wars

Henry Wertz 1
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"I suppose that you don't want to see adverts between and during the programmes that you're watching either? :)"

Shouldn't have to when you're paying for it. They are saying this is a subscription service.

But, either way, I must agree that I'd like to watch some particular show when I want, not subject to a channel schedule. Most of what I get off TV I also DVR; I'm not going to wait up til 3AM to watch one show, and noon for another, and 4PM for the next.

But, for the sake of argument... lets say channels are a great idea. 75 channels? I really don't think Sony has enough content to run 75 channels of anything resembling quality content. Who knows, though, I guess when more details come out it'll be easier to say for sure.

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Welcome to the fast-moving world of flash connectors

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What I get out of this

What I get out of this, personally, is to probably wait 6 months to a year for things to settle (given the descriptions, hopefully on SFF-8693, since it supports 2xSATA for compatibility and PCIe for fast flash, albeit not both at once.) I feel like if I were going to buy flash now, I'd just get SATA despite it's disadvantages. Of course for a server setup, people don't seem to mind relatively bespoke hardware so going with whatever is fastest is probably fine.

Edit: Excellent article BTW! I had no idea all that was going on, I just assumed these guys were working on SATA-4 or whatever.

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SO LONELY: Woman DARED to get rid of her iPHONE - Apple DUMPED all her TXTS

Henry Wertz 1
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"Excuse me but....Why would I want to continue text messaging someone that doesn't have an iPhone." I had to quote this, it made me smile 8-)

"Apple has set up a website to deactivate iMessage, but that is not enough, it seems." Yeah, but this was set up recently, and this problem has been ongoing for years.

Anyway, despite Mike Bell's protestations that you're using it wrong... it does sound like this service has significant design flaws, designed to lock people into the service. No, Mike and other Apple fanbois, it is not reasonable to have a default that *never* fails to text. This is lock-in pure and simple. If texting fees were a concern, I think a sensible compromise would be "We haven't been able to send you imessages for a while. Reply w/ 12345 to disable imessage or 23456 to disable imessage and send your waiting imessages as texts."

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Judge: Terror bomb victims CAN'T seize Iran's domain name as compensation

Henry Wertz 1
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"But in the case of a sovereign country, siezing the Internet domain name .ir would make as much sense as siezing the telephone dialling code +98 or the name of the country as a postal destination."

You beat me to it -- I do see trying to seize a whole national-level domain as analogous to trying to seize the telephone country code, or postal codes.

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Redmond aims to outshine Eclipse with FREE Visual Studio

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Certainly can't hurt, but...

This certainly can't hurt any. But as many free versions of Visual Studio have been released already through the years, I don't think this will help Microsoft take Eclipse's lunch (their users) or anything. Still, having more free tools to use is better than fewer 8-) The internal changes they have made all sound good too.

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The last PC replacement cycle is about to start turning

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Followed by....

Followed by... "The death of the PC has been greatly exaggerated."

Notebook PCs, and even desktops, I just don't see sales falling off a cliff. Decline? For sure. Death? Well, I don't think so.

Even for desktops, there's so many business uses where the person is at a desk or workstation, the computer is stationary (in fact for discouraging theft it's far less likely to walk off). A similar-spec desktop costs less than a notebook, and much faster desktops are available if the goal is raw processing power.

As for notebooks, there's still so many uses where the software available on Android and especially IPhone would be far too confining. People have already gone over these in other comments, and the article touched on some. I would find the typical rubbery little bluetooth keyboard pretty unsuitable for more than a little typing too (I'm a serious keyboard conoissuer though). Just as with the desktops, decline in sales? I won't be surprised. Death? Doubtful.

I do find the idea of saving serious power by running Linux on ARM instead of Linux on Intel very appealing though.

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Italian appeal court clears seismologists of manslaughter

Henry Wertz 1
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Thank goodness for those seismologists

"Nature, which had earlier called the conviction “perverse” because it would chill scientists' willingness to give honest opinions, reports the acquittal here."

It was quite perverse -- I mean, there had been a seperate instance in Italy where they had charged some other seismologists for something like "causing a public panic" for "predicting" an earthquake when there wasn't one.

"But that's just what this committee did - they said people would be safe to stay in their houses. Many did stay, and died as a result."

Seimsologists don't say this kind of thing. They will say something like "there's an x% chance in the next y weeks/months of a major event." Which I'm sure they did -- it was up to people who don't understand how statistics and estimates work to turn that into "there will be" or "there won't be" an earthquake.

Frankly, if they had predicted there "would" be an earthquake, it would probably not saved a lot of people anyway, because earthquake predictions are NOT "Shit! Run for it, earthquake at 2 o'clock!!!" they are "There's a 65% chance of a magnitude x or greater within the next 2 weeks", and I doubt people would have stayed out of their homes and vigilant for that long.

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BlackBerry chief vows: We'll focus on 'core devices' and on, er, NOT LOSING MONEY

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Agreed

I have to agree with BB, with the market share and resources BB has, using a "shotgun" approach like Samsung does doesn't make a lot of sense, compared to focusing on a relatively small number of well-designed phones.

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Has Switzerland cracked the net neutrality riddle?

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Net neutrality...

What I expect out of net neutrality is... (this is similar to the Swiss solution)... no service blocking, and don't slow down some kind of traffic just because (i.e. not slow down particular services). I do think actually using low-latency, standard, and bulk options for some protocols is sensible. Ideally a service provider will not run any part of their backbone or backhaul at 100% utilization for long, but when and if this happens prioritization would make it far more usable for everyone. I have to agree also on heavy usage -- obviously, everyone wants to have never-throttled, unlimited data service -- but if some few users are running all sorts of traffic 24/7 and slowing down service to everyone else, it makes sense to at least slow this traffic down when it's impacting other users. And I'd rather have a usage-based throttle then have to worry about cash overages (paying more if you want more unthrottled data? Yeah. Finding out you went over and owe all this extra money? I'd rather not.

Unfortunately, one problem people ran into in the US was Comcast running a system they kept insisting was "throttling", even to the FCC, but actually was forging RST (reset) packets to force connections closed; this was happening to both torrent and VPN connections. Customers trying to VPN into their workplaces were particularly pissed. Comcast kept insisting this was "throttling" right up to when they were told to cut it out. So some people here now equate any "network management" or "throttling" plans with generally breaking their service.

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AT&T drops plans for LTE data networking on commercial flights

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" transformative investments, such as international"

Transformative huh? 8-)

Well, anyway, I actually don't blame them for not pursuing in-flight LTE. It seems like it's hard to do it profitably (well, not specifically LTE, but in-flight data or phone service in general.)

Usually, the pricing is high, so usage is low (if usage is too low, the equipment is dead weight and the airline'd rather have a lighter airplane and save fuel); but, the actual cost of providing service is relatively high.

The backhaul to these are provided two ways -- by satellite (which is an expensive and limited service), or a cellular-style system where the sites point up instead of down.

Satellite, you've got some relatively high capacity sats that can provide reasonable broadband speeds, but they rely entirely on spot beams (effectively like 200-300 mile wide cell site "cell" but beamed from space) and generally assume a stationary terminal. There are a few global satellite systems that could provide overseas coverage (in this case literally over seas coverage 8-) ), but they're really costly.

One of these systems had/has (I don't know if it's still running) about 70 cell sites US-wide (plenty to provide coverage since planes are in line of site of a huge area), but capacity of this system is limited compared to the 10,000's of sites on the ground.

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This 125mph train is fitted with LASERS. Sadly no sharks, though

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"The condition of the rail surface is crucial in preventing cyclic top. This is where a dip in the rail causes a wheel to bounce. The bounce can damage a subsequent part of the track which then causes another bouncing point to form. Ultimately this can lead to a sequence of dips forming in a positive feedback loop – which, at its worst, could lead to a derailment."

The analogous thing on cars is washboard. You have an initial bump, or possibly pothole, and whether the wheels actually hop or not, you have a point where the suspension rebounds; over time this forms dips and bumps further down the road from the initial dip, usually regularly spaced. Lighter cars can end up catching air from this relatively easy, if you're on a curve that's definitely a problem. Heavier cars?

I had a 1972 Cadillac, which has about a foot of suspension travel, and a soft ride. It would corner better than I expected a land yacht to, and soak up bumps and washboard quite well. But, some of that (further spaced apart than usual, maybe from dump trucks or semis?) washboard would drive it crazy, one stretch of road I had the fins start bottoming out and throwing sparks at only 9mph.

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CSC set for ANOTHER re-org but no redundancies involved

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Who requests to be laid off?

Title says it -- who, during a re-org, actually says "Yes, please, lay me off?" I had a friend who wanted to accept the early retirement offered to some, and was refused (had to come in another 6 months or so). But, if you want to not have a job can't you just quit?

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NHS XP patch scratch leaves patient records wide open to HACKERS

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How about they patch them then?

So, how about they just go ahead and patch them then?

"Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\WPA\PosReady]

"Installed"=dword:00000001

"

Once that is slapped onto a (32-bit) XP system, XP shows up to Windows Update as "POSReady 2009." Since Microsoft was (absurdly IMHO) still selling this XP SP3-based software in 2009, they are roped into providing updates until at least April 2019. If you're actually running 64-bit XP, there's a slightly different but equivalent registry edit for that.

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Boffin imagines Wi-Fi-defined no-shoot zones for wireless weapons

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Reasons for US's gun situation

I'll just say, gun owners in the US don't want to have to put batteries in their guns. They do not trust these systems to be fast enough (they imagine getting a quick draw on a criminal, only to have the gun delay firing while it sorts itself out). They assume these systems will fail to "can't fire" and their guns will just be turned into useless scrap metal at some point. And they assume politicians will abuse any gun-control law they are given -- with good reason, because some politicians here do in fact view the constitution and the second ammendment as something to be worked around and flat-out ignored at times. And, indeed, a system that would require all old guns to be scrapped is unconstitutional and would be unworkable besides.

(description of using licenses and so on). "Easy, isn't it? And it has worked very well for alcohol, guns and drugs in countries where it has been implemented." Yes, and this has happened here too. For legal gun sales, gun buyers are licensed (in most states), gun sellers are licensed, the guns all* have serial numbers, and each transaction is recorded. There are gun shows which are like any other travelling sales type situation, but also record transactions. There *are* illegal gun sales, too, but I think you'll find most of these high-profile shootings, the sales were perfectly legal, and the guns taken from a parent's or relatives house.

*All but antiques; no serial numbers, but there just aren't that many of them and, you know, someone's just not going to get that far raising hell when they have to keep stopping to reload their musket.

The biggest problem I've seen are those politicians who think the 2nd ammendment and the Constitution are something to be worked around, then have their unconstitutional restrictions blow up in their faces while giving gun owners yet another reason to not trust these politicians. A recent example, a law got passed requiring background checks before gun purchases -- primarily to prevent mentally ill and unstable people from getting a gun. Great! The gun lobby was a bit suspicious but had to admit there was really no problem with it. The background checks were slow the first few days; but, after that, they took under 30 minutes and were not any real problem. At first. After a matter of weeks or months, some of the politicians who want to work around the Constitution and 2nd ammendment saw how gun show sales dropped those first few days (when the background checks were slow), and decided to tell the background check agency to artificially sit on background check results for 7 days -- stopping gun shows dead in their tracks since they are usually only on site 2 or 3 days. Well, this went to court, and due to the almost immediate abuse of the law, the whole law was found unconstitutional and scrapped.

THIS is the kind of BS that keeps gun owners in the US from trusting any system even if it sounds reasonable on the surface. The gun lobby would imagine politicians putting up killowatt-level transmitters set to "never fire"; and certain politicians themselves would probably decide it's a good idea at some point! (Probably coming up with some sort of logic like "Well, you're still allowed to BUY guns, you're allowed to *bare* arms, just not actually fire them. No problem!")

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Elon Musk and ex-Google man mull flinging 700 internet satellites into orbit

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I wonder if any will make it to launch?

I wonder if any of these systems will make it to launch and be operational?

To give an idea of cost, Teledesic originally forecast a $9 billion cost (in 1995!), this was then scaled back to 288 satellites, scaled back another time, then ultimately scrapped (because Iridium and Globalstar had already made it to market, and gone bankrupt due to lower than expected demand.) Oh, regarding weight? After they were bought out, their purchaser launched one 120kg test satellite (~262 pounds). I don't know if that 1995 cost assumed ~262 pound satellites or not.

Iridium reduced from 77 satellites planned (7 planes of 11 satellites), to 66 satellites (6 11-satellite planes). The original Iridium went bankrupt, and a firm bought Iridium's assets (including spare satellites) at a good clearance rate.

Globalstar, 48 satellites (plus originally 4 spares). I don't know the details of Globalstar's bankruptcy, if they were purchased or restructured their debts. They ran into premature failure of satellites S-band amplifiers, so for a while they did not have a full constellation, a "call time calculator" would let you know when satellites would be visible; they recently launched enough second generation satellites to have full coverage again.

Orbcomm originally had 35 satellites, and has 29 now. This system is limited to giving a given device two 450ms time slots every 15 minutes, it's strictly for M2M messaging use and not conventional data or voice (with 29 sats there's also occasional coverage gaps, so it may have to queue the message for several minutes waiting for a satellite to come overhead.)

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