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* Posts by Henry Wertz 1

1660 posts • joined 12 Jun 2009

Whisper. Explain this 'questionable' behavior – senior US senator

Henry Wertz 1
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Not innocent

"Mr. Heyward seems like a lesser copy of Mr. Zuckerberg, kind of a likeable, innocent nerd guy who stumbles into piles of privacy doo-doo, over and over again. I suppose it really is just a coincidence."

Well, not innocent really. And I don't think it can be considered "stumbling" into privacy problems when he's wholesale tracking people, using location info when it's turned off in the app, and finding juicy info for journalists and whoever else.

I don't think there's any endgame for Whisper. Heyward could be serious, use proper encryption the whole way, fix the location stuff, and so on, and still nobody's going to trust the service after such egregious past behavior.

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Cisco patches three-year-old remote code-execution hole

Henry Wertz 1
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Learn something new every day

I didn't know telnet had an encryption option either. I learn something every day 8-)

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Wanna hop carriers with your iPad's Apple SIM? Don't hop on AT&T ...

Henry Wertz 1
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"So... AT&T locks a SIM card, but you can get a replacement, for free, and it's trivial to remove and replace the locked card. So you have two: one for AT&T, one for Sprint and T-Mobile. Or three: the last one's for Verizon, who doesn't allow switching."

So much more convenient to have 3 SIMs instead of 4. Yeah

Anyway, "booooo!" to AT&T for doing this. It does seem like the kind of thing they'd do though; man is AT&T greasy.

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Lies, damn pies and obesity statistics: We're NOT a nation of fatties

Henry Wertz 1
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BMI and bodybuilders

"BMI is a decent measure of a population's tubbiness, which is what it was intended as."

Except it's not a decent measure; it's hard to take BMI seriously when it classifies most bodybuilders as morbidly obese.

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Screw the guvmint, vows CEO of ubiquitous Korean jabber app KakaoTalk

Henry Wertz 1
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" A group of Koreans aged from 26 to 34 told The Register they cared about their privacy, but couldn't be bothered to change app because "everyone I know uses it"."

Yep, meaning they don't care about their privacy. This happens here in the US too of course -- far too many people will claim "Look at how Facebook violates my privacy! Of *COURSE* I care about privacy!" then go straight to posting everything and anything on facebook.

"Have the governed ever trusted their government?"

Yeah apparently it happens. In some cases, the populace have a functional political system and can replace anyone distrustful (not here in the US and it's effectively one-party system!) In some cases, the gov't just by dumb luck turns out to be benign and unobjectionable for a while. And, governments which are good enough at propaganda can have a populace that's treated pretty shabbily but don't mind it one bit; either they think they are treated well enough, or aren't too chuffed but have been convinced that any other political setup will treat them even worse.

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FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on

Henry Wertz 1
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Unofficial position

"The Reg asked Microsoft whether it had any official position on hardware vendors using drivers to enforce intellectual property concerns, but Redmond declined to comment on policy."

Microsoft may not have an official position. But there's numerous cases where in Linux, some driver will work with a range of devices... sometimes it's multiple OEMs using the same chips, sometimes it's clones and knockoffs; whereas in Windows, you could end up with a seperate driver for each and every device in these cases. In some cases it's clear that one OEM's driver and the next OEM's driver is just the same, they are just getting an OEM driver and putting their device ID in; sometimes, not at all. Usually these clone and knockoff vendors also have an independently-written driver that is missing a few features or has a few bugs.

In other words, having a driver damage hardware? I'm sure Microsoft would not condone that. But, I don't expect FTDI's Windows drivers to keep supporting clones and knockoffs, they put a lot of effort into the Windows drivers. Linux, on the other hand, I'm sure will follow the tradition of supporting as much as possible; in addition, the in-tree FTDI driver thanks FTDI for providing protocol information, but it appears FTDI were not the ones to actually develop this driver.

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Ubuntu's shiny 10th birthday Unicorn: An upgrade fantasy

Henry Wertz 1
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"Load LibreOffice and type the following keyboard shortcut: Alt-IOF

Does the LibreOffice formula editor appear?"

Yes, in Ubuntu 14.04 at least. But I'm using the "Gnome Flashback" desktop (which looks like "traditional" Gnome), not Unity. I don't know if that affects this or not.

I must say this is one thing I like about Linux. I think Unity is awful, but, I don't have to use it! It's trivially easy to install alternatives (and if someone else *does* like Unity, they can log out, select Unity, and log back in, no fuss, no muss.) Imagine how much easier time Microsoft would have had foisting Windows 8 onto people if one could have just changed the desktop UI out for a better one!

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Bitcasa bins $10-a-month Infinite storage offer

Henry Wertz 1
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"I wish we (the US) had some sort of real truth in advertising. When companies use terms like "unlimited" and sign contracts to that effect then they should absolutely be held to it."

In this case, they did hold to their terms; they are now saying they are ending providing service on these terms.

As for referring to heavy usage as "abuse", I seriously doubt it's abuse. I know a few people who have TB after TB of stuff.... why? I don't know, but they do. And if they got "infinite" storage for $10/month they'd probably stick every last bit of it online just in case. I'd say it's simply foolish to provide infinite storage at that price, at least without some caveats (one backup service had if not still has an unlimited plan, but they straight-up said the mbps speed in and out would be limited at some point.)

"I'm grandfathered in an "unlimited" data plan with my phone provider. Of course, to them, unlimited means up to 5GB of data transfer and if I go over then they purposefully slow me down."

I've got you beat -- here in the good ol' US of A, a few MVNOs falsely advertise "unlimited", but will TERMINATE YOUR DATA SERVICE at something like 1.5-2GB! The price one of them has is good IF they provided unlimited like they falsely advertise; for the 1.5-2GB of service they *actually* provide their monthly price is pretty poor. How other carriers or MVNOs have not sued for false advertising (since this directly hurts their sales) is a mystery to me.

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Happy 2nd birthday, Windows 8 and Surface: Anatomy of a disaster

Henry Wertz 1
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Doing it wrong

"No, the reason it isn't as mainstream is that it's a darn sight harder to use."

Really it's not. The things that give (most) Linux distros a strong edge in ease of use over Windows is they don't get viruses, spyware, and ad-ware at random intervals (my friends Windows box spontaneously decided to not even boot to a desktop because of some spyware that claimed it was a "Chrome update".) Unlike Windows, Linux won't decide to just execute some random executeable it's pulled off the internet, because downloads do not have the executeable bit set. You also don't get hassled by all sorts of software decided to let you know it has updates like in Windows. I can plug in scanners, printers, or whatever, and have them just work right out of the box. It's not what it was 10 or 15 years ago.

"Last time I tried Linux and attempted to install Firefox I first had to find an installer for the distribution I was using. Then I had to decide from a swathe of nonsensical file types, gar, tar, bar har-de-har-har (with no explanation of what they meant or do)"

I don't know what you were doing, but (if firefox weren't already pre-installed, which it usually is), you go to your installer, type "firefox" in a search box, and choose install in most distros. Windows? if you're going to pretend picking the package for your distro is confusing -- well, I've seen plenty of Windows apps where they have an .exe, a different .exe, a .msi, with no description (you know, unless you read the text on the web page) of which to pick.

========================

Back on topic -- I don't know what the hell Microsoft was thinking with Windows 8 (well, I do, but I don't know how they possibly thought it'd work out.) Thank goodness it at least appears that Windows 10 is backing out of this.

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Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec

Henry Wertz 1
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I'd agree

I wouldn't expect to be able to go along checking my phone while I'm out on a date. I would think wearing Google Glasses would be effectively the same thing. I'm sure some people don't mind but there's no way to know ahead of time.

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Entity Framework goes 'code first' as Microsoft pulls visual design tool

Henry Wertz 1
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I ran into serious problems with EF

I ran into a serious performance problem using EF. This could of course be worked around manually but.... so, LINQ supports data types that are queries, using a .NET array type where the variable itself uses lazy evaluation, it doesn't retrieve or compute the result until your program actually accesses the value. For example, you can point your GUI to one of these, have it show 10 records from a query, if the query has 50 results it will only retrieve 1-10 until you scroll down. Well, in theory -- EF doesn't support these, it loads the whole enchilada (all 50 records) into RAM and then "lazily" loads values out of that in-memory copy as you use it (it doesn't generate any optimized SQL at all.)

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Upstart brags about cheaper-than-Amazon private cold data cloud

Henry Wertz 1
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Prices and reliability

Price-wise, I can see a relatively large amount of data like this beating Amazon pricing. After all, they want to provide service at a profit, and past some scale nobody will have a "magic bullet" that radically reduces their costs compared to everyone else. If a service is bursty, being able to "rent" peak load cloud resources that you don't pay for the rest of the time changes this equation, but cold storage is not that kind of use.

As for eighteen nines -- that's a typo, later in the article they say eight nines. This still seems a bit unrealistic, but if everything's redundant (I think it is) and hot swappable, I'm sure it is plenty reliable.

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GET A ROOM, yells Facebook as it stumbles on IRC, slaps it in an app

Henry Wertz 1
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""A room is a feed of photos, videos, and text – not too different from the one you have on Instagram or Facebook – with a topic determined by whoever created the room," wrote product manager Josh Miller."

IRC even had that. Well, not photos and videos; but it does have DCC (and later extended version xdcc). You could tell your irc to send any file to a user, and that user would be asked if they wanted to accept this file. I only ever saw it used for warez (one could send the bot a request for a file, and it'd send it via DCC). irc is essentially text-based though, so letting the videos and pics drop in inline is a nice touch.

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Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data

Henry Wertz 1
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"It may well have been a good idea for the US not to play 'Gosh I am an idiot, I'll do it the idiot's way' and simply followed the laid down protocol and ask the right Irish authorities the right way. They would almost certainly have had the data by now..."

But, they aren't really interested in the data. They are interested in using their opaque, "Let's not bother with warrants or any legal procedure", regime that they have going in the US, that the EU and Ireland would definitely not go for.

Hate to say it (I'm all for more jobs here in the US), but -- EU companies, time to pull all your data centers out of the US!

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Adobe spies on readers: EVERY DRM page turn leaked to base over SSL

Henry Wertz 1
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Rights restriction systems

DRM (rights restriction systems) are the problem here. I for one will not purchase *or* use for free anything with DRM that I can't strip off. (Then I strip it off and use the rights restriction-free copy to watch or read or whatever.) Among the reasons:

* Information grabs as seen in this article (and the one from a few weeks ago).

* Inability to move the video, book, whatever from one system to another.

* Almost every rights restriction software I've ever used skimps on features, useability, and usually speed, primarily because the software developers are not interested in these features, they are interested in making sure the rights restriction system works.

* Related to the point above, you're restricted to using relatively poor software to view or listen to the DRM-restricted items.

* Some of these regularly reauthorize use; companies (even big ones like Microsoft) have shut down DRM servers in the past and will continue to in the future. Oh, you mean you thought you'd be able to use that stuff you bought forever, not for a year or two or whatever? Tough.

A few exceptions -- 1) I've gotten a few PDFs that didn't have DRM infections, but did have my name watermarked on the back. This doesn't restrict fair use at all, but would make anyone think at least twice before they stuck it up on the pirate bay or wherever since it can be trivially tracked back to the original purchaser. 2) Steam. I don't game enough to have Steam but it seems not heavy-handed at all, avoiding most objections other than the possibility of Steam going out of business.

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The future health of the internet comes down to ONE simple question…

Henry Wertz 1
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"Shadow" ICANN?

So, if the ICANN board is the problem, but the rest of ICANN is in good shape other than having no authority over the ICANN board -- can the rest of ICANN just form a "shadow" board? If the ICANN board comes to a decision then contradicting the rest of ICANN, when people decide to ignore the ICANN board there is then a second board's decision to follow rather than no decision at all.

As for the ICANN board being the way it is -- not that I agree with it but I do understand why; a lot of the ICANN board members are those who have been involved in the internet and it's underpinning since at least the 1990s and in some cases the 1980s. I think it's simple as that, they've been making these decisions for 20-30+ years and think they know better than everyone else to the point that they don't even want to have a veto power over their decisions.

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Is your home or office internet gateway one of '1.2 MILLION' wide open to hijacking?

Henry Wertz 1
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Is that usually adjustable?

Is that usually even end-user adjustable? On (non-Linksys-style) Cisco gear, probably. I've usually only seen a choice of "on" or "off" for this though.

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Chipmaker FTDI bricking counterfeit kit

Henry Wertz 1
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Pretty nasty

Having FTDI's drivers not work with counterfeits? No problem. Having it 0 the ID on the chip? I think this is over the line.

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Guns don't scare people, hackers do: Americans fear identity theft more than shooting sprees

Henry Wertz 1
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US media

"The problem, as the author suggests, is the media. The news LOVES to select only the worst news, then exaggerates any dangers, plays on people's fears and just generally peddles doom and gloom which, for some reason, many people seem to enjoy. I quit watching mainstream news years ago and have been much better for it."

True. ABC News here in the US has had "exploding airbags" as a top story 3 days in a row (no new information the 2nd two days except higher number of recalled vehicles), and keep mentioning how these airbags explode 3 or 4 times each time to sensationalize things. If these airbags go off, apparently there's a shrapnel problem and they really aren't safe; but they are not spontaneously going off (there have been cases where some design does go off when it's not supposed to and is recalled, this isn't one of them.) The news quality of TV news on all the US networks has dropped drastically in the last 20 years.

Online, of course, you can get better info and more accurate. But, just like the people that watch "true crime" shows worrying more about crimes, people online can focus on reading the crime coverage too and think it's more frequent, when it's really just more coverage.

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Trips to Mars may be OFF: The SUN has changed in a way we've NEVER SEEN

Henry Wertz 1
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Water

These doses probably assume dosing in a conventionally designed ship (as used now) or even directly out in space. A ship with water and supplies along the outside, shielding the crew within, cuts down on both solar wind particles and cosmic rays.

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Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech

Henry Wertz 1
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Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out

“The people who work at GCHQ would sooner walk out the door than be involved in anything remotely resembling ‘mass surveillance’,” he claimed. Then: "...You can’t pick and choose the components of a global interception system that you like (catching terrorists and paedophiles) and those you don’t (incidental collection of data at scale): it’s one integrated system."

And there he goes walking out the door, because he's involved in something that not only "remotely resembles" but in fact *is* mass surveillance. Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

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UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan

Henry Wertz 1
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systemd

I have fragments of systemd on my Ubuntu 14.04 system, but it still seems to be using upstart. It seems to work OK. But, design-wise? It truly is an abomination. Overcomplicated, buggy*, and opaque**. I support this decision for Debian to fork; at the very least, they can make sure other software that gets distorted to assume systemd exists*** will still function properly without systemd, so when other distros come to their senses they will have much less pain doing so.

*I'm not hitting bugs as set up in Ubuntu 14.04, but I've seen (in "in-between" Ubuntu versions) and read about just how fragile it is. Things have to be set up *JUST SO* to avoid hitting bugs.

**Opaque meaning there's just bits of config file scattered about, but nothing to actually make it apparent just what is supposed to happen when one uses systemd. Documentation is necessarily poor, because it bugs out if not treated just so.

***Riddle me this -- why would software need any changes whatsoever for systemd, when systemd is just supposed to affect the bootup process?

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Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'

Henry Wertz 1
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Fine by me.

I try to avoid Microsoft products whenever possible. That said, this is fine by me; I welcome any efforts on Microsoft's part to quit having Windows et. al be "an island unto itself". Having their cloud service support, well, non-Windows... is a good start.

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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."

===========================================

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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