* Posts by Richard 12

1694 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

Let me PLUG that up there, love. It’s perfectly standaAAARGH!

Richard 12
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Re: Education

School designs are total copy-paste.

I've had to meet many specifications for new-build schools that called out multiple systems and products (both specific and general types) that were obsolete before I went to school, and these days can only be found in specialist museums.

PFI was interesting.

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Richard 12
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Depth is the issue of INI

The "standard" INI format has only two levels - section and key/value pair.

If your configuration needs a third level then you have to "fake" it, either by adding subsection start/finish (and sub-subsection) or by adding a different type of formatting to indicate a subsection.

Which essentially means turning it into a really bad copy of XML.

Might as well use XML or JSON to start with.

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UH OH: Windows 10 will share your Wi-Fi key with your friends' friends

Richard 12
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Re: Password required?

So how do you talk to MS to get the password that you need in order to connect to the network to talk to MS?

In order for this to work at all, then your Windows 10 machine already has a copy of all the WiFi passwords from all your "friends", ripe for an offline attack.

- That wasn't necessarily true on the phone as they may be assuming cellular data, but laptops do not have cellular data.

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Windows 10 is due in one month: Will it be ready?

Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: There's this thing called The Internet...

Actually, no, there isn't.

If the installation media doesn't contain drivers that run your motherboard, graphics adapter, USB (multiple filesystems), SATA, PCI-E Flash, CD/DVD drive, NIC/WiFi, keyboard, mouse, touchscreen, as well as a browser, then you cannot go to the Internet and get it.

The core installation media has to support every single one of the above that Microsoft have ever heard of, as well as every combination thereof.

I've been sat with a Windows machine that didn't support its network card, and boy are you stuffed at that point if you don't have another computer and some way of transferring files.

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Microsoft's magic hurts: Nadella signals 'tough choices' on the way

Richard 12
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Re: Apps + Windows Phone

Correct.

It's a very different API, that can only be used for Windows Store apps on Windows Phone 8, Win 8 and Win 10.

You can only write applications using it on Windows 8 (and presumably 10 but nobody uses a beta OS for serious work.)

It was also originally expensive and difficult to get the SDK, and no cross-platform toolkits could target it at all until the last months.

The target market of Windows Phone and TIFKAM users is tiny and zero respectively.

Thus, very few apps.

With the latest news, nobody is likely to make the investment if they haven't already.

Thus, no new apps.

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Killer ChAraCter HOSES almost all versions of Reader, Windows

Richard 12
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Re: Compared to this... @STB

You've missed the point - but to be fair, so did the OP.

Finding exploits doesn't require the source code, but fixing exploits does.

It's also much easier to fix an exploit than to find one. Eg a use-after-free

Once an exploit is found, there are two scenarios:

A) Closed-source software. Only the organisation that owns the software can choose to spend the resources to fix it.

B) Open-source software. Any entity can choose to spend the resources needed to fix it.

If you depend on that software, then under (A) you can request that the owner fixes it. If they do not, then you can either stop using the software or live with the consequences of the exploit.

Under (B), you can request that the organisation that made it fixes it. If they do not, then you can arrange for somebody else to fix it.

Under (A), if the entity that owns it has lost the source code or closed down, you are done for.

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Verizon promised to wire up NYC with fiber... and failed miserably – audit

Richard 12
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Re: Why don't they put conditions in these deals?

Because the politicians and their advisers have no incentives to do it right.

It happens with almost every Government contract - all the risk gets heaped on the taxpayer, all the reward is handed to the supplier.

A small amount of competence on the part of the Government would solve the issue, but while there remain no personal consequences they will continue to fail.

In a company, if you lose huge amounts of money the company goes bankrupt, and everyone loses their jobs. Thus you usually have incentives to avoid doing that, as do both your bosses and underlings.

In a Government, if you lose huge amounts of money then there's a public report saying how rubbish the government are, but there are rarely any personal consequences to anyone. Occasionally a figurehead resigns, but that's it.

It's even worse for long contracts, as the (elected or otherwise) official who signed off on it is usually long gone by the time the problem is discovered. Often straight into one of the companies who benefited...

Look at Greece. It's effectively bankrupt, and has been for years (it's unclear how long, but probably from before the Euro), yet there have still been no consequences at all for those in the government who put it into that situation, and there probably never will.

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Would EU exit 'stuff' the UK? Tech policy boss gets diplomatic

Richard 12
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Re: Straight banana

You mean "occasionally".

Ignoring the Daily Wail, the EU Commission have regularly screwed the pooch, legislating on things that they do not understand - sometimes in a way that is actively hazardous to life.

Harmonised conductor colours for example. That black wire can be 400V relative to that other black wire.

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GAZE upon our HI-RES DWARF PICS of Pluto, beams proud NASA

Richard 12
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Nope, chaos is a very specific thing

It's not randomness.

A Chaotic system is one that is very sensitive to initial conditions.

For example, if a moon is 1m away from where you think it is, in a few orbits it'll be many km away from your prediction.

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Why is that idiot Osbo continuing with austerity when we know it doesn't work?

Richard 12
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Re: What spare capacity?!

Productivity is way down, that's the spare capacity.

Fortunately, this time around most employers have realised that sacking the workforce cost-saving measures actually have an extremely high price, and often severely damage the business as the skilled workers leave.

So they're mostly holding onto their employees.

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Nude celeb iCloud hack: Feds seize Chicago man's computers

Richard 12
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Re: hmm

As far as I recall, none of them knew and some of them thought the photos had been erased for a long time.

The "cloud" is dangerous - take a photo with many smartphones while on WiFi and it's instantly uploaded by default.

Delete it from the phone, and it's not deleted.

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Apple extends idiot-tax operation, makes devs pay to fix Safari snafus

Richard 12
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FAIL

Probably not

I mean, almost nobody uses Safari and this change will simply remove the "almost" from this state of affairs.

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Oh, shoppin’ HELL: I’m in the supermarket of the DAMNED

Richard 12
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I quite like them.

Bip, bip, bip, bip, touch touch tappity tap and I'm off, lunch is done.

For anything larger than lunch, I use the zap guns.

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One USB plug to rule them all? That's sensible, but no...

Richard 12
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Re: Mag-safe

Would have been great, but patents and Apple are a bad combination.

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Windows and OS X are malware, claims Richard Stallman

Richard 12
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Re: So what did YOU do then ?

Headers? I have to include the headers.

Windows and Mac Installers? I have to include the actual library binaries, or the customer cannot use the product.

Embedded systems? I have to statically link as there is no filesystem.

All of these things mean that I cannot use GPL3 code, because it opens us up to potential legal action.

Even if we 'win' said action, it costs us a lot and wastes time that could have been used to make products - this has already happened to us with invalid patents.

And if we lose, we are forced to give away our product, perhaps breaching other licences.

It's not worth the risk - get it wrong and you lose the farm.

BSD, Apache, LGPL, MIT and GPL2 are ok. GPL3 is not.

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Richard 12
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Re: So what did YOU do then ?

You can't use a GPL3 library, because if you do, it makes your entire project GPL3.

Even in a free project, you often can't do that because it breaks the license for other parts of the project.

In a commercial project, you can't consider that. Releasing the code is a commercial decision that the developer cannot make.

Thus, you cannot use any GPL3 code for any commercial project, or for any non-GPL3 FOSS project, or for any project which uses any parts that are not GPL3.

Thus you cannot improve said code.

Thus said code will die.

This comes from Stallman's insistence that no software developer should be paid for developing software, which is a position that I am fundamentally opposed to as I want to have somewhere to live and to be able to eat and give things to my friends and family.

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NEVER MIND the B*LLOCKS Osbo peddles, deficits don't really matter

Richard 12
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Re: It seems to me...

Tory mates or Labour mates, it's the same thing either way.

What's needed is to break that cycle.

Suggestions on a postcard please!

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Richard 12
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Re: It doesn't matter...until it does

Yes, and a little bleeding doesn't matter, but losing too much blood will kill you.

It makes sense to run a deficit in a recession - it's a way to get out of it - but you must run a surplus during the boom, or the debt will become too high to pay.

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Wheely, wheely mad: Petrolheads fume over buggy Formula One app

Richard 12
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Re: Laws of physics aren't suspended for F1...

5 sec behind would be good.

10 sec behind would be reasonable.

Utterly wrong on the other hand...

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Pundits ponder perilous placement of STANDING STONES on Comet 67P

Richard 12
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Re: more like stuck?

Heat of collision could do it.

Smack two ice cubes together and they can stick together.

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Feds: Bloke 'HACKED PLANE controls' – from his PASSENGER seat

Richard 12
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Re: Lemmings !

Planes don't even use Ethernet as it is generally understood.

They have a set of switches that have hardcoded (from factory) routing tables and paranoid behaviour.

One of the things they do is to blackhole a packet (and if necessary, shut down the port) coming in a physical port that is addressed to an unexpected destination, is malformed or comes more often than expected, because it would indicate a malfunctioning or damaged device.

Obviously that's also reported to the pilot, who can take the appropriate action (reset or ignore the bad kit)

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Richard 12
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No, he did not.

Because this did not happen. At all. It is impossible.

He may have hacked into the inflight entertainment system. That's probably fairly easy as I doubt it's particularly hardened.

But there is not, has not and never will be a backchannel that is physically capable of sending anything from the passenger cabin data systems into the flight control systems.

The FBI are talking utter bollocks.

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Lightbulbs of the future will come with wireless extenders and speakers

Richard 12
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They can't

LED is a narrow band emitter.

"White" LEDs use a Blue LED to pump a yellow phosphor.

Thus, no Red and very little Green - and so pigments look strange, especially ones involving red, like skin for example.

They are a couple of UV-pumped ones that are excellent, but £££££

There have been experimental RGB, RLB and RLW mixes, but I've not seen them on the market yet.

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Richard 12
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Re: a light switch that cuts all power to the light...

All domestic dimmer switches cut the power completely.

Professional SCR/Triac dimmers go down to zero but have a small leakage current through the suppression caps, however you would not be putting these lamps on a 3kW rated dimmer.

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Back to the Future: the internet of things as imagined in 1985

Richard 12
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Re: Odd 2

I'll give you those

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Richard 12
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Odd

IoT is simply a buzzword, with no meaning and no genuine products.

The companies making the genuinely useful "Internet of Things" hardware and software don't use the buzzword.

They are lighting and HVAC control systems, integrated alarm systems and the like. The real product is called a "building management system".

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Home routers co-opted into self-sustaining DDoS botnet

Richard 12
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Re: "because ISPs, vendors and users have all disregarded..."

Serial numbers are predictable, thus useless as passwords.

Heck, with a little thought you can probably work out the serial number from the public MAC, as the two will be directly related in most high-volume products.

The default password simply has to be truly random, with a good source of genuine entropy.

The majority of home users will never change the password, many won't even realise they can.

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Cuy Chactado – Deep-fried guinea pig

Richard 12
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It's a very rich meat

I quite like it.

Hard to find in UK restaurants though, can't imagine why.

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

Richard 12
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Re: Turnout

FPTP is fundamentally flawed, in that it forces a two-party system to come into being, due to the effect of the "split vote".

https://youtu.be/s7tWHJfhiyo

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Richard 12
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Re: It's not broken don't fix it

I'd love STV with something like 3-4 member constituencies.

Then I'd be able to take my issue to whichever of the members I thought was most likely to help on that particular thing.

The current One-Member system has the fundamental problem that if my Member is a Minister, or even worse, the Speaker, I'm stuffed.

The Minister must back the Cabinet due to Collective Responsibility, and the Speaker isn't allowed to express their opinion.

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Richard 12
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Re: Please, no e-voting! (@ Cynic_999)

No. It is much easier to lose or change the contents of an electronic ballot box than the contents of a physical one.

While it is relatively easy to 'lose' a physical ballot box, it leaves a physical trail that must also be hidden - 3rd party observers saw it, and every individual ballot paper has to be accounted for.

An electronic 'ballot box' has a no physical trail, only a small amount of data describes its existence - all one would need is the signature, and poof, the entire box is gone or rewritten for the Lizard Party.

The 3rd party observers would have no way of seeing this, and no evidence would exist outside the system itself to indicate that a large-scale fraud had occurred.

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Tesla Powerwall: not much cheaper and also a bit wimpier than existing batteries

Richard 12
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Childcatcher

Re: CORRECTION Powerwall economics in UK conditions: ~ 5 to 6 year payback

Don't forget installation costs, and the VAT, which adds 20% to all the above.

So what you're saying is that it is uneconomic to use these because they will not pay back within their warranty period, unless you steal from the poor.

The 14.45p/kWh comes directly from everyone else's electricity bills.

Everyone who does not have the system is paying you for all the electricity you use.

Who can install these systems? Those who own their property and have either large enough savings to buy outright, or a good enough credit rating that a bank will loan them the upfront cost. In other words, the well-off.

Who pays for the systems? The poor and lower-middle class.

Isn't that simply evil?

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Building the Internet of Things with Raspberry Pi et al, DIY-style

Richard 12
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Boffin

Unconvinced that the 240V PowerTail is adequate

It's simply a 120V version with different relay and MOVs.

While the circuit and component selection look fairly sound, the PCB design looks extra-low-voltage, and may not be suitable for EU mains voltage supplies. It's quite hard to get mains voltage thru-hole PCB design right.

Can't be sure without a sample, and there's no hint as to the backside of the board on any of their published docs, however the topside creepage looks like ~1.5mm, when the standard requires at least 2.4mm*. You don't run tracks down the isolation gap - those pins are that far apart for a reason - and Protective Earth looks really close to LN.

I don't think El Reg should mention any mains voltage kits for the EU unless they've got good reason (CE mark etc) to believe that it complies with the basic safety regs in the EU. These set of devices look like they meet most US codes, but not EU ones.

* Assuming 'normal' PCB material and that it's not hermetically sealed.

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SOD TABLETS, if you want to get anything done travelling get a ... yes, a LAPTOP

Richard 12
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Re: TL;DR version

Indeed - though to be fair, the Surface Pro is actually a decent laptop.

As long as you can manage with 1 (one) USB port and no hardwired Ethernet.

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Boeing 787 software bug can shut down planes' generators IN FLIGHT

Richard 12
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Re: Airbus definition of 'fail safe'....

No.

A timer overflow is so obvious and predictable that you can even work out exactly when it will occur to the individual tick.

A mistake in a flight control algorithm that gives unwanted results when fed by a particular mix of wrong and right values is an incredibly hard thing to predict.

One is a failure to count.

The other is an inability to allow for and test all possible circumstances.

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KABOOM! Billionaire fingers dud valve in ROCKET WIBBLE PRANG BLAST

Richard 12
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Re: I don't think this is the spirit of Tintin's gaily colored moon rocket

It has to come down fast because it can't hover.

The throttle only goes as low as ~1.8G, so the least it can do is roughly maximum braking of a high-performance car. (0.8G)

Lower throttle isn't possible because turbopumps don't do slow, among other things.

According to Scott Manley, it's trying to drive at a brick wall at 120mph, then slam on the brakes and come to a halt just touching the wall.

This time it slammed on the brakes ever so slightly too late.

Next time...

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High on bath salts, alleged Norse god attempts tree love

Richard 12
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Why was the first response to Taser him?

Would they have shot him first instead if the cop hadn't got a Taser on him?

They can and do kill. It's not a magic stun-phaser like in Star Trek, and somebody high on drugs is at higher than usual risk of death if Tasered.

I wonder what would have happened if the policemen did nothing? Would he have quietly passed out after sexing the tree?

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Soil and sand harden as SPEEDING MISSILES and METEORS SLAM into GROUND – boffins

Richard 12
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Hypersonic jobbie?

Eeewww! That's a hideous image...

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PHYSICS APPLECART UPSET as dark energy disappears, Universe slams on brakes

Richard 12
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Re: Science is self-correcting

Press release != science.

Then the reporting of the press releases gets even further from the actual results.

It's primarily shoddy journalists, who simply don't understand science at all, but pretend that it's just like the arts or humanities.

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

Richard 12
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FAIL

The new TLDs were sold in an almost identical manner

So that's equally 'predatory', yes?

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Sony tells hacked gamer to pay for crooks' abuse of PlayStation account

Richard 12
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Re: Lawsuit

Class action isn't really a thing in Europe.

That said, it's a wonderful own-goal by Sony.

The only possible legal results from this are that they cancel the alleged debt, or that they cancel the alleged debt and pay a fine.

The PR result is already clear.

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Richard 12
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Re: Other reasons to get your account banned

No, that's known as an 'abusive contract' clause, which has no power whatsoever in any European country.

Dear Sony, you will lose. Trading Standards will rip you a new one.

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Light the torches! NSA's BFF Senator Feinstein calls for e-book burning

Richard 12
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Mushroom

I read it when I was young and foolish enough to consider making some of the recipes.

Fortunately, I was never quite foolish enough.

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Dot-com intimidation forces Indiana to undo hated anti-gay law

Richard 12
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Re: More gas please. My fire's going out...

Not that load of bollocks again.

You can find somebody claiming anything if you search hard enough.

I pity you. It must be so difficult to maintain such a flawed and bigoted worldview.

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Richard 12
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Re: Is there no refuge?

Your right to throw a punch ends before it hits another's face.

I think that explains it.

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Richard 12
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Straw man - it doesn't matter how big a religion is.

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South Korea to NUKE Microsoft ActiveX

Richard 12
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Re: "proprietary standards"

He just missed the 'scare quotes' around 'standards'.

There are such things as proprietary standards/specifications though:

A company publishes an interoperability specification which others can use, perhaps even royalty-free, but the company retains full control over it.

Most APIs are like that.

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No, really, the $17,000 Apple Watch IS all about getting your leg over

Richard 12
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Re: True. Things Just Happen

If it's hard work, then maybe it's not right.

It might be hard sometimes, but marriage isn't work!

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Microsoft gets data centres powered up for big UPS turn-off

Richard 12
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Lithium ion eh?

As far as I recall lithium ion batteries really don't like deep discharge and wear out much faster than the equivalent sealed lead-acid.

So this technique means you'll be replacing more, smaller batteries more often - hoping that 1000 small batteries costs less than 10 big ones.

Not to mention the interesting fire loading - lithium battery fires cannot be doused, and the batteries catch fire quite easily when damaged or overcharged.

You basically have to wait for it to burn out and then put out the secondary fires.

Can their fire suppression system cope with that?

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A day may come when flash memory is USELESS. But today is not that day

Richard 12
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Re: Open question...

A disc doesn't have to write a full block, it's the file systems that do that.

Not all file systems use blocks, and those that do generally allow you to choose the block size if you want a different tradeoff between storing the location of the data and the data itself.

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