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* Posts by Richard 12

1525 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables

Richard 12
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42 that they know about

And that have already failed spectacularly.

Presumably they have now inspected the shipping wire and found it's got a flaw - most likely there's practically no copper in it, like a lot of the cheap E-Bay IEC cables you see in Blighty.

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Richard 12
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Re: Flat, 3 core, single insulated, vs round, 3 core, double insulated?

Yep, single-insulated flat cables are industry standard in the USA.

They use wimpy 110VAC instead of manly 240VAC so they think nothing can happen.

Except that the risk of fire roughly quadruples of course - P=I×I×R

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Bright lights, affordable motor: Ford puts LED headlights onto Mondeo

Richard 12
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Re: headaches and snow

Only if they use low-frequency PWM dimming. Like everyone else seems to.

Who am I kidding. We're almost the only company dimming LEDs fast enough for race-line cameras, so how likely are Ford to go at the tens of kHz needed?

Will make the slo-mo replays interesting though!

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Richard 12
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Re: "last for the lifetime of the vehicle"

Anybody saying 100,000 hours for an LED luminaire is using an interesting definition of lifetime - usually 50% at 50% brightness.

75,000 to 70% initial brightness is plausible under good conditions.

That should mean around 25 years at 8 hours a day, which seems a reasonable claim for car lifetime.

But fans? Really?

Our outdoor LED doesn't have fans and the white edition is brighter than a headlight is allowed to be.

It is also physically larger than this Ford though, which is probably the real reason - the designer insisted on tiny "piggy eyes", thus ensuring normal heatsink and heat pipes couldn't do it.

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I’ve never paid for it in my life... we are talking Wi-Fi, right?

Richard 12
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Re: must be a Europe thing?

This US hotel is even worse.

It happily lets me tick the "normal free wifi" option, then connects me for a while.

At random, it stops working and demands that I log in again.

Except that Google still works so my phone doesn't realise and can't automatically log in!

It even goes so far as to let me do a search, lists all the results and only ceases and asks for the login once I follow a search result. Or try to.

It doesn't even redirect me back to the target site after logging back in.

The worst part is that it makes 'responsive' Web pages even more unusable than usual as they randomly vanish and become the login page...

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Uh, Obama? Did you miss a zero or two off Samsung's Chinese supplier 'fib' settlement?

Richard 12
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Re: Limited by the law

Depends on the value of the actual contracts, which were not stated.

It doesn't matter how big the overall company is, what matters is the size of the alleged fraud.

It's not reasonable to fine a few billion over a fraud of a few thousand, just because the parent company is huge.

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Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet

Richard 12
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"Especially since nothing industrial requiring true real time has ever run under Windows."

Or Linux or BSD either.

None of these are or pretend to be an RTOS, those would be things like VxWorks et al.

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What happens in Europe, doesn't stay in Europe: US giants accused of breaking EU privacy pact

Richard 12
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Re: legally enforceable but voluntary

Contract law.

You don't have to sign the contract, but if you do then a civil case can be made against you for breaking it.

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What's the point of the Internet of Things?

Richard 12
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I think the issue is

That most of the "useful" IoT stuff is quietly being done by a variety of small companies and students, unhyped and almost unnoticed.

For example, lighting control is already working, has been for years.

Your "light bulb" can indeed email to let you know it's blown.

I can sell you a system that does this, it's in stock, can ship today.

This is not new, but it is a lot cheaper than it used to be and the price is still falling.

What's new is the hype.

It looks like Intel are terrified that ARM are going to take it all - and you know what? They already did. Sorry Intel, too late.

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Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more

Richard 12
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Re: Paper vs ebooks

There is no possible justification for an ebook to go "out of print".

The cost of storage approaches zero and the cost of keeping it in the searchable catalogue is already zero - it costs more to remove than to leave in there.

A printed book goes out of print because nobody takes the decision to risk money on making another print run.

An ebook can only go "out of print" because a publisher makes the deliberate choice to remove it from all catalogues.

Even if they did that - a cost with no benefit - human nature decrees that piracy will occur and bring it back into print.

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Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart

Richard 12
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Re: Exactly!

How does that work?

Companies have to pay for many things - office space, cleaners etc.

That is paid for from the revenue they get.

If costs are increased, then either revenue must increase or profit decrease.

In the consumer* energy market the per-customer margins are really tiny, thus any per-customer increase in costs will be very significant.

They only make a notable profit though scale - it takes thousands of customers to make a profitable consumer energy supplier.

* The Generation market is very different and very distorted, which makes comparisons between profits of vertically-integrated and consumer-only companies very difficult.

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Richard 12
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WTF?

I'm astounded

We should legislate for the outcome, not a specific technological solution.

An MP with a brain!

Even more astounding, he's a member of a political party and he managed to keep his brain.

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Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?

Richard 12
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Re: Splitting utilities on geographical lines?

There's a lot of things that Salmond's camp are laying claim on.

I do find it odd that Salmond thinks that the National Grid would stay a single entity across both countries.

Presumably he wants England, Wales and Northern Ireland to subsidise his plans.

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Richard 12
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Re: Fag packet maths

Also, an independent Scotland would absolutely, definitely never be allowed to join the EU.

When that comes up there will genuinely be a flat No, possibly followed by "You're having a laugh" and a "F*** Off".

The EU Commission have said "No new entrants", and the EU laws say "All entrants must take the Euro". Even if Salmond could work through all that, Spain and France will veto it regardless because of the Basque.

The only reason to vote yes is because you think Alec Salmond deserves to be Lord Emperor of the North. He's doing this for political power, pure and simple. He would gain a lot, but Scotland as a whole would lose.

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BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff

Richard 12
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Re: New batteries...

You really don't want Lithium batteries in your Rabbit. Oh gods no...

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Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle

Richard 12
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Re: Should be arrested by the Fashion Police.

Over-ear 'phones are great for cheap noise isolation and noise cancellation.

In-ear basically have to be moulded to get the same benefits, otherwise you just have Apple-style ones where more of the tinny squeal comes out the back than goes in your ear.

Not that Beats do either of them, but they are at least roughly the right shape.

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DAYS from end of life as we know it: Boffins tell of solar storm near-miss

Richard 12
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Shields up!

Two thing - it's designed for it, and secondly a lot of the danger comes from the way the charged particles interact with our magnetosphere.

So yes, the Earth's planetary shield can make it worse!

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Richard 12
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Boffin

The danger is scale and duration.

As long as the induced voltages and currents are below the design thresholds, the major circuit breakers will do their jobs and open in time to save the physical infrastructure.

However, if either are sufficiently higher than the breaker can handle, the arc may not be broken and will do serious damage to the breaker and protected equipment.

For an example of a faulty breaker doing this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIkNY5xjy5k

This breaker had a fault that meant it was unable to douse the initial arc when interrupting. The arc was only stopped by opening the upstream breaker - so if said upstream breaker failed as well, the grid would be in real trouble.

The breakers are set up so they shouldn't all open simultaneously, which offers protection against short-duration events like lightning strikes but a CME-induced event could last a long time.

And that would be bad.

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UK.gov's Open Source switch WON'T get rid of Microsoft, y'know

Richard 12
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Re: Of course it won't get rid of MS

Yes, LibreOffice can track changes and present it as markup. Don't use OpenOffice, but ODF allows it.

This is is a win for choice, not for a specific product.

MS Office will still be a good choice for some businesses and Government departments, but it is no longer the only option.

DOC is an opaque format that nobody in the world really understands - the only documentation is the combined source code of several versions MS Word.

MS-OOXML contains some of those unknowable chunks of DOC in it as binary blobs, thus cannot be fully implemented by anyone without access to MS Word source code, and several parts are covered by MS patents which they charge for.

ODF is a complete and open published specification. All of the information needed to create a complete implementation is publicly available to anyone who is interested, and you do not have to pay anyone for any patent licences. You can even download a copy for free if you so desire.

Secondly, even today it is very difficult, if not impossible to read DOC files from early versions of MS Word, because you need to gain access to a string of different versions of MS Word - even if that is still technically possible, it's almost certainly impossible to do legally.

Yet in 30 or even 300 years time it will still be possible to read documents stored in ODF, even if none of the currently-extant programs are still available.

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UK government officially adopts Open Document Format

Richard 12
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Re: And yet again...

Why would you want your local Government to distribute important documents that business is required to read in a format that requires that they purchase specific pieces of software to peruse?

It is always better to distribute such documentation in a format that a multitude of free and paid-for software can read and create, and that any entity can choose write their own software to read and create should they so desire.

PDF, HTML and ODF means that your business can choose the software that is right for the rest of the business, rather than being forced into specific software that's a bad fit for what you do.

If your particular business has no direct business use for any Microsoft software, why should you be forced to buy Windows or other Microsoft software just to read official responses or comment on official documents that affect you?

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Richard 12
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Re: Edit the sentence:

I wonder how long it will take for the underlings to get with the programme?

The last official Government response I got was in .DOC format.

That said, it was from the HSE's electrical standards person who clearly had not actually read the current electrical standards, so document standards may be unlikely.

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Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app

Richard 12
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Re: Captains Log

Is that a euphemism?

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Games industry set for $5 BILLION haircut, warn beancounters

Richard 12
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It's spunkgargleweewee that broke it

The "Generic Shooter" genre has produced a long series of basically identical games for the last few years.

Then there are AAA producers trying very hard to make movies instead of games, bad PC ports with stupid DRM and practically no new IP, just long series.

Show a five minute clip and they could all be the same game.

Is it any surprise that the industry is in trouble?

Almost all the games I own are "Indie".

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Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them

Richard 12
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Re: Getting facts right puts things in proportion

How do you report that something's blocked incorrectly if you can't see what it is that's been blocked?

So most requests come from webmasters who A) know that Sky is blocking them and B) can find Sky's "WTF? Unblock me!" scheme.

Given that Sky subscribers can't get to the website, they can't find out how to contact the webmaster and thus the webmaster will only know if an existing visitor suddenly cannot access and is able to find how to contact the webmaster, or if the webmaster herself goes to www.blocked.org.uk or similar to check if they have been unexpectedly blocked.

And they have to keep checking because the ISPs don't notify webmasters.

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August Patch Tuesday to bring Windows bug fixes AND FEATURES – report

Richard 12
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Re: Microsoft, please don't add a start menu ....

They might though.

They might decide that all total shell-replacement applications have to use Embedded variants, instead of Desktop.

And to be fair, they're right as far as the kiosk, PoS, cashpoint, and industrial machinery applications go.

There are a lot of such devices using desktop Windows XP, one assumes through ignorance as they damn well should be Embedded.

If they did that it would kill shell replacement software dead, and probably increase the uptake of Embedded.

The question is whether they would do that.

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The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots

Richard 12
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Re: Bad graphing though

Could those who downvoted please explain why?

A bad graph is a bad graph, no matter who makes it.

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Richard 12
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FAIL

Bad graphing though

That "monthly smoothed" curve is bloody terrible, and tells you far more about their smoothing alogithm than the actual underlying data - at around 2012, you can clearly see the smoothing algorithm smashing the actual data into oblivion, moving the activity forward in time.

When will people learn? Smoothing the graphs destroys the data and gives you false results.

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Party like it's not 1999: Cry FREEDOM for a better web

Richard 12
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Re: Picture

The extra functionality is to do with allowing the browser to select the most appropriate image from a possible set of options.

For example, your phone might want the smallest available image to minimise bandwidth, while your desktop may want the largest possible.

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Students hack Tesla Model S, make all its doors pop open IN MOTION

Richard 12
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It's more than that

The smartphone stuff is not supposed to work while the car is in motion, so even if that was the vector they have done more.

Car electronic security is poor to abysmal in general, it doesn't matter much while the only vector is the plug-in point, but manufacturers have been adding wireless functions and links to to Internet...

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PICS: Nokia Lumia 930 – We reveal its ONE unique selling point

Richard 12
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Re: It weighs in at 167g, and it's a very heavy 167g.

Yes, it's all about the shape and size.

A 167g steel ball feels heavier in your pocket than a 167g slab, despite having the same mass.

It sounds like they misjudged the aspect ratio.

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Listen: WORST EVER customer service call – Comcast is 'very embarrassed'

Richard 12
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Re: "This call may be recorded for training purposes"

"This call is being recorded for my amusement."

Let me do absolutely anything - I never said what I find amusing, did I?

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Richard 12
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Pirate

Re: Just tell them you've sold your house

Then they just insist you should take their service at your next place of abode.

They'd probably still say that if you told them the account holder had died...

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Microsoft: You NEED bad passwords and should re-use them a lot

Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: "Could agree what makes a good password"

You've never seen a standards committee!

The couple I deal with (associated with ANSI) are fast compared to the BSI and ISO, and still produce standards that are impenetrable and late - though occasionally one does manage to escape.

Unfortunately standards committees tend to encourage architecture astronauts, and have a great deal of trouble simplifying things - one of the standards I've been waiting for has now been "in committee" for five years, with no sign that it'll be ready soon (part of the draft was radically changed about three months ago...)

PS: CE isn't a standard, it's a mark signifying compliance with the "appropriate" ones of several thousand different standards.

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Richard 12
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The real problem

Is all the junk sites insisting on you signing up with a "secure" password, email address, blood sample and flesh of your first-born in order to do a one-off transaction.

And of course by the time you've done all that, you are absolutely certain it will be a one-off as you will never, ever consider using that site again.

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UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill

Richard 12
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Re: Is their a list ?

It will be published in Hansard.

I think this link should work tomorrow (16th): They Work For You

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NASA: ALIENS and NEW EARTHS will be ours inside 20 years

Richard 12
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Re: Search... find.

There's other ways to protect the surface, eg atmosphere, water, distance...

Though an atmosphere that thick may well be a Krikkit...

- Tidally-locked could be interesting, a band of habitability around the terminator, protected from radiation by the thickness of the atmosphere. A few books have been written set on such a world.

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Richard 12
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Alien

Re: probability...

See the Drake Equation.

Some of the variables are now known to a reasonable degree of accuracy, so pick numbers you feel make sense for the remaining ones.

The original estimate was 1000 - 100,000,000 civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy alone.

We now know that R* and fp are higher than Drake's group originally estimated - though some of the other values (eg fi) are probably smaller.

As the values of the remaining terms are indeed unknown, you can justify both large and small values for each of them.

However, you cannot use zero for any of these terms because we already know that (semi) intelligent life has arisen at least once in this galaxy.

Given that the Universe is really rather big, it is extremely improbable that the remaining values are all so small that the final answer is 1 civilisation.

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New Bluetooth tech lets you control 4 BILLION lightbulbs at once

Richard 12
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Re: The QR code/UUID is only used during installation

@Hugo Thanks.

Where is this published? I could not find any of these details at all.

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Richard 12
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WTF?

And if I understand correctly, no security at all.

The design appears to be that each lamp has a permanently-set "address" that's used to send commands to it. The QR code encodes this, much like the barcodes on some DALI fittings that contain their serial numbers.

The lamp doesn't have any way to verify that the sender of the command is authorised, so you can sit outside somebody's house sending commands to every possible address until you find the ones that are active.

On the bright side, it does appear that after spending a little while identifying them, you can play Tetris on the side of a block of flats without needing to bother the owners.

Apart from the whole "changing their lighting at random" bit, anyway.

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Man FOUND ON MOON denies lunar alien interface

Richard 12
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Re: yes, TWB

Yes, videos in portrait orientation are almost exclusively taken using a smartphone.

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The Windows 8 dilemma: Win 8 or wait for 9?

Richard 12
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Facepalm

Re: Windows N+1

MS have history on this - Vista hid the "Shutdown" button, and put "Sleep" where you'd expect it to be.

The four Vista laptops we have destroyed their batteries in less than a year...

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Dead letter office: ancient smallpox sample turns up in old US lab

Richard 12
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Re: Is it just me.....

What if there's an empty space in the box that might have previously contained a vial?

How do you confirm that the vials currently in the box are the vials that are supposed to be in the box?

You need to know that all the vials are there and are the right ones, because if somebody nicked them...

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Would it be BAD if the Amazon rainforest was all FARMS? Well it WAS, once

Richard 12
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Re: I've read of several studies...

Yes, the summaries I've seen say that the extinction is generally believed to be due to the Western diseases brought over by the first few visitors.

A massive epidemic of several previously unknown diseases like smallpox, flu etc could and probably did wipe out most of the locals between "First Contact" and the first boat to pop over full of Conquistadors.

More or less the opposite of War of the Worlds, I suppose.

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Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE DNS outage

Richard 12
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Re: Service status updates

It'd be useful for the poor abused sods on the support phones though.

Plus smartphones on mobile data - unless it affected Virhin mobile as well! (Don't know)

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Richard 12
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Re: You can't do it anyway.

You what?

You're the entity who said it was easy to do.

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Richard 12
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Holmes

Re: You can't do it anyway.

Well, quite. If you use a router that has the option then you'll have the option.

What if you're a "normal person"?

Normal people use the equipment provided by the ISP for the purpose. They don't buy a router because they got given one "free".

So if an "average person" got through to Virgin's support, they could only be talked through fixing their connection for their laptop/desktop, but not for their phone, On-Demand TV or other services which they have paid for.

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Richard 12
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You can't do it anyway.

The Virgin-provided routers do not expose options to do that anyway, neither client-side (internal DHCP) nor router-side.

Many devices don't expose this setting, either expecting the DHCP server to properly work or even assuming the Gateway is the DNS.

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NSA man says agency can track you through POWER LINES

Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: @Khaptain - New York or Los Angeles

No, it's worse than that and that's why this is impossible.

The "noise signature" of every studio changes over time. The technique is useful to confirm whether or not a recording was made in one take or whether it's been tampered with, no more, no less.

- Eg if the background hum has "jumps" in it, then a segment was either cut out or cut in. If the background hum is missing, then it's probably been tampered with.

It's listening for frequency shifts as the load changes on the local substation. Those changes are very chaotic, and quite random - the HVAC might be merely chaotic given a known outside temperature range, but the lift movements really are random!

A given florry ballast might whine differently to another, but again, that whine will change as the supply voltage varies and the whine pattern will change as the lamp and ballast ages, and significantly when the lamp is changed.

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We need to talk about SPEAKERS: Sorry, 'audiophiles', only IT will break the sound barrier

Richard 12
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Re: The ear can't hear square waves.

There is a fair bit of localised processing in the ear, both mechanically and hydraulically in the fluid-canals, and then 'traditionally' within the neural nets that further pre-process the signals from the sensory hairs before going to the brain.

There's a heck of a lot of physically-distributed processing in an animal - for an obvious extreme example, the patellar reflex does not involve the brain at all.

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British and European data cops probe Facebook user-manipulation scandal

Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: Did you notice...

Did you know that El Reg's Terms of Service allow the SPB to send your pets into space?*

It's their platform, their rules, they can do whatever they want with it.

Just because you own the platform doesn't mean you can do what you want with the users of said platform. There are laws governing what you can and cannot do.

* They don't, but there's nothing stopping them putting that clause in if they felt like it. It still wouldn't allow them to do it.

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