* Posts by Richard 12

1597 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

Ofcom to UK: Really - you're using the same password for everything?

Richard 12
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True but misleading

For example, I only have six or seven online passwords, and most websites have the same one.

That's because they are ****y little websites where I don't care in the slightest if somebody uses my login, because the websites shouldn't even have one in the first place - and I'm guessing that most store them plaintext anyway.

I'd happily use the same login as everybody else on El Reg for many of them!

I'm sure everybody can think of several examples.

The other passwords are for places like this very forum where I do care about people impersonating me, and my online banking/payment where I very much care.

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Peak Apple: First 'profit slip' in a decade - and, boy, it's gonna be BIG

Richard 12
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Re: Wrong and Right

You do know that Guinness is a mass-market beer?

It should be compared to something like Budweiser or another beer you will find in every single bar in the country.

Mass-market beers are always like that - they have to be!

If you want to compare mid-market beers that are easily found but not completely ubiquitous, look for Fullers, Greene King, Black Sheep and the like.

If you want to compare micro-breweries, compare micro-breweries.

Although you are right on one thing - the US microbrewery market is doing much better than the UK one. Thankfully the UK microbrewers are slowly making a comeback, which can only be a good thing!

(And the ABV of a beer is irrelevant unless the intention is to get hammered or stay sober. It's all about the flavour!)

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Richard 12
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Re: Wouldn't.....

Nope, BSE was an EU and USA thing, spread by feeding cow products to cattle. I don't think anybody could ever find the original source, not enough data exists.

There was always more BSE in the good 'ole US of A than the UK - but that's only because there are more actual cows. The prevalence was similar.

The difference was that the UK admitted it existed, other countries tried to hide it.

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Richard 12
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Something new on the UI front

The big thing on the iPod and iPhone was the UI - jog wheel on iPod, clean touch-oriented UI on iPhone.

They weren't the only or even first ones doing either of these, but they did it very well.

Since then, basically nothing has changed - it's all minor tweaks, still staying close to the limits of the original hardware.

- Compare the home screens of an iPhone 5 to an iPhone 1. They are almost exactly the same!

It's no surprise that they are losing market share - even Microsoft has been more innovative than Apple in the last few years! Ok, MS are going full-speed in the wrong direction on the desktop, but in the tablet and phone space, they do have something that some people really like.

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Review: Nokia Lumia 720

Richard 12
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Re: Really !!!

The trouble with that approach is that it doesn't match what people really do.

Most people have a set of work contacts and a separate set of friends. They also often overlap.

I do not want to risk confusing replying to a FaceTweetSpace "Let's go out to XXX" with a work "We're meeting the customer at XXX".

A reply like "Cool, XXX is totes amazeballs" isn't suitable for one of those situations.

Perhaps the CxOs of such large companies as MS and Nokia don't ever have purely social engagements or socialise with colleagues, but most real people do.

For most people, keeping work email completely separate from social networking and personal email is a necessary function.

Ok, some do that by having two phones, but with the large physical size and short battery life of these things, that is becoming less practical.

To be honest, I don't really like that I have no way to properly separate my personal phonebook from my work contacts in the same phone, but at least that does have workarounds.

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Human rights groups rally humanity against killer robots

Richard 12
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Re: too late

Yes, it is too late in at least one field.

Anti-missile systems are already exactly this, because they don't work if they aren't - see HMS Sheffield for a tragic example of why humans can't do anti-missile.

You select a volume of space for them to check, the locations to protect and turn them on.

They then automatically fire upon and (hopefully) destroy any incoming items they recognise as an inbound missile.

There is no human in the loop, because by the time the meat-bag hears the alarm, it's too late for an anti-missile system to do anything.

Now, it's probable that the operator can order the anti-missile-missile to self-destruct after it's launched, but it's still very little time.

On the other hand, there is a difference between anti-missile systems and anti-tank etc. as there is a lot more time to identify the target before you need to open fire - although still not very much.

On the third hand, what are the military supposed to be defending against anyway?

Who has tanks and might invade a neighbour in the next fifty years? North Korea and Iran are about it!

The current and near-future threats are individuals or small to medium-sized groups (perhaps associated with international movements), not states.

Autonomous systems can't identify those, and really, neither can military personnel either - although they usually do better.

It's effective policing and peacekeeping forces that are really needed these days.

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More and more likely that double CO2 means <2°C: New study

Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: I love people who deny the basic laws of Physics...

Zmodem, you genuinely have no idea what you're talking about.

Here is a simple proof: Follow the energy in your sketch.

Let's assume the following unreasonably high efficiencies for the equipment in the loop:

Wiring: 100% (superconducting)

The motor and dynamo: 99.9% of motor input electrical energy comes out the dynamo.

Battery and charger: 99.9% of input electrical energy can be discharged from the battery.

We will start with 1000 Joules of energy in the battery and assume no energy is consumed when starting the system.

After the dynamo, there are now 1000 * 0.999 = 999 Joules.

After the battery charge/discharge, there are now 999 *0.999 = 998 Joules

Then 997, 996, 995, 994...

Eventually it's all gone.

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BadNews, fandroids: MILLIONS of Google Play downloads riddled with malware

Richard 12
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Re: Come on El Reg

Two clocks on the home and lock screen.

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Shut the CANUCK up! Sony offers $1m to hacked gamers

Richard 12
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Joke

Re: £250,000 fine for losing 77 million credit card numbers

Most credit cards have 16 numbers on the front, so 77 million numbers would be about 4.8 million cards-worth.

Is that right?

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Malwarebytes declares Windows 'malicious', nukes 1,000s of PCs

Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: Cure worse than disease

Erm, MSE is the 'free for personal use' version of MS System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection.

It's no different to the other 'free version of paid corporate' AV systems.

As to whether it's any good - well, none of them are substitutes for good surfing practice.

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Foxconn must pay Microsoft for EVERY Android thing it makes

Richard 12
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Re: Hmmm....

Possibly because Google would see them in court, and Microsoft are worried that there's a significant chance that they would lose and the patents would be annulled - then facing possible legal challenges from everyone who previously licenced the patent on threat of legal action.

MS have a house of cards and they clearly know it from the B&N deal.

I'm not sure why Google don't step in, it might simply be because lawyers are expensive, and they don't want to fight unless they have to.

However, it may really be down to the NDAs - Google don't officially know which patents and as MS' accusations have never gone to court they can't file an amicus brief, and cannot step in another way without facing an expensive legal battle in which they do not know what they are defending against before starting it.

NDAs on these settlements are the truly evil part.

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Richard 12
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Re: Extortion

No, just their lawyers.

The coders just code, the cleaners just clean, the sysadmins just... etc.

It's not their fault, it's the legal dept and upper manglement - and quite possibly upper management don't really know either, as once a legal dept gets too big it starts to mutate and no longer truly serves its master, it becomes something evil.

Night of the living lawyer, coming soon to a cinema near you!

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O2 tries something completely new: Honesty

Richard 12
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It's like this in South America

You take out two contracts - the monthly "Sim", and the credit agreement to buy the handset.

This model does reduce the pressure to upgrade your handset - if you are going to keep paying £30 a month regardless of whether you get a new handset or not, you're going to get the new handset.

So I can see it being bad for operator lock-in, unless they go for the same underhanded "automatic new 2-year contract" that BT got gently told off for.

This is the logical extension of sim-only deals of course - and it might be good, as it should mean more choice of which phone you want on a given tariff.

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Ban drones taking snaps of homes, rages Google boss... That's HIS job, right?

Richard 12
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Re: So few comments?

No, he's utterly wrong.

Taking photos that deliberately invade the privacy of another is already illegal in most jurisdictions.

For example, one could stand on a hill with a really long lens to take pictures of somebody topless sunbathing in a private area - and it would be against the law.

It would break exactly the same law to use any other technology to get that same photo.

- Oddly, you'd get caught more easily if you used a drone - they are noisier and have less loiter time than a bloke with a monopod and 1m lens.

Banning drone photography would be fundamentally stupid - it's the same as banning cameras because you might hold one up over a fence.

It is the photo itself which could invade one's privacy, not the means used to take it.

Apart from the "fun police" aspect, there are many business opportunities opened up by using them - the most obvious utilitarian example being safe roofing and gutter inspections.

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Space elevators, vacuum chutes: What next for big rocket tech?

Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: Question 5

We know that there aren't any outright planet killers due in the next couple of centuries, and nothing excessively large in the next hundred years.

That's all.

We don't know if something big enough to effectively destroy our civilisation is going to hit in 150 years - and although I suppose I am conflating "species" with "civilisation" here, I think you'd agree that "civilisation falls" is still an apocalypse worth spending some energy avoiding?

We also don't know whether something big enough to wipe out a major city like London, New York, or Washington DC is going to hit tomorrow. That Russian meteor? Imagine if that had airburst directly over a major city at a lower altitude, instead of 'merely' ~25 km up and ~50 km away.

To really avoid those 'civilisation killers', and to even spot the 'citybusters' in time to simply evacuate, interplanetary space travel needs to be routine. Not the "launch a last-ditch heroic attempt to deflect atop quickly thrown-together rocket" we see in films, it has to be "Oh, that one's coming a bit close in fifty years, better start planning to send something to go deal with."

Even simply getting to an asteroid takes a year or two.

We only have around 100 years of clear time to do that - and given our current rate of progress, we won't make it.

I probably won't live to see it. But I want my kids to go to space - for a holiday, or even permanently.

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Richard 12
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Re: Question 5

25% in the long term, compared to the 0% long-term survival probability of the converse that we currently have.

A large asteroid strike is inevitable unless we have the technology to reliably redirect one. That takes routine extra-orbital space travel.

I say our current situation is the converse because over the last decade our politicians have been shoving us into various mapcap schemes to "preserve the planet" that simply don't work anyway because they don't scale anywhere near the size needed for current population, let alone predicted population, and in many cases actually seriously damage the environment!

Large numbers of people will die as a result of those policies - not because climate change is real, but because the methods to "stop" it that the politicians were backing are futile and harmful to people and the environment.

There is some hope - Hinkley C has been given the go-head, which is finally a zero-emissions* generating plant at the scale we need to stop the lights going out and people dying.

It'll be coming on stream too late though.

* Ignoring construction emissions, just like the wind and solar people.

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Richard 12
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Mushroom

Re: Space elevated....

Snapping a tethered cable space elevator near the bottom would do very little - it would simply start to slowly drift, and you'd need to grab it again within a few days or it might go too far away from your 'base' complex.

You'd need to break it much further up to do much damage - but break it far enough up and it'll wrap around the entire globe...

On the other hand, physically snapping the assembly near the base of a Space Fountain or Launch Loop would disintegrate quite spectacularly, as the dynamic stabilisation energy gets dumped into the remains of the base.

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Richard 12
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More to the point, how'd you build it?

I genuinely can't figure out any method of building a launch loop, and they don't seem to have a proposal either.

Even assuming enough of the appropriate materials and budget, it still appears impossible to actually assemble one of those!

I like Space Fountain idea because it's buildable.

Yes, like all infrastructure-to-orbit concepts you still need an unreasonable budget (although less unreasonable materials), but it does have a clear method of building it - and one that we've been doing for a while in bridges and skyscrapers. Build the foundation, build the top and slowly jack it up.

A launch loop seems to need to be complete before it can support itself - so how do you put it together?

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Cutting CO2 too difficult? Try these 4 simple tricks instead

Richard 12
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Unhappy

Re: "Simple"?

They are the low-hanging fruit.

Reducing soot is easy - better filters on exhaust, higher quality fuels.

Reducing methane is even better - cap landfill and oil wells to capture the gas and burn it. For bonus points you could do something useful with the methane.

Unfortunately politicians do not actually care in the slightest about climate change. They want an excuse to do things.

The greenies are even worse - they actually want almost everybody to quietly drop dead. Or rather, that's the effect of the "hair shirts" they want to impose.

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FAA: 'No, you CAN'T hijack a plane with an Android app'

Richard 12
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Happy

Re: I was thinking this was bogus

The moving-map feed for the 'on-demand' entertainment is probably simply a separate GPS receiver.

- I'm reasonably sure it's separate because the height values have been wrong for my last few flights where it's been running on the ground.

Even if it does get the data direct from the flight instruments, the sane way to do this would be a unidirectional RS232 link - only one direction physically wired - streaming the current position and speed data into the moving map.

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Dubai splurges on 700hp, 217mph Lamborghini police cruiser

Richard 12
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Alert

Re: Cameras

They do have quite a lot of them, and unlike the UK they don't paint them yellow and they hide them fairly well.

However, the locals quickly figure out where they are - and even visitors spot them fast because it's where everybody suddenly brakes hard.

The speed traps that actually catch people are the 'mobile' ones the police set up at random.

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'You can keep it' - Brit's nicked laptop turns up on Iranians' sofa

Richard 12
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His insurance company may have said to forget it.

And probably did.

It's not worth their hassle to get it back, and it looks better PR-wise to say "Ok, keep it" anyway.

Although the new owners may well be in trouble with the Iranian authorities, as it would not surprise me if handling stolen goods was a strict liability offence over there, unlike in the UK.

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Shaky liftoff for Sputnik: Dell's Linux lappie runs its own cloud, ish

Richard 12
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Re: Windows is always without a problem

For example, Windows 7 occasionally decides to disable the volume control.

So you can drag it up and sounds happens, but it immediately fades it back to zero.

This will continue to happen until you reboot, when it will have set all volume controls to zero (masters and per-application), but now lets you raise them - one at a time.

There might be some incantation to fix that, but I haven't found it and the hundreds of Windows help fora appear clueless as to why.

Seems to be related to other MS software - like MS Messenger or MS Skype.

There are many other similar issues. Not surprising, as no software is perfect, but it is strange that they are so readily glossed over.

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Windows 8 has put the world's PC market to sleep - IDC

Richard 12
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Re: Absolutely true for me

I give up mmeier, either you can't read or you won't read.

MS are copying tablet functionality and styling on the desktop.

That means they are making the desktop look and behave like a tablet.

That is the problem, and that is why it's stupid.

They are very different. No matter how good it is, you simply cannot put a tablet or phone UI onto a desktop and expect it to be useful, just like you cannot put a good desktop UI onto a phone or tablet and get something useful.

This kind of UI design is my day job - I build touch interfaces - and their core rules are the antithesis of the decades-accepted rules of keyboard & mouse desktop GUI design.

Win8 breaks those rules, and breaks many of the universal UI rules as well.

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Richard 12
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Re: touch

If your employer moves to Win8 this year, you should update your resume because that company is unlikely to be long for this world.

A few testing machines, certainly. However, a general roll-out anytime soon would be a disaster for most businesses.

Win8 actually causes a world of pain with a lot of professional 3rd party software and drivers (can only install in "Safe mode"! WTF?), and most corporates use some of that kind of software - not everything is Office.

Aside from that, retraining the staff and the lost productivity would cost a fortune during the transition period. It's simply too different.

- Mostly side effects of the "MS own your computer now" attitude.

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Richard 12
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Re: Vista Part II...?

Why did you "upgrade"?

What was key feature in Windows 8 that you didn't already have in Windows 7, that you felt was worth your $40?

Because if a prospective user can't answer that question, it doesn't matter what it costs - it's too expensive.

Even if something is free, it still costs time. If you don't gain anything, why spend the time?

- Incidentally, you can actually buy a whole computer for that $40 these days.

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Richard 12
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Unhappy

Re: Absolutely true for me

mmeier, what makes you think that?

It didn't work for Vista, it didn't work for ME and it didn't work for Bob.

In the past, Microsoft ended up having to release a new version with a different name - and even though Vista is actually ok now, nobody touches it with a bargepole.

Why is Windows 8 going to be any different?

In every other industry, if the incumbent market leader radically changes the UI, the customers always think "Well, if I've got to learn something new anyway, might as well look at the competition".

And in many cases, the incumbent loses huge amounts of market share.

In the case of Windows, it looks very much like the radical change of UI is making people think "You know, I don't actually need a new PC. One of them tablet thingies does what I want."

Worse, many are thinking "Those tablets actually do everything that new Windows [8] does anyway. They even look pretty similar."

So, by copying tablet functionality (everything full-screen, 'app store' etc) and styling on the desktop, Microsoft are killing the desktop.

If they don't wake up soon, the commodity desktop will die - and be replaced by piles of tablets.

Then the only thing people like us will be left with are enthusiast SBCs (RPi etc) and very expensive "Gamer" desktops and "Developer" laptops.

That's not a world I like the sound of.

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'Close to one in three - sorry, one in eight - SMEs are software pirates'

Richard 12
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Re: Priorities

Why would I think that paying some of my staff to investigate every single computer for every single piece of software installed upon it and checking every single line of small print (or even not printed at all) in a licence agreement that I can't even see let alone read was a "priority"

I'd have to be insane to even start, I've got a business to run!

Especially as the BSA who tell me I should do this are unable to understand simple statistics - 12% do X and 18% have done Y does not mean 30% do XY.

I find it shocking, simply shocking that the BSA should have such terribly incompetent statisticians.

It is simply bewildering that they still haven't changed their statistical management practice to correct this, it would appear that it would require a legal challenge.

Given the costs involved, you'd think the job of sorting out the BSA's own statistics would be a priority from the word 'ready' or 'set', let alone 'go'.

Perhaps the BSA do spend so much of their effort checking all their own software is properly licenced that they can't do their own core business?

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German boffins aim to burn natural gas - WITHOUT CO2 emissions

Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: Where does the carbon go?

No, I want the press release to make it very clear what they actually did, and what they did not do.

This (and many other) press releases say "CO2 SOLVED!!!!" or "CANCER CURED!!!!" as many times as possible and try their damnedest to hide the "but it doesn't actually work", or even which step towards the goal has actually been achieved - the latter is particularly common for cancer-related press releases.

There's only one sentence in the release mentioning that the reactor doesn't actually work - it's as much of a one-shot deal as the existing one they say doesn't work and for basically the same reason as well - the rest is "WE SOLVED EVERYTHING!!! GO US!!!".

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Richard 12
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Unhappy

Where does the carbon go?

What keeps it at 1000deg C as you pump all that gas in?

What cools the resulting hydrogen to storage temperatures?

Heat exchanger from output to input will help, but not all that much as the gases are rather different.

This technique has the same problem as steam reforming - it takes a very large energy input to turn a very energy-dense fuel into much less energy-dense one - except worse because you can't turn it off.

The fate of the carbon is even more important!

Reading the press release, it would appear that they have no idea how to get the carbon out or if that's even possible - sounds like instead of being stuck to the walls of the reactor it's thoroughly mixed throughout the liquid metal.

That would normally be called an alloy, and the only way to get that out is to react it - usually with oxygen. Oops, CO2.

All in all - interesting, but nothing like the "saviour" the press release makes it out to be.

They always get published in newspapers as "Woo! XXX fixed!" when of course, it doesnt even work yet - and so nobody is even starting the process of scaling it up to a useful size.

I hate and despise these kinds of press release. Right now, some students have just finished their degree project. Brilliant, they'll get a good honours or PhD. But nothing that will yet affect anybody else.

No university publishes press releases for "Student writes really good dissertation", this is no different.

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Whatever happened to self-service computing?

Richard 12
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End user self-service works in exactly one situation

Single-user of a very commonly needed resource.

In other words, personal webmail.

The moment the company needs multi-user, for example "All email must be @ company domain X", you must have a central administrator to select, register and maintain that.

Without that, it will fragment, break and/or expire, probably all three.

Would you let employees buy other infrastructure (chair, desk, company car, office building etc) without oversight?

What is so different about IT that you'd consider letting them buy cloud services that way?

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Microsoft Xbox gaffe reveals cloudy arrogance

Richard 12
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FAIL

U571?

It wasn't the Enigma machine which mattered, we had loads of those!

Much like grabbing a copy of the RSA algorithm doesn't let you break RSA, you have to find the specific key - not the general lock design!

It was the weather code book that made it much easier for us to consistently break German naval Enigma codes.

That book meant that we could know what the plaintext should be for the daily weather reports (because we had our own weather reports), and thus find that day's Enigma settings much quicker.

It's quite fascinating, and very irritating that the U571 film bore no resemblance whatsoever to the real events of U110 and Operation Primrose.

Perhaps the most amusing bit is that the USA didn't believe that we'd been cracking Enigma... Or at least it would have been amusing if that ignorance hadn't lead to hundreds of avoidable deaths.

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Richard 12
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Re: Luddites

Not everyone likes multiplayer.

I play single-player games almost exclusively, and I like the fact that I can still play the copy of Dungeon Keeper (albeit in a VM) that I bought many years ago, and I love that I can still play Freespace 2 - lovingly updated for modern OS & graphics and expanded by a dedicated team of volunteers - that I've owned for almost as long.

If either had been reliant on their company servers, they would long since be completely unplayable.

A good single player game will still be good in 20 years time.

Why shouldn't I still be able to play it?

What right should the publisher have to say "Ok, you've had enough fun now. Game over forever."

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Richard 12
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Re: Similar mentality?

To be fair, in the UK that doesn't matter.

You do do those filings over dial-up speeds and it won't take much longer, and everyone in the UK can get dial-up speeds for very little money. If nothing else, one of those 3G dongles on pay-as-you go would suffice.

Aside from that, almost all small businesses have needed Internet connections for many years for other reasons, and payroll is very commonly outsourced.

Broadband on the other hand...

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Oracle reveals strategy for internet of things

Richard 12
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So you can write drivers in Java now?

Who would have thought that?

Oh yeah, you can't. And nobody even remotely sane would try to write for a sub-Arduino-scale device in Java.

The sensors in these containers top out at around 8 MIPs, many are smaller.

Almost everything that size is written in C these days, though some of the larger ones have moved to C++.

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Windows XP support ends a year from … now!

Richard 12
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Re: won't happen!

It will happen. Look at the published pricing for extended support - that's clearly a "pay the salaries of the Win XP team yourself" price.

XP will die, Microsoft cannot afford to let it live.

However, the result will be a wave of Windows 7 installs instead of the Windows 8 (or Blue) that Microsoft wanted, and it will be reported as yet another nail in the Windows 8 coffin.

WinXP is dying and it's taking Win8 with it.

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Android's US market share continues to slip

Richard 12
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Clearly the wrong story

The graphs alone tell the very clear story "Blackberry users switched to iOS"

I don't see any other conclusions supported by the published data.

The missing background is that Apple released the iPhone 5, but which other major manufacturers released new flagship phones during the measured period?

Unless you annotate with the big releases the data is pretty meaningless.

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Microsoft: 'Facebook Home just copies Windows Phone'

Richard 12
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Coat

Do you pull the GBL often?

Sorry, couldn't resist...

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Gov report: Actually, evil City traders DIDN'T cause the banking crash

Richard 12
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Re: A load of bankers

Very few businesses can be started or even expanded without borrowing money.

The startup costs for a business are very high - you need your premises, machinery and the ability to pay your staff in the first few months before you actually get paid for any of your products.

Without borrowing involved, everybody must pay cash-on-delivery of the product/service.

You are a start-up, so you haven't built anything to sell yet - where can the money come from?

The same thing occurs domestically - even ignoring the land, just the labour and materials to build a house costs a lot, and again you have to pay that before the house is actually built.

If its anything other than a detached property, it's got to be built in concert with other homes, magnifying the problem.

Very few people could manage to save £100k or so before moving out of their parents home, ask a hundred people to save most of that before a block of flats can be built? Not likely.

Credit is necessary once a civilisation goes beyond the hunter-gatherer stage.

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Richard 12
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Re: "So how do we solve the banking problem?"

It's implicit.

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Bitcoin-mining malware ENSLAVES computers

Richard 12
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Re: Dumb question

I gather that it's designed to get significantly harder to generate a new bitcoin as more are brought into existence, with a theoretical maximum number that could ever exist.

So eventually a new bitcoin will require near-infinite processing power.

Of course, that's assuming nobody finds a flaw in the algorithm or implementation before that happens!

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LOHAN must suck juice while mounted on rigid rod - but HOW?

Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: transformer using titanium rod as core

You know, that's just crazy enough to work!

Certainly easy to test, just take the rod and wind a pair of coils.

There's no need for an inverter, just rapid switching (kHz) of the DC output with a mosfet. The inductance of the coil will smooth it out and reduce EMI (which would be bad for the radio) - this is how isolating DC-DC units work.

Won't be very efficient, the iron titanium losses will be fairly high as it's the wrong shape and the coils are necessarily quite far apart - at least the width of the rubber.

So you'd want the rubber to be as thin as possible for maximum sensation heating.

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Swedish judge explains big obstacles to US Assange extradition

Richard 12
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Are you insane?

Or do you think the Swedish politicians are?

For a start, that was a deportation, which is completely different - all countries have a fast way to send people back to their home country, even to refuse entry immediately, and the only way to avoid that is a believable asylum claim.

Assange is not a US citizen.

What do you think would happen to a politician found to have either signed off on or presided over a fast-track extradition to the USA for anybody, let alone Assange?

How many days would they survive after it became public?

They'd get the PM's "complete support" within hours, and be out on their ear within two days!

No matter what evil deeds you might ascribe to elected politicians, their first and foremost priority is keeping their job, followed closely by getting re-elected.

They only do this kind if thing if they think nobody is watching - and frankly, the longer Assange stays in that embassy, the more likely it is that everyone will forget about him.

On top of that, it's much easier for the US to extradite from the UK than from Sweden, if that had been the goal then the Swedes would have been asked not to serve their warrant and the US would have gone for him direct. They didn't, presumably because the US justice people don't think they have a case, no matter what their nutjob senators say to the hoi polloi.

It's also pretty certain that had he gone to Sweden in the first place, he'd be out or cleared by now and able to do whatever he felt like.

Instead he's feeding his persecution complex, and much as the ambassador might be enjoying poking two fingers up at the UK, they aren't going to let him stay there forever. Sooner or later it will fit their goals to throw him out, and then he'll be on a plane to Sweden, where he will now be refused bail and have to spend any pre-trial time in jail.

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US funds Europa mission

Richard 12
Silver badge

Why not send people?

Because it's a one-way trip with current technology.

We don't yet have the capability to send a manned craft capable of landing on Mars and returning home.

Heck, we haven't even done that with an unmanned craft yet!

As for Europa - you'd cook.

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Giant solar-powered aircraft to begin cross-country flight

Richard 12
Silver badge

Re: I , for one, am fascinated with this

Of course a 787 is reasonable.

As would a 777 or 747, but the 787 is supposed to be the most efficient.

Yes, the first commercial airliners carried about 20 passengers and flew much slower.

However, the modern traveller won't go back to that!

There isn't the airport capacity for many more aircraft, so they have to keep similar aircraft capacity - 200-400 passengers - unless you want international travel to be the preserve of the super-rich.

And would you be happy for the transatlantic flight times to double as well?

Not to mention that transatlantic at low speed also requires that these aircraft can still fly at night...

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Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: I , for one, am fascinated with this

Instead of umpteen tons of fuel, you lift umpteen tons of batteries. No change there.

You also missed the point spectacularly - the thought experiment was very simply "Can solar power a commercial aircraft at cruise", and the answer is "No, there is not enough insolation".

- BTW, The 'bumblebees' thing is irrelevant - we're talking large passenger aircraft, not microscale insect sat on sticky, turbulent air. Yes, we know exactly how bumblebees fly and have done for at least a decade. They aren't solar powered either, they run on nectar and pollen.

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Richard 12
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FAIL

If wishes were horses...

Zmodem, if you've got working perpetual motion machine, build it and show it to the US Patent Office.

I guarantee a working one would make you an overnight multi-billionaire.

However, you don't, and nobody does. Funding is not the reason, the reason is because they do not work.

Quite simply - if they worked, Rolls-Royce would be using them. They don't because they don't work.

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Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: I , for one, am fascinated with this

Solar PV can't ever work for large airliners, here's why:

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is supposed to be one of the most fuel-efficient passenger aircraft yet developed.

It uses two Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines.

A single Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine delivers 39,400 kW at takeoff.

There are two of them, so your batteries have to be able to provide that 78,800kW during takeoff - no batteries can do that, but we'll ignore that for the moment.

For the sake of argument, let's say 1/4 that at cruise altitude.

Maximal insolation is 1.3kW per sq metre at the top of the atmosphere.

Let's give you 100% efficient PV cells. So your aircraft needs to have a PV cell surface area of approx. 15,100 m2.

Boeing's Dreamliner's total wing area is 325 m2, let's say 650 m2 for the full aircraft (bigger than reality).

Yet we're still only at 23% of the required power by using 100% efficient cells.

Oh dear. Not going to work then, is it?

Like helicopters, this technology is interesting and likely to be useful in specific situations (eg very long loitering drones), but it cannot replace the jet airliner.

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Richard 12
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Re: At the risk of being too pedantic,,

Same as on a commercial jet - the low-pressure external air is compressed to create cabin air.

It's obviously a special compressor on an airscrew craft as there isn't any bleed air from the jets, but it's still pretty simple.

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Relaxed Windows 8 rules hint at smaller slabs to come

Richard 12
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Re: @Shane Kent - danny 14

Type the program's name?

What is this, a command-line shell?

Why have a GUI if you can't bloody use it?

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