* Posts by Richard 12

1597 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

Huddled immigrant masses face 'British values' quiz

Richard 12
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Mushroom

@ledswinger

Nah, Labour self-immolated and keep on relighting the match, the Lib Dems have had a rude awakening that "sometimes being in Government means making decisions" and the Conservatives are continuing their ongoing tradition of self-harm.

Nobody in their right mind could vote Labour next time - last time they were in power they killed the economy and created a benefits system that rewards refusing to work and having as many children as physically possible, and have continued to show that they no longer have any "core values" whatsoever, their opposition has been one bandwagon after another, interspersed with "we oppose that but wouldn't change it"

The Conservatives do at least have some core values left, so even if you disagree with them you can at least understand their goals. (Although it's rare that any Government policy of any flavour could actually achieve them!)

I rather think this is what happens when you get a "Political Class" - these days you'd be hard pressed to name more than ten of MPs who've had real jobs for any length of time. I think there are none at all in Labour, and very few in the other parties.

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Richard 12
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Happy

Re: British values?

You missed out both "Queueing" and "Getting Pissed".

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Richard 12
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It's a "can you read English" test, always was

Anybody who could read and memorise the handbook would pass, and the majority of people who did not read the handbook would fail.

You could simply take a course on English language instead of doing the "Life in the UK Test" - just to hammer in that it wasn't really about knowing anything about the UK.

The test has needed updating since original publication anyway - the old book had an error on the copyright page, and also contains several incorrect statements - eg legal age for smoking is not 16 as it said in the old Handbook.

Presumably this update is to force all future Governments to update it on coming to power - after all, the second largest party may well be UKIP next time, Labour having self-immolated.

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Why did your outsourced IT fall over? Cos you weren't on Twitter

Richard 12
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The Truth will out, it appears.

Given that the gears they drew would be hideously inefficient, jam up often and break or wear out extremely quickly.

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China may axe 13-year console ban, games OK for kids after all

Richard 12
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So it's like the gay marriage thing here?

As in, everyone who knows anyone in or getting a "civil partnership" is calling it being/getting married and it's only the legal document itself that says different.

(Which is why I'm confused by the fuss some backbenchers are making. Doesn't it make sense for the law to match reality?)

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Apple releases iOS 6.1, adds LTE carriers, tweaks security

Richard 12
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Re: I HATE THESE DAMN SECURITY QUESTIONS!

Maybe El Reg could run an article or two about these stupid "worst practices".

Then we'd have somewhere to point to when managers insist "but it's best practice".

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Helium: Can it prevent the onset of Shingles?

Richard 12
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Mushroom

Re: Why not just evacuate the drive

The heads in your hard disk "float" a very small distance from the surface of the platter, kept aloft by aerodynamic forces.

If they touch the drive surface, that's a "head crash", which usually rips the heads off and gouges furrows in the platter surface. That's generally considered a Bad Thing.

So going to vacuum would need some other way to float the heads.

Presumably something about the aerodynamics of helium gas makes more, thinner platters possible.

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Climate shocker: Carry on as we are until 2050, planet will be FINE

Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: No, that's NOT what this means.

Personally, I'd rather we reduce our emissions of actual poisons into the environment.

Things like mercury, heavy metals, arsenic etc. The compounds that actually kill people, animals and plants.

Oddly, a lot of that stuff is in the majority of "green" (ie low-carbon) items but not in the near-equivalent high-carbon item.

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Meet قلب, the programming language that uses Arabic script

Richard 12
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Mushroom

Re: Computer Languages

Multiprogramming still needs a concept of past and future - or at least "before operation is done" and "after operation is done".

Discarding the idea of the "present" might help avoid race conditions though - a variable has no value "now", only a value before doing X and after doing X.

No idea how you'd express that though, and my head may asplode.

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Tablets aren't killing ereaders, it's clog-popping wrinklies - analyst

Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: Rubbish

Ditto! Wants one of those screens I does.

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Greenland ice SIMPLY WOULD NOT MELT in baking +8°C era 120k years ago

Richard 12
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FAIL

@ Nobody presents climate models as gospel

The politicians do. The IPCC does. The BBC does.

Real scientists don't, but they are drowned in the noise.

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Google files patent for eyewear that SHOOTS LASERS

Richard 12
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Re: Sod that, wake me up when........

I suspect the problem is that the human eye is not a camera.

The image you see is not the image captured by the retina, it's a composite generated in your brain that's made up from the data of many retinal images* - sort of like the massive mosaics NASA release

To make it more complicated, the retina has extremely variable resolution - in both colour and space!

- high spacial, but no blue at the fontema, lower as you get further away.

*Except that's wrong as well, but closer!

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Richard 12
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Re: Sod that, wake me up when........

LASIK/LASEK etc seem to sell reasonably well.

Though I see your point!

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Google's Larry Page: MY SECRET TO VAST WEALTH, SUCCESS

Richard 12
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Re: ever so 'umble

the last 2 utterly dead areas are smart homes and tv

I disagree, actually.

The "smarts" behind smart homes are gaining quite a bit of traction in offices and public buildings - think Heathrow T5, The Shard, the O2 etc.

Right now, the limiting factor is the cost - so only large installs can justify it. As the cost of components - and installation - comes down, it'll get more traction in the home.

Certainly I can see it turning up in "posh" apartment blocks within the next five years.

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Microsoft to end Windows 8 discounts on January 31

Richard 12
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Re: Shooting themselves in the foot? - yes, by releasing Win 8.

How is that any different to the Unix way?

Where exactly is /home? I mean really?

It's somewhere in /dev/hdd, right? Or a network share or something.

It's certainly not straight in the root!

Those things at the top are just symlinks in both Windows and Linux.

In Windows 7, you can finally create some of your own in the GUI, instead of cmd or Registry.

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TSA to pull backscatter perv scanners from US airports

Richard 12
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Re: Why do these have operators?

Presumably there is a horrendous rate of false positives.

It's certainly pretty high going by my experience of the mm-wave version with this "vague outline" software.

According to several researchers, the false negatives rate is also very high for X-ray backscatter.

I've not read any studies recently on mm-wave as implemented, and would guess that there hasn't actually been any - bad for the TSA business.

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FAA grounds Boeing's 787 after battery fires on plastic planes

Richard 12
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Mushroom

Correct, you're no engineer

Even if that were possible (it isn't), it wouldn't extinguish the fire.

LiCo battery fires are the components of the battery burning each other - it's a sealed unit, nothing actually gets in until the the cell has already "vented with flame".

I've also seen this with NiCad batteries - less dramatic, those just smoked rather than actual visible flames.

Also, this is most likely to occur when the batteries are charging - thus either in flight (charging from engines) or connected to ground power (thus empty on stand)

One of those is rather serious(!)

I am also surprised at the choice of chemistry - manganese or iron lithium batteries are only slightly less capacious and are considerably safer than the LiCo.

Given the wording of the FAA request, that may be what happens.

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VIA bakes a fruitier Rock cake to rival the Brit Raspberry Pi

Richard 12
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Re: Android?

No they aren't.

Windows 8 Embedded is x86, it's the TIFKAM* equivalent of Windows XP and 7 Embedded.

Windows 8 RT is the ARM version that replaces Windows CE. Unfortunately, if you make something that can run that then MS say it cannot be allowed to run anything else.

* Inaccurate but I couldn't resist

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Climate watch: 2012 figures confirm global warming still stalled

Richard 12
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Re: Check your insurance premiums

That's mostly due to two things:

1) They can get away with higher premiums.

2) The average claim has a higher payout.

Which one has the greater effect is debatable, but looking at their profit margins indicates that both are true.

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Richard 12
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Re: Stop the shit

Unfortunately, AGW is being used as an excuse, nay demand to pump out more toxins and pollutants, in exchange for less CO2.

The most obvious example is replacing easily recyclable tungsten lamps with mercury-filled and PCB-containing CFLs. That's worsened as there's no separate ballast models so you could have a long-lasting ballast and replace the mercury-filled tube a few times - you must replace both together.

Almost all "low-carbon" technologies currently result in higher emissions of really damaging pollutants - just not here, as we mostly outsource the manufacture and disposal.

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BT's 'six-month free broadband' offer is a big fat FIB - ads watchdog

Richard 12
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Re: why is line-rental mandatory?

My phone line clearly has different kit for phone and ADSL, as I spent a few days with no dialtone but the ADSL was still running.

Next door still had working phone, so wasn't complete exchange failure.

I currently pay £1 PCM for my phone, and a little under £29 for the ADSL. I see it that way round, anyway.

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Zuck on that! Instagram loses HALF its hipsters in a month

Richard 12
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Re: Hmmm

Although if this does go through, stripping metadata becomes a clear act of deliberate copyright infringement.

Somebody should be able to make that stick.

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Richard 12
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Re: How many of those orphan works will actually be of value?

If the photo's good enough to be published for commercial gain then it's good enough to be paid for.

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Richard 12
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Unhappy

Re: : ) Try *<:oB instead

Although the current ConDems are still topped by NuLabour for sheer unadulterated insanity.

On the bright side, perhaps somebody will come up with a way to hold MPs personally responsible for something.

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Anger grows over the death of Aaron Swartz

Richard 12
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Utterly wrong.

He was accused of those things.

He had not broken the law, as the case had not gone to trial.

- And quite possibly never would, as the alleged victim didn't want to press charges anyway.

Or would you be happy for us to post that you are a criminal if you are ever accused of anything?

The only reason that post isn't prejudicial or libellous is because the guy is dead.

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Ten stars of CES 2013: Who made the biggest splash?

Richard 12
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Almost certainly the LED lighting actually

If you light something with White or RGB LED, it is seen completely differently by the eye and the camera, as the sensors are very different - the camera "blue" saturates a very, very long time before the eye when objects are lit with Blue or White LEDs.

Thus reality and screen image differ greatly - for a really extreme example, try taking a photo of Hogwarts at "night" at the Harry Potter Experience thingy.

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Latest exoplanet discovery is a virtual CLONE of Earth

Richard 12
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Re: Slightly frustrating article.

I hope you're wrong, and it's merely "no currently-living human being".

Even then, if we pick up intelligible radio transmissions from Them it would have a pretty big impact on our culture anyway, regardless of what They actually said.

(Probably the alien equivalent of Radio 1)

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Richard 12
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Re: So long, and thanks...

Presumably the PR people thought "clever sharks" didn't sound as good, so went with dolphins - and to hell with the science of how dolphins evolved.

A water world would be a fish world, unless it had a significantly dry period for land-based animals to evolve. Milk is difficult in water.

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Hey, tech titans! Those smartmobe sales bans? Give it a rest. NOW

Richard 12
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Or in lighting control - DMX, RDM, sACN and ACN

All with no patents, you only pay for a copy of the actual standard document(s).

There are a lot of industries that have managed to produce patent-free interoperability standards, to the benefit of all the players in the market.

Any particular implementation is copyright, and some companies have better implementations than others.

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Do Not Call Register operator breaches Register

Richard 12
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Don't forget Step 1.5

Mute the microphone!

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Microsoft pats self on back over Windows 8 sales

Richard 12
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Re: Sales figures are not very relevant

They'll never publish those.

I don't think they ever have, and the whole point of these kinds of press release is to spin whatever internal data they have the best possible way by cherry-picking and other techniques that would make an honest statistician have a fit!

That's why the Santa article is probably right - if this is the best spin they can manage, Win 8 is pretty much dead in the water.

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'Not even Santa could save Microsoft's Windows 8'

Richard 12
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Happy

Switch to Qt C++ then

Cross-platform, and can use pretty much any compiler you like. Qt Creator is also one of the best IDEs out there - not perfect, but pretty damn good.

Then you can simply forget everything MS invents developer-wise.

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Sky watchers prep for early 2013 asteroid fly-bys

Richard 12
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Happy

Re: Rather humbling

We know where all the big ones are, so no worries about an extinction-level impact for a good century or so. (Then our predictions break down, but I'm not all that worried about big impacts over a hundred years away.)

That said, you're right - we don't know where all the ones big enough to level a city or small town are.

However, everyone knows that the only cities such things ever hit are central London, Paris, New York City, Washington DC or the Golden Gate Bridge - Hollywood said so.

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Victory on mobile belongs to Google in 2013

Richard 12
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Except that Apple are doing the same thing.

As are Microsoft and RIM on their respective platforms.

So is it better to pay up front and hand over your data anyway, or get it for the price if handing over your data?

Perhaps it's better to consider the merits of the actual product - in my opinion iOS6 is the runaway not-winner as it has very little functionality compared to the others - heck, there isn't even a way to see the complete current date ("Sat 5" is not a date!) on the home screen, let alone time in other time zones.

Yet that's trivial on phones that support widgets, like Android.

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Anonymous turns private eye in Ohio rape case

Richard 12
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Re: Here say?

Woah. If any of that about the prosecutor is true, when is she being locked up for gross misconduct in public office, then put on trial for her part in the alleged rape?

Or are judges and prosecutors simply above the law in the USA?

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'SHUT THE F**K UP!' The moment Linus Torvalds ruined a dev's year

Richard 12
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WTF?

Re: John Szetela

Of course he did. Every programmer does.

When I find something something stupid in code I'm maintaining, I almost always mutter "You ***** idiot" (or worse) under my breath.

It doesn't matter whether I made the error or somebody else did - the mistake is stupid.

I can't believe I'm the only one.

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Windows Media Center EPG has SWITCHED OFF, wail Euro users

Richard 12
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Re: Sounds familair

If your WinPhone 7.x already does absolutely everything you will ever want it to do, that's fine.

If you'd like to play some new games or use an updated/new utility - tough. Not gonna happen, not now, not ever.

What I don't know is whether you can take your purchased apps (and their upgrades) onto a WinPhone 8 handset - if you have to repurchase them you've been properly screwed over.

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Official SCIENCE*: HIGH HEELS make you SEXY (Ladies)

Richard 12
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The wheel got us out of the caves

Then the heel brought us back - otherwise there'd be no baby cavemen.

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NYC mayor pins crime rate spike on iPhone, iPad theft

Richard 12
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Re: Apple ban!

Both the SIM and IMEI number are required to identify a phone to the network. The IMEI is unique to a particular handset and the SIM for a subscriber.

That's how you can still make an emergency call without a SIM.

It's pretty trivial to block stolen phones using the IMEI, and I believe it's done automatically in Europe.

No idea why the US telcos don't, it would help reduce EU phone crime as well by taking away one fairly large fencing destination.

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Ten… top tech cock-ups of 2012

Richard 12
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Re: The *Other* Side

Or the side that just wants to be able to buy a movie, watch it on their TV, smartphone, tablet and computer when they want without having to leap through hoops and get labelled a pirate over and over again - despite having actually paid for the content.

Heck, even just buying a Blu-ray and playing it on your Blu-ray player is fraught with obstacles - region coding, and even key revocation that makes it suddenly impossible for you to buy any new movies!

Power has swung to give complete and total control to the MPAA et al - they can take away your ability to watch something you have already paid for, just because they feel like it.

That's the "other side" here - your rights as a consumer to actually watch/listen/play the thing you bought and paid for.

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Lego quad-copter: your ultimate drone nightmare

Richard 12
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Really? Bloody hell

That is seriously shoddy and rather dangerous.

- The APM inside this Lego copter can go so far as to return-to-base under full autopilot should it lose contact!

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Richard 12
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Busier than the PM?

Nope, just fewer staff.

Although I'm still surprised that his personal protection officers managed to forget his kids. That's pretty sloppy.

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Boffins build substrate for 'peel and stick' solar cells

Richard 12
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Re: I wish to place a bet...

Or Farnell, and if you live near enough to Leeds they will open their trade counter at almost any hour just for you.

Yes, I did that once, late at night, project running late and poof! blew up an IC.

Phoned Farnell, they had it in stock and I drive over and grabbed it.

Lifesavers, and so now, many years later I'll still buy from them first.

Their online catalogue is pretty good as well.

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BT ordered to pay £95m to rivals it overcharged for FIVE years

Richard 12
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Re: What have BT done to upset El Reg?

In many cases, BT killed the third-party attempts at broadband provision.

Quite simply, once the third-party looked like they had got the funding, BT would suddenly decide they were going to roll out their broadband despite refusing for several years, thus taking away the customers and then the banks took away the funding.

In many cases BT never even actually completed said roll-out, but by the time it became clear they weren't going actually do it the third party was already defunct - and the monopoly assured.

And that's even before Phorm and the abject failure of the UK government to uphold the law.

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Kickstarted mobe charger 'kicked to death by Apple'

Richard 12
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Re: Hmmm

One that specifically needs regulated 5VDC @ 2A and won't work with regulated 5VDC @ 2.1A?

Slightly concerned that you think that could exist, given that you claim that's your job...

Apple used to have a data connection to the charger to refuse to charge if it wasn't appropriately blessed, but I don't think they do that anymore.

Although to be fair, there are a lot of "copies" of USB chargers that don't actually contain a regulated power supply and are barely more than an oscillator and a transistor, but those tend to not work at all, catch fire, kill/injure the user via electric shock and/or destroy the device.

Those are actually illegal to sell in the EU, unfortunately Trading Standards seem far more interested in chasing copied CDs than dangerous goods, if the TV show us anything to go by.

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US patent office: Nice try Apple, but pinch-to-zoom is NOT a new invention

Richard 12
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Mushroom

Re: ...the USPTO has at least one employee who is awake

While that's true, it's also the case that many of those 2000 a day are trivially obvious to someone "skilled in the art", and even more have prior art that could be found with a single Google search.

That said, there are a lot of extremely disingenuous patent applications that deliberately mislead the casual reader as to the purpose and scope.

Perhaps severe legal consequences are needed to reduce that - including devastatingly punitive damages for patent trolls taking companies to court with invalid patents that should never have been issued. Perhaps as far as "Now hand over everything you own. Yes, that includes the shirt from the CEO's back and the lawyer's internal organs."

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After Sandy Hook, Senator calls for violent video game probe

Richard 12
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Re: Prevention rather than cure...

If this Chinese guy had an assault rifle and lots of ammo instead of the knife, would more people have been injured more seriously, and would the death toll have been higher?

That's the point of gun control - there are always crazies out to harm and kill, guns just make it a lot easier to do that to more people than pretty much anything else.

The "self-defence" argument is plainly bollocks as well:

Quick, what's the instant visual difference between a murderous nutter sighting on their next victim and the armed stranger sighting on the murderous nutter?

You've got one second to decide, as do the other armed strangers in the room who are looking at you.

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EU launches formal Microsoft privacy policy probe

Richard 12
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The loophole is here:

may be used, modified, adapted, saved, reproduced, distributed, and displayed ... to provide ... Microsoft products and services.

And we have a landgrab!

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Siri: Can you make a Raspberry Pi open a garage door?

Richard 12
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I'm sorry, I can't do that Dave.

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Ocean seeding a dead duck as carbon solution

Richard 12
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Re: Scientists

There's enough nuclear fuel sat in Sellafield for at least fifty years of UK demand, possibly more.

Mining it takes relatively little energy because the fuel is so energy-dense - much less than the "ship wood chips over from Canada" idea that's keeping Drax open.*

The real question is whether Wind is carbon neutral, given the materials, maintenance and connectivity requirements coupled with the very low generation output and the need to always use it when available, regardless of actual demand.

* Glad it is staying open, as we'd be in the dark if it wasn't.

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