* Posts by Richard 12

1766 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

HP slaps dress code on R&D geeks: Bin that T-shirt, put on this tie

Richard 12
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Re: Bah!

Look around.

A lot of businesses have collapsed when their core expert(s) left.

Most medium-sized and small business units have many employees who are extremely difficult to replace, and a few groups who simply cannot be replaced quickly enough to save their projects.

If those projects are a significant proportion of revenue, the business often fails.

While no one person should be irreplaceable, groups often are.

Changes to company policy - esp. dress code - are often the most effective way of alienating a group. Especially when the group is close-knit and highly effective.

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Crazy Chrysler security hole: USB stick fix incoming for 1.4 million cars

Richard 12
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If you're inside the garden...

Say, for example, have the same cellular data provider.

One suspects that's how it works.

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Richard 12
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It almost certainly is "Just plug it in and reboot"

Most of the BSPs provided by the manufacturers of the system-on-chips used in these things has that feature (though it is easily disabled), and it's a handy feature during development.

They may have a button dance to do the reboot, one hopes a "special" one, but that's not security - and it's also public knowledge as soon as the recall starts.

I hope the firmware image is signed, but I doubt it.

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NASA: 'Closest thing yet to ANOTHER EARTH' - FOUND

Richard 12
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Re: 1400 light years

If you could do it at a continuous 1 to 2G acceleration, then it'd subjectively be a relatively short trip.

Good luck finding a propulsion technology that can do that though...

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Jeep hackers broke DMCA, says EFF, and that's stupid

Richard 12
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Re: It's already happening...

"invest billions of pounds to keep vehicles secure as possible"

Bollocks. They absolutely definitely do not.

No car manufacturer spends "billions" on any new vehicle's software and firmware, let alone the security thereof.

The total cost of development, including retooling of manufacturing plant and training of workers is probably around the billion dollar mark.

When they start out with such an obvious falsehood, how can we trust anything else they say?

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Richard 12
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It's already happening...

All modern vehicles can control the brakes and accelerator, and all the automatics have the transmission under computer control.

Even today, some cars already have the steering wheel under computer control for the automatic-parking function.

So that's fun then. How long before the first crash caused by an Internet connectivity or even DAB radio hack?

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Keep your stupid drones away from piloted aircraft, rages CAA

Richard 12
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Yes - 2.4GHz

35MHz is long dead.

They're nearly all either Wifi, or spread-spectrum, frequency-hopping.

The latter is specifically designed to get through jamming, as the core principle was that lots of users should reliably coexist - and the emissions of everybody else (esp. Wifi) looks like jamming.

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Richard 12
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You mean the laws we already have

The issue is that quadcopters are much easier to fly than traditional fixed-wing aircraft or helicopters, and even powerful ones are really quite cheap.

So people are buying and flying them without thinking - "Planes are big, they'll be fine" or "It's miles away from my quadcopter".

Publicising the rules and the likely consequences of entering controlled airspace is the best way to handle this.

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NHS England backs down over another data extraction scheme

Richard 12
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Re: Gah!

'Cos "anonymised" isn't possible to do due to the ease of combining it with other data to link it with individuals or small groups.

Of course, neither is "de-identified", they must have been hoping nobody would notice.

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Robot surgeons kill 144 patients, hurt 1,391, malfunction 8,061 times

Richard 12
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Sparks and bits falling off?

That is totally inexcusable, especially in such low-power devices.

It takes either serious incompetence or deliberate action to create sparks with enough heat to burn a patient, and a device with such design flaws wouldn't even meet normal CE requirements for a household appliance, let alone be sane to use in surgery.

Normally I'd presume that bits falling off was probably poor maintenance or assembly, but in this case, perhaps not.

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Microsoft: Hey, you. Done patching Windows this month? WRONG

Richard 12
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Re: Why the delay?

Testing, one hopes.

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Richard 12
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Re: I guess

Windows 10 doesn't exist yet.

It'll be in the RTM or (perhaps more likely) the release-day Updates.

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Richard 12
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Re: Kernel mode fonts

Modern fonts are applications in and of themselves. They might even be Turing-complete.

Rendering a font means running code provided by the font author, one hopes within a decent sandbox.

Quite why this sandbox needs the privilege of living in kernel-land is beyond me - especially as Apple (of all people) have proven it to be unnecessary under Windows.

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The US taxman thinks Microsoft owes billions. Prove it, says Microsoft

Richard 12
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That would single-handedly destroy every small business

The average profit margin of many businesses - shops, bars and restaurants - is under 5%.

Almost every small business that makes and sells physical widgets makes a loss for the first few years.

Basing taxation on income would destroy all of these businesses.

Setting it at 15% would make it completely impossible to start any small businesses at all, and would bankrupt all of them within a year.

Good plan. We need more countries with no jobs whatsoever.

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GOOGLE GMAIL ATE MY LINUX: Gobbled email enrages Torvalds

Richard 12
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I could catch 100% of spam

Simply mark everything as spam. Woot!

What do you mean, that's useless?

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What do you MEAN, 'Click on the thing which looks like a Mondrian?'

Richard 12
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Rule one of user interface design

Users do not read.

Rule two: Users cannot read.

Rule three: FFS, never ask the user to read more than one line of text at the absolute maximum. If you think it needs more then you're doing it wrong.

If you follow these rules, you can design a good interface.

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Richard 12
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Re: Click on the Save icon...

Just click on the deformed Honda logo to save.

More seriously, it has simply become the universal glyph that means "Save".

The origin of the icon doesn't matter any more than where "?" came from.

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WHAT ARE the 'WEIRD' SPOTS seen on far-flung PLUTO?

Richard 12
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Not yet!

Maybe the dark spots are the shadows of a mass-effect relay?

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Richard 12
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Re: Ion-engine

In space, distance isn't measured in km, it's measured in km/s.

It's all about the delta-V.

Though a ion engine probably is the way to go, and I'd love to see it happen.

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Attention dunderheads: Taxpayers are NOT giving businesses £93bn

Richard 12
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Re: Tim omitted the obvious explanation... @DaveDaveDave

The total is based on counting the same coins multiple times as well as counting stuff that cannot possibly be considered a "subsidy". (Which is also counted at least twice, though I'm not a tax accountant so it might be more than twice)

However, several of the numbers they added up are simply completely wrong - based on false premises.

Anyone can get really big numbers that way, but the result is always meaningless.

I got a tax allowance of £10k and a NIC threshold of £8k so I got £18k subsidy from the government!

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Richard 12
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Re: Get those figures higher!

You get, at a very minimum, £8060 absolutely tax-free. (NIC primary threshold)

Then the next £2k at 12% (NIC only)

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Pan Am Games: Link to our website without permission and we'll sue

Richard 12
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Re: I'm probably only feeding the troll....

Mine didn't bounce (yet) either.

The best way to point out the idiocy is to ask permission.

Everyone on the Internet, individually.

That way, they drown in emails and nobody at all can use the brand, whether a sponsor or not.

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

Richard 12
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Re: Education

School designs are total copy-paste.

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

PFI was interesting.

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Richard 12
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Depth is the issue of INI

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

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

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

Might as well use XML or JSON to start with.

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

Richard 12
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Re: Password required?

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

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

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

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

Richard 12
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FAIL

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

Actually, no, there isn't.

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

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

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

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

Richard 12
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Re: Apps + Windows Phone

Correct.

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

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

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

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

Thus, very few apps.

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

Thus, no new apps.

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Killer ChAraCter HOSES almost all versions of Reader, Windows

Richard 12
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Facepalm

Re: Compared to this... @STB

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

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

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

Once an exploit is found, there are two scenarios:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Richard 12
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Re: Straight banana

You mean "occasionally".

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

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

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

Richard 12
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Nope, chaos is a very specific thing

It's not randomness.

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

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

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

Richard 12
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Re: What spare capacity?!

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

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

So they're mostly holding onto their employees.

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

Richard 12
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Re: hmm

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

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

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

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

Richard 12
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FAIL

Probably not

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

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

Richard 12
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I quite like them.

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

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

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

Richard 12
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Re: Mag-safe

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

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Windows and OS X are malware, claims Richard Stallman

Richard 12
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Re: So what did YOU do then ?

Headers? I have to include the headers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Richard 12
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Re: So what did YOU do then ?

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

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

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

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

Thus you cannot improve said code.

Thus said code will die.

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

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

Richard 12
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Re: It seems to me...

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

What's needed is to break that cycle.

Suggestions on a postcard please!

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

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

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

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

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

5 sec behind would be good.

10 sec behind would be reasonable.

Utterly wrong on the other hand...

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Pundits ponder perilous placement of STANDING STONES on Comet 67P

Richard 12
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Re: more like stuck?

Heat of collision could do it.

Smack two ice cubes together and they can stick together.

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

Richard 12
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Re: Lemmings !

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

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

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

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

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Richard 12
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No, he did not.

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

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

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

The FBI are talking utter bollocks.

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Lightbulbs of the future will come with wireless extenders and speakers

Richard 12
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They can't

LED is a narrow band emitter.

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

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

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

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

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

All domestic dimmer switches cut the power completely.

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

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

Richard 12
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Re: Odd 2

I'll give you those

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Richard 12
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Odd

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

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

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

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Home routers co-opted into self-sustaining DDoS botnet

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

Serial numbers are predictable, thus useless as passwords.

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

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

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

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

Richard 12
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It's a very rich meat

I quite like it.

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

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