* Posts by Richard 12

2053 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

What a difference a year makes: ICO tele-spam fines break £2m barrier

Richard 12
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The fine will have been levied after the election, so too late to make a difference.

It takes prison time to bar an MP from sitting.

I suspect that the other candidates will have a field day with this nugget come the next election.

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Facebook clickbait cull

Richard 12
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See interesting articles with this one weird trick

I'll believe it when I see it.

So far I've not seen any evidence that Facebook takes any action regarding outright illegal scams, let alone the common irritating clickbait.

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FBI's Tor pedo torpedoes torpedoed by United States judge

Richard 12
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Re: To be Fair

Given other warrants and court orders the FBI have gained, I suspect that they asked this particular magistrate because they knew that one would say yes.

And didn't ask the correct judges because they were unsure of which answer they would give.

Otherwise we're expected to assume outright stupidity on the part of the FBI.

Go on FBI, are you lawbreakers or idiots?

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Microsoft completes its Skype bot invasion with Web, OS X versions

Richard 12
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Re: Not having it update for Linux is good then

Group calls are mostly broken on all platforms. Even when we're all on the same version and Windows 7, about half the time it just doesn't work.

Skype has gone to the dogs and been chewed up.

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URL shorteners reveal your trip to strip club, dash to disease clinic – research

Richard 12
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One begs to differ

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BOFH: If you liked it then you should've put the internet in it

Richard 12
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Re: Tracking

Oh, the fun of timed events.

Whenever a client asks for them, I have to remind them that a timed event happens at the time they designated and will always happen, unless they manually tell it not wait/cancel that day.

Then I ask exactly how they want to do the wait/cancel.

It's important to get that in writing, especially the "We don't need that" comments...

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Line by line, how the US anti-encryption bill will kill our privacy, security

Richard 12
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Re: Unwanted consequences

Airbus would be fine - they're European!

Boeing would be utterly screwed.

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Look who's here to solve the Internet of Things' security nightmare – hey, it's Uncle Sam

Richard 12
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Re: Stricy liability would help

"Reasonable" is what you can convince the jury.

I like the phrase because it allows for things that are designed to last a few hours (light-up wristbands for a concert) and also things that should last for decades, like your HVAC.

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Richard 12
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Stricy liability would help

If you sell an internet-connected device, you are liable to provide security updates for the reasonable lifetime of the product.

Any published vulnerabilities must be corrected in a reasonable period of time, not exceeding six months of their publication.

Withdrawal of Internet servers required for significant operation of the connected device within its reasonable lifetime shall require a full refund of the original purchase price and payment for the disposal and recycling of the device, as the device is no longer fit for purpose.

This shall be reduced if the complete source code, build tools and special update hardware required are provided under a free open licence to everyone who has ever and will ever own the device, so they can modify it to work with an alternate server.

I think that should kill the industry pretty dead.

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Dear Windows, OS X folks: Update Flash now. Or kill it. Killing it works

Richard 12
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Trust? Adobe?!

You're funny

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Nest bricks Revolv home automation hubs, because evolution

Richard 12
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Are they legally allowed to do that?

Oh yes, they probably can do that in the USA, where there are no consumer rights laws.

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Microsoft lures top Linux exec from Oracle to Redmond

Richard 12
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Actually, not quite the case

The non-Embedded versions of Windows need to talk to an authentication server to "activate".

So if those central servers went down, then it would very quickly become impossible to bring up a new Windows computer.

Or fix one that decided it had been changed "too much".

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Intel's Broadwell Xeon E5-2600 v4 chips: So what's in it for you, smartie-pants coders

Richard 12
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Re: 3.5

Not going to happen in semiconductors.

The ~4 GHz limit is due to the physics of how the clock is distributed around the chip.

As process size shrinks, the smaller physical distance between gates reduces latency (linearly), however interference increases (inverse square law) and thus Bad Things happen.

If your workload really can't be done in parallel then you're stuck.

However, it is very unlikely to be genuinely true. Very few workloads are totally serial, and so you can usually find some sections that are independent.

If you find it runs noticeably slower when running in parallel then your architecture for doing it is almost certainly incorrect, and is blocking threads way too often.

At worst it should be slightly slower due to thread context switch.

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Richard 12
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Re: 3.5

Processor design hit a MHz barrier years ago, at approx. 4GHz.

If you can't make your workload multicore then you are never going to go faster on electronic semiconductor hardware.

Put your effort into finding ways to use those extra cores, because otherwise you will not get more work done per unit time until there is an all-new type of hardware in town.

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Which keys should I press to enable the CockUp feature?

Richard 12
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This is an Intel-specific piece of idiocy

Having rotation as a driver thing was useful in WinXP, but not since then as the rotation became an OS option in Vista.

But Intel, in their eternal stupidity, not only kept the driver option but also the keyboard shortcut to do it.

One of several reasons why I hate Intel Integrated Graphics.

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Legion of demons found in ancient auto medical supply dispensing cabinets

Richard 12
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That's not the reason

The reason is that the product pre-release life cycle is incredibly long.

Medical products go through a very lengthy period of pre-release certification, and so it can easily be five years after development began before it even ships.

So even if you start at the bleeding edge, it's way behind by the time it first ships.

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Richard 12
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Re: Wonderful options available...

Or use the Embedded version in your embedded systems, as that is supported for far longer.

Windows XP Embedded is still supported.

That said, I have seen a lot of embedded systems using the desktop version...

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Apple's fruitless rootless security broken by code that fits in a tweet

Richard 12
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Re: No magic bullet

you may have a system where root needs to administer the actual computer, but you wouldn't want the root user to have full control over the system; for example you may have sensative information on there, which the systems administrator may not be authorised to read.

Permissions cannot solve that, ever.

If a user has full control over the computer, then that user can always look at the content of any file they want - worst case, they can go look at the raw bytes on the disk.

The only way to secure data against unauthorised access is to encrypt it and keep the decryption key secret - and not on the computer.

That has no bearing on what "root" or "admin" privileges mean.

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That one phone the FBI wanted unlocked? Here are 63 more, says ACLU

Richard 12
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Perjury is a crime

When does the FBI legal team face prosecution?

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Bash on Windows. Repeat, Microsoft demos Bash on Windows

Richard 12
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Re: It will have the same limitations

Windows doesn't need very much to be POSIX compliant, so they may well have added the missing bits.

- Sufficient to run, albeit not necessarily with decent performance.

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Microsoft introduces yet another Skype for Windows 10

Richard 12
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They have to be quick

Or either WhatsApp or Snapchat is going to eat their lunch.

My wife no longer uses Skype to talk to her parents as it became "too hard" for them to use it, so they have moved on.

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Richard 12
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Re: With all the random changes of direction at Redmond-

That's just a rebranded version of Lync as far as I can tell.

It's even bug-compatible.

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Let’s re-invent small phones! Small screens! And rubber buttons!

Richard 12
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Very odd choice

The four places that are really easy to hit with a mouse are the screen corners as they're infinitely deep, so let's put the "lose everything" button in one of them.

- and the "Start" button inexplicably a couple of pixels away from the corner in one Windows OS, I forget which. Snatched crushing defeat from the very jaws of victory.

The more recent removal of title bars is actually a pretty decent idea as it makes the toolbar buttons infinitely tall.

W8/10 further complicated it as the corners are quite hard to hit on a touchscreen.

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Wait! Where did you get that USB? Super-stealthy trojan only drives stick

Richard 12
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It can clearly only be a directly targeted attack

As presumably the Trojan is inside something the user expected to find on the stick - otherwise they would not run it.

Perhaps part of a "System Restore" function for the particular air-gapped system that's either being repaired or being wiped for sale?

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Comms 'redlining' in Brussels as explosions kill up to 30 people

Richard 12
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More importantly, such checks create a target

The queue for the security check.

Which will now contain many more people than the queue for the actual tube, train or bus ever had, crammed into a smaller space.

In other words, that kind of thing increases the danger.

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Apple Macs, iPhones, iPads, Watches, TVs can be hijacked by evil Wi-Fi, PDFs – update now

Richard 12
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Re: NIght Shift

The theory behind the 'night shift' is sound and has been tested quite extensively.

"Warmer" colours are soothing (fire, candlelight, sunset), while bluer colours like the D50 and higher colour temp used in LED backlights cause a waking response, resetting the body clock.

Mamy people suffering SAD are helped by a bright high colour temp light during the day to keep their body clock in sync during the dark winter months.

There have been Android apps to do this for years.

It's odd that Apple are so far behind though, this is the kind of thing I would have expected them to jump at it years ago.

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Astronaut trio blast off to space station with ... er, rearview mirror toy?

Richard 12
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They've always done this

It's the approximate spacetime curvature indicator.

It's both more obvious and less likely to give erroneous readings than the other more precise units in the instrument panel.

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Apple engineers rebel, refuse to work on iOS amid FBI iPhone battle

Richard 12
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Re: I smell fish

Apple know how their phone backup system works, and clearly the FBI do not.

Changing the password was an obviously stupid thing to do - when I change my backup password, my phone suddenly can't make backups! Shocking, I know.

The remote wipe is a command sent from an Apple server, and is thus quite easy for Apple to block.

I'm sure that Apple have done so several times after receiving a lawful court order.

Apple have also already handed the FBI the content of this person's iCloud backup.

The case really looks like it's either the FBI trying to cover up their incompetence and then ending up in really hot constituiinal water by mistake, or a deliberate attempt to subvert the rule of law.

Personally I think it's both.

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Richard 12
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Re: It's likely I'm missing something.

You have several embedded computers with built-in keys that cannot be easily circumvented with physical access in your wallet.

The chip in a chip'n'pin does this.

The hardware is specialist but also very cheap.

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'Just give me any old date and I'll make it work' ... said the VB script to the coder

Richard 12
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Char isn't 8 bits

The C and C++ standards don't require it to be, and so you cannot assume that all compilers will actually do that.

Char also isn't signed or unsigned. The compiler can choose!

MAX_CHAR and CHAR_BIT exist because the compiler can make char (and int and long) as big as it likes. As does CHAR_BIT.

C89 was a mess. If you actually need the size to be right then you needed compiler checks to confirm the size of char etc.

At least C99 fixed that nonsense by adding int8_t and friends.

Shame that VS2008 didn't support them!

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Clear November in your diary: SpaceX teases first Falcon Heavy liftoff

Richard 12
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Re: still rockets

We'll need good rockets and lots of in-space manufacture and assembly experience to build an elevator.

Even if we actually could manufacture the appropriate material, it'll take a lot of launches to get the factory on-orbit.

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Richard 12
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Re: Potential

Doesn't count unless it's real.

Energia only flew twice - and succeeded once!

SLS has never flown.

Saturn V went rather well but cost way too much to attempt again.

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Feds tell court: Apple 'deliberately raised technological barriers' to thwart iPhone warrant

Richard 12
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Re: Single case Today --- ?? tomorrow...

No, there have already been two cases in court.

The other was refused by the judge.

Perjury is a crime. Time to prosecute the DoJ.

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Dead Steve Jobs is still a crook – and Apple must cough up $450m for over-pricing ebooks

Richard 12
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Nah, it's offset against tax

The guns and stockings are legitimate business expenses

As is the fine... Hang on, are businesses really allowed to count fines as reducing profit for tax purposes?

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Software dev 101: 'The best time to understand how your system works is when it is dying'

Richard 12
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Re: Is it just me ..

I would have more confidence.

It means they're actually testing the limits, not just spouting off a marketing specification.

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McAfee gaffe a quick AV kill for enterprising staff

Richard 12
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Only locally

Which doesn't help much.

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Blah Blah blah ... I don't care! To hell with your tech marketing bull

Richard 12
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Re: 2 solutions to your gripes.

Most "create installers" tools are pretty awful, and a lot do the wrong thing by default.

It doesn't help that most of the documentation is obtuse, and some is wrong.

That's before running into "virus scanner decided part X was a virus and silently removed it" problems.

Software installation is insane. Why is it still so hard?

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Apple: FBI request threatens kids, electricity grid, liberty

Richard 12
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Re: "it be used only on government or Apple premises"

"it be used only on government..."

Exactly. We already know how good they are at keeping electronic data secret.

We also know that given the chance, they'd use Apple's keys to backdoor every iPhone in the USA.

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Richard 12
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Re: Using a Phone to Control the World Is Mad

People's email is on their phone.

Including internal corporate "email" that normally only resides in corporate servers and has never been transmitted unencrypted.

Including information about private systems, that may include passwords.

Including access to password reset facilities.

That's before you consider the social engineering promise of being able to call someone from the CEO's actual phone.

And the general phishing opportunities if you have the entire contents of their phone.

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AMD to fix slippery hypervisor-busting bug in its CPU microcode

Richard 12
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Re: The really incredible thing is...

It's lucky that it was in a VM.

A guest taking down the host is a big and clear WTF!? as it's supposed to be impossible.

In an organisation that knows what it's doing, that's an immediate "We need to know why" - it's a serious bug!

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How the FBI will lose its iPhone fight, thanks to 'West Coast Law'

Richard 12
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@Bazza

And the other hundred or so requests currently pending?

And the millions of requests this would unleash?

And the fact that every other country in the world would immediately demand the same ability?

This isn't a slippery slope. It's an actual cliff that the FBI are currently pushing us over.

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Richard 12
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Re: Brain Encryption

Further to that, whether the US Government can force a software writer to write something that they fundamentally disagree with.

That's the nub of the free speech argument. Is the US Government permitted to force a legal person to say what the US Government wants?

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Ad-blockers are a Mafia-style 'protection racket' – UK's Minister of Fun

Richard 12
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You have confused cause and effect

The only - and I mean only - reason why people install an adblocker is because they are annoyed by adverts.

By making advertising more annoying, more people are annoyed by them and install an adblocker.

The only way this spiral can be broken is to make adverts less annoying.

If you believe otherwise then you understand very little about human behaviour.

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More and more Brits are using ad-blockers, says survey

Richard 12
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Re: Like it or not...

The advertising industry deliberately chose to ignore the wishes of the majority.

I am happy to let my browser download adverts that do not move, do not cause content to move, do not flash, do not make any noise, do not attmept to download anything else whatsoever and do not cover any content.

Basically, I'm happy to accept static images and/or static text. Just like Google used to serve when it first launched.

I only got an adblocker when adverts started moving around and making noise.

Almost everyone who has an adblocker decided to get one because of an advert that they found untenable - and most will never, ever disable that blocker.

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We survived a five-hour butt-numbing Congress hearing on FBI-Apple ... so you don't have to

Richard 12
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Re: Yes, you CAN remove the "non-volatile memory".

A brute force attack on this type of encryption would take many trillions of trillions times longer than the age of the universe.

https://m.reddit.com/r/theydidthemath/comments/1x50xl/time_and_energy_required_to_bruteforce_a_aes256/

If you don't believe me, do the maths yourself.

2 raised to the power of 255 (half the keyspace) is a very, very big number.

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Richard 12
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Re: Trey

They are asking for universal access.

To use a daft analogy that Congresscritters might understand:

Apple have built a pretty secure safe. It's almost impossible to break open that safe without destroying the contents.

The FBI want Apple to make a special lockpick they can use to open one of these safes.

However, that lockpick must, by definition, also open all safes of that type and once built it is trivial to copy.

Furthermore, the FBI have acted dishonestly throughout.

They claimed that the lockpick and the legal force used to create it would only be used for this one case.

Both of these are simple lies. It appears they now accept the latter.

They also did not allow Apple to present arguments to the judge when they asked for the order against Apple.

Put simply, this is a huge overreach by law enforcement.

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NASA funds new supersonic airliner research

Richard 12
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Re: Supersonic flight

Concorde did make money, but simply didn't have enough routes.

It was limited to EU to New York because of the boom.

If it could have been used for more routes then it'd probably still be flying.

The cost means that I'd probably never have flown on it, but there are plenty of people who would.

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Investigatory Powers Bill to be rushed into Parliament on Tuesday

Richard 12
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Re: Media really operating on 1 cylinder

Snoopers charter isn't a Tory policy.

It's a Home Office policy.

Most of the content of this Bill has been put forward in every recent Parliament with only minor changes - Labour, ConDem Coalition and Conservative.

One wonders why that particular set of civil servants are so keen on these mass surveillance powers.

What is it that they have to hide?

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Microsoft scraps Android Windows 10 bridge, but says yes to Objective-C compiler

Richard 12
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Re: Contemporary Microsoft Thinking

If true then they burned the wrong bridge.

The "run apk in simulator" approach could have worked - and can't have been that difficult given that Android simulators already exist for development use. Even ones that handle graphics acceleration.

An Objective-C compiler might be more fun to write, but it will be much harder and more difficult to use. A project is more than just a compiler...

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Richard 12
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They really have missed the point

If the app has to be rebuilt, then nobody will bother.

This would only ever have been used if the developer didn't need to do anything more than submit it to an app store.

If a developer wants to develop in a cross-platform manner that requires work on all platforms, then they will use a cross-platform toolkit.

They won't develop in an outdated language and then burn a few weeks trying to port it.

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