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* Posts by Richard 12

1535 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

Chap rebuilds BBC Micro in JavaScript

Richard 12
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Re: Then again

I have two and a half.

One working Model B, a working Master and a 'break up for spares' Model B.

If I remember correctly, the dead B had a failed PSU (very common) and dodgy keyboard, probably some other faults as well but I forget.

That said, I haven't actually powered either of them up for ...some... years, so I might actually have three break-up-for-spares now.

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Cloud computing is FAIL and here’s why

Richard 12
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Facepalm

Re: You've got it all wrong

Blaming the cloud doesn't get the bills paid.

Ask the Daily Mail how much money they lost due to being unable to publish one of their publications.

How many projects were late because they'd just got back from the field and Adobe would not allow them to use their paid-for software until Adobe's servers came back up?

How many other projects would have been delayed if this had happened at an inopportune moment?

How much compensation are Adobe paying out to cover this loss of business?

How many lawsuits will be started to recover this?

It was obvious that something like this was going to happen from the moment Adobe announced this new business model, and now that the first failure has happened, businesses are going to be scrutinising their SLAs and many will realise that using Adobe is a risk they cannot afford to take.

It's just incredibly bad business to be utterly reliant on a single-source-supplier who can just stop all your work at any time without any notice.

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Apple updates OS X Mavericks, iTunes, Podcasts for iOS

Richard 12
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Played episodes can now be automatically deleted?

Great, so they've actually completely destroyed an important feature I was using, and called that a "new" feature.

There was an option "Episodes To Keep" in several previous versions, which had values including "All", "last 5" and "Only keep unplayed", where it would delete episodes sometime after playing them.

The "new" one has only got the options "All" and "Unplayed".

Thus isn't a new feature, it's removing choice.

If only they'd fix the things that are actually broken instead of removing existing, working and useful features.

I suppose I should expect that of Apple though, they really are a "You shall comply" company.

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LA air traffic meltdown: System simply 'RAN OUT OF MEMORY'

Richard 12
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Re: an endless spiral of bad choices here

It's not controlled airspace.

Controlled airspace has a top, once you get up that high you're on your own.

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Amazon granted patent for taking photos against a white background – seriously

Richard 12
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Re: If you read it

So the thing my camera does, the one I bought a decade ago?

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How Google's Android Silver could become 'Wintel for phones'

Richard 12
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You've got it the wrong way around

It's "Use stock without any overlay changes and Google will pay some of your marketing costs"

So not only do you spend less on R&D to create an (almost always) trashy interface overlay that most people dislike, you get some extra cash.

Bad for the companies who were making a good overlay as they now have a hard choice to make, but good for everyone else as there is a direct incentive not to screw around with the interface.

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Please work for nothing, Mr Dabbs. What can you lose?

Richard 12
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Mushroom

You think it's bad in journalism?

Try the performing arts. Too many productions expect most of the people to work for free.

The worst case is the chorus.

Everybody expects dancers to dance for free. You know, because dancing's only "fun" and not "real work". Never mind the gruelling hours, the risk of injury, and the years and decades of continuous training...

Especially the promoters for big names who are raking in millions, because "exposure" is apparently enough to put food on the table.

- For example, Kylie Minogue's production team decided they'd pay the dancers nothing because "exposure".

- Don't blame Kylie, the big name knows nothing of the contracts and terms of work for the cast and crew. She is reported to be very upset at this!

Then there's all the smaller productions where half the cast and crew are expected to work for free, either outright or effectively due to excessive hours and unpaid expenses, the others (including some pretty big events and tours) where invoices are never paid (and the few where the producer never intended to pay them either) etc...

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Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE

Richard 12
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Mushroom

Re: Still beats the alternaives

No Windows developer in their right mind uses .NET.

We tried it once, for one project. Never Again.

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Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: Still beats the alternaives

OSX is only stable because Apple have just broken EVERYTHING so nothing works.

Broken is stable.

I support some OpenGL applications that run on Win32 and OSX since the days of Windows XP and whatever OSX it was that ran on both Intel and PPC around that time.

So far almost every 'named' OSX update has broken something, Apple's support of OpenGL in particular is horrendous.

The only thing that's ever broken in the Win32 version are the drivers for external hardware, which have had to be x64'd.

(Although Windows 8's driver model is a complete and total screwup. We are NOT paying MS to 'certify' a bloody INF that points straight to a built-in driver!)

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NSA denies it knew about and USED Heartbleed encryption flaw for TWO YEARS

Richard 12
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Re: Maybe I'm naive,

What makes you think this isn't one of the methods they were using?

They aren't going to list descriptions of vulnerabilities in use on PowerPoint slides meant for the higher ups.

Basically, if the NSA did not know about this before public disclosure then they are incredibly incompetent because it's something they claim to be doing, and if they did know about it, then how long do they sit on vulnerabilities like this before nudging someone else to disclose?

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Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight

Richard 12
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Rather surprised by the lack of full autopilot.

Given that a proper one-CPU autopilot capable of long and complex missions can already be found on sub-1kg drones, I fail to see why a triplet-set of the same hasn't been installed.

The pilot only needs waking up if the autopilots disagree or have confusing/missing data (pitot frozen, GPS fix jump etc).

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Time is on their side: NIST's new atomic clock accurate for 300 MEEELLION years

Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: Serious question @Stratman

You just *know* it's right.

More seriously, you know (or can measure) the tolerance of every component and thus can calculate the possible range of the total error.

In some cases this can even tell you the direction of the error - for example, car speedometers are (supposed to be) designed so they don't read lower than the actual speed. This does of course mean they nearly always read higher than the real speed.

The other way to tell is to build several and compare them, which was how it used to be done. That doesn't really work for very high accuracy clocks though because you have to wait too long before you see them diverge by a measurable amount.

(As opposed to other instantaneous physical quantity measurements, where it doesn't take too long to check.)

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Richard 12
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Mushroom

Re: Synchronous Power Grids

The grid will pull a small generator into sync almost instantly, accompanied by a loud BANG as the rotor is yanked around and the coils try to leap off the stator.

It's a very, very bad thing to do.

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Annoying adverts on mobile site

Richard 12
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Re: Annoying adverts on mobile site

Thanks! Will bear with.

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Richard 12
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WTF?

Annoying adverts on mobile site

This morning the advert at the top of the mobile site became so HUGE that it pushed all the content off the bottom of my mobile (iPhone 4S) browser screen.

I think it'll be more than 1/2 the screen on other phones.

It's now so ridiculously large and annoying that it genuinely made me think the site had been defaced!

Can you get it squashed back up to being a simple bar again?

An advert that size makes me certain to scroll away from it as fast as possible - or use an ad blocker.

I've always turned off my ad blocker for El Reg as you normally ensure the adverts do not annoy. However, this one for an MSCloud service is incredibly irritatingly huge, and now my impression of MS Cloud is that it deliberately gets in the way of what users want to do.

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How Microsoft can keep Win XP alive – and WHY: A real-world example

Richard 12
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Computers are easy.

Machines are not.

A single production line tends to start at £10 million and up, with an expected lifetime of 20 years and often a payback period of 5-10 years, bought via bank loan.

If the line still works and makes the product, what company is going to blow another ten years profit on a new line?

That money comes from the workers pay packets. Are you happy to forego a pay rise for the next few years simply to upgrade from XP?

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Richard 12
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Re: This is the fault of Trevor's clients

No it is not!

At the time these machines were bought, there was no other choice.

It takes at least two to three years to bring a machine like that to market.

If you were starting to build a CNC machine a mere ten years ago, the only possible OS for the host control machine was Windows XP.

I know a company that tried to use Linux back then - it failed miserably due to the poor to nonexistent driver support in the 00's.

That's no longer the case for drivers, Linux support is now very good.

However, it is still the case for much of the proprietary 3rd party software that such machines need to talk to.

- AutoCAD does not run under Linux, and won't unless Autodesk decide to port it, while Solidworks only added a Linux version in the last year.

(Much as I think AutoCAD needs to die, it's still an industry standard.)

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Nvidia unveils Pascal, its next-gen GPU with hella-fast interconnects and 3D packaging

Richard 12
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Joke

Can I write in Pascal for Pascal?

Or would that cause an infinite loop of headdesk?

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TV sales PLUMMET. But no one's prepared to say what we all know

Richard 12
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Re: @ John Brown

That said, most domestic wall plate dimmers effectively lie about their rating. If it says 100W, it doesn't mean it'll actually run a 100W lamp continually.

They tend to be very low duty cycle.

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Richard 12
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@ John Brown

Bzzt! Absolutely wrong, brimming over with wrongability.

Halogen lamps ARE incandescents.

The difference between those and "normal" GLS lamps is the gas fill, which uses the halogen cycle to deposit evaporated tungsten back onto the filament instead of staying on the glass.

- If you've ever been to the theatre, >90% of the lamps you see dimming so nicely are halogens. Bigger ones than you can get in Tesco, but still halogen.

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UK.gov! frets! over! Yahoo! exodus! to! RIPA-free! Dublin!

Richard 12
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She's a Home Secretary

It's job requirement to be evil.

- And if you aren't evil enough when you start the job, the civil servants arrange for the ethicectomy to be performed while you're sleeping.

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Microsoft alters Hotmail policy amid blogger inbox probe outcry

Richard 12
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Re: Never happen here

The housing/landlord thing had specific laws about it.

The tenant may "enjoy the property without let or hindrance".

But then business to business relationships have always been less stringently policed than business to consumer.

Businesses are more or less expected to write contracts to cover this sort of thing, and only rely on the law to enforce that contract.

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Richard 12
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Are they really sure they can do that?

Given that they have customers in practically every legal jurisdiction, some of which have very strict privacy laws?

I'm absolutely certain they can do this with US customers emails, but I suspect probably not EU customers due to Data Protection legislation.

While that won't stop them, it would tend to make cases built on the data fall to bits and cause a civil complaint to be met with a criminal counter suit.

Regardless, it was bloody stupid to make such a mockery of their own anti-Google adverts. I wonder how much money they wasted on those, and if US customers can now sue for false advertising?

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MH370 airliner MYSTERY: The El Reg Pub/Dinner-party Guide

Richard 12
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Boffin

The cell data is an odd omission

It doesn't matter whether or not any passenger has a roaming contract as the phone has to connect to the basestation before it can be fobbed off with a "no contract". Even then a GSM phone can still make an emergency call.

So if the plane went through a strong enough region of cellular coverage - over land - and if somebody on the plane had left their phone on then yes, there should be a record of cells it touched. It probably wouldn't touch a continuous trail, but there should be a few cells.and thus eliminate some possibilities.

More importantly, if the plane did land intact anywhere you can be absolutely certain that damn near everybody would try to turn their phone on almost immediately. Even if they were somehow being actively prevented from doing so, some of them would have succeeded.

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Richard 12
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Joke

Re: Accident or Malicious?

> they would require a runway of c1.5km to land a 777

You can 'land' in a little over the wingspan - depends on the debris scatter.

If you want a "good" landing then a couple of hundred metres - like that 777 incident at LHR, where everybody walked off.

You only need the 1.5km for a "great" landing - ie one where you get to use the plane again.

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GRAV WAVE TSUNAMI boffinry BONANZA – the aftershock of the universe's Big Bang

Richard 12
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"Mu"

The question makes no sense, because the Big Bang was the beginning of time itself, and thus there was no "before" because there was no time for it to be in.

This is based on the Big Bang being a "perfect" singularity, so if we were to find evidence of a "before" it would mean that the Big Bang was not perfect - which would be very exciting indeed.

Nobody has found any evidence at all though.

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Straight to 8: London's Met Police hatches Win XP escape plan

Richard 12
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Facepalm

Re: from experience...

Except that the set of touch hardware supported by both Windows XP and Windows 8 is miniscule and may not in fact exist.

So they'll have to replace ALL of their hardware, not just the desktops but the displays and touch overlays, at Government-procurement rates.

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Panasonic slaps Freetime EPG on 2014 smart tellies

Richard 12
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Re: All I want...

How much money do you have?

I saw the LG 77" OLED in John Lewis last week. Looked gorgeous.

Ever so slightly more expensive than I could afford though, you may need to sell a couple of small children as spare parts.

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Richard 12
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Re: EPG not so hot, requires work

That is very odd, as my Humax does genre-searches, and the EPG data stream itself contains that genre information.

It's often wrong, but it is there.

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Richard 12
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Re: Once bitten

It's not just Panasonic, all the TV manufacturers do the same. It's the nature of the TV industry.

They gain nothing by updating extant TVs, because all that will do is delay the time when the customer buys a new panel.

Which is why I do NOT want a "Smart" TV, just a really good panel - and the less onboard processing the better.

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Tiny heat-sucker helps keep Moore's Law going

Richard 12
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Re: 24% bah!

Those heat pipes are already being used.

The reason this is interesting is scale - heat pipes are physically many orders of magnitude larger, what with all the tubes and flow, while this works on the nanometre interconnects which are already there.

That said, it does rather sound like another, cheaper process might give the same result. Is this simply due to the annealing effect of the application process, or does the graphene itself do the work?

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Slash tuition fees for STEM students, biz boss body begs UK.gov

Richard 12
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When I finished my STEM there were no jobs

Or rather there were no companies willing to pay a decent wage for a recent graduate, so I left the country.

The real problem is the complete lack of respect for scientists and engineers from politicians and society at large.

In other societies the title Engineer commands respect. Not in the UK.

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Mastercard, Syniverse target holiday payment security with mobile verification system

Richard 12
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Why do you still have this card?

If any of my banks did that they'd be dropped like a hot brick.

As far as I'm concerned, a bank gets up to two chances - one annoying screwup is forgiveable, two might be ok as long as they apologise and compensate properly, three is an immediate goodbye.

So I don't have an RBS account anymore.

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MtGox, that bastion of unregulated e-currency Bitcoin, turns to Texas judge for protection

Richard 12
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Re: Perhaps someone can explain to me...

The variety of cryptocurrencies now in existence doesn't really matter.

While I could easily start up "Richard12Coin" in my shed, it would have zero value unless a critical mass of people agreed that it had a value and began to accept it as payment.

It's the same as if I printed out notes with my face on.

Currencies work because people accept them as payment.

Bitcoin itself may or may not be doomed, but if it dies it'll be replaced by an alternative crypto currency because it's clear that there is a market for these.

It may be that a small number survive the next couple of decades and become at least as dominant as some smaller countries' "real" currency, or that they rise and fall in quick succession, with speculators losing big each time.

Who knows? I'm not going to put my money behind any of them, but others will.

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Microsoft to push out penultimate XP patch on March Patch Tuesday

Richard 12
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Microsoft said it was

They explicitly stated that Internet Explorer was "an integral part of the OS as their get-out-of-jail argument during the monopolist abuse lawsuits.

United States v. Microsoft Corporation, for committing monopolization

So don't blame people for believing them.

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Why can’t I walk past Maplin without buying stuff I don’t need?

Richard 12
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Re: Matrix Broad?

I learnt wire wrapping just last year.

Was a lot faster and much less error prone than stripboard, I quite enjoyed it.

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Richard 12
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Boffin

No, PoE's a very bad idea for this.

The problem is that there aren't enough sockets, so replacing something that can be daisychained (multiple BS1363 four-ways) with something that's purely radial (so massive bundle of cable) is going the wrong way.

Aside from that, PoE is only 13W anyway, and even the new PoE+ is only ~20W after cable losses. As the wattage increases the efficiency drops rapidly due to the thin wires in Cat5/5e/6.

10W USB sockets could actually replace most of the adapters in an average home.

You can already buy a big block of 'fast charge' USB sockets for not very much - eg This one from Maplin. (Oh no...)

That EU idea of standardising laptop PSUs is basically the only hope of more-than-10W supplies. Once you have a standard voltage and connector the market cna provide.

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Global Warming IS REAL, argues sceptic mathematician - it just isn't THERMAGEDDON

Richard 12
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Re: The follow-up.

There are a lot of other human activities that have a vastly greater effect than any amount of CO2 emissions.

Deforestation, desertification, building on flood plains, draining swamps, paving over soakaways etc.

Some of these are being actively encouraged by the climate change policies - eg palm oil plantations created for biofuels are likely to destroy entire rainforests in the coming decades. Goodbye orangutans, you were sacrificed to the altar of climate change policy.

Desertification or flooding tends to follow the above.

None of this is climate change but all of it has a much greater effect on the ecosystems and indeed humans.

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Who loves office space? Dell does: Virtualization to banish workstations from under desks

Richard 12
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Oddly content free

A server with the requisite power is easy, but nothing on the hard part:

How does that remotely-rendered stuff get displayed locally quick enough not to wipe out all productivity?

There is nothing more irritating than a machine that's a little bit behind on you, causing you to overshoot the adjustments all the time.

There's only about a 40ms latency window to do the entire round trip before it feels "slow", and while getting a ping that low isn't too hard, this needs an entire 1080p or higher (4k?) resolution screenful of rendered content to be delivered to lots of workers in various locations at the same time.

RDP doesn't really cope with that in my experience - at least, not on commodity networks.

It's perfectly fine for "do this series of commands" but horrible for "up a bit, down a bit, no, looks like too far nudge it back" types of adjustments that all visual (and presumably audio) creatives do all the time.

If they do not solve the latency problem, it simply will not be used.

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China to blow away smog with DRONES

Richard 12
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Not really worse as such

China's just on a much bigger scale.

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Pine trees' scent 'could prevent climate change really being a problem'

Richard 12
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Re: Limit climate change?

Nobody is using the fossil record to predict what animals will look like in the future, and thus whether individuals should be allowed to breed.

That's one difference.

Aside from that, fossils are used to model what the world looked like millions of years ago, and when new fossils are found, the models have been updated.

There are hundreds of examples of radical changes in fossil reconstructions based on new evidence.

For example, Velociraptors are now believed to have looked completely different to how they were portrayed in Jurassic Park!

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US Senator lobbies feds to BAN BITCOIN

Richard 12
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Isn't that factually incorrect as well?

I thought it often took an hour or more to finalise transactions as the block chain updates around the world, so much slower than cash or even BACS.

I also thought the block chain of a given coin can be analysed to discover the history of every wallet it's ever been in.

Is that right?

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What the world really needs: A telescopic SELFIE STICK

Richard 12
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Re: Gut feeling? Not selfies[1], rather peeping.

Surely as a photographer you should love the term?

It makes it very clear that the image was simply taken on the spur of the moment for a laugh, and quite possibly while doing something they'll later regret.

The very antithesis of a paid-for photograph.

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Schneier: NSA snooping tactics will be copied by criminals in 3 to 5 years

Richard 12
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Paper cheques?

Your signature is not a private key in any sense if the phrase.

It's pretty much as public as it gets!

You publish it to everyone that cares to look for it by the act of writing it on the cheque.

Written signatures are also known to be relatively simple to fake to a high enough standard to fool a bank, and if given enough time, to fool even the most detailed scrutiny.

A certified signature is needed for some deals - A solicitor trusted by both parties takes a record of the document and can later be asked to confirm whether the document is unchanged and the right person signed it.

That one is similar to "signed executables" or signed drivers, except different because those are only saying "Hasn't changed since signing" as the trusted external party has never seen the document.

You have to fully trust the signer to be nice - and to look after their private keys.

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MtGox boss vows to keep going despite $429 MILLION Bitcoin 'theft'

Richard 12
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As Salmond himself said,

GBP is an internationally recognised currency and anybody can use it for their transactions.

An independent Scotland is welcome to use it if they want to.

If he thinks he can have any control over it then he's sadly mistaken, because that's simply not going to happen.

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MIT wants quasars to help put free will to rest

Richard 12
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Only if it's quantum

I think the idea here is to completely disprove classical mechanics, so if the only way it can work is because of quantum at either end, then it still works.

It's probably quantum.

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Apple Safari, Mail and more hit by SSL spying bug on OS X, fix 'soon'

Richard 12
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Facepalm

Re: Test-Driven Development

Yes, the code style is rather odd.

I "assume failure" at the start of this kind of thing and only set 'success' if all steps succeed. There's lot of ways to arrange that depending one how much detail you'd like of the failure, and no reason to ever directly return the result of any one step.

I'd always assumed everybody else did the same. Perhaps I'm just pessimistic.

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You’re a LIAR and a CHEAT... la-la-la, I can't hear your lawyers

Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: Good article

I'm not a lawyer, but an app whose apparent purpose to "an idiot in a hurry" may to be incitement and facilitation of the publication of possibly libellous comment might well be risky from a legal standpoint.

The "red" honesty bar in the screenshot is particularly interesting. *innocent face*

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Magnets to stick stuff to tablets: Yup, there's an Apple patent application for that

Richard 12
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We have shipping product that does this

It's been advertised for a few years, and I'm sure we weren't the first.

Where do we send the evidence of prior art?

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Snowden journo boyf grill under anti-terror law was legal, says UK court

Richard 12
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Re: information useful to Al Qaeda

If I put a towel over my head will they cease to exist ?

Or would that make me one of them?

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