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* Posts by Richard 12

1516 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

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

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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Richard 12
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Re: More proof, if you needed it...

Terrorism - the unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.

Interesting, by that definition state-sponsored terrorism cannot possibly exist, because sponsorship is clear authorisation, and thus such acts could only be war or violent government repression, such as in Syria and the Ukraine.

Where is that particular definition from?

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Tata says USA rejecting HALF of Indians' work visa requests

Richard 12
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Well, that'll backfire spectacularly

"We can't get visas so had to hire locally"

"Good, that's the point!"

If they wanted to stop that legislation, why announce that it's working as intended?

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Who OWNS data generated by 'connected cars' sensor slurpers?

Richard 12
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It is impossible to anonymise location data

If you get a small number of my journeys, you will know exactly where I live and work.

How personally-identifiable is that?

Historical location data is simply impossible to properly anonymise because of what it is! It's simply not a thing.

Current location can be anonymised, but only by disconnecting it from all other location data, including the next GPS fix.

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'No representation without taxation!' urges venerable tech VC

Richard 12
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Re: New Barbarian Manifesto

Those are the two sides of the same coin.

The people who rely on benefits vote themselves more benefits, while the corporations lobby for more benefits (so they can pay the staff less) and tax breaks.

And the idiots in charge give it to them both.

It works beautifully until suddenly, it doesn't and everybody is screwed.

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US Senate bill would mandate 'kill switch' on all smartphones

Richard 12
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Re: $30 billion eh?

Include all possible side effects and incidental costs and you can get a really big number really easily.

For example, the entire mobile phone insurance industry, the police time, the victims time spent pudding* about in the police station and replacing the phone...

* Autocorrect, but it seemed appropriate!

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PSST! New PCs with Windows 7 preinstalled are out there – and will be into 2015, at least

Richard 12
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Re: Some companies can't move

There are quite a few applications that don't run under 8, as several compatibility layers are gone.

There are far more that do not officially support 8, although they might actually run. Businesses can't take the risk that they will find an issue and be told "Sorry, but we don't support that application under Windows 8"

Finally, the completely new interface means retraining every single one of your users, having all of them take a productivity hit while they learn it, and your internal Helpdesk being overwhelmed by calls/external Helpdesk charging you a lot more for increased call volume.

So Windows 8 carried a large risk and high cost, yet with little to no benefit.

As a standalone or home user you could very well like or even love it, but that doesn't make it a sane choice for business.

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Microsoft gets with the times, builds two-factor authentication into Office 365

Richard 12
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Re: He's got a point though

Yes, I have.

I was comparing Office 365 with stand-alone installs, and said "almost" all.

Libre Office doesn't have feature parity with the latest version of MS Office, but it does do everything that the vast majority of users need.

Perhaps it is ten years behind, but what exactly have MS added in the last ten years that is important to more than a handful of users?

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Richard 12
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He's got a point though

Almost everything MS Office 365 does, a standalone install of an older MS Office or Open/Libre Office does just as well, if not much better.

There's no need for any hosting at all for the vast majority of things these products are used for, namely writing documents.

The two things you get with Office 365 that don't come with the others are automated offsite backup and automated collaboration.

The former is needed by everyone but has a myriad of other providers and is relatively simple to set up yourself. It also requires that you trust the provider 100% because they have all your data.

There are very few people who need the latter, and fewer still who actually use it.

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Rotten to the core: Apple’s 10 greatest FAILS

Richard 12
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Re: IOS 7 issues +1

This one drives me completely potty.

I had a longer reply but Safari refreshed and lost it.

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Minecraft developer kills Kickstarted Minecraft movie

Richard 12
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Re: Why?

In summary, Windows 8 x86 runs the Windows version just fine, and Windows 8 RT has a minuscule installed base, apparently no Java (really!?) and thus would be incredibly expensive to do and lead to very few sales.

That all adds up to a strong economic argument not to do it.

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Richard 12
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Rule zero of movies - Get the rights *first*

Then decide if you actually want to make the film, or would prefer to sit on the rights for an indefinite time period. (This happens a lot)

The prospective film maker was an idiot. You do not try to use any well-known* IP without getting the rights!

This was even true back in the days of silent cinema - look at what happened to "Nosferatu" because they did a Dracula clone without permission from Bram Stoker's estate.

* If it's not well-known and you are a big Hollywood studio, you can often get away with it and pay a pittance after you get sued.

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Richard 12
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Why?

If I write a game, why do I have to port it to any specific platform at all?

I could say Linux kernel only, or XBox only etc, and nobody at all can force me to change my mind.

One of the above has been done several times.

Will Microsoft port Halo to Linux? I doubt it, and they don't have to - it's entirely up to them.

- Also, if Microsoft really did have a port ready to go, it would imply they had done something they are not permitted to do... MS legal isn't stupid!

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Bitcoin value plunges as Mt.Gox halts withdrawals and Russia says 'nyet'

Richard 12
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Re: @Richard12

No, I just thought the similarities were interesting.

Now I want to correct somebody who seems to think that money now on a variant of the "gold standard", when it isn't.

Net (after all money-in-bank) UK national debt is over £1,254,000,000,000

Does the UK government really have that much in physical assets? It doesn't matter because we can keep servicing the debt and inflation means the real cost of the debt goes down over time.

Banks don't have the assets to repay all their liabilities - they bet the company on no more than a small number of loans going bad. In 2008/9 a few of them lost that bet.

Foreclosing loses money, that's why they try to avoid it if possible. I pay my mortgage because I don't care if the bank loses money, I don't want to lose my house!

- On a small scale, inflation means my mortgage payments get more affordable as time goes by.

Government are afraid of too much inflation as that can kill the currency, and of deflation as that kills their borrowing. They need it to be just right.

The difference between Bitcoin and GBP is that there are hundreds of millions of people who are confident that GBP will still be valuable in 25 years time.

Very few people are confident that Bitcoin will exist at all by then, expecting it to have been replaced by something else.

Who is right remains to be seen.

Real currencies have gone down the toilet more than once, with hyper-inflation wiping out everything (Germany, Peru etc). A new currency was then created - the government and country still existed, but the old currency became worthless.

Even GBP nearly did it in the 70s.

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Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: Bit confused here

This means that the currency has no support from an asset base which traditional currencies do, cause for concern?

The 'mainstream' currencies like USD, EUR, GBP etc don't have such an asset base either, and neither do any of the banks you store your cash in.

All governments that have their own currency continually print more in part to fund their borrowing - as inflation is the most effective way to reduce the debt burden of a country. (That's why several of the Eurozone countries got into so much trouble - they couldn't inflate their way out of the debt mountains.)

There's a reason why 'traditional' banks fear a "Run on the bank", and that's because none of them actually have the assets (let alone liquid assets) required to pay out more than a tiny percentage of the savings in them. Banks borrow for short periods and lend for long periods, that's what a bank is. Your salary is what they borrow, and things like government bonds and mortgages are what they lend.

All modern currencies work by fiat - they work because they work.

The reason any currency pulls off that trick is because the general population have confidence that they will still be able to exchange the bits of metal, paper, plastic or numbers stored on a computer somewhere they've never seen for tangible goods for a reasonably long time in the future.

(The people providing services need confidence they can buy tangible goods, like food, with the currency you're offering for that service. If they can't, they won't accept it.)

It's the idea that the cash will still be valuable next week, next month, next year etc that sustains a currency.

The moment the holders of a significant amount of a currency lose confidence in the future, they'll exchange it for something else, the value slumps (so inflation skyrockets) and boom! The currency dies.

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Fridge vendor pegged as likely source of Target breach

Richard 12
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Terminator

Clearly, Smart Fridges are a bad idea!

It'll be a cold day in Hell (Grand Cayman) before I let my fridge see the internet!

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Cupertino copied processor pipelining claims Wisconsin U

Richard 12
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Maybe.

Depends on the specifics.

What type of branch prediction, how does it work etc.

Lots of ways to skin that particular cat - for example, most (GP)GPUs simply execute both branches and throw away the "wrong" answer.

It does seem odd to be going after Apple though, as I'm pretty sure they didn't design the microprocessor in the A7.

Unless they mean some custom bolt-on module, like a GPU or whatever.

Given the vagueness it does seem rather likely they are simply trolling, in the original sense.

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Duracell powers into cloud storage market

Richard 12
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How much for 2TB?

For that you can buy complete replacement local hardware (two HDD and the enclosure) every two to three months!

Even Seagate's aren't that bad!

That pricing is just crazy, nobody would pay that for a domestic/small business scale storage system, even with automatic offsite backup.

At $199 up-front with a small monthly covering the offsite backup and replacement local disks past the 3year warranty period (basically life insurance for HDDs) they might have a business, otherwise, nope.

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Devs: We'll bury Candy Crush King under HEAPS of candy apps

Richard 12
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WTF?

Re: More than just a name?

Well, it should be. It's also generally not allowed to trademark a dictionary word, which makes this one rather odd.

Especially as the word "Candy" has been used in many thousands of other computer games, so they don't even have the Apple Computer/Apple Music distinction (which got very lawsuit-happy later on...)

Trademark law is an odd one though, because you lose it if you don't defend it - unlike copyright or patents.

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Hello Moto: Lenovo grabs Motorola biz for $3bn. But Google's KEEPING the patents

Richard 12
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Defend who against whom?

If it's to defend its customers against the other members of the consortium, then it wouldn't have worked. The other members wouldn't have agreed to a blanket licence to anyone implementing Android.

Remember that they never sued Google directly, only it's customers.

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