* Posts by Richard 12

2061 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

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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My devil-possessed smartphone tried to emasculate me

Richard 12
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I turned it off within two days

Shortly after I realised that I hadn't received any calls at all since T-Mobile had enabled it.

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'I bet Russian hackers weren't expecting their target to suck so epically hard as this'

Richard 12
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Re: Dude: this is just wrong

Iterators are slightly slower and usually harder to read.

The former usually doesn't matter, the latter always does.

Readability trumps most things. Be nice to You-from-the-future.

They probably think you're an idiot, but hopefully you can make sure they don't think you're malicious.

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FBI v Apple spat latest: Bill Gates is really upset that you all thought he was on the Feds' side

Richard 12
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Re: I don't quite get it...

Incorrect.

They are being asked to create a toolkit that can be used to unlock all iPhones of that model, on demand.

Consider the following question:

How could Apple test that this software works?

Can't test it on the target device without risking wiping it by mistake.

So the software can be applied to any and all iPhones. By definition.

On top of that, we already know of over one hundred other petitions for this.

So no, you are simply completely wrong in broad and in detail.

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Richard 12
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They are asking for a vulnerability to be created

Right now no back door vulnerability exists. The FBI want Apple to make one.

There are two major problems with this, one technical and the other legal.

1) Once a back door vulnerability has been created, it will become a target for malicious actors to steal and other Governments to demand access to (making it easier to steal). Eventually they will succeed, and then all iPhones of that hardware are pwned.

2) If a US technology company can be coerced into created a back door vulnerability in one product, all US companies can be coerced into making a back door vulnerability in all their products.

Which then exposes all US products to (1)

Thus if the FBI get what they want, nobody can ever trust any US product ever again.

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Triple-murderer prisoner keeps mobile phone in his butt for a week

Richard 12
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Re: "why don't prisons just jam mobile phone signals?"

Because it affects those outside, and probably won't even work.

Jamming is done by transmitting a "wrong" signal that's strong enough to make it impossible to detect legitimate signals.

It is physically impossible to limit the jamming to within prison walls due to actual Physics.

So there will be large areas outside the prison where phone signals are jammed.

On top of that, reliably jamming throughout a complex shaped space with lots of metal and other RF reflectors/absorbers is basically impossible.

There will be "live spots" in the prison where the jamming doesn't work but external signal does.

Most probable places for these is inside some of the the cells...

You can ask the mobile phone companies not to cover the prison. This is more effective but also means that there won't be any mobile signal within a few miles of the prison either.

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Dan Kaminsky is an expert on DNS security – and he's saying: Patch right God damn now

Richard 12
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Re: Buffer overflows in 2016 are an embarrassment

They can't.

The OS can do something - and does with ASLR and killing a process that tries to access memory the OS doesn't think it should.

The next line is the standard C/C++ runtime libraries, such as glibc, msvcrt etc.

These do the allocation and bounds checking.

If there is a bug in OS or standard libraries, then any application can have trouble.

That's before considering bugs in actual applications.

Memory management is a very hard problem in general.

Recently I've been banging my head against a memory management bug in a commercial hardware driver - which glibc detected.

I can't fix it because it's closed source.

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How to build a plane that never needs to land

Richard 12
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Re: 5kg is a lot of payload

Lenses are still heavy - and are unlikely to get much lighter due to the physics of optics.

A camera sensor with a tiny lens is useless at that distance. Even assuming fixed focus it needs a really wide aperture to be any use - and a telephoto lens adds a lot more glass.

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iPhones clock-blocked and crocked by setting date to Jan 1, 1970

Richard 12
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Re: If the Phone Network time ...

It's not NTP.

Not sure what it is, but it also includes timezone data.

Been on one ship that had a set of not-yet-properly configured femto-cells, and it confused the heck out of my phone.

It could get five hours ahead simply by walking through the ship!

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Richard 12
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I'm reasonably sure they don't

There are a lot of bugs in "big software" that automatic regression testing should have found.

It also seems to be quite difficult to get good testers in general - it seems like many just want to follow The Procedure and do nothing else.

Which rather crushes the enthusiasm of the ones who don't.

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Boffins freeze brains, then thaw them – and they're in perfect order

Richard 12
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Washed out over several hours

So they're definitely totally dead before starting to freeze them.

Pickled even.

This is not the cryonics you're looking for.

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US Congress locks and loads three anti-encryption bullets

Richard 12
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If any Eve can decrypt

Everyone can decrypt.

It doesn't matter who the first Eve is, very soon it is all.

I have a great idea. We give the keys to a member of Congress.

They will soon be kidnapped, tortured and murdered, by a miscreant who really wants those keys.

Then we change the keys and give them to another member of Congress.

We keep doing this until we run out of politicians who want to hold the keys, then we canforget the whole idea and go back to living in the real world, where only Alice and Bob have keys.

The problem solves itself. It's quite elegant.

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Don't touch that PDF or webpage until your Windows PC is patched

Richard 12
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Re: As if we still needed reasons...

show me a drop-in replacement for Excel capable of operating any given complex, macro laden spreadsheet in full, without deviating from the behaviour of the version of Excel in which it was created

Excel doesn't do that either, new versions just quietly changes your results when you open the sheet.

Because it's stored in an opaque binary format, you can't even spot it until it mysteriously costs you.

If you want full, unchanged results you can't ever change Excel version. Ever.

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Security? We haven't heard of it, says hacker magnet VTech

Richard 12
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Re: Uh ?

Not even that.

They have now publicly stated that they do not intend to comply with the Criminal Law.

Dear ICO, please "educate" them.

When you're done, EU Information Commission, please also "educate" them.

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Scary RAM-gobbling bug in SQL Server 2014 exposed by Visual Studio online outage

Richard 12
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How do you mess that one up?

The query explicitly states that it will return one row at most!

How does a memory optimisation ignore the explicit limits set in a query?

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EU could force countries to allocate 700 MHz band to mobile by mid-2020

Richard 12
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Screwing over PMSE yet again

How about we withdraw that from the EU Parliament for the next week?

See how they cope with no radio mics and no simultaneous translation services.

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AdBlock Plus, websites draft peace deal so ads can bypass blockade

Richard 12
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That hasn't worked for a while

I recently found that ABP was even explicitly allowing some video adverts - with audio to boot. Scared the living daylights out of me.

So goodbye. You do not get to do that ABP, you are now dead.

I sent you the complaint so maybe you'll change that before everyone leaves, but goodbye.

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That's cute, Germany – China shows the world how fusion is done

Richard 12
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Yes

Fusion requires that you bang the rocks together really hard.

You can either do that by physically squashing them together, eg by gravity, or by making them go really fast and hope some of them hit each other.

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Official UN panel findings on embassy-squatter released. Assange: I'm 'vindicated'

Richard 12
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Re facts

Fact: He is accused of rape. That is a serious offence.

(It has also been used as an instrument of torture, but that's not important right now.)

Fact: Under Swedish law the accused has to be interviewed face to face and charged at interview.

Fact: He ran away before they could do that, and they did not block him from boarding because they believed that he wouldn't run away and so didn't apply for a travel ban.

Fact: That interview is what the Swedes want. They think there is a reasonable chance that after interviewing him they will want to charge him. Their law requires him to be present to argue his case.

That's actually very similar to here.

In the UK, you're arrested "on suspicion" and interviewed, perhaps "under caution".

You may then be released to go back to your daily business. Often are, in fact.

Later on they may ask you to come back in for further questioning - they want to clarify something, new evidence has appeared or similar.

At that later interview they may decide to charge you - or decide that there's no case to answer. Or that there isn't enough evidence to charge, but they're going to keep looking.

Note that even formally dropping it doesn't mean they can't re-arrest you. If new evidence comes to light then they are bound to come knocking.

Fact: He is guilty of breaching his UK bail conditions. The sentencing guidelines are published online, and while IANAJ he ticks almost all the boxes for the maximum possible sentence which I believe is 40 weeks imprisonment.

- He is certainly fully culpable and intended to cause maximum harm, is definitely flouting the authority of the Court - and deliberately did so again yesterday.

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Richard 12
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Re: Err ... but ..

He was held in that mansion while he was appealing against his EU arrest warrant

The moment that appeal completed, he was offered bail.

That's the way appeals work. Trials are similar.

You get arrested, and you are held while you and your lawyers argue that you shouldn't be extradited, and the other side argue that you should be.

At the end, a judgement is made and you're either released as innocent, held until the plane is ready, or offered bail on the basis that you are honourable and will present yourself for extradition on a given date.

This is called a "legal process". It's clearly hard for the UNWGoAD to understand, but most people do.

He continued his appeal for as long as is possible. That's fine, he has the legal right to do so.

The judge then offered bail, believing his friends who claimed he was honourable and would abide the ruling.

He didn't.

Regardless of whether or not he did rape anyone, he is now a criminal on the run for breaching his bail terms, no different to any other.

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Leak – UN says Assange detention 'unlawful'

Richard 12
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I believe the arrest warrant has priority.

So the order is:

Arrest. Sweden for questioning. Imprisoned for rape, aquitted, or charges dropped.

EU Arrest Warrant issued by the UK. Arrest. Extradition to the UK. Trial, imprisoned for skipping bail and contempt of court.

If he was genuinely afraid of being extradited to the USA, then he's a ****ing idiot because almost every action he's taken since leaving Sweden has made it easier for them to do so - if they cared.

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Richard 12
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The USA does not give a shit about him

None.

If they did, they'd have asked the UK to extradite him during the months of trial and appeals.

He is suspected of rape, and has skipped bail in the UK.

He is a suspect on the run. No more, no less.

Furthermore, if this really is their judgement then that part of the UN has lost all credibility.

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How a power blip briefly broke GitHub's boxes and tripped it offline

Richard 12
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The bigger question is why they rebooted

What was the momentary power disruption and why didn't the UPS systems mitigate it?

Was it a faulty UPS? What was the fault and how can they (and others) spot it in the future?

Did these 25% of devices not have dual PSUs on different UPS busses, or were these faulty but unnoticed?

Or was it a deliberate design decision to allow this type of reboot as it should be harmless?

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Autodesk vapourises ten per cent of jobs to go completely cloudy

Richard 12
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Re: "subscription revenue [...] far outstripped product revenue"

I've nothing against subscriptions, but it looks to me they're good when the tools are your main tools for everyday work. If they are tools you need less frequently just for some specific secondary tasks, subscriptions look far lesse appealing.

No, it's the other way around.

If you use a tool occasionally, it can be great to rent it for specific individual projects.

A tool you use all the time is the one you want to buy and keep forever.

Maybe in the future you'll want to buy a newer one that's better in some way that's important to you, but unless the newer one has some feature important to you, why spend the money? Especially as it will be different and you'll have to relearn some of it.

If you're digging a big hole you might hire a digger.

But if you do dig holes all the time, you want to buy that digger!

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College kids sue Google for 'spying' on them with Apps for Education

Richard 12
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Re: intercept student emails without their notification or consent

Yes. Absolutely.

When asking for damages you ask for a large amount - this is not recovering a loss, this is punishment for an entity taking something they had no right to do.

You can't imprison a company, and the only thing the company as a whole cares about is money.

If found to have caused the damage, the the judges hearing the case will decide how much is due - if anything.

The judges are permitted to say "Yes, you breached the contract and damaged the plaintiff. The sum of damages is zero and costs are not awarded."

- This is rare as it's basically telling the plaintiff that they shouldn't have bothered with legal action over something trivial, and lawyers are supposed to dissuade clients from doing that.

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Richard 12
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Contract breach

The allegation is quite simple.

Google collected data via Apps For Education, but said they did not do so.

If it can be proven to civil case standards that they did do it but did not specifically say that they would, then Google are in breach of contract and thus liable to pay damages.

It has some similarities to the idea of a plumber fixing your heating, then selling photos of you and your lounge in addition to whatever fee was arranged.

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It killed Safe Harbor. Will Europe's highest court now kill off hyperlinks?

Richard 12
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If something is accessible via the Internet

Then it has been published and implicit right to access has been granted to the Universe, unless technical steps are taken to actively prevent unauthorised access.

A link is an address. It is saying "Go into the library and look at aisle 20 shelf 5, six inches from the left".

The person who put the book there can lock it and require a key, but anyone can enter the library and anyone can tell anyone where a book is located.

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Assange will 'accept arrest' on Friday if found guilty

Richard 12
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Re: Looks like he knows the UN has agreed with him

I suspect that the embassy have been making life progressively less pleasant, and he's realised that this self-imposed isolation has almost completely destroyed his reputation.

He clearly still doesn't understand that what he did was wrong though. He thinks he is King.

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Richard 12
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He still doesn't understand "Rule of Law"

He clearly thinks that there are people to whom the law does not apply. The usual name for that is "despotism" or "rule of power" - and is clearly anathema to everything the organisation he started has ever stood for.

It doesn't matter whether Sweden drop all charges and cancel the arrest warrant.

He deliberately skipped bail, and must suffer the consequences of that.

Ecuador just wanted to embarrass us, so they won - but then have hosted him for far longer than they must have expected. They must be sick of him by now!

That's probably why the Met aren't posted outside anymore, likely they now have an agreement that they'll be notified before he leaves in plenty of time for an officer to walk up and put a friendly hand on Julian's shoulder.

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Richard 12
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Re: Did Sweden really "allow" him to leave? It was more fleeing before arrest..

Sort of. In a way.

They didn't prevent him leaving.

Although that takes longer to arrange than it takes to book and board a plane, as one of those (should) involve judicial process and the other doesn't.

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Chip company FTDI accused of bricking counterfeits again

Richard 12
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The CC company only matter for > £100

As these are sub £10 parts, no dice.

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Richard 12
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Re: Goodbye FTDI

"Should" and "do" are very different beasties.

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Richard 12
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Re: Misleading title

It is deliberately interfering with its operation.

If the driver simply refused to talk to the non-FTDI part at all, or always returned a serial number of "UNAUTHORISED-PART" and didn't transfer any data then that would be better - but still not ok.

It's fast to spot, the manufacturer will see that it doesn't enumerate correctly and return the batch to their supplier.

The problem is that FTDI clearly believe that screwing around with the physical 3rd party device us fine, and pretending to work most of the time is also fine.

No. That is not ok.

Many of these chips are in devices that aren't 100% tested, just power-on and enumerate. The manufacturer won't spot this, the end user will. Eventually. When their device randomly doesn't work.

Finally, what happens when this detection results in a false-positive? It will happen, and nobody knows when.

Suddenly a piece of kit that really does use genuine FTDI stops working - and FTDI will insist that the part is not genuine.

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Richard 12
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Goodbye FTDI

Sorry, but I can't trust a company willing to deliberately sabotage - there are better ways to deal with counterfeit chips.

We won't be using FTDI silicon ever again.

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Why a detachable cabin probably won’t save your life in a plane crash

Richard 12
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Re: I'll tell you one thing...

PS: Planes have changed *radically* in the last fifty years.

Just because they look similar doesn't mean they are. The overall airframe shape is basically set by physics.

Everything inside and the materials used are very different.

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Richard 12
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Re: I'll tell you one thing...

CFIT now basically requires the pilot to deliberately do so. Commercial aircraft have very good navigation, mapping and radar that warn with plenty of time now.

Commercial air travel is rapidly approaching the point where it'd be safer to remove the pilots completely - and we're already at the point where the dog* would help.

*The pilot feeds the dog, and the dog bites the pilot if they try to touch the controls.

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Richard 12
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Re: I'll tell you one thing...

No, the main argument is that it wouldn't bloody work.

Almost all crashes and deaths on aircraft are at takeoff or landing, controlled flight into terrain, pilots forgetting how to fly the plane or due to cabin failure.

This wouldn't help in any of those, and would even make cabin failure more likely.

In fact I can't think of an air accident in the last decade where this could have saved the passengers - and a few where it'd make it worse.

- Perhaps help with MH370 as we still don't know what happened there. But probably not as the pilots appear to have been incapacitated.

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Most of the world still dependent on cash

Richard 12
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Lots of ways to charge a phone

Petrol generators are common.

Solar power is often feasible - and provided by charitable donation to boot.

Human power for a mobile phone is also quite common.

A 3000mAh phone battery is about 40kJ, or 10 food calories.

10% of a twinkie.

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Richard 12
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Re: Eh?

The intention is for the other end of the transaction to be faster.

Namely "cashing up" at the end of the night doesn't involve counting many items and taking them to a bank.

Unfortunately, it's very hard to verify a cashless system. If the publican believes that they took £1000 but the cashless provider claims they only took £900, how do you prove it?

With cash you do a recount of both ends - till roll and contents. Can't do that in a cashless system.

So the business must have 100% trust and confidence in the cashless provider. If they don't, they cannot afford to use them at all.

Equally, so must the customers.

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Reg readers battle to claim 'my silicon's older than yours' crown

Richard 12
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Re: I wonder

Also the smaller process transistors will die faster. Less dopant migration needed before it turns into an amorphous blob.

Ignoring outside events like cosmic rays and frustrated users.

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You've seen things people wouldn't believe – so tell us your programming horrors

Richard 12
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I love floating point

No, that's not the right word.

Hate. That's it. I hate floating point. 0.10f doesn't exist...

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Richard 12
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I'm a firm believer in compiler warnings

If it doesn't compile with no warnings, then you've done something silly.

Sometimes you haven't, but usually you have.

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Apple growth flatlines ... Tim Cook thinks, hey, $80bn is still $80bn

Richard 12
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Re: A sad day

Given history, the most probable outcome is that they will make a series of expensive and disastrous acquisitions. Some of those will have had real potential but got squashed by accident or infighting, and that will be a shame.

This will continue until they've lost most of their cash pile.

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