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* Posts by Richard 12

1520 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

File-NUKING Cryptolocker PC malware MENACES 'TENS of MILLIONS' in UK

Richard 12
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Re: Lurking Ransomware ..

Admin privileges aren't needed for software to make itself run on Windows 7 or 8.

Admin is only needed if it installs into Program Files or another "protected" folder, or adds keys to HKLM.

If it just installs into My Documents and adds auto run keys to HKCU, admin isn't needed and it can just go ahead and do anything to anything the user could.

This isn't a privilege escalation, it's just doing anything a normal user could do - rearrange their Start menu/start screen, and mess with the user's files.

If only somebody could think of something like an Execute flag that only an admin could set?

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Stephen Hawking: 'Boring' Higgs Boson discovery cost me $100

Richard 12
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The "few" comes from 'tuning' for intelligent life

In the Standard Model + General Relativity, there are several constants and changing any one of them by a small amount gives you a universe where life is impossible.

But what if you change several of them, or all of them? There will be other sets of values where life is possible.

To use another example, your motor vehicle has lots of components which must all be well-tuned to make it run. Change any one of them - piston head radius - without changing any others - cylinder radius - and it stops working.

But if you change many of them in the right way, a working car becomes a working motorbike.

(Thanks to Jack Cohen for the analogy)

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Our MOM's LATEST EGGS: 'Looking GOOD', chuckle Indian space boffins

Richard 12
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All Hail the Oberth Effect!

Champion of cheap interplanetary launches, hero of our time etc etc..,

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XBOX One SHOT DEAD by Redmond following delivery blunder

Richard 12
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They didn't.

At the moment the active online system will have a very short list of valid users, only containing the paid alpha and beta testers. It may well be in a different domain as well, and likely IP or router-MAC limited to keep it away from 3rd party eyes.

They will only open it up to "any XBOne owner" just before the official release date.

This is all usual practice for any closed-beta online service!

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Richard 12
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Re: The EULA is in force

EULAs are generally not worth the paper they (aren't) written on.

In most of the world, if they are inside sealed packaging they are completely unenforceable, null and void, and even in the USA there isn't much in the way of precedent that implies they can be enforced.

Nobody wants to be the lawyer that creates a precedent invalidating all the legal work that goes into writing an EULA, so none of them go to court on the EULA itself as opposed to general law.

Aside from that, under EU law a consumer simply cannot give up their statutory rights under any circumstances - and two of those rights are "I bought it, it's mine", and "It has to be fit for purpose".

The clause "We don't say it's fit for purpose"? Legally, that's utter bollocks in the EU.

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Thought you didn't need to show ID in the UK? Wrong

Richard 12
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Re: Some rules do need to be tightened

What? Seriously?

How exactly does a photo ID have any bearing on how likely or not somebody is to hijack an aircraft?

You are a prime example of how Governments oppress and subjugate their population - by convincing them that "pink is a fruit", to give a harmless example.

"We need photo ID before flying to stop terrorism"

"We need to strip-search everyone flying to stop terrorism"

"We need to sedate everyone and fly them unconscious to stop terrorism"

"We need to lock everyone up if they look a bit foreign"

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Virgin Media only puts limited limits on its Unlimited service

Richard 12
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I agree with him

Here's an idea - Every single time you see an advert that uses "Unlimited", complain to the ASA that it can't possibly be true.

If they spend every single day handling thousands of complaints about that word, eventually they'll just "ban" everyone from using it.

(Or rather, they'll make a gentlemen's agreement not to use it)

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ROBOT PODS to INVADE Milton Keynes in frenzied automatic MAYHEM

Richard 12
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Good idea

Unfortunately the implementation will probably screw it up, rather like the Heathrow T5 Business pods.

"What do you mean, 'electrified track'? That's just madness! The pods can charge up at the terminus."

So after about 9am, they are all flat and stay that way until the last flight empties, because they never sit idle for long enough. And thus they are effectively useless, because you end up waiting 20-30 minutes for one to get enough charge to take you the half mile.

I do wonder how often the batteries need replacing.

I suspect these pods will do the same, though at least they have a good reason not to have electrified track.

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Payday loan firms are the WORST. Ugh, my mobe's FILLED with filthy SPAM

Richard 12
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Re: @#$!!

Send them an invoice.

I've heard of people trying that, not sure whether it would actually get paid and I've never got around to it myself, but it sounds like a good idea.

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Pimp my office: 10 cubicle comforts

Richard 12
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:StarTech USB3 Dock

Looks like you didn't read the article.

That thing is not just a USB hub, it's a USB Ethernet adapter, and USB video card.

Which makes it the one thing on the list that I am very interested in, because it would give me a third monitor and second NIC.

It would do so very neatly given that the current Dell laptop docks have USB3 ports.

So yes, I want one of those.

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THIS is the kind of clout a British Prime Minister has: Facebook pulls ONE beheading vid

Richard 12
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Re: I'll tell you what the problem is, Mr/Ms Coward

Nope, but the UK is more puritan than France and many other parts of mainland Europe.

The USA was originally formed by groups of people who wanted to be more puritan than they could manage in the UK. That's why they went over there - to escape the depravity being permitted in the UK.

Recently our Governments have started to move towards the US views rather than the continental ones, which is likely to be the normal pendulum swings of opinion, but it's possible that it's caused by the exportation of US values via Hollywood et al.

Which is a shame, because BOOBIES!

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Brit boffins trap light in Lego-like lumps

Richard 12
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This is why the UK Governments PV subsidy is stupid

If they had put 1/4 or less of the money towards improving PV efficacy, then we'd have better PV arrays that might actually make sense commercially (even if not in Britain), rather than just pissing our money over rich people's roofing.

(And maybe not need to guarantee double market rate to Hinckley C as they wouldn't have already guaranteed the same for wind and quadruple for PV)

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US Veep's wireless heart implant disabled to stop TERRORIST HACKERS

Richard 12
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What is the alternative?

Having an actual plug-and-socket means breaking the skin barrier, which carries a much greater risk of infection.

Given that this has electrodes to the heart, that could be very bad.

There's not really a good solution other than good and published encryption over close-coupled coils - not radio or even NFC per se.

As long as every device has a different key, and the key is appropriately protected, the risk would be very small.

Of course, this almost certainly has no encryption at all and just blindly follows commands sent, because medical devices generally don't consider the possibility.

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Richard 12
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Re: The range is pretty small

That would be the "normal" range when using the carefully-designed and highly regulated transducer.

If one didn't care about targeting a specific unit, or EMC and other pesky regulations limiting the broadcast power and bandwidth, one could greatly increase the range.

That's always been the problem with NFC - while the proper transceivers are very short-range because they were carefully designed to be, the ones an attacker could use have several orders of magnitude greater range because (by definition) a black hat is not working to the design brief of "short range and comply with regulations!"

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Apple's top bean counter: New spaceship HQ won't emit 'one atom of carbon'

Richard 12
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Solar PV in Swindon?

How were those panels manufactured, transported, installed, cleaned and maintained?

How will they be disposed of when they wear out or break?

What poisonous and polluting chemicals are used and discharged during these lifetime stages?

If we're trading CO2 emissions for emissions of poisons and heavy metals, is that a sensible thing to do?

Where does the energy come from when it's dark or during bad weather, which is when the most heating and lighting is required?

Swindon is not known for its bright sunny days!

If you're saying "storage", what is the environmental cost of that storage?

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Facebook TEENS EXPOSED to entire WORLD

Richard 12
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"You've just bought a satnav."

"Here are some satnavs you might be interested in!"

Erm, no. I only just bought one, right? If I wanted another I'd have got two!

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US red-tape will drain boffins' brains into China, says crypto-guru Shamir

Richard 12
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Re: Iceland maybe?

Great idea!

They have several good venues, and they always give visitors a great welcome.

Plus volcanoes, so what's not to like?

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Richard 12
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Grand Cayman on the other hand

That does have really nice crab cakes.

Also lots more fresh and really nice seafood, on account of it being a small Caribbean island.

- Oddly, Hell is located there. It wasn't as fiery as advertised, and there was a distinct lack of brimstone. Hell does however have a post office and a petrol station.

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Do not adjust your set: TV market slows, 'connected TV' grows

Richard 12
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Re: Just want big dumb panels

That's exactly what I mean.

When the "smart" is a separate device, you can choose something with the features you want, and it's also more likely to get firmware updates, new features and to have a nice UI - because you have lots of choice.

When the "smart" is built-in, you have almost no choice (Sony/LG/Samsung/Philips/Tesco Value) and rarely, if ever get updates or even have a nice UI - you don't really like yours!

I now have a nice PVR set-top box, it does everything I want from a "Smart" TV (iPlayer, ITVPlayer, 4OD etc) except for DNLA sink (it can be a source though).

Most of those features have actually been added since I bought it, and cost me nothing extra.

When I decide I really do want to have that feature, or some other cool killer feature turns up that I want, I can buy a new STB or 'HDMI Stick" to do it, either replacing my current STB or in addition.

It's down to the cost. A good panel is expensive - £700-1000 and up. I'm only going to buy that once in ten years or so.

Good smarts change every year. Most users are not going to be happy being two-three years behind on that, but are not going to buy a new panel just for that, it's too much money. They might buy a new STB every couple of years, especially if it's £50-100 - or even less.

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Richard 12
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Re: Just want big dumb panels

Exactly.

Everyone who has the slightest idea of what they're looking at sees the "Smart TV" as a lock-in to a poor service that will only get worse.

When you can buy the "Smarts" as a $50 external box, why on earth would you want to pay $100+ for internal smarts which are probably poorer and are highly unlikely to get any better?

I tried it once - I got a TV with built-in PVR. It was awful to use, crashed and burned regularly and with no prospect of any firmware updates, I sent it back as "not fit for purpose" and replaced it with a simpler, cheaper TV panel and 'smart' set-top box.

That STB gets over-the-air firmware updates and has a much better UI for using its "smarts", because the company that made it succeed or fail on their UI.

TV manufacturers don't. They see the smarts as a simple tickybox on the marketing, and to date have paid almost no attention to either sensible UI or to offering firmware updates (whether over-the-air or manually).

I have never even used the tuner in this TV. All I want is plenty of inputs, and an easy and simple, preferably automatic way to switch between them - plus routing of proper 5.1 audio out to external amp.

I'd be happy with just one input and an HDMI + audio switching box, except that the MPAA decreed such a thing can never exist as it would break HDCP.

Of course, there don't appear to be any TVs out there that can actually do this, they're all intent on being throw-away, non-upgradable junk.

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Hypersonic MEGA METEOR pulled from lake, then Russians drop it

Richard 12
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Aerobraking

Followed shortly after by a bit of aquabraking and a lot of lithobraking.

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Price rises and power cuts by 2016? Thank the EU's energy policy

Richard 12
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Profits? They have no margin!

The margin the energy companies are allowed is pretty tiny - 5%

Until the banking crisis, they'd make more money putting their capital in an ISA (or equivalent) instead of using it to buy fuels and sell gas, oil and electric.

They only make notable total profits due to their scale.

If I remember correctly, about 70% of the price rises over the last decade and a bit have been directly caused by the green charges and renewable obligations.

So not much is due to either profits or the wholesale cost of energy, it's almost entirely the Polly-ticks.

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Why a Robin Hood tax on filthy rich City types is the very LAST thing needed

Richard 12
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It *is* damping

The question is, how much damping is needed?

If too much is applied, the system will never reach the target value.

If too little is applied, the system will oscillate around the target value.

Right now it would appear that the housing market has no way to drive it down, while the other markets have no damping at all - there used to be the simple delays between trades, now with the new methods those delays are gone.

Of course, much of the profits are being made by causing those oscillations, which explains why traders are very much against any form of damping.

So, what is the transfer function for a market?

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Hey banks: Use Win XP after deadline? You'll PAY if card data's snaffled

Richard 12
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What, really?

If that's even 1% true then the banks are insane and already took the utterly stupid risks.

I find it really hard to believe though, XPe is cheap and incredibly easy to deploy on a massive scale, while full-fat XP is neither of those things.

- Our manufacturing has one-button XPe and Win7e deployment to take a machine from blank drive to everything installed and configured. That button is the power button.

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Richard 12
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FAIL

What's this about 2014? XPe-based POS, ATMs etc have support beyond Dec 31st, 2016!

Windows Embedded Product Lifecycles

Windows XP Professional for Embedded Systems - released December 31, 2001, Product Distribution End Date December 31, 2016.

That's distribution, in other words, MS will stop selling XP Embedded licences then, but won't necessarily cease support at that time - and definitely won't stop support before that.

Go home PCI, you're drunk.

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Leaping SpaceX GRASSHOPPER ROCKET jumps 2,500ft, lands safely

Richard 12
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Re: re. the observing video camera

For this kind of shoot, you generally mount the camera on its own stabilised gimbal.

This is the only way to ensure the camera stays pointed in the chosen direction while the 'copter moves around to manoeuvre and stabilise the overall frame.

A two axis, tilt and roll gimbal covers the stabilisation motions a 'copter will do, then pan by rotating the whole airframe.

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Richard 12
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Re: Hexacopter choreographer

I would genuinely love to do that.

Unfortunately, I'm based in the UK which means I can't afford the commute.

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Richard 12
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Re: re. the observing video camera

Yes it is. You can see two of the rotors at one point.

Guessing hexaopter, but harder to tell

It's the only sane way to get this kind of footage - no helicopter pilot is ever going to agree to fly that close to an operating rocket!

I think some of the apparent CG-ness comes because the camera gimbal is too good!

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Biometrics not so trustworthy: False Samsung stock-pump buy draws Swedish cops

Richard 12
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Re: The stock market

And if we did that, what do we do with all the spare chicken heads and feet?

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Turkish TV presenter canned for flashing too much cleavage

Richard 12
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Why fire her anyway?

She didn't choose the costume, the network did.

She had no choice in the matter - refusing to wear it would have got her fired.

The right person to fire is the person who said the costume was ok - that's the producer and the network management who commissioned the show.

The costume designer probably won't work there again anyway.

Not that surprising though, given Turkey's recent behaviour over Eurovision et al.

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Intel loves the 'internet of things' – if the 'things' have Quarks and Atoms in them, anyway

Richard 12
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Intel seen to have forgotten to talk to IoT providers.

We've been building these systems for many years.

Itty-bitty ARMs at <50 cents each are used for the myriad of end devices from disparate manufacturers, the small number of edge "servers" run on MIPs or mid-range ARMs and finally, the core, campus-wide, machines are Atoms.

In other words, the Internet of Things requirement for Atom-class devices is roughly two per campus (main & backup).

The place we use Intel the most is actually GUI interfaces - large touchscreens, and the building-status widgets on the normal office PCs.

Intel needs to bring the cost down a lot to stop the large touchscreens drifting towards ARM and MIPs - as the panel prices fall and ARM GPUs get better, it gets harder to justify the price and power budget of an Intel SBC.

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NSA data centre launch delayed as power surges 'melt metal, zap racks'

Richard 12
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Crossed phases don't do that.

Confusing a live for neutral, a wild leg for a normal one or an actual phase-to-phase short can destroy things, merely connecting incoming phase A to equipment B, in B to C and in C to A would have no effect at all, and getting them in the wrong order just makes the motor spin backwards.

Electricity does not work that way!

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Richard 12
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Re: Lightning in a 2 foot box

Nope, it'll be a flashover between busbars about 1-2" apart.

There are many possible causes of that, from "somebody left/dropped a spanner/ring/washer/screw in there" to "circuit overloaded and breaker didn't contain the disconnection arc"

In many cases there's basically no evidence left as once started, the arc vaporises everything nearby.

The six months will have been the blamestorming of "it's the designer's fault", "it's the contractors fault", "it's the downstream equipment" (impossible), "bad breaker", "bad busbars", "customer overloaded it" (which actually means bad breaker or shoddy design/build) etc.

My wild guess would be a screw in the chamber.

But this is the USA, where electrical standards are generally poor and different everywhere. It's only recently that live working has become frowned upon!

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UK bankers prep for cyberwar: Will simulate ATTACK on system

Richard 12
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Announced tests like this are useless

"Ok guys, nobody answer any emails today, that way we won't get caught out"

The day after this 'test' is what worries me, because they'll be rushing through everything to catch up, thus ripe for social engineering attacks.

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GitHub wipes hand across bloodied face, stumbles from brutal DDoS beating

Richard 12
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Re: One question not covered

I just use Git GUI.

Almost everything I need to do is a click on a button or menu option, and when I've needed to do something more esoteric I just Google it and add it to the "custom tools" menu so it becomes just another menu option.

There are annoyances with it - the tags list gets too long & can't easily edit a custom tool (have to open config file), but overall it's much easier than VSS or ClearCase so I'm happy.

Mercurial may well be better but I've not used it.

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Down with Unicode! Why 16 bits per character is a right pain in the ASCII

Richard 12
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Re: Java

I hate the datatype "char" and refuse point blank to use it.

I use quint8/qint8 or uint8/int8 for an 8-bit unsigned/signed value (depending on whether I'm Cute at the time).

"char" should be banned. It's confused.

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Icahn to Cook: 'Buy back $150bn of Apple's stock, or tell me why you won't'

Richard 12
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Devil

Absolutely right

Cook's big mistake was talking to the guy in the first place. I think we can safely say that Jobs would not have done.

Icahn should be ignored under all circumstances, nothing good ever comes from talking to him.

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EU move to standardise phone chargers is bad news for Apple

Richard 12
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Re: Sorry to sound like a Yank

You're sounding very foolish now.

Are you trolling or is English or Americanese not your native language?

The word "Most" was used because Apple, and Apple alone, do not comply.

Thus I could not say "All" without also claiming that iPhone 5/5S/5C are not modern phones.

We can discuss the merits of that argument another time.

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Richard 12
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Re: Sorry to sound like a Yank

You are aware that left to themselves they will never standardise?

Every single phone manufacturer will deliberately use a different charger connector purely and simply so they can price-gouge you for replacement chargers/cables, and have some brand lock-in for your next phone.

They'll also patent their connector and do other dirty tricks to ensure cheap clones of their cable are much more difficult to make and can't be imported.

You have the EU to thanks for the fact that most modern phones are chargeable via the same micro-USB cable, with Apple being the only one that isn't.

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WHY didn't Microsoft buy RIM? Us business blokes would have queued for THAT phone

Richard 12
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Nope, MS definitely shouldn't have bought BlackBerry

BlackBerry's key strengths are their email, messaging and OS.

Microsoft didn't want any of those because they already have Exchange and Windows Phone 8, both of which are clearly considered core to their business plan.

Nokia's only remaining asset was hardware. They already threw away all their software.

Thus, what do you buy?

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APPLE is the new COCA-COLA: Bubble-beverage globocorp beaten by Foxconn rebrander

Richard 12
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GE makes no sense on this list

I only know they exist because I buy their lamps if I can't get Ushio - a brand it's pretty likely none of you commentards have heard of.

As a consumer brand they simply don't exist, unlike say Philips.

As an industrial manufacturer GE are huge.

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Global execs name Apple 'most innovative company' – again

Richard 12
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Re: Depends what you mean by innovation

But they haven't done any of that in the last few years.

Their business innovation and technical innovations all happened years ago, and their recent success is due to "surfing the wave".

The only innovation this year was adding a fingerprint scanner to a phone. That's it - no business innovations at all. Everything else is simple incremental steps made obvious, nay necessary, by the innovations of other companies.

Both Samsung and Nokia were more innovative with their new phones - especially Nokia, rest in peace.

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Richard 12
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More obviously, where is ARM?

Given that almost everything the top few have was made possible by ARM's innovations, it's clearly not about innovation and all about market visibility.

Not surprising though, surveys like this always were popularity contests that are very easy for the surveyor to influence.

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Apple iOS 7 makes some users literally SICK. As in puking, not upset

Richard 12
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Re: IOS7.0.2 email issues

I've found iOS Exchange email sync to be half broken from the beginning, no real change there at all.

The new layout feels a little better, except you still cannot close a folder or change the order in any way.

I have folders that I never care about on my phone, but the only possible way to get then out of the way was to prefix them with "z" to push them to the bottom of the sort order.

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Richard 12
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Re: How much do you have to use your phone to get seasick from it?

Boats always move, so entirely possible.

Especially a small boat, which will have moved under his foot as he stepped on board.

I don't know anyone that bad, but I can well believe it.

Obviously not a guy who's going to enjoy sailing.

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Richard 12
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How does one do that then?

The publicity photos (and even videos) can only show you what it looks like, not what it feels like.

The only way you can tell if the upgrade is going to make you sick is to try it for a few hours.

- A brief poke in the pub won't help unless your symptoms are acute.

The only way you can try it for a few hours is to upgrade, unless you've got a friend happy to give you their phone for a day.

So the only way to know if it's going to make you sick is to upgrade it and try it.

Once you find that it's awful, then what?

All other smartphones and computers can be rolled back at will - not always easily but it is possible without preparation prior to upgrade.

iOS devices cannot be rolled back once the public release occurs, unless you take specific steps to keep the old keys before upgrading.

These people are not developers, they are not programmers or hackers, they just want their phone to work without making then sick.

Excessive animations are well-known to cause nausea in some people, which is why every single other OS allows you to turn them off.

Except Apple.

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US House Republicans: 'End net neutrality or no debt ceiling deal' – report

Richard 12
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Re: Will Google change sides?

Pretty sure that's Google advertising to show it's not evil - or hedging it's bets by diversifying.

Google still make nearly all of their money through online advertising, which means it most definitely needs as many consumers as possible to see them.

What would happen if an ISP could charge more for ad traffic from some ad brokers than others, or even block adverts altogether?

Now swap "adverts" for something your employer makes their money from.

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Richard 12
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Re: @Chad

Hey, Central and South America don't want your idiots, they have enough of their own.

Catapult them towards Hawaii, just make sure it only goes halfway.

Or dump them in central Greenland, let the Danish polar bears deal with them.

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Highways Agency tracks Brits' every move by their mobes: THE TRUTH

Richard 12
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If every journey had a unique ID with nothing to link it then there would be little to worry about.

- still possible to identify where people living at addresses in/near the covered areas work, but that route is part of the point.

The problem is that we don't know.

We didn't know they were doing this, and we don't know what the anonymisation method is.

If the method is "each phone has a random GUID" then it's not actually anonymous at all, because it becomes trivial to track an individual all over and then link everything together if they go somewhere "interesting".

So how is it done?

Without knowing the method, it's impossible to know whether the data is actually anonymous, or just "We changed everybody's name but you can still see their faces"

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Richard 12
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Re: I am screwing up the results!

That explains the M4 bus lane!

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