* Posts by Richard 12

2194 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

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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Broadband-pushers expand user piggyback rides on private Wi-Fi

Richard 12
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Re: Public Wi-Fi hotspots derived from domestic routers ..

Unless you live next door to a pub, café or bus stop, nobody is ever going to connect to it anyway.

If you do, then the bandwidth slurp is going to be so annoying that you turn it off.

My "normal" wifi barely escapes the house, so BT FON et al is rather pointless.

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Show us the code! You should be able to peek inside the gadgets you buy – FTC commish

Richard 12
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And the bootloader?

Quite a few of the processors used in IoT devices have a bootloader in ROM, provided by the silicon manufacturer.

You can't update them without using that bootloader, and even the manufacturer of your Internet fridge doesn't know what's in that ROM.

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Cabling horrors unplugged: Reg readers reveal worst nightmares

Richard 12
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Did you say flying males on solid core

Doesn't comply with the Cat5 spec so you can reject the lot, surely?

You got a Cat5/6 test result sheet, right?

- Of course not. Nobody does those :(

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Criminal records checks 'unlawful' and 'arbitrary' rules High Court

Richard 12
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Re: CRB never included "spent" convictions

When you have Applicant A with nothing and B with something, do you really call in B and ask for an explanation, or do you give the minimum-wage job to A?

You will only make that effort if you really, really want Applicant B.

Most jobs are not like that.

By your own description it's "subject to passing" an ECRB - and there lies the wub. You cannot pass those checks, except by the arbitrary decision of the employer.

(Though there are ways to fail, we aren't talking about those.)

And yes, I have seen this several times, especially in the care sector.

But don't believe me. Believe the judge in this case - this ruling says that such unfair discrimination can and has happened.

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Richard 12
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CRB never included "spent" convictions

The "Enhanced" one does.

As there aren't any rules about who can and cannot use the ECRB, everyone does.

The DBS don't charge very much and employers can (and do) make the prospective employee pay for it.

So practically everyone demands an ECRB, and makes the employee pay for it.

Due to Daily Wail and the fear of potential future liability, anyone who has anything on their ECRB (even irrelevant stuff) is automatically rejected by the majority of employers.

The ECRB is the problem. It probably shouldn't exist at all, and if May really wants to keep it then it needs to be strictly limited to particular posts.

The other fun bit is self-employed workers. You can't CRB or ECRB yourself...

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Star Wars: Episode VIII delayed by six months

Richard 12
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Budget increase and toys is my bet

After seeing how much Ep 7 made, the mouse reckons they can spend more on the next one.

Not to mention the tie-in toys.

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Microsoft legal eagle explains why the Irish Warrant Fight covers your back

Richard 12
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So Russia can demand Amazon Russia hand over the CIA

Same thing, right?

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Thousands fled TalkTalk after gigantic hack, confirm researchers

Richard 12
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The statistics are fairly good for this

A 15k survey is a pretty good sample size.

If they have a similar error to the polls before the last election (considered "shockingly inaccurate") then Talk Talk saw a drop of between 5% and 10% of their customer base.

Given how tight their margins must be, that's pretty disastrous. If that scale of loss recurs then Dido will have to strap on her parachute quickly, before there isn't a company to leave.

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Does anyone know what their broadband costs? The ASA hopes to change that

Richard 12
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Somebody couldn't believe it wasn't butter.

They know better now.

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Microsoft: We’ve taken down the botnets. Europol: Would Sir like a kill switch, too?

Richard 12
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It doesn't matter what the EULA says

The law is more important, and the law says that any clause that a consumer who has no easy ability to change EULA clauses would not expect, is invalid an unenforceable.

To pick a daft example:

If the EULA said that you owe Microsoft the blood of your first-born child, would that be valid?

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Dialog box shut: Now Microchip is set to gobble up Atmel

Richard 12
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Re: Missing the point of Arduinos

Except that PICs really aren't that cheap.

The silicon costs about the same as a bottom-end ARM, and once you add the compiler (you're not writing anything of real note in pure asm), PIC ends up quite pricey.

Not to mention that quite a few of the PIC application notes are outright wrong.

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Forget the drones, Amazon preps its own cargo container ship operation out of China

Richard 12
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Re: Shipping sans sailors

The crew are primarily there to maintain the ship.

Maintenance, servicing and even heavy repairs are done while under way.

Being out of action is very expensive, and drydock costs can quickly bankrupt an operator - assuming the ship even fits in a drydock at all.

When an engine breaks down the ship slows, the crew fixes it, and they simply arrive at port a few hours late.

Similar for hull repairs.

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Swivel on this: German boffins build nanoscale screwing engine for sluggish sperm

Richard 12
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Not seeing the use in this context

The usual way of doing IVF is to grab the sperm, rip off the tail and poke it at the egg cell.

Is grabbing a sperm, sticking a motor on it and driving it around less likely to damage it?

Or is this simply a pretty fun way to test something that'll be used elsewhere for other purposes?

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BTC dev: 'Strangling' the blockchain will kill Bitcoin

Richard 12
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It's a pyramid scheme by design

That's one of the biggest issues with it. The other being that it's highly deflationary - and both issues are caused by the same design decision.

As I understand it, Bitcoin 'mining' performs the "payment processing" function, where the proof-of-work confirms that some transactions occurred. They get paid by new Bitcoins that spontaneously come into existence.

However, as time passes, more work is needed to produce each new Bitcoin.

Eventually this curve of ever-reducing results means that it costs more hardware and electricity to to mine a Bitcoin than the Bitcoin is worth. This means that all miners must leave the game - either as they see their costs exceed reward, or later when they have lost enough (or everything).

As the miners are the payment processors, the endgame of Bitcoin is that no payment processing occurs and no Bitcoin transfers can take place. At that point Bitcoin is worth nothing at all.

The steady-state of Bitcoin is therefore zero value.

Of course, anyone who gets in at the beginning and leaves at the right moment can get a very large return.

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TalkTalk outage: Dial M for Major cockup

Richard 12
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Re: TalkTalk outage...

Or they're locked into a two year contract and have to wait for a sufficiently terrible failure before they can escape.

This one should qualify. No emergency telephony is rather serious!

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UK Home Sec stumbles while trying to justify blanket cyber-snooping

Richard 12
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Re: Two camps, no meeting of minds

Or you're Pro-Actual-Safety, in which case you would know for certain that bulk collection is worse than useless for protecting the populace.

To use an old analogy, piling on more hay doesn't help find needles.

This kind of bulk collection serves two purposes only.

1) It makes it easy to frame someone you wish to make trouble for. It may not be enough to hang them, but ruining their life and career is quite simple.

2) You can put together a dossier on someone after they have committed atrocities.

It simply does nothing whatsoever to prevent an atrocity - and seems likely to increase the probability of same due to the manpower issue.

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Richard 12
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All Home Secretaries do this though

At least, all the ones I can remember were insane control freaks who desired to take every bit of privacy and liberty from everyone they could.

Does becoming Home Secretary cause this attitude, or is it only such people who desire the post?

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