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* Posts by Richard 12

1527 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

Charity chief: Get with it, gov - kids shouldn't have to write by hand

Richard 12
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Raspberry Pis?

1W per machine, plus 50W for a standard monitor.

That king of machine has the advantage of being dead easy to mass-wipe as well.

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Richard 12
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Re: MCSEs

Worse than that - CSCS card exams.

I kid you not, one of the questions in that mulyiple-guess test has these two as possible answers:

X) Try to kill it.

Y) Everybody needs to bring a cat onto site.

These are tests it is almost impossible to fail, yet anybody needing to enter a building site is required to waste an afternoon doing a "test" that takes anybody vaguely computer literate and not utterly insane around ten minutes.

On the other hand, he does have a point when it comes to "wordy" essay-based exams. I couldn't physically write a legible multi-page essay, but could easily type one.

However, if you're going to offer this then it absolutely cannot be BYOD. It can only be "use school computer", because that is the only way it is possible for the invigilators to offer a level playing field to the candidates, giving all of them access to the same information abd software.

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The great $45m bank cyber-heist: Seven New Yorkers cuffed

Richard 12
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Re: card readers

Intercepting a cheque is beyond trivial, and if you pay it into an account in your name, the money takes a week or more to "clear", and even then can still be taken away from you if the cheque is later declared fraudulent.

That's why those "cheques cashed" services charge a hefty percentage, to cover that risk.

If "the man" wants to screw you over, a cheque's the best way to do it! That's why so few EU shops accept them!

Incidentally, in the EU we now have "faster payments", which transfer cleared money between bank accounts in under 2 hours, usually in seconds. It did take a Government action to force that though, as the three-day clearing is a nice little earner for the banks!

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'Hotmail, since you changed to Outlook, you've been a massive pr**k'

Richard 12
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Re: Rule of Thumb

The thing about a bad webmail experience, is that users just leave.

They might set up a rule to auto-forward to the new account, but they might not.

Either way, people really aren't very attached to a specific email address anymore. They just quietly leave, and tell their good friends where they've moved to.

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Richard 12
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"Faster and cleaner"?

What planet are you on? Do you live in their datacentre?

The old Hotmail interface loaded quickly and ran smoothly - except for the adverts, which I blocked anyway so didn't care.

The new Outlook interface generally hasn't even loaded by the time I've finished checking my Gmail mail, and I've lost count of the number of times it's sat doing the "dots spinning along" for a minute or two before giving up and saying its dead.

How much of that is shoddy web interface and how much is shoddy MS servers in Europe doesn't matter to me, but my experience is that Outlook.com is slow and horrible.

On top of that it is incredibly irritating that scrolling to the bottom of an email, then clicking the next/last button puts me at the bottom of the other email.

Seriously - WTF? I've not seen any other webmail behave like that, so it's clearly not a difficult problem to solve and I can't think of a single reason why the current Outlook.com behaviour could be desirable.

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Think enterprise software is complex? Check out the licences

Richard 12
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"Support licence"?

Rubbish. There is quite literally no such thing.

Paid-for support contract, yes. But that is not a licence, it's a contract, and like all contracts, you can end up in court if you break it - no different to refusing to pay the rent on your premises.

Secondly, by definition the licence to use all FOSS software costs precisely zero money, no more and no less. If it isn't, then it is not FOSS, it's something else.

And a supplier requiring you to take out a support contract to use their software is not offering a FOSS solution either. Recommending that you buy a support package, yes, that's common.

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Snoopers' charter rests in shallow grave - likely to rise again

Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: Nope

This can't even identify a business or household either.

All it takes is for a connection to 'bounce' into and back out of one of them for the existing DHCP/ARP log and the purported IP connections logs to be completely and utterly useless.

How could that happen? Botnet, internal corporate network, distributed VOIP (torrents, Skype!)... All of which already exist and are in common usage, and except for the botnets for perfectly law-abiding reasons as well as the presumed 'black hats'.

There is no possible way to know if a given connection 'in/out' is in any way related to another 'in/out' connection from the logs - short of DPI with man-in-the-middle attacks and logging all the transmitted data. (How many petabytes per day?) Even that would only require encryption done 'mid-bounce' to make it utterly useless.

So truly, this is worse than useless in every possible way - not only does it require a loss of privacy on the part of every UK resident, even if it worked (which it can't), it could only serve to make the haystack several orders of magnitude bigger for the security services.

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German court: 'Nein' to Apple 'global consent' on fanbois' privacy

Richard 12
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So much for the EU

I thought privacy laws were supposed to be harmonised, just like voltage and electrical safety.

Or are some EU states more harmonised than others?

Bah!

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Facebook crashes into networking with open switch

Richard 12
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Re: Riiigghhtt

'Cos they buy a lot of switches, and don't like being stuck with "can only buy Cisco", but want "Can buy anything with compatible hardware and put our spin of SwitchOS on it"

- Heck, I like the idea. A couple of our suppliers make custom, industry-specific switches with industry-specific features.

Like a display on the front showing selectable details of important protocols passing through the switch, where "important" is user-definable - what matters to Facebook doesn't matter (much) to you and vice-versa.

Even in a big data centre, having a display on a switch is handy - even if merely to locate and confirm exactly which switch is having the hissy fit without relying on stuck-on labels.

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Adobe kills Creative Suite – all future features online only

Richard 12
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Re: So, what happens if you decide to stop renting?

So no different to borrowing from the bank to fund the purchase of essential tools, except now you're stuck paying that forever instead of paying the loan off completely in six months to a year?

Why would any sane small business choose to do that?

It can fit in with the capital/running budget madness that is a large corporate entity by moving the bill under the Finance radar, but that's it.

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Richard 12
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Re: The risk it to kill the paying hobbyst market

Whaddya mean, "risk"?

This is a near one-shot kill to the hobbyist market!

Very few partners will happily allow someone to spend that much every month on hobby software, compared to "It's your birthday so I got you the newest Photoshop" every four/five years.

Smaller outfits will be concerned as well.

Given the other attacks on photographers (commercial k copyright grabs), I suspect many one-man-band professionals will also be reexamining whether they actually need any new versions of Photoshop or can get by with the old one they currently have, or something else entirely. Margins are tight.

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Richard 12
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Re: What a huge fraud! Adobe worse than Electronic Arts (SimCity fraud)...

Yup. Cash flow is what kills small businesses.

This is why they usually need to borrow from a bank to fund their startup and expansion costs, like purchasing important tools.

You don't hire a lathe if your business is turning widgets. You hire the tools that you don't use often, and you buy the tools you use every day - probably on credit, but you still buy them so that next year, the monthly payments have gone and your cashflow is therefore improved, leaving cash for other expansion.

There are exceptions - the really, really high capital cost things like premises are usually rented.

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VTOL hybrid flying car promises the skies

Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: Maintenance costs slain by electric motors?

Diesel-Electric drive on ships has been in common use for a long time - at least 20 years.

Pretty much every new-build cruise ship is that way - the exceptions are the gas turbine vessels, which have - you guessed it - gas turbines to generate instead of fuel-oil diesels.

Also, the manoeuvring thrusters have been electric for much, much longer.

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37,000-machine study finds most reliable Windows PC is a Mac

Richard 12
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Happy

Re: @JC_

Side-by-side is the solution to the DLL problem, and it works very well when used properly.

Given that you cannot guarantee binary* compatibility of all versions of a DLL with all versions of all programs that use it, you have two choices:

1) Install a copy of the DLL with every single application.

This uses lots of disk space (how many copies of the same release of MSVCP90.dll do you need?), and perhaps more importantly the user cannot (easily) update the DLLs to fix bugs.

The advantage is that the application will always use the exact same version it originally shipped with. One hopes that's also the version it was tested with!

2) Have a central repository of DLLs that maintains a list of all versions installed and ensures the most up to date binary compatible version is loaded by each program.

This saves disk space and means DLL updates can easily be applied - and rolled back.

The downside is that every program needs a correct manifest stating which version is binary compatible - and a bad application/installer can of course screw that up or forget it altogether!

3) Install the newest version of the DLL into a central repository and don't bother checking anything.

This will blow up in your face. Microsoft did finally learn that.

4) Compile everything from source so it all uses the same version of the DLL.

Not an option for proprietary software!

* Or source compatibility either.

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US Labor Dept website serving malware to innocent visitors

Richard 12
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Re: Swiss cheese internet anyone...?

How about just blocking all forms of webmail?

Ok, it doesn't stop idiots from using remote access from home machines to compromise your servers, but there usually isn't a business case for allowing any webmail on corporate networks and there are business reasons for blocking it (IP theft etc)

(Unless your corporate email is provided by one of these webmail services, in which case, $deity help you!)

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Picture this: Kodak could get out of bankruptcy as early as July

Richard 12
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Re: Sad, Really.

Hah! Domestic solar PV is completely irrelevant to the generating companies, the output from those isn't even a rounding error and that's unlikely to change in the next fifty years.

It does however mess with the supply/billing companies, because they have to pay out to the rich landlords who have them installed. Of course, they do it by cranking up everybody else's bills (yes, FITs are a near-pure 'steal from the poor' scheme).

At least in the UK, the larger-scale wind and PV installs cause massive headaches and expense for the distribution infrastructure as they both must buy all its output whenever available even though it's more expensive, rather than requesting it when needed at varying spot price (possibly negative) like everything else, and have to build out transmission to "the middle of nowhere" in order to do so.

National Grid are really pissed off at the Government, it comes through quite clearly in their publications.

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AMD reveals potent parallel processing breakthrough

Richard 12
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Re: Bittiness?

It's for their "APU"s, which are CPU with on-chip (possibly on die?) GPU.

So their GPU is already using the same physical memory bus and memory hardware as the CPU.

This isn't for discrete GPUs.

Looking at the list of partners, seeing ARM is very, very interesting - GPGPU in a Cortex A* is already very cool, and this would not only add go-faster stripes but severely reduce the CPU needed.

Anybody for 2-big.2-little.loads-of-titchy?

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Serial killer hack threat to gas pipes, traffic lights, power plants

Richard 12
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Re: Ah... Serial ports

I use serial-controlled devices regularly. It's part of my day job.

Most of them are 9600 baud, many are in fact an 8-bit PIC/Arduino class microcontroller. So yes, we really are talking single-digit MIPs and 100's KB RAM - less than your Microvax.

Nearly all of these serial links are intended for integration of disparate systems from different manufacturers.

Add encryption and both ends need to handle it.

If the link doesn't work, it needs "sniffing" to test it because one or both ends won't have any form of UI.

Unless the transmission itself is encrypted, then username/password is utterly useless because a trivial replay attack will crack it!

And in many cases, one end isn't made anymore.

The security belongs on the Internet connection device.

In most cases, it is simply not practical (or useful) on the serial link itself!

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Richard 12
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Re: Ah... Serial ports

You can't put useful security on the serial port itself, there isn't the CPU (or the bandwidth) in most devices.

Aside from that, even if you did it could not even begin to protect against man-in-the-middle or replay attacks without making the port itself useless for its intended purpose - namely simple interconnect between disparate systems.

Your TV probably has a serial port - it's for remote control like on/off and channel select when used in places like the Heathrow baggage area.

As long as that network stays private, the risk is easily mitigated. The trouble arises when the network is not private!

The security has to be in the serial-to-internet link, that's the only effective location.

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Richard 12
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Re: I know many systems using it.

What if the evil hacker just doesn't care about side effects?

If they just squirt some fairly random data at it until it responds, what happens?

A lot of these have a very simple command set, so the odds of a random data stream doing something are pretty good. In some cases even the bootloader or test modes might be exposed, so random data could even "brick" the kit by accident!

Many of the rest have normal terminals, complete with headers saying what they are - so a black hat could simply look up the manual for the equipment to find valid commands.

On top of that, most serial devices respond with things like "NACK" or "?" if they don't understand a request, and as many don't have much CPU, simply flooding the serial port can affect their ability to do whatever job they are doing.

Aside from that, a miscreant could easily prevent legitimate use of the device.

Either way results in a denial of service to a piece of physical plant, which could be quite dangerous.

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Ubuntu without the 'U': Booting the Big Four remixes

Richard 12
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Facepalm

Re: 119 MB is lightweight?

@ Liam - So I am. Whoops.

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Richard 12
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Re: 119 MB is lightweight?

Nope, 119MB of HDD after installing for the desktop complete with the default applications - so a full browser, office-type pack etc.

All of them are absolutely minuscule compared to Windows 7 and small compared to WinXP - our XP-Embedded image is much bigger than that without any applications at all.

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LivingSocial admits major hacking attack on customer database

Richard 12
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It takes some time

If there are a million user IDs stolen, and it takes the black-hat 1sec for their systems to try each one on all the sites they want to attack, it'll take them about 11.5 days to try them all.

So if you're in the second half, you might have a 5-day window. (Scale as appropriate)

If you're in the first few thousand tried you're stuffed, but everyone else may have a chance.

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What work? Tablet owners prefer to slack off with their slabs

Richard 12
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Facepalm

Re: Work Use

Netbooks were crippled by the tiny screen resolution. Whoever it was that decided netbooks should have a max. of 600 vertical pixels was either an idiot or deliberately trying to kill the form factor.

Had they gone the same resolution as tablets (1080p), they would be considerably more popular - certainly all our engineers would have them!

That said, I actually use tablets for work pretty often as they make great remotes for our equipment.

(Such as a building... You remember the Star Trek segments where somebody wanders down the corridor with a PADD controlling the starship? We do that today with Win7/8 tablets for ships and buildings.)

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Microsoft off the hook for billions in Motorola Mobility payout

Richard 12
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Incorrect, MS' patents have never gone to court

The closest they ever came was Barnes & Nobel, when a discovery phase began, but MS almost immediately settled by buying a stake in B&N.

If that isn't a "smoking gun" I don't know what is - if you actually have a case, you don't literally buy out the opposition!

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Master Beats: Why doesn't audio quality matter these days?

Richard 12
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Re: PC Audio

True, the processing needed is completely irrelevant these days.

However, the onboard DACs and line/headphone amps tend to be really rubbish, built as cheap as possible with noisy PSUs.

This doesn't matter though, as almost all of them have a digital audio output to feed into something with a decent set of DACs and amps - be it HDMI, SPDIF or optical.

Pretty much every discrete graphics card with an HDMI port has this capability, and the Realtek, nForce audio etc chipsets not only all have the digital output to connect it, but will "sound" exactly as good as anything else playing the same audio file.

Nobody needs a discrete sound card for good PC audio playback anymore - just a decent amp and speakers with digital audio input.

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Virgin Media: SO SORRY we fined your dead dad £10 for unpaid bill

Richard 12
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Re: Question

Cancelling Virgin Media without charges is really difficult.

Not as hard as cancelling BT, but nearly.

Being infirm and in a hospice, he will have had much more important things to do.

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Bogus gov online test tells people on dole they're just SO employable

Richard 12
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Have you put in the FOI request yet?

Asking for said evidence?

It would be very interesting to see it, given that the answers in the article bear suspicious resemblance to horoscopes!

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Black-eyed Pies reel from BeagleBoard's $45 Linux micro blow

Richard 12
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Re: Headline misses

Two chips on a Model A you mean, there's three on the Model B RPi - ok, one's stacked on top of another but you still gotta pay for 'em.

The large amounts of GPIO on this new Beagle are what makes it more interesting to me than the RPi, although I don't think the AM335x series can drive two framebuffer monitors, which is a shame.

It was the RPi that got all these new ultra-cheap SBCs started though, and for that I am eternally grateful.

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More and more likely that double CO2 means <2°C: New study

Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: I love people who deny the basic laws of Physics...

I give up. You clearly have no understanding of any of the components you mention or any of the terminology that you keep using, and appear incapable or unwilling to even try.

Build one yourself, and see how long it runs for - take a DC motor, DC dynamo and rechargeable battery, connect them up and try it.

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Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: I love people who deny the basic laws of Physics...

Zmodem, you genuinely have no idea what you're talking about.

Here is a simple proof: Follow the energy in your sketch.

Let's assume the following unreasonably high efficiencies for the equipment in the loop:

Wiring: 100% (superconducting)

The motor and dynamo: 99.9% of motor input electrical energy comes out the dynamo.

Battery and charger: 99.9% of input electrical energy can be discharged from the battery.

We will start with 1000 Joules of energy in the battery and assume no energy is consumed when starting the system.

After the dynamo, there are now 1000 * 0.999 = 999 Joules.

After the battery charge/discharge, there are now 999 *0.999 = 998 Joules

Then 997, 996, 995, 994...

Eventually it's all gone.

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Ofcom to UK: Really - you're using the same password for everything?

Richard 12
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True but misleading

For example, I only have six or seven online passwords, and most websites have the same one.

That's because they are ****y little websites where I don't care in the slightest if somebody uses my login, because the websites shouldn't even have one in the first place - and I'm guessing that most store them plaintext anyway.

I'd happily use the same login as everybody else on El Reg for many of them!

I'm sure everybody can think of several examples.

The other passwords are for places like this very forum where I do care about people impersonating me, and my online banking/payment where I very much care.

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Peak Apple: First 'profit slip' in a decade - and, boy, it's gonna be BIG

Richard 12
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Re: Wrong and Right

You do know that Guinness is a mass-market beer?

It should be compared to something like Budweiser or another beer you will find in every single bar in the country.

Mass-market beers are always like that - they have to be!

If you want to compare mid-market beers that are easily found but not completely ubiquitous, look for Fullers, Greene King, Black Sheep and the like.

If you want to compare micro-breweries, compare micro-breweries.

Although you are right on one thing - the US microbrewery market is doing much better than the UK one. Thankfully the UK microbrewers are slowly making a comeback, which can only be a good thing!

(And the ABV of a beer is irrelevant unless the intention is to get hammered or stay sober. It's all about the flavour!)

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Richard 12
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Re: Wouldn't.....

Nope, BSE was an EU and USA thing, spread by feeding cow products to cattle. I don't think anybody could ever find the original source, not enough data exists.

There was always more BSE in the good 'ole US of A than the UK - but that's only because there are more actual cows. The prevalence was similar.

The difference was that the UK admitted it existed, other countries tried to hide it.

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Richard 12
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Something new on the UI front

The big thing on the iPod and iPhone was the UI - jog wheel on iPod, clean touch-oriented UI on iPhone.

They weren't the only or even first ones doing either of these, but they did it very well.

Since then, basically nothing has changed - it's all minor tweaks, still staying close to the limits of the original hardware.

- Compare the home screens of an iPhone 5 to an iPhone 1. They are almost exactly the same!

It's no surprise that they are losing market share - even Microsoft has been more innovative than Apple in the last few years! Ok, MS are going full-speed in the wrong direction on the desktop, but in the tablet and phone space, they do have something that some people really like.

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Review: Nokia Lumia 720

Richard 12
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Re: Really !!!

The trouble with that approach is that it doesn't match what people really do.

Most people have a set of work contacts and a separate set of friends. They also often overlap.

I do not want to risk confusing replying to a FaceTweetSpace "Let's go out to XXX" with a work "We're meeting the customer at XXX".

A reply like "Cool, XXX is totes amazeballs" isn't suitable for one of those situations.

Perhaps the CxOs of such large companies as MS and Nokia don't ever have purely social engagements or socialise with colleagues, but most real people do.

For most people, keeping work email completely separate from social networking and personal email is a necessary function.

Ok, some do that by having two phones, but with the large physical size and short battery life of these things, that is becoming less practical.

To be honest, I don't really like that I have no way to properly separate my personal phonebook from my work contacts in the same phone, but at least that does have workarounds.

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Human rights groups rally humanity against killer robots

Richard 12
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Re: too late

Yes, it is too late in at least one field.

Anti-missile systems are already exactly this, because they don't work if they aren't - see HMS Sheffield for a tragic example of why humans can't do anti-missile.

You select a volume of space for them to check, the locations to protect and turn them on.

They then automatically fire upon and (hopefully) destroy any incoming items they recognise as an inbound missile.

There is no human in the loop, because by the time the meat-bag hears the alarm, it's too late for an anti-missile system to do anything.

Now, it's probable that the operator can order the anti-missile-missile to self-destruct after it's launched, but it's still very little time.

On the other hand, there is a difference between anti-missile systems and anti-tank etc. as there is a lot more time to identify the target before you need to open fire - although still not very much.

On the third hand, what are the military supposed to be defending against anyway?

Who has tanks and might invade a neighbour in the next fifty years? North Korea and Iran are about it!

The current and near-future threats are individuals or small to medium-sized groups (perhaps associated with international movements), not states.

Autonomous systems can't identify those, and really, neither can military personnel either - although they usually do better.

It's effective policing and peacekeeping forces that are really needed these days.

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BadNews, fandroids: MILLIONS of Google Play downloads riddled with malware

Richard 12
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Re: Come on El Reg

Two clocks on the home and lock screen.

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Shut the CANUCK up! Sony offers $1m to hacked gamers

Richard 12
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Joke

Re: £250,000 fine for losing 77 million credit card numbers

Most credit cards have 16 numbers on the front, so 77 million numbers would be about 4.8 million cards-worth.

Is that right?

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Malwarebytes declares Windows 'malicious', nukes 1,000s of PCs

Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: Cure worse than disease

Erm, MSE is the 'free for personal use' version of MS System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection.

It's no different to the other 'free version of paid corporate' AV systems.

As to whether it's any good - well, none of them are substitutes for good surfing practice.

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Foxconn must pay Microsoft for EVERY Android thing it makes

Richard 12
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Re: Hmmm....

Possibly because Google would see them in court, and Microsoft are worried that there's a significant chance that they would lose and the patents would be annulled - then facing possible legal challenges from everyone who previously licenced the patent on threat of legal action.

MS have a house of cards and they clearly know it from the B&N deal.

I'm not sure why Google don't step in, it might simply be because lawyers are expensive, and they don't want to fight unless they have to.

However, it may really be down to the NDAs - Google don't officially know which patents and as MS' accusations have never gone to court they can't file an amicus brief, and cannot step in another way without facing an expensive legal battle in which they do not know what they are defending against before starting it.

NDAs on these settlements are the truly evil part.

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Richard 12
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Re: Extortion

No, just their lawyers.

The coders just code, the cleaners just clean, the sysadmins just... etc.

It's not their fault, it's the legal dept and upper manglement - and quite possibly upper management don't really know either, as once a legal dept gets too big it starts to mutate and no longer truly serves its master, it becomes something evil.

Night of the living lawyer, coming soon to a cinema near you!

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O2 tries something completely new: Honesty

Richard 12
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It's like this in South America

You take out two contracts - the monthly "Sim", and the credit agreement to buy the handset.

This model does reduce the pressure to upgrade your handset - if you are going to keep paying £30 a month regardless of whether you get a new handset or not, you're going to get the new handset.

So I can see it being bad for operator lock-in, unless they go for the same underhanded "automatic new 2-year contract" that BT got gently told off for.

This is the logical extension of sim-only deals of course - and it might be good, as it should mean more choice of which phone you want on a given tariff.

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Ban drones taking snaps of homes, rages Google boss... That's HIS job, right?

Richard 12
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Re: So few comments?

No, he's utterly wrong.

Taking photos that deliberately invade the privacy of another is already illegal in most jurisdictions.

For example, one could stand on a hill with a really long lens to take pictures of somebody topless sunbathing in a private area - and it would be against the law.

It would break exactly the same law to use any other technology to get that same photo.

- Oddly, you'd get caught more easily if you used a drone - they are noisier and have less loiter time than a bloke with a monopod and 1m lens.

Banning drone photography would be fundamentally stupid - it's the same as banning cameras because you might hold one up over a fence.

It is the photo itself which could invade one's privacy, not the means used to take it.

Apart from the "fun police" aspect, there are many business opportunities opened up by using them - the most obvious utilitarian example being safe roofing and gutter inspections.

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Space elevators, vacuum chutes: What next for big rocket tech?

Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: Question 5

We know that there aren't any outright planet killers due in the next couple of centuries, and nothing excessively large in the next hundred years.

That's all.

We don't know if something big enough to effectively destroy our civilisation is going to hit in 150 years - and although I suppose I am conflating "species" with "civilisation" here, I think you'd agree that "civilisation falls" is still an apocalypse worth spending some energy avoiding?

We also don't know whether something big enough to wipe out a major city like London, New York, or Washington DC is going to hit tomorrow. That Russian meteor? Imagine if that had airburst directly over a major city at a lower altitude, instead of 'merely' ~25 km up and ~50 km away.

To really avoid those 'civilisation killers', and to even spot the 'citybusters' in time to simply evacuate, interplanetary space travel needs to be routine. Not the "launch a last-ditch heroic attempt to deflect atop quickly thrown-together rocket" we see in films, it has to be "Oh, that one's coming a bit close in fifty years, better start planning to send something to go deal with."

Even simply getting to an asteroid takes a year or two.

We only have around 100 years of clear time to do that - and given our current rate of progress, we won't make it.

I probably won't live to see it. But I want my kids to go to space - for a holiday, or even permanently.

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Richard 12
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Re: Question 5

25% in the long term, compared to the 0% long-term survival probability of the converse that we currently have.

A large asteroid strike is inevitable unless we have the technology to reliably redirect one. That takes routine extra-orbital space travel.

I say our current situation is the converse because over the last decade our politicians have been shoving us into various mapcap schemes to "preserve the planet" that simply don't work anyway because they don't scale anywhere near the size needed for current population, let alone predicted population, and in many cases actually seriously damage the environment!

Large numbers of people will die as a result of those policies - not because climate change is real, but because the methods to "stop" it that the politicians were backing are futile and harmful to people and the environment.

There is some hope - Hinkley C has been given the go-head, which is finally a zero-emissions* generating plant at the scale we need to stop the lights going out and people dying.

It'll be coming on stream too late though.

* Ignoring construction emissions, just like the wind and solar people.

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Richard 12
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Mushroom

Re: Space elevated....

Snapping a tethered cable space elevator near the bottom would do very little - it would simply start to slowly drift, and you'd need to grab it again within a few days or it might go too far away from your 'base' complex.

You'd need to break it much further up to do much damage - but break it far enough up and it'll wrap around the entire globe...

On the other hand, physically snapping the assembly near the base of a Space Fountain or Launch Loop would disintegrate quite spectacularly, as the dynamic stabilisation energy gets dumped into the remains of the base.

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Cutting CO2 too difficult? Try these 4 simple tricks instead

Richard 12
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Unhappy

Re: "Simple"?

They are the low-hanging fruit.

Reducing soot is easy - better filters on exhaust, higher quality fuels.

Reducing methane is even better - cap landfill and oil wells to capture the gas and burn it. For bonus points you could do something useful with the methane.

Unfortunately politicians do not actually care in the slightest about climate change. They want an excuse to do things.

The greenies are even worse - they actually want almost everybody to quietly drop dead. Or rather, that's the effect of the "hair shirts" they want to impose.

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FAA: 'No, you CAN'T hijack a plane with an Android app'

Richard 12
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Happy

Re: I was thinking this was bogus

The moving-map feed for the 'on-demand' entertainment is probably simply a separate GPS receiver.

- I'm reasonably sure it's separate because the height values have been wrong for my last few flights where it's been running on the ground.

Even if it does get the data direct from the flight instruments, the sane way to do this would be a unidirectional RS232 link - only one direction physically wired - streaming the current position and speed data into the moving map.

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Dubai splurges on 700hp, 217mph Lamborghini police cruiser

Richard 12
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Alert

Re: Cameras

They do have quite a lot of them, and unlike the UK they don't paint them yellow and they hide them fairly well.

However, the locals quickly figure out where they are - and even visitors spot them fast because it's where everybody suddenly brakes hard.

The speed traps that actually catch people are the 'mobile' ones the police set up at random.

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