* Posts by AndyS

379 posts • joined 23 Jun 2009

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Samsung’s consumer IoT vision – stupid, desperate, creepy

AndyS
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Re: Dumb ideas for IoT

I don't buy it. Buttons/dials on a microwave / washing machine / coffee maker? Cheap to make, work for the entire life of the machine, don't ever need upgraded, no compatibility problems, anyone (visitor, your gran, the new owner after you sell it on gumtree) can use it, no third party control device needed, etc etc. Replacing these with an (expensive) computer with all sorts of connection possibilities would lead to all sorts of headaches, all to solve a problem that doesn't really exist. If you find the buttons annoying, buy a slightly more expensive machine. Bingo, nice buttons.

As for "Who knows what the buttons do?" Try reading the manual? How would moving the buttons to a virtual app on another device solve this?

An intelligent car safety system certainly has benefits, but isn't really internet of things. These things already exist - TPMS that adjust torque based on tyre pressure, traction control that senses road surface etc. But you know what? Just because my car can tell me I need new tyres, doesn't mean I will actually go and get new tyres. And I certainly don't want my car deciding I'm not allowed to drive any more once it decides the tyres are too low, or the wrong brand, or too old. That sort of nonsense is already bad enough with printers.

Finally, try living in a country with no MOT (eg bits of Africa, some less developed Middle East countries, and large chunks of the good ol' USA) and then tell me it's just "Monty Python safety theatre". It most certainly is not. And no amount of intelligence in the car will change that.

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AndyS
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The thing about turning something on before I get home is there is always something else that needs done first.

Turn the oven on? Great, so you've already taken the chicken out of the freezer last night, mixed a nice marinad, soaked it for a couple of hours, choped the veg, laid it on a tray and placed it in the oven?

No? All you can do is turn on the oven?

Because I can already achieve that, with a thing called a "timer."

Likewise, if I want a coffee brewed in the morning, I can, you know, brew a coffee in the morning. Or if I really don't want to, I can use that other thing again - a timer.

I'm with Andrew. I don't currently see any need for the sorts of things these companies are hawking.

Where I do enjoy more intelligent devices is music, TV, media storage etc (eg Chromecast, NAS drives etc). But those are all well developed products, already on the market, and aren't sold with the IoT.

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Parrot drone pwned (and possibly killed) with Wi-Fi log-in

AndyS
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Donald Trump dumps on Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg

AndyS
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Re: "...details a plan to build a wall between the United States and Mexico."

A true Republican project. Oppose spending on all infrastructure (that's Socialism, after all) and government expansion (that's practically Communism), unless the project happens to be a short-sighted, contradictory, xenophobic, fear-led isolationist insult to your closest neighbours. Then, hey, where's the cheque-book?

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Mozilla testing very private browsing mode

AndyS
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Is this the same as what is currently achieved with a few plugins, while in Private mode? I'm all in favour of core functionality, which is currently provided by plugins, being incorporated into the parent software.

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And on that bombshell: Top Gear's Clarkson to reappear on Amazon

AndyS
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Re: Oh well, at least you get to watch some fun TV whilst waiting for a delivery...

@ Stevie - interesting ramble, thanks. I enjoyed most of it. Could have been more relevant (this being a UK website discussing a UK TV show which has been ousted from the BBC), but hey, I value your effort.

6/10

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Bug hunter reveals Apple iTunes, Mac app store receipt deceit

AndyS
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Re: Huh?

True, but it doesn't change the fact that the data isn't sanitised.

There is also the other side of the coin - people other than the purchaser may view the receipt. It would be a good way of hacking somebody who is selling things, for example. Change your device name, buy something, then raise a query and ask them to view your invoice.

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Thought YOU'd had rude service in France? Ce n'était RIEN, M'sieu Pantalons Malodorants

AndyS
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Re: Mangue des baguettes.

Not sure why Jewish would ever be relevant, so I can see why that would be listed as potentially worrying. However I've worked in a call centre, and someone having a strong accent most certainly is relevant.

As is someone being a bitch, an alcoholic, etc - but it was normal to find more generic and acceptable wording. For example, "customer has problems accepting known resolutions to their issues, and does not indicate their doubts in a polite manner."

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OnePlus 2: The smartie that's trying to outsmart Google's Android

AndyS
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Re: Nice

@Peter Galbavy

Sounds interesting, sounds interesting... Wait... $80 for a charger?!

What problem does this solve again?

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Automattic says spooks asked for something it can't reveal

AndyS
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Re: Exposing Enemy Action?

Mark, although he seems to have gained a bit more AI recently, you should know that amanfrommars is a bot, which posts seemingly intelligent comments based on parsing the text in the article and other comments, sometimes with more success than others.

In this case, he approaches something like a coherant question, which is interesting, but the last few words let him down - replace "privileged and proprietary information" with "personal user information" and the comment would be perfect.

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Now car hackers can bust in through your motor's DAB RADIO

AndyS
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Re: Need to apply basic secure design principles.

I worked for a few years developing new drivetrain components, so let me chime in.

Firstly, the address from which a CAN signal is sent can be spoofed. The engine we were using, as is standard, would only accept commands from a limited number of places, including up to a maximum of 2 transmission controllers (with allowable source addresses hard-coded into the engine ECU). Once we knew that, we simply told our component to pretend to be the second transmission. Bingo. Complete control over the engine.

Secondly, the messages that control a drivetrain are completely standardised. Once you understand it ( see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAE_J1939 ), you can figure out pretty much how to make the engine, gearbox etc do anything you want it to. If you have a compromised node in the powertrain CAN system, I don't think there is any way currently to protect against it.

From this point of view, separation of the essential (powertrain) systems from non-essential (infotainment, radios, lights, HEVAC etc) systems on separate CANs, with a carefully designed translator between them, strikes me as the only sensible way forward.

Now on heavy vehicles, this is already done, as there are so many components, from different manufacturers, each with their own complete ECUs that a single CAN would be too crowded (there are probably dozens of other attack vectors though, as there are so many programmable ECUs around). But in cars, where the engine, gearbox and other functions are often run from one super-ECU, and so less communication is required between them, there is more room to put other things on that CAN. So it's technically feasible to only have one CAN, and of course it's cheaper.

Once exploits like this become more public, and especially if they are used in the wild, I would expect the security of these systems to increase massively.

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Universal Pictures finds pirated Jurassic World on own localhost, fires off a DMCA takedown

AndyS
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Reg readers will know...

...that there is nobody more pedantic than a Reg reader.

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Jeep drivers can be HACKED to DEATH: All you need is the car's IP address

AndyS
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Re: "If there's a shiny new Jeep Cherokee sitting in your driveway..."

" If the air-con pump seizes there is no way to re-route the drive belt to bypass it. So then you die."

What?

What about if the cylinder head cracks, or if the sump plug falls out, or if debris from a repaired radiator blocks the thermostat, or if the transmission fluid leaks out, or or or...

There are many ways an engine can fail. And even a failed engine is no excuse to die in the desert. Never heard of a back-up plan? If you think a failed aircon pump will kill you, maybe you shouldn't really be driving into the desert to start with.

And to address that particular one, I'm pretty sure I could un-seize a pump well enough to let the pulley turn again if I needed to that badly. I'm talking from experience, having nursed two 18 year old hiluxes from the UK to South Africa, with plenty of bush repairs including, wait for it, a seized aircon pump, a cracked cylinder head, and all the other failures listed above.

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Robot surgeons kill 144 patients, hurt 1,391, malfunction 8,061 times

AndyS
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Re: Wot?

Why not try to fit in, or contrast, with UDF?

I propose Illicit Robotic Abandonment.

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An EPIC picture of Earth, sunny side up, from one MEEELLION miles out

AndyS
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Re: Eclipse.

Unless I'm misunderstanding, during an eclipse a camera there would see nothing but moon. If you stood on the sun (not recommended), the earth would be exactly covered by the moon. If you moved further to the far side of the sun, and could see through it, the moon would not cover the earth, but if you move towards Earth, the moon would appear to more than cover the earth's disk.

So... All you would see is the far side of the moon, well lit. Maybe with a little tiny shadow of yourself.

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UK.gov makes total pig's ear of attempt to legalise home CD ripping

AndyS
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Re: Has anybody ever been convicted of format shifting?

That is presumably why the government, having spent pocket money (despite Orlowski's insistance, a couple of hundred thousand is pennies on the scale of a country the size of ours) with a weak argument to try and see if they could sort out the problem, have shrugged their shoulders and walked away.

After all, if the record industry want to play silly buggers, the government doesn't need to let them. Just ignore them. As you point out, it's not like anything really needs to change.

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AndyS
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Re: Fair use

To add to what you've said, quoting the article:

"What will happen now remains to be seen"

No, it doesn't. What will happen is exactly what has been happening for the last 15+ years. People will correctly continue to assume that, once they've bought something, they own it.

"Content creators" be damned. If I need to "compensate" them for the fact that I don't need to buy 2 or 3 identical copies, then I first want to be "compensated" for the time I have to spend removing DRM, ripping, and organising my digital library.

The only other model I would be happy with is a small levy, combined with complete decriminalisation of pirating. After all, if the assumption is that I'm going to copy stuff, and I have to compensate the people whose stuff I'm assumed to be copying, you can be sure I will do so.

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Reg top tip: Don't have the same name as someone else if you use Facebook's Instagram

AndyS
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Re: @ Stoneshop (was: One wonders ...)

Wait, so you're not a Tea-bagger? I always assumed you were, sort of, everything trollish, all rolled into one. Which obviously would inherently include tea bothering.

:p

On a side note, not sure I understand your actual complaint - obviously if there are 2 users, jake and Jake, then The Reg clearly does understand the difference, and treat them differently.

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AndyS
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Re: Good parting advice

I see I'm being downvoted, so feel the need to clarify - my comment wasn't an attempt to defend Instagram/Facebook etc (their behaviour is truly appalling) but to look at why problems like this keep occurring, and what is causing them. As Isces points out problems like this are endemic to badly designed automated systems (placenames like Scunthorpe being famous, but countless people have had their own names deemed "inappropriate" too).

The obvious solution, as Laura says, is "a bloody good slap." Which is where the viral stuff comes in, by exponentially increasing the risk.

However the issue is that can only work so often; the problem is so widespread, and the reward so high, that even the occasional beating won't make it go away. Which leaves a pretty nasty taste.

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AndyS
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Good parting advice

"I think if Instagram had responded in time all this could have been avoided."

This is undoubtedly true, but of course responding personally, to every single request for help, would cost an absolute fortune.

It's interesting. With many of the massive web-based corporations, from review websites through social media to new airlines, customer service seems to be an afterthought. However the ability for exceptional cases to go viral can, occasionally, bite them hard.

The risk/reward analysis must be pretty complex. There must be a PhD in there somewhere.

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eBay's new plan: sell the shirt off your back

AndyS
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Re: Some of us have no option ...

Just to add... Your situation sounds awful. But it's worth noting that you don't need to be hard up to be happy going second hand.

Like many, I have an income that can support my family well. However, many of my own and my kids clothes are from charity shops or (especially the kids) hand-me-downs from other family members, friends etc.

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AWS opens gate to fondleslabs-as-a-service farm

AndyS
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Never mind the cost, I'm not sure how automatic testing could ever get the same level of detail as a grubby-hands-on-glass test. Want to know what happens when a user unexpectedly presses the back button before the dialogue is dismissed? Want to know how the app behaves when data is lost mid transmission? What happens if it is put into aeroplane mode?

I get that many classes of bugs can be squashed by automated testing, but not all. And surely the ones that can be caught automatically are likely to be cross device, while the ones affecting individual device models are more likely to be the odd-balls?

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Chromecast gains wired Ethernet dongle

AndyS
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Re: Pile of smelly dung.

I'm not an amazon "hater", I spend quite a lot of money there and generally get on well with them.

However, to explain my downvote, this is a discussion about Chromecast. Flaming it, promoting a basically equivalent thing, and then suggesting anyone who downvotes you must be a "hater" isn't exactly a worthwhile contribution.

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AndyS
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From what I can tell, you're arguing that because your hardware is so outdated that it can't play videos (which means it is, what, 5 years old?), then Chromecast isn't useful to you.

Leaving aside that this means you're mirroring the screen directly, which isn't really what Chromecast is best at, this is like arguing that you don't like this newfangled petrol, because your horse can't drink it.

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AndyS
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We use a Chromecast with a £7 adaptor from Amazon in order to stream music around our house. Much more reliable than bluetooth, with longer range - doesn't cut out if you go to the far side of the room, close a door, pour a glass of water etc.

Adding the hardware to Chromecast directly would add expense which isn't needed, when the market is full of adaptors with any type of audio-out that you could want.

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AndyS
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Re: Go wired!

Easier? The others I'll give you, but if you really think wired networks would be easier for mobile devices than wireless (you're replying to someone suggesting this for phones and tablets), you maybe need your brain re-wired.

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AndyS
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Things like Chromecast are only so cheap because they can be made in the millions, with identical hardware. Start splitting into multiple models and the cost will jump, especially for the ethernet version (which will sell far fewer versions). So you'll have the standard version (£25), and the ethernet version (£40). And lots of people will complain about why the ethernet one is so much more expensive.

This adaptor, on the other hand, is cheap because it is simple. The base price for the chromecast is the same, and it's obvious what you're paying the extra £15 for.

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Link farmers bust Google search algos

AndyS
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This should be a pretty simple fix for Google

Presumably all* they need to do is adapt the algorithms they use for busting this stuff in HTML, so that they can also apply to PDFs (and presumably all other text-based file formats too).

*values of "all" may vary.

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Intel's tablet CPU share to DROP: analyst

AndyS
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Re: How to win when you can't win

And which ISA do you expect the kernel to run on, precisely?

Well obviously, the kernel will run inside a virtual machine, emulating the full x86 instruction set at all times.

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Bootnote: The Land of the Free - Ha!

AndyS
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Nice historic comment.

You could also take the current-day approach of looking at prison population which, at around 1% of all adults, is by far the highest of any developed country, at around 5 times the average (and almost exactly 5 times the rate in the UK).

Source: http://www.prisonstudies.org/highest-to-lowest/prison_population_rate

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Norks execute underperforming terrapin farm manager

AndyS
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Putting aside the absurdity of the punishment...

...why does North Korea (attempt to) farm terrapins anyway?

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7/7 memories: I was on a helpdesk that day and one of my users died

AndyS
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Re: Also on a helpdesk

I was graduating in Glasgow on that day. My friend's girlfriend was in London (luckily unhurt) and her texts started coming through as we streamed out of the hall. In the middle of our celebration, nobody realised until much later in the day how serious it had been.

While we remember it, let's also remember the many thousands who are still attacked daily round the world. More people have been killed in suicide attacks in Baghdad in the last week, than were killed that day 10 years ago. Just yesterday, Saudi Arabia killed another 30 people (running a tally of 3,000) in a market place in Yemen.

Every one is heart wrenching.

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AndyS
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Re: Many people involved in IT have seen this kind of thing.

You missed the "facts" that he'd also personally trained the search and rescue dogs, and was a volunteer firefighter, but "The Authorities (TM)" decided to deploy him for his tech skilz.

Perhaps if, when he'd been designing the Twin Towers, he'd incorporated more flame-retardant linings on structural members, or maybe if he'd given more thought to hijackings when finalising the flight-controls and cockpit-access details of the Boeing 757, we wouldn't have been in this mess in the first place.

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Reddit meltdown: Top chat boards hidden as rebellion breaks out

AndyS
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Assuming you're not being sarcastic:

You share a link, question, or picture, and people can discuss it. What makes it unique is every user can vote on every post and comment, so everything is sorted by how new and popular it is. Votes count more early on, and less as time passes, so new, interesting content (and comments) tend to rise to the top.

There are nearly 10,000 "subreddits" (essentially forums), set up and moderated by people as they wish. So, there are niche corners for pretty much everything you can think of. Some of them spark very interesting, useful and worthwhile conversations. Some don't.

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AndyS
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Re: Shame

Do you comment on them all, just to prove how little you care?

Who do you think cares about how little you care?

Do you really care so much about how little you care, that you need us all to know?

Why do you care so much more about the fact that you don't care, than you care about the thing you don't care about?

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Wake up, sheeple! If you ask Siri about 9/11 it will rat you out to the police!

AndyS
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Re: This is not about Siri....

You're right. What do you think we should do about it?

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AndyS
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I also would have thought asking a question like "Tell me about nine eleven" could quite easily be sorted from a statement like "call nine one one," and the second layer applied only to the first, more ambiguous questions.

Of course, if our dearly beloved cousins over the pond would use a sensible date format (none of this silly middle-endian nonsense) this problem would never arise. Harder to confuse "eleventh September" with "nine nine nine." Or even "nine one one."

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Online gov services are mostly time-wasting duplicates, says EU

AndyS
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"Why am I more likely to make a type in my email address than anything else?"

Apparently, you're not.

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NatWest IT cock-up sees 600,000 transactions go 'missing'

AndyS
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Re: Surely I can't be the only one worrying..

The last time RBS did this it affected all payments, in and out. So it wasn't about whether you had money, but whether you could access it.

I worked with a guy who banked with Ulster, who had plenty of money but for around two weeks his debit card wouldn't work, his account made no payments, and he couldn't get cash out. His family loaned him cash to keep going, but he defaulted on his rent, on his car payment, etc.

One day shouldn't cause the world to melt, but a week or two will cause serious problems for anyone with regular payments.

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The insidious danger of the lone wolf control freak sysadmin

AndyS
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Maybe it's more topical than you think.

Maybe the team was at RBS, and Tim was in charge of the account transactions code.

Again.

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British banks consider emoji as password replacement

AndyS
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Re: I'm still trying to wrap my head around

"Our research shows 64 percent of millennials regularly communicate only using emojis."

Really?

Well... I know I've been guilty, in my distant past, of sending simply a smile as a text. Something like this:

Alice: You still ok to meet at 8?

Bob: :)

It's not like complex sentences and refined thoughts are _always_ required to count as communication. A simple yes/no can be represented in a thousand ways, and many quick texts consist of nothing more.

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Sunday Times fires off copyright complaint at Snowden story critics

AndyS
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Re: Conspiracy Theory of the Day

Username is different - the rant came from "Antonymous Coward," not "Anonymous Coward." The apology was from Anon.

Don't know what someone would gain by pretending to be someone else and apologising for being a knob, but there we go.

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Net neutrality? Meh. But don't you dare slow my video streaming

AndyS
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It would be interesting to see the questions in the survey. It's very easy to prove anything with the right inputs:

Do you want:

a) Lots of internet for a low price, with well managed network profiling to keep it stable,

b) Slow internet where everything is broken and it costs more, and the young'uns watching porn can make Granny's 999 call drop off, leaving her to die cold and alone on the kitchen floor.

Hey, look at my groundbreaking research! Consumers don't want net neutrality!

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What an eyeful: Apple's cut price 27in iMac with Retina Display

AndyS
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In this case it was to run a fair, back-to-back benchmark against other machines they have tested.

Running a benchmark in an emulator would be a bit... Unfair.

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Airbus confirms software brought down A400M transport plane

AndyS
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Re: Every engine the same, but different

Sounds interesting, any chance of a link to the forum?

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NATS ignored previous recommendations – IT cock-up report

AndyS
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Re: another privatisation success - not

There should be a rule against privatising organisations with the word "National" in the title.

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First production car powered by Android Auto rolls out – and it's a Hyundai

AndyS
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Re: Why?

"...from what I can see all that does is make repairing any faults very expensive"

Yup, and there have been no advances in emissions, power management, engine performance, reliability etc in the last 20 years. None at all. Right.

"In fact I know of a garage that has a thriving sideline of removing all the electronics from the engine going back to all manual..."

No you don't. Some garages will "chip" a car, this means either putting new parameters into the existing ECU or, more drastically, putting in a whole new after-market ECU. Nobody makes a living removing the electronics from modern engines.

"...and getting better emissions readings than those of the controlled engine"

Now you're roving into bullshit territory. Even if an engine (and in fact therefore the whole car) was re-engineered at a cost of many times the vehicle's value, there is simply no way that the engine performance could be improved. Reliability and maintainability perhaps (electronics are certainly more specialised than pure mechanical engines). But not emissions or performance. Or do you think manufacturers simply throw £100s or £1000s of computers at modern cars just for fun, when your mate in a local garage can do a better job without them?

"emission control is the basic reason for all the engine electronics in the first place"

Didn't you just say you can improve emissions by ripping out the electronics? And now you're saying the electronics are only there to improve emissions? I think you need to up your medication.

As to why we need this, try reading the article. It runs the infotainment. It has nothing to do with the EEC, ECU, or any of the other electronics running the car.

In the mean time, until you've read and understood the article, stop spouting rubbish.

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Finally! It's the year of Linux on the desktop TITSUP

AndyS
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Mandrake (as it was then) was my first stable, daily Linux distro, which I used for a couple of years around 2004 ish. It was extremely good back then, and after Red Hat went enterprise only, formed a serious competitor to Fedora.

However, Knoppix drew me to the "dark side" of Debian and (like, I would guess, the vast majority of users in my position), I've finally retired into a comfortable Ubuntu ecosystem.

Sad to see it go.

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Win Phone to outgrow smartmobe market for next four years

AndyS
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Re: Bovine Excrement.

Also known as "this report doesn't fit my world view, so it must be rubbish."

The interesting thing about reports and predictions from experts is that, sometimes, if you listen to them, they can tell you something you didn't already know. But I guess if you already know everything, they're not much use to you.

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RAF Eurofighter gets a Battle of Britain makeover

AndyS
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Re: eh?

> It looks to me like the hurricane might have been Photoshopped in...

I hate it when people jump to that conclusion. It massively devalues what you are looking at, and dismisses any interesting questions raised, or any amazement at the photo, simply because you personally don't know a great deal about photography or the subject matter.

There is no reason to think this isn't a legit photo. It was taken with a telephoto lens, from another plane. Long lenses have the effect of appearing to "compress" subjects together, making it hard to tell how far apart they actually are.

Very likely there's one or two wingspans between the aircraft, and the Eurofighter is also significantly behind the Hurricane.

Note that I'm not saying it is, definitely, a real photo, but just that jumping to the conclusion it isn't, without any evidence, is premature and pointless.

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