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* Posts by Tom 38

2440 posts • joined 21 Jul 2009

Move over, Apple Pay: Tesco trials PayQwiq phone-flash pay app

Tom 38
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Solution looking for a problem

There is little I want less than contactless payment systems. If my bank send me a contactless card I will cut it up and send them back to them, if they don't catch on I'll switch bank, if no banks will offer non contactless I'll stop using debit cards and go back to depositing my pay in cash and doing counter withdrawals.

For months, TFL have been banging on about "card clash" and ensuring that we don't keep our oyster card near our credit cards - why would I want a system that means I need to have two wallets and with the added fun of easily being charged twice, it is just moronic.

What is the "friction of paying for things"? The only difference between contactless and chip+PIN is that you push the card in to a reader and tap in a PIN - how much friction can happen in 3 seconds?

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Ab phab: Apple is Britain's coolest brand YET AGAIN

Tom 38
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Re: Idiots

I assure you, Android is a brand. Have you never seen the little green android icon? This is called branding. Google even tell you how they want you to use it.

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Tom 38
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When things become less exclusive it is time for a change.

Surely it is time for a change when the device no longer does what you want it to do - or to put it another way, doesn't this just show that you valued the exclusivity of the device more than the functionality?

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Half a BILLION in the making: Bungie's Destiny reviewed

Tom 38
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Headmaster

Re: Why does the Moon have gravity?

Sorry to be an absolute pedant, but my statement "All physical bodies with mass exert a gravitational effect on other physical bodies with mass" does not in fact preclude physical bodies with mass from exerting a gravitational effect on other things, things that perhaps are not relevant to modelling a video game?

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Tom 38
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Headmaster

Why does the Moon have gravity?

All physical bodies with mass exert a gravitational effect on other physical bodies with mass. I guess your question is really "why does the Moon have so much gravity in-game?", to which the answer is "gameplay is crap without it".

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India vs America: Earthling invaders in race to MARS

Tom 38
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I'm sorry, I think the US should be spending it's cash on bringing the basic necessities to it's provincial population before it piles billions into space.

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Hey, Mac fanbois. HGST wants you drooling over its HUGE desktop RACK

Tom 38
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Re: A little (bad) math

Well done, you've completely ignored the enclosure cost per bay, which includes many things and varies depending on how many bays you require - HBA controller to support that many drives, enclosures to plug in to HBA, ((140*3)/16)U rack space for enclosures, increased PDU demands....

For a system with 140 drives, you would need to have triple redundancy, because you also need to take in to account a single enclosure or HBA dropping away temporarily, by increasing redundancy, distributing disk arrays across enclosures and going multipath to the disks.

Then, after a year of use, look forward to replacing a hard drive at least every other month.

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iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!

Tom 38
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Re: WebGL Demo

My favourite is the eye:

http://www.vill.ee/eye/

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A SCORCHIO fatboy SSD: Samsung SSD850 PRO 3D V-NAND

Tom 38
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Re: Return of the Ramdisk?

SSDs (even consumer, especially prosumer like this) have supercaps to handle this, and they do not have large write cache like spinning HDD (its virtually just as easy to actually write it than to store it in a cache, and then write it), so you do not have so many problems with corruption due to "synched" writes actually only making it to the write cache.

Most modern OS have available a COW filesystem, combined with supercaps this makes unexpected power out whilst writing actually behave better on an SSD system than a HDD system.

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Yawn, Wikileaks, we already knew about FinFisher. But these software binaries...

Tom 38
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Re: BSD

Remind me again what kernel underlies OSX and IOS (not the Cisco one)?

OS X runs on a kernel called XNU, iOS on a kernel called Darwin; both are derived from Mach. Not sure you know what your point is....

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Tom 38
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Devil

Multiple platforms (Windows, Mac and Linux) and smartphone OSes (Android, BlackBerry and, yes, iOS) are supported by malware used by police and intelligence agencies around the world

Typical, like everyone else they completely ignore the BSDs ;)

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Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s

Tom 38
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Why this fascination on the panel? Selling panels is a mugs game, people tend not to regularly upgrade their panel, people tend not to make impulse panel buys.

If Apple do make a play, it will be if they can get media exclusives/cheap content/pay TV for Apple TV and make a concerted UI, interface and apps push.

Yep, still looking quite unlikely that the TV/film media will willingly throw themselves on the fire.

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Work in the tech industry? The Ukraine WAR is coming to YOU

Tom 38
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Re: Sanctions

Yes, they strengthen the regime's INTERNAL hold on power, but it significantly weakens them with respect to the outside world, especially in smaller cases (Cuba, N korea) with limited local resources.

And it's worked well in Cuba hasn't it? 50 years on, the US's crushing sanctions have.... done fuck all.

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Tom 38
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Re: Sanctions @Vladimir Plouzhnikov @BlueGreen

I suspect they took Crimea out of self interest since the black sea fleet is based there, which sort of begs the question why they ever gave the place to Ukraine in the first place.

Khrushchev, who grew up in Donbas, was drunk one day in the 50s, thought it might be funny and never considered that Ukraine would ever not be part of Russia.

It's like putting your nuclear subs in Faslane, oh wait....

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Moto 360: Neat gizmo – if you're a rich nerd

Tom 38
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I can think of one use (a whole 1!): Exercise. If you want to listen to your tunes as you go jogging, you've got several options currently: waistband (eurgh), in your pocket (eurgh + broken phone when it eventually falls out), in your backpack (eurgh) or strapped on to your arm¹ like you are some kind of cyborg (actually, I kind of fancy being some kind of cyborg).

A touch sensitive watch that beams my cheesy 90s eurodance to my headphones would be dead neat. Plus, it would actually be in a place that you can look at and touch, so you don't look like a wally trying to prod your arm because you've somehow put "Scooter" on repeat.

Not sure it is £200 worth of dead neat though.

¹ Interestingly, I was going for the anatomically pedantically correct definition of the "upper arm" (this is The Register after all). Turns out it is "arm" - the bit below the elbow apparently is not part of your arm, but your "forearm". Who knew?

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Video: Dyson unveils ROBOTIC TANK that hoovers while you're out

Tom 38
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Alien

Re: 420 patent applications

I think Tom's point was that the way you get 420 patents from a vacuum cleaner that uses a bunch of existing concepts, is to split each any every conceivable 'invention' into the smallest possible parts

No, it was really just about getting baked. Weekend anyone?

Nuke smoking alien from Mars Attacks! --->

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Tom 38
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Joke

Re: 420 patent applications

420 patent applications...

"A method of blowing glass to create a system for cooling and diffusing airborne solid and liquid particulates and gasses resulting from combustion of plant matter"

"A method of arranging sheets of gummed rice paper in an innovative fashion in order to create conical tubes of plant matter"

"A method of controlling a heating element in order to keep the contents of a crucible at between 126°C and 186°C in an enclosed container"

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FCC boss Wheeler: Lack of broadband choice is screwing Americans

Tom 38
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Re: Wheeler is right!

Is it? I would have thought that it was clearer that broadband is cheaper and easier to provision in high population density areas like Seoul (45k people per square mile) than Austin (2k people per square mile) or London (13k).

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Tom 38
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Re: Monopoly

Mind you back in the day (1999) broadband was defined as 2mb/s, that's all I have in the sticks. Why this focus on high bit rates mystifies me. Yes 25meg is better than 2 meg, but like the joke goes, it's not the size but what you do with it...

"What you do with it" depends really on "What you can do with it". You can do less with dialup than you can do with a 0.5 Mbit DSL, which can do less than a 2 Mbit DSL, which can do less than a 20 Mbit DSL, which can do less than a 80 Mbit FTTC, which can do less than a synchronous Gbit FTTH.

I've had all 6 of those connections throughout my life¹ and the utility that you can achieve from each differs - its not just "doing more at the same time", each step up enables you to do things that the previous grade does not

0.5Mbit -> 2 Mbit enables poor quality but usable skype

2Mbit > 20 Mbit enables HD skype

20 Mbit -> 80 Mbit enables HD video streaming and multi-user scenarios

80 Mbit -> 1 Gbit enables cancelling the data centre servers, running VPNs at home for travel iplayer, consumption of my home media from anywhere, HD home surveillance video - I haven't even barely touched the surface of what I can do with it yet.

The ironic thing is that as consumers we have already paid enough to have covered this entire country in fibre from home to home, but we consider it anathema to have the state spend that money on infrastructure, and rather spaff it over a succession of large corporations who "build value" (in themselves).

¹ Yes, you do have to live in specific buildings in specific areas to get synchronous gigabit home broadband. It wasn't top of my list when buying a house, and they didn't even mention it until I had put the deposit down - although I knew at a minimum it would have BT FTTC²

² BT FTTC is a truly shocking product, 300 Mbit down, 20Mbit up. There is no technical reason like there is for FTTC for the upload speed to be asynchronous, it is only to limit you to a "consumer" connection where all you can do is consume crap like BT Vision. Any of the compelling things I outlined above, that should be possible with such a connection are made impossible so that you continue sucking the BT teats. Plus it's like £70 a month - I don't even pay that for gigabit.

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YES, I have ridden the UNICORN: The Ubuntu Utopic unicorn

Tom 38
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Re: so many versions

There are two things, "Linux", which is the kernel itself and "GNU/Linux", which is the combination of the kernel and the userland (programs that the user runs).

Each distribution (Ubuntu, Debian, Red Hat) will take the Linux kernel source, maybe modify it with special sauce (note: NOT secret sauce, it's all out there), compile it, take user software packages, perhaps modify them with special sauce, compile them, package them all up in to bundles that can be installed, and provide an installer to install those packages.

Each distribution is responsible for providing packages of software, and backporting security fixes from that package. Each distribution makes its own choice about that; things like Gentoo will simply provide the most recent version of a package, eg Apache httpd 2.2.29 is the most recent release of Apache httpd 2.2, and Gentoo will provide that.

Other distributions, eg Red Hat Enterprise Linux, will have chosen a specific version of Apache httpd 2.2 to stick to (in RHEL 6, it is 2.2.15), and each time a new version of Apache is released, Red Hat engineers merge back any bug fixes and security fixes back to that version and release a new package.

The contrast to this is the BSD approach. Each of the BSD projects provides at least two things, a kernel and a "world". All of the software is "owned" by the BSD project, even when it is actually "vendor" code (code taken from elsewhere), and is developed and distributed in sync with each other. You can take a single export of source code of FreeBSD and build the entire kernel, userland, installer etc. There is more of a distinction between OS code, and 3rd party code.

Eg, gzip is part of the OS in FreeBSD. The program binary lives in /usr/bin/gzip, its source code can be found in /usr/src/usr.bin/gzip, and it is maintained by the FreeBSD project team. Apache httpd is not part of the OS, you must install a package to get it, and the binary lives in /usr/local/sbin/httpd.

On RHEL, both gzip and httpd are packages you can install (gzip being installed by default) or remove, no different to any other program.

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Don't buy that phone! It ATTRACTS CRIMINALS, UK.gov will tell people

Tom 38
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Re: Here's an idea....

what if they actually had policemen walking the beats they normally drive around in their cars?

How would they do their usual "you're walking funny in a hoody, so I'm going to drive alongside you at walking pace for the entire length of the street just to fuck with you" move if they aren't in a car though?

I shouldn't complain though, a) they're probably reading b) at least I'm not black, which seems to mean you get the drive by followed by a stop'n'search.

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iCloud fiasco: 100 FAMOUS WOMEN exposed NUDE online

Tom 38
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Re: Yes.

…if the girl was that drunk then consent was impossible so it "must" be rape

On one hand, too drunk to give consent is rape. On the other hand, too drunk to remember drunkenly giving consent is not rape. On the third hand, drunk enough to want to sleep with him, but sobers up quickly is definitely not rape. Tricky to distinguish between the three.

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Not even CRIMINALS want your tablets, Blighty - but if that's an iPhone you're waving...

Tom 38
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Re: Stating the obvious

I get that legally it is "theft", but that is mainly because of how laws are structured.

Each month the government takes money from me that belongs to me. The reason it is not theft is that they have passed laws to say that in this case they can deprive me of my possessions legally. You could argue this isn't the same, that I have given them permission...

if the government passed a law that said that unattended items in public are considered abandoned, then it is no longer someone else's possession, and so the person who takes it is simply recycling/cleaning up waste.

I'm not saying they should; I guess what most riles me is that there are times that your phone is actually stolen - someone grabs it out of your hand or physically threatens you - and in those situations, it would be handy to have mobile phone insurance so that it can easily be replaced.

However, purchasing mobile phone insurance means subsidising those in society who do not treat their phone as a stack of 25x£20 notes that they carry around in their pocket. No thanks.

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Tom 38
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Re: Stating the obvious

German pickpockets will place your iphone back in your pocket, along with a flyer indicating 24 reasons why you should purchase an android next time..

Seriously though:

a) Phone theft is an opportunistic crime

b) iphone is vastly less popular in Germany

c) iphones are very popular amongst the kind of demographic in the UK that would do daft things like leave their mobile unattended in a bar

I don't think that last one is even theft, it is wealth redistribution by lack of intelligence.

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Govt waves stick at pirate-friendly Google search

Tom 38
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FAIL

I know some people say the IP genie is out of the bottle and that no amount of wishing will force it back in. But I don’t agree with them.

Agree

We don’t look at any other crimes and say 'It’s such a big problem that it’s not worth bothering with'.

Agree

We wouldn’t stand idly by if paintings worth hundreds of millions of pounds were being stolen from the National Gallery.

Agree

Copyright infringement is theft, pure and simple.

Fucking moron.

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Pimp my lounge and pierce my ceiling: Home theatre goes OTT

Tom 38
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9.1? I'm going the other way

When my 5.1 setup dies, I think I'm going to be replacing it with a nice 2.1 system.

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Ninja Pirate Zombie Vampires versus Chuck Norris and the Space Marines

Tom 38
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Headmaster

Re: R2-D2 etc ARE combat robots by design.

If number 5 is alive - does that make him human?

If your dog is alive, does that make him human?

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Virgin Media blocks 'wankers' from permissible passwords

Tom 38
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There are many corporate proxies/firewalls out there that will simply give empty responses for URIs with what they consider unacceptable words in them.

One system I worked on generated SAML SSO messages, which have base64 encoded encrypted XML in the URI (SAML is fun like that), and some clients inconsistently would tell us that the site was broken or they had to log in twice, things like that. We eventually tracked down that the failing URIs worked correctly on our side, and noticed that the URLs had things like "c0ck" in them..

One fun afternoon later we had derived a list of the most common swearwords, and now the URIs are generated in a loop until we get a URI without an unintended swear word - its the same XML message each time through the loop, but with a new session encryption key, so the URI changes.

We have clients globally, it seemed only US orgs go for this level of nannying.

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Six of the best gaming keyboard and mouse combos

Tom 38
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WTF?

Re: Gaming gear is worth the extra coin

Classic IBM keyboards do not "demise". Ever. At worst, the keys go a little yellow.

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Tom 38
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Re: I call shenanigans

I had a Logitech G7 that lasted me 3 years before the batteries started failing, followed by a G5 that lasted 4 years, but when I came to replace that I found they no longer make an equivalent mouse - they all have ridiculous grips, where is the classic "large logitech" shape of the mx518, G5/7?

Instead I went with the G400, which seems the current closest. It's cheap and nasty and breaks with any moderate amount of abuse. I've been through three of them in a year and a half (two warranty replacements). At least it is cheap, £25 or so.

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Tom 38
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The best gaming keyboard I've ever used

The best gaming keyboard I've ever used is a 1985 IBM model M with a UK key layout. It has indestructible keys that consistently respond to the same amount of pressure, it has no windows key that you can accidentally click.

I'm thinking of giving it this upgrade to make it officially a gaming keyboard...

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Tim Cook: I'm NOT worried about CRAP iPad sales. It's just a 'speedbump'

Tom 38
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I thought the same as you, slightly annoyed new apps won't install, old apps might misbehave, but I did "fork out" for an upgrade; when I changed my phone contract from a iphone subsidy one to a cheapo contract (£42pcm -> £15pcm). Three offered me an ipad air for £30 upfront, £25 pcm, with 15GB/month data contract, so basically what I was paying beforehand.

Perhaps it would be cheaper over the long run to get a wifi ipad air directly from Apple, but that plays down the value of the mobile contract - 4G, GPS, plentiful data, free data roaming..

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Déjà vu: Virgin Media jacks up broadband prices

Tom 38
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Re: I'm not surprised they are increasing their prices

They constantly delivered them to me also, when I lived in places that they did not even serve.

Presumably, they must know what locations they serve, so why they felt the need to send me weekly invitations to sign up for the worst sort of broadband available to me at that location, a poorly managed rebranded WBC from BT Wholesale, I have no idea.

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Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?

Tom 38
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Re: Take a note from the US

Also resulted in the total collapse of the CDC's public network due to a sudden 10,000ish fold increase in incoming web traffic when it went viral, so it's perhaps not the best idea to emulate.

Call me crazy, but shouldn't the public website of a body that prepares for disasters be somewhat capable of sustaining a sudden peak in traffic, such as might occur after a disaster?

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Tom 38
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Haha, amusing yes..

The purpose behind PR like this is to push the story "OMG we are wasting so much money on FOI requests, look at this nonsense we have to put up with", with the aim of limiting or reducing FOI.

What it doesn't show is whether we are getting value for money by allowing requests like this, because it also allows proper investigative journalism - the kind Private Eye does, not the "Fake Sheikh" red top investigative journalism.

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Look, no client! Not quite: the long road to a webbified Vim

Tom 38
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vim doesn't need to be re-written in a different language, it works perfectly as is.

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Tom 38
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Stop

Just because you can code an editor using javascript and run it in your web browser, doesn't mean that you should.

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Heartbleed implicated in US hospital megahack

Tom 38
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Holmes

When were the credentials stolen though?

Did the credentials get taken via Heartbleed before or after the 7th of April, 2014? IE, was this an unfortunate case of being attacked with an unknown vulnerability, or did CHS expose insecure systems after the vulnerability was disclosed?

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AMD slaps 'Radeon' label on Tosh flash: >Beard stroke< Hmm, cunning ...

Tom 38
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Re: OCZ!!!!!!

Their new stuff is very nice - I bought some of their old stuff (Vertex 3 and Vertex 4) when it looked like they were going bust, factory refurbs with a 3 month warranty, scan were practically giving them away. I mainly use them as optional read caches, so it only degrades performance if they die.

Inevitably one bricked, inevitably right after 3 months. By this point Toshiba had bought OCZ, and they replaced it no questions asked with one of their modern Vertex 460, which has worked perfectly ever since.

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Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display

Tom 38
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Headmaster

Re: No problem at all.

What if neither me nor none of my family own hotels in the US?

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e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt

Tom 38
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Re: Erm...

Did you even read what you quoted? Fixing it would cost £97m more than it cost them to settle, ie £327 million. The clue is in the words that say that...

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Something's phishy: More holiday scam spam flung at real hotel customers

Tom 38
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FAIL

Booking.OhHangOnShitThatsAScam not as catchy

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Twitter displays our 'Favorites'. That is, like, PRIVATE, huff naive users

Tom 38
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The companies that are paying for them don't go bust?

Don't worry, marketing is 50% about making up bullshit to sell your sizzle, and 50% measuring the effect of that bullshit so that you can spend at least the same again next year on more bullshit, so ad campaigns are well tracked for value for money.

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Docker kicks KVM's butt in IBM tests

Tom 38
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Re: Not surprising

People are flocking to "containers" as though they are some magical new feature that has only recently become available, but they are no different than BSD jails, Solaris Zones - which themselves are not much more different than a chroot.

With Docker, although you get native performance, you still miss things like memory overcommit and IO management that you get with a VM and so you can get less performance from a single box.

Docker allows you to split up and isolate applications, but if you couldn't run all those applications on a single host without Docker, then you still cannot with Docker. With a VM you have more control over how IO resources are allocated so that all applications can be run with their desired performance profile.

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Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors

Tom 38
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Unhappy

Re: Your dog is more popular than your daughter

I think that depends on families, my mum's passwords are all about the dogs not me.

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XBOX One will learn to play media from USB and DLNA sources

Tom 38
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Headmaster

Re: So they are

A file format is exactly what mkv is, a container file format to be precise.

Matroska is a generic container for codecs, mkv is a specific Matroska profile that defines a container file format.

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Tim Cook on pale, male Apple: 'As CEO, I'm NOT satisfied'

Tom 38
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Re: Maybe I'm reading that last set of graphs wrong...

It is global gender at Apple. So globally, 70% of people who work for Apple are male. This figure is then classified further, eg in tech positions.

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The internet just BROKE under its own weight – we explain how

Tom 38
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Re: Please refrain from NAT66

The counter is specious - you do not need X because we have provided Y which is ideologically better but requires updating all your hardware and software and relying on a daemon on one box correctly informing everything else it needs to be updated.

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Stephen Hawking biopic: Big on romance, not so much with the science?

Tom 38
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Re: Mr Hawking – Over-rated - Big Bang Mythology

Don't fall for it, don't fall for it, don't fall for it, don't fall for it....

I remember the huge fuss, when some eminent Italian scientists said Einstein was wrong, a few years ago, I instinctively knew they were mistaken, turned out they had got their sums a bit wrong.

You cretin. They 100% did not say that "Einstein was wrong". What they said was "We've done this experiment, it was supposed to show us X, but instead we're noticing that it suggests Y. We've re-checked all our sums and measurements, and we can't figure it out - here is our data".

You've para-phrased that as "cocky scientists are always wrong and I can use my gut to say whether they are full of shit or not". Cretinous cretin.

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