* Posts by Dr. Mouse

1358 posts • joined 22 May 2007

Google's new scribble-tab-ulous handwriting interface for Android

Dr. Mouse
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While it is obviously a welcome option on generic Android, I have to say that if it doesn't understand cursive, it's not much more than a gimmick. (I don't know if it does, but it seems not from the examples show)

I have terrible handwriting, but my last 2 tablets have had styli, and I have used handwriting recognition on them to great effect when the situation called for it. The first was a Tegra Note, and my current one is the Shield Tablet. Writing on these is a breeze, and recognition is reasonably accurate even with my awful handwriting. I can't remember what combination of apps etc. I used, but I was very impressed.

OTOH the on screen keyboard is much quicker in most situations. The only problem is it needs you to look at the screen. Handwriting recognition allowed me to take notes during presentations, and they were accurate enough that I could make them out when I reread them (unlike a lot of my handwritten notes on paper lol).

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Lib Dems wheel out Digital Rights Bill pledge as election sweetener

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Oh look - the Lib Dems are making us a promise just before the election.

Lib Dems - more fool them - have done the responsible thing, they joined in coalition with the party that had the greatest number of MPs, as a junior partner they got a little bit of what they wanted and had to do a lot of what the senior partner wanted.

I completely agree. It was the responsible thing to do, even though they have lost a lot of support for it. Neither party got everything they wanted, and I do believe that having the LibDems as a junior partner tempered the Tories in a way which benefited the country. The policies which have been put into effect have been a blend of the two parties, roughly in proportion to their seat count. I think it has actually gone very well, and shown that coalition governments can work in this country, even though a lot of people disagree.

However, the tuition fees issue was different. LibDem MPs, individually, pledged to vote against any tuition fee rises. This was not just an "if we win the election we will..." promise, it was an outright, no-matter-what pledge. It was not just an entry in the manifesto, it was a pledge made by individual MPs, including Clegg. That sort of promise should not be allowed to be broken, and the LibDems should have stuck to their guns on it.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: [the Lib Dems have] never broken an election promise before.

Easy solution: free votes and the whips stay away when there are conflicts like that. That way the respective parties are given the opportunity to stick to their promises.

I always thought that should have been the LibDem position on tuition fees. It was such a major component of their policies to a lot of their voters (they get a lot of student support) that backing down on that was a huge mistake.

I also think that MPs should be forced to honour their promises. If they break them, an immediate by-election should be called. All such promises should be lodged with the electoral commission by candidates and/or parties, and anyone should be able to lodge a complaint that they promised and didn't lodge it.

At least then we would see what the candidate/party actually intends to stick to, majority or not. It may make things difficult in a coalition, but you should be able to rely on that list as to what they will actually stick to.

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Marvell: We don't want to pay this $1.5bn patent bill because, cripes, it's way too much

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Blasphemy

In 200 BC Eratosthenes even worked out that the earth had a circumference of 24 700 miles.

Ah, OK, I didn't know that. Very interesting.

My point was mainly that Science and Religion can go hand in hand. It's just ignorant fools who don't take into account new proof within their religious beliefs. A good example is evolution: Why can that not be the method a deity used to create? Same with the big bang.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Blasphemy

Besides, when has your God, had anything to do with science or tech?

Actually, there is some good science in the bible. The one example I can remember off the top of my head is that, in the Hebrew scriptures (Old Testament) I think, it is stated that the earth is round. In this case, the word used for round meant like a ball, spherical. This was at a time when most thought it was flat.

Not a believer any more, but I studied all that when I was young, and still remember quite a lot. It's great for using in debates on either side. I had a "discussion" recently with someone arguing that they, a Christian, shouldn't have to provide services to homosexuals. A few scriptures later from Jesus' life, and I had proved that his own Holy Book commanded him not to discriminate. Unfortunately, he was just an ignorant bigot who wouldn't be moved, so I got bored and abandoned it.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: A school owns patents?

Schools like CMU are supposed to encourage innovation, not crush it.

Two points here.

As already mentioned, Uni's, especially in the Engineering depts, do a lot of research. They do encourage innovation and pushing of boundaries. They will then get patents on these, and use the royalties (which are normally available for anyone to license, unlike those held by many companies) to invest back in to the school. Without these, students (or the govt on their behalf) would be expected to pay a hell of a lot more than they already do.

Also, patents do encourage innovation where used properly. They allow the inventor of something innovative to claw back something for all their hard work inventing it, by granting a temporary monopoly and stopping others ripping off their work. They also require publication of details, meaning future efforts can more easily piggy-back this work, as long as they gain the permission of the patent holder.

Where things fall down is in the current implementation and use of patents. We have the trolls, who buy patents and then hoard them, waiting for the best moment to strike with a case against an infringement. We have companies who use broad and generalised patents to stop competitors. And we have broken patent offices which allow this to happen.

Overall, I would say that patents to more good than harm, but we hardly ever hear about the good cases. In this case, it seems CMU are in the right. CMU did a lot of research, and would have licensed the patents to Marvel had they negotiated. Marvel violated the patent (according to the court) and made no effort to negotiate reasonable royalties. The court had to decide on a level, and awarded punitive damages too.

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+5 ROOTKIT OF VENGEANCE defeats forces of gaming good

Dr. Mouse
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Re: "Fully streamed"

Eventually gaming will become a matter of who has the best equipment, and the best AI, with little or no human interaction. The skill will be in developing the best AIs yourself. Just like real war.

I don't see this happening. Humans like to pit their skills against each other, and this will not change. People will still try to "cheat" with AIs etc, but the majority of people who play games do so because they enjoy it.

I do believe there will be a class of gamer who develops and uses their own AI, but this will be a minority. The class of people who enjoy doing this is a minority, and I don't think that will change. It is just like in life in general. The majority will just get on and do stuff. It is the minority who search for and develop new, more efficient ways of doing things.

On the subject of developing your own AI, I have never viewed this as cheating. There is a vast amount of skill in it. In my view, the ones who are cheating are the ones who just download and install software. However, I know this is a minority view, just like it is a minority view that card counting is just playing Blackjack well.

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Do androids dream of herding electric sheep?

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Automated mouse catcher.

It's called a "mousetrap"

Exactly what I thought! Have an upvote.

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Blaze it: US drug cops taken to court to ensure all dragnet snooping records are destroyed

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Yet even with these privacy invasions

Even more, the underlying cause of the "drugs problem" is demand. Humans have always had a desire for recreational substances. All over the world, in all cultures, there has been some form of drug available and in widespread use. In the west it was mostly alcohol, Native Americans had tobacco, in South America they had the cocoa leaf... the list goes on. Now, these have spread from their native lands, some have been defined, so people have more choice.

While demand exists, someone will supply, legal or not. If the government ban it, criminals (or someone, who then becomes a criminal) will step in to fill the gap. A lot of the time this is large criminal organisations. So by banning the substance, you feed more money into the criminal organisations, which use that money for other criminal activities.

The war on drugs is doomed to failure on the grounds of basic human nature, and (IMHO) does more harm than good.

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Smart meters are a ‘costly mistake’ that'll add BILLIONS to bills

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Just give us the numbers

Smart meters are a solution looking for a problem

Not really. In that particular case, the power companies still have to send people out to read the meter. This costs.

I think the main problem is the costs involved. Myself, I would suggest that they make it voluntary, charge for the meter and installation for those who want it, but allow the companies to charge a reasonable* fee for sending people out to read the meter. This would allow consumers to do a real cost/benefit analysis of their own: Are they happy to pay out for the meter, given that it may take N years to pay for itself? Are the other benefits involved worth the cost? And so on...

In the end, forcing the rollout at this stage is a bad idea, IMHO. I agree that the meters will probably be obsolete before they have paid for themselves. By then we may have things like smart appliances, more electric cars, more solar panels and/or home generation/storage systems, all of which will benefit from more advanced smart meter technology, but noone will be happy rolling out updated models so soon.

Let those who want them, get them and pay for them.

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Voda UK CEO says one thing about not-spots, Minister of Fun says another

Dr. Mouse
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He's a Minister, why would he need evidence? All he needs is to know that a chunk of the public's votes will be swayed by something, and he'll jump right in.

Evidence is for all those irritating scientists, engineers and other geeks. They never agree with Ministers on things which may win votes. They always want to do a job properly, not win votes. It's infuriating!

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EU creative collection agencies want YouTube et al to pay their wages

Dr. Mouse
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Unless you have a release from the copyright holder, you cannot use their music in your videos.

I understand that this is the current, legal position. However, I suspect that the vast majority of these videos from private individuals would be viewed by no more people than a DVD produced by them. It would not hurt the artist for it to be allowed. This is even more the case in many Facebook examples I have seen, where the video is shared with a small group of friends. Even if it became hugely popular, it STILL would not hurt them, as they would likely gain more exposure and see a rise in sales.

The background music is not the main product. It is merely something to add in the background to the home video.

As for companies avoiding "this headache", it is (IMHO) unworkable. It would also lead to mission creep: All content posted on any public forum would require pre-moderation to ensure it was legal. This would lead to the closure of many public forums due to excessive administrative overheads, and a lot of content being blocked just because it might, possibly, be considered outside the law by someone, and it's easier to block it than fight.

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Dr. Mouse
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If Google and co. vetted the content and ensured only personal-copyright material could be uploaded by private accounts (i.e. stuff they had filmed themselves, no background music from commercial bands etc.) and that the copyright owners could upload their content and earn from the views.

I think there are several points to be made here, but I will address the one I find most ridiculous first.

Why the hell should a private individual not be able to post a video backed by a piece of music? I know several people who, recently, have posted videos to a closed Facebook group with commercial music in the background, and had it pulled. In my view, this is no different to burning the video to disc, with the backing track, and distributing it to your friends. It's not as though it'd going to get a billion views and damage the musicians bottom line. It has been taken way too far. As far as I'm concerned, using a track as backing for a personal video is fair use, even if it's the whole track. What's next, banning videos from concerts, or banning videos of a kids birthday part just because it happened to have a commercial track playing in the background at the venue? Banning wedding videos?

In addition to this, asking the hosting companies to vet every single upload... Are you living in cloud cuckoo land?! Have you any idea how much this would cost? Do you really think companies would allow us to host things for free if they had to examine all content to ensure it was legit?

I'm all for protecting content creator's rights, but there must be some balance and common sense.

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I helped Amazon.com find an XSS hole and all I got was this lousy t-shirt

Dr. Mouse
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Re: In a word: YES

It's not just in the IT industry that people are put upon to work for free

However, I do think it is more "expected" than any other, especially within (and just beyond) a circle of friends.

I have lost count of the number of weekends I have wasted fixing a "little problem" with a friend's computer. I have also lost count of the number of shocked faces I have seen when I suggested I should be paid for the work. "But all you need to do is push a few buttons" seems to be the thought process.

Things are different when you look at someone like a band (a mate's band charged me, albeit at mates rates, for singing at my engagement do, and I was happy to pay) or a plumber (they will generally diagnose the issue for free but charge, at mates rates again, for doing the actual work, which I am happy to pay). These are expected. They are doing "real work", not just playing with a computer.

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Should online pirates get the same sentences as offline ones?

Dr. Mouse
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Re: @Dr. Mouse - "this is not a serious crime"

so would I be correct in interpreting your narrative that you feel it is perfectly OK for Joe (or Jane) Public to 'get hold of' (my words and intepretation) art/movies/imagery/music produced by someone else and not to have to pay for it, or them potentially not having any downstream liability when their actions can be proved to have lost the artist/photographer/indie film maker some not insignificant dosh?

Not at all. The point I was making is that I could easily see this new legislation being written in a dangerous way which does not take into account the real world.

If someone torrents a film, for example, what they are doing is the equivalent (IMHO) of buying a dodgy copy at a market stall, copying it and selling those copies on to friends to recover the cost they paid. Obviously this is wrong, but it is not a serious crime.

The difference with torrents is that, to "recover the costs" (i.e. to get it free) you will be sharing with hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of other people. If the law is not written correctly, this could face the person with the same kind of punishment as a market-stall seller distributing 10s of thousands of copies.

Personally, I haven't pirated anything for a very long time, and have never pirated a small-time producer's content. At a time when I could not afford to buy a film, I did pirate them, but I would never have bought them because I could not afford it, and would have had to have done without. For music, I bought the stuff I really wanted. I never deprived anyone of income with my own use of pirated content, although I guess it could have been argued that I did by seeding to people who potentially would have.

Now I can afford it, I buy the films I want, and have a subscription to a music service. I also still buy CDs of music I really like.

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Dr. Mouse
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But if you torrent it, you are also distributing it to many other people and aiding others in piracy.

This is the danger that needs to be dealt with in a sensible manner.

When dealing with a distributor of pirated goods in the physical world, there is a pretty direct correlation between the "seriousness" of the crime and the amount of goods they distributed. They often make a lot of money from it.

In the online world, most are making no money. It is like allowing all your friends to copy the CD you just bought from the market stall, but on a larger scale. This is not a serious crime. However, if the law makers are not careful, it will be looked on as such: You distributed to 10,000 people so it should be dealt with the same as selling 10,000 physical copies.

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Barclays punts instant Twitter mobile payments app – best avoid while drunk

Dr. Mouse
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Re: They can keep it

For a technology magazine the first 2 comments sound pretty Ludite.

I have to agree.

Personally, I have not used Pingit, yet. However, I regularly use bank transfers to/from my friends and family instead of exchanging paper money. For me, I already have them set up, so it is simpler to use that than Pingit. However, I would certainly try Pingit/Paym for a new payee, or for someone I would only be paying once.

The twitter handle thing doesn't interest me, but I see nothing wrong with them implementing an additional way to address the transfer. I can see sending to a Facebook account or email address coming next.

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Elementary, my dear penguin: It's the second beta of Freya

Dr. Mouse
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Yes, I was going to quote several Windows versions, but couldn't be bothered. Vista was just an example.

Microsoft is well known for shipping beta (or at least RC) quality code on launch. Most techies I know will wait until at least the first SP before committing to a new MS OS, as you don't know what the "finished product" will be like until then.

I have yet to see an MS OS released without a long list of bugs, which are either a flaw in the fundamental design (e.g. Vista) or are fixed by the first SP. IMHO this is "being asked to pay for beta quality software".

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Dr. Mouse
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And don't forget, you're being asked to pay for beta quality software at this point. Even Microsoft doesn't do that.

*COUGH* Vista *Cough*

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How good a techie are you? Objective about yourself and your skills?

Dr. Mouse
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On the ethical side of things, I would say the fact you are asking these questions of yourself to such an extent shows that you have the moral fortitude.

For the rest, and many of the comments, it appears my own experiences are not as abnormal as I believed. I, too, had a bit of a breakdown. Many aspects of your career closely match my own. I suddenly feel much less alone. Thank you so much for sharing.

Personally, I have protected myself since my brush along the edge of self-annihilation. Although it is impossible to keep jobs like this 9-5, I have managed to make it as close as possible. My own rule is that, unless I am being paid for it, I will not do actual work outside of my normal hours. Without that rule, and part of the reason for my issues, I have been known to continue working until the early hours, and working for weeks without a break.

I do allow myself to do research out of work (I count that as professional development) and personal projects related to work. But those I can easily put aside and get on with my own life. While I occasionally break my own rule, it becomes much easier to maintain a good work/life balance. I have probably become an inferior IT professional by doing this, but what I have gained in my personal life more than outweighs it. My self confidence has improved, my personal relationships have improved, and my overall level of happiness is an order of magnitude higher. It is the best decision I ever made.

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Android malware hijacks power button, empties wallet while you sleep

Dr. Mouse
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LOL, Android is swiss cheese if you poke it full of holes and don't know what you are doing! Just like any device where a user disables all the security measures and blindly clicks OK to any dialogue box that happens to appear!

FTFY

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IT knowledge is as important as Maths, says UK.gov

Dr. Mouse
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Re: My IT classes...

The French teacher was probably embarrassed at her lack of in-depth IT knowledge but reacted poorly as a result. There is a good example of a teacher having to teach something that is not their core subject - this is not the fault of the teacher but is a lack of teaching resource / money.

I agree with the reason (she was embarrassed), but not the conclusion.

A good teacher would realise she was out of her depth and learn from someone with greater knowledge of the subject matter. Therefore it was the fault of the teacher. I have had several teachers whose knowledge or ability in a particular, specialist subject was less than that of a student in their class. All but the worst responded well to corrections made in a respectful manner.

I will readily admit that I handled the situation badly when she would not accept that she was wrong, and argued the toss. At that point she had no choice but to punish me, as I wasn't respecting her authority. However, she should have nipped it in the bud before that by accepting her mistake while I was still being respectful.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: The problem with "Education" is the system.

But the first and most important factor is "What interests & skills does the student exhibit?"

I do not think that this should be the guiding factor in early education.

Primary education should be as broad as possible, teaching about as many subjects as possible. The students need to be given the opportunity to experience as many things as possible, so that they can figure out what interests them and what they are good at.

This broad base should continue in high school, with a small amount of choice and specialisation offered, until the student reaches GCSE. At this point, they can specialise more. They have the solid, broad base, as well as more understanding of their own skills and preferences, and some idea of what they will need for any career they go into.

After this, if they continue in education, they can specialise still further. But all the while, they will have had the broad base on which to build their decisions.

Like it or not, those students that don't give a damn about learning anything, only serve to disrupt the ones that do. They don't deserve the same resources. We need to concentrate our limited efforts on those who actually care to learn.

Now while I agree with the sentiment, I do not think it right to (basically) abandon someone who "doesn't want to learn". I knew a few like this at school. They disrupted the class, and made my life hell. The sad thing is, they were almost always the kids from poorer backgrounds, with parents who thought education was a waste of time. Some were actually pretty intelligent, but they followed their parents' and friends' attitudes. It would be a crying shame to chuck them in the bin just because they lack a decent upbringing.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: RE: offered a programming club

Ok, I don't know what age the kids were but I beleive anyone dismissing Scratch as a learning aid to introdcutory programming is either elitist or ignorant.

He did say:

IT lessons show a student how to mail merge (advanced topic), how to make a basic website (CSS is A-Level content), not how to diagnose a network connection fault.

Therefore I would assume he was teaching in a high school.

I agree that Scratch is good for an introduction, but as long as the kid is old enough (and they are by high school) they should be taught to actually programme. If they did not get the intro at primary level, fine, introduce them with Scratch, but do not leave it there. Move on to a programming language as soon as they are ready.

Scratch introduces the basics of programming in a fun and accessible way. It cannot replace coding, though.

I offered to teach them some actual coding once they got the ideas of loops, ifs etc grounded from that. He flat out rejected it saying that it would lead to them becoming hackers.

He sounds like an ignorant SOB. That is why we need real "computing teachers", people who understand computers and programming and treat it as a specialist subject, just like Maths or English. The problem is that those who do understand can earn a lot more in the real world, so we get the French teacher who knows how to use Word teaching IT.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: My IT classes...

I had two experiences with IT at school.

The first was exemplified by a dispute between myself and the "IT teacher" (actually a French teacher they drafted in for the lessons). During one lesson, we were told we could earn extra marks by answering a question. If we knew the answer, we were to go to her desk when called and answer.

The question: "What is a RAM disk?"

I answered with words along the lines of "A virtual disk emulated in the computer's RAM". She replied, "No, it's Random Access Memory". A short debate (cough) occurred between us over definitions involved, ending with me being told I wasn't welcome in her class because I was not prepared to learn.

The second was much different. This was later, and all the computer labs had been upgraded to PCs. I grew bored with the endless stream of typing exercises and mind-numbing spreadsheet tasks asked of us. I therefore set about, erm, unlocking certain locked down features within the NT4 environment. I gained access to Explorer, messaging clients, games and several others which were (supposedly) unavailable. All very trivial, and I never did anything even remotely malicious, but it passed the time.

The IT teacher (actually a Physics teacher, but at least he had a basic grasp of computing) caught me, and took me to see the sysadmin. We chatted for a while and, instead of punishing me for "hacking", he did the sensible thing: Asked me for help. I proceeded to lock down everything I had discovered the correct way, and in return he allowed me an admin account (to help him in future, not to install and play games *cough*). We became friends, and still are to this day.

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Dr. Mouse
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I see this differently

Being able to use a computer has become just about as important as being able to read and write. However, in this context, the requirement is to be able to use a computer, not manage it.

What is needed, IMHO, is computer literacy in primary schools. After that, it should just become a part of other lessons, just as it has become an integral part of most jobs.

IT lessons could then focus on more advanced topics than using Word and Excel, just as English lessons so not stick with just how to read and write.

If we continue to teach word processing and spreadsheets as a separate subject, people will continue to see computing as separate, which is not how the world of work operates. A computer is just a tool (as are most users, FNAR FNAR), just like a pen and paper.

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Boffins grasp Big Knob, get ready to go ALL THE WAY at the LHC proton-punisher

Dr. Mouse
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Joke

people just moaned "we haven't tried enough ENERGY yet"

Always my favourite method: It didn't work when I hit it, so hit it HARDER!

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It's not easy being Green. But WHY insist we knit our own ties?

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Yes, but,

If I can make a cheaper and better chocolate cake using ingredients sourced at retail cost, than a huge company, is it me who is ruining the economy or the company feeding excess profits into the directors off-shore HSBC account?

But how much time do you spend doing so? I assume you enjoy baking, so it is a recreational activity for you. However, if it was not you would be spending that time working. Googling, a simple cake takes about half an hour to make, or I can go to the supermarket and spend £5, which will get me a nice enough cake, finished and ready to eat.

I can do a better job, for less money, cleaning my car at home rather than taking it to one of those hand car wash places. But it will take me a lot longer to do so. For less than £5 I can get my car washed. For £15 I can get it cleaned inside and out. Alterrnatively I can spend a couple of hours doing it myself to get it perfect. Most of the time, I would rather take the first option, and waste only 10-15mins, during which I can relax and listen to the radio, then have more than an hour of extra time to do things I enjoy.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: What is a market anyway?

The point of this is not that money is everything.

We (or at least most of us) earn money spending time doing things we don't want to do. Therefore, money is just a representation of our time.

This means that, in my case, I give up 40 hours of my own time, doing something I don't want to do, in order to be able to do things I do want to do. My week's pay packet is 40 hours of my time. I then spend portions of that on other things I need, then the remainder on things I want to do.

Money is a generalised token system representing, mostly, your time (to a specific individual). Time is pretty much all we have. I, personally, would not spend that time growing veggies. I do, however, enjoy cooking, or fixing cars/motorbikes. I could pay someone else to do that (and frequently do if there is something else I would prefer to spend my time on), but the point is that I have time to do what I want to do. I have that by trading some of my time.

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Official: Single people need to LOWER their EXPECTATIONS

Dr. Mouse
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Why is there an xkcd for everything?

http://xkcd.com/310/

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'Camera-shy' Raspberry Pi 2 suffers strange 'XENON DEATH FLASH' glitch

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Makes sense

As mentioned elsewhere, it is the components which are made like that. Sounds to me like it's bad component choice for a board which is designed for hobbyists, or bad design (if those components are to be used, they need to add some covering to them).

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ALIENS are surely AMONG US: Average star has TWO potentially Earth-like worlds

Dr. Mouse
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Obligatory xkcd

http://xkcd.com/1377/

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Three to pleasure bumpkins with 800MHz

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Not so good if you've got a OnePlus One

As always, xda-developers is your friend.

I have actually made an official complaint about this. First off, it could actually be taken as defamatory telling the public (not just in the app, but on their blogs as well) that the OPO is rooted, and could put people off buying it. Also, there is no technical reason why the app won't work on the OPO.

Finally, as stated above there is a way to get it working. It is ironic: The way to get the app to believe the phone is not rooted is to root it! Ridiculous!

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Smartphones merge into homogeneous mass as 'flagship fatigue' bites

Dr. Mouse
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There's always a trade off

I have a friend who ensures that, when she buys a new PC, it is top of the range. She spends a hell of a lot of money, as much as she can afford, to get the latest everything.

However, she expects that machine to last her for at least the next 5 years. She makes that investment for a reasonable length of time. By the end of it's life, it is still a reasonable machine, but then she can get a new one and get the speed bump.

Myself, I go down another route. I upgrade often, a bit at a time, pretty much in a continuous cycle. But when I select my components, they are mid range at best. On average my machine is probably about as fast as hers: it will be slower at first after she's bought new, but will pass hers during it's life. But I avoid paying the premium for the top end.

With phones, most people are locked in to a 2 year upgrade cycle (even if they aren't on a contract). If you don't upgrade, you won't get the latest OS, apps will stop working as well, and generally the experience goes down hill. Factor in to that the ridiculous costs of flagship devices (or the contracts for them), and the fact that a mid-to-low range handset is more than adequate for most people, and you can see why this is happening.

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Microsoft 'showers gold' on anti-Google Cyanogen and its Android alternative

Dr. Mouse
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Re: 'take Android away from Google'

While I agree that the permission system needs an overhaul, the 4.3 "accident" was not the answer. It basically broke most apps to which it was applied.

CM has a privacy guard feature, which has worked much better from what I can see. I believe that, rather than just stopping the app from using those permissions, it fakes the responses somehow. The app believes it is accessing your files/camera etc. but it isn't.

To be honest, I think it was a mistake on Google's part from day one. The permission system should have been set up so that an app requested a permission, but the user had a right to deny it. The current system is that the app demands permission, and the only way to avoid it is not to install it.

Of course, if you deny an app permission for something it needs for core functionality, then it can flag that up, explaining why, and ask the user to give it back. For example, if you deny a web browser access to the internet, there's not much point. Another option would be to separate mandatory and optional permissions, and bring in a policy of only having permissions mandatory for core functionality.

I doubt this will get put in place. It would require a lot of reworking of both apps and OS. The alternative from CM seems to do the job well enough.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: ow!

That was my thought, too.

As long as MS is only investing, all is well and good. If they start sticking their oar in....

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IBM punts cryptotastic cloudy ID verification services

Dr. Mouse
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Re: I like the concept

The trick will be the trusted authority.

I agree that's always going to be the difficult part.

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Dr. Mouse
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I like the concept

I don't know about the implementation, and specifically the owner, but the concept is something I have discussed for a decade now: Have a trusted place with all your personal details, and share the absolute minimum from it as needed.

Personally, I believe there is no real need for this to be a "cloud" system. It would be better as a personal wallet, with encrypted data signed by a trusted authority. You can choose what to reveal from it, and when, and the third party can verify that data through it's signature. It's a little more complex, but way more secure.

All in all, I believe we need a system of this kind. Think of all the wasted time you spend filling in your details on different sites, often giving out way more information than necessary.

The area I think which could benefit the most from this is insurance. Getting a quote would become a hell of a lot easier! I don't understand why they haven't done this already, unless they want you to make a mistake on your application so they can refuse to pay out in the even of a claim.

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BITE that APPLE if you want to escape the Android garden, Microsoft

Dr. Mouse
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To be honest, I see no point downloading this. For viewing and the minimal amount of editing I would do on a tablet, or phone, the Google Docs/Drive apps and Quickoffice work perfectly well.

I'm certainly not going to do anything complicated with them, as it would be too painful, but at a pinch they do the job and don't require a subscription.

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'YOUTUBE is EVIL': Somebody had a tape running, Google...

Dr. Mouse
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Re: @auburnman The new man

I think it comes down to catch 22.

Youtube was the main service, pretty much the only place to host video like this. So all the content was on there, and all the users go there.

Content creators will not (unless forced somehow) move away from that massive user base. The users will not move to another service with less content.

Google's new terms may be the tipping point, but there would need to be a huge leap by content creators away from Youtube, with the realisation that their viewership will be hurt in the short term. If this happens, the users will move too. But it's risky.

As for Google retaining ownership of the content, that's definitely evil. It is likely that it was in the T&Cs, but I would like to see it go to court. Sounds like an unfair term to me, which could be quashed.

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FCC will vote to cut off 41 million broadband users this Thursday*

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Seems they've forgotten what "broadband" actually means

But doesn't fiber has lower latency than copper?

In terms of the time taken for a raw signal to travel, over the distances we are talking about there is little-or-no difference.

However, DSL does a lot of work to handle error correction etc. which introduces a delay. This delay increases the worse the signal is. As FTTC will have the DSL equipment much closer to you, and the signal will be better, these delays are decreased. VDSL probably has a lower latency than ADSL, too.

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Nexus 6 would have had a fingerprint reader, but Apple RUINED IT ALL

Dr. Mouse
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Doesn't surprise me

This doesn't surprise me at all. Motorola released a phone in the past (the Atrix, had one and loved it) which included a fingerprint sensor, and AFAIK this was an AuthenTec sensor. If Apple had not bought them, Moto would likely have used the tech again.

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NSA gunning for Google, wants cop-spotting dropped from Waze app

Dr. Mouse
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Re: However...

Oh, and if you think that you just don't need to speed to avoid paying fines (I used to), In Victoria will be fined heavily for being a single kilometer over the speed limit (as measure by them, not you).

The vast majority of cars' speedos read faster than you are going. Therefore, if your speedo indicates that you are doing the speed limit, you will probably be safe. Best to check your own car, though, against GPS or similar.

Incidentally France recently brought in the same rule, and a motorcycle magazine published a large list of bikes and their speedo offsets. While the vast majority read fast, there were a few they flagged up as reading slow. People on these bikes in France would need to be very careful, as they do not accept the excuse of "my speedo said I was under".

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Grand Theft Auto 1997: 'Sick, deluded and beneath contempt'

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Voodoo 2/3DFX support!

I bought my Voodoo 2 for Quake 2. It was incredible!

EDIT: Actually, I bought Quake 2 for my Voodoo 2, now I think about it. I had read the card reviews, bought one, then bought Q2 while wandering around town to show it off. Glad I did, though. Q2 was ace, especially with the Action mod!

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Ross Ulbricht trial Day One: 'I DID invent Silk Road ... but I'm innocent'

Dr. Mouse
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I don't know

I don't know whether he is guilty or not. However, I have to say that his lawyer's defence seems plausible, at least. He sets up an online trading site. Criminals see the potential and take it over. When they see the cops closing in, they set him up to take the fall.

Let's see how it plays out. I suspect that he will go to jail.

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Google v Oracle: US Supreme Court turns to Obama in Java copyright war

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Imagine the worst outcome possible

Hell, I hope 2015 turns out better than the worst parts of my 2014.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Is Microsoft watching this case?

it is expressly legal to implement an API for the purposes of compatibility, which is exactly what Android does

I think this is stretching the definition to breaking point.

Android doesn't implement the API for compatibility. They implement the API because it is easier than writing their own from scratch, and easier for developers (many of whom know Java in some form, so can pick it up easier). It is not done so that Android apps are compatible with existing JVMs (they aren't) or so that existing Java apps would be compatible with Android (again, they aren't).

EDIT: Just to be clear, I'm not siding with Oracle on this. I don't think APIs should be copyrightable.

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What do UK and Iran have in common? Both want to outlaw encrypted apps

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Oh not again

Making everyone sensible an outlaw means you will only have the halfwits and the dimwits left on your side

Seeing as one could classify a large proportion of the electorate in that group* I think he'd be fine with that.

* I don't actually think that they are "halfwits and... dimwits", but there is a large group, possibly even the majority of people, who won't notice the idiocy of this plan, won't listen to those who actually understand the problems, and will either just take the words of Dave as read, or will continue voting for "their party" as they always have done. I don't believe that the majority of voters study the policies of those they are voting for in detail or the real effects of them (sometimes because they just don't believe they'll do what they've said anyway, with good reason), and just take a punt based on their gut feeling.

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I don't think you're ready for this Jelly: Google pulls support for Android WebView

Dr. Mouse
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Re: non-event

"Just install another browser and done."

WebView is used in a lot of applications, too. Those won't use the alternative browser you have installed.

I have to say that Google need to put it in the license with manufacturers that they provide timely updates from release to at least 2 years after they discontinue it (so a consumer who buys on the last day gets at least 2 years updates, the normal length of a phone contract). At the very least this should be security updates, but should really be full OS updates.

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Tesla S P85+: Smiling all the way to the next charging point

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Not bad but still no cigar, methinks!

But the reality after 6 months and 10k miles in a Model S is that it is genuinely *more convenient to fill with fuel than a conventional car*.

As long as you have somewhere to park, I would definitely agree that this would be the case.

Considering the majority of car usage at the moment could probably be covered by a 30 mile daily range, I think a lot of the range issues are in people's heads. Yes, I occasionally want to do a 200-300 mile journey. But mostly, I want to get to work and back, maybe nip to the shops, or pop out into the country side for a day. These use cases are covered by most electric cars.

A longer journey could be planned for (my brother's next door neighbour goes to Cambridge from Leeds fairly regularly in a Nissan Leaf, and just stops at service stations along the way, getting a free charge while he goes inside for a coffee), but when all is said and done you could probably hire a car for the journey, or get a plane/train and hire a car at the other end.

The main issue for me is price. I'd love an electric car, but they are all significantly out of my price range. However, this is more down to my own buying habits: I tend to buy second hand in the £1-2k bracket, so spending £20-25k (even on finance) is not going to happen. For the sort of person who buys a car on finance anyway, something like a Leaf would be ideal, as long as they had a driveway so they could fit a charging point.

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