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* Posts by cosmogoblin

36 posts • joined 14 Jan 2010

CERN data explains how Higgs heavies other matter

cosmogoblin

"That test yields only a 95 per cent confidence level"

“...establishes a signal at a significance level of 3.6 sigma"

3-sigma = 99.73% confidence. 4-sigma = 99.993%. I don't have time to check the maths but 3.6-sigma would be about 99.9% confidence, not 95%.

What's wrong here?

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Danger, Will Robinson! Beware the hidden perils of BYOD

cosmogoblin
Coat

Re: BYOD Security Solution

Woah, oldschool!

Timely, unintrusive advertising, relevant to the discussion, (probably) useful to several participants in the discussion, and delivered with honesty and integrity?

The 80s BBS called, they want their spam back...

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

cosmogoblin
WTF?

Why?

Here's what puzzles me. When I'm running an OS, I don't run the OS - I run programs. If that functionality is there, simple and unbreaking, what do people care about the OS?

An OS should be stable, secure and fast, with a program manager that gives you quick access to your programs, and a window manager that includes alt-tab and always-on-top. Beyond that, and maybe some accessibility options, what do any of these distros actually offer?

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Yahoo! drops! size! limit! on! email! attachments! with aid from Dropbox

cosmogoblin

Thunderbird

Thunderbird already does this. You can set up Dropbox (or another system) to host files larger than x KB. You don't really see much difference when you receive - you can click the attachment or not, if you do it downloads using your default method of downloading files. It's the best of both worlds.

I can't see why anybody would object to this. Unless Yahoo do it in a stupid way - and how likely is that?

Oh wait...

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Firefox's birthday present to us: Teaching tech titans about DIY upstarts

cosmogoblin

Re: Vendor lockin

"You claim to have installed Linux on people's PCs and they find it "easier to use"—presumably these people never, ever, play any games"

That's right. I've helped gamers update their system, and I always recommend Windows 7, unless I think they can handle dual-boot.

"yet you can't copy some MP4 files out of a folder named "iTunes Media"?"

*I* can do that, yes. iTunes has a more insidious lock-in - every time I've tried to convince an iTunes user to move, they don't want to "lose iTunes". I explain that you can download music from other places, but they're not interested. This compounds the other problems.

"You do know iTunes hasn't DRM on music for years now, right?"

Nice in theory, but you still have to do a bit of work with old music downloaded before the DRM-free era. This is my fault - basically I undersold the alternatives. When I said "it's a bit of work but it can be done", they said "sounds too complicated, no thanks"; I should have said "give it to me for half a day and pay me £30 and I'll sort it for you". This was a marketing fail; apparently I don't have Apple's skill in this respect!

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cosmogoblin
Linux

Vendor lockin

"We are in the middle of locking ourselves into our respective mobile platforms"

So many people already have.

I've replaced Windows with Linux to loads of people who don't know much about computers, giving them improved security and reliability, and every one of them has found it easier to use.

But I can't do this for anybody who owns an iPhone, because all of their music is on iTunes.

This of course won't change - Apple needed to release iTunes on Windows to suck people into their ecosystem, but releasing a Linux version would simply give them the option, when they decide to take the plunge, to go elsewhere than Apple. People aren't locking themselves into a mobile platform; they're locking themselves into a whole ecosystem.

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Microsoft pops preview of 'biggest, most ambitious' Office yet

cosmogoblin
Coat

Is my screen broken ...

... or am I really the only one who noticed all the people in the video are smurfs?

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Year of the Penguin - el Reg's 2011 Linux-land roundup

cosmogoblin
FAIL

Unity - no thanks!

I replaced my parents' aging WinXP computer last year with a silent mini-ITX running Ubuntu 10.04.

It's been great for them, and me. They can do everything they want, and aren't forced to do anything they don't want. Their complaints run along the lines of "I spent 5 seconds searching for how to do something new" rather than "I lost all my work because Windows decided to restart". Rather than spending three hours every week fixing their problems, I spend 2 minutes every month telling them what to search for in the Software Centre.

Until Unity, that is. "Install all the updates all the time, that'll keep everything running perfectly", I said. So they did, and suddenly Unity hit them. They couldn't find anything, their settings were removed, even their desktop background was changed to the Unity default.

I couldn't even figure out how to revert, I had to reinstall Ubuntu and disable updating to 11.

Ubuntu obviously took a page from the rude book of Microsoft - "We know what you should want, and if you disagree you're wrong". 10 is great, but I'm steering well clear of 11 on anything with a mouse.

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Facebook engineer bashes Google for Gmail block

cosmogoblin
Flame

Ragedump?

Wow. Good point, in the absolute need to be able to sue somebody and prove they called you a dip*$#*, you MUST record everything you ever say!

You realise that's what did Nixon in, right?

Speaking of things that happened decades ago, some of used to use an organic form of communication called "talking". No matter how much we complained to the Creator, He never implemented a permament searchable indexed record of everything we said.

It still turned out to be quite popular, mind you.

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iTunes disses doctorates

cosmogoblin

No need to be jerks

Non-story though this is, it highlights yet again the UK's hatred of intelligence. Even among the professional IT crowd.

What's wrong with somebody wanting to use their correct title? If they insisted on "Miss" or "Mrs", and got rid of "Ms", would people be so quick to slag off women who want to call themselves "Ms"?

A PhD entails a lot of work, and has to be considered a worthy addition to the sum of human knowledge in order to be granted. Personally I would be proud to put those two letters in front of my name, and I have no problem respecting those who do for their notable achievement, just as I respect people who wear their wedding ring or display dancing trophies on their mantlepiece.

Obviously the above doesn't apply to Gillian McKeith.

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The Reg guide to Linux, part 3

cosmogoblin
Gates Horns

Advertising, not fear

Windows is no better, in terms of usability. I recently installed Windows 7, and more recently, Linux Mint. It took me longer to switch from XP to 7 than to learn Linux.

Windows has just as much scary stuff, and although MS try to hide the inner workings of your computer, they do so erratically, and at the expense of usability (usability != user-friendliness). They're both good and bad in different ways, although Linux has the edge re security and cost.

The problem with Linux compared to Windows - and the one point which makes it VASTLY inferior - is advertising. Microsoft spend billions on advertising, marketing, FUD, pushing their software to government departments, etc, and get many times this amount back by continuing to dominate the market.

Linux, on the other hand, is free (ultra-specialist distros aside). Nobody in the Linux community is able to fight Microsoft's marketing muscle power, and so nobody goes to PC World and says "I saw Ubuntu advertised on TV last night, is it really as good as it looks?"

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Salacious smut soaks 12% of web

cosmogoblin

The stupid ones

20% of men surf porn at work? That's utterly stupid, yet it happens.

Unless kiddie porn lovers are of above average intelligence, which I somehow doubt, I wouldn't put it past them to google their hobby.

I suspect the "rings" we hear of in the news, whilst being the most dangerous, are far from the most representative.

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The internet, as imagined in 1965

cosmogoblin
Coat

You mean you aren't?

"it's a small wonder if you aren't automatically handing over your credit card for a pile of items before you even realize what is happening"

Speak for yourself. I do that every time I try to walk past HMV.

Mine's the one stuffed with DVDs and an empty wallet.

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Stick a fork in floppies - they're done

cosmogoblin

Death to the floppy

The best floppy experience I had was with a motherboard - I don't remember the make - which I needed the flash to the latest BIOS.

The BIOS flash program would only work from an MS-DOS floppy. The path to the new BIOS file was hardcoded, including A:\, so I couldn't get around it using a CD-ROM floppy emulation.

After hours of searching a houseful of geeks I finally uncovered a floppy drive, and eventually, a disc as well, only to find out that the motherboard itself - here's the genius - didn't have a floppy controller.

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Bloke threatens BT with giant plywood cheque

cosmogoblin
Pint

Cheque standards

http://www.chequeandcredit.co.uk/cpas/-/page/standard_3.1/

"In Great Britain, all cheques must be printed according to C&CCC Standard 3.1"

More than that, such as what the standard is or what legal basis it has, I can't tell you, since it costs over a hundred quid to purchase the publicly-available standard... Still, I'm willing to bet it excludes paving stones and two-by-fours!

On the other hand, if you can screw over the crooks at BT so that it costs them more to debate their case than your bill is worth, all power to you.

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Firefox plans fix for decade-old browsing history leak

cosmogoblin

Thanks

That fixed it for me too. Cheers!

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Apple bins iPhone covers

cosmogoblin

uh what?

Type your comment here — plain text only, no HTML

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Dell bars Win 7 refunds from Linux lovers

cosmogoblin
Pint

Not quite

I think you've misunderstood the original post. The price difference between 7 and XP is £17. The £41 is the price difference between 7 and Linux, so unless they're charging for Linux, that's the entire cost of the OEM version of 7 they're using.

This is fairly typical - you have the standard amount for a standard build, and it's more or less depending on what options you add or remove. To say that Windows is free would, in this case, imply that Linux costs -£24; and unless they have boxes of Linux in their store that come bundled with the price of a decent round in cash, that claim is clearly bogus!

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'The LHC will implode the Moon or PUT OUT THE SUN'

cosmogoblin
Coat

Star Trek

That also ground my teeth on the new Star Trek film. You can't collapse a planet with a "seed" black hole.

Wow, that was geeky. Mine's the one with the pocket protectors...

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Home Secretary swats away calls for Mosquito ban

cosmogoblin
FAIL

Bloody nuisance

Another vote from the "I'm over 30 and I can hear them" crowd.

Specifically, there's one over the door of a local sweet shop. A *sweet shop* is using them to deter kids!

It's actually painful to me. I can't quite hear the pitch, but a nasty feeling goes right through my head. I have to walk on the other side of the street.

There was another one nearby, but it got vandalized. It's really subtle - they cut the wire but didn't leave a mess, and the shopkeepers still think it's working.

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Password reset questions dead easy to guess

cosmogoblin
WTF?

Why the warning?

Why, oh why, do network passwords have "warning periods"?

"Your password will expire in 15 days. Do you want to change it now?"

No, you fucking idiot, I'll change it in 15 days, but I'd rather not change it from the 16-character random sequence I already memorised at all!

Seriously, who in the whole world says "Actually, I could do with a new password. Why not? Let's change it to BUBBLES now."

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Young people are lazy, think world owes them a living - prof

cosmogoblin
Coat

Shocking scandal!

Young people, if given the choice, would take "more pay" over "less pay"!

What's more, they'd prefer "less work" to "more work"!

As opposed to everybody over 40, who are presumably clamouring for longer hours, lower pay, and fewer holidays.....

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UK is safer from al-Qaeda 'bastards', says security minister

cosmogoblin
Big Brother

I second that

1984 was a warning. We may not live in a police state yet (perhaps), but if we see it coming and ignore it, we will.

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BT boss urges fines for filesharing customers

cosmogoblin
Coat

BPI?

"The BPI, the record label trade association, responded to the criticism"

Sorry, but isn't telling us what is and isn't legal (or going to be) the remit of the government/courts?

When did the BPI start deciding what the laws are and how they're applied?

Oh... right...

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Tories promise medals not money for science and R&D

cosmogoblin
Terminator

This was predicted in 1991

Oh yeah. Genius. Dyson wants to talk to us about science and engineering policy.

Don't get me wrong, I'm pro-science and pro-technology. But Dyson created fucking Skynet. Why in all hell would we want him anywhere NEAR science, engineering or politics?

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Daily Mail commentard out-tw*ts the Tw*t-O-Tron

cosmogoblin
Troll

Appalling comments

Quite frankly, I'm appalled by many of the comments on this article.

Intelligent people should know better, and I find these ideas increasingly worrying. Are we heading back to the Middle Ages, for crying out loud?

English is governed by common usage, and during the 20th century, "hung" and "hanged" have both become acceptable.

Am I the only person on the Internet with an ounce of common sense?

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Ubisoft undone by anti-DRM DDoS storm

cosmogoblin
Go

Fnord

People are whining a lot about these DRM things, but there's one fundamental point they don't seem to realise, and that is this:

PC game publishers have almost entirely eliminated piracy!

That's a fact. We're not quite there yet, but when nobody in the world is able to play a game, piracy rates will drop to zero. And in the end, isn't that what we all want?

Addendum: There are two sorts of copy protection I like. First, Steam, which turned out to be a hell of a lot better than I expected. Secondly, the method employed by Darwinia (something along the lines of "We hate copy protection, so we're going to trust you not to be a bastard.")

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BBC confirms death of 6Music, slashes online budget by a quarter

cosmogoblin
Stop

uh what?

Hold on... I must have missed something here.

Because as I read it, the BBC are dropping a certain product because, er, it's good and successful.

I thought businesses (and yes, the BBC is one of those) wanted good and successful things, and would prefer to ditch rubbish stuff that nobody likes.

Did I wake up in a parallel world today?

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BBC iPlayer rejects open source plugins, takes Flash-only path

cosmogoblin

Sit back and relax

"Is only the OS a platform? I'm confused.."

Not to mention that the wording, especially the phrase "final implementation", implies "We've done everything we need to, now we can sit back and relax and not take any notice of emerging technologies or issues."

A bit like Microsoft in 2001 - "We've finished IE, let's let it fester for years and frustrate customers."

Do the iPlayer team not understand that technology is a moving arena? Is providing services nothing more than a tick-box session in a project management meeting?

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cosmogoblin
Flame

An analogy:

1. The BBC, in partnership with Panafonic, develop television programming methods which work perfectly on Panafonic TVs.

2. Sonny and Sumsang develop TVs which also work perfectly with the BBC's methods.

3. Panafonic send a remote update to all their TVs, and urges the BBC to encode their transmissions so that only TVs with the remote update can translate their programs. The BBC, incredibly, capitulates, and anybody using a Sonny or Sumsang TV can no longer watch BBC.

Wait a minute. That's barely an analogy, that's fact, minus a couple of search/replaces.

I've also developed a cheap, silent Linux ION box with XBMC, and it plays literally every medium I've ever come across without problem. Except iPlayer (Flash's CPU-heavy non-Linux-friendly version skips like an 8-year-old girl riding a kangaroo). I've had several people ask me to make them a box, and I've been eagerly awaiting the Flash update (proper video card usage) or, better, the BBC update (OSS support) which would make this feasible. Instead we get this.

I kind of wish I'd know about the iPlayer plugin before this thread. Then again, I'm glad I didn't get used to it before it was pulled out from under us.

Addendum: My box also fails spectacular with YouTube, of course. But then that's one of its selling points.

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Tricorder/Aliens-motion-tracker handscanner kit gets $6m

cosmogoblin

It's all good

Nah, I learned the hard way not to reuse passwords.

The head of IT at my work takes the piss out of me because, apparently, a password should be a passWORD. Mind you the company's policy is for us to store all our passwords on a plaintext database in Lotus Notes "in case we need to get into your system when you're not there"...

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cosmogoblin
FAIL

And after that display of utter stupidity...

I've changed my password.

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cosmogoblin
Boffin

df83g£G)

Seems you don't need to worry about trying to detect low frequency emissions - I would imagine they would be easy enough to derive by Fourier-transforming the higher frequencies and using harmonic principles to derive the lower spectrum.

Mind you, I don't think I ever created an electronic device that actually worked, and hard drives fizzle when I come within twenty paces, so don't rely on me for expertise...

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Apple strips top shelf, leaves corporate smut in place

cosmogoblin
Jobs Horns

That'd be me then

I read comics, run Linux and play RPGs, and even my like-minded "friends" think I'm a freak for not buying an iThismonth'sfad.

I don't like Blackberries either, so I don't fit in at work. I'm the definition of loser.

I'll take the evil Jobs, although I also hate Gates. And Stallman. And, for that matter, other humans. And computers.

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Why an embedded OS is like a mammal

cosmogoblin
FAIL

Cash machines

I'm always amused seeing BSODs on cash machines. They show quite a few details of the failure (usually driver-related) - including, I've seen a few times, the machine's IP address.

If anything could tempt me to learn proper hacking, it'd be the thought of connecting to a cash machine and taking control of the dispenser.

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Knuckle rap for riot shield sledging coppers

cosmogoblin
Welcome

Good plan by the Super

The guy knows how to publish a story. Stage a publicity shot talking about coppers doing good for the community? Only a soft-news local rag will cover it.

On the other hand, if he publicly denounces what they've done - even though smiling inside and offering to buy them all a pint at the weekend - bam! National news coverage of policemen being nice, friendly, and very much the mythical "bobbies on the beat".

This guy would make a shrewd politician.

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