* Posts by BillG

857 posts • joined 29 Jan 2010

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Watch it Apple: time has come for cheaper rivals' strap-ons

BillG
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Coat

Re: Ugh

Ugh for battery life, the Apple Watch requires daily charging, unless you actually use the thing in which case it needs charging two or more times a day.

Feedback I've gotten from bartenders is that iPhone people lean over the bar and ask for a charger much more often than Androids.

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Docker hired private detectives to pursue woman engineer's rape, death threat trolls

BillG
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Megaphone

Re: Utterly unacceptable

"This industry is fucked," she wrote

I would not blame the industry. It is that, unfortunately, the internet is an outlet for sociopaths. These are the people on forums that have no interest in sharing ideas and only feel pleasure at hurting people. It's a mental health issue, which also makes it a parenting issue.

What these people desperately want is to be taken seriously. The best psychological defense really is to laugh at them. It drains their venom which stops them cold.

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Kent Police handed domestic abuse victim's data to alleged abuser – a Kent cop

BillG
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WTF?

Kent Police has been fined £80k...

But no individual was punished. Kent Police took the hit instead. Not much of a punishment if the group takes the blame for the individual.

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PayPal freezes 400-job expansion in North Carolina over bonkers religious freedom law

BillG
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Facepalm

Re: America

The bill requires transgendered people to use the bathroom of their original gender unless they have changed it on their birth certificate...

There's a reason for this. In California, you have straight guys dressing as women so they can walk into the women's rest room and get a quick thrill (hope I haven't given anyone reading this any ideas...).

...banned local LGBT equality ordinances

I've read the bill PDF and I can't find this anywhere.

I do know that the U.S. Constitution does not allow for a "protected class". While discrimination in any form is unconstitutional and hence illegal, you can't pass a law that says discriminating against people of XYZ is more illegal.

This was emphasized in California in LA around 1986. LA passed a law making it illegal to discriminate against gays. Soon after that, LGBTs, African-Americans, women, Native Americans, Japanese-Americans, and more all demanded their own law. It got outrageous when at a rally each minority group accused other minority groups of discrimination against their minority group.

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Firefox features will land out of cycle and Mozilla's cool with that

BillG
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Happy

Re: Ohh, Gee...

Firefox, with ten tabs open: 755Mb

Allow me to be the rebel in the lot that doesn't like being told what's good for me:

Firefox 28 with ten tabs open - 520Mb

Yes, I still use FF28 on my daily driver. I have another similar laptop that stays updated with the most recent version of FF and FF28 is consistently faster and uses less memory.

Why am I still using FF28? It's faster and uses less memory. Also, my computer, my browser, my choice. Remember choice? Mozilla used to be all about that.

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Microsoft's bigoted teen bot flirts with illegali-Tay in brief comeback

BillG
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Headmaster

I love the inevitability of this - they create something that learns from the internet and get surprised when it learns from the internet...

True, when you read up on the AI it seems that it learns from what is tweeted towards it, so if you constantly tweet racist crap it becomes a racist crapper.

Now, here's the big challenge for Microsoft: how do you program in a sense of morality in an AI interface?

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Top! tip! for! Yahoo! – 'Fire! your! board! of! directors!'

BillG
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Facepalm

Re: the lazy way out

Kodak, Xerox, and Yahoo. All companies with management afraid to change. For weak managers sometimes it's safer to do nothing, than take a risk and do something.

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Dodgy software will bork America's F-35 fighters until at least 2019

BillG
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Pirate

Re: A boondoggle through and through and now ejection seats are also a problem?

What did they do, reinvent the wheel or something similar?

No. The unfortunate truth of the F-35 fiasco is that all the major contractors, in order to keep costs down, laid off experienced engineers and hired young, inexperienced hardware and software engineers instead. Take a look online and read it for yourself.

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Pope kicks off Easter week by triumphal entry into ... Instagram

BillG
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the papal piccy feed has amassed 1.5 million followers already. In the old days, holding the attention of just 5,000 followers required five fish and a couple of loaves.

Love this turn of phrase. +1

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FAA's 'drone smash risk to aircraft' is plane crazy

BillG
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Mushroom

Beware the Dangeours Idiots

We are all forgetting that sooner or later some idiot is going to strap some explosives onto a drone and go after an aircraft, maybe go for the cockpit windows. If they happen to get ahold of some highly dense military grade explosives then it's a whole new range of hurt.

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Apps that 'listen in' to your mobile get slapped by US watchdog

BillG
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Holmes

Re: Siri and Cortana

"the FTC said that anyone who plans to make use of the code and covert ultrasonic signals in America will only be able to do so legally by obtaining consent."

Screw consent. It is called wiretapping and should be punishable by imprisonment.

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Millions menaced as ransomware-smuggling ads pollute top websites

BillG
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Happy

Re: Websites visited by millions of people daily

Adblock Plus to the rescue!

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Google fends off EFF's claims kids probed by Chromebook software

BillG
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FAIL

Re: How many times have Google ...

Google always, always, always has a well-prepared excuse when they are caught.

The proper answer to Google's excuse here is that children's privacy is more precious than search results.

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Blah Blah blah ... I don't care! To hell with your tech marketing bull

BillG
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Happy

@Trevor Potts

Trevor, you said everything I have been thinking over my 20 years in technology marketing. Let me sum up your article in just one sentence:

It's all about TRUST.

In technology marketing I haven't always had the best solution. Sometime I did, sometimes I did not. But my most important rule is that I always do what I say I'm going to do. On that basis I build trust, and based on that trust, my customers, who I treat as friends, would rather buy an inferior solution from me than a superior solution from a stranger. Now, I'm not implying that something is wrong with my solution or product, it's just that when something goes wrong - and wait for it, you know that something ALWAYS goes wrong - they trust me to stand by their side and fix the problem (while covering for them if it's their fault) rather than going with a better solution sold by some phony in a suit.

I'm sorry about the loss of your cat, I've been though that and never had another cat again. A pet's affection is real and believable, there is TRUST between the two of us. I've discovered that in times of deep loss, we find our emotional core and discover what's really important. God Bless.

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Carolina cop cuffed for 'carjacking'

BillG
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Facepalm

If found guilty, the Hardin faces a possible 10 years' jail time

So he'll be doing some hard time?

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What we all really need is an SD card for our cars. Thanks, SanDisk

BillG
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Megaphone

Automotive Electronics and Quality

I've worked in Automotive Electronics for over ten years and I can tell you these memory cards are necessary. Automotive is an extremely harsh environment, and electronics in the cabin needs to be qualified over extremes of temperatures from -45°C to +105°C (up to 125°C in the engine compartment). There are also tests for vibration, high humidity, and long life.

For automotive semiconductors the specification is AEC-Q200 - look it up.

Maybe your commercial-grade USB stick is serving you well in your car, but consider that a failure rate of 5% is considered high and completely unacceptable in automotive electronics. If you have 50,000 vehicles that means 2,500 failures you will read about on the internet.

I can tell you that, in the early mad rush to connect cars, many car manufacturers were only using commercial-grade connectivity products (WiFi, Bluetooth, Ethernet, etc). Watch how many of these cars have failures four years after they were sold.

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Top new IoT foundation (yeah, another one) to develop open standards

BillG
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Re: Mee too!!!

Many of these organizations are not traditional standards bodies, because they do not follow traditional standards processes, such as public ratification and publication of standards.

In most cases these organization only make their publications available first to paid members of the organizations. Because of this, bodies like OCF, IETF, and WiSUN are not a traditional open-standards organizations.

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Google to snatch control of Android updates from mobe makers – analyst

BillG
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Joke

This is the only way that Google can end the endemic fragmentation that continues to plague its devices as well as take back control of software distribution

To put it another way: "This is the only way that Google can end this destructive conflict, and bring order to the galax... uh, software distribution"

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FTDI boss hits out at 'Chinese criminal gang' pumping knock-off chips

BillG
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Headmaster

Re: Fakes damaging FTDI's reputation

Dropbear: there is no such thing as a guaranteed supply chain unless one buys from YOU directly

Wrong, all you need to do is buy from an authorized distributor. They are listed on the manufacturer's website. It's as easy to buy from an authorized FTDI distributor such as Mouser Electronics as it is to buy a book off Amazon.

Pay a few cents more than the fake and you get a reliable device.

Even if the FTDI drivers worked with the fake, there is a good chance the fake will stop working a year from now. These are cheap counterfeit chips, and the counterfeiters are overclocking a cheap MCU to do it. The FTDI design techniques are insufficient to prevent the cheap counterfeits from eventually overheating. Go read the product reviews on Amazon. Manufacturers that knowingly buy counterfeits put out cheap products that eventually fail (think they give a damn about you???).

Dropbear: the clones were actually MORE faithfully following your spec than your own damn chips did

Now you are just making stuff up.

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BillG
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Re: Caveat emptor

After last year's criticism, Dart reckons today's approach, in which the driver refuses to work if it detects a counterfeit (without bricking the product), is endorsed by most of its customers.

I work for an authorized distributor that sells FTDI chips and I can tell you the above statement is true. Serious customers want to know they are buying genuine chips and they quiz us to make certain we sell the real stuff.

It's funny when people that bought counterfeit FTDI chips off eBay call us and demand we switch them for genuine chips "because it's not my fault I bought a counterfeit!!!".

No manufacturer wants to risk the reputation of their company's end products by putting counterfeit components in their system.

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US Congress locks and loads three anti-encryption bullets

BillG
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Let me fix that for ya'

The bill to grant the Congress sole rights to an encryption solution is likely to face opposition from Congressmen the U.S. Constitution with a strong states-rights philosophy.

a.k.a. The Tenth Amendment

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Facebook tells Viz to f**k right off

BillG
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Meh

Re: A once brilliant comic....

It's rare that I don't like something attempting to be comedic, I like to brag that I got my comedy chops from watching Monty Python. But when I look at Viz, I think he presently characterizes the phrase "That's not Funny, that's Stupid".

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This is what it looks like when your website is hit by nasty ransomware

BillG
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Happy

Re: Just an idea

Maybe it's not CTB-Locker, it just claims it is? Unless you are expecting honesty from criminals, that is...

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Obama govt proposes 33% hike in cyber-security spending

BillG
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Facepalm

Re: Knock me over with a feather

Federal spending grew much more (by both percentage and actual dollars) under Bush than it has so far under Obama. But don't let facts get in the way of a good rant.

You listed the submitted budgets and did not include off-budget spending. If you want to see just how outrageous federal spending has become under Obama, look at this chart from George Mason University:

High Levels of Government Spending Become Status Quo

Just take a look at Bush's last year when the Dems in Congress passed massive pork and overrode Bush's veto.

But even if you do not agree with me, laying blame does not make everything better. If you are a Dem, proving Bush is to blame does not suddenly make the economy O.K. And if you did not live though the Federal government incompetence that followed Hurricane Sandy, you can't understand. And if you think that the people whose lives were destroyed by Obama's mishandling of Sandy victims are simply inconvenient to your political ideology, then you are a cold person.

If you think that it's O.K. that of the $50B of the Sandy bill, $48B went to pork and only $2B went to victims <- if you want to make excuses for that, then tell that to my brother. His house is still uninhabitable because the promised Federal funds never showed up.

http://www.fema.gov/sandy-recovery-office

http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2015/03/08/3631236/christie-sandy-protestors-iowa/

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BillG
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Devil

Re: Knock me over with a feather

The outgoing Obama administration has proposed increasing federal cyber-security spending by $5bn, or around a third, in the hope of reaching $19bn in 2017.

Yeah, right. I remember Barry's $50B Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill where $2B went to Sandy relief and $48B went to programs like trout fisheries in Nevada and a museum in Arkansas.

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Sick and tired of modern Windows? Upgrade to Windows 3.1 today – in your web browser

BillG
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Happy

Fiddling around with my Windows 3.11 desktop was like training wheels for my career with computers.

But before Windows - before the Mac - there was: The Amiga! It just worked and had amazing graphics for the time. It failed because of poor marketing.

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Google licks its lips at sight of Qualcomm's 64-bit server ARM chips

BillG
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Meh

Data centres could be on the cusp of switching to ARM very rapidly

I don't think you read the article - ARM is gaining traction very slowly in very high end servers, during which Intel/x86 is NOT standing still.

Intel will defend the server market like a lioness protecting her cubs. They will expand their highly efficient x64 server architectures and continue to innovate.

In the end, the competition will benefit server manufacturers.

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Dutch cops train anti-drone eagle squadron

BillG
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Joke

Re: Cool video

@Known Hero

You get an eagle, they going to start making drones to take down eagles !!! Then where will we be !! covered in chips and blood !!!

Then it begins!

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BillG
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Happy

Re: Cool video

Forget the drones - I want an eagle!

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Samsung trolls Google, adds adblockers to phones

BillG
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Devil

Re: If nothing else ...

For me, mobile ads are reaching the same tipping point as full browser ads, but even more so.

I absolutely will not tolerate mobile browser ads that play video as soon as I open the page. The unwanted attention-getting noise, the slowing of my browser and phone, the battery drain - then there's the hunt on the browser page to find the video to stop it.

I also object to the official-looking ads that imitate an Android interface with "You have one unread messages". Yes, I'm experienced enough to know it's an ad but how many others will fall for it, click, and then get duped?

On my rooted Android I use an adblocker to block ads on my apps ONLY when the ads interfere with the operation of the app. I gladly pay $3 or so for the non-ad supported version. But the mobile browser ads are really trying my patience.

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30 years on from Challenger, NASA remembers the fallen

BillG
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Mushroom

Re: Was a very long day for me.

I remember I was two years out of college working as a EE for a contractor that had equipment on the shuttle, although I was not on that project. I saw the explosion when I was home for lunch. I immediately drove back to the office.

We were all told to stand by in case NASA needed our assistance in regards to our equipment. As EEs we were all walking around like zombies, in total shock. It would have been a mixed honor to assist in the investigation, but no request from NASA came to our department that day.

I reminded myself why I wanted to be an Electrical Engineer in the first place - I wanted to create, to build, to make a difference. NASA was the epitome of why I studied all those years. When the word came out that the disaster occurred because a non-engineer manager had overridden the techies that were yelling DON'T LAUNCH, it impressed in me a distrust of non-engineering management that exists to this day.

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BillG
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Thumb Down

Re: "Killing season"?

I also feel "killing season" is very very disrespectful because "kill" implies intent and "season" implies sport.

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China has a chip to fry with y'all: Wants its own chip smarts and fabs

BillG
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Mushroom

It's more than that. When I worked (worked? it was FUN!) as a technical marketing manager for a major semiconductor company, my customers were all the major technology manufacturers in the USA and Europe. I knew their corporate roadmaps for the next three years, their product plans, the inner workings of all their stuff.

Do you want China to know what's in Ford's cars for the next three years, or the inner workings of Cisco's next generation routers, or the hardware and software inside Boeing's newest aircraft before it's released? Semiconductor companies know all these things. They know the real technology future. Do we want the Chinese government to have this information?

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Motorola cut in half! But still alive, and ready to live again

BillG
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FAIL

Motorola and The Peter Principle

I had worked with (not for) Motorola about 15 years ago. Management was the ultimate study of The Peter Principle ("managers rise to their level of incompetence") and they were more concerned with looking important than actually putting out products that people wanted. Overhead expenses were through the roof with lavish dinners and First Class airfares. Management retreats to Hawaii would wipe out an entire R&D budget for the year.

The management atmosphere was toxic - you could create nine successful products and one dud, and your co-workers would tear you apart for the dud. The result was marketing malaise where there were endless marketing studies done but no leading-edge products produced. Somebody should make a movie.

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Bloke sues dad who shot down his drone – and why it may decide who owns the skies

BillG
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Megaphone

Re: the problem with drones...

Interesting - drones with cameras might be covered under the Peeping Tom Law

(f) Any person who, for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of any person, secretly or surreptitiously uses or installs in a room any device that can be used to create a photographic image with the intent to capture the image of another without their consent shall be guilty of a Class I felony.

While this applies to a room, I can see a good lawyer making a legal argument extending this to the airspace of drones.

Remember that Roe v. Wade stated that the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment implied a right to privacy. That also comes into play here.

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Obama: What will solve America's gun problem? What could it be? *snaps fingers* Technology!

BillG
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Headmaster

Re: Huh?

How often do people have this problem in America where an assailant is attacking them in such a way that lethal force is necessary?

This is called a defensive gun use (DGU). Depending on whose numbers you look at, according to the Harvard School of Public Health a DGU occurrs between 55,000-80,000 times a year - however, that survey was commissioned by an anti-gun lobby. Another survey sponsored by The Police Foundation found that 4.7 million DGUs occur in the USA each year. There seems to be a consensus that 1 million DGUs per year is a good number.

Growing up in New York, one night a burgler jumped a fence into my friend's yard with a bag of loot, big guy, built like a linebacker. Whole family in the yard. Burgler saw my friend's father and ran straight at him with a knife. Father took out his pistol and quickly put two in the guys chest from ten feet away, killing him. While guns were illegal in NY at the time, my friend's father was an off-duty policeman, wearing his civies but still packing his service revolver, as required.

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Microsoft makes Raspberry Pi its preferred IoT dev board

BillG
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WTF?

ERRATA

Several things wrong with this article, first, um, the Galileo is definitely not a Raspberry Pi board, it is definitely an Arduino board.

And, as I work for a distributor that sells Intel products, I can tell you that the Galileo is one of our best selling single-board computers. I have not seen an EOL notice on the Galileo.

Also, the Galileo is not recommended as a platform for running Windows 10, but Intel promotes that to show that the board is 100% compatible with Windows software which is very significant in the embedded market.

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Brazil gets a WTF WhatsApp moment

BillG
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Mushroom

Re: What did the court orginally ask for?

WhatsApp encrypt messages only to make it difficult to eavesdrop in real time. If they do not keep the keys they presumably do not keep the messages past delivery since it would be a pointless waste of storage. Thus, a court request/order for past messages would be answered with a simple "we don't keep messages on our servers after they are delivered".

You need to understand how governments think when they want something. They think and act like spoiled children, which includes thinking that everyone lies (like they do). Anything they do not understand or do not like hearing becomes sounds like blah blah noise, so like a spoiled child that does not understand, they think if they throw a large enough temper tantrum they will get what they want.

So "We will not provide you with the messages because we don't keep messages on our servers after they are delivered"

becomes

"We will not provide you with the messages blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah"

To the government, "unable to comply" = "refusal to comply". So the government throws a temper tantrum and blocks WhatsApp. When their behavior makes things worse (voter revolt), they try another tactic.

it's important to realize that the government still believes that although WhatsApp denies having access to messaging data, they do not believe WhatsApp because they would keep and deny the data themselves.

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Mozilla looses Firefox 43, including Windows 64-bit variant

BillG
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Megaphone

Firefox 43! Now Using Three Times More RAM!

Truth in advertising.

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Is ATM security threatened by Windows XP support cutoff? Well, yes, but …

BillG
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> I wrote my first code for a hybrid VAX/VMS system (remember timesharing?) in 1976,

I do remember timesharing, and I remember that VMS VAXen (hybrid? in what way?) came out in 1977. Macro32 was a pleasant change from writing PLAN for ICL systems.

My bad, fading memory yad yada yada. In 1976 I wrote my first code for a hybrid HP system. Later in 1984 I first sat down at a VAX/VMS terminal and was also introduced to my first hack. I was able to spoof any username when using the PHONE system (that two-windowed ACII "chat" interface). But technically my very first program (if it can even be called that) was the Digi-Comp in about 1968; although nowhere near on the level you were doing, it got me hooked on programming.

Not familiar with RT11 or RSX11, and I won't try to snow you by googling it, but kudos to you for programming when no one knew what that meant.

No I would never program in binary again either, but I feel every serious programmer should be forced to do it just once (just as I feel everyone should wait tables just once). IMO too many embedded programmers take C for granted and expect magic code optimizations, especially when it comes to bit manipulation.

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BillG
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And what does any of that have to do with the fact that XP won't magically become less secure just because it is out of support?

You are confusing XP for the desktop with XP Embedded. XPE is extremely slimmed down and omits things like the shell, file browsing, control panel, start menu, address bar, etc. Because it is configured for a single purpose (an XPE ATM machine can't browse the web, an XPE sales kiosk can't check your email), once set up it is inflexible. On XPE a user can't change system settings, can't force a stack overflow, it will always boot in a predictable way, etc.

On an XPE ATM the user has the touch-screen interface and keypad, period. A keyboard interface is available for debug and status use only, on the back of the machine safely under lock and key. Hit too many strange keypad combinations and the machine will lock down while your picture is taken (go ahead, try it!).

The source code with documentation is useful for those with enough experience to make use of it. Typically embedded source code of this type comes with extensive documentation along with a support contract which might include telephone and/or on-site support, training, tutorials, and a network of 3rd party contractors.

While XPE is very well secure, I'd prefer a solution from WindRiver before I'd look at XPE.

And I'm not a child, I have 15 years more embedded programming experience than you.

Not sure exactly what embedded project you were working on back in 1980. I wrote my first code for a hybrid VAX/VMS system (remember timesharing?) in 1976, and coded a 68000 SBC in assembly in 1985-ish. First time I coded a microcontroller I had no compiler so I did it in binary (don't do that). But making silly one-line brand-biased statements for laughs, well, to me that's childish and unprofessional.

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Google says its quantum computer is 100 million times faster than PC

BillG
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Meh

Re: Speed

It looks like they are talking about asynchronous computing? That is, a CPU without a clock. These always look great on paper and simulate well, but in real life they either do not work or burn up quickly from the intense heat.

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Dailymotion hit by malvertising attack as perpetrators ‘up their game'

BillG
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Facepalm

Nonetheless, the incident serves to illustrate the ongoing problems posed by ad networks

I've gotta laugh at this - DailyMotion suspended my account, the reason they gave is that because I use an adblocker!!!

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Free HTTPS certs for all – Let's Encrypt opens doors to world+dog

BillG
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Thumb Up

Re: So...

Why doesn't El Reg just use HTTPS for forum/comments login, then?

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Brit hardware hacker turns Raspberry Pi Zeros into selfie slayers

BillG
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Devil

Re: Hmm

I want one.

I want to block access to social networking sites during family gatherings.

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Sued for using HTTPS: Big brands told to cough up in crypto patent fight

BillG
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Happy

Re: @asdf

At the risk of incurring the pedantic wrath of some.. I'll invoke Shakespeare's "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers" concept.

Another good one is, "We need lawyers to get us out of trouble that we wouldn't be in in the first place, if it wasn't for lawyers."

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Report: VW execs 'knew' about fuel economy issues last year

BillG
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Trollface

Re: Thank You, Captain Obvious.

In other news (THIS IS TRUE)...

Yesterday, the New England Patriots post-game report was sponsored by... VOLKSWAGEN!

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BillG
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Facepalm

Thank You, Captain Obvious.

Report: VW Execs 'Knew' About Fuel Economy Issues Last Year!

Duh.

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Mozilla annual report shows risky Google dependency now risky Yahoo! dependency

BillG
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Meh

Re: The problem

I just checked Process Explorer, and what do you know - 1.1GB. That sounds pretty bad, but bear in mind I have 2 Firefox windows open with several hundred tabs (though only a small subset are loaded). I wonder if Mozilla is trying to boost performance by using more RAM?

I've found that it's not the number of tabs open, but the types of websites and how many you browse. For example, if you visit and re-visit the awful and bloated Walmart website often enough in just one tab, your RAM goes to 1.8G and higher, and browsing on any tab becomes painfully slow.

On Firefox, the more RAM a profile consumes, the slower that profile gets until you are forced to re-start the browser.

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