* Posts by Black Betty

128 posts • joined 3 Mar 2010

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Microsoft announces Windows 10 and Azure for humanity's implacable IoT foes

Black Betty

Why mega/gigabytes of code for kilobytes of functionality?

Strikes me that most IoT devices have very limited functionality. On/off, power level and not a great deal more.

So why the hell are we using advanced general purpose computing devices (fully blown PCs for all intents and purposes) to carry out tasks for which a 1975 6502 would be massive overkill?

Far better would be a decently hardened "home server" as the sole interface between the wider world and the devices it controls, and a collection of dumb devices which WILL NOT take instruction from anything but the server to which they are registered.

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Brute force box lets researchers, Cops, pop iDevice locks

Black Betty

Re: PIN over USB?

At 6 seconds per attempt, a PIN punching bot is very doable. Seems Apple has already speed limited the rate at which PIN's can be entered EVEN WHEN BYPASSING the usual interface.

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Elon Musk's Tesla set to unveil home storage battery

Black Betty

Re: Stupid

Battery does not have to beat the grid. It has to assist in balancing the load on the grid.

Practically, to achieve 100% electricity generation from renewables, there is always going to have to be a certain degree of overcapacity in generation simply to compensate for the fact that the wind and sun are inconstant as well as intermittent. But there's also an upper limit how much under-utilisation of generating plant that can be financially tolerated. A small amount of storage can go a long way toward limitting the amount of over capacity needed to meet peak needs.

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Black Betty

Re: Oh great...

Actually about $4000 or less at Musk's CURRENT prices. Combine with a sub $15k 5 kW solar system to go off grid without sacrificing much in the way of convenience or lifestyle, but with probably enough back from even a pitiable feed-in tariff to justify remaining grid connected just in case.

With sub $100 per kWh of battery on the cards, staying grid connected is a no-brainer. They'll be installing the battery for you. Even leasing it off you if you choose to own outright more hardware than you actually need. Idling wind generators would no longer be a waste of free electricity. Everybody's battery gets a top up and those cheaply hoarded electrons are ready and waiting at a discount rate for when the ads come on and everyone's kettles sing as one.

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Black Betty

Re: Count me in, but...

With conversion efficiencies above 95% it's perfectly practical to buffer a delicate high capacity battery bank with a smaller capacity battery that will tolerate high charge rates and also being sucked dry by a joule thief.

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Black Betty

Re: And all because

You might be surprised. The Old paradigm of continually managing the energy supply to match the demand is fast flying out the window.

The new paradigm is matching demand to a continuously variable supply. Even a quite small battery (2-5kWh) in the home in conjunction with a rooftop photovoltaic system, would suffice to significantly limit the amount of time your home has to resort to the grid at all, even when firing up energy hogs like air-con, kettles and vacuum cleaners. Simply trickle charged at off-peak rates that battery combined with an increasingly affordable inverter will let you avoid the worst of premium rates.

If Elon Musk get battery prices down to a genuine $100-$200/kWh, a few thousand dollars worth of battery and inverter would allow most households to make ALL of their electricity purchases at the lowest available tariff. Even at $400/kWh (looking at < that price right now) such a setup would result in enough savings to more than cover the cost of a new battery every few years. Provide the overcapacity and in all likelihood, electricity providers will happily lease it off you for load balancing purposes. Do your number right, pop on a few solar panels and become a small scale electricity provider yourself with a zeroed power bill and showing a modest profit after amortised costs. Can't argue with that.

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Black Betty

Re: I've already got the system beat.

Two separate dwellings sharing a wall, on a single land title. They often share certain features as a commons, ie basement and yard space.

I suspect a certain amount of lawbreaking, given that he is to all intents and purposes DEFRAUDING an incentive scheme intended to pay for electricity generated from renewable sources, by instead feeding in electricity from an ICE*-generator set powered by fossil fuels. He probably pays a premium of 50-75% over the standard tariff for his fuel and running costs, but still profits on the inflated price he's being paid for the 25 odd kVA "generated" day and NIGHT by his 25W cosmetic solar panel.

* Infernal Combustion Engine.

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Black Betty

Re: WTF?

Combine with rooftop solar for total grid disconnect, or stay connected to the grid and sell your leftovers for whatever pittance you can get AFTER you've accounted for your night time and grey sky needs.

I suspect, given the way power companies are starting to punish rooftop solar in some locales, that a new service industry might emerge offering a mobile rapid charge service as more and more people elect to abandon their connection to the grid entirely.

Or form a cooperative with your neighbours. Lots of solar panels on lots of roofs, a big battery bank and just one grid connection per 20-30 houses.

Affordable high capacity batteries are a real game changer, given their intermittent nature of the most mature renewables. Solar only works during the day, and wind only when wind speeds are neither too fast or too slow. Wave and tidal generators, not tied to rare geographic features, have a bad habit of being smashed to smithereens whenever the weather gets a little too boisterous.

One beauty of a fully mature portfolio of renewable energy sources is that the idea of excess/underutilised capacity ceases to have any meaning. Since running costs are extremely low, it begins to make sense to do energy intensive things like use desert sunshine to melt Boston's snow and use that to water lawns in Las Vegas.

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They've finally solved it: Schrödinger's cat is both ALIVE AND DEAD

Black Betty

Re: Quis custodiet ipsos felis?

I believe it (the amoebae) might be.

The largest item successfully put through the quantum wringer (double slit experiment) is a 114 atom buckeyball.

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WATCH IT: It's watching you as you WATCH IT (Your Samsung telly is)

Black Betty

Re: A little surgery

Sound ports tend to be fully configurable these days. The same sockets support 7+1 surround sound and 7 lines in.

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Reg man confesses: I took my wife out to choose a laptop for Xmas. NOOOO

Black Betty

Clearly you bunk with Ms R. Palm.

There are NO WINNERS to be had by teaching one's SO a lesson by rubbing their nose in their own ignorance.

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REVEALED: Titsup flight plan mainframe borks UK air traffic control

Black Betty

Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code

All the way to the D before Google auto-complete offered up EBCDIC.

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How HAPPY am I on a scale of 1 to 10? Where do I click PISSED OFF?

Black Betty

Re: Even stupider security

Hold in hand with individual keys protruding between fingers. Punch. Not necessarily deadly but one can really mess a face up that way. You will also most likely mess up your hand too, but if something like rape is on offer, it's probably a small price to pay for escape.

You might be surprised by what ordinary, seemingly innocuous items can be used as improvised weapons or damage multipliers.

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Hi-torque tank engines: EXTREME car hacking with The Register

Black Betty

Diff whine isn't diff whine.

What you are hearing is the NON-HELICAL reversing pinions in the gearbox.

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Free government-penned crypto can swipe identities

Black Betty

Re: War Games

What security? The launch codes were all zeros. WOPR would have launched on the first iteration.

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Back to the ... drawing board: 'Hoverboard' will disappoint Marty McFly wannabes

Black Betty

Re: Earthquake Proofing?

Ever tried pushing two magnets together?

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Today's Facebook fury: Coppertone-like baby pic ban baffles US mom

Black Betty

Possibly. It would only take a single wowser...

...making a complaint to the plods. If you're unlucky someone will look at the picture and decide to investigate further. If you're really unlucky several departments will involve themselves and proceed to turn your life and the lives of your entire family inside out. It's certainly happened to people who put in rolls of film for developing.

Like as not, a judge would ultimately dismiss, probably with some scathing commentary for the prosecution, but in the meantime: Children's Services have threatened to take your kids into care unless you move out of the family home; your spouse is looking at you sideways; rumours are flying around the neighbourhood, your kids' friends aren't allowed to visit; your car is vandalised; your job is gone.

And even with a judgement in your favour, you're still not off the hook. Children's Services can still make you moving back in with your kids, dependent on you accepting counseling (ie admitting guilt) and in home supervision.

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Oz refugee data leak a SNAFU, says KPMG report

Black Betty

Refugee's who somehow manage to pay thousands...

...of dollars to the scum of the Earth for their passage to our borders. Amounts generally equal to several years median income in their own countries of origin.

We take in a significant number of legitimate refugees through the proper channels, people (Mostly dark of skin and of differing religious habits) who have spent years of their lives in the virtual prisons of refugee camps around the world; people who lodged their applications and waited for their turn. Why should self entitled upper-middle class (and higher) queue jumpers be able to purchase cuts in line from criminals in the Near, Middle and far East?

And what percentage of that tiny number, (peaking at several thousand per year IIRC), drowned at sea because those criminals deliberately put people on unseaworthy vessels,and relied on the rules of the sea which forbid leaving a vessel in distress. Several hundred DIED, and thousands more are alive only because of last minute rescues that should never have had to happen.

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Technology is murdering customer service - legally

Black Betty

Omnbudsman is a magical word. (If you have access to one.)

It's amazing how helpful people can be once one threatens to involve an industry watchdog with teeth.

Payroll errors corrected now instead of next paycheck.

New phone line now instead of next month, after I was told single pair flat didn't exist by the salesperson I'd ordered a second line through.

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Tesla firms hot bottoms: TITANIUM armor now bolted to Model S e-cars

Black Betty

Re: Historical (Get a dictonary)

(of a part of a machine) Move backwards AND forwards in a straight line.

ie. "a reciprocating blade"

It's the cycles which are counted not the changes in direction.

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Middle England's allotments become metric battlefield

Black Betty

Re: Measurements

I would hazard a guess that with the computerisation of records, it's making less and less sense to build into new software, routines to back-convert records which someone had just been paid a lot of money to normalise under one consistent measurement system.

These people sound like that old woman who famously back in the day, suggested that the government wait for all the old people to die before introducing the metric system.

The smart money should have been on duo-decimalization with the introduction of Arabic numerals and positional notation, however Roman numerals, and abacuses, fairly conclusively demonstrate that even back then, ordinary people and bean counters calculated by looking at their fingers. It was basically only merchants and people divvying up land who found 12 and it's greater number of factors useful enough to bother with.

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Turnbull Twitfight - we're backing Mal this time

Black Betty

Re: Turnbull Twitfight - we're backing Mal this time

And then there is the problem a friend of mine has. It turns out his personal copper pair is pair-gained (multiple voice circuits over a single copper pair) from the exchange to the street corner and Telstra has no intention whatsoever of introducing new capacity this side of the NBN rollout.

Adding insult to injury, while our city in general was one of the first on the list for the NBN rollout, his specific suburb (with a very high percentage of retirees and other low income earners) was excluded.

And then there's the number of subscribers who are still stuck with single pair flat (untwisted) connections to their nearest pit or pillar. Something which bit Telstra on the bum nice and hard when I had a second line installed in NSW. Linesman came to install the second phone, took one look at the lead in and told me it would be at least a month before the connection I'd already been billed for could be made.

Fortunately, I'd specifically mentioned this problem to the girl on the other end of the line when I placed my order, and she'd responded with "There ain't no such animal." I argued, she insisted, and the recording made for "training purposes" bore me out. Telstra decided it was cheaper to string a new twisted pair line, then and there after 5 PM on a Friday, than pay the fine for an upheld complaint to the ombudsman.

Unfortunately for wannabe broadband subscribers, Telstra's legislated service guarantees top out at the 9600 baud analogue necessary for FAX machines.

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IBM PCjr STRIPPED BARE: We tear down the machine Big Blue would rather you forgot

Black Betty

Re: The 6845 is a zero-colour chip

IIRC there wasn't a single ASIC chip in the original APPLE ][.

The CPU had access to memory in the for half of each clock cycle, and the video circuitry access the memory during the other half. This allowed the video circuitry to do double duty, refreshing the DRAM.

Recall the 8 line video interleave which IIRC saved a whole 2 logic gates.

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Black Betty

Re: Floppy drives

I recall on the Apple ][ (please folk, get it right), the disk drives made no use whatsoever of the index hole for timing or locating the first sector, but instead relied on the motor spinning at exactly 300 RPM and reading and writing to the disk at the bit level. This meant making a flippy was as simple as cutting an extra write enable notch on the other side of the disk. (Or installing a switch which bypassed the write enable sensor entirely.)

All disk access was done entirely in software. A carefully timed (40 clock cycle loop) chunk of code waited for a specific patten of 10 bit long "bytes" to pass under the read head. Actual data was read and written with a 32 (8 bit) loop.

To avoid the possibility of a sequence of stored data accidentally mimicking the lead in index "bytes", only 64 of the possible 256 possible 8 bit patterns were originally permitted, and data was written using 5 + 3 bit encoding, meaning it took 3 bytes of space on the disk to store 2 bytes of data.

As it happens it's possible to store 96 (more?) unique bit patterns without upsetting the index byte apple cart, but the tight timing of the write code made it impossible to take apart three bytes and reassemble them into four (6 + 2 bit encoding) on the fly with code alone.

As memory got a bit cheaper, buffering and some trickery with lookup tables, solved this problem, and Apple was able to up it's sector count from 13 to 16 per track.

More exotic coding schemes were introduced by developers to prevent the standard utilities being used to duplicate disks and the copy protection arms race was on.

And then there was all the fun that could be had with 1/2 and 1/4 tracking, the early read/write heads were too "smeary" to permit adjacent tracks that closely spaced, but because ALL timing was in software, spiral tracking was possible.

Oh the joys of MUFFIN, FID, Locksmith and boot-tracing self modifying code with custom ROMs. All for legitimate backup purposes only of course.

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Cable thieves hang up on BT, cause MAJOR outage

Black Betty

Re: It's a positive step for UK broadband

Not so easy. BT would either have to strip out more cable, all the way back to an exchange where a fiber access point was available, or splice in multiplexers and demultiplexers at each end of the break.

Either way you're looking at massively increasing the length of the outage.

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NBN Co tells iiNet: Use Broadcom chips in VDSL routers

Black Betty

I wonder what (if any) relationship Broadcom has with the Alphabet soup?

no text

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Microsoft to Australian government: our kit has no back doors

Black Betty

Re: Do people have no memories at all?

They are however quite possibly that arrogant, vis a vis their badge for their latest spysat. And code monkeys sometimes think they're that clever.

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EE BrightBox routers can be hacked 'by simple copy/paste operation'

Black Betty

Re: Whose routers ARE secure?

Ten years and more ago that suggestion was a show stopper, too many discrete components required, too little under-utilised bandwidth to hide in. Today, not so much, the silicon real estate necessary for such a "feature" would represent only a small percentage of a monolithic device managing a dozen communication protocols over hundreds of I/O channels, directly connected to a "pipe" the size of the Mersey Tunnel.

Fortunately, such attacks on the underlying physical hardware must be done at the front end of the manufacturing process. The blue prints themselves have to be altered, and opportunities for being found out subsequently are myriad all the way through the manufacturing process and even the junk bin. Any lazy college student with electron microscope time on his hands might find it.

Now, when the next layer of abstraction plus encryption gets offloaded to the I/O chipset all bets are off.

However, it's all somewhat moot when we know that a spread spectrum digital radio transmitter can be hidden inside a USB connector. We should just thank our lucky stars that RJ-45 connectors are transparent. the size of my mouse dongle tells me there might well be room for a "listening" bug in even that ethernet connector waved about by the talking head last week.

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Black Betty

Re: "WPA keys, ISP creds, MD5 hashes - all in plain view"

Nope not personal at all. Held jointly by you and your ISP. Or I'd bet that's how they'd argue it. And not quite in public view. If I'm reading this correctly, someone up to no good needs physical, or at least guest wi-fi access, which put this in the class of trusting your neighbour not to take a soap impression of your keys while you're on the bog.

And that's as far as it goes. Without special effort on your part, your privacy in the modern world is pretty much entirely dependent on the size of your profile and the amount of interest you attract.

I just discovered my (not by my choice mind you) ISP stores passwords using reversible encryption. And worse their lost password procedure is to send it to you plaintext in an SMS message, in my case to a phone number I'd just given the tech not two minutes earlier.

And that my friend is an improvement. In my previous lost password conversation with them, the tech read my password out to me off their screen.

Better still, up until very recently all email logins were clear text only, and the last to be upgraded to encrypted logins were of course the primary logins for each account. Their argument was that it wasn't an issue because the connection from the modem to their server was secure. I asked what about remotely accessing email from another computer and the response was essentially, they provided what they contracted to provide - A HOME broadband internet connection, and they couldn't be held responsible for what I did with their credentials on a third party's network.

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Naked Aussie gets wedged in washing machine

Black Betty

& RESCUE. Strikes me we've got an editor clarifying...

that our SES (State Emergency Service) conducts S&R operations.

AND

A correspondent who demonstrates that such clarification is both necessary AND still insufficient.

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Australia rebukes Apple for 'false or misleading representations'

Black Betty

Was thinking this myself. Re: TPP

The blanket meta regulation which forces all treaty partners to abide by the lowest common regulatory denominator, could well see future warranties become comparable to those which once came with "genuine" designer goods purchased in a Kowloon flea market.

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Inventor whips lenscap off 3D-printed pinhole camera

Black Betty

@Chris_W - First in best dressed.

He saw an empty marketing niche (AKA people easily separated from their money) and filled it to the tune of a few thousand dollars.

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US states: Google making ad money on illegal YouTube vids

Black Betty

Re: First amendment?

And no one appears to be asking Google to take the videos down.

Where Google could very well come undone is their ad matching technology under proceeds of crime legislation.

Only have to prove that someone used a YouTube video to commit a crime they could not have committed without knowledge gained from the video and Google could be screwed.

Hit them for the $3.64 raised by the ad and hand off to civil litigation by the victim(s).

Moral leadership is neither here nor there. Google regularly censors YouTube content. It's certainly fast enough to take down any bare titties which might appear. What this really boils down to is that wowsers have enough clout to scare Google into taking down content which they disapprove of, but without Gawd to whip folk into a frenzy, instructional videos for committing actual criminal acts just aren't the same threat to their revenue stream.

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Love in an elevator.... testing mast: The National Lift Tower

Black Betty

Someone needs to water that pitch.

no text

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Australia downloads a limping 13 Mbps, says Ookla

Black Betty

Or perhaps, one of the DSLAM-2s 'retired' in the upgrade...

...might be relocated to your nature strip as an interim solution. If not, there's NO BLOODY HARM in asking if it were possible for this to be done.

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One of the world's oldest experiments crawls towards a fall

Black Betty
Boffin

Thick edge put at the bottom because it's more stable.

Simple as that. If the thick edge was consistently placed towards the top, in a leaded pane, mechanical forces would encorage to the pane to peel out of the opening if the fixings were compromised.

Less robust (even if only marginally) restraint is needed if the thick edges rests on thin, than with thin on thick.

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Australian Federal Police claim arrest of 'LulzSec leader'

Black Betty

Central Coast? Point Clare? Gosford?

Where's the offence?

It's a nearly vertical, temperate rainforest, bedroom community. It has 4 shops and a vet clinic, a volunteer sea rescue base, and a land based "training ship".

And really shitty fishing.

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Anons torn over naming 'n' shaming of 17yo's gang-rape suspects

Black Betty

Re: Rape IS a hard crime to prove... BULLSH*T!

Rape victims are easy subjects to denigrate.

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Want to know if that hottie has HIV? Put their blood in the DVD player

Black Betty

Re: Clever

If it can be made this simple and potentially even simpler and cheaper still, why shouldn't it be as casual as the sex?

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Anonymous turns private eye in Ohio rape case

Black Betty
FAIL

Re: Here say?

Nope. Releasing evidence that implicates a hell of a lot more than two people, and supposedly didn't exist according to police/prosecutors.

BTW its hearsay.

Are you aware:

That one of the parties where the girl was raped was hosted by the original prosecutor, and that the prosecutor's son was one of the alleged participants?

That the prosecutor disuaded the girl and her parents from pressing charges?

That she did not recuse herself until six weeks after the original allegation, and that by the time she did, almost no evidence remained.

That the accused were already known as "The Rape Crew" BEFORE this assault took place.

That the ONLY members of the football team who were suspended were the two who developed consciences (possibly quite gulity ones) and spoke up.

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BOFH: Hasta la Vista... luser

Black Betty
Devil

Re: Browser bars and Antiviruses

Only works if there's a doctor in the family, but boy does it work.

He asks you about his computer, you drop your strides in the middle of x-mas dinner and ask for a his opinion on your hemaroids.

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Foxconn: Worker who lost half his brain in accident must leave hospital

Black Betty

Re: "Foxconn and Apple - totally amoral."

So let's make that Western consumerism and outsourced labour.

Why "F" & "A"? "F" because they are the ones attracting headlines, due to their assosciation with "A" for doing the shit. And "A" because they are the ones who constantly crow about how bloody wonderful they are and charge a premium price into the bargain, when their labour sourcing practices are not one single whit different to most of the rest of the industry.

The rest simply say here's a product at the prices you demanded, your culpability in slave and child labour practices is assumed. Just as it is when you buy 99 cent underpants and ten dollar jeans.

Given a choice between overpriced crap, and functionally identical crap from the exact same source sold with a fair margin, I will go with cheap every time. It might not make any difference to the poor bastard putting my crap together, but i'll be damned to the reverse ingestion of pineapples before I'll pay a fooking premium for nothing but the logo on the outside of the product.

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Black Betty

Re: Why must the injured travel to the doctors?

Excuse me. What a person is capable of doing on a one off basis, when circumstances leave no other option, has absolutely no frigging bearing on what that person is able to do day in and day out. Nor does it address how much recovery time, their exertions might necessitate after the fact.

For myself I have tendonitis in both wrists and elbows. Day to day I am perfectly fine, but after about two hours of any repetetive activity which requires gripping and controlled motion (eg painting with a brush or roller) I start feeling the pain, and by about halfway through a working week I'm on anti-inflamatory drugs and planning ahead of time how I will lift that bottle or glass of water.

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Apple files disappearing-feature iPhone patent

Black Betty

Feeping Creaturism at it's finest.

From its introduction of the Mac, Apple has built their devices with a minimalist human interface and then "inovated" with (more and more frequently) patented methods and procdures designed around overcoming the limitations of that minimalist interface.

Damned near every bloody thing coming out of Apple seems to be built around one overriding criterion:

Can it make a fanboi maik squee?

One button, translucent cases, sleek lines, rounded corners, pretty colours, "go faster" stripes, hide the buttons altogether.

Imagine if the current crop of so called innovators got in on the ground floor with power tools: The Makita pistol grip, Ryobi double hand grips, Black and Decker 8-ball speed selector. Palm grip or fingerwrap? Pushbutton or trigger switch? Slide, push, pull, twist or toggle?

Perhaps people would like pushbikes where only Raleigh has a monopoly on a grip which places one hand either side of the pivot point and everyone else must make do with a tiller.

Oh and a freebie to Samsung and the others. Slide a thumb downwards on either side of screen to unlock, just like the thumblatch once found beneath the the crescent moon.

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Global action takes down tech support scam

Black Betty

Re: What exactly is the crime?

Swindling if you're lucky. Keyloggers, trojans, zombification, ransomware, you name it. Anything you might pick up surfing on the shadier side of the internet, but worse since clueless luser lets the black hat in on his side of whatever security he might have.

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Elon Musk's new re-usable, hovering rocket ship in first test liftoff

Black Betty

Re: China

China's capsule is basically a Soyuz knock off, so doesn't exactly count as original.

I will say I do like their seriously low tech oak heatshield.

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UK-French drone aircraft blueprints nicked at Paris station

Black Betty

Is there anything to indicate that the material in the brief case....

...was specifically sought?

Or was it just an opportunistic chav looking for something to turn into "ready" to turn into packaged happiness?

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Boffins make graphene micro-distillery

Black Betty

Freeze distilation.

Chill in flat pans. Drop in ice chips. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Remove ice sheets. Decant. Age.... There that's about right. Drink.

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Black Betty

Always too much water in the way.

Gaps in the membrane are exactly "one water wide". There's NEVER any room for anything else. As soon as there's room for a fresh water molecule at a gap, it displaces anthing which might physically occupy the space. He (and everything else) gets left behind.

It's probably quantum too.

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NASA wants space washing machine for ISS, Mars bases

Black Betty

Hand operated tumble washer.

Any decent camping supplier can provide.

Same principle:- a screw top bucket left to roll about in the boot of the car also works marvelously.

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