* Posts by alain williams

911 posts • joined 29 May 2007

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Shhhhh! If you're quiet, Linus Torvalds might release new a Linux

alain williams
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Re: This is a genuine question to all software devlopers...

This is not a release it is a release candidate, ie a test/trial to shake out any bugs.

The point is that Linux kernel development happens in public view; with most (closed source) software these release candidates would not be seen outside of the organisation that writes it.

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No spoilers! Norway won't tell Snowden if US will snatch him on a visit

alain williams
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Another solution ?

Have a sympathetic nation make him a diplomat and thus give him diplomatic immunity. Ecuador (Assange's hoteliers) might do it. However: I suspect that the USA might just snatch him and point two fingers to normal diplomatic rules.

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Pluto has massive underground oceans, say astro-boffins

alain williams
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What drains off lamp posts has to go somewhere ...

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Apple admits the iPhone 6 Plus has 'Touch Disease'

alain williams
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Re: "after being dropped multiple times on a hard surface"

EU law on it, start looking at Guarantees and returns.

The UK Gov't can leave parts of EU law in UK legislation if it wants to. It will be interesting to see who they think their friends are by seeing what remains and what is junked.

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TfL to track Tube users in stations by their MAC addresses

alain williams
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It will be tapped by GCHQ

Theresa May's snoopers' charter is now well on the way to being law by Xmas. It TfL is providing Wifi then it will be deemed an ISP and thus the data collected must be kept for a year. Web site addresses at first, but expect 'feature creep' in this law (or just plain - share it with us: you have a nice tube network there ...) and they will get the lot.

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'Post-truth' beats 'chatbot' to Word of the Year Crown

alain williams
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Re: Doesn't "Post-truth" sound...

Now politics is just bare-faced lies even in the overwhelming evidence of facts.

I was discussing with my son last night: I remember politicians of 40 years ago twisting things ('spin' in contemporary to Blair parlance) but I don't remember the outright lies that we get today. I was wondering if things are really worse or if I am becoming a grouchy old git who grumbles more at things ?

This is a serious question. Any (informed) opinions ?

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Russia shoves antitrust probe into Microsoft after Kaspersky gripes about Windows 10

alain williams
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Maybe they should be thanking MS

for having a market in the first place. If it was not for the insecure operating system they would not have found a hole in the market.

Me: never run MS Windows on my own machines, never had a virus/... *n?x has kept me safe.

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A British phone you're not embarrassed to carry? You heard that right

alain williams
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Missing info in write up

that price might need VAT adding - their shopping basket is not entirely clear.

A URL would have been nice: https://www.wileyfox.com/

I note that you can have a spare battery (£15)

It will be interesting to see real customer reviews, battery life is something that really interests me with toys like this.

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Lenovo downward dogs with Yoga BIOS update supporting Linux installs

alain williams
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How about testing it ?

If we take their denial of Windows only at face value then we must ask: why did they not test it with Linux first ? I assume that they spent a lot of time/money testing the hardware and also testing their MS Win 10 boot image; so why not stick in a Linux Mint/Fedora/... ISO/memory-stick and try it ?

If there are problems I would expect that the help that they would get from the distros would be good.

Doing this does not mean that they would have to support Linux or even say that it has been known to work (which might get them into trouble from Redmond). But give a few laptops to the right people who can they announce to the world that they have got their distro running on it ... how many more machines would they sell as a result ?

Can they really that stupid that they aren't already doing this ?

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Judge allows Apple's faceless Irish head to settle for €45k - report

alain williams
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Green light to do it again

So the fine is about 1/20,000 of the original unpaid tax - that is pretty good. They ended up paying about 1/3 of the original demand - I wish I could get HMRC to be that nice to me! €45k is loose change to these guys, they will pay it when en-route to the pub to celebrate the judge's generosity.

But more importantly: unless these head honchos pay a meaningful personal price (eg 6 monthly eating porridge) they just won't care.

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Good luck securing 'things' when users assume 'stuff just works'

alain williams
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Who bears the losses ?

Ignoring hassle: in the case of a house burglery the insurance company. These are in the position to push through a change; not (or reduced) payouts if the door locks are inadequate. The sell is reduced premiums to the householder. Properly done it will encourage the householder to do a one off investment in locks for a multi year drop in premiums.

Unfortunately: the marketing department shouts loudly about the lower premium and hides the good lock requirement on page 35 of the T&Cs; it is only pointed out after the theft.

Opportunity lost - squandered by marketing and that most people don't read T&Cs.

.

Much the same with our electronic bling: ease of use and price are seen as the draws. How to make it secure comes many pages after the instructions of how to view cuddly kittens.

Losses are less obvious unless someone grabs your banking details or similar. Many still take the view that the loss will be picked up by the bank; I have friends who proudly tell me that they use the same 3 passwords everywhere - even as I tell them that this is stupid.

Banks are refusing to cover some scams, but so far it is often seen as ''something that happened to someone else'' and that they will be OK ... anyway the next Bake Off is about to be aired.

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Despite best efforts, fewer and fewer women are working in tech

alain williams
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Equality of Opportunity, not Attainment

As long as men & women (gays/straights/..., black/white/..., etc) have the same opportunity to follow an interest, get educated and compete for jobs on the same footing as everyone else: what else do you want ? Some jobs require temperaments, abilities that not everyone has - so they can go and chose something else.

There are those who look at Attainment and blame industries/... for an imbalance without looking to see if it what women (in this case) actually want to do.

Should we complain that in the UK only 0.5% of midwives are men ?

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Britain's fight to get its F-35 aircraft carriers operational turns legal

alain williams
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Would we have won WW-II ?

At the rate that MOD seems to work these days Germany would have completely overrun England before MOD had had enough chits signed to allow them to fire back!

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Dynamic IP addresses are your personal property, CJEU rules

alain williams
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Re: Not unusual

In the UK you will share your date of birth with a bit less than 3,000 people. So not much more is needed to narrow in on you.

(Exact number depends on age, ...)

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Skin tattoo will tell your phone when you've had a skinful

alain williams
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Re: How long before your insurance company

I think that this will come in for drivers who have a previous DD conviction and who want to get insurance. I'm not someone who like Big Brother, but this is one case that I would not complain about.

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Court finds GCHQ and MI5 engaged in illegal bulk data collection

alain williams
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''lessons learned''

How to not get caught again, even if just by fixing the law.

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Forget malware, crooks are cracking ATMs the old-fashioned way – with explosives

alain williams
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£170m is a tiny sum

compared to the bank losses racked up by crooked bankers in 2008; so why do they make such a fuss ?

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That UK law that'll share Brits' private info among govt departments? Yeah, that'll need oversight

alain williams
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Controlling who can see it will not be effective

say you are allowed to prevent data going to some places; then the response will be simple: we don't empty your dustbins (or whatever) until you give it to us.

A far better approach would be to let individuals:

* see what data is being held on them & the ability to fix errors

* see who has seen what data on them (organisation name & employee name)

Then when data is being shared too far, some sort of public campaign might happen; unless you know you cannot do this.

Assumption: that orgs will be honest in what they do!

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Personal info on more than 58 million people spills onto the web from data slurp biz

alain williams
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Hoping that the fuss will die down ...

and that people will forget. A completely irresponsible way to behave.

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Steve Jobs' thermonuclear showdown with Samsung reaches US Supreme Court

alain williams
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Apple is a US company, US judges ...

which way do you think they will go ?

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Linus Torvalds admits 'buggy crap' made it into Linux 4.8

alain williams
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Screw up - 'fess up

Yes: they got it wrong; but they did not attempt to hide it with some marketing department style drivel. Fortunately this has been found and made public - so the big downstream users (ie distributors) will be warned and remove the bad patch or wait for the next release.

No: not perfect; but who is ?

Another thing that this shows is that Linus is running the latest kernels on his own machine and so gets to suffer if he cocks up.

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ICO boss calls for EU-style data protection rules post-Brexit

alain williams
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Lobbying starts now

by large corporates who find data protection a pain and want to be able to play fast and loose with personal information. The message will be a bit more subtle of course: talk about reducing the DP compliance burden; helping trade in data with the USA, ... MPs will want to please those who pay them for ''consultancy'', etc, and may help by slashing the ICO budget so that it cannot afford to investigate wrong doers (except, of course, where politically convenient); maybe the max charge for a Subject Access Request raised to £1,000.

T May will want to weaken Data Protection, allow her spymasters to do what they want.

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One-way Martian ticket: Pick passengers for Musk's first Mars pioneer squad

alain williams
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Stock photos ...

For your next pic of a man sitting on Mars, choose an image where the outline of the mountains is not blurred by a haze in an atmosphere.

Getting a good pic, however, might push the price of the image up a bit. Maybe one thing that Mr Musk's adventurers could export back here ?

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Sage advice: Avoid the Windows 10 Anniversary Update – it knackers our accounting app

alain williams
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Re: "operating system updates end up disabling the framework"

Its upto each developer to test compatibility with the hosting platform/underlying OS, hence this is Sage's responsibility.

But there is also a responsibility of the OS developer to not break backwards compatibility. With MS this is doubly important since users cannot stop updates from being installed.

MS do not provide ISV early bird reviews of their updates which might allow them to test and identify problems; the best that ISVs can do is, like everyone else, scrabble around to find a fix after an MS update unexpectedly breaks working software.

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Cosmology is safe and the Universe is one giant version of the Barbican

alain williams
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1 in 121,000

Hmmmm, not quite the 1 in 3.5 million (5 sigma) that is used by the boys at CERN.

Still: much better evidence than the myths about the universe that some people try to get me to accept.

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Naked, drunken Swede assaults chicken shed after 60th birthday

alain williams
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When in court ...

how did he explain what he did to the chickens to the beak ...

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Online scammers speed up: Hit gold every 15 seconds

alain williams
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£3 out of £10 not noticed by banks

Katy Worobec said: “Last year, banks stopped £7 in £10 of attempted fraud from happening." That makes it sound reasonably effective, if she had said “Last year, banks failed to stop £3 in £10 of attempted fraud from happening." then people would rightly be much more worried.

Why is the director of the organisation that is supposed to fight financial fraud trying to make it sound as if the problem is being addressed -- when it is not ? Does she really care or is she taking pressure from the banks to make things sound good ?

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Emacs and Vim both release first new updates in years

alain williams
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Trouble with sublime is that is a GUI application. When I am programming I don't want to worry about finding where the mouse is; I can touch type but cannot touch mouse.

The editors that I use are CHUI (CHaracter UI or curses) based. This means that they also work nicely over a slow ssh connection.

Which editor: microemacs.

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Great British Block-Off: GCHQ floats plan to share its DNS filters

alain williams
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Re: Toxic reputation

I thought that, but it would be a shame to not take advantage of the huge amounts of tax-payer money that they soak up; also we do have to recognise that they do have expertise. However: there is that smell about them, how far to trust them?

The best way of dispelling a smell is lots of fresh air. So if what they released was Open Source and could be readily checked - then we have a chance of keeping them honest.

I would be cautious, but I would like to talk to them further.

I would also like to see them putting effort into dealing with some of the problems that many of us have, eg cold calling scams. Lots of small sums add up to a lot - in total more than the bigger issues that GCHQ is tasked to deal with.

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Delete Google Maps? Go ahead, says Google, we'll still track you

alain williams
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Google is copying Microsoft

Baking spyware into its products and making it impossible to switch off.

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Sony wins case over pre-installed Windows software

alain williams
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However most people doing that would more likely have just built the PC themselves anyway.

Not if you wanted a laptop. A desktop PC I can build myself, but not a laptop.

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UK will be 'cut off' from 'full intelligence picture' after Brexit – Europol strategy man

alain williams
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Yet more Brexit nonsense

If it is seen as important by the politicians then it will be possible; there would need to be agreements about things like data protection and funding of services. Until negotiations have happened we just don't know if UK politicians still want to be part of it and their EU counterparts want us to work with them.

I suspect hidden agendas in pronouncements such as this that we have seen from many organisations.

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Publishing military officers' names 'creates Islamic State hitlist'

alain williams
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Let's add to the hit list ...

We all know that ISIS staff don't know how to use google. So I had better help them:

List of MPs

List of judges

List of UK Royal Family

List of Mayors

I must stop - the noise from the descending black helicopter is making it hard to think.

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EU will force telcos to offer 90 days of 'roam like home' contracts

alain williams
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Brexit means Brexit ...

Leaving does not mean that we then ditch all EU regulations. Some we will (re)adopt as part of UK law. So, it is quite possible that this roaming regulation will be adopted by the UK government.

However: with an eye on post Parliament directorships and consultancies I expect that MPs will not be keen on those that hit profits of big business, so they might be dropped.

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UK Parliament's back for Snoopers' Charter. Former head of GCHQ talks to El Reg

alain williams
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Re: lying cop

even going so far as to fine one of them for lying in his statements

If that cop lied he should have been sacked and lost his pension. The police are given certain privileges and powers so that they can do their job. If they abuse them then they show themselves not trustable to use them and so should no longer be allowed to use them ... which means that they cannot do their job ... which means that they get sacked.

Lose his pension: reduce the temptation to finger some innocent sod as a way of getting an easy conviction to meet their targets.

The same penalties should apply to those at GCHQ/... and their bosses: home secretaries and prime ministers.

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Sophos Windows users face black screens after false positive snafu

alain williams
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''All vendors suffer them from time to time''

Really ? I have not noticed it with RedHat, Mint and other versions of Linux. Am I just lucky ?

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It's OK to fine someone for repeating a historical fact, says Russian Supreme Court

alain williams
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Re: But not as bizarre as ...

I don't know about that; but if you are unfortunate enough to fall into the clutches of the UK Family Courts you will then see all sorts of nonsense used to justify capricious orders.

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L0phtCrack's back! Crack hack app whacks Windows 10 trash hashes

alain williams
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Re: Pronounceable Passwords

These might generate good passwords, but should you use them: No.

A password is something that should only be known to you; someone telling you a password means that that someone knows your password. If I were NSA/GCHQ/BlackHatCracker I would create a web site like this and wait until someone who I wanted to infiltrate used it ...

If the source were available and I could download and run it (privately) on my own machine, I might use it.

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Tim Cook: EU lied about Apple taxes. Watch out Ireland, this is a coup!

alain williams
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This is an EU matter

A large part of EU trade rules is to create a level playing field. Sweetheart deals as Eire has done, also with others - not just Apple, benefit Eire at the expense of other countries.

Individual governments are losing the ability to control the large corporates; it needs something the size of the EU to do it - the USA will not since ''they have the best politicians that money can buy''. The EU also needs to address the imbalance between large and small that allows the large to take the mickey, eg supermarkets paying bills late.

Unless these behemoths are brought under control we will end up with the large eating the small - the resulting lack of competition will be bad for everyone (except for a few at the top).

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Phoney bling ring pinged by Tolkien's kin

alain williams
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Re: That depends where and what part

A search shows where you can get The Last Ringbearer, also some notes on Wikipedia

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Notting Hill Carnival spycams: Met Police rolls out real-time live face-spotting tech

alain williams
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How long will they keep the collected mug shots ?

You might think that they are useless, but then the police correlate pictures with phone IMEI, do that the several times that these are collected and you will be able to isolate/de-group individuals and so get a mug shot of everyone who had a 'phone that day.

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EE looks at its call charges, hikes a bunch, walks off giggling

alain williams
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Change in contract terms ?

Surely this is a change in contract terms; so those with long contracts should be able to hand their 'phone back and walk. Price increases clauses in contracts should be for RPI increases not huge things like this.

Having said that: they have more expensive lawyers than you do.

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Huawei's pricey new Honor goes upmarket. Bold move when prices are sliding

alain williams
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Looks like a market there ...

Buying second hand 'phones in India for $90, import them back to the UK and sell for £100. I might buy one of those.

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NASA tried turning lost spacecraft STEREO-B off and on again... but it didn't work. True story

alain williams
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MS win 10 on it ...

Yes, they'd make great Windows 10 tech support. But that was evidently NOT designed by rocket scientists.

If the craft was running MS Win 10 then down-link would be maxed out by the telemetry channel that goes straight to the NSA - no bandwidth left for scientific data.

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New UK trade deals would not compensate for loss of single market membership

alain williams
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The world is a different place

from what it was when we voted to enter the Common Market some 40 years ago. In that time there has been a huge increase in globalisation; inter-country trade with all parts of the world has gone through the roof.

So: do we need to be part of a low/zero tariff trading block as much as we did then ? The whole world is moving to low tariffs.

Take 4 minutes to learn a bit about Trade and Tariff History, see how international trade has gone through the roof in recent years, not all of those countries are members of the EU.

So: why should we suddenly do worse than other non EU countries ?

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alain williams
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Re: Er...

People do know that we're only WTO members by virtue of our EU membership, right? Once we leave, we're no longer members.

That is completely disingenuous. Look at this map of WTO members, basically everyone is a member except for bits of the middle East and North East Africa. So how long do you think it will be before the UK joins in its own name ?

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Shark bosses sink teeth into booming ransomware market

alain williams
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Which way round was that ?

“Our research shows that advanced cybercrime groups now mirror legitimate organisations in the way they operate,

and, increasingly, 'legitimate' organisations seem to be copying the cybercrime groups by employing tactics that are designed to confuse marks, sorry: customers, and scam them out of more money while denying any liability.

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Physicists believe they may have found fifth force of nature

alain williams
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Re: Matter/antimatter vs "regular"/"dark" matter

Normal matter isn't just held together by gravity but also by electromagnetism.

But when a star forms it is gravity that pulls it all together and the other forces that, via solar ignition/fusion, keep it from collapsing completely - so what keeps dark matter diffuse ?

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League of lawsuits: Game developer sues cheat-toting website

alain williams
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This cheating is morally, not legally wrong ...

I do have some sympathy with Riot Games in that they want their players to have a level playing field. Unfortunately: being a cheat is rarely illegal.

It is interesting to think what the consequences of Riot winning, would that imply that cheaters in other fields should also be had up ? ''Cheating'' in this context being acting to covertly tilt the odds in your favour. Some it would be nice to see, we could start with politicians...

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Windows 10 Anniversary Update is borking boxen everywhere

alain williams
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Re: My only Win 10 laptop is now borked too

The computer is now effectively dead. Thanks Microsoft.

How new is it ? Under EU law anything electrical has to work for 2 years:

* first 6 months: the supplier has to prove that you broke it

* next 18 months: you need to show that you did not break it ... however all that you did was to leave it on & it updated itself, how much did you have to do with that ? Indeed you can do nothing about i!?

We need to see some law suits - MS (or the manufacturer [HP/Dell/...]) sued ...

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