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* Posts by David Pollard

836 posts • joined 29 May 2007

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Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE

David Pollard
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Re: Who at Microsoft is making up the names... and why do they still have a job?

Windows Reloaded

Windows Revolutions

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NSA denies it knew about and USED Heartbleed encryption flaw for TWO YEARS

David Pollard
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If the NSA knew ...

In just the same way that there isn't any obvious trace when a miscreant uses this method to try to collect data from a site, maybe the NSA had silently monitored selected sites to capture details of attackers who were exploiting the security hole. By allowing the leak of relatively non-critical data through what would in effect be a set of giant honeypots they could have been compiling details of their enemies.

As to the costs, a) it wouldn't be their money; and b) this would go to show just how important their work really is.

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Melting permafrost switches to nasty, high-gear methane release

David Pollard
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Bovine Flatulence?

Obligatory xkcd:

http://xkcd.com/1338/

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The... Windows... XPocalypse... is... NIGH

David Pollard
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Pint

Redo Backup

Provided that any data is on a separate partition, or otherwise safe, wipe and reinstall is the way to go for many users. The only problem is how to make the re-install process easy. Redo Backup seems to fit the bill.

http://redobackup.org/

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123-reg shrugs off customer complaints over stealth domain transfer charges

David Pollard
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Re: Domain registration *should be* loss-leading

123-reg and Heart Internet are both listed as brands of Host Europe Group.

www.heg.com

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David Pollard
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Small Claims

IANAL but it does look as though they changed their terms without proper notification and without agreement. Whether it will be possible to reclaim all or part of prepaid hosting charges on the basis that the existing contract is thus cancelled I don't know. But Mayne Design's blog, mentioned in the article, is definitely useful as it has a screen copy of 123-reg's "We don't rip you off ... No hidden charges to transfer away".

For anyone unfamiliar with the Small Claims procedure, the Trading Standards Office at the local council can be quite helpful. And if there's no response or no success in response to an initial formal letter asking for refund and the promised free transfer the court procedure is fairly straightforward.

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Life support turned off: NHS Direct dies silent, undignified death

David Pollard
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Shut down quack medicine too

My own experience with NHS Direct was a bit dismal, so I won't mourn its closure. It's a pity though that a whole host of bogus and quack medicine sites can't be closed as well.

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Boffins power wearable tech with body static

David Pollard
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Re: Micro-patterned polydimethylsiloxane

And the boffins get paid for this research?

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Dear Reg: What is a 'Lag' and a 'Jacksey'?

David Pollard
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Was Cecilia from the PR department at Chambers?

Perhaps Jonathon Green's three volume dictionary of slang isn't selling quite so well these days in the face of urbandictionary.com. So an agent has been sending provocative emails in the hope of getting editorial mention that it is available online to subscribers and that there is also an abridged single volume edition in addition to his seminal work, 'Crooked Talk: Five Hundred Years of the Language of Crime.'

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Research bods told: Try to ID anonymised data subjects? No more CASH for you

David Pollard
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How about prison sentences for the directors ...

This seems to be a completely effective deterrent in the cases of misdeeds committed by journalists, MPs, bent coppers ...

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US-Russia Soyuz 'nauts STUCK IN SPACE after ISS dock fail

David Pollard
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Just in case it wasn't already clear ...

This might help to illustrate how inconvenient it can be when the gas is turned off.

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Facebook flashes its One Tool To Rule Them All in security threat analysis

David Pollard
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Does this mean ...

... that I can keep XP?

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British trolls to face 'tougher penalties' over online abuse

David Pollard
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Tuff? When I were a lad ...

... there were a lass on't Reg forum by't name a Sarah Bee. She'd sort 'em an' noa mistake.

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MPs blast HMRC for using anti-terrorism laws against whistleblower

David Pollard
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What did HMRC have to gain?

Why did they let Goldman Sachs off? Is it a bit like local councils and favourable planning permission decisions, where non-executive directorships are said to be handed out as post-retirement rewards?

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The Reg's desert XP-ocalypse aversion plan revealed

David Pollard
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Portable Apps

It may be worth getting a bunch of programs from portableapps.com and putting collections of different types onto usb sticks, just in case they are needed.

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How to Poo on a Date wins odd book title of the year

David Pollard
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Joke

the person who nominates ... gets a bottle of semi-decent claret

It's a neat trick that, to nominate the book themselves. When the accountant/taxman enquires about crates of claret appearing as expenses it's, "Oh yes. Prizes in our competitions. They generate quite a lot of publicity, you know... Just look at the press cuttings..."

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Middle England's allotments become metric battlefield

David Pollard
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Henry Doubleday heritage seed swaps

Here's a link to the Henry Doubleday seed bank:

http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/hsl/

A few years ago, numerous heritage plants and vegetables were threatened by EU legislation which introduced mandatory registration for each and every variety of seed that is sold. Because this is an expensive overhead, seed merchants had been going to drop a slew of the less popular varieties. The Henry Doubleday Association came to the rescue with a creative solution, by setting up a seed swap club which has preserved this valuable asset.

Nil carborundum chaps. Bureaucrats and gauleiters can be beaten.

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EXPOSED: bizarre quantum sibling LOVE TRIANGLE

David Pollard
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"transferring information faster than the speed of light"?

The correlation that occurs with entanglement is instantaneous and does not depend on temporal or spatial separation, but that isn't quite the same as information transfer. Any data transmission is still limited by the velocity of light.

At least that was the case the last time I could understand it.

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Google flu-finding service diagnosed with 'big data hubris'

David Pollard
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They need a man-cold de-dupe program

If the urban myth is correct, then perhaps they should de-rate accounts that come from men. And those that are written on Mondays and Fridays.

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FORCE gov.uk suppliers to stick to 'open data principles' – MPs

David Pollard
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The groundwater flooding database

"Beginning in April 2014, targets should be set for the release of totally new government datasets "

Presently the Environment Agency's data on groundwater flooding isn't readily available. River and coastal flooding risk is mapped on their internet site, but they don't release any data for groundwater. National flood advice sites recommend that householders should purchase a survey, costing £24 and up. The groundwater database was compiled by local authorities and the EA at taxpayers expense and seems to have been turned into a nice little earner for one or two companies who have access to it.

Given that insurance companies are refusing to pay out on some of the claims for recent flooding, free and open publication of the EA's information might well be a good start for the open data proposals.

http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/business/money/Consumer/article1384264.ece

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Apple pedometer patent filing cranks up the iWatch rumor mill

David Pollard
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Re: A retrograde step for personalised medical treatment?

Here's a neat example of medical use:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140319103612.htm

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David Pollard
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A retrograde step for personalised medical treatment?

Developments in biomonitoring mean that personalised treatments are becoming feasible; from cardiac monitoring to matching drug dose to requirements. It would truly be a shame if progress in this area were to be hampered by patent wars.

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Don't stare: SHRUNKEN Mercury lost 7km, but only 'cos it's COOLING

David Pollard
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Re: I give it one week

When diets have an annual turnover in the US of $58 billion it's important that no one comes up with one which does work.

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Boffins propose brainwave privacy standard

David Pollard
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Like data the NHS holds, you mean?

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David Pollard
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Pint

Power to their elbow etc..

Well done boffins. The problem now is to get politicians, lawmakers, administrators and bureaucrats to understand and take heed of what they are saying.

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Samsung puts ultrasonic echolocation cover on a smartphone for the blind

David Pollard
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Let's hope ...

... that Apple don't try to block this with patents.

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Amazon wants me to WEAR NAPPIES?! But I'm a 40-something MAN

David Pollard
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Re: I find that nappies

At last, a vampire who cares.

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Bill Gates-backed SOLAR POO RAYGUN COMMODE unveiled

David Pollard
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Syngas, biodiesel and phosphorus co-products?

The process of making biochar from organic material is exothermic, so this invention looks good from an energy standpoint. What isn't mentioned is what they do with the syngas and oils that are produced. Depending on the temperature at which the process runs these comprise half or more of the mass. It would also be useful to have some means of recycling phosphorus to use as fertiliser.

The separation and transformation of co-products needs a fair amount of basic industrial chemistry and it's not clear how, where or even if this part of the process is carried out.

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Tony Benn, daddy of Brit IT biz ICL and pro-tech politician, dies at 88

David Pollard
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Dumb or deceitful?

Much as there was to admire about his querulous side, for it did tend to make people think, his stated incomprehension about nuclear power is difficult to square. He maintained that during his time as Minister of Technology he never knew that British nuclear reactors were producing plutonium for the weapons programme.

There doesn't seems to be any alternative other than that he was either culpably ignorant or lying. Neither of these fits well with the principles he claimed to uphold.

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Battery vendors push ultracapacitor wrappers to give Li-ions more bite

David Pollard
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Where's the inverter?

Isn't the usual way to get significant energy storage with ultracapacitors to use an inverter and to charge and discharge them through a fairly large voltage range? They may be good for smoothing when simply connected in parallel with a battery but won't the small change in voltage in such situations mean that only a small part of their storage capacity is used?

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Google's mystery barge flounces out of San Fran, heads to Stockton

David Pollard
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"A staging post for some upcoming alien invasion"?

I for one welcome etc...

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Global Warming IS REAL, argues sceptic mathematician - it just isn't THERMAGEDDON

David Pollard
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A worrisome trend

Given that the GWPF started out, as their logo testifies, with a proclamation that global warming isn't happening at all, this marks a notable upward trend in their estimates. Extrapolating on the basis of this latest claim it rather looks as though by 2025 their estimate for warming will be around 3.4 ºC, slightly higher than the IPCC's present mean value.

Meanwhile, there is what looks to be a sensible review by Graham Readfearn over at the Grauniad:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/planet-oz/2014/mar/06/lord-lawson-climate-sceptic-thinktank

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Apple to grieving sons: NO, you cannot have access to your dead mum's iPad

David Pollard
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A national escrow service is needed

Recently I've been involved with a survey for changes in NHS care practices for patients approaching the end of their life, the so-called Liverpool Care Pathway.

The suggestion seems to have been implicit that the NHS might hold Advanced Directives on their system. These have details of a person's wishes on care such as whether or not they are to be resuscitated should they suffer a serious stroke or similar. For a number of reasons I very much doubt that it would be appropriate for the NHS itself to hold such records, but some simple and preferably inexpensive way to keep such directives is needed.

What's needed is the equivalent of a locked box which can be opened if necessary by appropriately qualified medical authorities and which guards the data and reliably records whether it has been opened, and if it has also holds details of who opened the box and why. Besides an Advanced Directive it could also hold details of passwords and similar tokens. It shouldn't be too difficult to provide a one-way data path so that updates to passwords lists could be posted in as necessary as well as a means to allow appropriate access for executors and/or relatives in the event of accident or death.

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Delhi police forget passwords to corruption portal, ignore 600 crimes

David Pollard
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Joke

And where did this ruse come from?

Wasn't the structure of Indian bureaucracy largely modeled on the British equivalent?

See e.g. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-16737162

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Alliance for Wireless Power to pursue new 50W standard

David Pollard
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Boffin

LOHAN

Might the LOHAN crew be able to blag one of these to power the heater?

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Magnets to stick stuff to tablets: Yup, there's an Apple patent application for that

David Pollard
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Megaphone

Prior art?

I have a faint recollection of seeing something similar in a British publication on the internet not so long ago...

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/03/22/heater_release/

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DON'T PANIC! No credit card details lost after hackers crack world's largest casino group

David Pollard
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Joke

Re: Should this headline not

Do you call that a chin-chin situation?

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Million-dollar new disk tech could be USELESS for array vendors

David Pollard
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Joke

Re: Ironically

El Reg and the Graun have been co-operating recently on security issues. Perhaps there has been a leak in the spelling department.

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GPs slam NHS England for poor publicity of data grab plan

David Pollard
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epidemiological research potential

Perhaps it won't be that long before data capture becomes a fairly standard part of illness management for many conditions; such things as blood pressure, temperature, pulse and a range of other more subtle measurements. Many diabetics, for example, routinely keep a fairly close watch on their insulin levels, and those with bad lungs monitor blood oxygen.

With open source software and data formats there should be sufficient uniformity for results to be pooled completely anonymously via the experts who provide personalised treatments; that is to say identifiable only as far as the medical practitioner in charge of treatment. Data logging could both improve the treatment for many conditions and directly collect data for research.

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'Wind power causes climate change' shown to be so much hot air

David Pollard
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It's hardly reassuring

Given that the average temperature in the UK varies between about 5 and 15 ºC, the possibility of a 0.3 ºC shift is not negligible.

And looking at the satellite images of atmospheric water vapour content, the possibility of a "slight northward deflection of westerly winds in Western Europe" is not entirely encouraging, especially in view of the recent weather conditions.

http://tropic.ssec.wisc.edu/real-time/mimic-tpw/global/main.html

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Rise of the (tiny) machines: US boffins make nanomotor breakthrough

David Pollard
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Here's how a bacterium propels itself inside a cell

http://www.plosbiology.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pbio.1001766

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Larry Ellison: Technology has 'negatively impacted' children

David Pollard
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Pint

Re: <shrug>

I didn't think they made them like that any more.

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15,000 London coppers to receive new crime-fighting tool: an iPad

David Pollard
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Gains may be offset by the "Wal-Mart effect"

Recent research in the USA seems to suggest that crime reduction initiatives don't work terribly well in areas where Wal-Mart stores have recently been opened. Presumably similar trends can be seen in the UK.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-02/uosc-ssd020714.php

The conclusion seems to be that it can be hard to reduce crime in regions that are economically depressed.

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fWHoaR! Trick-cyclists crack eternal mystery of WHAT WOMEN WANT in a man

David Pollard
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Boffin

Obligatory XKCD

http://xkcd.com/1325/

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How many keys can one keyboard have? Do I hear 200? 300? More?

David Pollard
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Programmable touch screen anyone?

If someone were to write software that puts graphic buttons onto a cheapish touch screen and provide it with a range of get-you-started templates to suit different programs this might go down rather well. But don't Wacom tablets do something similar already?

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DARPA hands IBM £3.4m to develop SELF DESTRUCTING CHIPS

David Pollard
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Field testing

When the time comes to test these devices, some of the journalists at the Guardian appear to be well qualified for such a task.

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Tell us we're all doomed, MPs beg climate scientists

David Pollard
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How true

That's why prediction with hindsight can approach 100% accuracy.

Meanwhile, in the real world, models of one sort or another are what we use to see into the future.

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Eurocops want to build remote car-stopper, shared sensor network

David Pollard
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Pint

Statewatch

Power to their elbow etc.. They've been working consistently to preserve and enhance civil liberties for quite some years now.

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GP surgeries MUST DO BETTER on data handling, says ICO

David Pollard
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Re: How to opt out:

Although there's an argument that it's better to have one's records immediately available in case of emergency, this isn't always valid. My own experience, based on a couple of occasions in the last decade when I needed health care at the weekend, is that my treatment at the out of hours centre without my records was rather better than what my GP provided with them.

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