* Posts by Trevor_Pott

6510 posts • joined 31 May 2010

iPad data entry errors caused plane to strike runway during takeoff

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Using toys as tools...

"For crying out loud, Trevor, cut out the bullshit. Earlier, you thought pilots were flying planes through their iPads."

No I didn't. You're full of shit, Vic.

"What you are suggesting is nonsensical. Aircraft are not designed to have laptops plugged into them[1]. Even if you can find a diagnostic port, you're not going to get to it without stripping out quite a bit of the interior, and even then you're not going to know how to control anything through it."

Not something like an ODBII port, no. But depending on the plane there absolutely are external sensors and diagnostics that will get plugged into laptops.

A plane's core bits that are required to fly the thing will always be built into the plane itself. Usually with redundancies. I never argued otherwise, and in fact have argued a few times here that this is how things are properly done.

That said, new things are added over time to make the lives of pilots easier, or to add non-critical features. These can - and do - get piped through things like the aforementioned laptop. Let me give you some practical examples.

1) On a smallish aircraft that did runs up to the diamond mines the plane was refitted to carry some fairly nasty chemicals. Sensors were added to detect these chemicals and the computer that detected issues buried alongside the other computers. This computer had no primary display (other than a warning light) and no input directly. Detailed information was accessed and filtered entirely through a laptop. This was the same laptop that held mapping information, handled weather reports (which, incidentally, was actually handled by another computer buried in the plane, and merely displayed and filtered by the laptop) and also was used to receive text alerts from the local mining camps when the plane was in range. (I have no idea what the alerts were for, or how the plane received them.)

2) I remember a laptop being used as the interface to a new (IIRC it was a prototype and still in testing) security system for a plane. There were all sorts of sensors in the cargo hold that were beyond what was originally fitted. The thing also (for reasons I do not understand) was tied into bathroom usage. Again: the computer vacuuming up the data wasn't the laptop itself. It was merely how you got at the data in question.

" Do you really imagine we'd put anything into that to allow remote control from a laptop?"

No. I don't. I never did. In fact, I expect you'd use an analogue computer or a really hardened real time embedded digital computer. I can think of no modern commercial OS or system I'd trust to run avionics.

So get bent, mate. At no point did I say anyone flew a plane using a laptop. I said they were used as the primary interface to systems that were typically added after the fact. By this very definition that can't be critical to flying the plane because the bits required to fly the plane are the things that there will be controls for.

Adding more computers to a plane doesn't make those computers essential to flying the plane. You don't need a computer to fly most planes. (Well, not a digital computer, in any case. The need for analogue ones in some circumstances has been well proven.) Those planes that do need computers (analogue or digital) absolutely have every control you need to access and interface with those systems available without third party interface required.

That doesn't mean those third party systems which are used only to access "extra data" don't eventually become mission critical, in spite of themselves. Might I also suggest that as someone who flies light aircraft as a hobbyist you're more likely to do things the old fashioned way and take pride in maintaining the pen-and-paper skills?

A commercial pilot - especially ones who are on the "work is a pain in the ass" side of the spectrum might come to rely on the theoretically non-critical third party tools too much making them more mission critical than originally designed. Which is something that anyone doing IT design needs to account for.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Using toys as tools...

"No you haven't.

You have crossed over into fantasy-land. Please return to topics you know something about."

Yes I have. Back in the day the laptops themselves weren't powerful enough to do much, and there were systems on the aircraft which gathered (non critical) data. The laptops were the control interface. Now that interface was mostly "select between information sources" or "filter the data to deliver me this information", but that's what they did.

And why would that even be a bad thing? It's just burying the extra oomph in a wall somewhere. Now, that was long enough ago that it wouldn't apply today. Your average phone has more than enough heft to do all that and more besides. It can listen to a dozen satellites, broadcasts and what-have-you and parse the data for display without breaking a sweat.

Wasn't always the case though. Mind you, back then, it was more of a novelty, and people still used paper books, manuals and charts a lot more.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Using toys as tools...

" It is not like pilots randomly walk into unknown planes with random devices and get surprised by electricity not working."

Sure it is. Faults develop in airplanes just like any other workplace. if you don't anticipate these sorts of issues on an airplane, people can die. That's why you must have contingencies for absolutely everything. Clearly you've never worked in such an environment. Too bad, there's a lot to learn about proper IT architecture by having to design for failure.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Using toys as tools...

"Just one concern, I had two iPads lock up, on the same day. Access to all applications ceased.

I later worked out that it was 365 days since they had been connected to iTunes.

This alone makes them unsuitable for mission critical applications."

Now that is interesting. I haven't heard of that one...though I sadly do believe it is entirely possible. Worth investigating,a t the very least. You're right, it might make iPads pretty bad for any situation where they weren't regularly returned to base for service. Of course, if simply rebooting them gets them back to what they need to be, and they don't lock up again, that might be an acceptable glitch.

A one-time characterized event that is easily recoverable from in a short timeframe isn't the end of the world. It's the unpredictable ones over which you have no control that are the real problems.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Using toys as tools...

@ James Micallef

Well, based on some input from actual pilots for what these devices get used for, I understand better which systems they are augmenting and replacing. The short version is: no, they aren't replacing systems that are critical to flying.

The long version is that despite them technically not being "mission critical", they in reality are mission critical. Many of the things that pilots have for decades done manually are being done on this iPad. Especially things that required a lot of maths.

Every pilot - even the non-commercial ones - is trained to do this stuff by hand. The problem is that if you do this with the assistance of a computer often enough, the "do it by hand" is no longer second nature. And that becomes an issue, especially in stressful situations.

In the past, this sort of thing was done by a (typically not very reliable) laptop awkwardly bolted into whatever space it would go in the cabin. It was never a good fit. And the computers that this laptop served as an interface to were not the sorts of things that controlled the plane. They provided information (maps, positioning, even weather updates, calculated course corrections,) to the pilots. I can absolutely see how an iPad is eleventeen times less awkward.

The iPad isn't used to control the plane directly. Despite this, I can see how it easily becomes a very heavily relied-upon tool.

So that a grey area. Properly trained pilots who maintain their skills despite having more convenient tools available to deal with the miserable stuff won't have problems if the iPad goes kablooie. That said, we live in a world where pilots aren't paid enough and work stupid hours.

I argue neither the iPad nor the Surface are adequate for the task. Given the task to hand, however, I believe the iPad to be the least worst choice and thus the logical choice. The Surface may in fact be the worst choice (though, TBH, Android probably is the worst choice), as it is most likely to go completely fucked from an official mechanism (not an application going bonkers.)

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Using toys as tools...

"Not as part of the fitted avionics. The amount of work to certify any flight equipment is extensive; anything that goes in a cockpit is well-qualified and expected to work reliably for the lifetime of the aircraft. Consumer-grade kit just doesn't meet the grade."

Well, to be fair, most commercial-grade kit doesn't meet the grade either. Not for the stuff that's properly built in. But there are lots of things in any modern cockpit that a proper commercial pilot is trained to do without, but which are used on every flight anyway that aren't fitted in. I've seen laptops used as the sole interface to multiple systems for these sorts of systems (as those systems don't have inputs and displays of their own.) My assumption at the outset was that the iPad was replacing these. The laptops in use for this purpose were never really fit for purpose to begin with.

"There will always be a place for tools - I still carry my CRP-1 on most flights, even if I also carry a tablet running SkyDemon. But these are pilot aids only; it is the pilot's responsibility to assess the results from all of these tools and act appropriately - discarding anything he suspects to be erroneous."

Agree 100% with the pilot's responsibility bit. Though I do question the "always a place for tools". While I haven't been in any of the larger Airbus cockpits, the larger Boeings don't leave a lot of room (not for equipment that might become a projectile and thus must be secured.) Smaller cockpits offer even less room.

"I really don't think you understand the requirements."

Always possible.

"Have you actually been in an aircraft cockpit?"

Dozens of times. For commercial cockpits at least. I've never flown a commercial craft - my experience flying is limited to some dinky little Cessnas - but at one point I very seriously considered "pilot" as a job. I gave up when I realized there physically wasn't a lot of room to do anything, and I would spend my entire career banging into everything.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Using toys as tools...

"Regardless of this, the current generation Surface 4 has about the same battery life as the vastly inferior Surface knockoff Ipad Pro (9-10 hours of continuous use)"

Can't speak to the iPad pro, but the wife's iPad mini gets 16 hours of continuous use. Also: the iPad isn't inferior if the purveyor of Surface can't be trusted. And since Microsoft can't be trusted, a paper bag full of shit is superior. Just sayin'.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Using toys as tools... @Pott

"Yes. It can. Provide proof if you want to be taken seriously."

The proof is in Windows' own history. Even on systems configured with WSUS or System Center it has installed patches against the express configurations of administrators. I've seen this myself and there have been plenty of similar complaints to litter the net. Google is your friend.

In addition, Microsoft has very clearly and publicly violated the sanctity of the update process for non-enterprise versions of Windows. Repeatedly. And done so against the express configurations of users. The number of times that you need to "hide" Windows 10 patches (because some other patch unhides them and they then reinstall in the next go) is insane. For that matter, downloading and installing an entire operating system against your will is not cool. Doubly so over mobile connections.

A company that does these things can't be trusted to provide a patch system that installs what you want and only what you want and does so only on a schedule you provide.

And for the record "installing only what you want" is far more important than when it installs. If it installs things you haven't vetted and are 100% certain work you're hosed.

"You're implying that instead you trust Apple in a life-and-death situation. That's beyond stupid. And this even isn't a critical system."

No, you don't actually read entire posts. I am saying, and have said multiple times, that the iPad is the best of a bunch of terrible choices, and that I trust them far more than Microsoft. Trusting Microsoft ever is beyond stupid.

"Except that the device doesn't last the entire flight as you've been told."

Except that it does. We've been told by a pilot that these devices are used for more thank just initial input. Thanks, but go fuck yourself.

"Try not to insult at first."

Why not? You have no issues with it. Or are you just aiming for claiming some moral high ground because you have nothing to offer except your own personal (and misplaced) trust of Microsoft? Brand tribalism is a piss-poor reason to choose technology.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Using toys as tools...

"Neither will any ipad. Luckily planes have power available."

You cannot assume that. Not for mission critical gear. The power bus the sockets run on could go for any number of reasons. If the pilots are, for whatever reason, required to lock down the cabin then they may not have access to a power port to charge from. You have to design for that...at least if the devices are critical.

It's be way the hell better for there to be non-computer backups to do everything that iPad does, however. That's the best means of dealing with power availability issues.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Using toys as tools...

@Dave Horn

"The iPad is completely locked down by Apple and has limited RAM"

A big problem and a very valid complaint, depending on what's running on it.

"Tasks that require a lot of CPU horsepower - take off performance, for example - take bloody ages on an iPad but are instantaneous on a Core i5 laptop."

Absolutely. No questions about this. In my case I was presuming that the iPad's use was primarily as an input device for computers that simply didn't have user inputs available due to space. If you are actually trying to run real applications on the thing that need real horsepower, the iPad becomes a bad choice in a right hurry.

"Half the apps don't survive an iOS upgrade without glitches - at least .NET doesn't tend to break between Windows Updates"

No debate here. This is very true. The difference is that you can hold the updates on the iPad until IT has tested the patches and made absolutely sure that every single thing works fine. You simply cannot trust that a Windows device will honour this setting. It isn't about the patches breaking. It's about knowing that you have that level of control over the device. I do not trust Microsoft gives us that level of control, full stop.

"Battery life is also an issue on the iPad; generally it won't get you through more than about 2 sectors without needing a top-up and we all carry external power packs to help."

Battery life is better on the iPad than on anything else out there. That said, if you are running number crunching applications that are demanding enough to choke an iPad in the first place you're going to have all sorts of problems with power, no matter the platform. (In case there's a problem with the power bus or ports in the cockpit.)

That leads to having to have a power solution that isn't charger based. Power packs are one option, but only if you can guarantee you'll handle the whole flight's worth of power like that and not give up too much valuable space. I suspect you'd need more power for the i5-based systems.

"Personally I'm not convinced that the iPad is the way to go and other airlines are starting to feel the same way, with multiple major carriers moving to the Surface 3."

I'm not convinced the iPads are the way to go either. I personally think they're absolutely awful devices and I hate them with the burning passion of 10,000 suns. But I am absolutely convinced that Surface devices bring with them even more problems.

What it really boils down to for me is that Microsoft can't be trusted with people's lives. Any computer can glitch, but I no longer believe that we have the control over Windows systems required to put them in mission critical positions.

Which leaves us choosing between a bunch of shit choices and trying to decide which risks are more risky and not actually having something fit for purpose. Grand.

I wonder if the latest Atom-based units aren't the acceptable midpoint here?

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Using toys as tools...

@ James Micallef

First of all, nothing about iOS devices is "personal use". iOS devices are probably the most secure mobile devices currently available (though QNX might be better, Blackberry as a company is thoroughly compromised and cannot be trusted. No QNX mobiles are available without Blackberry intercepting everything.) iOS were crap for enterprise management. This is simply no longer true, and they are excellent enterprise devices for the few use cases where a mobile device is required.

"If they're using it as a pre-flight data input, not necessary. If needed and essential through all the flight, there should be backup, whether it's an extra charger or extra device. Manufacturer / OS is irrelevant"

How is a battery life that lasts an entire trans-pacific flight not a backup? And how do you know that even if the charger is available the electrical system/outlet/whatever will be online and able to power it? I think it makes a lot more sense to stick with the device that lasts as long as it is needed.

"I'm sure there are plenty of developers for both iOS and Windows"

I'm not. Not for apps that require touch input. Certainly the balance of good ones isn't on the side of Windows. Why don't you try actually hiring some and see how that goes for you. iOS developers that can make good UIs are cheep and cheerful. Windows? Not so much.

"AFAIK Windows Surface devices are pretty stable and can be set up to not auto-update, and would be so set up as a corporate device. As I pointed out in the beginning, if it's a personal device that's an automatic fail anyway."

Except this isn't true. Microsoft says that this is possible. Microsoft can't be trusted to tell the truth because they have broken trust by violating the sanctity of the update mechanism. You don't bet lives on a company saying "trust us". You analyze the actions of the company. And those actions say that they cannot be trusted.

Enterprise management for iOS, however, has moved from strength to strength over the years, and there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to doubt patch management processes in iOS. Doubt the patches, fine. There have been some shit patches. But Apple has kept the fail on the patch system. Microsoft hasn't. Simple as that.

"They need a device which will work with $external_device or $external_interface; in the mobile world, that always means iOS support.

Why?"

Well, I'm starting from the assumption that they use this device for more than simply inputting flight data. My guess is that it is the interface to any number of computers that don't have keyboards and screens. Mostly because there physically isn't any room in the cockpit to put one for every single system, especially on jets that have been overhauled at least once, and whose computers have multiplied since the original design.

If this is the case, then as the input device of choice it probably hooks up to various diagnostic tools and sensors. I've seen iPads used on planes as the back end for ticket readers, amongst other things. I've had people examine my passport (along with my tickets) when moved up to first class. I imagine the iPads onboard might get pressed into similar service.

if not, hey, bonus. But "if you build it they will come". Hell, taxi cabs as festooned with any number of devices (up to and including fingerprint readers) that back on to iOS. It is not exactly a stretch of the imagination to think that some (or even many) of these items might get pressed into service in an airplane. Especially when space is at such an absolutely premium in a cockpit, and iPads (along with their accessory ecosystem) are designed to be small.

"They need a device that anyone can use over the course of generations without retraining.

That's as valid for Windows as it is for iOS"

iOS hasn't gone through a bunch of radical changes in UI. Nor are those changes forced on users. Nor is there even a the barest hint of a question of a trust issue with iOS that settings to deny major upgrades will be overridden and you'll end up in the shit against your will. While it is certainly possible that Apple could change the interface dramatically in the next release, this isn't probable. That cannot be said of Microsoft. They have proven this is not something about which they care.

"Surely the important thing is that the App and/or program has a consistent interface, not so much the device?"

Are you using it as a single use device with only one application? In a cockpit where space is at an absolute premium? How do you get to that application? Does the thing always have it up? Boot into it? What happens if the application crashes?

You know what? Excepting under pretty special circumstances (typically embedded systems where the critical bits are in ROM and it will, guaranteed, always boot up the same way, into your application), the device UI does actually matter.

Now, if you want to point me at an iPad-like mobile device running an embedded OS that has all the bits required to make great touchscreen apps (including the developer and gadget ecosystems), then by all means, that's way the hell better. (Oh, QNX, what you could have been. If only Blackberry didn't sell everything we did to any government who asked.)

But that device isn't a Surface.

"Bottom line, this has NOTHING to do with the device and EVERYTHING to do with incorrect procedures (no double-checking of the inputs) and human error."

Yes and no.

It is absolutely correct that procedures exist to check this sort of data. I agree with that 100%.

What I don't agree with is that "any device will do". There are devices that would make this fairly crappy situation worse. Devices running Windows are among them.

The iPad and iOS isn't the perfect device. Not by a long shot. But it's the least shit of the available options for this requirement set.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Using toys as tools...

@sandtitz

"An application doesn't have to be "modern" to utilize touch. In Point Of Sale sector the operating systems are typically Windows/Linux and the GUI exposed to the end-user works beautifully with touch."

A valid point, however, the people who code this stuff well tend to be few and far between. There are umpteen horrific implementations, mostly because the APIs and frameworks aren't really designed for touch. In mobile OSes there's a whole new generation of developers who are used to touch...and the APIs that make it easy. The iOS ones they grew up on.

"No. Windows can be configured to patch and reboot on schedule."

No. It can't. It used to be something you could do, and (mostly) trust that it would work, but this is no longer true. Even when it was "true", there are plenty of examples of patches that downloaded and installed on systems even when WSUS was controlling them and the patches hadn't been released yet. I've personally gotten stung by them.

But more to the point, the very design of Microsoft's approach to patching means you need to trust Microsoft that patching will work how they say it will work, and they won't fuck with it. They've broken that trust. That means they can't be trusted. Which means "Windows can be configured to patch and reboot on schedule" and everything else related to patching boils down to "trust Microsoft not to lie about this".

I wouldn't trust them under normal circumstances. I absofuckinglutely won't when lives depend on it. They have lost that trust.

"I've had to fix iPhones and iPads that booted into recovery mode after an OS patch. Any device with a sufficiently bad patch can be hosed."

Absolutely. The difference is that iPads can be configured not to patch unless explicitly told to, and they will obey that configuration. There is no reason whatsoever to believe otherwise. Apple has never broken that trust. So patches can be held until well tested.

"And Windows at least gets patches. The first iPad was supported for only two years before Apple dropped support."

So? Why does this matter? Being "up to date" on patches simply doesn't matter anywhere near as much as having a stable, reliable system that you can trust. You can manage out-of-date systems many ways. Buying newer, up to date ones is a great example, and simple for the cost involved. Or you can build IDS and other security in at the network layer and implement policies that provide security for systems known to be out of date.

Being vulnerable to some security flaws is nowhere near as deadly or important as having a system that cannot be trusted to behave exactly as expected.

"You've moved the goalposts. First talking about $external_devices and @external_interfaces, and now Apple mobile gear? This Pad is working in a cockpit, Starbucks Interface isn't needed here.

Are you seriously claiming that there are more devices available for iPad with their proprietary connector than for USB? RDF is strong with this one."

I have not moved goalposts at all. I very specifically talked about mobile external devices and interfaces. You know, the sorts of small, low power things that you need in an aircraft cabin sensitive to EMF and where there is not a lot of room for things?

It doesn't matter if there are fleventy-five desktop-based USB dinguses out there. What matters is that the things needed are small, long-lived, low power, high quality and did I mention small? Because for this particular use case, that's the criteria.

"Please explain both sentences."

It's very simple: Microsoft cannot be trusted to provide software that does what they say it does. Do you need pictures? In crayon perhaps?

Patching systems are sacrosanct. You don't fuck with them. You don't abuse them to push advertising. You don't abuse them to push unwanted upgrades. You don't override them to make patches that were manually disabled reappear. You don't override them to push activation or DRM "updates" against the express corporate configuration.

Microsoft has done all of these.

Microsoft has violated the sanctity of their own patching systems and with it utterly ruined the trust any of us should have in those very systems. It does not matter whether or not Microsoft claim that you can control Windows patching using WSUS, System Center or anything else. Microsoft's word cannot be trusted in this regard and so the entire patching system cannot be trusted. As a result, Windows cannot be trusted for mission critical - especially life critical - tasks. Full stop.

You might trust them. You, personally. But the result of that isn't that Microsoft is trustworthy. It is that I will never trust any network where you have had input.

There are plenty of places where Microsoft's shenanigans and tomfoolery are perfectly fine. The systems don't perform roles where trust needs be an absolute. This is not one of those use cases.

"iPads are fine devices"

Actually, I hate them and think they're wretched. But that doesn't mean they aren't the best input device for the specific use case described here.

And for the record, I am presuming that they are not actually controlling the plane in any fashion, but merely passing inputs back to a computer stored elsewhere in the plane. One which doesn't have any other input device, because the plane was probably made 20+ years ago, overhauled several times, and there physically isn't any more room in that cockpit to put more keyboards and monitors. iPads, however, are self-contained keyboards and monitors and can be slipped in between the pages of a flight manual.

I'm also guessing the use the iPad for more types of input to different onboard systems beyond simply this one computer system. Hence the need for a device which lasts the entire flight.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Using toys as tools...

@Medixstiff

Windows and Windows CE are not remotely the same thing. I don't have problems with Windows CE, as an OS. Though, the truth is that I don't trust Microsoft enough to run mission critical stuff on anything they offer, so I still wouldn't use it. But Windows CE was a great tool in its day.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Using toys as tools...

@Big_D

1. Surface 3 will not last the legnth of all flights. Sorry. Regional flights maybe. But many international it will not.

2. Sorry, but touch-interface ecosystem on Windows is garbage. The touch UI restrictions make the resulting apps horrible and there is not a huge ecosystem of developers who are skilled in making touch Windows apps.

3. Sorry, Windows does randomly reboot for patches. It also locks up when it gets bad patches. In general patch management is pretty awful and responsible for an overwhelming % of modern Windows problems.

4. Um, "standard USB interface" means nothing. There's way more mobile gear for Apple (using lightning or the audio jack) than there is for USB. This is a problem that plagues Android, Blackberry, Tizen, Windows and everyone else. Not only that, but the stuff for Apple tends to be better quality than the really bad knock-offs that end up in the USB ecosystem.

5. Your subjective opinion is irrelevant. Microsoft changed the UI dramatically. It tried to force it on everyone. It is now trying to force updates to an entirely different operating system on people in order to force it's now newer new UI on people. Microsoft cannot be trusted to maintain a consistent platform.

6. Wrong: Windows has had many radical changes. Silverlight. .NET. Metro. So on and so forth. From massive changes in API, to massive changes in UI, to changes in the behaviour of the update system to even the collection and personal data. Microsoft makes regular user/ecosystem/partner hostile changes and then randomly changes direction entirely, abandoning everyone who had invested in the previous regime.

7. Corporate devices in theory will allow you to control patches, etc. Unfortunately, this isn't guaranteed. Microsoft has completely broken the faith and lost the trust of any rational or sane person when it comes to update management. When we are talking about devices that people's lives depend on, "trust me" doesn't cut it. Especially when the company saying "trust me" has proven repeatedly they cannot be trusted, nor have any interest in earning back the trust they have broken.

8. Actually, no. iOS can be trusted. By default it is set to collect and report back massive amounts of data. That said, this can be turned off and Apple has at no point turned it back on without permission. Apple has been above board with regards to data protection so far. They aren't angels, but they haven't purposefully broken trust either. They especially haven't broken it repeatedly, unashamedly, nor tried to blame it on users.

There are plenty of reasons to hate Apple, iPads, iOS and so forth. Hoovering up data against users' express configurations and sending that back to the mothership is not one of them. With Microsoft, this happens. Microsoft cannot be trusted with regards to privacy or data sovereignty, period.

Windows is not suitable for any application where trust in the operating system or the company supplying that operating system is required.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Using toys as tools...

Probably a number of reasons.

1) They need a product that will last the trip, even if the charger dies.

2) They need a product with a rich and vibrant software ecosystem and numerous developers that are familiar with writing software for that device.

3) They need a device that is stable, not rebooting unexpectedly, throwing random driver errors, downloading so many patches it stops working because it filled up primary storage or any of the millions of other reasons why a stock Windows device will bite the dust where an iOS device won't.

4) They need a device which will work with $external_device or $external_interface; in the mobile world, that always means iOS support.

5) They need a device that anyone can use over the course of generations without retraining.

6) They especially need to never have to fear that a future update will completely change the UI, application compatibility or so forth in a radical fashion.

7) They doubly especially need to be able to trust that the device won't apply game-changing updates without permission or snuck in as "important" or "critical" updates.

8) They may have security concerns that require information entered to not be scraped and sent back to the mothership. The exacting details of a plane's takeoff, landing, flight path, etc all seem like things I'd like to keep secret.

I could go on, but those are the big reasons for using iOS over Windows for mobile devices for me. This despite the fact that I loathe the iOS UI. (Though not nearly as much as I loathe Metro.)

Also: many of the iPad typecovers are, in fact, quite a bit better than what Surface offers.

That being said, I am curious to hear what the reasons of the airline in question are for choosing iOS. It would be fascinating to read the procurement choice history for that. iOS devices are excellent tools for a huge number of different situations. Surface devices are merely failures looking for a place to happen.

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FTC fells four tech-support operations in scammer crackdown

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Eternal (system) salvation for helping fill our collection plate

Sure it is, the thread hijackers aren't trying to get at your money. Religions are. Well, okay...money...or maybe just to use you as a meat shield for a holy war. Thread hijackers just want to protest, or inflate their egos.

I find the thread hijackers the lesser of two weevils.

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Microsoft creates its own movie moment with fancy privacy manifesto

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Huh?

How's Android working for you?

"Your honour, I saw another fellow punch him in the face, so I thought it was perfectly acceptable that I do so as well".

You sicken me.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Dear MS. Fuck you.

No, he's got a pretty goddamned good idea. Windows 10 violates my privacy against my will. So, for that matter, does Office (insttable) Office 365, Azure and pretty much everything else Microsoft ship.

More to the point - and this is really the only point that actually matters - none of us can trust Microsoft.

If there is a setting in Windows that says it won't ship my info anywhere, how do I know Microsoft won't turn it back on with a patch? Why, with all of my privacy settings set to "fuck off, Microsoft", does Windows still send data to the mothership? Wireshark doesn't lie, nor do my packet sniffers at the router.

How can I trust, if I use some Microsoft online service, that my privacy is sacrosanct? What if I'm a French journalist? Will Microsoft still feel perfectly blase about prying open my e-mail to deal with internal dissidents?

And how many times, exactly, do I need to tell Windows 7 that I don't fucking want Windows 10 before new patches stop re-enabling the download, pre-downloading it against my will and worse?

Microsoft has already cost me well over $100 in bandwidth charges by downloading stuff against my will through Windows update while using a MiFi at a conference. How can I possibly trust them with my privacy?

Microsoft cannot be trusted. And that makes every forced interaction with them a potential violation of our privacy against our will. They've done it before. They will do it again. They cannot be trusted.

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Tim Cook: UK crypto backdoors would lead to 'dire consequences'

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Have all the haters from here moved to the Torygraph then?

ONE TIME and I never let me live it down...

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Have all the haters from here moved to the Torygraph then?

"...Microsoft, with their recent Windows 10 intrusions, OneDrive bait-and-switch and the fantastically self-serving decision to remove the ability to manually setup Office 2016 to connect to an Exchange server. No auto-discover? Come back 1 year..."

Okay, now I gotta ask...do I have multiple personality disorder and are you one of my split personalities? Because that was eerily dead on.

Also: if you're the other occupant of this hideous shell, mind putting the cap back on the toothpaste at night, mate? I mean, really...

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US Congress grants leftpondians the right to own asteroid booty

Trevor_Pott
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Re: "Oi! Who nicked the Sun?"

Dyson Spheres are impossible. Gravity would tear it apart. Even Dyson Rings border on the impossible, being only unimaginably infeasible.

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TPP: 'Scary' US-Pacific trade deal published – you're going to freak out when you read it

Trevor_Pott
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Re: What is it good for? WAR!

How do you know what you are eating if it isn't listed on the label? Are you clairvoyant? Do you mine jake's hypothetical garden before disappearing for noon tea with him in his mahogany helicopter so you can piss on mere mortals from on high?

Remove head from sphincter, then post.

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Trevor_Pott
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I'm left libertarian, so I'm a social democrat with a strong belief in civil liberties and a massive distaste for authoritarianism, rather than anarcho-capitalist. For whatever little that is worth.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Eh?

I'd also like to note that El Reg writes "Overall, it's a good deal."

Completely and utter bullocks. It's 2000 pages of dense legal prose that's going to take people months to decipher, ESPECIALLY since it was negotiated in secret by special interests. We have NO idea if it's a good deal, a bad deal, or something in between for ANY of the countries involved.

I've been crawling over this 12 hours a day since it came out, and it's way the fuck worse than we (people who give fucks about civil liberties) originally thought. And it's doubleplus bad for Canada. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but my analysis of this directly contradicts those who believe that "overall, it's a good deal".

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go be violently ill.

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Google gets all lawyered up for ‘ambiguous’ EU anti-trust case

Trevor_Pott
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How does the search engine make money if you take the advertising bit away? How does maps? Or, really, any of it?

Google is the advertising business. Everything else is just services they offer to get your eyeballs in front of advertisers.

Break something - anything - off from the advertising and it is dead. Completely and utterly. If that's your plan, have the genitalia to hand the staff their pink slips yourself. Look them in the eyes and tell them why they can't have jobs any more.

But don't for a second pretend that Google is "multiple businesses". It's not.

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Encrypt voice calls, says GCHQ's CESG team ... using CESG encryption

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http://www.theregister.co.uk/about/company/contact/

US bureau chief Chris Williams has his PGP key listed.

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Quick as a flash: NVMe will have you in tiers

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Coho DataStream Storage with NVMe flash as primary storage

What does anyone have to say about Coho storage? "Don't fsck with the fish!"

Seriously, though. As a theoretical exercise, I like Coho. They have a good product with some great ideas for hot to expand upon its use. I also have a soft spot because they're from V-Town, and anyone who can stomach living in that overpopulated pit of parking-free madness gets my respect.

But the truth is that I haven't tested it. I've seen it. I've gotten the whole spiel on how it works, their evil plans for the future, even been shown Coho doing some very impressive things. But I haven't run my workloads on it. I haven't thrown it in my lab and tried to make it cry. I haven't done to it the horrors that I visit upon the other storage that crosses my path.

If it does what they say, as good as they say, then it's fantastic scale out storage. But I don't know where the edges are. What its tics and mannerisms and variegated vicissitudes are. I don't know how to make it stumble, how to make it fall.

Until I know that, I can't really know what I think about the product. Only what I think I probably would think about the product.

There are dozens of tech journalists who exist to republish press releases or have theoretical discussions about something they've never touched. I exist to make every piece of technology I touch cry, even to die. Then to tell you where it will work and where it won't.

That being said, they do get positive feedback from customers. So it works really well for some folks, at least. That's a great sign. :)

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: nice work sir!

"Can you review the costs etc of moving from a smallish 1Gb Lan to 10 or beyond? This could prove very informative for those reading this article."

Done and done. Article is actually just getting tidied up now. I have a few articles on various networky bits in the hopper for this month. Stay tuned! :)

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Oracle Java 'no longer the greatest risk' to US Windows PC users

Trevor_Pott
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The certification process being "look and feel like and be as broke-ass as Metro apps". The "desktop apps" that are certified in Microsoft's carnival joke store might use different APIs, but Microsoft forces them to be uselessly broken to the point that they are functionally no different than the useless Metro apps. And don't get me started on how this is a problem for companies wanting to distribute software internally only.

A YUM repo is superior in every possible fucking way to the Windows store. Every single possible way.

The Windows store - like Windows 8 and 10 - is a blight on the history of IT. I hope the damned thing digitally burns down.

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Windows Store only allows for broke-ass Metro apps, and Microsoft takes a scrape off of every sale.

Far fucking cry from Linux.

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Dad who shot 'snooping vid drone' out of the sky is cleared of charges

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Bullit County

"By that logic you'd be entitled to shoot down any 747 that flies over your house, which is clearly absurd.

What height are you going to draw the line?"

In most places the law says 400 feet. And blood good on this man for fucking that drone up. Doubly good on the judge for letting him. Finally some sanity regarding this drone bull.

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TalkTalk plays 'no legal obligation' card on encryption – fails to think of the children (read: its customers)

Trevor_Pott
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Re: As I observed elsewhere in this illustrious mag

"I am not legally required to close and lock my door; but if I'm burgled, then I'm at least partly responsible."

No you're not. Not legally, nor morally.

The law prohibits you from entering my premises without my permission. The door being unlocked, or even open does not give you any rights whatsoever to enter. That is the law.

The law prohibits you from removing objects from my premises without my permission. The door being unlocked, or even open does not give you any rights whatsoever to enter. That is the law.

In Canada it is perfectly normal to leave doors unlocked, and many of us (Toronto doesn't count, ever,) do this all the time.

The same moral and legal concept applies to pretty much everything. A woman is not "asking for it" by wearing revealing clothing...or even no clothing at all. You have no right to touch or fondle her, let alone rape her. Nothing she wears (or does not wear) makes any part of your actions her fault.

These are not difficult concepts to understand. The burden of legal responsibility is on the individual who chooses to break the law. You do not "entice" someone into breaking the law by not employing devices or techniques designed to thwart would-be lawbreakers.

You simply can't run a society where people are legally responsible for the choice of others to break the law by not participating in an ever more expensive and unwinnable arms race.

It's called blaming the victim. Look it up.

Now, that said, Talk Talk should have goddamned well encrypted everything. Not due to legal obligation, but because it is a minimum best practice for the data they handle and as such a mark of professionalism.

Now, if we - as a society - believe that the arms race has gotten to the point that we must mandate minimum security measures, then by all means do so. An open public debate leads to laws and those become the laws we all must abide by. It becomes a universal cost of doing business.

But don't blame the victim. You are not in any way responsible for someone breaking into your house. That's on them. They made the choice.

If, however, you are guarding other people's things in your house, your duty of care to those other people may mean that you take precautions against the cold hard realities that there exist people who will break the law.

Are you capable of understanding the differences?

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WikiLeaks leaks CIA director's private emails – including his nat sec clearance dossier

Trevor_Pott
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Re: HOLY DOT SHIT @Fred Flintstone

Not just the Yankee/Israel alliance...the Saudis don't like them much either...

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So what's the internet community doing about the NSA cracking VPN, HTTPS encryption?

Trevor_Pott
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The power consumption that could be seen from fucking space probably would be a bit of a bitch though. If you're cracking 2048 bit encryption with a quantum computer you are either using space fairy dust or enough liquid helium to make CERN shit planetoids.

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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey hands out shares to remaining staffers

Trevor_Pott
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Re: What do all those people do?

I did the maths once and came up with a need for about 250 people to run Twitter, with a "I could find work for" up to 1000. More than 1000, however, is just nuts.

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Trevor_Pott
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The 1% is being split up amongst the employees directly. It is going to an employee fund. (Pension? Something else? I can't recall.) That fund will then leverage the shares as part of its portfolio in order to continue growing cash reserves for whatever it is that employee fund's purpose is.

Now, this only matters if either

A) Twitter pays dividends (direct cash injection into the employee fund)

B) Twitter's stock ameliorates (growing the value for the employee fund) and it can then sell some shares to realize that value or

C) The employee fund can borrow against the theoretical value of the shares and then it can reinvest that money into something that actually does pay out, and does so at a rate greater than the repayment costs of the loan.

Finance!

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Trevor_Pott
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Exactly. In no universe do you need 4000 employees to run fucking Twitter. Even the 8% cut is not enough. Not by far. Twitter is massively, massively overstaffed and horrifically badly managed. Man, the things I could do with that company were I in charge...

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California enormo-quake prediction: Cracks form between US boffins

Trevor_Pott
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I was in South San Francisco during the Napa quake and you practically had to peel me off the ceiling. I live on a nice, stable craton for a reason.

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VMware adopts cloud-first-for-new-features vSphere update plan

Trevor_Pott
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Re: ram failure not an issue

I have RAM mirroring and online spare in my Supermicro gear. Have for some time. I expect that since this is a feature o the Intel chipsets now it will be in Dell gear, Lenovo fear, Intel gear, etc.

There's nothing special about HP except the high prices and shitty support.

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Radio wave gun zaps drones out of the sky – and it's perfectly legal*

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Return to sender.

For what other uses are these devices actually used by people? It seems to me invasion of privacy and outright idiocy dominate the use cases in the real world.

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EMC traditional storage decline accelerating

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Disk drive evolution will kill traditional storage

Please explain how we will all survive without tiering.

Do it by explaining where the metric merry merciful fuck you will get enough flash to replace planetary disk consumption.

Thank you.

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No change in US law, no data transfer deals – German state DPA

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Let me get this straight

Or they're an ex-pat who is still (technically) a USian, but is also a citizen of another country. In which case they're both.

Or maybe they're one of hundreds of thousands of people who were born in American while their family was on vacation and were thus made "stealth" USians against their will (or the will of their family members) and are now hounded across the globe by the IRS for a lifetime's worth of taxes, despite never having set foot in the US.

I know you probably don't know about those sorts of things, but they aren't jokes. The "stealth" citizenship is a rather miserable fucking problem where I'm from that has caught up a largish % of our population. People try to (for example) go to Vegas with some friends and oh look you're on a list of Us citizens that owe a lifetime's back taxes and you never even knew you were a citizen. Now you can get trapped in the country until you pay.

Awesome.

Oh, and extra bonus? You can't renounce your citizenship (that you didn't know you had) until you pay up. And even after that, you can't renounce anyways because you have to be classified as mentally competent to renounce your citizenship, but that determination is made by the people administering the paperwork, and one of the reasons they can (and do) declare you mentally unfit to renounce your citizenship is that you want to renounce your citizenship!

You see, by USian logic you have to be crazy to want to not be a US citizen so you obviously can't be mentally competent when you apply to renounce your US citizenship.

And, of course, the US claims legal ownership and jurisdiction over every aspect of every US citizen's life, even those that don't know they are citizens.

Double awesome.

The point is, there are a lot more things in the US and outside of it that are dreamt of in your philosophy. Maybe it is worth investigating these and learning some things beyond what you "know".

You'd then quickly see the world isn't binary. For example, it is entirely possible to be a USian, hate the shit out o that backwards ass country, and not be self-flagellating at all. Because your USianness is in fact unwanted legal imperialism and you consider yourself a non-USian.

But you are a USian. But you're not too.

The world. Grey. Shades of.

Learn.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Let me get this straight

"Do the EU REALLY want to gamble on that, given the attitude of the people in charge there?

Probably the only thing worse than bending the knee to imperialists would be to tick off a nation with lots of nukes and nothing else to lose (meaning it would be willing to go MAD)."

Where's the gamble? The US is not militarily superior to a bunch of fucking poor people in the goddamned desert, let alone the fully up to date militaries of the EU. The EU, Russia and China combined (which would probably include most of South America and Africa, quite frankly, because China has been making a LOT of friends there lately) would crush the US like a bug. A shitty little irrelevant bug.

NUKES? If the US fires their nukes then everyone else who's got them will fire them (and that is rather a lot of countries at this point) and then pretty much all the "superpowers" are rubble for the next 75 years.

Even the Americans aren't that stupid.

And hell, what if they are? If they are really that arrogant, short sighted and filled with unrelenting hubris best to get World War 3 out of the way now while there's still some oil to be had. Oil is a cheap source of energy and it will be vital to rebuilding after we've blown all our major cities to hell and gone.

If we wait until the US burns it all then rebuilding is going to be completely awful for everyone and a hell of a lot more people will die because we can't keep the hospitals powered or the farms ploughed.

Now, ideally, we don't have ourselves a merry little war. That means we can keep complicated and high maintenance power technology like nuclear power and large hydro working. That means we can transition to a post-oil economy in a relatively smooth manner and we can probably avoid that whole "not having enough power for critical infrastructure" bit.

But it comes down to having to have a war then best get it over with soon.

And for the record, there's no goddamned difference between a "partnership of equals" with the Russians and Chinese and kowtowing to the Americans. Except, you know, that the Russians and the Chinese actually just might abide by the treaties they sign and might even be somewhat trustworth whereas the Americans don't, won't and aren't.

Actually, come to think of it, I don't understand why we put up with those barbarians at all.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Let me get this straight

After all, the USA can reciprocate, if not in customers then perhaps in other diplomatic matters, such as military support (that could hurt if Europe is forced to go it alone against a chest-thumpin' Russia).

So you want the EU to align with Russia and China against the US?

$deity you're thick. Even for a nationalistic yankee moron, that's dumb.

The US isn't that important. You only have the relevance you do because you have the allies you do. You cannot go it alone against the whole fucking world.

But I would dearly love to see you try.

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Android users left at risk... and it's not even THEIR FAULT this time!

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Cambridge boffins

I have yet to EVER see ANY Android device with Malware, so these "boffins" just made themselves look like total chumps.

I clean an average of 6 devices a week each with various forms of malware. Maybe you're not as representative of the industry as you think?

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Crypto cadre cloud-cracks SHA-1 with just $75k of compute cost

Trevor_Pott
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Re: "Compute" is a verb

Go is a noun. I've heard it used as a replacement for "awesome". I.E. "That is very go." Typically used in the context of fast cars by the sorts of people who drive souped up Mazdas and drag race on city streets late at night. Increasingly common usage in Western Canada.

"Go" has indeed been nouned.

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VW offices, employees' homes raided by German prosecutors

Trevor_Pott
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Re: To be honest...

No question there. It behooves us to limit both as much as we can. Other companies can do this. It isn't an either/or proposition. Either CO2 is reduced or NO2 is reduced. Both can be achieved.

VW chose not to. That's the point here.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: To be honest...

Carbon Dioxide is fucking poison, you git. How about we put you in a room with a gas mixture that is 72% Nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 5% carbon dioxide, and 2% trace gasses (primarily Xenon) and see how long you survive, hmm?

CO2 is poison. Full stop. That your body can tolerate low levels of poison without dying doesn't make it something you can ignore.

Worse, CO2 isn't the fun kind of poison, like ethanol. At least ethanol gives you happy fun times before the massive headaches, vomiting, nausea and death. CO2 goes straight for the "overwhelming migraines", "inability to focus", "crippling nervous system pain" and then, finally, mercifully, death.

Please don't parade your ignorance of science around in public as something of which you're proud. It's embarrassing enough that you've got the dumb, pride in it's possession is just mind-boggling.

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Pitchforks, torches, and awful quotes – we read what Cisco's CEO said

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Two authors and "I/me" in the article.

Mystery is: wrong item picked from dropdown menu. Sorted, and thankee.

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HP creates laptop for SITH LORDS

Trevor_Pott
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Re: I'd like a Klingon version

I've got a Krenim notebook: damned thing won't stay in temporal sync with the NTP network.

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