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* Posts by PassiveSmoking

228 posts • joined 29 Aug 2010

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First Irish boy band U2. Now Apple pushes ANOTHER thing into iPhones, iPods, iPads

PassiveSmoking

Doesn't matter if the features have been available for years...

... if nobody ever used them.

Seriously, who ever used NFC payments other than Oyster Card holders, let alone NFC payments via phone? The NFC payment support in Android phones was poorly thought out and didn't work very well from the accounts of the few people who actually tried to use it. I'm sure Apple have learned from those mistakes and done it right. Apple are rarely the first people to do something but they're usually the first to do it in a way that makes people actually want to use it.

If you build it they might come but only if you don't do a shit job of building it in the first place.

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Warrantless phone snooping HAPPENS ALL THE TIME in Blighty

PassiveSmoking

Do you know who else kept pushing for more "emergency powers" and entangling us in wars with people who don't want to be part of the dominant culture? EMPEROR PALPATINE!

You may laugh, but the Census data contains a complete record of all the Jedi in the country...

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Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws

PassiveSmoking

Good, Cheap, Fast

The standard maxim in software engineering and development is "Good, Cheap, Fast: pick two".

Sadly, the choice made is almost always "Cheap and fast". Finding the answer as to why this is and what to do about it is what will solve about 80% of failures in code quality.

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Beancounters tell NASA it's too poor to fly planned mega-rocket

PassiveSmoking

I thought the business case was obvious?

If you don't have your own man-rated rocket then you're committing to being dependant on buying rides on the rockets of a government you're not exactly on good terms with. If you can't get to space on your own then the Russians effectively become the gatekeepers to the ISS, and do you really think Putn would not stoop to using that fact to his own advantage?

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Australia floats website blocks and ISP liability to stop copyright thieves

PassiveSmoking

Sounds right up Orlowski's alley

I'm sure everyone else who doesn't work for Big Content or their legal attack dogs will be appalled though.

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ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US

PassiveSmoking
Happy

Good to know

So patents only apply in the country where they're taken out.

Good to know, means I can ignore all US patents with impunity. I'm off to build a One Click implementation!

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Spinning SPACE DUCK is comet-chasing Rosetta probe's PREY

PassiveSmoking
Coat

Just listenin' to the Space Duck

Such a majestic creature.

Mine's the one with the Team Fourstar logo on the back.

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Dead letter office: ancient smallpox sample turns up in old US lab

PassiveSmoking

Re: Anyone...

So rummaging through a science lab junk drawer is probably a really bad idea.

Allen key, different allen key, weird flange-thing with a screw in one end that nobody knows it's for, some crusty old AA batteries, vial of disease that could end all life on Earth, tube of superglue welded to the side of the draw, ... used tea bag? Eww, what'd that doing in here?

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Judge says there's no such thing as a 'Patent Troll'

PassiveSmoking

What about Big Fat Doodoo Head? Is that still okay?

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Austrian Tor exit relay operator guilty of ferrying child porn

PassiveSmoking

Re: Great

Soon? Fairly sure that's already happening.

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USB charger is prime suspect in death of Australian woman

PassiveSmoking

Re: More official advice completely divorced from reality

@ac If by "Better" you mean "Less likely to kill me" then guilty as charged, I will spend more for the better one.

I find it very hard to believe that a mains powered charger that sells for 3 quid and is of a form factor compatible to the miniaturised USB chargers that the likes of Apple, Samsung, et al pack in with their products is going to be remotely safe. Maybe they really actually are that safe, but I also feel that my life is worth more than the hypothetical £27 difference between them. I'd rather be a sucker than a corpse.

Oh, and for the record, the actual cost of an Apple iPhone charger is £15, not 30 so you might even be able to afford two! http://store.apple.com/uk/product/MD812B/C/apple-usb-power-adapter?fnode=3c

If you really dislike apple so much there are plenty of other reputable companies that will sell you a charger for a bit more than three quid that probably won't kill you either.

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PassiveSmoking

Re: More official advice completely divorced from reality

That's just that though, they haven't.

Manufacturer A built their device to at least meet (and probably slightly exceed) international electrical safety standards designed to keep people from being killed by the device. They then paid to have samples tested to destruction to earn the right to put the safety certification logo on the case. They'll also pull random samples out of batches during manufacture and test those too to mitigate the risk of a bad batch of parts rendering the certification moot.

Manufacturer B is just concerned with making a profit and isn't concerned about the odd corpse here or there. They'll buy the absolute cheapest components they can get, have them assembled in the cheapest way possible, put them in the cheapest case possible and just slap a load of fake safety logos on them. The charger from manufacturer B is probably at best 10 times more likely to kill you and/or burn your house down because it was manufactured by people who just don't give a shit and just want your money.

All that risk for a saving of £27? Is your life really worth so little? If you can afford a couple hundred quid for a phone/laptop/whatever then you can afford 30 for a new charger. Or just try not to break the charger that came with it in the first place, there's an idea. I actually have a surplus of Apple chargers because the ones I've owned still work fine after years of proper use so I never need to unpack the one that come with the new phone.

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Adobe Creative Cloud 2014: Progress and pain in the usual places

PassiveSmoking

Re: I need to get this to my client right away.

It's probably a bit of an exageration (but given my own experience of Adobe software not a big one).

What's not FUD is that if Adobe's cloud dies, so does EVERYBODY'S copy of the software. http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/05/outage-of-adobe-creative-cloud-more-than-a-day-old-locks-out-app-users/

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HP starts a memristor-based space program to launch ... THE MACHINE

PassiveSmoking

Photonics?

Please state the nature of the medical emergency.

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SLOW DOWN: Insecure-by-design software on road

PassiveSmoking

Things to put on a highway sign

* "I know what you did"

* "If you're going on holiday here, I'd turn around now. It's shit"

* "If you're driving an Audi I hope you die in a fireball of twisted metal (and you probably will, learn to sodding drive!)"

And my personal favourite:

* "Did you leave the gas on?"

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GAME ON: Top 10 tellies for a World Cup kicking

PassiveSmoking

Re: Expensive & pointless

That title applies just as well to football as it does to the tellies.

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FSF slams Mozilla for 'shocking' Firefox DRM ankle-grab

PassiveSmoking

If there's a hook in the software to get a decrypted stream from a DRM module, then how hard would it be to write a plugin that proxys the hook in order to save the encrypted stream to a file as it's being played back?

Unless the entire browser is closed-source and digitally signed there's no way of really stopping people circumventing any DRM scheme you put in place. As an earlier commenter suggested, Mozilla's plan is probably to just implement what Big Content want and act surprised when it doesn't work.

Also, Stallman needs to learn the meaning of the word pragmatism.

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'Bladdered' Utah couple cuffed in church lawn sex outrage

PassiveSmoking

Was it the first of May?

Because according to that Jonathan Coulton song it's fine.

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Super-heavy element 117 DOES exist – albeit briefly. Got any berkelium handy?

PassiveSmoking

What to call element 117?

Spartianium? Halonium?

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Apple sued in Texas troll territory for iMovie patent infringement

PassiveSmoking

Re: When

That's not going to happen, somebody's bound to have a patent on "method for suspending a legal professional from a supporting structure at the intersection of two or more transit conduits".

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Scam emails tell people they have cancer to trick them into installing a money-stealing Trojan

PassiveSmoking

(AOL voice): You've got cancer!

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Barclays warns freelance techies of DOUBLE DIGIT rate cut

PassiveSmoking

But I thought that if you wanted the best workers you had to pay the best rates, plus extravagant bonuses, and that you won't attract the best talant, who will just take their experience elsewhere otherwise? That's what they said about senior executive pay, after all.

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Got a Netgear router from Virgin Media? Change your admin password NOW

PassiveSmoking

When I first got my SuperHub I had a default password for the device admin webapp. First thing I did was change it. When I needed tech support a couple of hours later (turned out the wiring was dodgy and had been marginable but acceptable to the old modem, but not for the superhub) the first thing they did was ask me to change the password back to default.

After that I just used the superhub in passive move with the wifi turned off and the device hooked up to an external router. If they require you to have the default password for tech support then they obviously can't be depended on for decent security.

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Pine trees' scent 'could prevent climate change really being a problem'

PassiveSmoking

Re: Limit climate change?

Yeah, I think you might just have failed to spot my sarcasm.

Lewis is constantly posting articles about how climate change isn't happening, so it seems odd that he's start posting articles about ways to limit the impact of something he says isn't happening.

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PassiveSmoking
WTF?

Limit climate change?

But climate change isn't happening. You've posted about a thousand articles saying so.

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Collective SSL FAIL a symptom of software's cultural malaise

PassiveSmoking

Good, fast, cheap

Most of us of an engineering bent know the old addage "Good, fast, cheap: pick two", yet we still always cave when our managers almost invariable select "fast and cheap".

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Retiring greybeards force firms to retrain Java, .NET bods as mainframe sysadmins

PassiveSmoking

Software rot is a business expense

Nobody seems to take the fact that software isn't like traditional machinery, it needs to be constantly evolved and updated. Of course machinery needs maintainence (and eventual replacement) too, but typically of the "oil this, replace that worn out part" sort.

Businesses usually take the limited life of machinery into account, but not the limited life of software. That's an attitude that needs to change, there needs to be plans in place to keep software up to date and if necessary ported to new platforms, otherwise this is the exact situation you'll end up with.

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Almost everyone read the Verizon v FCC net neutrality verdict WRONG

PassiveSmoking

Re: Remarkably?

And if those two both decide to act in the same manner and refuse to provide the service the consumer wants?

2 choices doesn't qualify as healthy competition.

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Amazon patents caches for physical goods

PassiveSmoking

Re: How is this an invention?

In America, everything is an invention. Shitting yourself is probably patentable.

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Take off, nuke 'em from orbit: Kill patent trolls NOW, says FTC bigwig

PassiveSmoking

The most obvious thing they could do right now is make it an offence to threaten the customers of an alleged patent infringer with lawsuits. That kind of behaviour is simply unacceptable. You should not need to factor in the risk of potentially getting sued for patent infringement into your decision whether or not to buy a god damned photocopier.

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Blame Silicon Valley for the NSA's data slurp... and what to do about it

PassiveSmoking

Re: The law is not the answer

How can somebody who writes such cynical claptrap be so naive? Even if you technically have legal recourse against the DM for publishing your photos and/or making scurrilous accusations against you, by the time the legal system has ground into action the damage has already been done.

Suppose the DM publishes your photograph in an article about suspected paedophiles, naturally you're outraged and take them to court. As they have no proof to back up their claims and because they violated your privacy unfairly you prevail in court and possibly win a juicy payout that more or less covers your court costs.

However, the damage done to your reputation is permanent. The news article will still exist somewhere, and it will still insinuate in writing that you're a paedophile with your photo attached. While the paper will probably also be forced to publish a retraction and an apology, they never exactly go out of their way to call much attention to them. You'll get some tiny correction printed in tiny print in the hopes nobody notices it, and nobody probably will.

Meanwhile, the thought implanted in the public mind will linger in some corners and you'll probably never escape it. There's no legal way (or indeed physical way that I'm aware of) to erase the population's memory.

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Drug dealer demands jail to escape 'unbearable' missus after NYE row

PassiveSmoking

Re: A Clash of Personalities

Team Rocket blast off at the speed of light.

Surrender now or prepare to fight.

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British Second World War codebreaker Alan Turing receives Royal pardon

PassiveSmoking

Pardon

I think the conviction should stand.

Hear me out here! It's not because I think gay people should be punished for being gay. I have two reasons for thinking it should stand.

1) As others have pointed out, once you start pardoning people who were punished by an unjust lawwhere do you stop? Thousands of people were persicuted under the same laws, do they all get pardons now? Or are you only entitled to one if your supporters kick up a fuss? It's got to be everyone or no-one, anything else is just empty gestures.

2) It smacks of revisionist history. Turing was a great man who we owe our relative freedom to, and for those of us who work in IT our livlihoods. He wa also treated unbelieveably shoddily and punished unfairly by an unjust law. Both those facts should be remembered, but pardoning him now feels awfully like an attempt to sweep the abuse he suffered at the hands of the law under the carpet. Instead of saying "It's okay, we overturned his conviction so we can pretend it didn't happen" we should be saying "Here's an example of how even the most remarkable people to whom we owe so much can be destroyed by blinkered bigoted arbitary hatred".

I can understand why people would campaign for this, but I can't help but feel they're misguided.

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Feminist Software Foundation gets grumpy with GitHub … or does it?

PassiveSmoking

Or COBOL, the language Grace Hopper invented, for that matter?

BTW, compilers were also invented by Grace Hopper, or at least she was responsible for some of the earliest practical ones.

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Spinning rust and tape are DEAD. The future's flash, cache and cloud

PassiveSmoking

Bull

When I started my higher education some 20 years ago they were predicting the death of tape.

Tape is cheap, plentiful and for offline backups there's nothing that can really beat it.

I fully expect they'll be predicting the death of tape on the day I pick up my gold watch.

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TransLattice gobbles StormDB upstart for Postgres threesome

PassiveSmoking

Database as a service?

Aren't databases already services anyway?

Or do you have to put -aaS on the end of everything these days to make it trendy and marketable

KissMyaaS

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Bill Gates: Yes, Ctrl-Alt-Del salute was a MISTAKE

PassiveSmoking

Didn't see the funny side

Of course he didn't, it's an immutable fact that the man has no sense of humour. If you don't believe me, just watch those stupid Seinfeld ads.

Or any clip where he's the butt of somebody's joke.

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'Beat the lie detectors' trainer sentenced to 8 months in jail

PassiveSmoking

success rate?

It's not a 1% success rate, it's a 1% hit rate. How many of the 1% were actually truthful and how many of the 99% who passed were liars?

This is one of the reasons why polygraphs are so insidious, they dress up random noise in the garb of seemingly respectible statistics

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'Silent' staff stood by as £100m BBC IT project tanked – DG

PassiveSmoking

This is far from a problem exclusive to the BBC. It's a sad fact that management is happier hearing optimistic lies than unpleasant truths, and will more consistently reward their underlings for the former, whereas the latter can in extreme cases find themselves looking for a new job. It's known as the SNAFU principle.

Nobody wants to be a whistle blower for exactly that reason. The saddest case was the management clusterfuck at NASA/Nordon Thiokol that led to the Challenger disaster.

http://dictionary.die.net/snafu%20principle

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Japan's unwanted IT workers dumped in 'forcing-out rooms'

PassiveSmoking

"flexibly restructure their human resources"

Let me fix that for you. "Get rid of people who haven't done anything wrong"

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Larry Ellison: Google is ABSOLUTELY EVIL, but NSA is ESSENTIAL

PassiveSmoking
Thumb Down

You didn't even make Java Larry, you picked it off the bones of Sun

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Google Glassholes to be BANNED from UK roads

PassiveSmoking

Re: Phones

In Shangri-La, maybe. Meanwhile in the real world he'll probably get 3 points on his license and a fine.

Seriously.

A man was recently convicted of killing a cyclist due to his negligent driving. He got community service. What's more it wasn't even the first cyclist he'd killed with his shitty driving. And they'll probably hand his license back sooner or later to see if third time's a charm. I'm betting it wont be.

http://road.cc/content/news/82424-community-service-careless-driver-convicted-killing-second-cyclist-25-years

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E-shopkeepers stabbed with SQL needles 'twice' as much as other sites

PassiveSmoking
FAIL

Bobby Tables

This kind of exploit is sickeningly easy to avoid, yet crops with depressing regularity.

PHP, for example, has several mechanisms to avoid SQL injection (use of the DBMS parameterized/prepared statement mechanisms, input validation and filtering), yet the amount of times I see people asking questions on Stack Overflow where the've obviously followed a tutorial from the PHP 4 days and written stuff like the following just makes me want to quit web development and take up mushroom farming instead.

mysql_query ('INSERT INTO TABLE (column) VALUES (' . $_GET ['field'] . ')');

Doesn't anyone read XKCD?

http://xkcd.com/327/

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WAR ON PORN: UK flicks switch on 'I am a pervert' web filters

PassiveSmoking

Simulated rape

We can't watch that any more?

Quick! We need to ban everything that has such filth in it!

So I guess we need to burl every copy of Game Of Thrones we can get our hands on. And Clockwork Orange, Last Tango In Paris, Blade Runner...

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PM writes ISPs' web filter ads for them - and it must say 'default on'

PassiveSmoking

Fairly obvious what the plan is.

1) Force the ISPs to say their filters are "always on"

2) Wait for complaints from little Timmy's mum when she catches him looking at MILFS Gone Wild

3) Sic the ASA on them

4) Internet censorship by the back door

5) ???

6) PROFIT!

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UK sitting on top of at least 50 years of shale gas – report

PassiveSmoking
FAIL

If you think this is going to knock so much as a penny of your gas bill then you're a bigger idiot than I gave you credit for.

In fact, expect your bills to go up as the gas companies "need to make temporary readjustments to your contribution so we can fund the next generation of sustainable, reliable energy and give you the best possible service in the long run" and fleece us to pay for the infrastructure investment.

None of the money that potentially comes in from this is going to filter down to consumers, and that's assuming that the most optimistic projections are true about there being 50 years of gas that's economically viable to extract down there. According to the earlier comment from our Polish friend that's far from a given.

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PassiveSmoking
FAIL

Re: HS2

What benefit? HS2 goes nowhere near Manchester.

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Ex-inmate at Chinese prison: We made airline headsets

PassiveSmoking
Facepalm

If you feel sorry for a child rapist and murderer then all I can say is you have a very skewed sense of empathy.

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PassiveSmoking
Thumb Up

Sounds like the perfect place to send Brady and Philpot.

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Spaniards deploy self-propelled ROBOT BALLS

PassiveSmoking
Coat

I am beneath... enemy scrotum.

Someone had to say it.

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