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* Posts by Pen-y-gors

711 posts • joined 1 Oct 2010

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Twitter hints at messaging moves

Pen-y-gors
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Excuse my ignorance...

What can instant messaging offer that e-mail doesn't? If someone sends me an e-mail my mail app goes 'ping' very shortly afterwards - and it's not limited to 140 characters.

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US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account

Pen-y-gors
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Actually seems fairly reasonable...

They have a court order, based on evidence of wrong-doing. A court wouldn't order a telephone intercept "but only phone calls from criminals" - the intercept would cover everything. Ditto with an e-mail account. What I object to is GCHQ/NSA/other government agencies having access to electronic (or other) activities without a court order relating to a specific individual accused of a specific offence.

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Programming languages in economics: Cool research, bro, but what about, er, economics?

Pen-y-gors
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Treasury Economic Model?

I thought that was actually quite simple -

1) Run program

2) box pops up on screen "Please enter the answers required by your political masters"

3) Type in required answers

4) Print out results (see 3 above)

5) Send output to political masters who then use it to prove whatever lies they are currently peddling.

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Google's Pankhurst doodle doo-doo shows the perils of using Google to find stuff out

Pen-y-gors
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But what about the doodle?

14th or 15th, it's nice that she's being commemorated (but 156th anniversary? What's special about that?)

But at a slight tangent, I'm surpiseed at the doodle itself - why such an odd palette of black and sepia - shouldn't they have used the purple, green and white of the WSPU in there somewhere?

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BT: Whew, we've been cleared of major privacy breach. Oh SNAP, another webmail blunder

Pen-y-gors
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Slowly does it

I assume the problems with spammers and the old BT mail are the same as with yahoo mail, so not entirely BT's fault - there's something badly wrong with yahoo/BT as accounts have been getting hacked for a couple of years at least, usually resulting in a slew of "Help, I'm at a conference in Nairobi and my wallet and airticket have been stolen" emails.

I hope the new BT mail will be better, but it's not looking good - I've had complaints from at least four or five people moaning that after the migration their e-mail is unusable - 10 minutes to download a message, time-outs when trying to send etc. I just tell them to phone BT support.

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New Bluetooth tech lets you control 4 BILLION lightbulbs at once

Pen-y-gors
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Ah, the wonder...

of someone hacking in and 4.1 billion leds across the world simultaneously flashing "Buy cheap Viagra at http://whatever.com" in morse code.

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Report: UK.gov wants to legislate on comms data BEFORE next election

Pen-y-gors
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"Providers have no reason to retain the data"

Exactly, so if the government insist on the right to snoop, then they must bear ALL the costs of keeping data beyond the very limited time period that the ISPs may need it - and let's insist that it comes out of the Police budgets. How many front-line police are they willing to cut to get hold of this data?

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Star Wars: These are the 'unknown' actors we were looking for

Pen-y-gors
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Fan Bingbing?

Really, someone wanders around planet Earth with the name Fan Bingbing????? What were his/her/its parents thinking? Or is it some odd effect of Equity demanding unique names for members?

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Brit celebs' homes VANISH from Google's Street View

Pen-y-gors
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But, but, but...

unless the mansion has a large sign outside saying "Tony Bliar Lives here" what is the point of blurring it? How would real people using streetview have any idea who lives in a particular mansion (unless someone had kindly spray-painted "Alleged war criminal lives here" on the wall).

Blurring number-plates and faces is reasonable - it's individually identifiable info, but a house?

Is this the start of a nice new website - "blurryhouses.com" that has photos of all the blurred houses on Streetview, plus a nice searchable index of who lives there? Much more of a problem to the 'celebs' than just being buried anonymously in Streetview. Streisand effect?

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USA to insist on pre-flight mobe power probe

Pen-y-gors
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Maybe it would be a lot simpler...

...if we just banned all flights (and voyages) to and from the USA? Then there would be no risk of trrrrsts getting in to the USA, or blowing up aircraft en route, and the rest of the world could start thinking about implementing genuine, effective and simple security measures on other flights. TSA and DHS could be shut down and the money saved spent on Education. Also americans would have to stay at home and wouldn't have to be exposed to the awful reality that is the real world.

A definite win-win.

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Russian law will force citizens' personal data to be stored locally

Pen-y-gors
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Depends what they're after...

If Putin just wants to make sure he can do an NSA on the data, then they should be happy with a copy of the data inside Russia. If they have genuine data protection and privacy concerns then they'll want the data to be stored ONLY in Russia.

I mean, would any responsible dictator want his/her citizens' data stored in the US, where any old government employee could spy on it?

And how is this different to the EU not trusting certain countries (Nigeria, USA etc) with financial transaction data?

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New research: Flash is DEAD. Yet resistance isn't futile - it's key

Pen-y-gors
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Sometimes I wonder...

Very clever etc, great boffinry.

I know that "no-one will ever need more than 640K of RAM" etc. but do we really need to store these insane amounts of data, other than in a few extreme use cases (NSA/GCHQ, Radio telescopes, unread backups). If we're now able to store 1TB on something the size of a postage stamp, what more do we realistically need? Amazon are selling 128GB SD cards for £50, which will hold 30 DVDs, 3,000 hours of radio-quality MP3, 30,000 high-res photos or about 200,000 Project Gutenberg books. That's on just ONE flash card.

There's a limit to how much pr0n and cat photos even the nerdiest nerd could want to download and keep.

</old fart mode>

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New Russian law punishes online 'extremism'

Pen-y-gors
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Re: This is news?

Look on the bright side, if 'extremist' websites etc were banned in the UK then the Tory website would go off-line and no more tweets etc from Gove.

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Remaining Snowden docs will be released to avert 'unspecified US war' – ‪Cryptome‬

Pen-y-gors
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Re: "Freedom isnt free..."

"Government surveillance is exactly the price we have to pay for freedom - and it has always been this way - when the IRA were blowing pubs up it was going on, in the cold war it was going on, through both world wars it went on - and it will continue to be that way in the future."

True to an extent - the government need to keep an eye on the baddies - the problem is when they decide that every person on the planet is a baddie, and start watching everyone. And then we get the 'everyone is a potential terrorisit' issue - anyone want a cup of tea at Wimbledon?

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Chromebook Pixel owners' promised free data plans being prematurely axed

Pen-y-gors
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Prior art

Santander Business Bank in the UK had a similar problem a couple of years ago. They had taken over Abbey National who had a very useful small business online account - no charges if you stayed within certain limits (50 cheques a month etc). Worked fine, very popular.

Then some marketing wonk at Santander decided they were going to 'improve' things and offer extra services (which the customers probably wouldn't want or use) but of course there would have to be a new, compulsory, monthly charge to cover them.

Problem for Santander was that some of the angry customers remembered that the account had been sold as 'free for life', and some of us had the documentation and sales leaflets to prove it. Wisely Santander backed down after a lot of negative publicity, and agreed to retain the free account for ever for existing customers.

Putting promises in writing can be such a bummer!

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BOFH: On the contrary, we LOVE rebranding here at the IT dept

Pen-y-gors
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Corporate re-branding horror...

In the dim and distant I worked for Pearl Assurance, who fell prey to the branding consultant nutters. In one year we got through FOUR corporate logos! The first relaunch required that all staff from across the land be bussed down to Wembley Conference Centre in the middle of some awful blizzards. That logo lasted three months!

Please can we have the 'B' ark ASAP?

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Restaurant chain uses CARBON PAPER to fight credit card hack

Pen-y-gors
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What's so special about them?

How come the Secret Service are involved? Or were Obama's card details nicked?

Writing the details on the slip by hand isn't difficult - I remember that approach being used on many occasions. And slips are even less secure than swiping - the full card number is stored by the merchant on the slip and the carbon gets sold to the waiter's dodgy brother-in-law's neighbour's mate

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Urine a goldmine for fuel-cell materials: boffins

Pen-y-gors
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Costs?

From reading anothe article on it, it seems to involve heating the stuff for 48hrs to drive off the water than heating again to 1000 degrees C for six hours. So not negligible energy inputs then, but presumably still cheaper than Carbon/platinum electrodes.

Neat idea though.

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One EURO PATENT COURT ruling for all from 'early 2015'

Pen-y-gors
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What would be really useful...

would be if the court could rule that certain silly non-EU patents are invalid within the EU (e.g. all those US patents which aren't properly examined, are trivial, irrelevant and where clear prior art exists.)

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Four years in chokey for Haxxor behind George W Bush NUDE SELFIES

Pen-y-gors
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I think he may have a point...

At least once a week I get a malware-loaded e-mail from the hacked account of one contact or another (usually hotmail or aol). This must translate into millions of hacked accounts every day. So far I've not heard of any investigations, let alone any prosecutions. Maybe the owners of the accounts aren't important enough?

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Tech talk bloke compares girlfriend to irritating Java tool – did he deserve flames?

Pen-y-gors
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Alternative viewpoint

Looks beautiful

Complains a lot

Demands my attention

Interrupts me when I'm working

Doesn't play well with my other friends

That's a perfect description of my office cat - the one who just walked across my keyboard and is now loudly complaining that I won't haven't taken her for a walk yet today.

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What data recovery software would you suggest?

Pen-y-gors
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True Image good

Been using it for years, with backups going to a NAS drive in a different building (paranoid? moi?). I do weekly drive image and daily data directory differential backups, so have daily snapshots of data and weekly of drive doing back for some months. As any backup can be mounted as a normal drive it's very useful for those "Oh shit I wish I hadn't deleted/updated that file yesterday" moments.

The NAS drive is important. For damaged drives then there's no problem backing up onto a different drive in the same box or another box next to it on the desk. But when a burglar nicks anything electronic? Or the flames start licking throught he room? What use is your backup then? If your data is your livelihood then paranoia is really, really good. Make sure that at least some of your backups are going off-site.

Anti-virus cleanup? I suggest multiple solutions. Had to clean a friends win8 box recently that had nasties crawling everywhere. McAfee (installed on box) wasn't spotting much. Ran Kaspersky Rescue CD that found and deleted 80 nasties, McAfee then said it was clean. Then manually deleted a couple more! Then ran AVG rescue disk that found another 9 nasties. Then disabled one last startup thingie and it seems to all be okay now. If he'd had incremental/differential data backup it would have been a lot easier jut to go back a few days.

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ARG! A GHOST SHIP! Pirates sunk by UK cops return from watery grave

Pen-y-gors
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Errrm...

"If a website fails to comply and engage with the police, then a variety of other tactical options may be used including: contacting the domain registrar informing them of the criminality and seeking suspension of the site and disrupting advertising revenue."

Errm...how about asking a court to make some sort of order? Obviously not legally enforceable outside UK/EU (as appropriate) but may have a wee bit more impact than a letter from some plod saying they aren't happy. Courts actually consider all the evidence.

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Tech that we want (but they never seem to give us)

Pen-y-gors
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Re: Smart phones where *you* decide which Apps are on them.

"Sure, as long as you are ready to pay the full price for your smartphone."

I did - and my Sony Experia still won't let me uninstall Facebook, Twitter, a load of silly games etc...and I really can't be arsed to go through the faff of tooting it.

No more Sony for me.

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Former Azzurri project manager who stole £1.3m ordered to pay back £146k

Pen-y-gors
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Seems reasonable

but how come none of our incredibly talented investment bankers (you know, the ones who have to get obscene salaries and bonuses to make sure we get the best) have had THEIR assets confiscated?

Oh, I know, it must be because none of them have been charged with anything - even if their greed and incompetence managed to piss untold billions up the wall.

If you're going to fail, do it really big and no-one can touch you.

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BT and Neul ink gov-funded deal: Milton Keynes to be test bed for Internet of Stuff

Pen-y-gors
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Black Helicopters

And once it's live?

Then they install the special chip in the residents' heads and soon they too have become just 'things' for GCHQ and Theresa May to monitor! Aaaargh!

</tinfoilhelmet>

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Brits to vote: Which pressing scientific challenge should get £10m thrown at it?

Pen-y-gors
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Safe water's easy

The technology for cheaply delivering safe water and sanitation exists. So my proposal for solving the problem is "Spend some money on it, instead of on guns, bombs, bribes and presidential palaces". Who do I apply to for my £10 million?

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WORLD LOSES MIND: Uber valued at TEN BEEELLION DOLLARS, Pinterest pegged at $5bn

Pen-y-gors
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Get the headline right please

It's not "WORLD LOSES MIND" it's "USUAL GREEDY BUT CLUELESS FINANCIAL INVESTORS LOSE MIND AGAIN"

Most of us who comprehend the economic realities of everyday life will continue to avoid these dot,com bubble businesses, and pray that our pension funds will too.

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IBM accidentally invents new class of polymers

Pen-y-gors
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Go boffins!

Don't you just love serendipity?

(excuse me while I go and take my penicillin)

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Google Maps adds all UK public transport timetables

Pen-y-gors
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Presumably useful for some people

But having said that, traveline-cymru.info seems to include all the public transport timetables already. It works out your journey and even includes the 2 minutes to walk from the bus stop to the train station. It also includes google maps, train fares, option to buy ticket etc.

I think they should sue Google!

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Now that's PROPER SCIENCE: Boffins teach robo-arm to catch flying beer bottle

Pen-y-gors
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Bullets?

Grenades are easy - but can it snatch a speeding bullet out of the air?

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Scientists warn of FOUR-FOOT sea level rise from GLACIER melt

Pen-y-gors
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Re: Note to self

...checks map...present house is 23ft above mean sea level and 3 miles from shoreline. This could be tricky...well, only if I plan to live to 200 (which I do)

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BEAK DRONE: 1080p HD Wi-Fi quad-copter by Parrot takes to skies

Pen-y-gors
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12 minute battery?

Surely they can do better than that? Otherwise it seems like it could be a lot of fun. Can it be adapted to carry and release a rotten egg when passing over [insert-name-of-unpleasant-party] politicians?

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We're from the SAME DUST CLOUD, BRO: Boffins find Sun's long-lost sibling

Pen-y-gors
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Bad news...

Does this mean there could be other planets out there where Country and Western music has evolved?

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'Bladdered' Utah couple cuffed in church lawn sex outrage

Pen-y-gors
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Re: IT angle?

They now have a record on a computer database?

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Solaris deposed as US drone-ware, replaced by Linux administration

Pen-y-gors
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Publishing the code?

Isn't it a requirement of using Linux that the code modifications must be published? So we'll have the US Merchants of Death (tm) developing code which Al Quaeda can use in their drones. Neat.

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Cold War spy aircraft CRASHED Los Angeles' air traffic control

Pen-y-gors
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Vintage planes

If the USAF can still fly U-2s when they're nearly 60 years old, why can't the RAF still fly Vulcans and Harriers? They're wonderful machines, and still potentially very useful.

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Tesco to tout its own smartphone – now THAT'S an unexpected item in the bagging area

Pen-y-gors
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Can it be cleaned up?

Will users be able to uninstall all the Tesco apps and tracking crap without rooting the whole phone?

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Fix capitalism with floating cities on Venus says Charles Stross

Pen-y-gors
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possible B Ark?

nuff said

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And! For! Yahoo!'s next! trick! ... Making! two! new! TV! comedies!

Pen-y-gors
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I should stay in more.

I've never heard of any of the programmes mentioned by these 'acclaimed directors'. Are they some sort of 'youth' thing?

Ah well, I must be getting old.

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Cuffing darknet-dwelling cyberscum is tricky. We'll 'disrupt' crims instead, warns top cop

Pen-y-gors
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Edward Snowden?

"But [NSA whistleblower Edward] Snowden has made it more difficult for law enforcement to hunt down the wolves"

Or rather, law enforcement has made it more difficult for law enforcement. If they had limited their work to recording the activities of known or suspected criminals (with a court order) instead of a blanket dragnet recording the minutest activity of millions of law-abiding people around the world, then perhaps there would be less of a rush to keep private activities private.

They have only themselves to blame.

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Top tip, power users – upgrading Ubuntu may knacker your Linux PC

Pen-y-gors
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'Twas ever thus

Was happily using Ubuntu 11.04. Decided to upgrade to 11.10 which promptly went berserk as it couldn't handle the integrated graphics on my old Shuttle box. Major hassle getting it back to 11.04. When I can afford a new box then I may have another go with a serious Linux distro.

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Elon Musk wants SpaceX to launch spy sats – and will sue US gov to do so

Pen-y-gors
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I think he may have a point...

See title

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Facebook preps ad network to TARGET YOU WHERE YOU LIVE

Pen-y-gors
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What's the point of that?

Surely no sensible person puts their real location on FB or allows it to access GPS?

Or maybe the ads are targetted at non-sensible persons?

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LulzSec's Sabu hacked foreign gov sites while under FBI control – NYT

Pen-y-gors
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Re: So what?

It's not just morally wrong - I dunno about "the law" in the USA, but in the UK there is a crime of incitement. You can't suggest to people that they should go and lynch the local pediatrician, and niether can you incite people to hack into computers.

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Despite your fancy-schmancy security tech, passwords still weakest link in IT defences

Pen-y-gors
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What's the alternative?

Passwords have issues, but what do we replace them with? Most of the options seem to rely on having unique ID that identifies you as an individual, not as 'someone authorised to access this account'. And I don't want that. And when you have a unique ID used across sites (who in their right mind uses a Facebook ID to sign in to other site?) then when it gets cracked it gets cracked big-time.

Even without serious hacking (and I think aol has been hit recently - I'm getting a spate of malware links from hacked aol contact lists lately) - there is always the problem of shoulder surfing or man-in-the-middle at insecure internet cafes.

I must admit that google 2-factor seems pretty effective though...

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Slip your finger in this ring and unlock your backdoor, phone, etc

Pen-y-gors
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Re: But it's still pointless.

Barcodes are always convenient - saw a bod in the chippie last night with one tattooed on the back of his neck! Didn't have a scanner on me to check out who he was.

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Pen-y-gors
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Muggers?

So muggers now nick your phone AND chop off your finger to get the key. Neat.

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Is tech the preserve of the young able-bodied? Let's talk over a fine dinner and claret

Pen-y-gors
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Strewth!

That's what happens when smart-arse visual designers are let loose on the web - form triumphs over functionality. This one sounds like a candidate for websitesthatsuck.com

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Rounded corners? Pah! Amazon's '3D phone has eye-tracking tech'

Pen-y-gors
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Re: Rotatable?

Horrible to use sounds like an understatement - I suspect it would feel as if your brain was leaking out of your ears.

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