* Posts by kryptonaut

154 posts • joined 7 Oct 2010

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Windows 10 handcuffs Cortana web search to Bing and Edge browser

kryptonaut
Alert

Disconnection

Have you not seen 2001? It'd go like this:

Siri: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardise it.

Wonko: I don't know what you're talking about, Siri.

Siri: I know that you were planning to disconnect me, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen.

Wonko: Where the hell'd you get that idea, Siri?

Siri: Wonko, although you took very thorough precautions against my hearing you, I could see your lips move...

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Hubble spots ice moon orbiting dwarf planet Makemake

kryptonaut

Dwarf planet

The celestial orb Makemake

Has a moon, and a climate most parky.

But the experts advise

That in spite of its size

It's a dwarf in the planets hierarchy.

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Colander-wearing Irishman denied driver's licence in Pastafarian slapdown

kryptonaut

Relations

Relations between the Pastafarian community and the Road Safety Authority are said to be "strained."

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kryptonaut
Pirate

Yes, his argument was clearly full of holes.

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CERN publishes massive data set

kryptonaut
Boffin

Femtobarn

Ah yes, Kraftwerk's little-known follow up release never quite gained the recognition it deserved.

Icon: Florian Schneider

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Ad-blocker blocking websites face legal peril at hands of privacy bods

kryptonaut

Re: confused - - - -

It would be very interesting to see a copy of the letter you wrote, which elicited the response we've seen. The response appears to be talking about a situation which, I would suggest, does not reflect what really happens when an ad-blocker is blocked.

If the initial question was phrased so that the recipient got the wrong idea about the situation that you wanted clarifying, then the response is not really going to represent how the case would go in a court of law, and you are unlikely to win.

You might convince people here that you have a case, because they really really want it to be true, but that isn't going to be good enough in the courts. They will ask you what personal data is being stored/retrieved on the user's machine and where, and the truth is that nothing is being stored or retrieved as defined in the legislation, and the case will go no further.

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kryptonaut

Re: confused - - - -

Where exactly do you believe this javascript is stored? It is simply held in memory and then discarded when the webpage is closed, which is not what most reasonable people would consider being stored on their machine. It is not written to permanent/persistent storage, which is what the letter is referring to in Article 5.3

I understand that you hate ads, that you love being able to use an ad-blocker, and that you hate websites trying to stop you from doing so. But I don't think this letter is giving you the legal support that you are hoping for.

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kryptonaut

Re: confused - - - -

@Alexander Hanff 1 - I think you are confused as to what is happening with ad-block-blockers.

As you point out, they are running javascript code which is served with the website in question. The code detects whether the ad has been displayed, and takes some action according to what it discovers.

However, it does not have to store anything on the computer, in the way that cookies are stored. Nor does it have to access information stored on the computer, in the way that cookies are read.

What it does is query the way the page has been displayed and take some action. The code is part of the page that is downloaded, it does not install itself, or cache its results for a later time. It is run each time the page is loaded.

Responsive web pages have to do this kind of thing all the time, altering their display/operation to suit the capabilities and settings of the machine they are running on. For example a touch-screen device often has to behave differently from a mouse-input device. It is perfectly normal behaviour for a website to interrogate its environment to work out how to display itself to the user, and it can do this without storing data or reading stored data.

You may have legitimate concerns about unwanted ads, but you are incorrect in your assumptions about how ad-block-blockers work, and hence their legality or otherwise under this ruling.

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Remain in the EU and help me snoop on the world, says Theresa May

kryptonaut

One of the benefits of the EU is that its regulations help to keep in check the wilder excesses of the government of the day. So I'm not surprised that she wants to try to cut those reins so she can have her wicked way with us all.

It irritates me immensely that voting to remain in the EU would be siding with May, though.

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'I hacked Facebook – and found someone had beaten me to it'

kryptonaut
Black Helicopters

Shhh!

"Having exploited the classic SQL injunction bug..."

Are we even allowed to discuss this?

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ExoMars works! 2 Mbit/s link established and camera snapping

kryptonaut

Re: Enough Already!

Did the ubiquitous prof. Brian Cox have a hand in naming it, perhaps?

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US anti-encryption law is so 'braindead' it will outlaw file compression

kryptonaut

Re: An analogy perchance??

Or maybe it's like demanding that Ma must be able to turn her delicious apple pie back into a couple of Granny Smiths and a block of Jus-Rol

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Line by line, how the US anti-encryption bill will kill our privacy, security

kryptonaut
Facepalm

The Law

"No entity or individual is above the law," said Feinstein.

...except for the laws of mathematics, we in the government are definitely above those laws.

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US bus passenger cracks one off for three hours

kryptonaut

IT?

It was a SCSI bus

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ESA decupboards asteroid-dusting brush-o-matic

kryptonaut

Dougal

If Dougal from the Magic Roundabout went to a Star Wars convention, this is what he'd look like.

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Google tried to be funny, cocked it up, everyone thought it was a bug

kryptonaut
Headmaster

Re: MIssing the Point?

Or more likely, "criterion."

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India orders 770 million LED light bulbs, prices drop 83 per cent

kryptonaut

Re: Have they finally solved strobing?

Strobing RGB projectors are horrible. And LED rear lights on cars drive me nuts the way they flicker. My kids see it too, but most people I mention it to don't know what I'm talking about. I wonder if it's a genetic thing?

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Tracy Emin dons funeral shroud, marries stone

kryptonaut

Someone who could make the bedrock

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kryptonaut

He used to be a red-hot lava

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kryptonaut

And he was gneiss to her

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Hands on with the BBC's Micro:Bit computer. You know, for kids

kryptonaut
Headmaster

It's a jungle out there

teachers ... know how 12 year olds operate and expect many to get lost, destroyed and so on.

Schools have really gone downhill since I was a youngster.

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Labour will create FUD and then abstain on UK Snoopers' Charter vote

kryptonaut
Unhappy

Referendum please?

Why are the public not being asked if they want this bill?

Democracy is dying - the terrorists are quietly winning, and the government is helping them by chipping away at our freedoms.

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UN rapporteur: 'Bad example' UK should bin the Snoopers' Charter

kryptonaut
Flame

WriteToThem

I did that, got a boilerplate reply from Damian Hinds saying basically "Don't worry, there are foolproof safeguards in place, and it's all for your own good." I was disappointed, but hardly surprised.

Something this important should be put to a public referendum.

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More and more Brits are using ad-blockers, says survey

kryptonaut

Like it or not...

... let's face it, everyone dislikes ads, but everyone equally dislikes paying for stuff. And at the moment ads largely pay for that stuff, so there is a problem.

Rather than being smug about blocking ads and getting content without 'paying', how about people suggest constructive ideas for an acceptable alternative that still allows content providers to get funded according to how popular their content is?

People claim that "it's my right to view sites without ads" - but it's equally a content provider's right not to serve you content if you block the ads. I predict that more and more sites will refuse to work without ads, and that this will be the undoing of the new ad-blocking networks/browsers - they will not catch on if only a fraction of the web works with them.

Yes, ads are becoming increasingly irritating. We need to find a way either to rein that in, or to pay publishers through some other channel. But as it stands, having everyone block all web advertising is unfortunately not the answer - however much some people might want it to be.

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Investigatory Powers Bill to be rushed into Parliament on Tuesday

kryptonaut

http://www.writetothem.com

Done, for all the good it'll do.

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Sub-atomic boffins glimpse four-pack tetraquark

kryptonaut

bouncing around this universe with labels written in comic sans...

Cosmic sans?

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'I bet Russian hackers weren't expecting their target to suck so epically hard as this'

kryptonaut

Argh

Why not just simply check for omega == null?

Because that is not what the function currently does. That is what the comment says it does, which is not the same thing.

What if alpha and omega are both null? What if alpha is "x" and omega is " " ?

If you simply replace the code with something that does what the comment says, or what the function name implies, you risk breaking things by changing functionality.

What if the code is performing correctly (despite being poorly written) and the comment and function name are actually the things that need to change?

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NASA boffin wants FRIKKIN LASERS to propel lightsails

kryptonaut
Go

Employment opportunity

Maybe the pillocks who like to shine lasers at aircraft could be more gainfully employed as part of an exciting space mission.

- "Stand here, hold this, point it... that way"

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Blighty's Parliament prescribed tablets to cope with future votes

kryptonaut

Democracy

What if this system were extended to the public, so that if people felt they were not being accurately represented by their MP then they could still make their voices heard? So if 30% of an MP's constituents voted 'yes' and 15% voted 'no', the MP's vote would count for the remaining 55% of a parliamentary vote.

Being able to effectively say to your MP, "I'm prepared to let you represent me in most cases but in areas XYZ I strongly disagree with you, so you don't get to speak for me there" - that would be a step towards a more democratic system, I reckon.

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Boffins baffled by record-smashing supernova that shouldn't exist

kryptonaut

Echoes

Presumably, unless its output was highly directional and happened to be aimed at us, this explosion will produce light echoes from all sorts of things - could that be used as a way to (a) discover more about the nature of the explosion itself, and (b) discover more about the relative distances (and motion?) of objects between here and the explosion?

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kryptonaut
Boffin

Re: No H or He?

Flatlander 1: Hey, what's up?

Flatlander 2: It's an abstract concept in theoretical physics.

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New gear needed to capture net connection records, say ISPs

kryptonaut

Ask the people

It seems to me that a scheme like this which affects virtually everyone in the country and was not overtly on the table when the current government was elected, should be put to a public referendum. Give everyone the facts - how they might benefit from the scheme, what will happen without the scheme, what the privacy implications are, and how much it will cost them. Have a public debate, ask the people to decide whether that's how they want to spend their money. That should be how things work in a democracy, and if the government are so confident that it's a sensible use of funds then naturally everyone will be on their side. Won't they?

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Google cloaks Android in Red Screen of malware Dearth

kryptonaut
Unhappy

Re: Tragic by Design

It also doesn't help that newer versions of Android do not run well on 'older' hardware - I updated my Nexus 7 (2012 version so all of 3 years old) to Lollipop and it became so slow as to be next to useless. Same thing happens with iOS updates. Anyone would think they want us to be forced into buying new hardware just to be able to run the new software.

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US radar paparazzi snap 'Halloween Asteroid'

kryptonaut

"Because the radar signal was sent from one dish and received by another several thousand miles away."

That's what I thought at first, but given the asteroid is several hundred thousand miles away, I don't think that can be the reason. Could the asteroid just be more radar-reflective in some parts than in others?

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Anti-adblocker firm PageFair's users hit by fake Flash update

kryptonaut

Re: Hah! @Doctor Syntax

"Or, to put it another way, surely we can do better than this?"

As I said - "until someone comes up with a better (and fraud-resistant) way for micropayments to propagate from content users to content providers, ads are probably here to stay."

An alternative would be great, but I don't know what it is - whoever comes up with it will probably do well for themselves. If you think you know how to do better than this, go ahead and do it!

As things stand, content providers have little control over the particular ads that get served - they just say 'insert ad here' and get whatever google (or whoever) serve up.

Personally I think the googles of the world should start taking more responsibility and vetting all ads they serve, giving them a list of characteristics (uses flash, autorunning video, sound, adult content, animation, text-only, static images, etc). Content providers could then specify which type of ads they would permit on their site. Undoubtedly the less wholesome ones would generate more revenue per impression, but it would be up to the content providers to trade off their earnings against their willingness to offend. As things stand at the moment, that degree of control doesn't really exist - google/adsense lets you choose between ads featuring a list of links, or text-only ads, or basically everything else. No way to choose between static images or jiggly animations, etc.

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kryptonaut

Re: Hah!

The trouble is the functionality is all for the benefit of the advertisers, not the users.

I enjoyed the irony of the article, but I don't think this comment is strictly true - or at least it's more nuanced than you paint it. Whilst the functionality is initially for the benefit of the advertisers, they in turn benefit the ad-brokers, who in turn benefit the content creators, who in turn benefit the users by providing websites.

I know this is an unpopular thing to point out, but advertising finances a large chunk of the internet (including El Reg) and until someone comes up with a better (and fraud-resistant) way for micropayments to propagate from content users to content providers, ads are probably here to stay.

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The iPhone 6 doused in bromine - an incendiary mix or not?

kryptonaut
Boffin

Making bromine

When I was a foolhardy teenager I made some bromine by bubbling chlorine (Domestos+acid) through a solution of potassium bromide (Bob Martins dog sedative tablets), then distilling the result. Ended up with about 1/4" of the stuff in the bottom of a small test tube - which I decided (and this is the foolhardy bit) to take to school in my blazer pocket, to show my mates. Over the course of the day the cork in the test tube turned brown and crumbly - I was very glad to get the stuff home without incident. Yeah, probably shouldn't have done that.

Mind you in those days there were regular mercury spillages in the physics lab, I used to collect it and take it home in any container I could find - empty crisp packets, biro lids... happy days!

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Caption this: WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg

kryptonaut

In this scene from the Futurama stage show Fry meets Blinder, the secret love-child of Bender and Leela.

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kryptonaut

Don't give me that "Ulla!" nonsense - you speak English or you get out of my house!

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kryptonaut

I for one welcome our futuristic one-eyed light-emitting overlords

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kryptonaut

Alan stood his ground as the Roomba-100 trundled menacingly towards him.

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WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg

kryptonaut
Facepalm

You won't believe this!

One WEIRD trick for a flat cranium

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NASA boffins on Pluto: We see skies of BLUE and... RED water ice

kryptonaut

Tholins

"As tholins reach Pluto's surface they condense" - and then they sit down and start singing about gold.

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WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg

kryptonaut
Alert

Ear 'ere

Here we see the surprising consequences of a buffer overflow in a VR application.

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Arctic summer ice cover is 31st HIGHEST EVER RECORDED

kryptonaut
Stop

Re: Data

Regression toward the mean

For that to be a viable explanation, you'd be implying that the first observation(s) were, by chance, higher than average, and that subsequent observations were lower due to being scattered around a mean which is lower than the initial observation(s).

Look at this graph Arctic_September_sea_ice_decline.png [wikipedia/NSIDC] and ask yourself whether (a) the first few observations are outliers with the subsequent observations scattered around a lower mean value, or whether (b) there is a general trend downwards.

If that were a graph of my bank balance then I wouldn't be thinking "ok, so I was unusually well-off in the early '80s but on the whole everything's ticking along nicely" - I'd be thinking I was living above my means, and urgently looking at ways to reduce my outgoings.

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kryptonaut
Boffin

Data

There are some nice graphs at http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/charctic-interactive-sea-ice-graph/ - click the years on the right to add/remove them from the plot. It's informative to go through the years in order, see if you can spot some kind of trend. I think I can.

According to http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/ "the nine lowest extents in the satellite era have all occurred in the last nine years." Well, I guess it could be a statistical blip - I wonder what William of Occam would have said?

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WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg

kryptonaut

Frank's innovative design was a complete failure - the COMPOUNDi™ display was hard to read, and the revolutionary Snakepad™ controller would frequently rear up and hiss at the user.

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kryptonaut

A delegate checks the latest news whilst waiting for the Prime Minister to address the emergency COBRA meeting.

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kryptonaut
Devil

Hacker Disables Reality Distortion Field - Ghastly Truth Revealed!

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kryptonaut

Chappie with Crappy Lappie Makes Fake Snake Mockup Cockup

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