* Posts by Primus Secundus Tertius

760 posts • joined 31 Oct 2010

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Plastic fiver: 28 years' work, saves acres of cotton... may have killed less than ONE cow*

Primus Secundus Tertius
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@Kozicki

What depresses me is that I pay a fortune in tax for what passes for the education of those people.

Under the PST system of taxation:

1. The rich would pay for defence and foreign policy.

2. The middle classes would pay for the police.

3. The working classes would pay for social security.

Education would be paid for by private fees and charitable endowments.

That way each class pays tax for the things it needs most.

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How to confuse a Euro-cop: Survey reveals the crypto they love to hate

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Re: Voting for someone else?

@Dave 15

In 1933 Germans voted for the alternative, Adolf. It was a long time before they had another proper vote, especially in the eastern zone.

Politics is not as easy as it may seem, especially when you are deling with real people. If you think your opinions are worth so much more than those of current politicians, then offer yourself to the people.

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Primus Secundus Tertius
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In the UK they can jail you for not disclosing the password whent they officially ask. No need for the heavy treatment.

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Primus Secundus Tertius
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Capitally unreadable

1. So the report from Italy is in all-capitals. They could have used MS Word on the original document, see below:

Original: CAPS-LOCK ON.

Sentence case: Caps-lock on.

A bit more difficult with a pdf, of course.

2. Hopefully the use of hopefully at the beginning of sentence, which is a German-American mistranslation of hoffentlich, will be banned by the sub-editors at el Reg.

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New state of matter discovered by superconductivity gurus

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Advanced science or gibberish?

El Reg's scientific reporting has become as vague and confused as that of the national press. The beancounters now running el Reg should be ashamed of themselves for what they have destroyed.

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AI is all trendy and fun – but it's still a long way from true intelligence, Facebook boffins admit

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Artificial stupidity

I suggest the phrase 'articial intelligence' be replaced by 'artificial stupidity'.

This would enable researchers to claim great successes when filling in their next grant applications.

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British politicians sign off on surveillance law, now it's over to the Queen

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Sense of proportion

Yesterday the big story was that some android phones ring home to China with detailed user information. Yet posters above whinge at the very limited measures sought by the British government to protect the nation from its enemies.

Yes,enemies; this is a wicked world and some people out there really do want to humiliate and exterminate our nation, for profit or for fanatical reasons.

Or to put in another way: the minds of men are not blank slates imbued with natural goodness.

Some people have no sense of proportion.

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Virgin Media users report ongoing problems delivering legit emails. Again

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: It's not just SPAM or not.

But I sent a .docx attachment the other day.

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Windows 10 market share stalls after free upgrade offer ends

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: I'm not surprised...

I am fed up with "printer drivers" that only do A4 paper. I write lots of short letters in A5.

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Coming to an SSL library near you? AI learns how to craft crude crypto all by itself

Primus Secundus Tertius
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What kind of algorithm?

My initial thought is that a computer could analyse the neural network and produce an equivalent flowchart. If it then checks for consistency the results might be interesting.

But then I ask myself what kind of flowchart would be the result. Possibly full of decision boxes, each with many outputs: case statements rather than if-then-else statements. Such a raw flowchart would be impossible for most of us to comprehend.

So my next question is whether such a flowchart could be restructured into a form we can understand. If so, would it still be too big to be understood?

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Gov.UK goes TITSUP

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Re: Sign-up was broken earlier,as well

I had a similar problem when claiming Gift Aid for a charity.

Same front end, I expect.

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Password1? You're so random. By which we mean not random at all - UK.gov

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Reversed!

A certain UK government website told me that passwords containing 'password' were forbidden. But it accepted 'drowssap'.

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Vodafone rapped with RECORD £4.6m fine for failing customers

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Computer blame and management credit

Why is it that when things go wrong, management blame the computers, but when things go right (or at least make a profit) management take the credit.

Management are entirely to blame for these events.

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Microsoft: Watch out millennials for evil Security Essentials

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: I know this is all based on user ignorance, but..

As I understand it, Windows 8 and 10 come with MS Defender, a descendant product of Swcurity Essentials. But in Windows 7 you have to go and get Security Essentials. Obviously best to go direct to MSFT, before some pirate screen recommends its own software.

Sec. Ess. is no longer supported in XP, so you need something else. Lots of legit products will do a single scan your machine for free, but for continuous protection against emails and websites you have to pay.

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Democralypse Now? US election first battle in new age of cyberwarfare

Primus Secundus Tertius
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corrupt pencils?

True, you can't corrupt a pencil.

But you can screw up the electronic registers of voters. At a recent(*) election in London early voters were turned away because their names were not on the list. This was rectified by mid morning, but not every early bird returned to vote.

That incident was regarded as cock-up, not conspiracy. But next time?

(*)2015 or 2016, I think.

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New Brit Hubble analysis finds 2,000 billion galaxies, 10x previous count

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Heard of this new thing called Proof-reading?

I fear the bank manager has also heard of it. Big problem.

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Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: So...

The earliest indications of dark matter related to rotation rates within our own galaxy and other specific galaxies, rather than the whole visible universe. So those dark masses must still exist.

[Edit] I have just seen the comment above from titter-ye-not, who actually explains it as opposed to my bare claim.

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The UK's 'Universal Credit mega cockup was the coalition's NPfIT' - Margaret Hodge

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Civil Service versus techies

The mainstream civil service hates techies. Look at how they killed off the scientific civil service. In 2001 there was an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, which caused an election to be deferred. It was clear that there was nobody within government who actually knew anything.

Instead we have the curse of managerialism.

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Student software finds new Minor Planet found way out beyond Pluto

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Re: Numbers in the title and article look a bit off...

El Reg seems to have abandoned its former concern with scientific accuracy. If it is not careful its scientific readers will abandon El Reg.

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Social media flame wars to be illegal, says top Crown prosecutor

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: John Smith

@dwarf

So long as Mick does not get into a Paddy.

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'There may be no hackers' says Trump in Presidential Debate II

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Donald Trump is a plonker

But some people say the Vice-President debate offered hope for the future.

I'm British, I do not watch these USA things, I only pass on what I read.

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Internet handover is go-go-go! ICANN to take IANA from US govt

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Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein ICANN.

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Londoners react with horror to Tube Chat initiative

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I did it once

I once talked to somebody on the tube. But it was an old university friend I had not seen for many years.

By coincidence, we met again the following evening on the tube - and had nothing to say to each other.

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Re: Ah, the French... Ou est le chat?

The same happened to me, a boy, in Germany.

"Ich bin voll".

They laughed, and laughed, ...

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Moron is late for flight, calls in bomb threat

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Messing people about

OK, he messed about with the airline, and the other passengers.

But they mess us about when it suits them. Let's see airlines punishes for overbooking, mislaying luggage, general delays, ...

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MI6 to hire another 1,000 bods 'cos of private surveillance tech

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Dangerous work

I have read the official history of MI6, which covers ca 1909 to 1946. The Germans caught an awful lot of our people in the first war and the second. Dangerous work.

Still is. The people we face today would kill us as soon as look at us.

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Victoria Police warn of malware-laden USB sticks in letterboxes

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Re: What size?

@Dr Syntax:

"Linux can be run from a live CD. Good luck with infecting that".

Quite right.

BUT

A really malicious device subverts the BIOS. So do the initial usb wipe on a machine you can afford to lose. And then wipe your BIOS.

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Google buys startup biz, slurps up its NLP brains

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Better translation

If it really can 'understand' natural language, it could lead to translations that are much more reliable than Google and Microsoft currently are.

I am not holding my breath.

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Margaret Hodge's book outlines 'mind boggling' UK public sector waste

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: T'was ever thus

Reading that apocryphal quotation reminds me of an episode in Caesar's memoirs of the Gallic wars. He is describing an auxiliary legion, composed of allied tribesmen rather than Roman citizens: they were creating an impression of great activity, but actually achieving nothing.

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Apple seeks patent for paper bag - you read that right, a paper bag

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Scope for competition

Perhaps el Reg could organise a competition.

Think of an ordinary object, e.g. a paper bag, and then imagine how it might be drawn and annotated by a patent lawyer.

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Google: There are three certainties in life – death, taxes and IPv6

Primus Secundus Tertius
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The real third certainty

In this modern world there are the two traditional certainties, death and taxes, and also a third: "Somebody will whinge at it".

Whatever it is, somebody will whinge at it. E.g. IPv4 or IPv6, in the discussions above.

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IBM lifts lid, unleashes Linux-based x86 killer on unsuspecting world

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Re: Awesome

Or, to put it more briefly:

THIS PAGE IS INTENTIONALLY ALMOST BLANK

After reading a fewo of those, one's mind begins to feel almost blank.

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SETI Institute damps down 'wow!' signal report from Russia

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When Cambridge University discovered the first pulsar in the mid 1960s, thay kept it secret for six months. Subsequently they defended this by saying they would have been besieged by all the world's nutters at the prospect of an alien signal.

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Our pacemakers are totally secure, says short-sold St Jude

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Exactly right, AC!

Not insider trading, but shaking the market with irresponsible rumours and waiting for the money to fall out.

Happens in London as well, as I am sure you know.

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Excel hell messes up ~20 per cent of genetic science papers

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: My pet gripe is

@imanidiot

When I worked for the London branch of a US company, in my documents I would write 01-Apr-99 to avoid confusion with 04-Jan-99. But our software product used US dates (MM/DD/YY) on every screen, so I used US dates on any new screen.

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NIST spins atomic gyroscope to allow navigation without GPS

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Re: "......and the kit to do this is huge."

@B. A. G.

One of my university lecturers demonstrated that a radio signal was largely extinguished in sea water in about half a wavelength. That's why subs have to use long wave radio for communication.

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Stop lights, sunsets, junctions are tough work for Google's robo-cars

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: RE: sound horn

New York City seems to be pwered by car horns.

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Primus Secundus Tertius
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@AndrewDu

You are quite right. I have visited countries where they paint zebra crossings on the road, but nobody pays any attention, least of all the pedestrians. Americans and Germans usually cross only at a crossing; in Britain we are more flexible. Taking a Google car abroad could be exciting, from keep-left UK to right-on Europe. And those countries where they just drive in the middle anyway.

UK roundabouts have two priority conventions: (1) the Highway Code scheme, (2) the heavy lorry scheme. It will take a smart computer to make the right decisions there.

But the road safety campaigners and the police will want to encourage robotic cars. All speed limits rigidly obeyed, all traffic lights (even the most exasperating roadworks ones) obeyed, cars arrested at the flash of a blue light.

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UK's mass-surveillance draft law grants spies incredible powers for no real reason – review

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Re: Poor sods.

@Pete65

It is the GCHQ computers that read through all the drivel, looking for phone numbers, email addresses, etc. Only if something is spotted does a person start looking, and sooner or later they have to get a warrant. The current fuss is about the warantless sifting of drivel by machines: the movies, the porn, the tweets, and the facebookery.

As I said in a comment a year or two ago: believe me, They are not interested in Us. I went to a privileged university with some of Them.

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Primus Secundus Tertius
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US needs help

America's Finest News Source, aka The Onion, reports today that the NSA is asking for help form "somebody good at computers".

See http://www.theonion.com/article/nsa-can-somebody-good-computers-help-us-53545

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Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Business as usual

@AC

"GHCQ and their cronies are the ones attacking society."

Eh? Who killed Fusilier Lee Rigby? Who blew up three underground trains and a bus?

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Password strength meters promote piss-poor paswords

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Re: Passwords need to be rethought

Passwords always have been difficult for the non-spellers.

I remember a group shared account where the password was set to 'pterodactyl'. The non-spellers were complaining within the hour.

It is better to write it down in e.g. a diary, rather than on a post-it note by the screen.

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Revealed: How a weather forecast in 1967 stopped nuclear war

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@B Miller

I was asked, in an interview for a Civil Service job, what would happen if Britain suffered a nuclear attack. I replied that the economy would be destroyed but people would survive: and that had been the case in Germany in 1945 after the thousand-bomber raids that dropped enough TNT to match a fission bomb.

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London's Met Police has missed the Windows XP escape deadline

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Re: Government investment in the Police

Not yet.

We voted out but we are not yet actually out.

We will probably need that £350m per week to fight all the vexatious lawsuits brought by frustrated Remainers.

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Breaking 350 million: What's next for Windows 10?

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How to sell hardware

Selling Windows is one thing, selling hardware is another.

Surely the manufacturers could persuade MSFT to issue a Windows 7 SP2. Then the boxes would fly off the shelves as if they were going down the Cresta run.

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Windows 10 Anniversary Update is borking boxen everywhere

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Language shortsightedness

@Diogenes

I have had a Windows 7 lappie since 2010, but only recently decided to try out its voice recognition software.

It begins by telling me that my voice must be British English to match the windows locale and language.

But then it insists I speak American English with a British voice. So the '#' key is not the 'hash key' but the 'number key' or the 'pound key'. The '£' key is the 'pound sterling' key. To select text I utter 'first through last', not 'from first to last'.

Finally, if I create a wordpad document from the keyboard, it is a British document. But if I create it by voice, it is an American document: 'favorable maneuver' rather then 'favourable manoeuvre'.

I hope they did a better language job with the French and other truly alien versions.

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BBC detector vans are back to spy on your home Wi-Fi – if you can believe it

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Re: Hounded

@Novex

During my time in the defence industry I learned that the old CRT displays radiated signals that could be picked up by nosey foreigners lurking nearby. I therefore assume the old detector vans were looking for those EM signals, and did not need to detect sound waves.

Special CRTs could be bought at enormous prices, and they were also jolly heavy, that did not radiate thus. TEMPEST was a buzzword.

Of course none of this applies to modern computer screens or plasma screens: they place pixels in arrays instead of doing a raster scan.

There was another story that the old detector vans were really looking for illicit radio signals from foreign spies.

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My Microsoft Office 365 woes: Constant crashes, malware macros – and settings from Hell

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Re: all those dumb "smart quotes."

@W Cheez

You can avoid the smart quotes by drafting the document in One Note, and then exporting to Word.

But then you hit another problem: headers are implemented as low level font and size settings as opposed to themes and styles.

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Astroboffin map 1.2m galaxies

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Not a lot

6.5E11 cubic light years.

A cube of side 8.7E3 light years. Does not even get beyond our own galaxy.

Poor reporting somewhere, I expect.

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Student Loans Company burns £50 million in IT project superfail

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Re: £50m - why not simply pay the fees?

In my student days about 5% of children went to uni, and giving them the money was affordable to the rest of the population.

Nowadays, with up to 50% of children eligible for a three year bonanza, it is not affordable.

The mistake has been to suppose that many rather than few can benefit from a genuine university education. That's what happens when our arts graduate masters are allowed to ignore the concept of IQ because it is based on statistics, i.e. numbers.

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