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* Posts by Primus Secundus Tertius

383 posts • joined 31 Oct 2010

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That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: "But we're still in the dark about how it rained down on us"

England and Scotland were separate in palaeozoic times. Then by some geological catastrophe England was encumbered.

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Re: Oxygen not new - some is, but not a lot yet!

The CNO nuclear cycle that you mention only runs in the bigger hotter stars, of which our sun is not one. So in our sun it is the process of two protons forming a deuteron plus an electron. This is a weak reaction and very slow. That is why stars shine for billions of years rather than exploding straightaway.

The deuterium reacts quickly to eventually form helium-4, which is why there is very little deuterium at any moment, and any excess in the original galactic mix would disappear.

So the sun does not currently form carbon or any nucleus later in the list of elements. When it becomes a red giant, billions of years hence, it will burn helium to carbon.

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Primus Secundus Tertius
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Oxygen not new

Our sun has not created oxygen atoms from hydrogen, so they must have been part of the cloud from which the sun was born. Similarly with nitrogen and carbon.

Hydrogen is overwhelmingly more abundant than the C N O atoms, so they will exist as hydrides: methane, ammonia, and water. Rather like the atmosphere of Jupiter, then. Yes, these hydrides will have existed before the solar system was born, though they may have been unformed and reformed by solar processes.

The article seems to be saying the deuterium abundances are a signal. But deuterium does not disappear until temperatures are high enough for nuclear reactions. So it is consumed within the sun, but not in the planetary zone. The measurements the article reports seem to buttress standard theory rather than saying anything new.

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Microsoft on the Threshold of a new name for Windows next week

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Windows Schitzo?

or Windows Rondo -- round and round as fashions change and later repeat. Visual effects one year, plain background and capital letters the next, then visual again...

Nothing changes, but there is the Parkinson's Law of programming: software expands to fill the available hardware.

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FBI: Your real SECURITY TERROR? An ANGRY INSIDE MAN

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Cost of Snowden

@Frankie L

You beat me to it. "...costs ranging from $5,000 to $3m...". How much did Snowden cost?

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Patch Bash NOW: 'Shellshock' bug blasts OS X, Linux systems wide open

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Always been there or new?

DAM good analysis there.

I never had much faith in eyeballs at code reviews that I chaired.

Compiler listings(1) and robotic pretty prints(2) I found were useful. I dreamed of analysers that would create flowcharts, but never worked with any. Lint was good for C, but so much today is in various scripting languages.

(1) for misspelled variables and simple general correctness.

(2) for code engulfed in previous comments not properly terminated, or vice-versa.

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Apple: SO sorry for the iOS 8.0.1 UPDATE BUNGLE HORROR

Primus Secundus Tertius
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@ A Grunt

I once bought a new Renault. Drove it home, put my usual junk into the boot, then the boot door would not close.

After that I defected to Ford.

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ARM gives Internet of Things a piece of its mind – the Cortex-M7

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: At last

@Steve D3

I thought it was Alfred who cooked a charred cake.

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GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins

Primus Secundus Tertius
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@Wzrd1

That may be because there are far fewer scientists than there are religionists.

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Home Depot ignored staff warnings of security fail laundry list

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Get a proofreader.

@BryceP

As far as I can see, the Torygraph relies on voice recognition to turn reporters' phone calls into printed stories, with no sub-editing. The results are dire.

I am no friend of the Graun, but let's be fair.

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ISPs' post-net-neutrality world is built on 'bribes' says Tim Berners-Lee

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: What costs, is capacity and content.

@Neil Barnes

It's not just Netflix et al who expect me to pay for their adverts. A British newspaper, the Daily Telegraph, pumps out about 8 megabytes of crap for every news story (typically 5 kilobytes). And they expect me to pay a subscription if I want more than their free allowance! A similar story at that satirical rag The Onion (which describes itself as America's finest news source).

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Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Slurp rates

Yes, ULF must be little better than hand driven Morse code.

Even ultrasound, which makes far more sense in the ocean, yields only kilobits per second.

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Wanna keep your data for 1,000 YEARS? No? Hard luck, HDS wants you to anyway

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: The discs last 1000 years

Of course a DVD reader built today will not be around in a workable state after 1000 years. But the disk could be analysed and a new reader built.

Some time back I read an article about an optical reader that could follow the track on an old (pre-vinyl) gramophone record and reproduce the music minus most of the background noise.

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Re: 1000 years?

As for "thousand year thingies", there are several western examples such as England, Iceland, Switzerland. In the orient there are China and Japan.

Apols to any I have omitted.

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Was Earth once covered in HELLFIRE? No – more like a wet Sunday night in Iceland

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Early civilizations and dinosaurs

We are told these days that at least some of the dinosaurs were smarter than the average lizard. So I have wondered whether they ever got as far a stone age, or even putting up buildings.

But there is no fossilised reinforced concrete in mesozoic rocks, nor even pottery fragments. So probably they didn't.

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New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone

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Re: Great Scott!

Totally agree.

Typical Reg article, 3 megabytes of ads and promotional meterial, to deliver about 5 kilobytes of text. Typical MSM(*) piece, 8 megabytes for 5KB.

(*)No names, no libel threats.

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Boffins: Searching for ALIENS is like looking for PIZZA among students

Primus Secundus Tertius
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I heard stories of students' cats that grew very large on a diet of curry and chips. Saw some of them, too.

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Re: Life ...

My physics lecturers spoke of "dissipative systems", that relied on a flow of energy.

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Re: Hmmmm.

Apart from the intergalactic cock-up when they left a signal running for almost a minute, picked up by one of our ET search projects.

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Re: But even his theory...

"Lets start with a life form which doesn't require oxygen".

As on Earth for the first billion years or so. But acetic acid -> methane + carbon dioxode is a useful source of thermodynamic free energy.

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Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: They are making profits of over £100m...

Other reports suggest that Phones4u was owned by a bunch of hedgies. Those vultures (no, not you, Reg!) issued bonds for a lot of money, took the money for themselves, and left the company to repay the bonds out of future earnings. The interest payments on those bonds killed the company.

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Smart meters in UK homes will only save folks a lousy £26 a year

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Arts graduate nonsense

"Smart meters" are another piece of stupidity foisted upon us by innumerate and unscientific arts graduates. Stuff them!

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Intel's SECRET Xeons: tell us what you think Chipzilla's hiding

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Software Resistant

Software resistant version: runs the same Intel/Windows/NSA software (with the same bugs/features) no matter what version of Linux/BSD/Other you try and load.

Great for standards compliance!

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Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International

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Sauce for the goose

How about an FOI request against Privacy International? Who are they? What are they really trying to achieve? Have they made similar requests of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran ...?

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Virgin Media hit by MORE YouTube buffering glitches

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: You get what you pay for

@Phuzz

"...VM, not great, but not so bad...". Yes, I agree. Nowhere near "five-nines" reliability, struggling indeed to reach "two-nines". Virgin email not allowing me to receive email one day last week, and also yesterday afternoon.

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Use home networking kit? DDoS bot is BACK... and it has EVOLVED

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Cars and computers

For all I know there is a hard-wired password in my car that will make it engage reverse gear on the motorway. But I am not an expert on cars.

Equally, the vast majority of computers and routers are sold to non-experts.

In Britain the Trades Description Act requires that items sold retail be "basically fit for purpose". Whether a weak password breaks that law is debatable.

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Europe's Google wrangle: PLEASE, DOMINANT Mr Schmidt? More?

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: The unfairness goes much deeper

@Trevor

Google or Microsoft: not an easy decision, and I respectfully wish to disagree with you.

At least Microsoft are selling a product, software; whereas Google are selling our souls.

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'Everywhere I look ... it's bad': HP claims email shows Autonomy CFO panic, pre-buyout

Primus Secundus Tertius
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What a mess

Some of us have opinions about Mr Lynch that are full of doubts, but the other lot appeared to be beancounters led by a b*llsh*tt*r (subsequently replaced). Perhaps the lawyers deserve all the money more than the contestants.

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Warrantless phone snooping HAPPENS ALL THE TIME in Blighty

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: IF YOU CAN MAKE A 'CITIZENS ARREST'....

Perhaps. But not on mere suspicion, you would have to already have proof of whatever you are trying to prove.

You can be sued if you make a citizen's arrest of an innocent man, but the police cannot be sued if They believe there was genuine reason to suspect the arrestee.

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Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Whistleblowers?

Agreed absolutely!

The whole article reads like a disgraceful piece of special pleading by a journalist, far more reprehensible than any ordinary act of politics.

And in reply to a different previous comment, have you seen a political party reverse what the other lot did? Definitely. (1) I worked for an aerospace company that had been denationalised, and was subsequently renationalised and then unrenationalised. (2) Harold Wilson's 70s government reversed the trade union reforms of Edward Heath.

Finally, this article is nothing new. Even in the days of snail mail, metadata - who was receiving what kind of letter - could be collected if the authorities wished. The fuss about Snowden is about metadata (unless you believe They are blatantly lying).

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Go on, corporate drone, log in... We'd recognise your VEINS anywhere – Barclays

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Voice recognition

Re the last paragraph about voice recognition technology.

Once upon a time banks employed staff who knew their customers. But that was before the hoi polloi had bank accounts.

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NATO nations 'will respond to a Cyber attack on one as though it were on all'

Primus Secundus Tertius
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But if we attack THEM

I am wondering whether, if we launched a cyber attack on our enemies, it would succeed. Have there been any trial runs, I wonder? (Disguised as accidents.)

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NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails

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@JI

Agreed! Dreadful sub-editing in this article.

Who is Slater?

Who is Fairfax?

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BOFH: The current value of our IT ASSets? Minus eleventy-seven...

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Budgetary crazyness

You have to be ruthless or the conniving bastards will screw you out of every penny and more. At least, that's the way it works with ordinary folk as opposed to saints.

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Pay to play: The hidden cost of software defined everything

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: "The basis of this article is laughable"

@gc73, AMBxx,

But it is not always you who does the buying. When the bean counters buy it...

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

Primus Secundus Tertius
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@kmac499

The spelling in that notice, as quoted, does not inspire confidence.

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Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Not surprising

I believe some C compilers have an option to include bounds checking. (It is a long time since I wrote C; the nearest I get to programming these days is a spreadsheet.)

Unfortunately there are always some people who want to optimise the hell out of the program. That is so rarely needed these days, with the hardware so much better and indeed the compilers; but old ideas never die, they just fade away.

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Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Look at the BIOS

On another thread recently, I asked how does malware sense that it is running on an emulator? Another reader answered that the BIOS usually looks different.

So if this universe we are in is a simulation, where is the equivalent of the BIOS?

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Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE

Primus Secundus Tertius
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The Great Firewall

The Chinese have strong ideas about how the hoi polloi should use the Internet.

So do, for example Turkey, Iran, Pakistan; usually at the instigation of religious institutions that claim authority..

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Researcher details how malware gives AV the slip

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Virtual question

How do you detect that you are running on a virtual machine?

Is it, for example, some difference in the networking when closely examined?

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Brit Sci-Fi author Alastair Reynolds says MS Word 'drives me to distraction'

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Not the first one …

He was complaining, wittily I grant you, that Word at that time did not have "smart quotes" or a word count. Both are long since fixed.

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Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Some text editor fanboi war this is...

My first document editor was DEC's EDT. It had a 'word wrap' feature so you could get a paragraph looking nice again after you had hacked it about. OK, you had to do that manually, but nothing else at that time (ca 1980) would do that except a dedicated word processor box.

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Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Not WYSIWYG

But Word has Themes.

A style is a set of attributes (font, size, colour, etc) for a specific type of text such as body text or caption or whatever. A theme is a related set of styles for all the components of a document: body text, various header levels, etc.

So in Word you can use a default or a chosen theme, and mark headers, captions, etc as if you were writing html or Latex. Someone else can change the theme, and the appearance of the document is changed at a stroke. That is, if the author has used themes and styles properly.

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@d3rrial

I worked for a company that used Latex for its documents, partly because of its ability to handle mathematical stuff. But the Latex whizzkids in the company kept changing the header files we used, which meant that old documents could no longer be edited or reprinted.

There is an arguable case for using L/M/O Office and saving documents in html - thus avoiding page format issues. Minor edits are then possible even with vi, or by hand-punching extra holes on paper tape.

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Re: Personally ...

@Adrian4

For producing simple narrative text, Notepad will do; or Geany/Kedit on Linux machines.

But for a complex technical document with tables, illustrations, and captions, you may not have the time to faff around trying to remember the Latex directives. So it is Libre Office or Word. Also, I need the spell check: not because I can't spell, but because I can't type (to a professional standard).

I like using One Note for first drafts.

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Renegade NSA, GCHQ spies help fix Tor vulns, claims project boss

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Re: Cynical, moi aussi

Just what I was thinking.

Our side leak the ones they think the other side are using. But what do the other side get up to?

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New twist as rogue antivirus enters death throes

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Be a pleb

I was, of course, referring to the vast majority of installations (including my own) which run Windows. I am typing this as a pleb user on my own machine set up by me. Some of my relatives have been caught by viruses because they were running as administrator.

XP was notorious for in-house applications that were sloppily written and would not run properly except as administrator.

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Be a pleb

It is much harder to corrupt the hosts file if you are running as an unprivileged user.

There again, if you need admin privilege to run a poorly-written work application, perhaps you should not surf during work time.

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The Register to boldly go where no Vulture has gone before: The WEEKEND

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Seriously, though, they are doing ...

I have doubts about this weekend publishing idea.

The market niche of the Reg is computer trade press plus science and technical reports, all for technically qualified readers who tire of the dumbing down in the mainstream press and TV. Although the tech reporting has lost some of its sharpness in the last year or so.

The weekend will be different, and you will be competing with many other competent sources. Looks like a way of losing money.

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It's time for PGP to die, says ... no, not the NSA – a US crypto prof

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Not saying PGP is perfect

Lo! They met in Llandudno!

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