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* Posts by Terry Cloth

141 posts • joined 7 Feb 2011

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Fear a terrifying killer robot revolution? GET A GRIP: Boffins invent cyborg hand for humans

Terry Cloth
Joke

``Now you can ... fight off androids''

Hello, MIT? This is Apple---I'll take your entire output until further notice.

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NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'

Terry Cloth

_Lies My Teacher Told Me_

This disturbing, and disturbingly well-documented, book, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong covers a lot of this. I thought I was reasonably well-informed about American historical cover-ups, and I knew about some of it, but .... This book should be read by every American, and by everyone else who wants to know a) how the U.S. bolsters its self-image, or b) how to dig for the truth about their own country's background.

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'Big Internet' wades into 'net neutrality' battle with the FCC

Terry Cloth

"[I]t's been digital switching and multiplexing for a very long time."

Yes, but it's been on a circuit-switched digital network. That's the magic of POTS---if you get a connection (which is roughly always), you have ~3kHZ of bandwidth of your very own, all yours until you or your interlocutor hang up. No worries about handing off to an overloaded cell; I get continuous service through power outages thanks to copper wires and walls of batteries back at the central office. That's why they'll only get my POTS by prying it...you get the Idea.

<rant>Why do people persist in buying flash and glitter which operates worse than the boring old stuff? I have friends whom I've given up on communicating with because I can't understand them through the distortion and interference, and can't hold a conversation with for the call dropping every few minutes. With any luck I'll be dead of natural causes before the telcos finally persuade their governments that the old service is so 1950s, no one needs it anymore.</rant>

Oh, yes, and for US$30 I get to talk to anyone in the country for as long as I like. Try that on a cell phone.

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Microsoft: You NEED bad passwords and should re-use them a lot

Terry Cloth

``There has to be a maximum password length ...'' why?

These days I expect Javascript has the ability to feed a hash function (on the server) a character at a time, in which case you only need space to store the hash---if the password is 53,297 characters, it just takes longer to enter.

Of course, that means that after a typo you start over, rather than backspace, but at least in my case it's very rare for me to make a mistake I recognize in time to be able to correct.

And if you (web designer) are too lazy to make that work, what's wrong with a 1024-byte password field? It's not as if you're going to run out of RAM, and if someone can handle a password of >1k chars, my hat's off to him.

(And where's the hats off icon when you need it?)

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When the robot rebellion comes, this Jibo droid will BORE you to death

Terry Cloth
Devil

Sounds like Clippy in the flesh

Or metal, as it were. What were they thinking?

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Victim of Tor-hidden revenge smut site sues Tor Project developers

Terry Cloth

Re: Seems she sued them back in 2012 for a million dollars...

That was a different deal. Then, she was suing PinkMeth for publishing the photos, a case I hope she wins/won. Here she's suing TOR, an entirely different kettle of fish.

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Presto! After Supreme Court loss, Aereo says it's a cable company now

Terry Cloth

Re: I said it

Why should they need to ``crawl ... to TV companies''? It's a compulsory license, after all.

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Cranial RAM cram plan aims to restore memory

Terry Cloth

Re: Déjà vu?

Or it's for a different problem? The referenced New Scientist link specifies the 10-year-old research was for ``brain damage due to stroke, epilepsy or Alzheimer's disease''. Are they sufficiently different from Traumatic Brain Injury to require a new approach?

OTOH, I don't remember hearing about any results in the last decade, so maybe it just didn't work out.

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IBM's $3bn bet on next-gen computers: Carbon nanotubes, neuro chips

Terry Cloth
FAIL

And how about end-of-life?

GaAs? You think it's tough recycling your electronics now?

And what are the breakdown modes (if any) of graphene and carbon nanotubes? At a time when we're finding plastic slivers in animals living in the abyss [1] around volcanic hot spots, it would be nice to see us determining how to safely dispose of new materials before we start integrating them into our environment.

------

[1] http://www.vliz.be/imisdocs/publications/251718.pdf

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Would it be BAD if the Amazon rainforest was all FARMS? Well it WAS, once

Terry Cloth
Facepalm

``There have been times....''

"Plainly there have been times even just within recorded human history when large chunks of the current jungle simply weren't there, and the land was used for farms instead - without any associated eco-disaster."

Would that have anything to do with the lack of industrial carbon-dioxide emissions at those times?

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Top ten car gadgets: Get your motor running with new shiny-shiny

Terry Cloth

Re: TomTom vs. Garmin

I got a Garmin at the right price (free from a friend who doesn't use it anymore), but was also shocked by the cost for an update.

FWIW, there's a purported method to put Open Street Map data on a Garmin. Haven't gotten around to trying it yet, so Your Mileage Will Vary. :-)

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Saddle up for the Tour de Firmware

Terry Cloth
FAIL

We've got the motorists trained over here

I was on a group ride last year when we got to a light going from yellow to red. We stopped. A driver on the side street (now with a green light) wouldn't budge, and waved us across. It took some seconds for us to make it clear that we were staying put before she would enter the intersection.

Sad.

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Terry Cloth
Facepalm

The only safe bicycle environment is the road

At least on the road, everyone knows the rules, and if they play nice (which the vast majority do) everything's fine.

Anecdote: I was going for a ride with a friend who'd just got a spiffy new bike with V-brakes. I suggested he might want to try a few stops to take their measure, but he wouldn't hear of it. He wanted to ride a dual-use path. I pointed out that it was safer on the road, but he'd have none of it. So we drove over to the trail.

So there we are, tootling along, and came up behind a family of four, one of whom was a three-year-old on a tricycle. We slowed down to a walk, checked that they seemed to be just going along the path, and pulled out to pass. Just as my friend came abreast of them, the tricycler hung a hard turn right across his bow. He hit the brakes and went over the handle bars. (No one was hurt.)

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Terry Cloth
Pint

Too late---here's the ultimate geek bicycle, from 1991

Steve Roberts, an engineer who wanted to work from home (for a very broad definition of ``home'') built a series of three recumbent bicycles, culminating in BEHEMOTH (Big Electronic Human-Energized Machine ...Only Too Heavy). (The link is to a Youtube video showing a teaser.) For the gory details, see his specs page for all three bikes.

Since then, he's moved from over-gadgeted bikes to similarly-equiped boats, but that's another story.

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Tom Hanks NICKED my COPYRIGHTED PIC, claims Brit photog

Terry Cloth

Re: Simply pathetic

I'd like to check out that truncated original copyright, but either a) the photo's been removed from Hanks's Whosay page, or b) my stingy attitude toward allowing Javascript and cookies has interefered with seeing it.

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AT&T: 'twas conniving contractors who nicked your info

Terry Cloth
WTF?

...is a phone company doing with SSNs?

Nobody gets my SSN but the IRS and my employer.

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SLOW DOWN: Insecure-by-design software on road

Terry Cloth
Headmaster

Excessive text

One of my favorite examples is on, IIRC, the Delaware Memorial Bridge (DE--MD, USA):

WIND CONDITIONS

Well, of course, you blockhead! If you're outdoors there are always wind conditions: breezy, still air, gale warning, approaching hurricane... which is it? If they just said ``WINDY'', they'd be specific, save ten characters, and and drivers could get their eyes back to the road sooner.

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Terry Cloth
Alert

Never seen cellphone broadcast used before?

You must live in a very dull vicinity. Just this afternoon I got one warning of flash flooding, and last year I got a couple giving tornado warnings.

My sister told me of an instance at work when a bunch of smartphone owners were congregating, and a warning came in. Most amusing, once everyone's heart rate had returned to normal.

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TalkTalk whips BT with riding crop over sport fibs in telly ad

Terry Cloth
Flame

Time to define `free' in commercial speech

I'd really like to see a law that if you say something's free, you have to give one to anyone who shows up & says ``I'll take it.''

Everything else can only be described as ``included in the price when you buy Y'' if a purchase is required; or you must specify the non-monetary payment (your mother's maiden name, your right nut, whatever).

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Google's URL-hiding 'origin chip' is 'backburnered'

Terry Cloth
Go

You mean like this?

In my version of Firefox (which identifies itself as 16.0.2), the address field is exactly

http://forums.theregister.co.uk/post/reply/2212150
Have they removed it from later versions? (And how did it decide that `forums' wasn't worthy?)

(This is on a used Macbook running OS X 10.5.8, which won't run a newer FF. Don't worry, though, I just bought it, and will upgrade the OS shortly...it's a bit of a hassle.)

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Feds: Amazon cloud can be used for healthcare data

Terry Cloth
Facepalm

``...raising hackles among companies that had already bought on-premise kit.''

To say nothing of those of us whose info will be floating around up there.

I need to find one of those outfits who've already bought the hardware, and go with them. Or better---tell my congresscritter to pass a law to rescind the permission.

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German server lockbox scores MEELLION dollar seed-smashing record

Terry Cloth

100 millibits/sec?

That's even slower than VLF transmissions to submarines.

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Got VDI questions? Fire them at our expert panel

Terry Cloth
IT Angle

That would be which VDI, then?

Is that VDI the one about virtual desktops? or the file format? or perhaps even the ancient GEM device interface?

The initialisation-challenged want to know.

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REVEALED: GCHQ's BEYOND TOP SECRET Middle Eastern INTERNET SPY BASE

Terry Cloth

Hoist with my own commentard

My above post was in reply to @Roger Pearse:

``In your own terms, you're helping bring censorship into being.''

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Terry Cloth

Antecedents needed

Sorry---without threading, I get confused who's replying to whom. (Is there a way to know which reply attaches to which post? I don't see it on offer in my preferences.)

However, if you're suggesting that publishing info about GCHQ invites censorship, I suggest you examine your position a bit more critically. Gov't censorship is at least visible; self-censorship can be worse.

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SCIENCE explains why you LOVE the smell of BACON

Terry Cloth

Other deliciousness

Bacon's great, but for years, I'd come home from work, take one breath, and tell my wife ``Boy that smells delicious.'' And she'd reply it's only onions and garlic sauteeing for whatever dinner was to be....

I still couldn't help it---next time, the same comment. That's a good aroma.

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Still using e-mail? Marketers say you're part of DARK SOCIAL

Terry Cloth
Pint

Direct payment to El Reg

I've always vaguely wondered why they don't have a donate button or [....]

FWIW, maybe a year ago I e-mailed to ask where I could buy a subscription, as I do for LWN.net (the former Miss Linux Weekly News). I got a nice response saying, effectively, don't sweat it.

I guess they're doing a good business in whitepapers? In any case, I want my micropayments, so I can still pay something for the sites I don't want to pay $15/month to. (Beer, 'cause I'd definitely buy them one.)

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

Terry Cloth

Babel time

Do you really want to work in an office where every person is talking to his/her computer? What about people dealing with sensitive material people in the vicinity are not allowed to know?

There's too much noise pollution already.

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Terry Cloth

Proper design

Where's the effing "Push/Pull" sign on glass doors these days?

May I introduce you to Dr. Donald Norman, author of The Design of Everyday Things, which contains one of my favorite comments of all time; paraphrasing: ``Any door that needs written instructions is an abject failure of design.''

Put an obvious handle on the side and edge of the door that needs pulling. Put an obvious flat plate on the other side. Voilà, no instructions needed. If you're dealing with a ``stylist'' who thinks it's beautiful to have a row of doors consisting of undifferentiated slabs of glass with hidden hinges, take him out back and shoot him.

Likewise for creators of any electronic device with a row of ten small buttons labelled in charcoal on ebony.

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Congresscritters sound off to FCC's Wheeler on net neutrality plans

Terry Cloth

What is a common carrier? Let me count the ways...

[Note that this is all wrt U.S. law, because the problem is, well, in the U.S.]

Lets see what the characteristics of a common carrier are...

o It transfers stuff vital to the economy.

o The carriers are few enough and large enough (or the startup costs are high enough) that there's no realistic chance of competition from new players.

o Those in charge, if allowed a free hand, are perfectly capable of screwing any customer they don't like, or are paid enough by someone else to dislike.

o Such screwings are counter to the public interest.

Now let's examine reality for entities matching these criteria: Railroads---check. Telephone companies---check. Oil pipelines:---check. Internet backbones and such---check.

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, ....

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Whoever you vote for, Google gets in

Terry Cloth
FAIL

Truth in sloganeering?

If I lived in the vicinity of the Googleplex, I'd love to take their ``Do No Evil" sign and spray-paint ``Too Late!" all over it.

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AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits

Terry Cloth
WTF?

I've always wondered about this auction malarkey

Theoretically bandwidth is a shared resource held by the FCC in trust for The American People. So why do they sell it to the highest bidder, who gets all additional profit from then on out? They should be selling leases, for limited times (a decade?, 25 years?, perhaps less?) so a given spectrum would yield continuing, if intermittent, income for the future. Given the rate at which new services come up to take over from fading ones, claims of ``But we couldn't plan for the long term!'' won't wash---they can't do that now.

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T-Mobile US cuts overage charges, dares rivals to follow suit

Terry Cloth

True pay-as-you-go

I've looked at the paygo plans from various carriers, and they're only monthly subscriptions w/no contract: i.e., you can quit w/o penalty at any time, but it's still $30/mo. Prepaid is the closest to what I want, but that costs me $0.11/minute. My use is minimal, so the cost is bearable, but it still frosts me to be ripped off so.

I'd love for a carrier to just go ape, and follow the lead of Almost Free Speech (http://almostfreespeech.net). You pay for what you use, period. They'll even give you two cents' worth of services for free, to check them out, and it's enough to actually try out a site. (N.B.: I have no relationship with them other than that of a satisfied customer.)

C'mon, isn't there anyone out there who can buy enough service to set up a small second- or third-tier carrier and try it out? Sure, they wouldn't rake in the obscene profits, but what does that matter, if you've got all the customers?

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Torvalds rails at Linux developer: 'I'm f*cking tired of your code'

Terry Cloth

Torvalds's attitude

Don't judge him on all you see in the news. I strongly suggest you follow the Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML) thread a bit before coming to any conclusions: http://lkml.iu.edu//hypermail/linux/kernel/1404.0/01327.html

In particular, he observes in 01504.html that an earlier suggestion of his wasn't so hot:

Yeah, what Andrew said. My suggestion of per-task or per-cred is obviously moronic in comparison.

Linus "hangs head in shame" Torvalds

This is not the statement of a “f*cking primadonna”

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Driver drama delays deep desert XP upgrade

Terry Cloth

Cafe Press warning

A friend of mine is an artist (to the point that she actually makes a living at it) who used to put stuff on Cafe Press. Until a few years ago, when they changed the T&C to say that they could do anything they wanted with her images. She and a boatload of others moved to Zazzle.com, which has its own quirks but at least what's yours is yours. I'd hate to see your clients discover that their books were suddenly selling on Amazon w/no reference to who the authors/illustrators actually were.

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A storage press release FROM the FUTURE

Terry Cloth

So, the future is like, two days?

NT

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Another climate change myth DEBUNKED by proper climate scientists

Terry Cloth
Joke

Better detection, eh?

Does that mean we wouldn't have noticed Sandy if the high-tech monitoring hadn't told us about it? :-)

(Joke Alert because I suspect a smiley it too subtle for some of the participants in climate-change discussion.)

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Just like Elvis, dead Steve Jobs to appear all over America in 2015

Terry Cloth
FAIL

No backside licking necessary

Not to be too picky, but the U.S. has been printing only pre-sticky stamps for years. You peel 'em off a slick backing. I suppose you could lick it, but make sure it doesn't stick to your tongue.

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California takes a shot at mobile 'killswitch' mandate

Terry Cloth
Facepalm

Too Late!

How soon we forget: I'm sure Mat Honan hasn't.

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Google closes briefcase on Italian job: Execs 'not liable' for privacy breach

Terry Cloth
Flame

Re: Common Sense in Italian Court Shocker

Is it possible that their return to reality might extend to the Italian geologists who were convicted of involuntary manslaughter because a public official misinterpreted their analysis, and said there was no danger of an earthquake?

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Google v Intellectual Ventures patent spat jury: Soz judge, we're stumped on this

Terry Cloth

I suspect you're thinking of the standard of proof

If the defendant's looking to lose her freedom (as in jail time) the jury must unanimously find the prosecution proved its case ``beyond a reasonable doubt''. But if it's only money at stake, the jury is instructed to come in for the side which proved its case by ``the preponderance of the evidence''---i.e. whoever's case is stronger, no matter by how thin a margin. In this case they're obviously required to be unanimous, too.

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FCC says US telcos can start moving to IP-based calling, but in baby steps

Terry Cloth

``antiquated time-division multiplexing''?

My dictionary's first entry for `antiquated' is ``obsolete or obsolescent''.

What's obsolete about a mechanism that guarantees adequate, non-jittery, low-latency, non-dropping bandwidth by reserving said BW before putting the call through? It's really amazing---5x5 voice that's available for whatever period of time you're willing to pay for.

Not sure what moral is to be taken away from this...``The cheap is the enemy of the good''? ``Gee-whiz technology blinds people to its inadequacies''?

Oh, and ``analog'' isn't true except for the local loop---everything else is just as digital as IP. If I put a codec in my handset, can I please keep my switched-circuit service?

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Devs write 'film my shag' sex app for Google Glass

Terry Cloth

Re: The human condition

You do know what the first profitable application for the Daguerreotype was, don't you?

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Licenses blocking third-party emergency warnings

Terry Cloth

``Fair dealing'' in U.S.?

Check Wikipedia's comment on fair dealing in the U.S. It has nothing to do with copyright law.

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China in MASSIVE rare earths industry consolidation

Terry Cloth
Flame

Odd asymmetry

Why not:

To put it bluntly: companies that use [petroleum] would rather put the same capital to use inventing new ways to not have to use [petroleum] than invest in new and better ways to get at [oil] that will only ever have a [limited] number of sources.

eh?

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Terry Cloth

Somebody else is digging a hole---not sure to what effect

In the last few years, a U.S. outfit called Molycorp has re-opened a mine in California, claiming at the time that RE prices and new processing methods would make it profitable again. I bought a few shares for a pet rock...

I just look in on them occasionally, but they're not burning up the markets. In fact, the stock has lost about 90% of its value in 5 years, whatever that portends.

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FCC net neutrality blueprint TRASHED by US appeals court

Terry Cloth
Black Helicopters

Why aren't they common carriers?

Does anyone know what it takes to declare an industry a common carrier? (The classification covers many facets of commerce, and in fact originated in the (physical) transport industries. For instance, interstate trucking is regulated as a common carrier by the Interstate Commerce Commission.)

Can the FCC simply re-evaluate their status and classify them as common carriers? Does it take legislation?

(Black helicopter, because such regulation is one more step toward One World. :-)

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So, which people you read about in The Register got gongs in the Honours list?

Terry Cloth
Headmaster

Re: It's New Year's again,

Oh, very well. Let that be ``It's the New Year, which...'', just for you.

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Terry Cloth
Pint

The BBC's priorities

Not to be too obvious, but ISTM that Mr East is of greater import to the world at large (just look where ARM processors have got to, and how many lives they're touching), while Mr Smith's achievements are much more widely known and understandable to the public.

Thus, the honors compiler got it right, and the press did their usual job.

(Hint: the beer's not for the BBC.)

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NSA refuses to deny spying on members of Congress

Terry Cloth

Maybe we'll finally get some privacy

``Members of Congress have the same privacy protections as all U.S. persons.''

'Twould be nice if Congress decided that wasn't enough, and wrote some decent privacy laws. With our luck, though, they'll only apply to Congresspersons.

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