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* Posts by Steven Roper

1207 posts • joined 10 May 2011

Intel to leave desktop motherboard market

Steven Roper
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Stop

One small point...

Amiga didn't fail because it "couldn't see the changes coming or couldn't adapt fast enough." The Amiga was cutting-edge technology even after Commodore went bust in 1994. AmigaOS went through several iterations, and several companies continued producing accelerator boards and and hardware for it, well into the late 90s. Amiga adapted and led the changes, it didn't just follow them.

The Amiga died because: 1) mismanagement at Commodore US caused the American branch of the company to fold, depriving the platform of vital advertising and marketing; and 2) more importantly because Gateway bought it and deliberately buried it, hoping to capture the Amiga market and hook them into their line of Windows PCs instead. In a fantastic case of computing karma giving a greedy company what they richly deserved, however, the Amiga fanbase were rabid Wintel/PC haters at the time, and took so long to make the switch that Gateway's purchase of Commodore's assets bankrupted the bastards before they could realise any profit from it.

So while the Amiga's corpse does "litter the landscape" of computing history, it's not for the reason you posit.

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Pope: Catholics, go forth and multiply... your Twitter followers

Steven Roper
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Re: 140? I can reply to the Pope in eight characters

Of course, whether the 'three letters more' are O, F and F, or Y, O and U is left up to the individual offering this enlightened and erudite response... both work equally well! ;)

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'End of passwords' predictions are premature - Cambridge boffin

Steven Roper
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@Graham Marsden

"Nor can they manage to have an upvote system that doesn't waste a lot of people's time..." etc.

I like the way the voting system works on the Reg actually. As I've posted on this issue before, there is method to their madness. The fact that voting (and downvoting!) takes time and effort adds value to the vote. If it worked like a Facebook Like button, with instant response, that means that the votes become completely cheap and meaningless, because it takes no time or effort to give them.

But if someone is prepared to take the 15-30 seconds required to upvote a post, that means they really like it or agree strongly enough to spend that time on it. Likewise, I know that when I cop a downvote, I must have pissed that person off enough for them to spend the time downvoting me for it. Which to my way of thinking makes the voting more gratifying and meaningful than if it were an instant-response AJAX-style voting system.

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Polish knights slay Virut, the brazen virus army that has its own EULA

Steven Roper
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Devil

Re: It's own EULA?

That's what got me wondering as well!

I mean, these people are thieves, scammers, and parasitic scum of the lowest order, who don't give a flying fuck about anyone or anything other than their own gain - otherwise they wouldn't be doing what they do. Yet the purveyors of the software these "people" - and I use the term very loosely - use for their activities, expect them to honour an EULA, when they already fork two fingers up at every law on the books? What the hell are they smoking?

I swear, some of these people must be seriously delusional about who they are and what they do. I can't think of any other explanation for it. It reminds me of Sanford "Spamford" Wallace, who actually believed he was doing people a favour by smothering their inboxes with spam, and couldn't understand why people hated him. I can't even begin to fathom what must be going on in the heads of such people.

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Game over for Atari? One life left as biz files for bankruptcy protection

Steven Roper
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Re: End of an era (Amiga vs AtariST)

I remember back in the day, I was one of the Amiga lads who hated the Atari ST with a passion, for one reason - game porting.

The Atari ST could display a maximum of 4 bitplanes / 16 colours, while the Amiga could do 5 bitplanes / 32 colours or 6 bitplanes / 64/4096 colours within certain limits, if you used Half-brite or HAM mode (this was before the A1200/4000 with the 8-bitplane AGA chipset.) Both machines used the Motorola 68000 CPU, so code written on one machine could be easily ported to the other - as long as it didn't reference the Amiga's custom hardware.

Now I grant that Half-brite/HAM modes were not practical for most gaming purposes due to the quirkiness of those modes and the limitations of the CPU and graphics hardware - but the Amiga did have the custom chipset, notably Paula and Agnus, the famed Amiga "blitter" and "copper", which allowed smooth scrolling and a lot more moving objects and colours. The Atari did not, and relied solely on the poor old 68000 for its graphics grunt.

Cue games developers coding games for the lowest common denominator - the Atari ST - and then porting them to the Amiga unaltered. So the games were seriously limited to what the ST could handle - 16 colours only, awful jittery scrolling, crappy music and sound (the ST relied on MIDI rather than a good onboard sound chip), and no blitter or copper to speed things up or exploit the Amiga's capabilities.

Most arcade conversions suffered from this, so great arcade games like Space Harrier and Outrun that could have really shone on the Amiga were dragged down to the level of the Atari - which made the Amiga look much less than it was. So many games that could have been awesome simply sucked, and the term "Atari ST port" became a derogatory byword for a game not worth the bother of pirating it, let alone buying it.

The magazines of the day generally concurred on this issue, and I recall some scathing reviews from Amiga Format and Australian Commodore and Amiga Review! This was of course in the days when magazines actually delivered honest reviews, not bought-and-paid-for puff pieces published under threat of advertisement withdrawal like so many of today's mags.

I remember fondly some games that were coded specifically to take advantage of the Amiga's hardware - notably Sword of Sodan, The Settlers and Superfrog - and I played all those games to death during their heyday. The Settlers I particularly remember because the Amiga version simply blew away the PC version in graphics, sound and speed, and so I (erroneously as it turned out) came to believe that the good old Miggy was finally coming into its own, and represented the future of computing.

How wrong I was...

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Student claims code flaw spotting got him expelled from college

Steven Roper
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Facepalm

@asdf

Oh please, not the old racism card again...

So the lad has a Middle-Eastern sounding name. That's completely irrelevant to his behaviour, good, bad or indifferent. I personally think he did the right thing by testing to make sure the hole was fixed, and ruining his entire career is indeed excessive punishment in my view.

But his race, creed, culture, religion, ancestry, sexuality, birthplace, you name it, has nothing to do with it, and this kind of over-the-top PC thinking that overuses accusations of racism, every goddamned time someone of non-European descent commits any kind of indiscretion and is punished for it, is doing more to undermine real fairness and tolerance than all the racist bigotry on every Stormfront-esque sinkhole on the Internet combined. It cheapens the concept until the cry of "racist" simply becomes meaningless noise.

So please, spare us the PC bellyaching and look at the issues from a race-neutral perspective: A student attempted, rightly or wrongly, to hack into his college computer system and was expelled for it - rightly or wrongly. No race or religion involved.

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ACCC spikes gadget price-fix

Steven Roper
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Mushroom

Yes, it's different

when the shoe's on the other foot isn't it?

These same retailers and related businesses are all very happy to outsource all our bloody jobs to cheap overseas labour, but they scream stinking blue murder when consumers outsource their purchasing to cheap overseas retailers!

What's good for the goose is good for the gander, you fucking hypocrites.

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TSA to pull backscatter perv scanners from US airports

Steven Roper
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Re: Place your bets...

I'll see your bet, and raise you one "When something does 'coincidentally happen' to a plane, and someone posts evidence it was a psyop job to sway public opinion to want these things back with a vengeance - they'll be dismissed as a crazy tinfoil-hat-wearing conspiracy nut."

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McDonalds burger app gives it to you straight from the horse's mouth

Steven Roper
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Coat

@ Sir Wiggum

"You know you shouldn't, and that no good can come of it, but it feels right for a short while :)"

You reminded me of an old joke I remember from my high school days:

Q: Why is jerking off like going to McDonalds?

A: Because it's always the same and afterwards you always say you'll never do it again.

Ok, ok, I'm going...

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Record numbers of you are reading this headline right now

Steven Roper
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Which begs the question

What is El Reg's readership as a percentage of that of the Daily Wail? If it's significant enough it might even restore some of my faith in humanity. Though that might be asking a bit much...

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Former CEO John Sculley: Apple must adapt or die

Steven Roper
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@Dave 126

That is as it may be, but also remember that Apple wasn't a serious market contender at the time when it would have mattered, namely the late 90s/ early 00s, which is what allowed Microsoft to entrench Internet Explorer as they did. Apple at the time was a tiny percentage of the IT market, primarily geared to the graphic design industry but little else. It was Mozilla and Google's combined efforts, along with a lot of pressure from a lot of pissed-off web devs, which broke that monopoly, not Apple.

The fact remains that Apple has done far more harm than good in recent years. They've created and popularised the walled garden, which every other market player now wants to emulate; established the paradigm that a computer you buy isn't really yours; systematically eroded openness and customisability in computing architecture; unleashed a ridiculous and litigious firestorm that has stifled innovation the world over and benefited nobody but a bunch of greedy patent lawyers. All of which more than counters for any putative benefits their presence as a competitive entity might have created.

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Steven Roper
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Devil

Re: This is the same guy

It's a pity he didn't. The whole tech world would have been a lot better off if he had.

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Bloke blasts Sprint for fingering his home as phone thieves' den

Steven Roper
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Joke

Re: Also, a Brit's idea of an American is to an actual American as...

If I have the choice of being attacked by an Australian Shepherd or Cujo, I'll take Cujo over the shepherd every time, thanks. Those little bastards are more vicious than pit bulls!

As to what that tells me about Americans, the less said the better...! ;)

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Latest Java patch is not enough, warns US gov: Axe plugins NOW

Steven Roper
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WTF?

What I want to know is

Who at Oracle pissed in the US government's cornflakes? From the way the DHS has been carrying on about Java lately, you'd think they were the fourth arm of the Axis of Evil!

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Google denies smacking Botswanan ass

Steven Roper
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Go

Re: What has the world come to ...

You should know that it's a simple preprogrammed stock response common to all businesses. The code, hardwired into every PR droid's brain, looks something like this:

public function invokeDamageControl($department_name, $customer_group_name)

{

if ($this->publicRelationsDisaster() == true)

{

echo ("Our ".$department_name." take the safety of ".$customer_group_name." very seriously.\r\n");

}

}

Along with similar functions for "We apologise for the inconvenience", "Remedial action has been taken to prevent a recurrence", and other standard PR bumf...

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Patent trolling surges, but righteous cavalry on the way

Steven Roper
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Coat

Get your terminology right!

"If labeling them 'trolls' or calling them 'cancers' gets the job done," he said, "I'm all for it."

Patent trolls are scumbags, but they're still 'trolls'. It's the patent lawyers who are the 'cancers' of our society.

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NASA snaps pics of China's 'Airpocalypse' pollution disaster

Steven Roper
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Stop

@ AC 23:02

I see the accusation of "strawman" is starting to be overused in these forums. In your case, it is an erroneous accusation: invoking worst case scenario is NOT a strawman argument since that scenario can occur and should be addressed. A strawman is where you describe a specific case in which the argumentative condition is so ludicrous as to destroy the credibility of the argument, which relates back to reductio ad absurdum.

In this case, defining the worst case scenario as being downwind of a volcano or containing toxic emissions from a hot spring is a valid comparison, since both of these conditions do regularly occur on this planet and represent grave hazards to living organisms exposed to them. That's not the bottom line you want defined as the limits imposed on pollution.

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Time has already run out for smart watches

Steven Roper
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Pint

@ Alan Brown

Here in Australia we don't have deer, at least not in the wild. What we have instead are kangaroos and wombats. Kangaroos are about the same mass as deer (at least the big grey plains ones are) but, unlike deer, they tend to stand upright, like people. Which means that when you hit them at speed, they are much more likely to bounce over the bonnet and smash through your windscreen than simply mangling your radiator and front end, with obviously deadly consequences.

And wombats are just evil. About the size of a stocky fox terrier, they look deceptively small and vulnerable, but they have the structural solidity of a large house brick. If you hit one, it will rip out your sump, gearbox, tailshaft and/or diff, and walk away without a scratch, leaving you with a written-off car and a very long walk home!

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Oz astronomical observatory survives firestorm

Steven Roper
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Unhappy

Re: You'd think there would be a vegetation free zone around this expensive sensitive equipment

Part of the problem as well with clearing vegetation, is that we have a huge number of tree-hugging greenie do-gooders in this country who kick up stinking blue murder every time even one tree gets cut down, let alone clearing a 200m exclusion zone.

Never mind that there might be a billion other trees just like it, or that peoples' lives and property might be at stake; according to these hippy fuckwads, not a single tree must be allowed to fall, for any reason whatsoever. In fact, more trees must be planted, preferably at any hilltop lookout with a view, because to these idiots, more trees are more important than anyone actually being able to enjoy a view of the countryside - or even the night sky.

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Latest exoplanet discovery is a virtual CLONE of Earth

Steven Roper
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Coat

Well, while we're being pedantic...

...365.256 days is only true if you're measuring the sidereal year (fixed star to fixed star). And it's 365.256363004 as of epoch J2000.0 to be precise... a ten-millionth of a second's accuracy is still a measurable period of time after all! And what about the tropical (equinox to equinox) year of 365.24219 days, or the anomalistic (aphelion to aphelion, or more generally any apsis to apsis) year of 365.259636 days? Which "year" are we referring to exactly?

No wonder Pen-y-gors can't remember! ;-)

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'Not even Santa could save Microsoft's Windows 8'

Steven Roper
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Facepalm

Re: I despair at the number of people that want to remain stuck in the past when it comes to UI.

I know, right? I mean, steering wheels and accelerator/brake pedals are just so 1890s aren't they?

Car manufacturers should get with the program and build cars that you steer by sliding your finger left and right, and accelerate and brake by sliding your finger up and down, on a touch-sensitive pad hidden conveniently out of sight under the dashboard. Then you can control the car with just ONE FINGER leaving your other hand and both legs free for more important things than driving!

So much more efficient and innovative than the ancient and antiquated steering wheel and pedal crap, no?

And don't even get me started on that goddamned stone-age circular design shit we're STILL using for wheels...

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NASA: There are 17 BEEELLION Earth-sized worlds in Milky Way

Steven Roper
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Re: Regarding Mr. NomNomNom

Given that, to me, NomNomNom appeared to be taking the piss out of young-earth creationists, I would surmise that those who downvoted him/her:

1) Were born without sarcasm detection mechanisms; or

2) Possess a sense of humour incapable of comprehending much beyond knock-knock jokes; or

3) Are themselves young-earth creationists who don't appreciate people taking the piss...

I personally found NomNomNom's post sufficiently amusing to bring a smile to my face, although it's admittedly not exactly side-splitting material. Doesn't justify a downvote in my book though!

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Do Not Call Register operator breaches Register

Steven Roper
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Thumb Up

Re: Putting the phone down and leaving them waiting

This is the right idea, but the problem is these people are running on a timer and if you haven't come back after 30 seconds, they'll hang up and move on to the next one. While many people doing this to them does add up, I have a more fun, time-wasting and effective method.

I take calls on my computer hands-free so I can keep working while someone is on the phone. Now these telemarketers speak from a script, which means that they say predictable things at predictable intervals. Based on this principle, I've created an MP3 file which runs something like this:

"Oh I see...[5 second delay]...Uh huh...[2 seconds]...Really?...[4 seconds]...I sorry, I missed that, say again?...[6 seconds]...Sounds interesting..." etc. etc.

As soon as I cop a telemarketer, charity/political caller, or whatever, I simply switch the phone input to this MP3 and cut the output sound off so I can't hear it, and return to whatever I was doing. My phone software has an icon in the systray that indicates when the person hangs up, and also records the length of time of the call.

It's quite entertaining seeing how long my MP3 can keep the caller on the line before they realise they are talking to a recorded message. Most seem to figure it out and hang up after two or three minutes, but I've seen at least one run over 15 minutes before he caught on!

The fun is in tweaking the MP3 so my responses are statistically more likely to time with the pauses in the telemarketer's pitch, thus keeping them convinced they're talking to a real person for that much longer. This is a much more satisfactory wastage of their time than simply putting the phone down, since I've had very few hang up in less than the 30 seconds they give you waiting for you to come back.

One thing to keep in mind if you try this, though - make sure your sound file DOES NOT have you saying "yes" or "I agree" or anything like that, or it just might be taken as an agreement to whatever they're pushing and lumber you with something you don't want!

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Silly Rabbit! Like Trix, color e-readers are for kids

Steven Roper
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Go

4096 colours

So that'll be HAM mode as on my old Amiga 500 then...

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Anonymous wants DDoS attacks recognized as speech

Steven Roper
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Flame

Let me get this straight

What Anonymous wants, in essence, is the right to take down my websites, destroy my business and my livelihood resulting in me having to lay off my staff, whose own livelihoods are then ruined, with absolutely no recourse for myself to prosecute those responsible.

And all on the say-so of some shitbrained little internet vigilante who might mistake my business for some other arsehole's scam, with no trial, no evidence, just hearsay on some Twitter feed?

You can fuck that idea off right bloody now.

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Google can't use finger-fumble patent to poke Apple - Trade panel

Steven Roper
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Mushroom

Re: Nobody can get any traction against Apple

This is exactly why judges, magistrates, and those selected for jury service, should not be allowed to own shares in private or public companies.

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Copyright trolls, biz scum, freetards - it's NOT black and white

Steven Roper
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Facepalm

Re: The business model isn't the issue

A. Coward, may I point you to a particularly apposite line in Star Wars: "The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers!"

It is clear and evident that harsh punishments, like those inflicted on Jammie Thomas et. al, have done nothing to deter piracy. Hadopi laws, such as have been enacted in France and New Zealand, have done nothing to deter piracy. History clearly shows us that oppression and tyranny of the sort you are advocating merely results in resistance, underground networks, and the inevitable undermining and collapse of the empire that has instituted it. Your belief that human nature can be cowed into submission by threat of force and punishment would be sad if it were not so fucking pathetic.

So please piss off, grow yourself a few brain cells, learn a few things about human nature and elementary psychology, and if and when you are capable of understanding the concept of human beings existing as something more than programmable robots, you might find that some of us humans might actually give ear to your rantings.

Until then, enjoy your downvotes.

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Internet Explorer tracks cursor even when minimised

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Devil

Oh, I love this!

More ammo for me to strike fear into the hearts of the few die-hards I haven't yet been able to convert to Firefox or Opera from using IE.

With this one I can be more subtle in my conversion attack: I can simply say "Look, just make sure you close all other IE windows and tabs before using your bank because of [the issue in this article]", instead of the more sledge-hammerish "Why are you still using that insecure and user-unfriendly pile of shite!?!"

(Also, I don't want to just preach Firefox, but I don't encourage using Chrome because of Google's spying and malware-like distribution methods, nor Safari because... well, it's Apple. Which pretty much leaves Firefox and Opera as my only reasonable mainstream choices. So I recommend to a user to try both and run with the one they prefer.)

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AssangeTM spins Oz Senate candidacy again

Steven Roper
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Mushroom

Why bother with the trial?

You've already decided the man's guilty. You know, "men" like you make me sick.

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North Korean rocket works, puts something into orbit

Steven Roper
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Stop

Enemy mine has its limits

Look, I know our politicians suck. I know they're in the pockets of amoral and corrupt corporations, I know our governments are liars and crooks, I know the greedy bankers etc. etc. etc. I share your anger and your pain.

But just stop and take a look at what NK's leadership actually is compared to ours before you start proclaiming that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Answer me this: If you're going to be bitten, would you rather be bitten by a dog, or by a viper?

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Steven Roper
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And with China's space program moving apace we have some healthy competition up there at last...

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Samsung's smart TVs 'wide open' to exploits

Steven Roper
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Thumb Up

Re: ReVuln seem like nice people

Agreed. It would be a nice case of poetic justice if someone from ReVuln fell victim to an exploit that some other profiteer decided to sell to the lads from Lagos, and had their identity stolen, their credit cards maxed and their life ruined.

I've seen what identity theft does to someone's life, and I can only say that anyone who discovers such a vulnerability and fails to report it should be charged as an accessory, in the same way that (in Australia at least) someone who becomes aware that a child is being abused and fails to report it is charged as an accessory.

I'm also adamantly against the death penalty, but I must say that identity theft sorely tempts me to make an exception to that principle.

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Big Data in creepy hook-up with big-game whales

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Re: Games additication

If the game playing behaviour satisfies the criteria of addiction, then yes, it is addictive. One of my sister's friends is a registered nurse and we had a conversation about addictive behaviours at a party recently. From what I can remember off the top of my head, the criteria of addiction she talked about ran something like this:

1. Impact on Daily Life: Does the subject's behaviour in relation to use of the addicting substance (in this case gaming) have an adverse impact on the subject's interactions with others, their work, or ability to perform basic living tasks?

2. Time / Resource Effects: Does the subject spend significant amounts of time and/or resources in obtaining, using, or recovering from the effects of, the addicting substance?

3. Deceptive / Concealing Behaviours: Does the subject: a) attempt to conceal evidence of their use of the addicting substance from others; b) deceive or prevaricate when questioned about the extent of their use of the addicting substance; c) deceive or prevaricate when questioned about the means by which they source the addicting substance?

4. Deprivation / Withdrawal: Does deprivation of the addicting substance produce withdrawal symptoms in the subject, such as physiological distress, moodiness, uncharacteristic introversion, tantrums, or other inappropriate behaviours?

5. Self-Awareness of Addictive Behaviour: Has the subject made unsuccessful attempts to discontinue or limit use of the addicting substance, or expressed a desire to discontinue or limit such use?

I think there's more, but those are the essential points. The more "yes" answers there are to these questions, the more likely the person is to be suffering from an addiction. 3 or more "yes" answers apparently indicates that the person should seek professional help. So if someone's gaming habit is producing the above behaviours in them, I would call that an addiction.

Bear in mind this was from a party conversation, so you should do your own research to confirm this.

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Boffins spot 7 ALIEN WORLDS right in our galactic backyard

Steven Roper
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Facepalm

That would be

because Uranus / arse jokes are such old and obvious cliches that they've passed beyond boredom, let alone funny...

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Steven Roper
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Go

Make your own!

Why pay ripoff prices when you can easily make your own planetary Christmas tree ornaments as a fun project for the whole family?

Go here: http://eo.nso.edu/node/26

All you need is some polystyrene/plastic balls (I suppose you can use existing ornaments if you can't source these), some string, and the Waldseemüller maps on that page, designed to be printed out and wrapped onto a sphere. It provides complete instructions on how to make your own planetary tree ornaments.

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Girl gang targets Microsoft's Seattle stores for $5,000 theft spree

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Paris Hilton

6 women and a man?

Let me guess:

When this gang is caught, I've got 20 bucks that says the man's sentence will be longer or more severe than any of the womens', even if he isn't the ringleader. I've got another 20 bucks that says at least one of the women will get off without a prison term, but the man won't.

Any takers?

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Russian ransomware strikes Queensland doctor

Steven Roper
Silver badge

Training your staff properly

"Mum, Dad - If ANYONE rings you up asking about your computer, wanting to access your computer, or saying there's something wrong, don't listen to them, just immediately hang up. No matter who they say they are, Microsoft, your bank, the government, the police - doesn't matter. If it's about your computer, it's a scam. Just hang up. Same if you get any emails saying the same thing. Just delete them, even if they look official, even if they claim to be from your bank or the police."

That's all the training needed to solve that problem. It works as well for staff as for retired parents.

Incidentally, the other lesson I imparted to my parents was, "Mum, Dad - don't click on any links or open any attachments in emails, even ones from your friends. If you don't know who sent the email, just delete it. If you know who sent the email, ring them up first and ask if they sent you an email with such and such on it. If they say yes they did, then and only then can you click it or open the attachment. If they say no they didn't, phone me immediately and keep the email aside until I can look at it."

I've caught out several malware infections of my parents' friends with this method. It works out well for me too; while I don't charge my parents or their friends for the IT services I provide for them, it does ensure a good supply of nice single-malt Scotches for me come Christmas!

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Steven Roper
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Thumb Up

The burned hand does indeed teach

I call this "the 15,000 dollar lesson", because back in the 90s I failed to back up vital customer and invoice records, as well as essential work files, for a souvenir business I was a partner in. A hard drive failure one day obliterated the lot. Hundreds of postcard images (used in things like keyrings, fridge magnets etc) were lost, as well as our transaction, client and invoice records. Total costs resulting from the loss: 15 grand.

That was definitely a hand-burning experience. Backing up is not optional. I've never let it happen again since. I have the feeling, neither will this doctor.

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This is out of hand now: Apple attempts to trademark the LEAF

Steven Roper
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@ Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

"...the mere mention of crApple or an iProduct creates the same level of revulsion in me that walking on dog shit does..."

An upvote and Reg Literary Merit award to you, sir, for the most effective and truthful use of the words "Apple", "iProduct" and "dog shit" in one sentence. Well done!

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Australian Police say don't use Apple's iOS 6 Maps

Steven Roper
Silver badge
Stop

"Top-three are horses, then cattle, then dogs."

As a long-time resident of Australia, I must respectfully disagree. You forgot Australia's deadliest critter.

"Top-three are drop-bears, horses and cattle..."

Remember, drop-bears kill more Australians than any other creature here. Too many people make light of this grave threat and forget to wear upturned forks in their hats for protection.

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New York invites designers to invent Future of Phone Booths

Steven Roper
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Thumb Up

Re: @Nuke: (was: @Jake - @AC 07:19 (was: Phone booth?))

"Ironically, 999 used the second longest trip of all, just when you would want it fast."

Back in the 1970s, when I was a lad, rotary-dial phones were commonplace, and our family emigrated from England to Australia, one of the things that really bugged me as a 7 year old was why they made the emergency numbers the longest ones to dial.

This came up because Mum and Dad had taught my sister and I how to call for emergency and what to say if they weren't home. So Dad had taught me in England to dial 999 and to say my name, address and what was wrong.

Australia's is even worse - 000 is the emergency number here. So when we'd arrived here and Dad explained that the emergency number was now 000, I asked him, "Dad, if I have to ring these numbers fast because I'm in trouble, why do they make them the longest numbers to dial? Shouldn't they make it 111 so you can ring it faster?"

Dad, of course, didn't know. He guessed it was to stop people from dialling it by accident, but that didn't make sense to me, since dialling 111 on a rotary phone was just as deliberate an act as dialling 000, and not something you were likely to do "by accident."

These days with keypads everywhere of course it no longer matters, but I never did find out the answer!

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Iran draws veil over lolcats, launches local YouTube knock-off

Steven Roper
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Re: "There should be a universal declaration of freedoms for all the peoples of Earth."

There is. It begins thus:

Article 1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

It goes on a whole lot from there, talking about freedom from slavery, oppression, injustice and war, and equal representation before the law, among other key points of liberty and jurisprudence.

Unfortunately the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights seems to be so much toilet paper these days. I can't think of even one country whose government actually abides by it.

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Long-distance robot makes landfall in Oz

Steven Roper
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irritatingly anthropomorphised... as “he”

I suspect, Richard, that had the company gynopomorphised (is that a cromulent word?) the robot as "she", that you might not have found it as "irritating". After all, is "she" not the pronoun that has been used for seagoing vessels since time immemorial?

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China plans astro-farms on Mars

Steven Roper
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Re: Mandarin for triffid

That one piqued my interest.

Google Translate didn't produce anything for "triffid" when I tried (I assume its inability to do so is why you're asking!).

So I asked a Chinese colleague (who also happens to be a sci-fi buff) and she gave me 三個根 for triffid. Plugging that into Google Translate produces "three root" so I suppose that's as close as you're going to get!

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Curiosity finds organics on Mars, but possibly not of Mars

Steven Roper
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Stop

Hang on a minute

How was that second photograph, the one of Curiosity showing the scoops from nearby the rover, taken? Who or what is holding the camera? Is there a second robot with a camera following Curiosity around taking pictures of it, or have NASA contracted with some Martian cameraman to take pictures? Inquiring minds want to know.

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Who's using 'password' as a password? TOO MANY OF YOU

Steven Roper
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Stop

Re: This is victim blaming!

...and tell thieves not to steal, and rapists not to rape, and killers not to kill. Unfortunately, the real world has a propensity to ignore the proprieties. So people should still be prepared to defend themselves, be educated about the dangers of weak passwords, and the consequences of the potential identity theft that can result. That's not victim blaming, it's victim empowerment. Because identity theft is catastrophic and life-changing.

I've spoken with someone it's happened to, and having your identity stolen destroys your life. This person lost his job, faced charges including extortion, money laundering, attempting to import illegal weapons among others, which took him years to be acquitted of; he had to sell his house to pay the court and lawyer costs, and had to move cities because of the offences he'd been charged with. All because someone cracked an account and stole his credit card details and contact info.

It happens. So it's important that people be aware of the issues and take reasonable steps to protect themselves. It's just common sense.

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Girlfriend 'tried to MURDER ME with her AMPLE BREASTS'

Steven Roper
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Re: All those who think this is funny

I don't have a problem with the humour, and yes, I agree with you the situation is funny on its face. What I'm having a whinge about is the double standard that, if the genders were reversed, people wouldn't find it funny. Those double standards have made my own life hard on more than one occasion, why is why I get my dander up when I see it played out. Please don't think I'm a miserable PC arsehole (believe me I hate PC as much as anyone can), and I did smile when I read the article, but I couldn't let it pass without comment.

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Steven Roper
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Flame

All those who think this is funny

May I ask if you would be laughing so much if it was a woman pressing charges of rape because her boyfriend grabbed her head and rammed his tool down her throat during fellatio? Gotta love these double standards, eh?

Go onto Google Images and look up "mouth rape gif" with SafeSearch off. If you find those pictures funny, then you can laugh at this article. Otherwise, stop and think about what you're laughing at.

Yeah. I thought so.

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Sandy Island does exist - on a 1908 chart

Steven Roper
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It might have been a cloud formation

Way back in 1974, when I was a wee lad, my family emigrated from England to Australia aboard the good ship SS Britanis. (In fact, we were among the last of the so-called 10-pound-Poms before the Australian government scrapped the program.)

One of the things I clearly remember from that voyage was seeing a long, low, line along the horizon that looked exactly like a distant littoral. Since we were in the middle of the South Atlantic at the time, about 3 days out of Cape Town, Dad asked one of the crew what island it might be, way out here. The crewman replied that it wasn't land, but a low-lying cloud bank (actually a squall line), and that such formations had in the past been mistaken for land. It was not uncommon, he explained, for old charts to indicate land, or sometimes just shoals and reefs, to warn unwary captains of this (nonexistent) hazard to shipping. It certainly looked amazingly land-like, as when you're far out to sea a distant hazed-out coastline forms exactly the same long, flat shape.

So in my experience, more than likely that's exactly what Sandy island was. It would explain why someone thought there was an island there even though the water is over a kilometre deep at that point. It would also explain the apparent size, as cloud banks can easily reach dozens of kilometres in length.

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Venus EXPOSED in predawn threesome with Saturn and Mercury

Steven Roper
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Pint

Re: Go on....credit Stellarium for the pic!

Stellarium is good, but I prefer Celestia myself. If I want to look at Venus and Saturn from an Earth-centric perspective, I need only go outside of an evening, as much as look it up on Stellarium. But if I then want to actually fly to Venus or Saturn and explore them in detail, Celestia is the way to go! (It also has very nice models of the ISS, Hubble, Cassini and Voyager for you to travel to / with.)

Not to mention its usefulness in checking out all the known exoplanets as well...

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