* Posts by Steven Roper

1853 posts • joined 10 May 2011

Queensland boffins ponder Scramjet satellite launch plan

Steven Roper
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Re: Out of curiosity ...

"Rockets are simpler, cheaper, and generally easier to implement for any SCRAM jet munition application."

The difference is that rockets are limited by the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation (which in layman's terms states that the faster you want to go, the shitload more fuel you have to carry plus a metric fucktonload more to get back) and SCRAMJets, being designed to operate in a fluid medium rather than by reaction thrust, aren't limited by this equation.

Being able to achieve rocket-like speeds without the concomitant rocket-like fuel requirements would be the main driver behind all this research into SCRAMJet technology.

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Cheers, Bill Gates. Who wouldn't want drinking water made from POO?

Steven Roper
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Re: One little problem

One little problem is that the water from the poo & piss will always be less than the water that the poor people take in.

But there's a device to condense water from air that could make up that shortfall. No one solution is a panacea, most problems require multiple solutions to be implemented, and this is a prime example.

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Assange™ is 'upset' that he WON'T be prosecuted for rape, giggles lawyer

Steven Roper
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Statute of limitations?

I always thought that the statute of limitations only applied if you weren't wanted in connection with a crime. For example, if you steal someone's car and nobody knows it was you, then after a time you can't be charged for it. But if you steal the car and the police want to question you about it, then simply evading the police for that time doesn't invoke the statute, because you were a person of interest from the start.

At least that's how I thought it worked. Otherwise you'd have criminals of all stripes hiking it off to sketchy countries for however long knowing they can return with impunity after the statute time is up, which would make a mockery of any justice system.

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ZUCK OFF: Facebook nixes internship after student embarrasses firm

Steven Roper
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In other news

Zuck has discovered we no longer need to waste time and money putting keys and locks on our houses and cars, because a simple sign saying "Thou shalt not steal" stuck on the front works perfectly to deter thieves, burglars and carjackers.

Canning the guy because he wrote code that "violated Facebook's terms and conditions?" Give me a fucking break.

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Want Edward Snowden pardoned? You're in the minority, say pollsters

Steven Roper
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Re: Steve Doper Axis of weasel

I think the last time I heard someone call me "Doper" was in middle school, sometime around the onset of puberty. Ah, childhood memories. I guess that reveals your mental age, if not your true one.

And of course we all know that America is that great bastion of love for privacy, freedom and dissent, no?

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Steven Roper
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Re: Axis of weasel

Snowden seems to like places which have little regard for privacy, freedom or dissent. Snowden seems to like places that don't suck on America's balls and thus would sell his arse to them at the first opportunity. FTFY.

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Stop taking drug advice from Kim Kardashian on Twitter, sighs watchdog

Steven Roper
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They shouldn't correct her

She's doing the human race a favour.

If anyone is stupid enough to follow her advice and consequently kills themselves AND their future offspring, then Darwin's principles are operating perfectly in helping to ensure the continuing improvement of the human gene pool.

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Put it away: Dwarf's 'supermassive' marvel is actually smallest thing boffins have ever seen

Steven Roper
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Are you sure about that size?

How do you arrive at a figure of 443m? That's tiny for a black hole of that mass. I banged together the following PHP to check it:

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//Calculate the Schwartzschild radius of an object of 50,000 solar masses

$msun = 1.989 * pow(10.0, 30.0);

echo sprintf("%1.4f", Schwartzschild(50000.0 * $msun))." metres";

function Schwartzschild($mkg){

$g = 6.67384 * pow(10.0, -11.0);

$c = 299792458.0;

return ((2.0*$g*$mkg)/($c * $c));

}

----------

This gave me a figure of 147,696,147.6723 metres or roughly 150,000 km which is about right for a supermassive black hole. Given that the very page you linked in the article gives the Schwartzschild radius of the Sun as 3 km, your figure seems way off.

If my working is wrong, I'd appreciate you showing me where. Otherwise you might want to revisit your own working and update the article?

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Repeatedly robocalling? That's a paddlin' – a record $3m paddlin'

Steven Roper
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Re: Robo-callers, from Florida, selling time-shares?

Preferably leading to the public executions of the entire board of directors.

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Cloud computing’s refuseniks: How long can they hold out?

Steven Roper
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Not in 2 years, not in 20.

I can assure you, we will NEVER migrate to using cloud or all the rentism that it entails. We've already moved our entire office over to using LibreOffice because we refuse to have our work held to ransom by Microsoft's Office365 "pay whatever we demand per month or lose access to your work" business theft model. Our art department is also migrating to open-source software very nicely, albeit with some gripes from the old-timers who prefer Photoshop and InDesign over GIMP and Scribus.

Our work will never be held to ransom by cloud service providers, and I'm certain we're not alone in thinking this whole rentism bullshit is completely unacceptable. No amount of propaganda-spewing cloud salesmen will ever convince me otherwise, no matter what psychological manipulation shenanigans they try to pull. NO MEANS NO.

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HTC caught storing fingerprints AS WORLD-READABLE CLEARTEXT

Steven Roper
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Re: Eyeball on a pen...

"Security = out of date technology."

Yep, this. With the recent spate of ransomware attacks, given the fact that ransomware silently encrypts and decrypts files for a long period before locking you out and demanding the ransom (so as to encrypt backups as well) my colleagues asked me how we could ascertain if we were infected with ransomware, given that it's indetectable until it triggers.

My response was to set up an old Windows 98 machine (because it lacks the NT kernel modern malware requires to work) not connected to any network, and to have everyone in the office save a text file onto a thumb drive and try to read it on the '98 machine. If it can't because the file has been silently encrypted and the malware can't install itself on the '98 machine to disguise this fact, we know we've been infected and can begin recovery procedures.

So far we haven't been, mainly because I've promised to go Ramsay Bolton on the arse of anyone I catch clicking a link in an email, opening an attachment or plugging an unauthorised USB stick into our system!

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Australia's data retention regime starts October 13th says A-G

Steven Roper
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Bring it on

Well, given that everyone I know, including even my ultra-law-abiding parents, are now hooked up to VPNs (predominantly Private Internet Access) and use them pretty much all the time, much good may it do Abbott and Co to spy on us. What's even funnier is that by enacting intrusive data retention laws that made everyone in this country jump onto the VPN bandwagon, the Abbott government has effectively also hobbled its internet filter as well. Our politicians are so incompetent they can't even oppress their own people efficiently!

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Websites that ID you by how you type: Great when someone's swiped your password, but...

Steven Roper
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Re: Providing they have JavaScript enabled...

The problem with NoScript however is that increasing numbers of websites simply don't work without Javascript. At all. At best you simply see a little note at the top left that says something like "This site used Javascript. Either enable Javascript or upgrade your browser." or words to that effect.

My usual response when I hit such a site is simply to close it and move on. But when every single site on the first 3 pages of search results is Javascript-only, what do you do? I can't boycott every single site on the internet, and that's where it's fast going - enable Javascript or fuck off.

Yes, it shits me to tears when a site demands Javascript when its content is perfectly displayable using simply HTML+CSS. The only reason they hide the content with Javascript is because they want to do nefarious shit like tracking, profiling or exploiting you.

Then there's the increasing obnoxious tendency to scatter Javascript over fifty fucking domains ranging from image servers to CDNs to streaming servers to ad servers, so going "Allow mainsite.com" doesn't show or change anything. So then you go "Allow msitecdn.com" and half the article becomes visible, but with no pictures. So then you go "Allow mainsite-imgsrv.com" and some of the pictures appear, but the video box is still empty. So then you go "Allow msvidstream.com"... You get the idea.

And I wish websites would STOP FUCKING DOING THIS SHIT. Fetch your fucking data from one domain FFS. You CAN load-balance without needing a nation's worth of fucking domain names to do it in. I do it all the time on my websites, and I also display enough content without Javascript on my sites that do require it, to give the viewer a reason to enable it over and above that mere "You must enable Javascript" bullshit.

But in the end, these sites still get enough traffic from all the sheeple that don't give a shit about Javascript control that guys like me boycotting them doesn't make any difference.

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OFFICIAL SCIENCE: Men are freezing women out of the workplace

Steven Roper
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Re: Why?

It's called clickbait.

It worked on me too. I thought it would be some feminist ranting about the patriarchy raping women with thermostats, so I came in here spoiling for a fight. But no, it's just commentary about men and women reacting differently to office temperatures. But a headline like that made me look, and made you look, and made us both comment, so it did its job. Clickbait.

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Traumatised Reg SPB team barely survives movie unwatchablathon

Steven Roper
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How the hell

do you do an entire article and 2 pages with 64 comments about the world's worst movies, and not have a single mention of Uwe Boll's or M. Night Shyamalan's names anywhere?

I suppose the only valid explanation for this omission is that their movies are so brain-burstingly bad, that the memory-erasure survival mechanism alluded to by multiple commenters here has completely deleted any such experience of these two producers' movies from everyone's minds.

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Anti-gay Indiana starts backtracking on hated law after tech pressure

Steven Roper
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A very clever piece of social engineering by these corporations

If you want to piss all over the democratic process, take direct control of legislative and governmental processes, and turn your democracy into plutocracy:

1. Wait until a government passes a law or regulation that pisses off the tolerance crowd.

2. Threaten sanctions against said government unless it falls into line with the demands of said tolerance crowd.

3. Smear anyone who calls out this attempted political takeover as racist/sexist/misogynist/homophobe/xenophobe/[insert PC buzzword of choice]/etc.

4. Enjoy the political precedent you've set in the popular consciousness that big corporations are the good guys and should be allowed, nay encouraged, to meddle in political processes.

5. ???

6. PROFIT!

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Europe could be drowned in 'worthless pop culture' thanks to EU copyright plans

Steven Roper
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Re: 70 years after the author's death

Nah, just be honest and make a law that states that any creative work released at or after the creation of Mickey Mouse remains in copyright until the heat death of the universe. After all, that's what these ridiculous copyright extensions are really about.

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Why does the NSA's boss care so much about backdoors when he can just steal all our encryption keys?

Steven Roper
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And that's even assuming that the NSA of today doesn't eventually morph into the NSDAP of tomorrow.

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Diablo escapes from patent hell, condemns Netlist to legal purgatory

Steven Roper
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Oops...

Should've sued them in Texas!

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Marathon race ace FOUND ON MARS – NASA boffins overjoyed

Steven Roper
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Roughly 35 million dollars per mile

So, about the same mileage costs as your average American SUV then.

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Steven Roper
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Given that the Earth is rather larger than Mars, a quick desktop calculation shows that 26 miles is 1/819 of the way around Mars' circumference. Plugging that back into Earth's circumference means the equivalent coverage of Earth is about 48.9 miles. Still only a tiny percentage though!

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NetApp: Don’t know about the hybrid cloud? Then you’re a dummy

Steven Roper
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Re: The cloud...

"Don't worry. I tried to explain some benefits of cloud in another post and got downvoted. Genuinely don't know why."

Then let me explain cloud avoidance in simple layman's terms:

One, I don't control the box the data is stored in, and therefore who can get to it. Two, I don't want my data held to ransom for whatever monthly fee you choose to charge me to access it. Capiche?

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This is what happens when a judge in New York orders an e-hit on a Chinese software biz

Steven Roper
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Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand

there's the MAFIAA shill...

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Steven Roper
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...marking it out as a company that consumers should be more cautious about.

On the contrary - it marks it out as a company that has the guts and balls not to cave to the fucking Yanks and their bully-boy politics, and therefore marks it out as a company I should be pleased to do business with.

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Google Glass NOT DEAD. We're just making it 'ready' says chief

Steven Roper
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@Jason Bloomberg Re: something like glass has its applications

Movies portraying VR/AR in science fiction rarely, if ever, touched on the invasive corporate monitoring aspects of it, or if they did, they did so only the the most abstract sense. This is why the applications of face-recognition and metadata correlation seem to have taken everyone by surprise. It is this aspect, this misuse of the technology and not the technology itself, that brought about the global hostility to Glass.

It's not just that Glass was a wearable semi-hidden camera; it was the face-recognition software behind the camera and the fact of Google tracking everyone though it that was the main driver of opposition against it. Had corporations like Google NOT pursued this "we want to spy on everything you do so we can discover all your psychological weaknesses and exploit them for profit" mentality, had the Glass device used only local storage and allowed the user to control what data went where, I believe there would not have been such a hostile reaction.

Nobody likes to be spied on, no matter how noble the intentions of those doing the spying might be. Nobody likes to have their weaknesses probed so they can be more easily manipulated, especially when those doing the manipulating are solely interested in milking you for as much money as they can squeeze out of you. That's exactly what the marketing industry is all about - finding ways to bypass conscious decision-making processes in order to make people want to buy something.

And then there's the intelligence and police agencies, all scrambling for the delicious absolute surveillance and control this technology imposes, who are ostensibly there to protect us, but from what? They are there to enforce the laws, and that is all, and with the laws being less and less about mandating civilised behaviour and more and more about protecting the rich and increasing corporate profits at the expense of every other liberty we hold dear, who are those agencies really fighting for? Not our freedom, that's for sure. Not for a long time.

Everyone knows this, subconsciously if not consciously, and that is why any such technology will now be vigorously opposed no matter what form it takes. The technological utopias imagined by sci-fi authors aren't going to happen, not now, not ever. Corporate greed and intelligence-agency megalomania have seen to that.

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Woman caught on CCTV performing drunken BJ blew right to privacy

Steven Roper
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Re: Rape!

I've long noted the the most bigoted misandrists are mainly men, and you're a prime example. I really hope you end up falsely accused of rape or molestation and have your fucking life ruined as you so richly deserve. Filthy PC suck-up cockroaches like you are the ones undermining real efforts to fight injustice, by causing people to backlash against genuine equality movements. Spewing bigoted male-hate like you are doing is exactly what makes people think wrongly that equal-rights movements are all about hating on whites and males instead of achieving real equality, and so they naturally fight back with even more bigotry.

So do the world a favour and just shut your fucking sanctimonious mouth, and let the reformers who actually possess more than one brain cell do their job. You aren't helping women or any other victims of injustice in your crusade to show how politically correct you are, and you're hampering real efforts to achieve equal treatment for everyone.

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Man hauled before beak for using drone to film Premiership matches

Steven Roper
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Trollface

Re: Ban them.

Nicely trolled David, you reeled in a right bagload, good job mate!

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German court slaps down Uber's ride-sharing app

Steven Roper
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Re: Crystal Ball Gazing

"Under the terms of Transatlantic trade treaty legislation Your law stops us from conducting our business in the way we (Americans ) want..."

Sounds like you fellas have been saddled with the same treasonous sellout of your national sovereignty to American corporations as we have here in Australia with the TPP. Any national government signing these fucking trade agreements should be collectively charged with high treason.

And America scratches its head and wonders why the rest of the world hates its fucking guts.

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Steven Roper
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Re: I can't wait....

"Hi! I'm Johnnycab! Where can I take you tonight?"

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Banks defend integrity of passcode-less TouchID login

Steven Roper
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You don't have to render anyone unconscious or take them to hotel

"I can imagine the situation in which a fraudster meets someone in a bar..."

... and says "Hi, didn't we meet at blahblah last year," buys them a drink, and gets their fingerprints off the glass. And then uses it not just for accessing bank accounts, but for identity theft in general, since more and more organisations are relying on biometrics like fingerprints these days.

The problem then becomes obvious: biometrics can't be changed like stolen cards and tax file numbers. So once someone has your fingerprints, retina scans, voiceprint, whatever, and is using them to commit criminal acts, you're fucked for the rest of your life.

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Insert coin to continue: GameOver ZeuS zombie MUTATES, shuffles back to its feet

Steven Roper
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Never mind a sex change, these vermin incense me to the point where I want to advocate bringing back hanging, drawing and quartering.

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Steven Roper
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Re: Takedowns

" that botnet takedowns could only deliver a coup de grâce if bot masters were PUBLICLY executed."

There, fixed that for you again!

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Cisco posts kit to empty houses to dodge NSA chop shops

Steven Roper
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@GameCoder Re: Forgetting the spy angle

There's a reason why compromised hardware is a much bigger concern than TLAs sneaking agents into your executive structure.

Agents are expensive, and take a lot of effort to insert and maintain. The old adage about "for every sword raised at the front ten backs must bend in the field" applies equally in this case as well - for every agent in place, a support staff back at HQ has to be maintained to receive the agent's information, process it, and provide the agent with intel and orders.

So this would only be a concern for big players. I'd be surprised if there weren't various TLA agents at or near the top of corporations like Microsoft, Amazon, Google and even Cisco. But the chances of ASIO going to the trouble of inserting an agent into our little back-street SMB are vanishingly small.

Not so with hardware. Automated information processing is a far more serious threat to privacy, confidentiality and even liberty than any amount of manned spying, because it is far cheaper than manpower and a lot more global in scope.

Consider a parallel: face-recognition software vs. a room full of security bods at a CCTV control centre. Security bods can't watch everyone all the time; they have a list of photos of wanted criminals and scan the camera feeds for them, ignoring everyone else. But face-recognition software tracks everyone, everywhere, all the time. And all it has to store is the metadata: Citizen 17548923 identified via Camera 6485 at Lat 34°55'22.7" S Lon 138°35'58.9" E on 2015-03-07 06:33:45 UTC. So it isn't about having to keep years of AV footage - such metadata can easily be retained on everyone for many years simply because it reveals a lot without taking up much storage.

In the same way, hardware backdoors allowing remote software to regularly collect data means it doesn't matter if a human is looking at or using your information. Software analysis is a much greater threat than human observation, simply because it is orders of magnitude cheaper, more thorough, ubiquitous and far-reaching.

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On 50th anniversary of first spacewalk, Aurorae light up two planets

Steven Roper
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Aurora on Mars?

I thought Mars didn't have a magnetic field, which is essential to the formation of aurorae. Although if it does, I can see how the aurora would reach much deeper into the atmosphere than on Earth, since the aurorae can only occur in low-pressure, rarefied gases - and the Martian atmosphere is rarefied enough that an aurora could get much closer to the surface. That would be a sight to see for an astronaut on the ground! How interesting.

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Sick of these new dot-words? Join the .club – it's the only one challenging .com

Steven Roper
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Value of dot-coms falling

"That's 55 percent: a high figure, and could well point to the fact that the value of dot-coms is falling."

Not at all surprised that the value of dotcoms is still falling, and that's even since the dotcom bubble of the 90s. The cybersquatters domain investors have only themselves to blame: people learned many years ago that searching for stuff on the internet by typing "<subject I'm interested in>.com" into the browser address bar was the worst possible way to do it, simply because such efforts invariably led to a parking page devoid of anything useful, offering the domain for sale - or more likely, some spammer's malware-ridden link farm.

These days, few people remember what or where the address bar even is; most people now simply type what they want into Google* and click the result links - or they follow links posted by their friends on Facebook. Consequently, the domain name is no longer as relevant as it used to be, and these days it doesn't matter if your company has to use something like thisisaverylongdomainnametotypeintoyourbrowseraddressbar.com, since the major driver of traffic now is search engine rank and social media referrals, not so much "accidental drive-by" traffic.

These days, you don't tell people to "point their browser" to your domain, you just tell them to "find us on Facebook" and link them to your site from there.

*How many times have you given someone a domain name only to see them type it into the search box instead of the address bar and then click the search result from there?

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Adobe: Flash, pah. Look, we're doing just fine in the cloud, thank you

Steven Roper
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Re: I am one of these

Until you move to a different company, or your employer changes policy and starts expecting employees to pay their own subs, or Adobe decides to jack up the pricing once it has everyone's work to ransom, and then one day you'll find that all your work for the past however-many-years is no longer accessible or editable. You might not find it such value for money then.

Enjoy. You'll learn. Most likely the hard way. But I, and I'm sure many others, would prefer it if you'd kindly not take the rest of us, who prefer to retain control of our own software assets and data, down with you by funding this execrable rentism business model.

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Microsoft shows off South Korean PC-on-a-stick

Steven Roper
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Re: lucomsamerica.com

Getting a site translated professionally is time-consuming and expensive. Getting some underpaid subaltern to whack your Asian-language website through Google Translate is much quicker and cheaper. And with the level of grammatical idiocy displayed by the majority of the English-speaking population, I doubt they lose much business due to the appalling grammar. Most of their customers are probably so used to badly-translated Asian sites that they no longer even notice.

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Boffins build Cyborg beetles, fly them by remote control

Steven Roper
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Re: Headline

"It's a sign of the times that commenters on a tech site should be concerned about how bugs in an experiment feel."

For me it's not so much about how the bugs might feel, but more about the dangerous slippery slope* that this kind of research and experimentation entails. Inevitably, research that starts with doing things to bugs, soon moves on to frogs, then rodents, then monkeys, and eventually human beings. And of course there are all kinds of justifications for it; in this case "search and rescue," a nice populist application to soothe the uneasiness that people feel about the idea of developing technology that allows people to directly control the actions of other living things. After all, if it's a case of a bug being used to save a life then what's wrong with it being a frog? Or a mouse? Or a monkey? Where does the justification stop?

Even if you say, well it would stop short of human beings, there is still the fact that if it can be done to a monkey, someone somewhere in the world will apply it to human beings, legally or illegally, regardless of legislative frameworks. What matters is not whether it will be done, what matters is simply that it can.

Furthermore, coupled with the advent of indetectable and invasive nanotechnology, this sort of thing has the potential to become something truly horrific. If you look at issues such as contemporary slavery, which is unfortunately prevalent even in supposedly free nations, you can begin to imagine some of the absolute horrors this kind of research could unleash.

For every worthwhile justification for such research, there are a dozen ways it can be misused. The question is, do the benefits it could confer outweigh the dangers represented by such research? This is the sort of thing that, like nuclear research, needs to be subject to strict controls imposed by an international regulatory body similar to the IAEA, and forcibly stopped the moment it advances to any creature more advanced than, say, a frog or a mouse - to ensure it can never be done to people.

*I find it interesting these days that the "slippery slope" argument is increasingly being dismissed as a logical fallacy alongside such expressions as "ad hominem" and "appeal to authority". I suspect this is a particularly nasty piece of social engineering being employed by certain elements of society to dismiss concerns about not only the misuse of technology, but such things as invasive surveillance and far-reaching police powers, etc. etc.

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Internet Explorer LIVES ON, cackle sneaky Microsoft engineers

Steven Roper
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Re: Hmm...

If my bank insisted on my using a particular browser to access its site, I'd be switching banks in a big hurry. Designing a site only for a particular browser implies non-standard design practices that would inevitably result in serious security vulnerabilities, even leaving aside the element of lack of choice.

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CIOs: What tech will be running your organisation in 2020?

Steven Roper
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As IT manager for my company

I can say that we'll probably be running much the same tech as we are running now, and have been for the last 10 years.

Our main office server box is 2006 vintage, and had a motherboard and CPU upgrade in 2010. The office machines date from 2004 - 2009, the art room roughly the same period, albeit they had motherboard/CPU upgrades in 2012, and only one new art/design machine (an AMD 8-core) was purchased last year.

On the mobile front, we're using Toshiba laptops and Samsung Slates with Windows 7 circa 2012ish, and Galaxy S4s with Android circa 2013. (And we have one Apple iPad I'm ashamed to say, but that's solely used for testing to make sure our websites and ebooks work on iThings. We do have an elaborate office cleansing ritual for those forced to use it! ;) )

All of it does everything we need it to reliably, and everything is a known quantity that everyone knows how to use effectively.

With the flattening of Moore's law over the last several years (CPU power and storage sizes have stopped increasing exponentially), unless some earth-shattering new technology like holodecks or transhuman consciousness-uploading tech appears in the next 5 years, I can't see us using anything vastly different to what we're using today. Probably there'll be a few more minor hardware upgrades but that's abut it.

If it ain't broke, why fix it?

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Battle for control of Earth's unconnected souls moves to SPAAAACE

Steven Roper
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Re: Foundation

Let's hope the story does turn out to be an Arthur C. Clarke novel and not a George Orwell one.

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Steven Roper
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Re: Did I miss....

"I don't like this expression 'First World Problems.' It is false and it is condescending. Yes, Nigerians struggle with floods or infant mortality. But these same Nigerians also deal with mundane and seemingly luxurious hassles. Connectivity issues on your BlackBerry, cost of car repair, how to sync your iPad, what brand of noodles to buy: Third World Problems.

All the silly stuff of life doesn't disappear just because you're black and live in a poorer country. People in the richer nations need a more robust sense of the lives being lived in the darker nations.

Here's a First World problem: the inability to see that others are as fully complex and as keen on technology and pleasure as you are."

-Teju Cole.

So you see, Hans, that while you might think you're being all sensitive and politically-correct by arguing to defer all other solutions in favour of eradicating poverty and starvation, in fact you are showing your ignorance and bigotry by assuming that people in Africa are only concerned with basic survival, rather than communication and wanting to be a part of the larger world.

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Google MURDERS Google Code, orders everyone out to GitHub and co

Steven Roper
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@AC Re: My advice would be...

The reason why that is in there is presumably because there is an assumption that one cannot imagine an internet without "google search".

Actually I made that qualification not because I can't imagine an internet without it, but because it's the one service they can't pull - it's their bread and butter. I personally use DuckDuckGo most of the time, but DDG's lack of tracking and search history is both a benefit and a pitfall. Sometimes I want localised results based on my search history and for that I go to Google. But yes, for everything else it's DDG.

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Steven Roper
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My advice would be never to start using any Google service other than basic search for anything important in the first place. I learned years ago the perils of coming to rely on a Google service only to have it yanked out from under you a couple of years later. I'll never rely on them again.

Incidentally, I wonder how long it will be before they yank Google Analytics and a billion webmasters cry out in terror before being suddenly silenced. Notwithstanding that GA is already blocked by a host of privacy tools, that and Google's notorious unreliability, are why our websites use only our own in-house analytics code.

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Alibaba hopes to roll net-connected car out of the cave

Steven Roper
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If any country needs automated cars

it's China. They have far too many people to be let loose on the roads as they are. If you've ever seen pictures of that new massive freeway they built, that at 250 km long, has since become the world's largest car park, you can understand why.

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Pathetic PC sales just cost us a BILLION dollars, cries Intel

Steven Roper
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I think the main reasons businesses aren't upgrading are twofold:

1. Our systems work, they satisfy all our present and foreseeable needs, our staff know how to use everything and we can provide our customers with the level of service they've come to expect form us. If we upgrade, we have to retrain all our staff to use the new interfaces Microsoft have foisted on us and we have to iron all the bugs out of the new systems. Ours ain't broke, so we ain't gonna fix 'em.

2. RENTISM IS NOT A BUSINESS MODEL WE WILL EVER ACCEPT. We are not, under any circumstances whatsoever, going to be put in a position where we have to continuously pay every month to continue to use software we've already paid for once. Microsoft can stick their Office 365 rentism scheme sideways into the most painful orifice they can find on their worthless, greedy arseholes, because we are not going to be put in a position where they can hold all our work and data to ransom unless we pay whatever they demand every month to keep using it.

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Does my star look big in this? Milky Way 50 per cent fatter than expected

Steven Roper
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So if our glalaxy is 1.5x bigger than we thought

does this mean we're bigger than the Andromeda Galaxy now?

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$1.3 million survelliance systems fights Logan bogans

Steven Roper
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Bananas one day, police state the next

I've long considered Queensland to be Australia's answer to North Korea, ever since the Bjelke-Petersen days. What with his gerrymandering, their barely-shy-of-death-penalty marijuana laws, then their draconian if-you-know-a-bikie-you're-also-guilty laws, and now this, I have a sackful of very good reasons why I would never cross South Australia's northeastern border!

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