* Posts by Steve Knox

1651 posts • joined 16 Jul 2011

EMC creates a Star Trek holodeck ... and uses it to simulate a data center

Steve Knox
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Scale...?

What kind of hardware do you need to run this?

At what point do you need a datacenter to hold the machines running the simulation of your datacenter?

How do you simulate that datacenter?

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Random ideas sought to improve cryptography

Steve Knox
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Joke

Well, there's your problem!

“When you’re assessing your process for generating randomness, you want to make sure nothing is broken and that it is performing consistently.”

Shurely you want your random number generator to perform inconsistently?

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Apple backs down from barring widow her dead husband's passwords

Steve Knox
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Megaphone

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me this is just lost in translation!

[A]n Apple staffer told her they would need a court order to hand over the password.

PLEASE tell me this is actually about resetting a password, not retrieving a password.

If Apple staff are actually able to retrieve users' passwords, then Apple security is hopelessly broken.

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For fsck's SAKKE: GCHQ-built phone voice encryption has massive backdoor – researcher

Steve Knox
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"government-grade security"

After considering the effectiveness of government in other areas, I see no contradiction here.

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Swivel on this: German boffins build nanoscale screwing engine for sluggish sperm

Steve Knox
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Re: Instead of artificial insemination?

Directly from the article:

You might ask why bother? After all, our sperm have been doing this for eons without mechanical assistance. But the technique could prove very useful for infertile couples, since 20 per cent of men have sperm that isn't very good at swimming, leading to some fertilization techniques to only have a 30 per cent success rate.

Or to directly answer your point, artificial insemination may seem more reliable, but that's because you (as you admit) don't know how reliable it is. I'm not judging you for this: I don't either. But that's the point of science: don't accept "seems" -- if you don't know, find out.

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Fortinet tries to explain weird SSH 'backdoor' discovered in firewalls

Steve Knox
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Meh

Re: Time to update contract language?

"- Vendor certifies that the Equipment herein described, is free of hard-coded credentials and other access bypass mechanisms to the best of their knowledge, and has passed an independent security audit"

"...to the best of their knowledge..."

The contracts will be signed by sales droids.

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Philae's phinal phling: Germans made weekend spin-up attempt

Steve Knox
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Headmaster

DLR boffins aren't optimistic: it's known that one of the the craft's two radios are broken and that the remaining radios aren't fully functional.

The one remaining radios?

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Death Stars are a waste of time – here's the best way to take over the galaxy

Steve Knox
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Re: reminded of ...

similar to...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kardashian_scale

(rating celestial bodies based on dorsal mass distribution)

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Kiwi judge rules Kim Dotcom can be extradited to USA

Steve Knox
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Headmaster

Re: Fair Trial

In all of these cases the US seems to be acting in a draconian and empirical manner.

So their actions are entirely based on observable facts? No worries,then!

Perhaps you meant imperial or imperious?

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Steve Knox
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Re: Huh, Wha'?

Ooh, good. That means that, since Donald Trump's speeches are broadcast in the UK, we can put out an arrest warrant for hate speech, and ask the US for extradition? No?

YES. DO IT NOW. TAKE HIM, PLEASE.

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Facebook arrives at commonsense 'real names' policy

Steve Knox
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Re: 70's

No, the 70's. 70 AD to 79 AD.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BE9fN79Q0-Y

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France says 'non' to Wi-Fi and Tor restrictions after terror attack

Steve Knox
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Holmes

Re: comments on ending comment

The term "cheese eating surrender monkeys" originated from an episode of "The Simpsons," a popular comedy show in the US. How fitting. Its easy to lob insults from 1000's of miles away.

Yes, it did originate there. And it was satire there as well as here. How interesting that you missed that point both times.

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Volkswagen blames emissions cheating on 'chain of errors'

Steve Knox
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Holmes

Re: These is no such thing as a "Defeat Device"

"rather sensibly manages the engine performance and emissions in a manner most befitting the task at hand."

Since the emissions are supposed to be under the limit even when "the driver puts his foot down on the open road", when "the engine management software delivers at the expense of pushing out lots and lots of nasty emissions" it is by definition not sensibly managing emissions.

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Chinese cyber chief plays down censorship concerns

Steve Knox
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Facepalm

"my house"

So he owns and resides in all of China?

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Lock up your top-of-racks, says Cisco, there's a bug in the USB code

Steve Knox
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Paris Hilton

Re: This is not just a security problem

"unknown error"

This one always gets me. Is an unknown error better or worse than a known error?

On the one hand, how does the software know there's an error if the error's unknown?

On the other hand, if the error's known, why didn't the developer fix it before shipping the software?

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Steve Knox
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WTF?

"There are no workarounds that mitigate this vulnerability."

They shipped a product with a USB port and no way to disable the USB port in hardware, firmware, or software?

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BOFH: Taking a spin in a decommissioned racer? On your own grill cam be it

Steve Knox
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European Patent Office fires up lawyers over claims of cosy love-in with Microsoft

Steve Knox
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Holmes

Re: Are you kidding me?!

"The US patent system is significantly cheaper and more efficient. Just let that sink in."

The USPTO is a rubber stamping machine.

Yes, but it's a very cheap and efficient rubber stamping machine.

They use the well known "award the patent and let the courts sort them out" approach.

Do you know a cheaper and/or more efficient method? Perhaps you should patent it.

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Rooting and modding a Windows Phone is now child's play

Steve Knox
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Paris Hilton

Re: You're fired

So you allow people to bring their own devices*, and then sack them for treating their own devices as their own?

* And by "allow people to bring their own devices", I of course mean "force people to use their own devices for company work because your company is too cheap to provide them with resources adequate to the work it requires of them."

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Steve Knox
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Re: Phones should not have to be rooted

If unregulated handset modification by amateurs becomes the norm then the chances of picking up a phone and being confident of successfully placing an emergency call diminishes.

Sure. By perhaps 0.0001%. The primary purpose of modding is not to remove features like emergency calling, and the changes made by modders are unlikely to affect that particular function.

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HTTPSohopeless: 26,000 Telstra Cisco boxen open to device hijacking

Steve Knox
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Re: Is there a workaround or isn't there?

Because if one of the biggest names on the Internet is selling eternally-vulnerable unpatchable hardware, what does that say of every other supplier on the market?

Absolutely nothing.

You're making two mistakes here; you're assuming that current company size is positively correlated with current product quality*, and presuming that, because a member of a set demonstrates a particular quality, all other members of that set must demonstrate the same quality**.

* For simple counterexamples, consider the cases of Wal-Mart and McDonalds.

** If these companies were people, and their industry were their race, that would make you a racist. But they're not, and it isn't, so you're not.

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Who owns space? Looking at the US asteroid-mining act

Steve Knox
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Facepalm

Re: Let's get real

It doesn't specify who gets to claim what or if you have to land on it to claim it.

I suppose I can't blame you entirely for getting that entirely wrong, because the original article didn't bother linking to the proposed act properly. Instead they link to a NASA page which contains an overview of the previous space acts.

For reference, here's the actual act we're talking about: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2262/text, straight from the horse's mouth.

And here's the relevant section which has got all your knickers in a twist:

Ҥ 51303. Asteroid resource and space resource rights

“A United States citizen engaged in commercial recovery of an asteroid resource or a space resource under this chapter shall be entitled to any asteroid resource or space resource obtained, including to possess, own, transport, use, and sell the asteroid resource or space resource obtained in accordance with applicable law, including the international obligations of the United States.”.

Notice two key points: "...entitletd to any asteroid or space resource obtained..." and "... in accordance with applicable law, including the international obligations of the United States."

So 1) they have to obtain the resource before claiming ownership of it, and 2) this does not supersede any international law.

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RAF web survey asks for bank details via unencrypted email

Steve Knox
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Re: EEEEE

I'm just talking about requiring SSL/TLS for every SMTP connection between mail clients, servers, and routers and encrypting datastores.

Most* of the time this does happen in the real world so, y'know.

Perhaps less than you think. I used to work for a small community bank here in the States, and one of my jobs was testing and verifying this very encryption between the bank and its service providers (to prevent the chance of sending a customer's sensitive data unencrypted.)

I saw about a 75% encryption rate**. The most glaring exception? Google. Every time a message went through Google -- even when they accepted it via a TLS-encrypted connection, it was shunted between several of their servers in plaintext, then passed on. They used encryption into their network and out from their network but not internally.

Now this was a few years ago, so maybe they've fixed this, but I learned then not to assume that just because the technology is widely available, that it's widely in use.

**Google's Transparency Report includes a section on this: https://www.google.com/transparencyreport/saferemail/ and their current numbers are roughly in line with what I found two years ago.

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Steve Knox
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Facepalm

EEEEE

This wouldn't be as much* of a problem if we had end-to-end e-mail encryption everywhere.

I'm not even talking forcing users to use PGP or similar (though that would help more.) I'm just talking about requiring SSL/TLS for every SMTP connection between mail clients, servers, and routers and encrypting datastores.

The technology to accomplish this is ages old at this point. We've got the computing power, we've got the bandwidth, storage is cheap enough. What's missing, except for companies that actually care about their customers' privacy?

* (Still somewhat of a problem because if you're not encrypting with your own private key, a bad actor with internal access could get your data.)

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Hacker predicts AMEX card numbers, bypasses chip and PIN

Steve Knox
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Holmes

"posting someone else's story with your own slant"

Also known as "99.999% of journalism."

Seriously, they're a tech rag, and this is a tech story. Which exactly would you prefer, that they ignore a story squarely in their domain simply because someone else already reported it, or that they copy it more precisely and don't add their own slant?

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Nest defends web CCTV Cam amid unstoppable 24/7 surveillance fears

Steve Knox
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Boffin

Re: So...

"Ford flipped the switch which he saw was marked 'Mode Execute Ready' instead of the now old-fashioned 'Access Standby' that had so long ago replaced the appallingly stone-aged 'Off.'"

-- Douglas Adams, So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish

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Seized: Fake EFF .org linked to hackers hitting NATO, White House PCs

Steve Knox
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To Make It Clear Where to Go

Now that they're available, EFF should get their own global TLD. Then they can make sure that people know they are visiting the "Official (electronic) Frontier Foundation".

All you need to remember is to type eff.off in your address bar, and you can trust that you're in the right place.

Then they can simplify all of their literature to just tell people to go eff.off.

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Adobe releases out-of-band security patches – amazingly not for Flash

Steve Knox
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Wow!

Amazing! People still use ColdFusion!?

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iPad data entry errors caused plane to strike runway during takeoff

Steve Knox
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Why...

...are they manually entering measurable data?

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NoSQL: Injection vaccination for a new generation

Steve Knox
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Holmes

Re: It's not about the product

The reason why developers are giving users access to the DB is because of poorly trained, lazy and stupid DBAs who grant full access to developers...Security is the responsibility of the DBA.

NO. Security is the responsibility of EVERYONE. Yes, the DBA should not be allowing developers to set access controls. But even if a DBA makes such a mistake, that doesn't excuse the developers employing boneheaded programming practices that extend such weaknesses to the users.

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California cops pull over Google car for driving too SLOWLY

Steve Knox
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Holmes

Re: Ran this through Google Translate:

If the electronics were up to the task, "the car did something stupid" "going at 60mph" would be an impossible situation.

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Steve Knox
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Ran this through Google Translate:

"We've capped the speed of our prototype vehicles at 25mph for safety reasons. We want them to feel friendly and approachable, rather than zooming scarily through neighborhood streets."

Translation:

"Our cars' decision processing can't work fast enough to run consistently over 25mph, but we don't want to admit how bad they actually are, so we came up with this touchy-feely explanation we hope will mollify enough of the stupid."

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ProtonMail DDoS wipeout: Day 6. Yes, we're still under attack

Steve Knox
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Re: It's time to update SMTP to make end to end encryption default

That way there would be no point in NSA or the like hitting anybody.

Sure there would. This attack in particular is an example of something which would continue to be effective even with end-to-end encrypted SMTP everywhere.

This is a Distributed Denial-of-Service attack. The direct purpose of a DDoS is to make a service unavailable. While they are sometimes used to distract from other attacks, they are designed specifically to disrupt communications.

There is often benefit to state intelligence agencies simply to disrupt others' communications, and end-to-end e-mail encryption doesn't prevent DDoS attacks.

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Micron has three bits between its PC disk-killing flash teeth

Steve Knox
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Meh

Meh.

You can buy better-performing SSDs from Sandisk or Mushkin at the same price. Or you can buy a similar-sized, albeit slower, WD HDD for 1/6th the price.

Disk-replacing? I hardly think so. These are low-end SSDs being sold at the price range moderate-level SSDs have been sitting at for the past six months. They need to move the performance up or the price down.

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WoW! Want to beat Microsoft's Windows security defenses? Poke some 32-bit software

Steve Knox
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Meh

Re: Damned if you do, damned if you don't

Running 64-bit native may be nice for system security but when a 64-bit program goes buggy, say goodbye to your overall system stability (go on, crash Photoshop 64, I dare ye!)

I think that says more about the bugginess of Adobe software in general and PS64 in particular than about the relative merits of 64-bit vs 32-bit operating environments. If you have specific evidence that the 64-bit OS is responsible as opposed to PS64, feel free to provide it.

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Web giants, Sir Tim slam Europe's net neutrality rules on eve of vote

Steve Knox
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Facepalm

Class-based throttling: Currently the rules would allow ISPs to define certain classes or content and speed up or slow down traffic in those classes. Critics argue that not only would this almost guarantee the slower transfer of encrypted traffic (since it can't be read and hence classed),...

Critics are idiots. The packet type and transport metadata (upon which any efficient class-based packet prioritization system is built) of "encrypted" data is ... not encrypted. It can't be, because it would prevent the packet from making it from source to destination.

Deep packet inspection (wot would fail on encrypted packets) is undesirable as it requires scanning the whole payload every time.

No, the real problem with class-based throttling is that 90% of internet traffic falls into one class: HTTP/HTTPS, because sloppy web designers are pushing everything from binary file downloads to streaming video to VPN services over a single protocol designed specifically for text transfer*.

Putting, for example, file downloads back into FTP/FTPS/SFTP would not only allow them to be prioritized differently from HTTP/S more efficiently even when encrypted, but would allow for class-based optimizations within client and server as well. But that would require intelligent design.

* Or, more accurately, a single protocol ostensibly designed for text transfer, but which is actually just a hack of a hack of telnet.

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We can't all live by taking in each others' washing

Steve Knox
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Holmes

The harm is that if vacuous bullshit is allowed to be published, then a number of uncritical airheads will assume it is correct and uncritically follow it.

And yet, here you are, posting these comments. And El Reg is allowing them to be published.

My view is members of such brain-washing syndicates should be metaphorically lined against a wall and shot.

And once you've disenfranchised those people for no other crimes than speaking their minds collectively, and believing something other than you do, where then will you target your unbridled aggression?

I'm not going to argue with you about the value of Worstall's pieces here -- not because I agree with you, but because you've shown yourself to be unreceptive to differences of opinion.

But differences of opinion aside, "vacuous bullshit" has always been allowed to be published*, and a small fraction of the populace has always believed what they read uncritically. This has yet to destroy the world.

* cf the original product of Gutenberg, et al.

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IoT's sub-GHz 802.11ah Wi-Fi will be dead on arrival, warn analysts

Steve Knox
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Paris Hilton

900Mhz?

Will it connect to my '90s cordless phone?

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Ireland moves to scrap 1 and 2 cent coins

Steve Knox
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Re: Finland did this ages ago

Why don't the EU just introduce the new eurocent, of which there are twenty per euro?

That would be the euroviginti.

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Guess who owns Netflix.news and Netflix.website – clue: definitely not Netflix

Steve Knox
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Paris Hilton

Huh?

The fact that the arbitration bodies benefit financially from finding in the trademark holders' favor through their fees has led to a long-standing criticism of the process that it is systemically biased against respondents.

According to the rules set forth here: http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/applicants/urs, the fee for the URS is nonrefundable. The arbitration body keeps it no matter which way it rules. The same holds for the appellate fee. The response fee, if applicable, is always remitted to the prevailing party; the arbitration body never keeps it.

How does this encourage bias? Is there a some document I've missed which allows an arbitration body to collect more in fees by ruling consistently for one party over another?

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Steve Knox
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Re: allowing .everything is .ridiculous

Why?

It's a nice little assertion you've got there, but you've not backed it up with anything except implicit ad hominem.

Apart from saving a small amount of typing, how does x.anything differ from x.anything.com, which has always been available?

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Boffins: We know what KILLED the DINOS – and it wasn't just an asteroid

Steve Knox
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Re: Idea for a new sitcom

Especially the Silurians.

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Steve Knox
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Re: Naaah

Step 1. Stop commenting as AC. Anonymous comments don't count towards your comment tally:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/01/register_comments_guidelines/#anon

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Roku 4 specs leak: Yes, it's got 4K streaming and a games controller

Steve Knox
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Mushroom

OH FFS!

If you're going to push a screenshot with text, don't shrink it down to an unreadable size, and FOR THE LOVE OF * DO NOT USE .JPG FOR TEXT.

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iOS 9 security blooper lets you BYPASS PINs, eye up photos, contacts

Steve Knox
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Holmes

Re: How the hell did they figure that out

No, they didn't have the time. They had to ask Siri for it. That's how they found the bug.

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It's alive! Farmer hides neglected, dust-clogged server between walls

Steve Knox
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Happy

Re: On failure...

We don't need no ventilation

We don't need no temp control

No circulation in the wall space

Farmers leave that box alone

Hey farmer leave that box alone!

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You want the poor to have more money? Well, doh! Splash the cash

Steve Knox
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Facepalm

Re: The child sized elephant in the room

The one thing I remain continually surprised at is that in this day and age, as advanced as we consider ourselves as a species, the concept of having children as a choice that people make rather than a state that they suddenly find themselves in remains so elusive to us.

We have plenty of ways to prevent or terminate unplanned pregnancies. We have informational and planning resource. We have laws against rape and support groups. We have all of the tools necessary to ensure that no child is born except to people who choose to have a child.

Yet due to outdated patriarchal pro-reproductive moral frameworks, we vilify rape victims, fight against both contraceptive programs and abortion rights, and work to prevent those of us who are least prepared to handle their new sexual maturity from understanding and being able to manage the consequences of sex.

Slightly off-topic, I guess, but my point is that the problem of children isn't really relevant to the discussion of redistribution of wealth, but is its own problem rooted in our society's inability to progress past a moral framework constructed thousands of years ago for a small nomadic population in which women were reproductive resources and every birth was necessary for the survival of the society.

/rant

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Volkswagen used software to CHEAT on AIR POLLUTION tests, alleges US gov

Steve Knox
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Re: fictitious MPG figures

Well, the FTC could get involved, but not for the MPG figures -- those are the remit of the EPA, not the FTC. However, VW specifically marketed their TDI series in the US as "Clean Diesel" -- pretty much the opposite of what they apparently are. So they could theoretically open an investigation of unfair or deceptive trade practices.

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Banks team to paint shared target on Target

Steve Knox
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Re: Not surprised

I'm sure that some of the bigger investors will be screaming that it's cheaper to have security than payouts for the damage. Probably the same investors who, a couple of years ago, would have been screaming "you paid how much for network security? Why? That money should have come to us!"

And the very same investors who, in a couple years, will be screaming "you paid how much for network security? Why? That money should have come to us!"

Capitalism's good at a lot of things. Learning lessons, not so much.

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Let's Encrypt certificate authority signs first cert

Steve Knox
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Facepalm

It's free! It's automated! It's open-source!

What it needs is a tech-savvy *cough*, popular *cough*, well-respected *well, two out of three, anyway...* tech news site as a client to really get the ball rolling...

https://www.theregister.co.uk

...

*sigh*

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