* Posts by Ken Hagan

5122 posts • joined 14 Jun 2007

India roasts as mercury hits 51°C

Ken Hagan
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Re: grandchildren

Whereas we ourselves worship *our* grandparents for the great wisdom with which they bestowed us a world full of racism, sexism, post-colonial despots, slow-burn civil wars and economic and political stagnation.

Except that we don't. We just pick up the pieces as best we can. Our own grandchildren will probably concede that we were better in some respects and worse in others, compared to both our grandparents and our grandchildren.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: This shows why...

Long enough to know that 51 degrees is a once-in-50-years kind of heatwave in that part of the world.

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Oculus backtracks on open software promise

Ken Hagan
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Re: Come on guys

"I'm old enough not to criticize someone for realising that life can require back peddling on idealism."

Well *I'm* old enough to criticize someone for promising something before they knew they could deliver it, and doing so because they knew the promise would encourage others to give their time and energy for free to help me make money.

It boils down to honesty and trust. The little guys in society still think these are important, even if the big players reckon they are out-dated hang-overs from a society that worried too much about how they were "handling the messaging".

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A UK digital driving licence: What could possibly go wrong?

Ken Hagan
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Re: It Bodes

"Surely the thief who stole your phone is just as likely to have stolen your wallet? "

At least with my wallet they actually have to be in the same physical location in order to steal it.

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Hacked in a public space? Thanks, HTTPS

Ken Hagan
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Re: if Google's private keys really WERE stolen...

It depends on how quickly Google learned about the theft and how quickly the revocation notice was picked up by the average Joe's machine. (I think browsers are better about this than they were ten years ago.) During that window, I think quite a lot of damage could be done. For starters, since Chrome is open source, it would presumably be possible to distribute a Trojan-ed version of Chrome that ignored the revocation notice.

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Ken Hagan
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"If I saw a padlock in my browser tab or HTTP for a HTTPS site like gmail, I would close the tab."

Sadly, I'd just assume that my browser authors had been dicking about with the UI again. There's probably a moral in there somewhere.

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Hmmm, where should I dump those unencrypted password files? I know - OneDrive

Ken Hagan
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Surely if there is no Microsoft account then One Drive refuses to store anything? Certainly on my PCs, One Drive just sulks in a corner, complaining occasionally that it can't do anything because I haven't molly-coddled it enough.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: BS!

You know something? They might just be in a position to benefit from what they say.

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IBM invents printer that checks for copyrights

Ken Hagan
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Re: prior art

Puh-leeze, Mr Hand. That's *one* document, precisely specified and stored locally on the device. If IBM are contemplating building a printer that already contains all possible copyrighted document images then I will eat my words, my hat, and probably all my toner cartidges just for the LOLs.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Won't sell may of these

If it is unviable then it is hard to see how the method could be "patent", in the original sense both of the word and the notion of patent protection. The fact that it is even possible to file this patent shows that the system is broken. As earlier comments have suggested, determining whether you have the right to print a document is clearly so far beyond the capabilities of even humans, let alone artificial intelligence, that this is the moral equivalent of patenting a perpetual motion device.

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Microsoft shifts Windows 7 and 8.1 fixes to 'rollup' bundles

Ken Hagan
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Re: Maybe this will enable the community to create a patch iso

"I would do it myself if I knew how."

The idea is nice, but it won't fly in real life. If you knew how, you could trust the result. Since you don't, do you really want to trust an ISO downloaded from a domain that you've never heard of before?

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China's new rules may break the internet warns US government

Ken Hagan
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Re: Are they just talking about .cn domain names?

Well quite! Chez moi, I have the final say in what gets in or out of my network. It doesn't seem to have broken the internet yet. I really can't see why the Chinese government should enjoy fewer freedoms in this respect than I do.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Kick em Off

"More IPV4 addresses for the rest of us!"

I thought China was one of the keener adopters of IPv6 precisely because of the shortage of IPv4 addresses in that part of the world.

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Ireland's international tech sector bumps up against language barrier

Ken Hagan
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"But once the UK leaves Europe, won't it make more sense to standardise on German?"

If we leave, English will be the *least* controversial choice. Also, most of those who can't speak the language properly will have left, too, so the standard of spoken English in the EU would rise.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Ireland & languages....

"especially where France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy interconnect"

Is that really surprising? Being able to speak three or four languages in such a region is both useful day-to-day and feasible to learn (given the opportunities for practice). In the UK and Ireland it is only useful if you have a job that requires it and you have to make the opportunities to learn. There's a similar situation in the US, except in the SW corner where (surprise!) there is rather more bilingualism.

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UK needs comp sci grads, so why isn't it hiring them?

Ken Hagan
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Re: CS vs IT = Architects vs Civil Engineers

But *good* architects make problems that engineers *can* solve.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: See wot I mean

The first four of those steps are the basis of most scientific discovery. Step 5 is then "figure out why the worse kludge worked" and is only performed if you have the luxury of time to learn. If your workplace (or university) doesn't give you time for step 5, you need to find one that does.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: uk recruiters

Hate to disappoint you, but the bookies (that is, people who actually stand to lose money if they get the prediction wrong) are offering odds that look more like a 2:1 victory for staying in. The only people predicting an even fight are the pollsters, who hardly have a stellar record in such things.

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Lloyds online banking goes TITSUP*

Ken Hagan
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Re: Main Website is Down.

I would be "disappointed" if *.lloydsbank.co.uk was not legit, but I share your concern at the principle of the thing.

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Inside Electric Mountain: Britain's biggest rechargeable battery

Ken Hagan
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Re: Now build a few dozen more...

"So given fossil is rapidly diminshing , are we all doomed or do you have any ideas?"

I think the informed green analysis is that fossil isn't diminishing and that's the problem. We have enough filthy coal to last for another century or two and these oil shaley thingies could keep us in CO2 for the rest of your lifetime.

For those who think this is a problem, might I recommend some nice nukes and a few facilities such as this one to balance the load? For those who don't think this is a problem, might I recommend the same, just so that there isn't a difficult decision to be made? For those who think this is a great opportunity to create a political bandwagon to ride on for a few years, might I suggest lots of renewables that neatly combine "appearing to do something" with "not actually solving the problem, thereby keeping the bandwagon rolling indefinitely".

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Ken Hagan
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To be fair, the Cornish are more Welsh than English.

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We're calling it: World hits peak Namey McNameface

Ken Hagan
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Re: Hits Peak

I think as long as we have left-over hippies from the 1960s prophesying Peak Oil, we have something that tops up the "Peak X" phrase. (If any aging hippies are reading this, btw, the problem is not Peak Oil, the problem is Not Peak Oil. The fossil fuels (to a first approximation) aren't going to run out.)

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Adobe...sigh...issues critical patch...sigh...for Flash Player zero day

Ken Hagan
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Re: Just how did this happen ?

Wikipedia has some historical remarks. It does appear that the product went through several names and companies as its owners decided what they wanted it to be for. Since its origins are around 1990, I imagine the implementation language was originally C, but back then it was easy (almost too easy) to flick a switch and start compiling your code as C++ in order to use lots of shiny language extensions, so I would also imagine it has been C++ for most of its life. ActionScript was apparently bolted on the side about 10 years after the original design.

In competent hands, this would mean that the product has been polished and refined over a quarter of a century and is now an absolutely fucking awesome model of how software should be constructed. (It is a pity that the product has to remain closed-source for commercial reasons, because it would be sooo cool to publish it.) Ports to other architectures have been reduced to switch-flicking. Any architectural flaws in the original design have been swept away and the development team probably still contains one or two of the original developers because why would you walk away from an easy job curating your very own cash cow?

The evidence suggests that it is more like the unwanted runt of the litter that was abused by various different groups, none of whom ever bothered to learn what they actually had before attempting major modifications. It's probably still written in 1990-style C and contains the left-overs of attempts to port to several new architectures that didn't quite work out. The current maintainers weren't even born when it was created and aren't really familiar with C programming, but fortunately it's a bit like Java so they are managing to get along.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: BBC HTML5

@Skoorb: Thanks for the link. My device probably falls into the category of "have to manually plug your own in" which means it'll have to wait until I have time to do the necessary googling, but at least I now have a lead to follow.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: BBC HTML5

Doesn't work on all platforms. Doesn't give any reason why when it doesn't, beyond "Your platform is not supported.". Otherwise I'm sure it is fine and more power to their elbows etc.

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IE and Graphics head Microsoft's Patch Tuesday critical list

Ken Hagan
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Yawn! For the umpteenth time ... Edge is not a clean build. Microsoft were very clear during the W10 beta program (when Edge was introduced) that they had started from the IE source code, identified features that were no longer part of HTML and which were particularly gnarly to implement, and removed support for those features. Therefore, the basic design of the code remains unchanged and nearly all of the code in Edge will be found almost as-is in IE.

To Microsoft's credit, they are at least trying to maintain an independent browser engine and thereby prevent Chrome turning into a monoculture. It's almost as though they have some prior knowledge of how bad that would be for everyone except the monoculturalist.

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Google asks Unicode to look over 13 new emoji showing professional women

Ken Hagan
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Re: hard 2 spel

But you'll struggle to find *anyone* who can "spell" an emoji, in the sense of hitting keys on a keyboard to generate a Unicode character of choice in their plain text document. No, what happens instead is that they are using some multi-media-enabled application and they click/tap on a button somewhere and choose a picture from a limited selection chosen by a programmer. From a technical point of view, you might as well insert a URL to the relevant clip-art.

And at the far end, no sane font designer actually creates glyphs for these. Once again, a programmer has a library of clip-art (that they can style according to how PC the end-user wants to be) and they draw it in a character-sized box.

We had "inserting pictures into documents" ages ago. Unicode emojis merely uses limited resources (committee time and code space) to perform over-optimized compression on a class of message that is of no fucking importance whatsoever.

Actually, I lie, Bayesian spam filters might well be able to use the presense of emojis to determine that the sender is an ignorable twat.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Was this what Unicode was for?

Next up .. someone will pay ICANN to register a new TLD using these.

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Sino the times: MSN to pull Chinese portal

Ken Hagan
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There's a moral there, for any other corporations who are in future tempted to suck up to a totalitarian dictatorship. The likelihood of you getting any long term benefit is zero. The clue's in the fact that you are negotiating with a totalitarian dictatorship.

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ICANN knifes Africa's internet: New top-level domains terminated

Ken Hagan
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Re: They CANNT

Short answer, individuals would go into their ADSL router's config pages and set the nameserver to whatever. (No, I don't think that's terribly likely either, but...)

...Longer answer, it has been tried (via a browser plugin, i believe, about 20 years ago), but the fatal problem is that unless you can persuade all of your customers to also route their DNS to the same provider, that link on your website to http://I've.got.a.lovely.bunch.of.coconuts/ won't work for them.

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Ken Hagan
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Unfortunate, indeed...

...that they had over 200 miscreants to choose from but the first 10 they picked just happened to be South African. Yeah. I bet their PR department is cursing their bad luck.

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Debian farewells Pentium

Ken Hagan
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Ouch!

"Ouch!" is the noise that farewell makes when you verb it.

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Windows 10 free upgrade offer ends on July 29th

Ken Hagan
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Re: Sidegrade only, no reservations

12. Saw your own head off in frustration when you discover that the Win7 activation servers no longer consider your original drive to be legit.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Sounds like a winner

"But Microsoft wouldn't deliberately degrade these OSs would they?"

My experience is that they already have done.

For testing purposes, I have maintained a number of machine images for various OSes over the last decade or so. They are "clean" images in the sense that they contain only the basic OS. If I actually want to use them, I make a copy of the disc image and install whatever I want on the copy, then discard the copy after I've finished with it. The only action that the pristine images see is that they are exposed to Windows Update every month or two. A fairly easy life for an OS, you might have thought.

Near the end of XP's life, the XP images were taking half an hour or more to crawl through Windows Update. Perhaps the accumulated cruft of over a decade of patches was finally beginning to take its toll, I might have thought ... except that I'd seen this before.

My Vista images showed the same symptoms after just 2 or 3 years, to the extent that they eventually updated themselves into a state of unbootability. Faced with the choice of re-creating them from scratch and re-applying several years of patches, or just not supporting Vista anymore, I initially took the former option but after the second or third repetition of this self-inflicted death I just gave up on Vista, about a year before giving up on XP.

I've been seeing similar slow-downs on my Win7 images for a couple of years now and one of them turned up its toes the other month. I haven't replaced it. I don't honestly believe that MS are giving it any love. It is "out of support" in all but name.

Windows Update is a deeply, deeply, crap piece of software that is slowly killing off all of Microsoft's OSes. Win10 is currently offering a temporary respite, since the Win7 images that I've allowed to upgrade have lost about 10GB of disc usage and knocked about half an hour off the time taken to apply updates. However, I expect it to "grow old and fat" in the same way, and Microsoft's proud boast that this is the last ever release (because they are moving to rolling updates) scares me. For the last 15 years, a completely new release from a clean ISO has been the cure for MSI-related sclerosis. Are we/they about to lose that?

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Ken Hagan
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Re: The Last of Us

"Sell a range of computers and laptops that have a free OS for $50 less (or whatever the OEM cost is for W10)."

It's been tried and there are two problems. Firstly, it turns out that the cost of an OEM licence, at least to a large reseller, is nearer $10 than $50, so the price reduction is wiped out. Secondly, it turns out that the cost of an OEM licence, at least to a large reseller, is *only* nearer $10 than $50 if the aforementioned reseller does *not* offer a non-Windows alternative.

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You can always rely on the Ancient Ones to cock things up

Ken Hagan
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Re: Apostrophes....

You're quotation marks aren't nested properly, but I don't want to come over all "tedious pedant" on you so I've left in a mistake of my own.

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Stop resetting your passwords, says UK govt's spy network

Ken Hagan
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Re: They always say "Don't Write Your Password Down!"

They are wrong. 7 billion potential attackers can't read your post-it note. (The locked drawer probably eliminates the others, as you point out, but for most domestic situations, the people with physical access to your drawers really *aren't* the threat.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: You are a hacker's wet dream, every single one of you!

"Seriously, if you can't remember a few random strings..."

Much as I regret replying to such obvious trolling, I feel strangely compelled to note that I have roughly 100 different passwords covering my various online activities. I have better things to do with my brain than remember that lot. If you don't, then you have my sympathy, but not much since you are clearly a bit of a sociopathic twat.

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Intel has driven a dagger through Microsoft's mobile strategy

Ken Hagan
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Re: Logic & Gui

"As I understand it Outlook (for example) cannot be compiled to run on ARM"

To be honest, I don't believe that. As is pointed out further down these comment pages, Office has been compiled natively over the years for x86, x64, PowerPC, MIPS, Alpha, Itanium and probably others. The only barriers are firstly that you might have to port any assembly language bits and secondly that you might be dependent on something like a version of DirectX that has been super-accelerated but only for certain GPUs. I can't believe there is much hand-coded assembly in Office, especially given its porting history. Neither can I believe it is terribly dependent on external sub-systems that are themselves hard to port.

Instead, my guess is that MS didn't *want* to offer full-fat Outlook on ARM and the reason for that is because they seem insanely wedded to the idea that ARM has to be hobbled. Eventually, they will realise this is stupid.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Logic & Gui

"No, its the fact that you have built your code to assume a specific API, like win32, and a specific model for GUI, maybe even worse with assumptions of the size of 'int' or similar instead of using int32_t or whatever options were supported."

Sorry, but those are *non*-issues for the case I was discussing, which is compiling a version of Windows for ARM hardware. Having done that, they are also non-issues for compiling Microsoft's applications for ARM, to run on the resulting platform.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: The war has been over for some time

"Well then run with F-Droid with no accounts on the phone then you have can be reasonably sure of whats in the app store."

I'll take your word for it, but re-iterate my point that I shouldn't have to learn what F-Droid is in order to make the product safe to use.

"Not buying the right phone then. Need to stay away from the off brands who don't really offer software support."

Again, I agree, but re-iterate my point that all the major brands are off brands by that definition and I'm not actually sure that there is an on brand.

"Pretty sure the old guy luddite market is not on top of most the major players battle plans."

And finally, yes, I accept that the 0.1% of the population who just want a fucking phone that is safe to use are clearly not on the battle plans of the major brands. But ... I still just want a fucking phone that is safe to use and as an when I find someone selling it I will probably pay whatever they ask.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Logic & Gui

Nah. The real problem is closed source software.

Microsoft *have* versions of all their dev tools that target ARM. Building for ARM is no more than "flip a compiler switch". The testing costs are insignificant because hardly any of your bugs are platform-specific. The only thing stopping you is the fact that the source code belongs to someone else, who can't be bothered to flip the switch, or doesn't exist as a commercial concern anymore, or who doesn't actually have the source anymore.

A secondary problem is probably the absence of any consensus on what a "standard ARM PC" actually looks like. I recall that Linus had one of his rants on that topic a year or so back.

None of these are a problem for MS if they want to build a full-fat version of Win10 for ARM hardware of their own choosing. To date, they've taken the view that anything smaller than a desktop machine needs to be hobbled in some way. At some point, they will eventually realise what an utterly stupid notion this is. When that day comes, they will actually *reduce* their testing costs (because of the reduced test matrix) and increase the utility of Windows-powered phones and tablets. Intel shouldn't bet on MS remaining unbelievably dumb indefinitely.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: The war has been over for some time

My PCs are far more reliable than my phones. That may be something to do with the fact that I control what's on my PC and I can choose to use an unprivileged account to run those associated horrors. On my phone, I haven't a clue what's running and I'm pretty sure that there is only a Chinese wall between the associated horrors that I get from the app store and total control over my device.

My PC also gets automatic updates, which my phone doesn't. (Yeah, I know, I really ought to look at the Cyanogen ports for my phone models. Buy why? Why should I have to know all that shit and tank my warranty just to get the device's reliability and security up to the levels of a Wintel PC?)

The war is not over. It's not even clear that the major players are fighting the right war.

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Revealed: How NASA saved the Kepler space telescope from suicide

Ken Hagan
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Without an emergency mode, the story would be "Foocraft suffered a bar failure and its game over. Thanks for playing.". Don't blame the emrgency mode for the situation that it lets you recover from.

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Skygazers: Brace yourselves for a kick in the Aquarids

Ken Hagan
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The shower is ongoing for a day or so, but you get the best view when your bit of Earth is pointing the right way, in the same way that a full moon is best viewed at "midnight local time".

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Commercial software chokkas with ancient brutal open source vulns

Ken Hagan
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In fairness...

...commercial software is almost certainly also chokka with shiny new closed source vulns. In fact, since the motive for importing some OSS code is that you don't have the time to write your own version, the closed source parts of the code are probably lower quality and so the vulns are probably easier to find by fuzzing.

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Microsoft sets Feb 2017 date to kill last SHA-1 zombies

Ken Hagan
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Yes, we admit it. Deep down, we know that our bank passwords are streamed to the NSA by the Microsoft keylogger. You can see it clearly if you run wireshark on a network segment between a PC and the wider internet, but the Lizard people come in the night and erase your brains so you never report it.

(Oh, and case it isn't obvious to the casual reader, all MS employees *are* Lizard people, so they don't blab either.)

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Chrome edges out IE for desktop browser crown

Ken Hagan
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I'm also surprised it took so long given how often Chrome is offered as an optional extra with other packages, not infrequently "ticked by default".

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Engineer uses binary on voting bumpf to flag up Cali election flaws

Ken Hagan
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For extra credibility, whatever e-voting system he intends to use when elected should be up and running already at www.I-am-your-candidate.com. Everyone would recognise this as a web address. He could put as much text as he likes on the landing page.

Sigh! Maybe next time...

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US govt quietly tweaks rules to let cops, Feds hack computers anywhere, anytime

Ken Hagan
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Is it open season? US law allows lots of things that aren't allowed in foreign parts, but that's not open season because even US courts understand that US law on (say) sex doesn't apply in Iran. All this law appears to say is that if a foreign computer is hacked by a US detective who has a warrant issued in a US court then that detective has not broken US law and can't be prosecuted in a US court.

It is true that a US court is unlikely to grant an extraditing order on someone who didn't break US law and never left the US. But that's probably true in most countries and we don't accuse them of trying to impose their laws on us. We simply put more effort into our own cyber-security.

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