* Posts by Ken Hagan

4458 posts • joined 14 Jun 2007

Don't pay for the BBC? Then no Doctor Who for you, I'm afraid

Ken Hagan
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Re: We should pay for TV we dont want

It's also a news reporting service that, lacking any private financial backing, has to maintain enough balance that it doesn't upset any major UK political group. Many other countries would benefit from a similar arrangement, but the politicians running the show in those countries don't like the idea of balanced reporting so it doesn't happen.

Those outside the UK might take issue with the suggestion that the BBC is balanced, but that's probably because the BBC doesn't have to keep foreign politicians happy, so it probably *is* less balanced in its foreign reporting.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Telly Tax exit stage right!!

@MyBackDoor: Yes. I know BBC stick commercials into their world-wide broadcasts, but the domestic channels show the programs without interruption and without ads in between either.

How else could you televise cricket?

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Amazon tries to patent 3D printers on trucks

Ken Hagan
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Re: Too early and too obvious

The fact that they have had this idea long before it is commercially feasible is, for me, strong evidence that it is obvious. And yes, I'd re-iterate all the examples of prior-related-art mentioned by commenters so far.

But I'd also re-iterate the observation that this is how the system works. It's utterly broken. Get used to it, or else direct your anger at the politicians who have fouled the system rather than at the companies who are simply playing by the current rules.

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German music moguls slammed for 'wurst ever DMCA takedown spam'

Ken Hagan
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That's the key difference between "giving it away" and using the GPL. If Kevin and Scott had used the latter, they'd have a legal basis on which to take the idiots to court. As it is, they no longer even have the right to enjoy their own work. That's obviously wrong, but the remedy is simple -- use the GPL (or similar) so that the stupid laws work in your favour.

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Now with Grunt and Gulp: Cross-platform ASP.NET in new Visual Studio 2015 preview

Ken Hagan
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Re: Dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century

"Still, I suppose we should be grateful..they (finally) claim full C++11 compliance only four years after the fact."

Well I followed the link but I saw no such claim. In fact, there is at least one admission that C++11 support is "partial".

Still, having spoken out on these forums in support of multiple HTML implementations, I suppose I should welcome the fact that MS still try to produce their own compiler rather than borrowing gcc or clang.

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Get yourself connected: GrovePi+ Starter Kit

Ken Hagan
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Re: argh!

"Every child should be taught to solder. And type."

Coz when they are grown up, PCBs will be 3D-printed and text entry will be done by voice recognition.

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The millionaire former playboy, Hugh Hefner, and a crucial fight over playboy.london

Ken Hagan
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Re: This is why extra TLDs were stupid

"It'll be even worse if companies actually USE these domains"

Ah, no, because if merely registering the name is evidence of malicious intent, then making it possible to register the domain must be even worse. Expect to see ICANN in court soon for conspiracy to bring down all intellectual property rights everywhere.

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IT knowledge is as important as Maths, says UK.gov

Ken Hagan
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Re: 35%

Those 7 million will be doing something more productive, as Tim Worstal has been trying to explain on and off in his columns for a while. We have (as he pointed out most recently) gone in just a couple of centuries from employing 99% of the population in agriculture to employing 1%. Nobody now wants all those "peasant" jobs back. Nearly all of us have found something else to do and even the unemployed are better off for it.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: RE: offered a programming club

"Scratch introduces the basics of programming in a fun and accessible way. It cannot replace coding, though."

Scratch lets you learn about variables and conditional logic, without having to worry about syntax errors or organising multiple files. If you are teaching at primary level, that's a simplification well worth making. Funnily enough, Scratch was created by researchers who wanted to target that age group.

At secondary level, syntax and files aren't going to give you the same level of grief, so you might as well use a more powerful language. On the other hand, that language needs to have an easy way of delivering visually appealing output, because most of your class aren't going to be interested in writing a program that prints a set of log tables.

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Lightbulb moment for visible light networking: 200 Gbps without a fibre

Ken Hagan
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Re: What's the use case for 100 Gbps wireless?

@Paul129: Two small points: firstly you concede that the network already isn't the bottleneck for your case, and secondly have you tried sneakernet? "Transferring disc images" is quite possibly the one thing that sneakernet is best at.

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Show me the money, America! It's time to learn how to pronounce 'Xiaomi'

Ken Hagan
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Headmaster

Umm, China's in the Northern Hemisphere...

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Ex-NASA boffin dreams of PREDATOR-ish tech in humble microwaves

Ken Hagan
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Re: How about FLIR capability in a smartphone?

You can get them for cars, too, and that was always supposed to be the mass market application that brought prices tumbling down. These things are a lot cheaper than they used to be; 20 years ago, $300 wouldn't have bought the box your camera came in. But yeah, not quite "toys" yet. Perhaps the Chinese will oblige. FLIR-the-company is on the pricey end of the FLIR-the-product market.

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So who just bought the rights to .blog for $30m? A chap living in Panama

Ken Hagan
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I guess ... not many, but waaay more than "none"

I have a ...me.uk email address and still suffer from both of those problems. (The rest of the address is just lower case letters, dots and hyphens, so I'm assuming that some fool is complaining about the domain. Perhaps we should ask t.berners-lee to see if he's ever had problems with his amazingly unusual name. Oh, and as I write that, yes I'm thinking now of our regular commentard with the name O'Brien who is, if you'll forgive the phrase, "beyond the Pale".)

Happily, raised eyebrows amongst otherwise-tech-savvy colleagues doesn't stop anything working.

Sadly, email "validation" code does. Perhaps we need to send that memo round again:

You (yes, you, personally) cannot validate an email address. Every time you write code to try to do this, it costs you time to do it, time to deal with the customer complaints, and lost customers from those who can't be bothered to complain and just take their money elsewhere. There is no business case for trying to validate an email address. It just makes you look like an idiot when it goes wrong (as it will, see above). Stop it, you cretinous fuckwit. Go back over your life and remove all such checks from code you have written in the past.

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Elon Musk's Tesla set to unveil home storage battery

Ken Hagan
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Off the top of my head

It needs to pay for itself on a timescale less than the period for which you have a reasonable hope of predicting the price of electricity.

Deployment will be limited to those properties that can retrofit the battery and that itself may be costly if the battery is large. New builds would be fine, though, and that may be a large enough market for starters.

On the plus side, if this can be deployed widely then it is a game-changer for electricity generation because you wouldn't need power stations that can switch on and off at short notice.

So, um, what breakthrough in battery technology makes this possible in 2015?

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Skin colour's irrelevant. Just hire competent folk on their merits, FFS

Ken Hagan
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Re: Question for you, Tim...

"With that kind of subconscious exclusionary policy, how do resolve the issue so that results or merit is the only factor?"

Sounds like you need to start hiring the HR staff on merit. The rest will follow.

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Patch now: Design flaw in Windows security allows hackers to own corporate laptops, PCs

Ken Hagan
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Re: Server 2003

If I understand it correctly (and posting here is the easiest way to find out), your internet cafe customer would have to be connecting to an SMB share that had been made available on the public internet (not via VPN). Furthermore, to let the attacker use fake group policy to take over your machine, you'd have to be logging into a domain via the public internet. If you are doing either, then I don't think you give a monkeys about security and you are probably already running a rootkit both on the client and the DC.

It's an interesting case, but I think there's a reason why the design flaw went unnoticed for 25 years.

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'Giving geo-engineering to this US govt is like giving a CHILD a LOADED GUN'

Ken Hagan
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Re: Bad Title

I agree, the title is a bit of a troll. The actual source material has a low opinion of all politicians:

"With the present state of leadership (and not just in the United States) ..."

Anyway, if you gave Obama a gun he'd probably try to ban it. (Ducks for cover...)

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WATCH IT: It's watching you as you WATCH IT (Your Samsung telly is)

Ken Hagan
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Re: So far, so unsettling

"[...] most people [...] wouldn't be concerned at all."

It's currently the most read story on the BBC site. If you'd asked me this morning, I might have said much the same as you, but I wonder if this might be the start of a shift in opinion.

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At the third beep, the Atomic Clock will be 60 ... imprecisely

Ken Hagan
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Unicode has superscript digits. (The one and zero are particularly well supported in everyday fonts.) When the superscript is important to the meaning, rather than the presentation, it is best to use those characters rather than messing about with formatting.

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Basic minimum income is a BRILLIANT idea. Small problem: it doesn't work as planned

Ken Hagan
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"The people selling food stamps for cash are generally junkies who will forgo eating for their fix. Of course they don't get full value."

That was Tim's point. They valued the liquidity more than the face value of the stamps.

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Half a billion wearables... and guess whose kit has to support all that data, asks Cisco

Ken Hagan
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Video saturation?

There must surely come a point when everyone who wants to watch web videos is using their only two eyes already and watching at retinal resolution. You can't just extrapolate current trends indefinitely.

My guess is that the developed world is closer to that point than some pundits recognise. If you spend too much time watching cat videos, you don't earn enough to pay the mobile data bills.

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SWELLING moons of ice dwarf Pluto snapped by NASA spy-probe

Ken Hagan
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Re: Its a planet.

Since dwarf in this context is an adjective, the term "dwarf planet" absolutely makes it a planet for any English speaker. One has to assume that the IAU boffins who dreamt up the term were leaving themselves some wiggle room.

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Anthem, America's second biggest health insurer, HACKED: Millions hit by breach

Ken Hagan
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Re: Wonderful...

Alternatively, until it costs more to settle than to insure against the risk, these things will keep happening.

Of course, no-one would take your premium unless you had an externally audited IT security policy, and what are the chances of that happening, eh?

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Love it...

"But everything you need to obtain loans, credit cards, driving licenses, property and on-line payment services were compromised."

So, logically, all the businesses that currently used that combination of information will have to start asking for a different combination, because that combination is now public domain and only an idiot would want to stand up in court and admit that they dished out a credit card with nothing more than public domain info to identify the holder.

This is the real cost and it is a cost to the rest of society. Not for the first time, we see security as a cost that is largely externalised. On the bright side, it *is* probably about time that companies stopped using SSNs as a key.

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Microsoft tells big biz: No free Windows 10 for you, crack wallets open

Ken Hagan
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Re: So "conditions may apply"

"Now we get down to Win Home versions only"

I suggest you re-read the article. It was pretty clear that Pro editions are included in the offer, so that's the vast majority of small business users covered.

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Regin super-malware has Five Eyes fingerprints all over it says Kaspersky

Ken Hagan
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Why should I read up on it? What difference would that make to the point that these comments are being made by people who claim to have understood its complexity.

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Ken Hagan
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"Considering the extreme complexity of the Regin platform and little chance that it can be duplicated by somebody without having access to its source codes, we conclude the QWERTY malware developers and the Regin developers are the same or working together."

"Extreme complexity"? This from people who have just reversed engineered both of them. Modest, huh?

OTOH, it is to be hoped that their claim is correct. Part of GCHQ's job is to develop stuff like this so one would hope that they were investing at least some of their budget in such things and getting usable products out of it.

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Developers, developers, developers! But WILL they support Windows 10?

Ken Hagan
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Re: Perhaps if Microsoft stops treating developers like dogshlt...

"they should just release some open source platform that works with all of it products and leave the rest to the developer community. Java-ize it."

Without wishing to dispute the possible merits of open-sourcing some platform, I don't think you are wise to describe that as "Java-izing". There's been this little court case recently about just how open Java actually is.

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Ken Hagan
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Holograms? Really?

I don't suppose this will have any effect, but can I just mention that "hologram" and "holographic" already have long-established meanings in the field of imagery and display and (here's the rub) ONE MORE FUCKING DIMENSION THAN YOUR HEAD-UP DISPLAY.

The innumerate tosspots in Microsoft's marketing department may not care about this small detail, but I do. So, Microsoft, when you produce a working 3D display technology, you can call it holographic. Until, then, I suggest you stick to the established meanings of words.

If you don't, we may decide to start calling your displays "wanky". Yes, I know the word "wank" already has an established meaning which doesn't accurately describe your new display technology, and our choice naturally leads on to an even more unfortunate nomenclature for the applications that use it, but it's OK to appropriate existing words because language evolves, right?

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SURPRISE! Microsoft pops open Windows 10 Preview build early

Ken Hagan
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Re: Read privacy statement

"Examples of data we may collect include [...] phone call and SMS data; [...] voice, text and writing input; [...]"

I really can't see *that* surviving in the EULA of the final release. How would Microsoft ever hope to sell a single copy into the business market with a threat to record pretty much everything you do on the device?

OTOH, I'm not concerned. Participation in the beta program is optional and I will read the EULA for the final release. (Microsoft ought to be a little concerned that the population of their beta program might be heavily skewed towards those who don't care about privacy (or, equivalently, towards those who aren't using the product realistically or with an honest ID). If MS are using beta program stats to guide design decisions for privacy-related features, they'll be getting the wrong answers.)

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Windows 10: The Microsoft rule-o-three holds, THIS time it's looking DECENT

Ken Hagan
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Re: Loved?

"here's not a chance in hell that I'm going to touch another MS OS at least until it's second or third SP."

This *is* Windows 8 Service Pack 4-ish. In fact, if you can see your way past (or disable) Metro then it is Windows 7 Service Pack 6 or Windows Vista Service Pack 9. Under the hood, MS have done sweet FA for the best part of a decade, except slowly scrub out the warts in Vista that weren't intended.

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US military finds F-35 software is a buggy mess

Ken Hagan
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Re: RN "shitting themselves"

Relax. We're a rich country and 6bn probably wouldn't even pay the consultancy fee for the next round of NHS reforms.

Oh, hang on...

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Microsoft will give away Windows 10 FREE - for ONE year

Ken Hagan
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If someone downvotes without explaining why, it is probably futile for you to try to guess what they are thinking. These forums have plenty of examples of people downvoting purely factual statements, so it is unclear whether they were thinking anything at all.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Security is going to be a big feature...

"Who spends as much on securing their products as MS? "

Probably no-one, but a fair proportion of that cost results from the fact that it is always an afterthought.

Security *is* an inherent part of most OSes, even Windows. The problem with Windows is that every time someone comes along with an existing app that depended on a small hole in the design, Microsoft reason that *their* customer is the end-user, who buys a Windows upgrade and expects everything to carry on working. Therefore, every version of Windows must be backwards compatible with every security hole ever used (even accidentally) and a second layer of attempted security has to be poured on top.

Contrast this with the Linux approach which consists of Linus bawling out the "f*cking cretin" who made the "buggy pile of shite" and then issuing a new kernel that plugs the hole.

Lastly, for extra points, compare and contrast the market share of the two approaches. Then explain to me why it is worth caring about security in the current business environment. :(

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Ken Hagan
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Re: I'm free!

Since Win8, the kernel has required CPU features that didn't exist when XP came out and which weren't universally available until the middle of the last decade. I imagine that offering a free upgrade to a load of consumers with XP-era hardware would have been a support nightmare. Yes, you would rig the upgrade process to check before changing anything, but you'd have to tell the ineligible users that they weren't in fact eligible, contrary to what they'd read in your adverts. Good luck with trying to explain instruction set extensions to Joe Public.

Also, they probably figure that anyone still using XP after last years doom-mongering is unlikely to have done so purely on grounds of price, and Win10 won't actually run all those IE6 intranet apps.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: What about new computers?

I doubt it. The cost of upgrading an old PC has been in three digits for the last version or two. Lowering it to zero will make a big difference to how many people bother. The cost of buying that same version on a new device is about a tenth of that and is in any case hidden in the cost of the device.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Where's the profit for Microsoft then?

We'll know soon enough when we see the EULA for the upgrade. (At that point, we'll also discover whether all forms of Win7 and Win8 licence are equally eligible for the "service pack".) However, my guess (hope?) is that even Microsoft aren't so clueless as to opt for your "pay after one year" model, not least because it might turn out to be unenforceable in those jurisdictions where EULAs have been deemed "not as enforceable as a real contract".

Since Win8.1 is just a lean version of Win7 once you've put a decent shell on, I reckon this may be how MS intend to get around the end-of-life issues around Win7. (It is clearly easier that adding SHA-1 support to the Win7 kernel.)

It also raises the interesting question of how long software developers will continue to support Win7. In the past, the answer would be "as long as we have paying customers" and this tends to be a block on using features that were only introduced in later versions. However, that logic has never applied to (free) service packs. (Plenty of vendors will expect you to have installed all applicable updates.) Maybe Microsoft are trying to convert their 7+8+8.1 market shared into a 10 monoculture, so that they can push the platform's new features.

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OTHER EARTHS may be orbiting our Sun beyond Neptune

Ken Hagan
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Re: Theoretical limit

There's a fairly well defined point at which the solar wind ceases to be supersonic. I think that's the official edge. Outside of that, you can argue that you've left the region of space where the Sun dominates the physical environment.

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Scary code of the week: Valve Steam CLEANS Linux PCs (if you're not careful)

Ken Hagan
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Re: Achievement unlocked: The Scientist!

I doubt that an employment tribunal would reckon you had reached the required standard of proof there. "#scary!" is a comment and therefore non-executable. It proves nothing except that the author has a different sense of humour from you.

Legend has it there was once a comment in the UNIX kernel that said "You are not expected to understand this.". See http://cm.bell-labs.com/who/dmr/odd.html for an explanation by one of the authors. Would you sack him?

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Ken Hagan
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"Research revealed I needed: [...] rm -rf /tmp/.??*"

Thanks. I'll bear it in mind.

However, is there a sane use-case for the rm command accepting ".."? (For that matter, accepting any path that is either the current working directory or one of its parents would seem to me to be overwhelmingly likely to be a pilot error rather than a really clever piece of scripting.)

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Australia tries to ban crypto research – by ACCIDENT

Ken Hagan
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Re: ...everyone follows all the laws

Even better would be a system whereby an MP's vote in the legislature was weighted according to the number of people who voted for them relative to the total turnout. Voting for none of the above would then weaken whoever won. Not turning up, however, would achieve nothing.

Weighting MP's vote would of course require rather more hi-tech than the UK Parliament uses in votes, but most other legislatures seem to have electronic tallying these days.

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Ken Hagan
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Are you French or something?

" the little-debated Defence Trade Control Act (DCTA) "

Was it so little debated that no-one noticed the acronym was wrong way round?

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Windows 7 MARKED for DEATH by Microsoft as of NOW

Ken Hagan
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"I haven't used Windows in years: have Microsoft fixed the laughably slow file copying yet?"

Yes, but they haven't fixed the bug whereby the two pane of Explorer (folder tree on the left, folder contents on the right) can be pointing at (ie, have selected) a different folder. On the other hand, they do claim to have UI tested every version of Windows in the intervening period with millions of real end-users, so maybe it's just me who thinks that is bonkers.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Oh noes! We've only got 5 years!

Actually you may have fewer than that. See http://blogs.technet.com/b/pki/archive/2013/11/12/sha1-deprecation-policy.aspx.

Starting in 2017, MS may stop accepting code signing certificates using the SHA-1 algorithm. Now, whilst Win7 is happy to support SHA-256 for applications, its kernel only recognises SHA-1. Consequently, if you want to sign a driver after 2016, you will need a certificate that was issued (using the SHA-1 algorithm) before 2017.

I assume that MS will issue themselves a signing certificate soon (if they haven't already) that has a decade or so of validity, but third-party vendors will be affected. Since certificate vendors variously offer 1, 2 or 3-year validity on their stuff, driver vendors who don't notice the date may find that their last remaining SHA-1 cert has expired (in Jan 2018, say) and they are therefore *unable* to issue driver updates for Win7. (At least, not without also explaining to end-users how to fiddle with their system to tolerate unsigned kernel code.)

The security landscape for Win7 could start getting interesting well before the 2020 cut-off.

(Edit: I'm assuming MS can't/won't retrofit SHA-256 to the Win7 kernel, since if that was possible/economic, it would have made sense to do so before they announced the deprecation of SHA-1. I also note that the same argument applies to Server 2008 R2.)

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Ken Hagan
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Re: No new features for Windows 7...

Quite. MS adopted a policy part-way into the XP era of not slipping new features in with service packs and as far as I can see they've followed it quite religiously, introducing no new features with anything ever since. I would guess that the last new feature added to Win7 was Win7.

Memo to MS, a service pack with the last few years worth of patches rolled up would be nice.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Never forget

"To be fair, Win7 IS more stable than XP"

To be fair, that isn't my experience. I've run a number of VMs and Ghosts with XP and Win7 (and others) over the years and the only XP system that needed to be tossed and rebuilt was XP64, whereas several of the Win7 ones (and all of the Vista ones) have eventually died of old age. (That is, eventually, the monthly cycle of updates left them unbootable.)

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Bacon-smoking locals provoke noxious Chinese smog

Ken Hagan
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Facepalm

That correlation with the New Year...

...wouldn't be more to do with the typical weather conditions in the first two weeks of January, would it?

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Are you running a Telnet server on Windows? Oh thank God. THANK GOD

Ken Hagan
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Re: More evidence that Microsoft have finally caught up to the 1980's

Poor choice of target, since NT 3.1 had multiple desktops back in 1993. The fact that MS have never bothered to make it a standard feature of their shell simply reflects how useless the feature is. (Multiple monitors are useful. Multiple desktops on a single monitor are no more useful than the ability to minimise a window. I tend to switch the feature off on my Linux desktops, since for me the only effect of leaving it on is that I can have all my screen contents disappear if I accidentally hit the wrong key combination.)

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PlayStation-processor-powered plutonium probe prepares Pluto pics

Ken Hagan
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Re: Routers... in Space!

" Interplanetary comms relies on a massive dish/array at one end (for ease of logistics, we tend to keep that one on earth), and a small dish at the other "

To elaborate, the distance to Neptune (Pluto's orbit is irregular) is about 30AU. A dish near Jupiter (5AU) would spend roughly half of its time on the wrong side of its orbit and would actually be further away than Earth, so let's assume you have several. Even at its closest point, it is still 25AU from Neptune and to be worth doing, the dishes around Jupiter would need to be at least 5/6 of the diameter of the one on Earth. (They need to subtend the same solid angle.) Then they have to re-transmit the message back, but that's a much easier problem because the transmitter can be only 1/36 of the power of the one near Neptune and still deliver the same signal strength to Earth.

Move the intermediate to Saturn, at 10AU, and you need only 2/3 of the diameter of a dish on Earth, but you've got to get all the dishes out as far as Saturn *and* the retransmission needs to be four times more powerful.

It would appear that the economics are overwhelmingly weighted in favour of a single hop to a bloody enormous dish on Earth, where construction costs are essentially free (by comparison), power consumption (for transmission back to the craft) is no object, and there's always the options of technological upgrades and repairs whilst the mission is in progress.

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Insert 'Skeleton Key', unlock Microsoft Active Directory. Simples – hackers

Ken Hagan
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"without leaving an audit trail"

In that context, the fact that it disappears on reboot might be seen as a plus.

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