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* Posts by Caesarius

78 posts • joined 25 Oct 2011

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Pics: 'Bitcoin ATMs' spring up in the US

Caesarius
Happy

Re: Electric Monks? Now we have Electric Beggars

Excellent!

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Muslim clerics issue fatwa banning the devout from Mars One 'suicide' mission

Caesarius
Pirate

Re: Da Faq

Good Quran quote. Similar things in Christian faith: James 1v27 "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

So if "man organised religion" is defined as religion not consistent with the faith, then I agree with you.

My point: RELIGION != FAITH

This explains "religious" violence.

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Friends don't do tech support for friends running Windows XP

Caesarius
Meh

@Not That Andrew Re: The ethics of the IT industry

I'd go further and say that opening a MS file you saved five minutes ago can go wrong.

And yet I find MS products useful much of the time. Maybe it's because I am always skeptical of any tools I use. Any run of success just sets you up for a fall. It's always been the case with technology, as in "How do you get these new flint arrowheads to stay on?!"

Eeyore was an optimist.

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Boffins say D-Wave machine could be a classic*

Caesarius

The Emporer's New Computer

Here's a box of magnets. Shake it around a bit. You can read tea leaves, can't you?!

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Google opens up data on secret data collection orders

Caesarius

Re: On the bright side.... On the Dark(net) side...

Keep your perl scripts to yourself. You've just pwned my eyeballs.

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London's King of Clamps shuts down numberplate camera site

Caesarius
Joke

Obligatory Steven Wright Quote (1)

I had trouble goin' home from there 'cause I parked my car in a tow-away zone. When I came back, the entire area was gone. ... For a while, I didn't have a car, I had a helicopter. But I had nowhere to park it so I used to just tie a rope to it and leave it runnin'.

(1) Well, I think it should be obligatory.

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Facebook TEENS EXPOSED to entire WORLD

Caesarius
Mushroom

Re: Liability

If Facebook claim ownership for anything users post, surely they are liable?

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Can you trust 'NSA-proof' TrueCrypt? Cough up some dough and find out

Caesarius
Alert

So we know the plaintext?

I thought known plaintext attacks were considerably easier than unknown. Doesn't that actually make the Linux version less secure? And while the Windows version doesn't suffer the known plaintext vulnerability, the "random" plaintext is not yet verified. So we're not happy either way yet.

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Loathed wiggly-word CAPTCHAs morph into 'fun' click-'n'-drag games

Caesarius
Unhappy

@I ain't Spartacus Re: Less annoying than mangled text?

I don't even see them unless ... they misbehave

Don't! You'll give them ideas!

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Slip your SIM into a plastic sheath, WIPE international call charges

Caesarius
Pint

@Tacitus

Have my up-vote! A couple of points:

I have heard that in the UK regulations or laws were made to stop "unreasonable" roaming charges. That was quite a few years ago. I presume that similar regs. or laws are not present in every country, and that, even where they are, the telcos find ways of gouging customers, and it all slides downhill for Joe Public. It seems that democracies don't have the will and money to aggressively update regulations, and a benevolent dictator is as likely as a benevolent telco. I wonder if, when Tony Blair said he was “intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich”, he was aware that they could only get rich at the expense of their fellow countrymen, and that this was a betrayal of the Labour Party.

I reckon that the rich have exploited the poor everywhere forever, with some minor variation on the scale of say 100 years. I must say that advertising has become so prevalent, sophisticated and insidious that it is difficult to withstand it. To your comfort, whereas my children rejected my oft expressed cynicism about advertising when they were teenagers, they now seem better protected than some people.

The same timescale applies to obscene content. Think gladiators, temple prostitutes, etc etc

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NASA's Jupiter probe wakes up after unexpected snooze

Caesarius
Thumb Up

Re: Space "Scientists"

Anyone remember "Victory Unintentional" by Asimov?

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Web.com DNS hijack: How hacktivists went on a mass web joyride spree

Caesarius
Meh

No compromise?

Our website was hijacked for a small period of time, during which attackers redirected our website to another IP address. We can confirm that no user data was lost or compromised.

If the fake website managed to catch any username/password data, then those accounts are compromised and the owners of the real website would not know, so they cannot confirm any such thing.

Did I miss something?

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Tape never died, it was just resting

Caesarius
Boffin

Re: Reliable?

What an obscure format to describe a change in reliability. Perhaps he meant to say that the failure rate of tapes has been reduced by a factor of eight? And then is the failure taken as " a whole tape cartridge becoming unusable" or "a bit (or byte) was read back wrongly", and is the latter before or after error correction?

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Control panel backdoor found in D-Link home routers

Caesarius
Thumb Up

@DropBear

I can't see that it was really known three years ago. Translating the last few lines of the Russian post gives:

And there is an interesting line in the elf-binaries Web server:

xmlset_roodkcableoj28840ybtide

(Try reading it backwards)

To sum up - friends, colleagues, tell me where to find the list of users / passwords?

So it looks as though he had not followed up the lead, at least not publicly ;-)

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MS Word deserves DEATH says Brit SciFi author Charles Stross

Caesarius
Thumb Up

Re: My girlfriend at the time

When I described latex to my friend who was having so much trouble with MS Word, she said "oh: that sounds complicated" (1). I'm heartened that you can mention a non-techie user who got on with it just fine.

(1) Compared to *what*?! Rant ... rant ... rant

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Caesarius
Unhappy

Re: And this is news, how?

After being forced to use MS Word for what feels like a life sentence, I have come to the considered opinion that, if you have to use it for more than half an hour, it is the wrong tool for the job. I have a mental map of MS Word's features, and most of it is marked "here be dragons".

Perhaps I gave up on OpenOffice etc. too soon, being so disappointed with MS Word, but it was not the most productive tool for me.

I'd happily dive down the vi-svn-diff-latex-postscript route, but other posters have hinted at what normal people are supposed to do ;->

I recently spoke to a non-techie user who was writing her thesis using MS Word, and she lives in fear of the department's mandatory review of her document with the man called the Publishing Expert who is the only person in the department who knows how to adjust the formatting without losing several paragraphs. And there was me cherishing the thought that universities used Latex!

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Techies with Asperger's? Yes, we are a little different...

Caesarius

Re: Noise pollution - CAPD

From good old wikpedia:

APD [Audio Processing Deficiency] is a difficult disorder to detect and diagnose. The subjective symptoms that lead to an evaluation for APD include an intermittent inability to process verbal information, leading the person to guess to fill in the processing gaps. There may also be disproportionate problems with decoding speech in noisy environments.

I don't think I'm Aspergers, but I do remember one acutely embarrassing situation where I asked someone the name of some guitarist repeatedly, 6 times actually, and still had no idea what he said at all.

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Sun-seeking Cambridge boffins chase Solar Challenge car crown

Caesarius
Thumb Up

Re: Why GPS to work out where the sun is?

Actually, the article doesn't say "GPS". The wording makes me think of compass and clock, but actually their description is compatible with your excellent suggestion. Your suggestion works easily for single axis tilt, and two rings of LDRs at right angles would be accurate enough for double axis tilt.

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Bang away – just not 'with friends', Zynga tells naughty hookups app

Caesarius
Coat

Farcebook, Facebork, ...

"Facebonk", anyone?

Wow. That went spectacularly wrong.

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500 MEELLION PCs still run Windows XP. How did we get here?

Caesarius
Headmaster

Optiplexes

Optiplices?

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Google adds Large Hadron Collider tunnel to Street View

Caesarius
Happy

The view inside the LHC...

... as seen by the atoms (er, shouldn't that be "hadrons"?) would be particularly boring, surely?!

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TUPPERWARE FOUND ON MOON of Saturn

Caesarius
WTF?

Tupperware? What's that got to do with it?

They might as well say that there's methane in the atmosphere, and methane is a notable constituent of farts.

And I was taught to write "propene" as the new approved name, and that was over 30 years ago.

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LIVE, my beauty, LIVE! Nokia revives dead phone with LIGHTNING powered Frankencharger

Caesarius
Coat

Small comfort

Rain drops keep falling on my head

I'm wet and fried

At least my phone keeps charging

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NSA's Project Marina stores EVERYONE'S metadata for A YEAR

Caesarius
Headmaster

Data vs Meta Data

Did anyone else notice that the leak said that meta data was stored, but the NSA denied listening to phone conversations and reading emails, which is data not meta data. I interpret the leak as saying that the NSA stores "who called whom and when" and "who emailed whom and when and possibly the email subject".

In which case, the NSA are not actually lying. Just to make it clear, I therefore despise them.

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Blighty's great digital radio switchover targets missed AGAIN

Caesarius

Re: Transmission

I thought I'd look up the cost of setting up a DAB transmitter, and found this:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/08/06/open_source_hacks_dab_to_the_masses/

So it's probably comparable to an FM transmitter. (Perhaps twice as expensive rather than 100 times as expensive?)

I wonder if Ofcom would smile on me if I tried to transmit DAB...

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Caesarius
Unhappy

Re: Lovely Low Quality

I'm pleased someone loves their DAB radio, because it is a very interesting technology. There is potential for excellent sound quality coupled with information services, and I once sent streaming video and files over it.

We all know that any deficiencies in the DAB experience are due to

a) Allocating too little bandwidth, so as to squeeze in more channels at the expense of sound quality

b) Not even bothering to transmit interesting text info, like full details of the track playing

c) Poor user interfaces, as if someone has re-invented the wheel and tried a square version this time

The parallels with my lovely computer hardware and some of the software available for it will make all of us wince.

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Bill Gates: Yes, Ctrl-Alt-Del salute was a MISTAKE

Caesarius
Facepalm

Re: "Oops. Did hitting that mess something up for you?"

Reset button was usually right there on the chassis.

I remember a MAC with the reset button at "mouse height". The number of people in my lab who accidentally ran their mouse into it. Disbelief, cold sweat, realisation, anger, and finally the search for something like a rubber (1) to sit in front of it.

(1) No, John Doe: that's a pencil eraser

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Regretful selfie-snapping vixens, lads to get shame-hiding digital burqas

Caesarius
Coat

Re: As useful and as relevant as a fig leaf

It's a matter of timing. A fig leaf after the event is not nearly as good as a fig leaf when you need it.

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Google's latest PRIVACY MELTDOWN: Web chats sent to WRONG people

Caesarius
Meh

Sanity check

I know I would expect service where it is promised, so I sympathise with anyone dismayed by this, but perhaps it is just as well to reflect on the inherently insecure aspects of many forms of communication.

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Is this the silicon chip KILLER? Boffins boot up carbon-nanotube CPU

Caesarius
Thumb Up

Spin-off technology?

The fault tolerance, even fault correction, is a very important achievement. I wonder if this could be used to make e.g. silicon transistors smaller?

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RADIATION SNATCHED from leaky microwave ovens to power gadgets

Caesarius
Unhappy

Re: Parasitic radio power

Yes. Another depressing fact is that when BT did not allow their customers to connect anything unapproved to the phone line, the charge would be "stealing electrical power". Clearly, there is no information transferred without power transfer, so I would be prosecuted for stealing microwatts.

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Caesarius
Facepalm

Re: It worries me

I have just checked a "modern" microwave with a bent LED, and the LED did not light that I could see. Perhaps I am worrying too much. Like people who worry about being 50 yards from a mobile phone base station but will happily put a mobile to their head, and I should hate to be quite so squeamish. I still refuse to put my face up to the microwave, because that's a rotten way to test for leaks. Reminds me of "do not look into laser with remaining good eye".

But I disagree with several things you said. Perhaps I shouldn't bite, but my pride is injured ;-)

Modern microwaves have similar or more power than the ones I was reporting, i.e. typically 800W rather than 500W.

Microwaves heat food the same way now as then, so the things making food taste better will be a) better controlled cooking times and b) recipes formulated to withstand microwave cooking.

A narrower output would have just as much effect on a LED.

Modern microwaves have a similarly crude generator, with mains-plus-harmonics going through a step-up transformer and then to the magnetron. So I see no reason for a narrower output. (Then again, it is possible for very simple snubbers to limit the frequencies of the magnetron drive: we should measure it sometime.) Besides, if they are better shielded, there is less worry about the spectrum of the output.

The sheet steel case is not the only shielding. There is also the mesh in the glass window and springy bits of metal round the door to help close up gaps.

The shielding is not minimal, and is definitely needed. I know what 50W feels like (hand in front of TWT+horn), so 10dB shielding is not enough.

But I agree with other points. E.g. the sheet steel need not be so thick for shielding, but rather for mechanical strength. Compare with the mesh in the glass window.

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Caesarius
Boffin

Energy saving probably not as applicable as hoped

The idea that you can use energy that would otherwise be wasted must be tempered with concepts like "near field", "waveguide below cutoff", "evanescent", etc. Basically, if there is no way for some of the electromagnetic field to transfer energy, it won't; not tapping into an energy source does not always mean it is going to leak away.

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Caesarius
Boffin

Re: It worries me

And worry you should, at short distances. Whereas microwave ovens may well be better shielded now than when they first became popular, I remember in the past we could get an LED and bend its legs so as to make a suitable sized dipole, and the LED would light when placed near a uW oven. I never let anyone put their face to the glass: you don't really need to, and why risk it?!

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Douglas Adams was RIGHT! TINY ALIENS are invading Earth, say boffins

Caesarius
Pint

Re: Illogical

Thank you: I was looking for some consideration of the implication that life must have started on merely another planet.

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Michael Gove: C'mon kids, quit sexting – send love poems instead

Caesarius

Nice idea, but...

I remember an idealistic and misguided attempt to stop people writing on the walls in the boys toilets. I put up a sheet of paper for people to use, so that the caretaker need not repaint the walls so often. Someone wrote on the wall nearby "Damn! Missed!"

I think the literary examples quoted above would be inspiring for some. Others would benefit from being shown examples of litotes etc. etc. But there will always be those who kick against the goads.

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Office 365 goes to work on an Android

Caesarius

Doesn't Big Business Do Software Development Any More?

We will never get anywhere if all developers merely nudge existing products towards what they hope will sell.

And the principles are so basic!

So Microsoft had a working version of Word that ran on Win 3.1? I bet they had a modest set of features rather than bloated software, had not yet added smooth scrolling (or other unnecessary resource consuming features), and actually developed the software so that it used resources sparingly. That way, the software runs at reasonable speed, crashes less, coexists with other software, and provides most of the features people want.

The other thing we need is new interfaces that suit the hardware. Doesn't anyone look into better ways of coping with (size of finger tip)/(size of screen) > (size of mouse cursor)/(size of screen)? How about dasher (http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/dasher/)? Or adapt that to be a qwerty keyboard that expands in the area where your finger is, or where it expects the next character? (I really must stop trying to develop ideas while posting El-Reg comments.)

And fancy not supporting a plug-in keyboard. I had an Ericson mobile that did that 20 years ago.

No wonder Free Software has grown up: I couldn't write it all myself. But it's such an opportunity for companies like Microsoft!

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VMware to customers: STOP INSTALLING OUR SOFTWARE! NOW!

Caesarius
Unhappy

Quis custodet..

I can see there is no let-up for the vigilant. I might have used VMs to test various new updates, but, for VM software itself, I'd need to have a KVM installation to test VMWare and vice versa. Sigh.

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Deep inside the iPhone 5s lurk a few surprises

Caesarius
Meh

Re: 3.8v Battery???

Surely Li batteries can be expected to measure from 2.2V to 4.2V when they hold sufficient charge to be usable. This is viable because of sufficiently advanced switch-mode PSUs, where a wide range of input voltage can be accommodated efficiently, and where <2.2V operation is avoided lest we kill the battery. So I recommend labeling them as "3V", i.e. only one significant figure rather than two, and, even then, 3 to 4-delta is only half of the range.

So 3.6, 3.7 or 3.8: there is no significance. Perhaps it is driven by marketing: queue the 4.2V spec!

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Want FREE BEER for the rest of your life?

Caesarius
Pint

Re: So, unsafe convictions?

That's a good point. Of course, you could only use that excuse for the first offence.

Sorry about the icon...

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One of last few iPhone 5Ss STOLEN from within MASSIVE POLICE CORDON at Apple Store

Caesarius
Stop

Would I steal an iPhone?

I wouldn't go for an iPhone because it doesn't really invite me to take it apart and see how it works, play with it, and use it for something completely different. Of course, I'd never steal anything (1), but I don't have the inclination to start with iPhones.

Do you think the thief took the 5S just to spite the fanbois? That would be another emotion for which I have no sympathy: I wish Apple users all the best, hopefully as they enjoy shiny new technology which largely works as expected.

Sorry: I sympathise with the poor chap who had his phone stolen. We have to live with finite risk in all areas, and it's not pleasant when we take a hit.

(1) What, *never* ?! Well, hardly ever..

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Microsoft no longer a top Linux kernel contributor

Caesarius
Pirate

Microsoft Contributions

Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes

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Paypal not sure if its bargepole is long enough for crowdfunding

Caesarius

PayPal's behaviour

I'm pleased to hear that PayPal are being open about how things are going. Of course they should have sorted these tricky issues out before going live.

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Billionaire engineer Ray Dolby, 80, dies at home in San Francisco

Caesarius

What makes a good engineer?

The lab technician at Cambridge told me that Dolby was "thick as two short planks", but was a success because he surrounded himself with clever people. I think that is a bit harsh, but what he had observed was mediocre marks for write-ups of practicals, and he generally predicted people's exam based on such.

So Dolby must have been a visionary to carry it all forward, and the Dolby system must have been good enough to impress somebody (yes, I know you can pick that one apart).

Personally, I turned off Dolby on playback and turned down the treble a bit if required. I did experiment with a cassette recorder with Dolby C, and I used fairly good quality tapes (TDK SA), but it was a profound relief when digital recording for the masses arrived.

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Caesarius
Holmes

Re: "creating value through innovation"

these dilberts

Err .. hang on .. I thought it was other people who spouted marketing bullshit, and Dilbert had to suffer it!

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Microsoft: YES Windows 8.1 is finished, but NO you can't have it

Caesarius
Devil

Eats shoots and leaves

I saw a book title, and mentally added some punctuation:

Windows 8: for dummies

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