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* Posts by Caesarius

122 posts • joined 25 Oct 2011

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Dinosaurs 'victims of colossal bad luck' (and a GIANT ASTEROID)

Caesarius
Holmes

Accident waiting to happen

If the food chain were precarious, then a meteor is only one option to topple the dinosaurs. It doesn't sound like luck to me.

See "Foundation", Asimov, (and even "The End of Eternity") for theories of things taking their course in spite of perturbations. In that sense, perhaps the end of the dinosaurs was inevitable.

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Microsoft confirms secret Surface will never see the light of day

Caesarius

Re: King Cnut

No: the king was making it plain that the flattery of the courtiers was getting out of hand. "So you think I can stop the waves themselves?"

Let's pick some other delusional character.

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Super Cali optimistic cloud is now a focus – even though the sound of it is something quite

Caesarius

"Open and secure"

That takes a bit of unpacking, but I still think there is some muddled thinking there.

Perhaps he is trying to emulate G K Chesterton's style where the paragraph finishes with a witty apparent paradox as a summary. Unfortunately, there was no closely argued paragraph to summarize.

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Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage

Caesarius
Flame

Re: TV Tax

<rant>And I feel bound to point out that I pay for all channels funded by advertisements, even if I watch no TV ever anywhere.</rant>

Sorry: that was a bit off-topic.

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Fortinet fawns over fast-if-unfashionable ASIC

Caesarius
Pint

ASICs

ASICs are unfashionable because it requires an accurate market assessment, a lot of development up front, and there is a risk of an extra design iteration blowing your budget. If you get it right, there are enviable space and power savings, and performance improvements. Much incremental development goes for the low risk quick win.

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Watching smut at work is bad but emailing it is just fine, says Oz court

Caesarius
Coat

Voiding the computer

Made me think of what else is "voided". As in "When I read the anti-porn-enforcement email, I voided myself". And then my computer.

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'Unsolicited texts' outrage: Man fined £4k for DPA breach

Caesarius
Go

Possible motive?

Perhaps the judge (1) wanted to fine the company because he detested the business, but this was the only way to do it.

(1) This may apply to other people who helped in the prosecution.

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Who should do security clearance checks? Did you say 'chat-bot'? This military slinger hopes so

Caesarius
Big Brother

Where to apply the electrodes

Which way is the flow of energy?

(PS: I know the title is a mis-quote)

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Experts gathered round corpse of PC market: It's ALIVE! Alive, we tell you

Caesarius
Stop

@AC: "no reason to upgrade"

I was going to say that keeping XP alive can only hold back PC sales, surely? (I think this takes your point on a bit, rather than disagreeing with it.)

Based on these ideas:

1) I expect that, if the typical PC owner cannot use XP any more, then he might buy another PC, even if some people can actually make Win7 run on a lesser PC.

2) There must be many PC users who keep their PCs running XP by upgrading hardware and hanging on to old versions of applications.

3) IIRC, XP resists being transplanted into different hardware.

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Home Office threw £347m in the bin on failed asylum processing IT project

Caesarius
Pint

Re: Another contributing factor?

I was going to explore the possibility that non-government projects can go just as wrong, but your discussion is much better.

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NO TIME to read Facebook? Delegate the task to your FUTURE SELF

Caesarius
Paris Hilton

A new aspect to credit rating

So MEEELIONS of poor unsuspecting Facebonk readers will borrow time and become hopelessly mired in time-debt. I shudder to think what time-bankruptcy means.

Paris: so many men, so little time.

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WTF is ... Virtual Customer Premises Equipment?

Caesarius
Unhappy

@RobHeath: Cheap broadband

It is inevitable that most customers will choose the cheapest broadband service, so the service providers struggle to make money from raw packets. I contribute to this effect :-(

I too hope that there will be premium services where, in an upside-down sort of way, you pay more for less functionality at the ISP end. The trouble will be finding a provider who bothers, like providing static IP addresses.

(I sound more and more sad with each post. Let's hope it is only because I am particularly depressed today.)

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NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw

Caesarius
Unhappy

The nature of the internet

I have always said:

The internet is the best of anarchy, and the worst of anarchy.

and

There is always the trade-off between security and facility.

Over recent years (a relative term that encompasses more and more as I grow older), internet banking etc. has tried to make the internet look organised and safe, so Joe Public is even less inclined to listen to me.

And another saying:

Eyore was an optimist

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HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert

Caesarius
Stop

Raw Data

"The data is also in too raw a format to be of any use to a Genius Bar tech support team."

I am offended that he seems to be trying to pull the wool over my eyes. OK, most Genius Bar staff might be unable to hack the raw data, but the implication is that no-one can hack it.

There are, after all, code breaking competitions where the challenge is to decrypt a block of raw data.

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Banning handheld phone use by drivers had NO effect on accident rate - study

Caesarius
Joke

Re: The real contribution to road safety would be to ban cyclists.

Keep death off the roads: drive on the pavement.

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Will the next US-EU trade pact prevent Brussels acting against US tech giants?

Caesarius
Holmes

Re: Dumb as it gets..

That's an interesting list, and is very clear about things that companies should not be compensated for. Can we find things things that companies should be compensated for? The law (as reported) is absurd, but, just possibly, there is something sane intended.

Actually, if the proposed law really is that dumb, can we get out of it because it is an unfair contract?!

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Snowden wants YOU – yes, YOU – to build spy-busting tech

Caesarius

Undue reliance

Snowden is right that Joe Public trusts technology too much.

It's been going on for decades: I heard of a GP who thought that use of a modem to send data down a telephone line meant it could not be intercepted. And a GP is a few levels up from Joe Public.

I wonder if we should blame marketing hype too: "Our product will protect you from all viruses, secure your data, and make all your communications secure".

I remember Cypherpunks recommending that everyone use encryption so that occasional use did not attract attention.

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ALIEN BODY FOUND ON MARS: Curiosity rover snaps extraterrestrial

Caesarius

Oxygen Re: Don't mean to be a cynic but...

I'm sure oxygen would speed things up considerably.

I liked the explanation of how an oxy-acetylene cutter works: it turns the iron into rust, and blows it away.

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Accused! Yahoo! exec! SUES! her! accuser!, says! sex! harassment! never! happened!

Caesarius
Headmaster

Yahoo sounds a bit like Billy Bunter

"no support for Shi’s assertion that there was ever any sexual relationship between her and Zhang – much less that there was a non-consensual sexual relationship."

OK, so how do you get "much less" than "no support"? It's like Billy Bunter claiming innocence and extenuating circumstances.

(Icon also in respect of Greyfriars)

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You don't need a HERO, you need a ZERO. From Google

Caesarius

An Analogy Re: An impossible job

I often point out that, whereas I can spend ages looking for a leak in a boat and not find it, when I put the boat in water the water finds the leak immediately. Open source makes the fight more evenly matched by allowing many more people to look for the leak. (Yes, I know that this helps the hackers too, but I reckon it improves the ratio of effort, hackers vs debuggers)

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Native Americans KILLED AND ATE DUMBO, say archaeologists

Caesarius
Pint

Re: Back in 1956...

I haven't heard that melody since I was a lad. I found a version of the song I knew:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3798TcSq9vY

But this one caught my eye:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgzl1Sai4Y0 "I'm gonna be an engineer", and I can't help thinking that as a male engineer I share some of the frustrations. There, that's almost restored the IT content :-)

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Caesarius
Childcatcher

Also on the menu

They (1) likely also ate Bambi, Baloo and Sebastian.

Does this mean we should consider Disney an animal welfare activist?

(1) "They" being anyone on the same continent

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Virty server bones thrown: Gartner mages see Microsoft rising

Caesarius
Meh

Niche Schmiche

I never noticed before, but the way "niche" is talked about makes it sound like a euphemism.

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Canuck reader threatens suicide over exact dimensions of SPAAAACE!

Caesarius
Unhappy

Re: Shmoptional, too many backslashes

I've been using vim too much.

See:

http://vim.wikia.com/wiki/Simplifying_regular_expressions_using_magic_and_no-magic

So much for this reassurance:

"Vim's default 'magic' setting makes characters have the same meaning as in grep, and \v (very magic) makes them the same as the extended regular expressions used by egrep."

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Caesarius
Headmaster

Re: Shmoptional

Every body stand back! I know regular expressions! (Obligatory quote)

Now to be picky-picky-picky, and hope to goodness I don't slip up here:

a) At least one A: SPA\+CE

b) Stars in space: SP\*\*\+ or, better: SP\*\{2,}CE

But I did upvote SP*CE, because it is poetically correct.

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Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330

Caesarius
Coat

Re: Entertainment on board

In my day, we made our own entertainment. Yon urchin looked out window, the missus complained t' steward, and I tried to get some kip.

When "voice activated" gizmos started pokin' their noses in, t' urchin would say loudly "DELETE FILE YES", and all the silly buggers would turn their stupid boxes off.

Now 'es got a twinkle in his eye when we talk about WiFi: I can't can't see it endin' well.

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No need to worry: US blows $174m on new Cray to simulate nukes

Caesarius
Headmaster

Tripple?

So "times 8" is the same as trippled? Because 8=2^3?

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Caesarius
Big Brother

Obligatory quotes

Is the CRAY able to test the nukes? Because it's connected?

HAL: I know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me. And I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen.

Or, better, The Forbin Project (excerpt from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colossus:_The_Forbin_Project):

It also states that it had detected the attempt to disarm the missiles and detonates two of them in their silos "so that you will learn by experience that I do not tolerate interference". Guardian/Colossus tells Dr. Forbin that "freedom is just an illusion" and that "In time, you will come to regard me not only with respect and awe, but with love". Forbin replies, "Never!"

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FBI: We found US MILITARY AIRCRAFT INTEL during raid on alleged Chinese hacker

Caesarius
WTF?

Timescale

The time from the theft to the time of arrest might lead to security agencies claiming a need to store data for years, so that they can trawl back over it at leisure. But that's a lot of data.

Did they have trouble finding where he was so that they could arrest him? That would be weird. Of course, I could interpret the article as saying that they only gave the location when they were ready with sufficient evidence, but years?!

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Apple: No, China. iPhone is NOT public enemy number 1

Caesarius
Terminator

It's just a smoke-screen

Surely the Chinese have an iPhone rip-off and are selling it in the rest of the world so that they can track people too? Surely they should have kept quiet, because complaining only raises awareness? </tongueInCheek>

(I think I'm getting the hang of this icon...)

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Report: UK.gov wants to legislate on comms data BEFORE next election

Caesarius
Terminator

Re: Location, Location, Location

Actually, we all know from The Bourne Ultimatum that turning off your mobile phone is a sure indication that you are up to no good.

(Pamela Landy identifying Neil Daniels, if you'd like the reference)

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Caesarius

@AC: Definition of Comms Data

I understood that Comms Data is only the "who contacted whom, when, how, and possibly email subject", not all the voice recording or email content.

This affects the amount of data to store, obviously. And it affects how the data helps the police, obviously. It is not quite the Big Brother activity, where every thought is judged.

I believe that a warrant is not required for Comms Data, which fact may raise a few eyebrows.

Only if you get a warrant can you get all the elements of the specified communication, i.e. the police cannot intercept en masse, let alone store it for 5 minutes.

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Euro banks warned off Bitcoin as Canada regulates it

Caesarius
Unhappy

@ Jonathan 29 Re: Cash... ?

Have my up-vote, but I can't help wondering if there is anything at all that is safe to put your money into. Oh, except a good supply of food and sufficient arms to protect it, but that precludes any benefit from civilization.

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Caesarius
Holmes

Er, isn't this like...

...stocks and shares?

- value can go up or down

- at risk of someone manipulating the market

- someone can hack my account (well, in principle, anything can be hacked, just as long as it is "sophisticated enough": see Gödel's theorem)

- (add more items to list)

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Caesarius
Devil

@DriveBy

Good point. But is it a case of "better the devil you know"? I can see two possibilities for new currencies:

a) Someone is trying to make money out of you (also applies to banks dealing with conventional currency etc.)

b) The virtual currency is along the lines of "free software"

And, real or virtual currency, someone might hack your account.

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Maplin Electronics sold for £85m to Rutland Partners

Caesarius
Unhappy

B&Q used to be my friend...

... but not any more. There are still some knowledgeable staff, but the prices for materials puts me off every time.

I still browse Maplin's stores, but it's increasingly disappointing. It's trying to go the way of B&Q, except that their business model for selling components needs a big re-think.

Is it just me, and other enthusiasts from the 70's and 80's, or do younger folk prefer wall to wall dusty shelves choc-full of components?

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Bitcoin is MONEY, says Canada

Caesarius
Big Brother

How about stocks and shares

If the world of bitcoin is considered a business, where bitcoins themselves are shares, should we expect rules about insider trading? But who are the directors and employees? Do we consider un-mined bitcoins as shares that are issued at zero value, or the current bitcoin value? Will there be rules about manipulating the market? Is it possible to regulate the market?

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Big data? Internet of things? Sport of Kings inches into high tech

Caesarius
Meh

Re daveyclayton

Ah, so the data is already published. So owners can use it, as can anybody else. As for bookies giving odds, I was told 40 years ago that they make a slight loss if the favourite wins, but a profit otherwise: I expect that now they make sure they always make a profit, and that it is hard for me to make a profit out of them.

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Caesarius

Effects on betting

I can see bookies wanting to keep the details to themselves so that they can make more money. If I had accurate information about a horse's performance, I could spot slight errors in the odds given by the bookies, and therefore calculate lucrative tips. I suppose owners cannot make use of the data, because that would be akin to insider trading: ideas, anybody?

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Brits to vote: Which pressing scientific challenge should get £10m thrown at it?

Caesarius
Coffee/keyboard

Re: Re robots that can do the washing

Bluebottle: You should get one of them tings my grandad's got.

Eccles: Oooohhh?

Bluebottle: His firm give it to him when he retired.

Eccles: Oooohhh.

Bluebottle: It's one of dem tings what it is that wakes you up at eight o'clock, boils the kettil, and pours a cuppa tea.

Eccles: Ohhh yeah! What's it called? Um.

Bluebottle: My granma.

(pilfered from http://www.pprune.org/archive/index.php/t-193860.html)

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How to catch a fraudster – using 'top cop' Benford and the power of maths

Caesarius
Holmes

Re: Scale independence, Binary numbers

Er, sorry, no. The numbers analysed do not include leading zeros, so binary numbers all begin with one. But yes, that is what Benford's Law would predict, even if it is a trivial case :-)

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Jupiter's Great Red Spot becoming mere pimple

Caesarius
Holmes

Following the argument about whether it will disappear

I'm pretty sure that weather systems show chaotic behaviour, so a simple linear extrapolation over too long a period is very likely invalid. Perhaps under 20 years is short enough. It will be interesting to see if the spot remains, growing and shrinking erratically, or if it disappears and reappears over a long timescale. I'll probably die first, and miss all the excitement.

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Bitcoin blockchain allegedly infected by ancient 'Stoned' virus

Caesarius
Joke

HHGTTG Quote (paraphrased)

All this talk of random numbers and not-so-random numbers reminds me of something:

If, he thought to himself, such a numerical coincidence is a virtual impossibility, then it must logically be a finite improbability. So all I have to do in order to make one is to work out exactly how improbable it is, feed that figure into the bitcoin generator, give it a fresh cup of really hot virus code ... and turn it on!

He did this, and was rather startled to discover that he had managed to create the long sought after golden Infinite Improbability bitcoin generator out of thin air.

It startled him even more when just after he was awarded the Galactic Institute's Prize for Extreme Cleverness he got lynched by a rampaging mob of respectable AV salesmen who had finally realized that the one thing they really couldn't stand was a smartass.

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WHOMP! There it is: IBM demos 154TB tape

Caesarius

SSD?

I suppose the comparisons are made between tape and HDDs (spinning platters with heads), so how about SSDs? They may be lower storage today, but what is their growth rate?

Just asking. I should be able to look it up, but then it should be in the article.

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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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