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* Posts by Phil O'Sophical

1692 posts • joined 28 Oct 2011

Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers

Phil O'Sophical
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Having two elected houses is pointless, I agree, but a second house with powers of examination and question, and suitably-limited control, is a useful failsafe for the "I'll say anything to get re-elected next time" gang in the Commons. Having membership of that second house based on other things, such as merit or heredity, isn't that unreasonable. It gives them reasons to look at laws differently, and so to see different things. So what if they lean towards things which make sure the country will still be a reasonable place for their children to inherit, isn't that pretty much what we all want? It balances out those who want power for their own sake (yes, Mr. Bliar, I'm looking at you). The Lords is in many ways far less a waste of space than many of the 622 seats in the Commons.

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Satya Nadella's $84.3m pay packet: Did he use the 'female superpower' to get it?

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Average?

$35,293. Is that the average miserable employee’s salary, or the miserable average employee’s salary?

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MARS NEEDS WOMEN, says NASA pretendnaut: They are light, eat less

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: all female crew...

crew-on-crew webcam action

I'll try to resist any dykes/canals jokes. Well, almost...

In any case, given the time delay involved.

"Show us your t*ts"

...time passes...

"too late, I'm already finished"

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Luscious LOHAN t-shirts fly into Vulture Central

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: "we promised that these rewards would be exclusive to our Kickstarter campaign"

Keep them in their original wrapping, then when the SPB lands a man on Mars in a few y̶e̶a̶r̶s̶ decades time they'll be worth a fortune..

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Martha Lane Fox: YEUCH! The Internet is MADE by MEN?!?

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: er

doesn't she actually have a point re voting?

No.

If turnout at an election is, say, 50% it indicates that 50% of the potential electorate don't care enough about who wins to actually vote. That's a lot of people who consider their vote to be effectively worthless. There's a clear opportunity there for someone to make it worth something, i.e. "I'll give you £10 to vote for my friend". In some marginal constituencies even 500 votes could make a difference, and at £5k it would be easily affordable to many potential candidates

The downside today is that with a secret ballot, paying for votes is risky. Someone could take your tenner & vote for whoever they want, you have no guarantee that you've got what you paid for,

Online voting completely changes that. You can stand over the person and watch them click the "right" button on your phone, you get a guarantee that you've bought their vote.It's every bit as open to fraud as postal voting.

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Want a more fuel efficient car? Then redesign it – here's how

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Turn off the engine while downhill!

Manually turning off the engine in a moving car has to be one of the stupidest suggestions in this whole thread.

Firstly because it's pointless, if you're travelling downhill in gear, on a closed throttle, in a modern car there will be no fuel injected anyway, the ECU will see to that.

Secondly, when you're in charge of a ton and a half of steel travelling at several tens of MPH you need to be ready for any unexpected situation, and that means being able to accelerate or steer rapidly as well as brake suddenly. You don't want to be fumbling for clutch pedal and ignition key and trying to restart in an emergency.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Cruise control

Later, with ABS disengaged

I'm curious about what car that was? A switch to disengage traction control systems is standard, but I've never seen a modern car that allows you to turn off the ABS.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Cruise control

Better to maintain the same throttle setting up the hill, and let the car's speed naturally drop from 70 to 65 or 60 rarely even less.

I've driven behind you. Fscking infuriating, either I slow down to keep a safety gap, or I pull out to overtake, just as you decide to accelerate back to 70 on the dowhill. If you can't maintain a constant speed in motorway traffic get a bus pass.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Replace anything with "Lucas" written on it

If you're only getting mid 30's to 40MPG you need to look at the way you're driving it.

Oh, I know that :)

It's a 2.2, lots of torque and great fun when you have a heavy right foot, and my consumption figures are pretty consistent with other owners. I could drive it like a nun and get better, I'm sure, but if I'd wanted to do that I'd have bought a Polo BlueMotion.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Replace anything with "Lucas" written on it

our current car returns 33-35 MPG in UK which changes to 40-44 MPG in France

Funny, my turbodiesel Mondeo gives me a consistent 36MPG in France, but usually over 40 in the UK. I generally put it down to the lower M-way speedlimits.

As to road comparisons I fear that you are comparing expensive French toll autoroutes with British A-roads. Once your'e off the autoroute and motoring on ordinary routes nationales or departmentales you'll find that they're every bit as crap as UK roads in many places. It's like train comparisons, people compare TGVs to UK commuter trains and claim "French trains are better". Commute on a local TER and you'll have a very different view!

Still, for really bad roads you should try a Californian freeway; potholed concrete-slab bumpity-bumpity-bump hell. I've seen country lanes with better surfaces.

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Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Flip beat me to it...

Picard was such an insecure, self-doubting wimp that I never understood how he made it much beyond lieutenant, never mind to starship captain. As to romantic encounters, he's the sort of guy who was probably a virgin on his wedding night, and still turned off the lights before he got undressed.

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Linux systemd dev says open source is 'SICK', kernel community 'awful'

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Oh please...

systemd is awful and one of the worst things that Linux has ever got saddled with in the last 20 years!

Let's face it, every Linux distro team has it's own opinion on how to do system management, and as the saying goes: opinions are like farts, everyone has them but you only like your own. Linux system management is a shambolic, inconsistent mess. Just my opinion, of course...

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TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Conflicted

told him to prove that it wasn't breakable.

Logic fail. You can't prove a negative.

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'Google is NOT the gatekeeper to the web, as some claim'

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Interesting data on Bendgate

The bendgate complaints came from people who sat on phones in their hip pocket. Such a phone was probably quite warm, especially if the sitter was on the large side. Have the testers considered whether prolonged warming of the phone, with resultant softening of the glue holding display/battery/etc in place might make them more bendy? Rather like a bar of chocolate, the break/bend point will be very different if the bar has been sat on in your pocket for an hour.

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Turn OFF your phone or WE'LL ALL DI... live? Europe OKs mobes, tabs non-stop on flights

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Don't get too upset

They still asked us to remove personal headphones during the safety announcement and, amusingly, to keep a firm grip on our devices during takeoff.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Don't get too upset

Airlines have been trialling this for a while. I was on a BA flight from Heathrow to SFO on Wednesday, and they announced that they had experimental wifi and phone service on board, active above 10,000 feet. They were upfront that it was experimental, might or might not work well, and would like feedback from anyone who tried it.

They were also quite clear that voice wasn't an option. SMS/MMS/data only, Skype and the like were blocked on the wifi. Any time airlines have surveyed passengers about this, the one clear result is that people don't want to have to listen to "guess where I'm calling you from" for hours on end at 30k feet.

I can't comment on how well it worked. The wifi to the internal login server worked fine, but I wasn't about to pay 6GBP for an hour of trying to surf the web, and I don't seem to belong to any of the partners that T-Mobile work with for roaming.

The most useful bit was the announcement that we didn't need to switch tablets and e-readers off during takeoff and landing.

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How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: This calls for a test

poke their eyeballs out

Well, the customary practice is called a double-blind test, but I don't think that's what they have in mind. They usually just make sure that the people setting up the test don't know which source is which so they don't give subconscious clues.

Then again, for El Reg, who knows...

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Missing the obvious test

What it does do is stop your connections oxidizing.

It's also soft, so sprung connectors make better contact, but it only works if both connectors are gold of a decent thickness. A super-thin layer of gold on one connnctor is pointless, and if the other is a standard nickel-plated one there's even some chance of electrolytic action making the nickel side oxidise faster, if there's moisture around. If you're building stuff to milspec, gold contacts have advantages. For domestic hifi it's just bling, and a way to relieve suckers of their money.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Digital Clone - billat29

showed a CD with a hole in the data area still playing perfectly.

Anyone remember the TV demo, I think it was Kieran wossname on Tomorrow's World, spreading strawberry jam on a CD and showing that it still played perfectly? Impressive, but it still made me wince...

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Titles are for toffs.

Ah, that brings back memories, of the first time I ever heard a CD. I walked into the lab and was handed a set of headphones (Sennheiser or some such) and told "listen to this". "My name is Luka", the original with just her voice, none of the remixed backing music crap. No tape hiss, no LP crackles. Stunning.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Missing the obvious test

When someone claims they can hear the difference, ask them if they have oxygen-free speaker cables, and a gold-plated litz-wound mains cable.

If they have, then you can safely ignore their opinion on MP3 compression.

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Phil O'Sophical
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until something much better comes along.

You're planning on getting new ears?

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Tearful LOHAN Playmonaut bids adiós to Spain

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Carnet

and does launching them into space count as re-exporting them?

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Poverty? Pah. That doesn't REALLY exist any more

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: The measure of Poverty

They are neither pre- not post- tax, nor are they gross or net.

For the US I think the more important thing is that the measures are before any welfare aid intended to alleviate the problem, but in Europe that is taken into account first. The US 25% of median could therefore be closer to the European 60% than it may seem.

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'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: is it just me....

Considering recent experiments, reptilian sex in space can even be fatal.

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India vs America: Earthling invaders in race to MARS

Phil O'Sophical
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India is searching for life by looking for methane.

Would this be indications of an ancient Martian curry shop?

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Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Malware proteced payment device....

For the avoidance of doubt, the falsie I found was permanently taken out of circulation!

Yes, after I posted I realised it could have been seen as a slur on your morals. Not my intention, sorry!

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Malware proteced payment device....

Counterfeits aren't quite the same, since it's often possible to pass them on to a person or machine that isn't so picky. Of course that raises an interesting moral question, since people who wouldn't dream of knowingly passing on malware often show no reluctance to circulate a dodgy coin. Plausible deniability, maybe? There's probably a psychology PhD thesis in there somewhere...

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Phil O'Sophical
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Why VSAT? These sort of systems used to work just fine on X.25, many still do (look at how many till and ATM reciepts have unmistakable X.121 addresses printed somewhere). Not an internet connection in sight.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: XP based self checkouts

And probably hadn't had an update or security fix applied since they day they were installed. Which is much more likely to be a problem than the simple fact that they're running XP, which was still a supported OS at the time the malware was alleged to be introduced.

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Getting to the BOTTOM of the great office seating debate

Phil O'Sophical
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Amazing

So many companies working so hard to encourage you to work from home...

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Monitors monitor's monitoring finds touch screens have 0.4% market share

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Not surprising

Last year one of the big gadget shops around here had a touch-screen monitor on display, it was somewhere around 24" - 28" size. The only people who seemed entertained by it were my teenage nephews, when they discovered that the system it was attached to had Angry Birds installed. In the last store refresh it vanished again.

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JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: If i had a vote

I don't see what flemish independence would add to that...

That's because you're not a politician with aspirations to sainthood.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: I hope they vote yes

Otherwise we will have to go though all this crap again in a decade or so.

Also the look on Salmond's face as all his pigeons come home to roost (currency, EU, NATO, share of national debt etc) will be priceless.

Don't forget that a Yes vote just starts the process which is planned to result in separation in March 2016 IIRC. As that process gets under way the pigeons will come well and truly home, and "It'll all work out in the end" Salmond will find himself explaining why Scotland can't stay in the EU, and can't use the pound, and why so many business have upped and left, and why house prices have collapsed because so many people are trying to sell up.

There's a UK-wide general election before then, May 7th 2015. Imagine what happens if Labour trounces the SNP before the Scottish Socialist Republic is created. There would be huge pressure to bring forward the next Scottish parliament elections to before "independence day". Anyone care to bet that there'd be another referendum?

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: If i had a vote

Meaning the HQ of the EU is in a country not in the EU.

One of the HQs :)

If it put an end to the Strasbourg-Brussels weekly shuttle we'd save a fortune in wasted taxes.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: If i had a vote

The world is too small for Nationalism and small countries to stand apart.

Maybe so, but it's human nature to want to belong to "something", and to feel that your "something" is better than their "something".

Glueing all the countries together into a unified something won't make people magically content to be a member of that something, they'll just look for other groups to join. If it isn't countries it will be regions, or languages, or dialects, or football clubs, or gangs, etc.

The downside of that is that instead of a big punchup, military or economic, every 50-70 years followed by a period of relieved stability you get a constant background level of minor trouble, which flares up every so often. This year it's Ukraine and Scotland, next year the Basques, then Catalonia, then Flanders/Walloons, etc. The EU isn't a solution, any more than the USSR was.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: If i had a vote

Algerian independence: 1962.

EU created: 1993.

Creation of the EEC: 1957.

That's what Algeria left.

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Microsoft staff brace for next round of layoffs – expected Thursday

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: @Phil O'Sophical

What you can often do is convert your running XP box in to a VM, and then run that fairly painlessly under another more modern OS.

I could, that's what I do in work, running XP and Linux VM guests under Solaris (and Linux and Solaris VMs under W7 on a laptop) but a home system needs to be painless for general work. My wife is comfortable with Linux and Solaris, but she still doesn't want to mess about with booting VMs and coping with their quirks if she doesn't have to. Neither do I, to be honest.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: @billat29

the problem is Windows upgrades.

Or more precisely the fact that you can't simply upgrade Windows as upgrades are understood in the rest of the professional computer world. A new version of Windows is always a reformat-and-start-again forklift upgrade.

If I could buy W7 at a reasonable price, say $100-$150, and install it on my XP system without losing anything, and without having to find and re-install all those convenient programs that I've accumulated over the past 6 years, I would seriously consider it.

As it is, my XP system works just fine, and when it finally dies or I find something that it just can't do I'll buy a whole new box. But not until then.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Silly thought experiment

The difficulty with that sort of artificially-created competition is that there are always unexpected consequences. In this case the big problem I forsee is that most copies of Windows are sold pre-installed on OEM systems. It would be nice to think that people would make an informed choice about which one they want, but we know that the majority of PC buyers haven't a clue what an OS is, let alone which version they're running. They can just about tell the difference between "Windows" and "Apple".

Build-to-order OEMs like Dell might offer a choice, but most would simply go for whichever charged them the lowest licence fee, and so made the end product cheapest. The resulting race to the bottom wouldn't make shareholders very happy, nor provide income for R&D. Eventually all but 1 or 2 of the Babysofts would go bust, and we'd be back where we started with one company, but a smaller and more financially strapped one.

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4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch

Phil O'Sophical
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Consumers who care about quality?

When I watch TV I watch the programme, not the display, and it's programme quality that matters.

We may well get to a point where large panels are only sold in 4K, just as today almost every TV can claim "3D", but whether that will to matter most viewers is questionable. Let's face it, most people are content to watch 4:3 format video stretched to fil a 16:9 screen and don't see anything wrong with it, and a lot of people with standard Freeview TVs that only contain SD tuners will insist that they're watching HD because the TV says "HD Ready" and the local transmitter now has HD broadcasts.

It will appeal to the pub boasters, and the "iPhone fanboi" types who'll spend a fortune just to show that they have the latest gadget, but the average viewer who's just bought a new HD TV isn't going to fork out (4k out?) another few grand just so they can see all the detail on the spotty faces of the latest X-factor muppets.

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WRISTJOB LOVE BONANZA: justWatch sex app promises blind date hookups

Phil O'Sophical
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who will either recoil with horror at your inglorious visage or fall into bed with you.

So if I've got this right, the difference between this app and six double martinis is the sequence of the above events?

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Got your NUDE SELFIES in the cloud? Two-factor auth's your best bet for securing them

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: 2FA, passwords, fingerprints

Sending a text message containing a second password to the phone is a good idea, though.

It has additional advantages. My bank uses it to verify online purchases, checking that my credit card is being used by me. Some months ago I got 3 or 4 such passwords within 5 minutes, for purchase attempts I hadn't made. A check online showed that other purchases were being made on my clearly skimmed Visa card. A quick call to the card hotline to cancel the card saved me a lot of grief.

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Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: RAYNET still exists? Who knew?

I would have thought that the advent of alternative means of communication rendered the whole concept as inefficient and outdated.

There are few long- or medium-distance alternatives which can survive a real disaster, especially once mains power goes out. Think earthquakes, floods, etc. RAYNET types may well have got snippy over the CB types who thought that any problem could be solved with a bigger linear, but by and large they were well-trained and much more aware of the technical problems presented by any given site.

It's true that they offer few advantages over modern PMR equipment or mobile phones when the basic infrastructure is working well, during sporting events for example, but in most cases RAYNET helps out at such events mainly to train its own members. Remember that the foundations of RAYNET date from the 1953 storms where the official infrastructure collapsed, and amateurs (in violation of their licence conditions) were the only point of contact between shipping in distress and the rescue services. That's what it's meant for, and is why it can officially only be called out by the "blue light" services, and a few others.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: "Currently, encryption is forbidden"

Yet another G3 (I assume)

Nope, a G8 as-was. F1 these days, so a bit out of touch with the details. I had the BR68 to hand.

I do see that the new description has been changed to say encrypt instead of encipher, an interesting if subtle change:

11(2) The Licensee ... shall not encrypt these Messages for the purpose of rendering the Message unintelligible to other radio spectrum users.

...

11(3) The Licensee may use codes and abbreviations for communications as long as they do not obscure or confuse the meaning of the Message.

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One sixth of the ENTIRE PLANET will buy a new smartphone this year

Phil O'Sophical
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One sixth of the ENTIRE PLANET will buy a new smartphone this year

Just one? Is the iPhone 6 really that expensive now?

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Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Why do we keep trying to add another middleman?

Why can't Visa/MasterCard/AMEX just make their own individual apps to do this?

Because they haven't figured out how to avoid the responsibility when it goes wrong?

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Apple NFC

including a Bluetooth stack and limiting it to hands free kits only.

A bit like Sony do with the Bravia TVs. You can pair any Bluetooth device you like, as long as it's a mouse. Keyboard? Forget it.

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Scottish independence: Will it really TEAR the HEART from IT firms?

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: "What does Scottish independence and the break-up of the United Kingdom mean to businesses"

Where did you hear about this "broken window fallacy" thing, btw? You are the second poster to mention it.

It's a reference to an 1850 essay from a French economist. If a child breaks a window, which takes very little effort, it creates work and money for a glazier, so destroying things might seem to be a way to stimulate an economy. In practice it's a fallacy since it just takes money that would probably be spent elsewhere, there's no net gain. Google it, there are bound to be thousands of references.

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Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: They are making profits of over £100m...

It doesn't matter that it bears no relation to real-life usage. What it does do is provide a comparison between two different makes/models, using one standardised baseline, so comparisons can be made.

But the comparisons are meaningless, because the baseline is unrealistic, and the manufacturers distort the ECU map so much to score highly that it damages the car's performance in real conditions.

What you get are "official" figures that show that Car A does 50 mpg on the test, Car B does 45mpg. In real life Car A does 37mpg, and car B does 39 mpg in average conditions, and when you get them remapped by a professional tuner they both go up to 45mpg (but would then fare worse on the EU tests).

How has the standard comparison been of any use whatsoever? All it shows is that manufacturer of Car A is better at fine-tuning the ECU map to optimise the engine for an imaginary journey, but at the expense of poorer figures in other circumstances. The ony place to get meaningful comparisons is from the car magazines and web sites who use the car in real conditions for several weeks or months.

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