* Posts by Phil O'Sophical

1942 posts • joined 28 Oct 2011

Wham, bam... premium rate scam: Grindr users hit with fun-killing charges

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: the solution is simple

Give every telco customer the right to repudiate any premium-rate item (call or SMS, including reverse-billed) on the bill.

Oh great, you mean I can be reimbursed for all the charges I ran up on the sexchatline last night when I was drunk?

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Mobe-hungry BT's sales slip over Xmas amid EE buyout silence

Phil O'Sophical
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EBITDA

The I is Interest, not Inflation.

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FCC sexes up, er, sextuples 'broadband' speed to 25Mbps in US

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: .. but it makes a difference

ISPs will no longer be able to claim they provide broadband technically

The FT pointed out an interesting and (possibly unintended?) consequence of this. By effectively reclassing lots of small suppliers as no longer providing broadband, the FCC has effectively put Comcast into an even more dominant position, which could threaten its bid for Time-Warner under anti-monopoly rules.

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Ugly, incomplete, buggy: Windows 10 faces a sprint to the finish

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: I still shudder...

It's called the future. Get used to it.

Why? I live in the present, and tomorrow never comes...

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Supersonic Bloodhound car techies in screaming 650mph comms test

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Doppler etc...

GSM is limited to speeds well below this

Well, I wouldn't expect Bloodhound to need a cell-to-cell handoff over it's run, which is what gives GSM problems. Just picking up a radio signal from a source pootling along at 0.000001c shouldn't be rocket science.

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Man trousers $15,000 domain name for $10.99 amid registry cockup

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: So How's Pets.com Doing?

I can't think of anyone who has build a well known successful business based on having having a generic domain name.

B&Q do nicely out of diy.com, but that perhaps works because it's a fairly UK-centric term, the Americans don't use it. Interestingly, the French registrar refused to allow Castorama (a French DIY chain owned by Kingfisher, who also own B&Q) to register bricolage.fr, which would be the direct French equivalent, on the grounds that it would be unfair competition for one business to own a generic name. A very different attitude to business.

By the way, to test my theory about "poutine.com", I tried typing "poutine.com" into the address bar of my web browser. There's no site, and the address is for sale.

Also possible Freench complications there. Poutine is how the French spell Comrade Vladimir's name, since the pronunciation of "Putin" in French would make him Vladimir Whore. I'd guess that more people would expect poutine.com to be a politics site than one to find pub nosh.

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Sleepy Ofcom glances at Internet of Things, rolls over, takes nap

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: failed to set direction

You don't need IPv6 for external inbound connectivity, I do it fine with IPv4 across a NATed connection. Equally, of course, IPv6 doesn't mean unlimited inbound connectivity, there's no reason that a domestic IPv6-capable router wouldn't have a firewall that blocked all inbound connections by default.

This is completely separate from the security issue. We've seen the problems with internet-enabled cameras and default (or lazy) passwords, and we can clearly not expect ordinary users to configure IoT devices correctly. If my home heating controller, or any other important and.or potentially cost-conscious device, is to be connected to the internet I will not tolerate it being protected by a simple username/password. I would expect a proper certificate-based encrypted connection, linked only to specified external devices, so that even if someone does get through my firewall they can't do any harm.

Creating such a security model is not too difficult, but making it easy to use by ordinary non-technical folks is far from trivial. It won't be done by the cheap supermarket/DIY store own brand gear, unless that is forced on them by legislation. That seems to be where Ofcom has dropped the ball.

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Phil O'Sophical
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The single biggest issue that IoT will face is security, looks like Ofcom is taking the ostrich approach as usual.

I'm no fan of IoT as an idea, I think it's another solution looking for a problem like 3D TV, but when the papers start running stories about home networks being hacked, and someones fishtank being frozen, or budgie baked, or a huge electricity bll because some hacker turned on all their appliances for a week, it will put people off completely. Having decent security would at least allow those who do want it to have it in a trustworthy fashion, and Ofcom should be mandating that.

This peculiar slow-lane approach to IPv6 stands in contrast to most other countries' regulators and government agencies that are actively promoting the upgrade.

That I find less surprising. It fits perfectly with the average man-in-the-street attitude to the internet. NAT may be the spawn of the devil for purists, but for most home internet devices it works just fine.

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EE squashes Orange UK: France Telecom's been 'destroying it for years'

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Tell us more !!!!

I just hope that relations remain cordial between the merged groups.

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Chunky Swedish ice maiden: Volvo XC60 D4 Manual EE Lux Nav

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Safety??

But the blind spot indicator isn't an alternative to looking in the mirror, it covers the bit the mirror does not.

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I understand your point, but unfortunately I don't think it will work that way. Instead of looking in the mirror, and then over their shoulder to check the blind spot as we were all taught to do, people will just fall into the habit of a glance in the mirror, check the little indicator isn't flashing, and pull out. They'll stop looking over their shoulder. They shoudln't, but they will, this sort of gadget encourages that sloppy driving.

Parking sensors lie somewhere inbetween. They are the equivalent to the age old process of having the passenger jump out to have a look. I was rather pleased when I git a BMW X5 to have both front and rear parking sensors beeping at maximum frequency at the same time. That's a tight space.

I drive a Mondeo, so also a biggish car. The sensors switch to a continuous beep when they are about 15-20cm from an object. I can get the car closer than that just by looking, even without a passenger. It takes practice, of course, to learn where the edges of the car are but again the sensors encourage people not to practice.

A while back I was on a narrow country lane when a van appeared at speed round a corner, straddling the white line. I just squeezed between it and the rocky bank beside me, no scrapes. My passenger gulped and said "you do know what width your car is, don't you". Not something parking sensors would have helped with.

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Phil O'Sophical
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FAIL

Safety??

One of the options which significantly adds to the safety of others is the blind spot indicators. If there is something in the blind spot a light comes on by the door mirror. It seems to be sensitive scooters and bikes.

So the driver pays less and less attention to the mirrors because "I don't need to, the car will tell me", until the day the car doesn't tell him, or he forgets he's driving someone else's car without the gadget, and he kills some poor sod in the blind spot he didn't check.

My car has those pointless bleeping parking sensors. I don't need them, they don't help me park, but I can't turn the bloody things off. Yet even so, when I'm in my wife's car I still find myself reversing and half-waiting for the beep which will never happen.

If you don't want to have to drive the car yourself, get a bus pass. Otherwise LEARN TO DRIVE THE FUCKING THING PROPERLY before you kill someone. No wonder road death figures are starting to go up again.

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Landlines: The tech that just won't die

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Call filtering

Not necessarily a good approach. Our GP doesn't give CLI. It's easier to answer the Withheld calls than find a new GP.

My GP doesn't call me out of the blue. Obviously if I've called someone to make an appointment and am expecting a return call, or if I'm waiting for a delivery and know the driver will phone to say "just where is your house?" then I may answer.

I get very few - almost disappointing few - nuisance calls these days. I think I must have got myself on a do-no-call list....

Mine come in bursts, I can have a month with 3-4 every day, then a month with none. Going to my online account with a local supermarket and replacing my number with that for their own complaints department made an amazing difference to some marketing calls, it was clear who they were selling my details to.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Call filtering

I've had several NUMBER NOT AVAILABLE or WITHHELD displays on the phone that turned out to be important calls from hospitals or credit card companies.

I don't answer any calls which present no number, or show a number I don't recognize. That applies to landline and mobile.

If the call is important, they'll leave a message. If they don't leave a message the call is clearly not important.

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Why so tax-shy, big tech firms? – Bank of England governor

Phil O'Sophical
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The companies can't volunteer to pay more, because their shareholders would react badly - with a lawsuit.

The only way to fix this is to change the laws, there's simply no way any entity is going to pay more tax then it needs to, no matter how much some fatcat banker complains about it.

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EE data network goes TITSUP* after mystery firewall problem

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Oh, dear...

Mobile networks' customer service was obviously designed by a farmer.

Maybe they got confused by the old joke: farmers are clearly experts, they are men out standing in their fields.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Oh, dear...

Why is this a surprise? People shop by price, putting quantity over quality, as always.

I'm sure that any of these companies could do far better if they just doubled their prices. Do you seriously think that it would have customers flocking to it, even if it were proven to be better? Of course not, they'd all scream RIP OFF and head for some other cheap-as-chips crap outfit, and then moan about the quality.

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Free Windows 10 could mean the END for Microsoft and the PC biz

Phil O'Sophical
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Sounds more like "For the first 12 months after release you can upgrade for nothing, after that you'll have to buy the upgrade if you want it" but once upgraded, you're OK for the life of the product.

Or in other words "we need some cheap testers" ?

I wonder if this means that you need a W7 or W8 activation code to activate the "free" upgrade? Might be worth shoving an old spare disk into my W7 laptop to get the "free" upgrade loaded, then pop the W7 one back in while they work the bugs out of W10. When W7 finally dies, W10 will be ready...

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Flash zero day under attack

Phil O'Sophical
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Headmaster

Don't you guys spell check your articles?

Wouldn't have helped with "immanent", although it is certainly a most inappropriate adjectve to describe a security vulnerability.

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2015: The year of MAD TV science, but who can keep up?

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Do the older amongst us

Funny you should say that, but I recognise that little TV in the upper centre of the picture, the one the guy has his hand on. My sister still has one. Still works, too (if there were anything to watch on an analogue telly)

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Phil O'Sophical
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WTF?

Europe?

Sadly, we’ll never, ever see this innovation in Europe, because Sharp actually sold off its entire European TV and AV business to Slovakian electronics brand UMC last year.

Come again? The Slovak Republic is in Euope, it's even been a member of the EU. for the past 10 years

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Facebook: Yo 'people'! Zap fake news on our giant ad farm, would'ja?

Phil O'Sophical
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Facepalm

We’ve heard from people that they want to see fewer stories that are hoaxes, or misleading news.

So people even want Facebook to think for them now. How long before the Cult of Zuckerberg applies for classification as a religion? It already seems to have enough braindead worshippers.

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Windows 10, day ZERO ... Will Nadella be the HERO?

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Timezones

why my appointments for 10am (say) should remain at 10am

Really?

I have regular meetings at 5pm my time, which are attended (by phone) by people from several countries, including California where the meeting is at 8am for them. My phone reminds me 15 minutes before the meeting.

When I am in California on a business trip I would be mightily pissed off if my phone reminded me at 4:45pm for a 5pm appointment, and would certainly expect my appointment to show up as 8am, just as I would expect it to be shown as 4pm were I to go to the UK.

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MYSTERY RADIO SIGNAL picked up from BEYOND our GALAXY

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Space is big, my brain just ain't

can we make it negative while still using a decent beer?

Funny, I had the same thought, and the answer is, sadly, no, at least not without getting a very sore elbow. A pint of beer contains ~ 180 Calories, which is ~750kJ, or 150 kiloQuaffs.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Space is big, my brain just ain't

That's a tough one because El Reg doesn't have a standard unit for energy,

It clearly needs one.

1 Joule is 1 Nm, which in Reg units would be 0.0174 Norris linguini (Nolg) (although I have a hard time imagining Chuck with a plate of pasta).

Thinking of some useful Reg-related activity which requires energy, we can see that a pint of beer weighs around 568g (assuming it's mostly water) and a check with the one-off sample of a beer glass I have to hand suggests around 400g for the glass, so lets take a round 1kg for a full pint glass.

Lifting it approx 50cm from table to mouth would require approx 5 joules of energy, so I propose to name that one Quaff. This gives us:

1 Qu = 5J = 0.087 Nolg

Getting back to the original question, the Wikipedia article quotes the Sun as pumping out 384.6 yotta watts (3.846 e+26 W), which is 3.32 e+31 Joules per day, some 6.64 e+30 Quaffs, or 6,640,000 yottaQuaffs.

Now I should get back to work...

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Young CHAP CUFFED in Blighty over Xmas Sony and XBOX hacks

Phil O'Sophical
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Thumb Down

Re: 0 for geography

The idiot was from up north in Liverpoolland. Not Cornwall.

I think you missed the "Lizard Squad" element of the joke...

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BT bemoans 'misconceived' SUPERFAST broadband regs

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: hang on

Paying by cheque costs a vendor more than paying by direct debit.

I think there's also the issue that DD means BT get the money when they ask. Billing a user who then pays by cheque or credit card runs the risk of late or non-existent payments. In the old days when most bills were paid by cheque/cash there was always pressure to get as many payments processed before mid-day, since money banked by then would earn a full day's interest, I'm not sure if that's still the case. Even a few days late on a payment probably costs a large company a non-negligeable sum, so my guess is that the £2 extra charge is a deterrent to avoid that, and to make up for larger bad debts which that means of payment produces.

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Microsoft cracks personalisation without prying

Phil O'Sophical
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Hang on a minute

If they're still able to personalise search results, then they are obviously keeping some info on me and what I do, somewhere, otherwise how can they know what I (even an anonymized, unknown "I") wants?

Secondly, one of the reasons I turn off tracking is because I don't want personalised search results. I want my computer or search engine to do what I tell it to, not what it thinks I might want.

Far from being "personalisation without prying" it sounds more like "spying without an off switch". "We're from BigCorp, we're here to help you". Yeah, right.

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Don't use Charlie Hebdo to justify Big Brother data-slurp – Data protection MEP

Phil O'Sophical
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FAIL

Re: Playing into Terrorists hands...

In fact .. i'd go one step further .. Make the actions of the secret services even more atrocious than the terrorists's , play their game and start paying them back with interest ..

That is exactly what groups like Al Queda want to happen. Today they're just extremists, with a few supporters organised here and there. Start bombing the shit out of anyone or anything connected with them would be the best recruiting drive for them that you can imagine.

The usual comparison is to think what would have happened if the UK government response to IRA bombs in London in the 70's had been to drop a few kilotons of HE on W. Belfast and Dublin. Do you seriously think we'd have reached even the fragile level of understanding and peaceful cooperation we have today?

Indeed, a more pertinent actual example might be the aftermath of the 1916 Easter Rising. The 'rebels' had very little support, until the government put the leaders in front of a firing squad, with Connolly shot while tied to a chair because he was too injured to stand. The election shortly afterwards was a landslide victory for Sinn Féin and independence.

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'F*** you', exclaims Google Translate app, politely

Phil O'Sophical
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sadly not an actual Babel fish

I dunno, I'm n̶o̶t̶ ̶s̶u̶r̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶I̶ ̶w̶a̶n̶t̶ very sure that I don't want Google feeding directly into my brain wave matrix.

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

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Please help a penguin

The idea that telnet could be secured

Well, while it's not the worlds greatest protocol, it can be secured, "telnet -x" will negotiate an authenticated and encrypted connection. I've never seen anyone do it, though.

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Icelandic brewers knock up whale 'nad beer

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: What about the flavour?

And is it hand-pulled, or does it come in bottles?

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Bloke in Belgium tries to trademark Je Suis Charlie slogan

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Brave, or stupid?

Cowardly fecking c**ts... All of the main retailers and distributors.

Well, there is a certain practical problem, in that only a few thousand copies are going to be available to the UK. You can't really expect WH Smiths to try and work out which shops will get a copy to sell, it's better to leave it to the smaller newsagents.

Better yet would be to wait a week or so after publication, and then have Charlie Hebdo give up the copyright, or maybe freely licence it, so that anyone who wanted to could reprint copies.

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2015 will be the Year of Linux on the, no wait, of the dot-word domain EXPLOSION

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: It will be a forced explosion, not a choice.

Exactly, it's just a way to gouge the big names for more money, since the registrars hope that they'll have to buy every possible domain as 'protection'.

Extorting protection money rarely works, though. I can imagine some creative lawyers working hard on ways to make, say, 'ford.car" impossible to use by squatters. The big brands probably have deep enough pockets to sue such scammers into bankruptcy, and although it's not normally a tactic I like, I can see that it has advantages here...

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I don't think you're ready for this Jelly: Google pulls support for Android WebView

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: WTF

This is totally, totally different to MS dropping support for XP,

But it is. It's a bit like Dell dropping support for their OEMed XP SP1 after 2 years, and you being unable to get SP3 or any other upgrades from anyone else, even Microsoft.

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It's 4K-ing big right now, but it's NOT going to save TV

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: A womens story?

Only the wimmin watch tv in this household.

All the males game.

I wonder which is cause, and which is effect?

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Tax Systems: The good, the bad and the completely toot toot ding-dong loopy

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Tobin/Robin Hood Tax

But for speculators who are doing dodgy deals, banking on making a tiny profit hundreds of times a day, then the tax puts them out of the game.

Well, more precisely it makes them take their game elsewhere, and given how much of the market is made up of such transactions, it will severely damage any financial market where that game is played.

Look at what happened in Sweden in the early 90s, where bond sales collapsed until the tax was repealed.

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No, the Linux leap second bug WON'T crash the web

Phil O'Sophical
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Paris Hilton

Time lords in Paris

She's bigger on the inside than the outside?

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Get your special 'sound-optimising' storage here, hipsters

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Too late - it already exists!

I can't tell you how many times those tiny blue lights have caused data corruption on my network.

It's because of the higher energy in the blue photons, they knock the loose low-order bits off the music bytes.

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Hang on a second – Time Lords have added one to 2015

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: since you ask

Not sure about this, if my machine has been off for a while and I turn it on, then the clock corrects much faster than your statement would imply.

There's a threshold value, 900 secs IIRC, if the clock is out by more than that there'll be a step change to fix it.

Similarly we get an hour change twice a year which also happens nice and quickly.

That's a presentation change, the actual clock doesn't change (well, shouldn't change), there's just a DST flag which causes an hour to be added, or not, to the returned value.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Joke

the International Earth Rotation Service need to work a bit harder at rotating Earth internationally?

It's getting the international agreement synched-up that's the problem. What do you think is causing all this continental drift and earthquakes?

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: since you ask

In normal use computer clocks drift and will regularly get 1 second corrections,

A well-configured NTP setup should never make such a gross correction in one go, though. By default it will slew the clock to correct a 1 second difference over a period of 30 minutes or so.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: since you ask

the problem is, NTP doesn't work like that. It proactively notifies the client

I didn't know that, thanks.

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Phil O'Sophical
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I'm not entirely clear on why this should be a problem for ordinary computers.

Some central time reference goes:

2015 June 30, 23h 59m 59s

2015 June 30, 23h 59m 60s

2015 July 1, 0h 0m 0s

My computer goes:

2015 June 30, 23h 59m 59s

2015 July 1, 0h 0m 0s

2015 July 1, 0h 0m 1s

Sometime later the NTP update on my system notices that the clock is running 1 second fast, and gradually adjusts, as normal. Unless it happens to be referencing the external service at exactly midnight (easy to avoid), where's the problem?

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Erik Meijer: AGILE must be destroyed, once and for all

Phil O'Sophical
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Blaming the tools...

Good programmers write good code, bad programmers write crap code, the methodology you wrap it in is irrelevant. Neither Agile nor Waterfall will get good code out of a bad programmer.

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Ex-Microsoft Bug Bounty dev forced to decrypt laptop for Paris airport official

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: @Matt Phil O'Sophical Not a problem

Did they have many suicide bombings in Belfast then?

Not intentionally, even the IRA weren't that dedicated. Not so many virgins waiting for them in the marxist republican hereafter, I suppose. They preferred the proxy technique, locking civilians to bombs and forcing them to drive to targets.

How about IRA or INLA bombings of airliners? Oh, no, they didn't.

Only once, although they fired mortars at airports on several occasions, but there aren't very many internal flights in NI. Trains, buses, they were bombed, frequently. Despite the security theatre.

Indeed, the IRA often made warning calls to avoid civilian casualties so as to not upset their US donors.

Eventually, after the public reaction to murders like the Abercorn, La Mon, etc.

the Troubles led to 3530 deaths on all sides over just short of thirty years.

In a population of 1.5m.

AQ nearly topped that in a single day.

One incident 13 years ago, in a population of 250m, and you're still talking about it. There are twice as many firearm killings and 10x as many traffic deaths in the US, every year.

what you call "security theatre" I see as having been very effective, as showed in the link I included. I used to see it in countries like Israel where searching of bags going into shopping malls and at bus station queues was the norm,

Yes, it was the norm in Belfast too. Every large store had someone at the door whose job was to search bags. It might have found someone with a few kg of explosive linked to a timer, or a sputtering fuse, but almost all attacks on such buildings were through firebombs that were the size of, and often hidden in, cigarette packets. The "searches" never stopped those. Ask the stores why they still employed the security staff and the reponse was simple - after an attack one of the first questions the damage assessors asked was what precautions were taken. Not "searching" bags would mean that the store would be considered negligent, and lose much or all compensation. Pure theatre, on the CYA principle.

Alert people and good behind-the-scenes intelligence was what stopped the serious attacks, not the disruption to everyday life that we eventually realised was pointless.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Tom 13 Booting a laptop, even to a full desktop, proves nothing,

Whilst neither outcome is desirable, I'd sure settle for the former rather than the latter option.

I wouldn't.

Think for a moment. The whole object of a terrorist attack is to frighten people into doing something that the terrorists can't actually achieve themselves. The main damage from 9/11 wasn't the immediate effect of the crashed planes, it was the months of economic harm done afterwards by people too scared to fly, and the spread of that nervousness to the markets. I was on a 747 to the US a few weeks after 9/11, it was empty, maybe 50 people on the whole aircraft.

Set off a bomb in a departure lounge at Heathrow and you close Heathrow for a day at least, and that terminal is out of action for a week or more while forensics and then construction crews work. You also terrify people who were taking flights to places completely unconnected with the political event that lay behind the bomb, and put them off airports in general. Result is huge economic damage far beyond that one small incident.

Blow up one plane and you certainly kill all the people on that flight, and perhaps frighten some people off getting on another flight to that destination for a few weeks. Overall the impact is far less. Clearly that is of no consolation to the families of those killed, but in terms of achieving the aims of the terrorists the former is a far more effective approach. Terrorism is not about the act, it is about the fear the act causes.

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Phil O'Sophical
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@Matt Re: Phil O'Sophical Not a problem

There were at least ten successful attacks on commercial airliners in the 1980s before more stringent checks were brought in

The best checks are the ones behind the scenes that neither we nor the terrorists know about. Those are the ones that stop most attacks.

I grew up in Belfast, I dare say I have a great deal more personal experience of the ineffectiveness of security theatre, and the difficulties of really stopping terrorist attacks, than you have.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Not a problem

Logging on confirms the laptop is likely a functioning PC not a disguised bomb.

Really? My Dell laptop has an option for a mini card that boots in a few seconds into a Linux-based environment for reading email. Doesn't use much more of the main PC than the battery, the rest could be replaced with plastic explosive. For that matter, if you can make a laptop-sized bomb you'll likely be more than skilled enough to put a Raspberry Pi and a couple of AA batteries in with it to look the part when you turn on "the laptop".

As with all this security theatre, it inconveniences the honest travellers while doing absolutely zero to improve security in terms of deterring professional killers.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Another reason not to change planes at CDG (if you needed yet another one).

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YES, we need TWO MEELLION ORACLE licences - DEFRA

Phil O'Sophical
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WTF?

Re: Really?

Where does the 2m licence figure come from? The article says "£155 per employee - typically for many licences per head - at an annual cost of £1.3m", My calculator says that comes out at ~ 8,400 licenses. At the end of the article it then makes a guestimate of ~12,000 employees. 8,000 licences for 12,000 employees doesn't seem that strange.

Even if we take £155 per employee, and around 12,000 employees, then buying everyone a licence would mean ~ £2m total, not 2m licences

??

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