* Posts by Cuddles

166 posts • joined 3 Nov 2011

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Samsung spins up its latest rusty rotators for release

Cuddles
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"800GB/platter – impressive areal density – and therefore 5 platters for the 4TB model. Other capacity points are 500GB, 1TB and 2TB."

Shouldn't those be in multiples of 800? Seems a bit odd to sell a 500GB drive when a single platter would already give you more than that.

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Heinz cockup sees Ketchup's QR codes spurt saucy sites

Cuddles
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"A chap named Daniel Korell got quite a surprise when, in late May, he scanned the QR code on a bottle of Heinz Hot Tomato Ketchup"

Bet he wasn't half as surprised as Heinz were that someone had actually scanned a QR code.

@Colin MIller

"The safer thing to do is have the QR contain heinz.de/promo"

Shouldn't that be heinz.de/porno?

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Facebook Moments app NOT COMING to a mobile device near EU soon

Cuddles
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Re: Mmm, chocpot

"The reason FB is not popular amongst Reg readers is because it's geared around people being interested in other peoples' lives, rather than in their computers."

Not at all. In fact, I rather like Facebook. It's a very useful site for keeping in touch with friends and family who don't live nearby, organising events, sharing holiday photos, participating in various groups and communities, and so on. The problem is that it's also useful for spamming endless streams of uninteresting and irrelevant bullshit, and many people don't seem to realise that that's not all there is. It's not that they're not interested in other people's lives, it's just that they don't care about getting updates on exactly what everyone is doing every 5 minutes.

This is why I criticised Moments, not Facebook as a whole, since it's focussed solely on automating that stream of crap. If a photo is interesting enough for you to want to share it with your friends, it's probably worth taking a few seconds to actually post it and tag it yourself. All Moments will do is increase the number of shit photos no-one cares about being posted, and no matter how good or bad you think Facebook is currently, that is not a useful addition.

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Cuddles
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Mmm, chocpot

"Moments would be about as useful as a chocolate teapot without the creepy tech"

Or, indeed, with it.

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Pirate Party founder: I wanna turn news into a series of three-line viral gobbets

Cuddles
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Writers?

"three-sentence “stories” scraped from real news sources and posted as images... pay writers “better”... 682 new jobs"

I'm confused, if all you're doing is stealing what other sources have already written, why exactly do you need to pay any writers anything, and what on Earth will those 682 people actually do?

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Auto-playing video ads? People love auto-playing video ads – Twitter

Cuddles
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"7x increase in completions of Promoted Videos”... "3 seconds or more."

In other words, it usually takes at least 3 seconds for people to notice there's an obnoxious video playing and make it stop. Advertisers may mostly be annoying scum, but I don't think they're quite as stupid as Twitter seems to think.

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YOU ARE THE DRONE in Amazon's rumoured new parcel delivery plan

Cuddles
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@P.Lee

"Rather than going for end-user drones, I'd be asking shops (supermarkets?) to become drop-off points though they may see that as self-defeating."

They already do that, and have for a while. Supermarkets aren't particularly well set up for it (it involves having shop assistants who can go and fetch packages from a store for you), but I have at least 5 or 6 shops within a 15 minute walk of my house that I can collect packages from. It's a big reason I like shopping with Amazon, since actual delivery companies are almost universally incompetent.

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Philae warms up nicely, sends home second burst of data

Cuddles
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@John Robson

"Lower launch costs are still *way* more expensive than building the probe - and the groundstation and the people required to run the probe..."

It's actually pretty much the opposite. The Mars Science Laboratory (including the Curiosity rover), for example, has cost around $2.5 billion so far, with more to come if it doesn't die soon. It was launched on an Atlas V which would have cost $150-200 million. Lower launch costs would mean it might have cost $2.4 billion instead. Similarly, the Rosetta mission has cost around $1.8 billion, with launch costs again on the order of $100 million. Lower launch costs would be great for regular launches into Earth orbit, but they're pretty much irrelevant when it comes to interplanetary exploration.

@MacroRodent

"I wonder if there is any serious risk of some kind of geyser becoming active under Philae, and literally blowing it back to space?"

That's actually one likely benefit of it's current position, since less sunlight means less chance of things happening due to the ice heating up nearby. The same factors that give it problems with power mean it's probably in one of the safest spots it could be.

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Oculus Rift noggin-bucket ... heyyy, errr ... have we all got them on already?

Cuddles
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"Microsoft will bundle an Xbox controller with every headset"

Can we ask them not to? An Xbox controller costs in the region of £50. I may well be interested in a Rift once they're done, but I don't want another controller. A Rift at £350 would be a lot more attractive than one at £400+ that comes with a pile of useless shit I don't want or need.

@ Boothy

"The listed spec requirements are around what would have been classed as a high end, but not top end ((i.e. single GFX card, rather than SLI etc), gaming PC from about 3 or 4 years ago."

No, the listed spec requirements are what would be classed as high end right now. A GTX970 is close to the best GPU currently on the market, with only the 980 (and soon 970Ti) any better (plus the AMD equivalents of course, don't know the names off the top of my head). Similarly, the CPU is near the top end of current Intel offerings, with the Broadwell line to replace it only being released this month. Of course they're planning ahead to actual release a year or more from now when there will be new and better parts around and a Rift won't require a brand new PC, but to claim these are specs from 3 or 4 years ago is just silly.

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All right, who guessed 'street mapping' for those mystery Apple vans? Congratulations

Cuddles
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Call me crazy

...but isn't gathering map data something they should have done before releasing a map app, rather than 3 years later?

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Everything Apple touted at WWDC – step inside our no-hype-zone™

Cuddles
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Re: The Fall

I say we all just agree to call it "tomato" and be done with it.

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Your servers are underwater? Chill OUT, baby – liquid's cool

Cuddles
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Re: Heat capacity

"I seriously hope it's not alkane-based, or you're going to be able to toast marshmallows from half a mile away. It's more likely to be silicone based."

Nope, mineral oil is (mainly) alkanes. Quite commonly used not just as coolant, but also as heat transfer fluid in consumer electric radiators and in plenty of other places (see Wiki - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mineral_oil). You probably wouldn't want to use it as a open bath since the fumes could cause issues, but it's pretty safe since it's heavy enough not to be easily flammable - it's around the same weight as diesel, and you can happily drop lit matches in that all day long without setting anything on fire.

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Cuddles
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Heat capacity

"a dielectric mineral oil blend called ElectroSafe, an electrical insulator it claims to have 1,200 times more heat capacity by volume than air"

Not really an amazing claim. Petrol has volumetric heat capacity 1,200 times higher than air, so all they're saying is that their mineral oil is, in fact, oil (specifically short-chain alkanes very slightly longer than the mainly octane and heptane in regular petrol). This also highlights why water is still the preferred substance for actually shipping the heat away with all the faff that having an extra heat exchanger requires - its heat capacity is another 4 times higher again.

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Kaspersky says air-gap industrial systems: why not baby monitors, too?

Cuddles
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Re: Baby monitors?!

The benefit is that instead of needing a pair (or more) of matched, dedicated monitors, you can have a single monitor that streams to any network-capable device such as laptop, phone, etc.. Sure, it's only a small convenience, but it's one with no drawbacks (oh no, someone might be able to listen to a sleeping baby!) so why not? Even just having one less device to remember to keep charged is a benefit. While I don't have babies myself, friends and family who do are generally grateful for any convenience they can get, no matter how small.

Hooking up video and watching things from work is, I agree, completely unnecessary and really not the point of baby monitors in the first place, which are basically supposed to just let you leave the baby sleeping upstairs while still being able to know if it wakes up. But just because some people do stupid and/or pointless things with the technology doesn't mean the technology itself is inherently bad.

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Windows 8.1 market share grows, Windows 7 slips, Windows 10 lurks

Cuddles
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Re: Not just a service pack

I would argue the more relevant point is not what changes were made between versions, but how they are licensed. You either own Windows XP, 7 or 8. The difference between 8 and 8.1 does not exist, it's simply an update to software using the same license. From a technical point of view it may be interesting to argue about exactly how big the differences between 8 and 8.1 are, but from the perspective of tracking who owns which OS, which is all these trackers are looking at, there is no difference between them at all.

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Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV: The new common-as-muck hybrid

Cuddles
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Re: How much?

"However, the point that slightly bothers me is that as emissions regs are tightened further and further and car taxation is tied more and more closely to them, it becomes more punitive to keep running the older cars and people are pushed in the direction of new ones."

Not really. you have to look at the actual size of that push. This Outlander costs over £28k, while something similar can be had second hand for £8k or so - I got a diesel Forester for that a few months ago. If I keep that for 10 years, then including tax I'll still have paid less than £10k for it. Even if tax was an order of magnitude more so I was paying nearly £1500 per year, it would still be significantly more expensive to get the new car. Plus bear in mind that taxes generally apply differently to old and new vehicles - there are different schemes for cars registered before 2010, and again for those registered before 2001 (and an extra break in 2006 for particularly dirty cars).

So while taxes based on emissions might be intended as an incentive to encourage people to buy cleaner cars, it's a tiny effect compared to the actual cost of buying a car and is only going to push people who don't bother to actually run the numbers. The only way to really get people to buy new cars is to raise taxes to the point that it actually makes economic sense for them to do so, and at that point most people simply won't be able to afford a car at all.

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Cuddles
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Re: How much?

"which is more environmentally friendly? Buying a new "eco-car" every two or three years (with the associated costs/environmental impact of its manufacture) or buying something older that is less tree-friendly"

The problem is that you can't have one without the other. Buying second-hand is certainly much more environmentally friendly, but you can't do that if no-one buys new cars in the first place. As long as a car does get re-sold and doesn't end up on the scrap heap too early, it doesn't really matter what the motivation for buying it new was.

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Bundestag hack origin still a mystery as DE.gov techies pull out their hair

Cuddles
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"China, North Korea, the UK and the US all maintain significant “in-house” hacking capabilities"

...as does every other country on the planet that can afford at least a couple of computers. China, Russia and the Norks don't bother to hide their efforts and the US and UK got caught with their pants down, but it would be incredibly naive to think everyone else is perfectly innocent just because they don't make the headlines as much.

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Google spins up 'FREE, unlimited' cloud photo storage 4 years before ad giant nixes it

Cuddles
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So Google will know...

No, Google already knows. So does Facebook. And Amazon. And any number of other companies who have either collected similar data or bought it from someone who did. It doesn't matter if you've never used any of their services, at least some of your friends and family have. Google making some minor changes to their photo storage/sharing is going to making precisely zero difference to how much of your personal data is available to them or how it is used.

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Split decision: Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi convertible

Cuddles
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Re: 2 chargers WTF?

There actually isn't any law regarding chargers at all. There was a voluntary agreement regarding "hand-held data enabled mobile phones" which expired in 2012. In 2014 the European parliament approved a draft law which would apply more broadly, but which is not yet in force and is still waiting for the EC to decide which devices it would actually apply to (the original proposal referred to all radio devices and would have included radios and TVs, among other things, which is fairly obviously stupid).

That said, I completely agree this is a pretty stupid decision on Asus' part. Going from having a single charger for the whole tablet/keyboard combo to having two different chargers, one of them proprietary, really is a bizarre choice.

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Pavegen: The Company that can't make energy out of crowds tries to make money out of them

Cuddles
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Re: Even if...

"Even if you converted every footpath in the country, the unpleasant experience of walking on a spongy (or constantly clicking) surface would have us all walking in the road."

Actually, that's probably the only good point these things have. There's a reason so many shoes have some sort of air cushion these days, and anyone who does any running knows how much nicer it is to run on dirt (dry and fairly hard, not knee deep mud obviously) or (short) grass than concrete. Having a surface with a very slight give to it rather than the usual concrete and tarmac would be much better for everyone's knees, as long as it's not so much as to actually feel spongy.

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First production car powered by Android Auto rolls out – and it's a Hyundai

Cuddles
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Am I missing something?

"Once it's up and running Hyundai drivers can, via the aforementioned dashboard screen, use Google Maps for navigation, make calls from the phone using voice activation, and use third-party applications "

In a normal car without this I can, via a screen I put on the dashboard, use Google Maps for navigation, make calls from my phone using voice activation, and use third-party applications. Exactly what benefit is gained by having an additional non-upgradeable computer+screen forcibly inserted in the middle of the process?

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Mergers scuttle strategy as Ofcom reneges on spectrum promise

Cuddles
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Imbalance in spectrum ownership?

Ofcom never seemed to care about that when it was Three getting screwed over, or EE being given a year-long monopoly on 4G before anyone else was allowed to implement it. Why are they suddenly worried about it now?

On a different note, EE was always an incredibly dumb sounding name, but BTeeeee is one I can really get behind.

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Don't look now: Fujitsu ships new mobe with EYEBALL-scanning security

Cuddles
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Re: Standard biometric flaw

Does it matter? A swipe pattern or 4 digit PIN isn't secure either, and can often be figured out just by looking at the smear pattern on the screen. Many people still just use the "swipe left to unlock" thing, because all they want is something to stop them accidentally pressing things while their phone is in their pocket, not a security feature to prevent people with physical access to the hardware from being able to hack it. Sure, biometrics (at least as presented so far) are not good enough for real security, but they're still harder to fool than the most common measures currently in use. Getting a picture of someone's eyeball is more difficult than noticing the picnic table shaped smear in the middle of their screen.

Anyone who thinks biometrics like this will solve all our security problems is obviously wrong, But anyone who thinks that just because they won't solve all our problems they must be completely useless is just as wrong. Is it more secure and/or more convenient than other common measures? If so, it doesn't have to be perfect in order to be useful.

I find by far the biggest flaw is one that hardly seems to get a mention - I don't want to have my phone locked to my person. If I'm driving, for example, it's quite handy to get someone else to mess around with music, satnav, etc.. I don't care how secure biometrics might be if it means I can't let someone else use my phone. Hell, facial recognition and iris scanning mean even I can't use it if I'm in a situation where I can't stick the phone in my face for some reason (again, skipping music while driving is a common situation, or even just turning the screen off until I reach the part of the journey where I actually need directions).

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Back to the Future: the internet of things as imagined in 1985

Cuddles
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Re: Why the obsession....

Smartphones as remotes is actually one of the more sensible parts of the whole IoT thing. The alternative would be to have a different remote for every single device you want to control, which would quickly turn into an epic clusterfuck with piles of remotes everywhere and no idea which one you actually need in any given situation (inevitably it will be the one you can't find and/or the one with the dead battery). Of course there's the possibility of getting a significant proportion of manufacturers to agree to a standard and allow everything to be controlled from one remote. Which is exactly what phone already are.

Sure, phone batteries don't last forever. Neither do any other batteries. Since everyone interested in IoT stuff is guaranteed to have a phone, coming up with competing standards, extra remotes, and so on, just makes everything massively more inconvenient while not bringing any actual benefit.

The real problem you raise isn't with smartphones as remotes, it's with using remotes at all. If turning my lights on using a remote is no more convenient than doing it normally, then what is the point? Whether that remote happens to be a phone or not is irrelevant, it's the lack of benefit regardless of the specific device that is the issue. There's almost certainly a place for smart building management - lights that turn on and off automatically when you enter and leave a room certainly are more convenient than using a switch, for example, even if the benefit is somewhat minor - but faffing around with remotes and apps just doesn't make things any easier than a simple physical switch.

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UK safety app keeping lorries on the right side of cyclists

Cuddles
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Conflicting safety issues

This sounds like a great idea if you only take cyclist safety into account. However, it's very well established that right-hand turns are far more dangerous, as well as much slower, than left ones. This is why roundabouts are good, since they turn everything into a left turn, and is why navigation apps that avoid right turns even if it means a longer route with multiple left turns around a block have been shown to be very successful in trials.

Doing the exact opposite and forcing lorries to turn right more may help a few cyclists at some specific junctions, but it will be severely detrimental to overall road safety, including for those same cyclists.

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Rip up your AMD obits: Gaming, VR, embedded chips to lift biz out of the red by 2016, allegedly

Cuddles
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I like the first slide

Step 1: Make profit.

Step 2: Profit!

The little footnote noting that it won't actually be a profit if you count it properly is just the icing on the cake.

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Ryanair stung after $5m Shanghai'd from online fuel account

Cuddles
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Blocked?

"The transfer was subsequently blocked, but the funds... are yet to be recovered."

If the transfer was blocked, why would they need to recover anything?

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App makers, you're STILL doing security wrong

Cuddles
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Re: Security!=privacy

"People get understandably edgy when they realise information about their private network environment is surreptitiously siphoned off"

But not edgy enough to actually do anything about it. People are happy to whine when some sort of data slurping happens to make the popular media, but they still blindly agree to anything and everything an app wants when they install them. It's all very well to criticise app makers for bad practice, but there's simply no incentive for them to make an effort since they know virtually no-one actually cares.

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When THINGS attack! Defending data centres from IoT device-krieg

Cuddles
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Criminals aren't the problem

"The pay-off for hacking home devices is not obvious for cyber-criminals"

The thing is, there doesn't need to be any pay-off for criminals. Even if there is never any possible profit to be made from hacking your fridge, someone somewhere on the internet will find it hilarious to make it order you 100 pints of milk, or switch it off and make everything go mouldy. Even more so if there's a camera somewhere handy so the results can go on Youtube. I think a large part of the problem with IoT security (and lack of it) is that too many people think in terms of what criminals might get up to and reason that there's just no incentive for anyone to hack these things so why worry. What they don't take into account is that some people are just dicks.

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Got a Samsung Galaxy S5? Crooks can steal your fingerprint – claim

Cuddles
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It's not about security

I don't think I know a single person who actually makes an effort to keep their phone secure. The vast majority have a simple swipe to unlock; often a pattern but frequently just the basic "swipe left to unlock" thing. Even those that opt for something more secure rarely have anything more than a 4 digit PIN. And of course, any of these can be easily compromised in similar ways to fingerprint sensors, as well as much simpler ways such as looking at the pattern of grease marks on the screen. Most people aren't looking to lock down their phone from dedicated criminals with plenty of time on their hands, they're just trying to avoid accidentally calling anyone while it's in their pocket and stopping people posting random shit to Facebook when they leave their phone on the table.

Sure, fingerprint sensors are not perfectly secure, but at the very worst they're no less secure than any of the other methods the vast majority of people use to lock their phones. If you're looking to protect valuable company secrets then blindly assuming you're safe because of fingerprints would be a bad idea, but the constant cries that fingerprint sensors are a terrible idea and should all be binned just because they're not the perfect security solution are just silly. They're more than good enough for the use of the vast majority of users. In fact, the biggest problem is that they're actually too secure - if I'm driving and want someone else to mess with the satnav or music I can tell them what swipe pattern to use, but I can't give them my fingerprint.

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Boffins laser print flexible transistors

Cuddles
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Re: No mention of how fast these transistors are

From the article:

"They reckon performance is just fine as well: “thin-film transistors using the laser-printed layer exhibited mobilities as high as those of conventional poly-silicon conductors”, the release notes."

Sure, it doesn't give a solid number in Hz, but you can't really claim there's no mention of how fast they are when it clearly says their performance is just as good as regular transistors.

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Australia mulls dumping the .com from .com.au – so you can bake URLs like chocolate.gate.au

Cuddles
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Wait, the UK moved everything from .co.uk to just .uk? When did this happen, and why am I reading about it at theregister.co.uk?

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Samsung's PCIe flash card: Slim, speedy, and just nibbling power

Cuddles
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"Try reading the whole post that you are replying to"

Very good advice.

"1760 square millimetres. The spec allows up to 30x110 which is 3300 square millimetres, or 1.875 times the area"

Perhaps if you'd followed your own advice, you'd have noticed that volume is the relevant quantity, not area. You're comparing the area of something 4mm thick to something over 20mm thick. Perhaps instead of insulting others and pretending they haven't read something that they very obviously have (hint - try and figure out where the volume I quoted comes from), you should actually try not only reading what you're replying to, but at least pretending to have the slightest bit of common sense.

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Cuddles
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"Kingston 1TB hyperx usb flash drive - dimensions 72mm x 27mm x 21mm - uses NAND flash."

Try posting numbers instead of guesses indeed. Maximum thickness of M.2 is 4mm (1.5mm components on either side, on a 1mm board). That Kingston drive has almost 4 times the volume of the maximum allowed by the M.2 spec.

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Google's new scribble-tab-ulous handwriting interface for Android

Cuddles
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Re: Swype?

Swype is great on phones, but I don't find it any faster than normal typing on a tablet-sized touchscreen. If the recognition is accurate enough handwriting would certainly be faster, and if you're just taking notes for things to be written up properly later you don't need perfect accuracy anyway. The main problem I can see is that in order to use handwriting recognition you kind of need something to write with. Just using a finger isn't going to be anywhere near as fast or accurate as a stylus, and very few phones and tablets come with one these days.

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Health apps and wearables make you nervous, not fit, say boffins

Cuddles
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Re: The mind boggles.

"Humans have been living quite healthily for several hundred thousand years."

No they haven't. For the vast majority of that time, humans have been living extremely unhealthily, with high death rates mostly due to poor nutrition and easily preventable diseases. For all the fuss about obesity and so on, humanity is far healthier now than it has ever been at any time in its entire history. Wearable tat may not be the gateway to the next big improvement, but to dismiss modern innovation on the basis of a purely imaginary past is just stupid.

On a different note, I wonder how much of the appeal of all this wearable nonsense is a cultural thing. Americans make a big fuss about constantly monitoring everything they can, with multiple full-body health checkups every year and regularly seeing psychologists and other medical professionals despite not actually having any problems being considered not only normal, but actually necessary. Obviously this is in large part due to money - doctors make money from people coming to see them, so they tell people they need to come and see them as much as possible. In countries with national healthcare, however, the attitude is more "Stay the hell away from us unless there's actually something wrong with you". So I wouldn't be at all surprised if there's a big difference in enthusiasm between America (and presumably other countries with similarly privatised healthcare) where as much monitoring as possible is considered desirable, and other countries where we've generally just not bothered about it.

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Google research bods hope to LICK BATTERY life limits – report

Cuddles
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Re: Just 4 people working on this?

Indeed. People love to complain about there being too many stories about battery research that never amounts to anything, but what that actually means is that there are thousands, of people in numerous universities and businesses working on improving batter technology. Sure, most of the articles that hit the media are nonsense based on very preliminary research or untested new ideas, but it at least shows that there are lots of people working on lots of different approaches to things. Google having a couple of people also thinking about it in their spare time just isn't relevant at all. Before this article, we knew there were thousands of people working on batteries. Now we know there are thousands of people working on batteries, and a couple of them happen to be funded by Google. So fucking what.

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+5 ROOTKIT OF VENGEANCE defeats forces of gaming good

Cuddles
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Re: Streaming does have its advantages

"There's nothing more frustrating than to play a game and be constantly picked off by someone not because of skill on their part but simply because they've got better broadband"

...streaming. If people having better broadband is a problem now, a solution in which quality of broadband is the only relevant factor really isn't going to help. If your internet is so bad that it can't keep up with the small amount of data transferred by client-side games, how is it going to cope when the entire game needs to be streamed? Your solution means that instead of people with bad internet potentially having a sub-optimal experience in some games, they won't have any experience with any games at all.

"Latency is already a fact of life for multiplayer and that's why things can suck for someone caught on a bad connection or who didn't spend a fortune on a top end PC."

Nonsense. Connection latency is a problem in keeping clients and servers properly synchronised to each other so everyone sees the same things happening at the same time. The price of your PC is utterly irrelevant to that. It's a function of your internet connection, not your GPU. However, streaming games introduce an entirely new latency between the controller and the game, and that certainly is not a fact of life as things stand. Streaming doesn't fix the connection latency because there will still be just as much lag between an event occurring and your local client knowing about it (in fact more, since as noted above there needs to be more data transferred), but it adds additional latency in places that no current games have it. It's just a terrible idea from start to finish.

"A relatively thin client software could ensure that everyone in the game gets the same graphics, the same framerates"

Fuck everyone else in the game. If I can afford a better PC that can display better graphics and higher framerates, why should I be punished just because other people can't? Do you plan on taking away my house and car as well just because not everyone can afford their own? Forcing everyone to live in tower blocks and take the bus everywhere would ensure that everyone has the same quality of living, but no-one actually thinks that's a good idea - even communist dictators who claim to advocate such things make it clear that it's only a good idea for everyone else, not themselves. What is so special about computer games that mean we should all be dragged down to the level of the lowest common denominator? It would be great if we could all live in mansions with nice cars, fast computers and good internet, but in the absence of such a utopia, taking all the nice things away from people who have them in the name of equality is not the way to do things.

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A MILLION Chrome users' data was sent to ONE dodgy IP address

Cuddles
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Popular?

"The extension apparently allowed users to capture screenshots and save them for later editing"

Why would an extension that does nothing other than replicate the "print screen" key be popular? When it comes down to it, security is a numbers game. As mentioned by others above, unless you only use things you've written yourself, there's always some risk that you'll end up unknowingly running some malicious software. The more useless shit you install, the more likely that becomes. The moral of the story is not to read all the entirely accurate and well thought out user reviews before you install it, but simply not to install piles of functionless shit in the first place. This malware may have been removed now, but no doubt the people who used it still have browsers crammed full of toolbars and other crap and are no more secure than they were before.

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EE springs Wi-Fi phone calls on not-spot sufferers, Tube riders

Cuddles
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"Seamless?"

Is that seamless as in it will switch between cell towers and wi-fi mid call, or seamless as in you don't have to launch an app because they've already installed it for you on your EE branded phone? Because as far as I can tell it's actually the latter, and the only thing to distinguish it from 3's identical service is that EE will hide the app that does the work.

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Halifax's '24/7' online banking service is down YET AGAIN

Cuddles
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"advertised as being available 24/7, 365 days a year"

To be fair, it would be a pretty weird online system that wasn't advertised as that. The internet doesn't go home in the evening. "Available 24/7, 365 days a year, except when we cock up and break everything" might be more accurate, but that last part can generally be assumed no matter who you're dealing with so it shouldn't need to be advertised explicitly.

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Project Spartan: We get our claws on Microsoft's browser for Windows 10

Cuddles
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Annotation?

So I can draw on a page and then send it somewhere as a picture. How exactly is this different from just hitting print screen, pasting into Paint/Powerpoint/Whatever and doing exactly the same? Maybe MS should focus on actually making a browser, instead of wasting time on pointless gimmicks to replicate things we can already do.

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700,000 beautiful women do the bidding of one Twitter-scamming man

Cuddles
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Re: Effective?

The thing is, this is exactly the problem Twitter and the like have - they keep adhering to the 99 slaps principle, but it's not actually applicable to them. If you send out a bunch of spam and only get a couple of replies, that's a couple of replies you can make a profit off. If you send out a bunch of spam twats and get a couple of people to click "follow", you still haven't actually done anything useful - those people will forget they ever clicked that button within a couple of minutes, and any posts that happen to turn up in their feeds will be just one more tiny drop in the sea of spam they see every day. This is why Twitter has still never made a profit and why studies keep showing that merely getting "likes" and "follows" does not actually translate to improved sales.

The trouble is basically that success of marketing is generally judged by engagement with customers. Traditionally, that means customers actually visiting your store (or whatever), with a certain proportion of those going on to buy something. Hence pay-per-click advertising and the like. But once you add Twitter and Facebook into the mix, the only engagement measured is how many people click the "like" button. It's assumed that a certain proportion of those will then buy something in the same way as if they'd actually followed a link to a shop, but the problem is that there's no evidence that actually happens. People who visit a shop might wander around and buy something, but people who click "like" just forget about it two minutes later. People who visit a shop might click "like", but there's no evidence people who click "like" are any more likely to visit your shop than those who don't.

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Cuddles
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Effective?

"The tactic using obviously fake profiles with avatars of attractive women to score reciprocal follows is sadly "remarkably effective", Narang says."

Sure, it's effective at getting people to click the "follow" button, but is it actually effective at doing anything more than that? Studies have shown over and over again that getting followers on Twitter, likes on Facebook, and other similar crap, does not actually translate to getting customers, or even improving brand awareness. Clicking a "like" button costs people essentially nothing, so they're happy to do it even if they have no intention of ever doing more than that. Sure, this spammer managed to get people to follow pretend accounts with attractive pictures, but is there any evidence those followers actually signed up to anything and made him money?

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Motorola Mobility loses another patent suit to über-troll Intellectual Ventures

Cuddles
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Re: I blame the jury.

As I understand it (IANAL), juries are not allowed to do any research or use any of their own knowledge, they are only allowed to make decisions based on what they are shown in court. If the defence didn't present any prior art then it doesn't matter how much might exist, the jury can't say anything about it. The article suggests that the defence relied entirely on arguing that the patent was invalid because it was too obvious, and didn't mention prior art at all. If that's the case, the fault would appear to lie entirely with Motorola (and the trolls for bringing it to court in the first place of course) - there's nothing judges or juries can legally do if you don't give them the relevant information.

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Ford: Our latest car gizmo will CHOKE OFF your FUEL if you're speeding

Cuddles
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Re: Bad training

"The 10K hours rule is also a myth.."

I wouldn't call it a myth. Certainly the idea that you need exactly 10k hours, no more, no less, would be ridiculous, but as a nice round number representing the idea that you need to spend a lot of time doing something to become an expert, it's really not that bad. It's often brought up in relation to musical instruments, and that's not a bad analogy here. Not everyone needs to spend decades of their life dedicated to being one of the world's best, but the drivers we allow on our roads are the equivalent of an 11 year old strangling a cat with their violin. Or worse, someone who was once like that but is now in their 30s and hasn't touched a violin once in the intervening 20 years but is still treated as if they are a competent professional musician.

10k hours certainly shouldn't be taken as gospel, but it's a good illustration of the gap between the practice and experience required for competence/expertise, and what we actually require of people before letting them loose on the road.

I should also note that I'm well aware of the problems actually requiring a sensible amount of practice would cause - no-one would be able to drive before their 30s and most people would never be able to find the time and money to manage even that. The trouble is that as things stand, since finding a solution is tricky we, as a country, just throw up our hands and don't even bother looking for one. Instead of thinking about how to produce good drivers, we just make stupid laws punishing people for not having the competence we never required them to have in the first place.

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Cuddles
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Re: Bad training

I don't disagree, but I think the far bigger problem is the lack of meaningful testing at all and the lack of any requirement for actual experience. It's generally accepted that you need 10,000 hours or so of practice to master a skill. Yet you're given a full driving license with no further training or checks after just a few hours (I'm not sure exactly how much training I had, but it can't have been more than 20 or 30 hours at most). And if you then don't drive for the next decade, you're allowed to get straight back in a car with no concern for how much you might have forgotten. Or you can drive for the next 70 years with no concern for how your skills might have deteriorated over that time. Perhaps most ridiculous of all is that it's actually illegal to learn how to drive on motorways until it's legal for you to freely use them unsupervised.

There's a reason most jobs have regular appraisals, and things like first aid and coaching qualifications, even just for hobbies, require regular training and evidence that you're keeping your skills current. But for some reason with driving you get a single test once and you're good for the rest of your life. No amount of laws telling people what they should be doing or technology to try to force them to do it can compensate for not actually teaching them to do it properly in the first place and regularly checking that they're still competent.

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Snowden dump details Canadian spies running false flag ops online

Cuddles
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Title seems a bit off

"running false flag ops"

Compare and contrast with:

"claims it has the ability to run "false flag" operations"

Even the most nutty conspiracy theorists don't tend to accuse Canada of much, and given that the point of false flag operations is to create an excuse to attack or otherwise discredit an opponent there really doesn't seem to be much point in them doing so since, unless my awareness of global politics is rather off the mark, Canada isn't actually looking for any such excuse at the moment. I have little doubt that any spy agency would love to have the ability just in case in might come in handy, and would likely claim to have it just to make themselves look good even if they didn't, but that's very different from accusing them of actively engaging in such things as the article title does.

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Ransomware holds schools hostage: 'Now give us Bitcoin worth $129k, er, $124k, wait ...'

Cuddles
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1981?

I finished school in 2001 and we didn't have any meaningful computer use, and certainly no internet. You really don't need to go back to before I was born to find people using pen and paper.

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