* Posts by Cuddles

189 posts • joined 3 Nov 2011

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Contactless card fraud? Easy. All you need is an off-the-shelf scanner

Cuddles
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Re: Who's laughing now???

"Not all you downvoters who mocked my RFID-proof wallet, that's for sure.

Aint noone slurping my details."

From the article:

"The hack relied on getting volunteers to tap their cards onto a bogus card reader."

"“I don’t think the fact it is contactless is the issue here, as a traditional card skimmer would be able to take those details even from a traditional chip and pin purchase," Dine said."

I don't think your tinfoil wallet is going to help all that much, since your details can still easily be slurped if you ever actually use your card. This study had absolutely nothing to do with contactless cards, exactly the same could have been done using the magnetic stripe, chip and pin, those funny machines where they stamp the numbers onto carbon paper. or just looking at the card and remembering the numbers. As long as using your card involves potentially untrustworthy people and hardware (ie. always), this problem is going to be present. It doesn't matter how safe you keep your card when not in use, it's the use itself that is inherently insecure.

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HP slaps dress code on R&D geeks: Bin that T-shirt, put on this tie

Cuddles
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Smart casual

is one of the most meaningless phrases ever uttered. Shirt and tie? Just shirt? Short sleeves OK as long as buttons are present? Anything as long as it's not jeans? Black shoes, or anything as long as it's not trainers? Suit, but only one that isn't as smart as a slightly different suit? As far as I'm concerned, it just means I check if my t-shirt has holes in it. Dress codes may be stupid, but if you insist on having one at least have the sense to say what you actually mean, rather than just some vague phrase that means something different to everyone.

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You can secretly snoop on someone if they butt-dial you – US judges

Cuddles
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@Gene Cash

"Well actually the sentiment seems to be that since he did the dialing, that was consent."

In fact, reading the judgement suggests that actual recording wasn't even mentioned - it's specifically about whether Spaw "intentionally intercepted" the call, and concludes that since Huff was the one who made the call, she didn't. The other part is regarding "intentional disclosure" of an intercepted call, which becomes irrelevant given the previous judgement. No recording was made, only handwritten notes, so the question of who might have consented to a recording doesn't come into it.

@Charles 9

"Trouble is, some instances of butt-dialing come from the fact the butt contact manages to complete the entire sequence of motions from pushing the power button to awaken the phone to the unlocking gesture to dialing."

Sounds like a good argument in favour of fingerprint sensors. They may not be more secure than a pin, but you should struggle to activate them with your arse. Although I'm not entirely sure how people's arses are apparently managing to operate capacitive touchscreens. I suspect there's a significant element of "accidentally hit redial before putting it in pocket" involved.

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SpaceX's blast shock delays world's MOST POWERFUL ROCKET

Cuddles
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Launch costs and red herrings

One thing worth bearing in mind is that when it comes to deep space missions, launch costs are largely irrelevant. The total cost of the Mars Science Laboratory, including the laser tank El Reg is so fond of, is around $2.5 billion to date, with more to come if the rover and orbiter continue working. The cost of an Atlas V launch is around $200 million. A Falcon Heavy launch is around $100 million. Obviously reducing costs isn't a bad thing, but when you're dealing with programmes that cost billions, and overrun by billions (MSL cost over a billion more than it was supposed to), any savings on launch costs are little more than rounding errors.

This is not to knock Falcon and Musk, when it comes to the far more common and useful uses for such launch systems, getting some competition involved and bringing prices down is great. It's just that people always seem to start talking about missions to Mars and the like, and at that point any possible cost savings are just not relevant.

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Cuddles
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Re: Re-Use

"Comments pooh-poohing Falcon's reliability are majorly misguided. It's had an unprecedented success rate for a new launcher"

Nonsense. Ariane 5 had a couple of failures in its first test flights, and since then has managed 78 launches with one failure and one partial failure. Delta IV (including heavy variant) has managed 29 launches with one partial failure. Falcon 9 has so far had 19 launches with one failure and one partial failure. Even including Ariane 5's test flight failures, Falcon still has the worst failure rate of the three. Of current launchers only Proton and Zenit are worse. Falcon's certainly not terrible (if you want to see terrible, check out the Delta III), after all Proton is the most used launcher ever even with an 11% failure rate, but it's nothing close to unprecedented.

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Jeep drivers can be HACKED to DEATH: All you need is the car's IP address

Cuddles
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"" The radio wants to know how fast the car is going to adjust the radio volume and the radio also wants to connect out the world to stream music and/or get cd info"

But why does the radio need to be able to control the speed?"

More importantly, why does the radio want to adjust the volume in the first place? My radio, and every other than I've ever seen, has a volume control. If I can't hear my music well enough, I turn the volume up. There is no reason I would ever want the radio to adjust the volume itself. Especially since my phone constantly tries to adjust the volume automatically and does a fucking terrible job of it - apparently I might damage my hearing if the volume is too high, but since it has no idea whether I'm using headphones, speakers, in the car over bluetooth, or trying to forcibly insert the phone into my ear, it has no idea what "too high" actually means yet tries to tell me off anyway. I very much doubt a car stereo will be any better programmed.

So this isn't a case of some useful functionality compromising security due to the connections it needs. It's a completely pointless function of no use to anyone, that also compromises security as an added bonus.

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Disaster-gawping cam drones to be blasted out of the sky in California

Cuddles
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Re: simple enough?

"Require drone operators to have a license if they want to operate in congested areas or over property they do not own."

But this is the entire problem. A large part of the point of such drones is that you don't have to be standing immediately beneath them waving a chunky radio remote around. Requiring a license will achieve nothing if you can't tell who actually owns a given drone - the owner could be operating it remotely from an unknown location in the general vicinity, or they could have just programmed it and released it then left the area entirely. It's similar to the problem with idiots shining lasers at aircraft - it's easy to point out that they're idiots and easy to make it illegal, but no amount of laws can help you actually catch the people responsible.

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Google swears blind it doesn't give SEO advantage to new internet dot-words

Cuddles
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Best choice?

"So it makes sense for Google to know that if people are searching "Microsoft desk" that the domain ending in .microsoft is far more likely to be the best choice."

No, that doesn't make sense at all. If I'm searching for "Microsoft desk", I'm almost certainly either going to be looking for reviews or for somewhere to buy the product at a sensible price. An official Microsoft domain will never be useful for either of those. This is not a comment on MS, it applies to every company - buying direct from the official manufacturer's website is never going to get you the best deal, if it's even possible at all. And obviously you'd be insane to look for any sort of balanced reviews or comparisons to alternative products there. In fact, unless someone is specifically looking for technical support, most of the time it would be far more useful if Google actively excluded any official product sites.

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UK.gov makes total pig's ear of attempt to legalise home CD ripping

Cuddles
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Compensation for what?

I'm really not sure I see the problem here. If I buy a CD (do people actually still do that?), I pay the people who made it. If I then copy it to my phone so I can listen to it in a more convenient manner, the people who made the CD have done nothing whatsoever extra and can fuck right off if they want any more money. So why the fuck should there be any compensation involved at any point in this law? You get paid for the product you actually sell to me, and that's it. For all the flaws the government might have this is one thing they've got absolutely correct, and the courts can find somewhere convenient to stick it if they think they can either stop me copying things that I own or charge me for the privilege of doing so.

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Whitehall maps out Blighty's driverless future

Cuddles
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Re: Hacked cars

"How long until we see a rolling botnet making DDOS attacks on the highways network? 'We've blocked access to your haulage yard, please send money and we'll call off the robocars'"

They're going to be hacked by French dock workers?

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An EPIC picture of Earth, sunny side up, from one MEEELLION miles out

Cuddles
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@Doctor Syntax

"If it's a point how come multiple spacecraft can occupy it?"

While gravity exactly cancels only at a specific point, there's still plenty of volume around it in which any force is very small. In fact, the L1 point (and L2 and L3) is an unstable equilibrium, so unless you're in exactly the right place any body will drift away from it. Since the point will move around a bit due to orbits not being perfectly regular (since there are more than two bodies in the solar system), even a single probe trying to stay exactly on the point will need thrusters to keep station. So since you're going to be doing that anyway, it's a not a problem to just get somewhere in the general vicinity where the forces involved are small compared to a random point elsewhere, and to use the thrusters that you'll need anyway to stay there. Incidentally, this is also why you only ever see natural objects at the L1-3 points, only at L4 and 5 which are stable.

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Four Brits cuffed as global cyber-crime forum Darkode busted

Cuddles
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"really tight age grouping"

I'm not sure ages ranging from 20 to 53 counts as particularly tight. The latter is old enough to be the former's grandfather (only just, but entirely legally). Even ignoring the eldest, just a range of 20-26 is a big enough range that they'd be unlikely to have met in school or university.

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Your security is just dandy, Apple Pay, but here comes Android

Cuddles
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Convenience?

"a convenient way to make payments of up to £20 without the need to fork out their debit or credit cards"

Because taking a credit card out of your pocket is so much less convenient than taking a phone out of your pocket. It's the same problem with "smart" watches - adding convenience in a place that wasn't lacking it in the first place isn't really a big selling point.

On the other hand, I don't recall ever having a card payment fail because my battery had run out.

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The Great Barrier Relief – Inside London's heavy metal and concrete defence act

Cuddles
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Government...

"Funding was finally split between the government, 75 per cent, and the customer, the Greater London Council"

... who are (or at least were) also the government. Funding was 100% taxpayer, the government just decided to split it between a couple of different departments.

As for the 1500 years, as mentioned above Londinium was established at least 2000 years ago. However, the Romans rebuilt it as a new town after Boudica destroyed what was described as an important city only about 15 years after they arrived, so there was almost certainly a signification settlement before the Romans arrived. It was also an important trade hub in the Bronze age, but was largely abandoned for unknown reasons during the Iron Age. And of course there's plenty of evidence for settlements on other parts of the Thames going back to the Neolithic and earlier. So no matter how you look at it the 1500 years given in the article is rather short-changing things. At absolute minimum it's 2000 years, and could be 4000, 6000 or anything up to 100,000 or so depending on exactly what you count as "human settlement around the river".

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China's best phone yet: Huawei P8 5.2-inch money-saving Android smartie

Cuddles
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Money saving?

You can get a Galaxy S6 on Amazon for £400. If this thing actually was £200 cheaper than a big name flagship phone then maybe it would be worth a look, but since it's actually only £20 cheaper I can't imagine why anyone would even consider it.

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Sixty-five THOUSAND Range Rovers recalled over DOOR software glitch

Cuddles
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"creates a heightened theft-by-hijack risk"

So the risk is increased from 0% to something maybe approaching 0.0000001% if we're being generous. Having your doors locked while driving somewhere like Johannesburg might be an important safety feature, but in the UK? When's the last time anyone actually got pulled out of a moving car and hijacked? Note that the report specifically says this new flaw has nothing to do with the the issues making it easy to steal cars with keyless entry, it's a separate problem that doesn't actually appear to be a problem at all.

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Canadian dirtbag jailed for SWAT'ing, doxing women gamers

Cuddles
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Re: What a difference...

From the article:

"Disneyland in California was temporarily shuttered after one of these calls"

These sorts of crimes often don't seem to be taken seriously, but the one thing everyone should know is that you do not mess with the Mouse.

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Nissan Juke Nismo RS: Family hot-hatch SUV that looks a bit like Darth Vader's hat

Cuddles
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Re: Tut tut

"As any fule no, an oxymoron is a contradiction in terms. A sporty Sports Utility Vehicle is not an oxymoron, it is a tautology."

No it isn't. The "sports" in "sports utility vehicle" has nothing to do with the vehicle itself being sporty. The idea is that you can throw in all kinds of sports equipment - bikes, boats, piles of kit, etc. - in a car that has plenty of space for them, and then drive pretty much anywhere you need to be able to use them. That means higher roof, more ground clearance, 4x4 usually of the AWD variety, generally more in the way of torque than acceleration and speed, and so on. Pretty much the exact opposite of an actual sporty car, which will tend to be small, light, low clearance, and so on.

And this car perfectly demonstrates exactly why the two don't go together at all well. We have here a chunky, tall car that despite its size barely has any room in the back for either kit or passengers, has far too little ground clearance to handle the mildest dirt tracks, is only 2WD, and has such a small fuel tank that none of that will matter because you'll never actually get anywhere in the first place. Or looked at from the other direction, it has a decent power engine, but with a much too large and high body to be in any way sporty. So you have a "crossover" that's crossed over so many times it can't actually do any of its jobs at all well. Of course, this makes it perfect for the soccer mums/Chelsea tractor brigade that it's actually aimed at, but for anyone actually interested in either sports or sporty cars it's just terrible.

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Oxford Uni unearths 800-year-old document to seize domain names

Cuddles
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Re: Embedded names?

" I think we can allow common sense to prevail"

I admire your optimism.

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BT issues formal whinge to Ofcom over Sky dominance in pay telly

Cuddles
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Who's competing with what, exactly?

Firstly, dominance of a couple of brands is hardly surprising when only two of them have actually existed for more than a couple of years. Sky has been around for over 25 years and Virgin have been around for nearly a decade (in both cases as mergers of older companies). In comparison, BT and TalkTalk have only existed as TV providers for a couple of years. You don't get to start up a brand new company and immediately start complaining that the well established competition has more customers.

Secondly, the market share claims appear to be based on entirely arbitrary and meaningless distinctions. Sky operates broadcast TV that is only really similar to regular free broadcast TV. Virgin, BT and TalkTalk all operate internet TV which functions in a completely different manner. Given that TalkTalk doesn't actually have its own hardware and operates over BT's network, there doesn't seem to be any good reason for having these four listed as the only pay-TV providers in the UK (not counting a couple of small regional ones), since there's no meaningful difference between them and Netflix, Amazon, and so on. There's no difference between having a BT or TalkTalk internet+TV contract, or BT internet + Netflix contracts separately.

So the 64% claim is really nonsense. Either Sky have a 100% share because they're the only ones actually operating broadcast pay-TV, or they have a much smaller share because they're competing with a bunch of other services that just aren't being counted for no apparent reason.

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How a Cali court ruling could force a complete rethink of search results

Cuddles
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Seems incredibly simple to solve

"Sorry, your search did not provide any results. Here are some other products related to your search and/or things other people bought after making similar searches".

It's the exact "No Coke, Pepsi" response that the court thinks should be given, while still providing the consumer friendly related results in case the product they search for isn't available or may be inferior to (or at least less popular than) other options. Given that Amazon already splits results pages into sections in a manner pretty close to that (what other people bought after viewing this, suggestions based on your recent searches, etc.), this would be an incredibly minor and simple change for them to make. Certainly there's no suggestion that anyone will need to completely rethink anything about searching.

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Berlin pours bucket of flat beer on Patriot missile hack report

Cuddles
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Seriously?

"Weapons systems are known to have been compromised by patriotic or state actor hackers... blueprints"

Blueprints are not weapon systems. Hacking into a computer that happens to hold design documents is not in any way similar to sending unauthorised commands to a missile launcher. Although sadly, that's not even the worst part of this pile of bullshit masquerading as an article. Just look at how it starts out:

"Did a Syrian missile battery do odd things?"

"German Patriot missiles stationed in Turkey"

So no, a Syrian missile battery did absolutely fuck all because there wasn't one involved at any point.

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Ford's 400,000-car recall could be the tip of an auto security iceberg

Cuddles
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Ugh.

"underlines the increasing need for over-the-air (OTA) software updates"

No it doesn't. Quite the opposite in fact. It underlines the need to make sure things actually work properly before releasing to the public, and then ensuring no-one can screw with it in any way to change that. Over-the-air updates would guarantee far more faulty products being released (see the gaming industry for a perfect example). while simultaneously meaning that previously working products will constantly be broken via either incompetent updates or malicious activity.

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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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