* Posts by Suricou Raven

1005 posts • joined 20 Jun 2007

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The Internet of things is great until it blows up your house

Suricou Raven
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Re: ... IoT devices generally have no real world advantage over their dumb counterparts ...

I've been thinking the same. I came up with some very niche luxuries, but nothing life-changing.

- Preemptive heating: Check the weather forecast and act accordingly.

- The 'house is empty' button. Press to turn off all lights, sound systems, games consoles and TVs, and reduce heating. Checks with the front door too - if the door doesn't confirm proper closure within one minute, texts you to remind you to close it.

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Suricou Raven
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You can simplify it further - just put the label in a human-readable format, then the iron needs no extra hardware. The operator just has to glance at the label and turn a dial.

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Nvidia's GTX 900 cards lock out open-source Linux devs yet again

Suricou Raven
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Perhaps there is another problem with the business model.

Nvidia sells cards that can be swapped between performance level with a firmware trick. Market segmentation at work: They deliberately cripple their low-cost products in order to prevent them from competing with the much-higher-margin high-performance parts. I understand the business case, but it still has the whiff of something slimy about it - especially when Nvidia have to go to the further measure of deliberately building in anti-tamper measures with the express purpose of stopping their customers from using their purchases to their full potential.

Still, it's not just Nvidia - it's really a very common practice throughout the industry. I've seen plenty of RAID cards that won't enable write caching unless you install a crypto-authenticated £300 battery, and the console gaming industry would be quite different if manufacturers couldn't use such measures to shift the effective cost from console to games. Goes all the way back to the old mainframes, which I am vaguely aware sometimes shiped with features disabled until the vendor was paid extra to remove the limiters. I expect AMD does the same.

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This open-source personal crypto-key vault wants two things: To make the web safer ... and your donations

Suricou Raven
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FPGA?

Seems a bit overkill for this. You don't need high-performance for this - you're limited by that serial link anyway. You could do this with a USB-serial converter, a PIC chip, and a crude hardware RNG. Cost about five quid, mass-produced.

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Dev gives HBO free math tips to nail Game of Thrones pirate leakers

Suricou Raven
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Obvious idea.

I had this idea years ago - only my variation was using slight edits to scenes. One version has a banana in the fruit bowl, one an orange. Static changes in shots with no moving camera so they are almost trivial to apply. Sixteen of those gives you 65,536 different versions.

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Four boggling websites we found hidden in the BitTorrent network using the Maelstrom browser

Suricou Raven
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Re: Freenet / Entropy

The level of indirection needed to ensure users cannot be tracked also comes with a considerable performance penalty: They are rather slow.

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National Grid's new designer pylon is 'too white and boring' – Pylon Appreciation Society

Suricou Raven
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Re: White pylon

Vertical turbines do have one advantage though: Reliability. They have one moving part. A pivoting turbine has the rotor, usually angleable blades, slip rings designed to handle the weight of generator and gearbox, more complicated lubrication that needs monitoring. They actually need servicing, a vertical rotor turbine is almost fit-and-forget. That's a big advantage in small-scale installations where you don't want the cost of on-site engineer visits.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Nice website

Turbines can't feed into those transmission lines directly - serious voltage mismatch. You could almost make it work, but you'd need a bunch of switchgear and a big transformer down the bottom - and if you need that, it'd be more efficient to use multiple turbines all hooked up to a common substation.

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Artificial intelligence, filesystems, containers ... Amazon showers cloud gold on devs

Suricou Raven
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NFS?

This should be fun. NFS is a fine protocol for LAN use, but a little latency will cripple it.

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Marvell: We don't want to pay this $1.5bn patent bill because, cripes, it's way too much

Suricou Raven
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Re: A school owns patents?

They aren't just a school - they are a research institution. That means they churn out innovative ideas as one of their primary functions, so it's hardly surprising they'll have patents.

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Tape thrives at the margin as shipped capacity breaks record

Suricou Raven
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Re: Best of Luck to you.

Never trust your data to any drive. Or to any tape.

You trust it to at least two drives or tapes.

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Light the torches! NSA's BFF Senator Feinstein calls for e-book burning

Suricou Raven
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Re: Anarchist's Cookbook

I remember seeing thermite on Mythbusters - they mixed two secret ingredients from unlabeled bottles, which the presenter mockingly referred to as 'blur' and 'blur' to demonstrate his annoyance at the studio censorship.

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Suricou Raven
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Not exactly needed. The Anarchists Cookbook is a living document - as it circulates people add their own recipies, and remove those they consider unreliable. It's always been like that. A lot of the instructions in it are unreliable or ineffectual.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Feelgood Legislation one step away from Fahrenheit 451

Reminds me of the old Comstock laws that prohibited distributing any information relating to contraception - by declaring that the subject was 'obscene' by nature, and thus not protected by the first amendment.

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Suricou Raven
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I have it. I've never actually used it - I skimmed briefly. I just knew that lots of people were calling for it to be banned, and that attracted my curiosity, so I downloaded it to see what the fuss was about.

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Dot-com intimidation forces Indiana to undo hated anti-gay law

Suricou Raven
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The Onan thing. If you just read one verse, it looks like it condemns masturbation: Onan 'spills his seed upon the ground' and God smites him. If you read the full story you see a bigger picture. Family lines were vitally important in that society, so much that they practiced 'levite marriage' - if a man died childless, his wives would be inherited by his brother, who was then obliged to impregnate one and produce a child. This child was then considered the legal child of the deceased, ensuring the continuation of the line. In a time when many social duties were the specific task of a certain tribal line, and the vast majority of men inherited the occupation of their father, this really was important. Onan disliked his bother though, and out of spite he pulled out in an effort to avoid impregnating his inherited wife - an action that not only went against religious techings, but undermined the preservation of family lines and threatened the structure of society. That is why God smote him.

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Suricou Raven
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The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It's an offshoot of the Mormon church that still condemns and forbids interracial marriage. There used to be a great many churches that forbid interracial marriage, including the Mormon church itsself - almost all of them have now revised that position, but a few stubborn holdouts remain. The FLDS split from the Mormons over that issue and a couple of others, insisting that the majority of the church had compromised their teachings for the sake of modern social acceptability.

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Suricou Raven
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It's a very deliberate phrase. It stems from a need to deny the existance of homosexuality as an inherent characteristic: If it were something people couldn't help, afflicting them by chance or nature, then it wouldn't be fair to discriminate against them. To do so would be no better than racism. So instead anti-gay campaigners go to some length to seperate the sexuality from the person. They do not talk about a person as a homosexual: They talk about someone who has 'chosen to live a gay lifestyle' or who 'struggles with same-sex attractions.' Present it as a choice, because it's a lot easier to condemn someone for a choice.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Is there no refuge?

This has always been the conflict of tolerance: To what extend must you tolerate another person's intolerance? Or phrased another way, what happens when one person is granted the legal right to deny the legal right of another person?

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Suricou Raven
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My moral compass generates a list of people I should punch in the face. It's a short list, but not zero-length.

I don't imagine it'd do much - I'm not very strong and have never been in a fight, so they'd probably shrug it off. But it's the attempt that matters.

Top of the list is one Bryan Fischer, who has previously argued that all gay men seek to rape children in order to recruit them into the 'gay lifestyle,' and most recently made the news by giving a monologue arguing that the recent plane suicide was to be blamed on the pilot's secret homosexuality.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: It's called freedom, folks

The general rule is to substitute 'gay marriage' for 'interracial marriage.' Should a business owner be allowed to refuse their service to interracial couples? Does his matter how strongly they believe interracial marriage is sinful and wrong?

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Suricou Raven
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Now, I must correct you on this: There is nothing in the bible that forbids masturbation anywhere. Not a word. That's quite an ommission - considering how common it is, if God objects you'd expect him to mention it somewhere.

You're quite right about the mixed fibers and divorce though.

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So, you know those exciting movie-style 3D visual cyber attack ops centres?

Suricou Raven
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Sounds expensive.

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Google and Obama: You’re too close for comfort

Suricou Raven
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"Google’s world – at least in the short-term – is one where the individual has no privacy, and cannot control or own the stuff they use."

Sounds a lot like Apple's world, and Microsoft's world.

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Swedish prosecutors finally agree to London interview for Assange™

Suricou Raven
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Re: I'm suprised

The political consequences would have been unacceptable - if a country doesn't respect the agreements regarding one embassy, then other countries may become reluctant to operate their own. Embassies are very useful things to have.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: @Velv

But remember that he is paranoid, and arguably justifiably so. In his mind, and possibly in reality, the potential outcome of playing along would be much worse: He goes peacefully to Sweden, strings get pulled behind the scenes, and he finds himself framed for a string of sex offenses long enough to have him imprisoned for life. Or the US files an extradition request, he gets handed over, disappeared into Quantanimo Bay, faces a few weeks of torture before finally getting thrown into an 8x10 grey-painted room where the closest he'll ever come to human contact again is a glimpse of the person sliding his dinner tray through the slot in the door.

It doesn't matter if you agree with him that this is a realistic outcome: He has reason to believe it to be realistic, and acted accordingly by fleeing the law for as long as possible and resorting to any form of desperate trickery to retain his freedom. He can't trust the British government, who are certainly close to the US and have an extradition agreement. He can't trust the Swedish government. He can't trust any government at all, but at least Equador must have seemed like the safest bet at the time.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Even if the charges are ultimately dropped by the Swedes

They would, yes. And by this point, the MET have spent enough millions of pounds guarding the embassy to make sure he doesn't leave that they can't really let him go. The term for skipping bail though is likely to be a lot shorter than a term for rape*. I imagine his biggest fear about that isn't going to prison: It's that once he is enjoying a stay at her majesty's pleasure, the US will decide to up their game, charge him with something (anything will do) and try to have him extradited directly. They can't really let him go unpunished because he would serve as an inspiration to others who might wish to compromise their security and embarass the country.

*I know it's a bit more complicated than that, but rape is accurate enough for these purposes.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Interview

It is sensible, but this naturally raises another question: Why so long? If the Swedish prosecution wanted an interview, they could have had one a year ago. Or several. Assange made it clear from the start that he has no issue being interviewed by them - in the UK. So why was this not acceptable? 'Quality of the interview' is not an answer.

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Well.That.Sucks: New rude dot-word sparks outrage

Suricou Raven
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Will Dyson be the first to apply for a subdomain?

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Want that awesome new Apple TrackPad? Don't get a MacBook Pro

Suricou Raven
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Glue is pretty common in phones, tablets and the very thinnest of laptops. It's part of the 'quest of thinness,' a mission in which Apple leads. The latest macbook air is so thin they had to reduce key displacement, and even the macbook pro lost the ethernet port because the bottom half needed to be thinner then the height of an RJ45 connector. When things get that thin, there just isn't enough material for a screw to grip securely: Glue is the only way to go. The Surface tablets do the same. It lets the manufacturers achieve extreme thinness, which is what many buyers desire - but it comes at the expense of repairability.

An extreme case is the macbook air battery: An enclosure on the battery would add too many fractional millimeters, so the cells are glued directly to the chassis. That means it's impossible to replace the chassis without also replacing the batteries, and vice versa: Any attempt to separate the two would at the very least destroy the batteries, and likely cause them to ignite. Sure enough, when Apple do a battery replacement on that model they replace the lower chassis too.

As electronics enthusiasts have been increasingly grumbling every year for the last two decades, modern electronics just aren't made to be repaired. The trend towards miniaturization has led to that. Commonplace components increasingly replaced with dedicated black-box chips impossible to replace, hand-solderable components turning into first surface-mount fiddleys, then BGA impossibilities, circuit boards growing in number of layers so circuits become impossible to even see, let alone follow. Functions that used to be done in understandable but bulky arrays of logic chips and analog components being replaced with inscrutable microcontrollers driven by secret firmware. It isn't just computers, it's everything more complex than a kitchen kettle.

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Siri, you're fired: Microsoft Cortana's elbows into iOS, Android

Suricou Raven
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Re: When do we see an Windows phone with Android?

That their pushing for Secure Boot could certainly be regarded as anti-linux. All their open-source-friendly efforts could be regarded as a new incarnation of 'Embrace, Extend, Extinguish' - only applied to services rather than products. Embrace successful open-source projects to gain influence, use this influence to nudge people towards their propritary offerings or online services, eventually kill off the open-source competitor or turn it into a simple vehicle to drive the services.

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Give biometrics the FINGER: Horror tales from the ENCRYPT

Suricou Raven
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Re: A bit over the top, but...

Couldn't this be greatly improved by minaturising the secure module, putting a short-range RFID interface on it and implanting it into the user's hand?

It'd have to be an open standard and have a functionality for allowing the module to disclose its public key on request, because it wouldn't be practical to shove six different modules into one hand - you'd want to use the one device to authenticate at the ATM, unlock your phone, unlock your car, clock in at work, open the front door and so on. One little implant and you've solved authentication for everything.

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Chappie: The AI tale that’s about heart, not intelligence

Suricou Raven
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Re: I thought chapie was northern slang for penis

I've seen the same show. IIRC (Which I probably don't) the saw cut into his femoral artery. He survived, thanks to a swiftly arriving ambulence, but his chappie got chopped.

The lesson is that you should never place your rotary saw on the ground until you're quite sure the blade has ceased spinning.

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Pentagon 'network intruder', dozens more cuffed in British cops' cyber 'strike week'

Suricou Raven
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Propaganda much?

This isn't just law enforcement: It's a spectacle.

We're not allowed to use public hangings to keep the people scared of the police any more. Things like this have to substitute.

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At night, scary wildlife comes out to play in the chemical factory

Suricou Raven
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Seems familiar.

He got pinned in a utility shed by a pack of dinosaurs working together. Is anyone else reminded of something?

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Seven months of Basil Brush on YouTube: Er, boom boom?

Suricou Raven
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Just what the internet needs!

More furries.

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Euro broadcast industry still in a fug over that 4K-ing UHD telly

Suricou Raven
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People don't want it.

There's no point. Under normal viewing conditions, most people can't tell 720p from 1080p, so 4k provides no benefit at all. It's like the 96KHz 24-bit recordings promoted to audiophiles: Current technology matches sensory acuity so any further fidelity is wasted. Humans are not bats, and nor are they eagles.

The only people who care about 4k are gadget-geeks who value the latest tech for its own sake and manufacturers desperate to kick off a new upgrade cycle now that the HD upgrade stream is drying up.

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Your hard drives were RIDDLED with NSA SPYWARE for YEARS

Suricou Raven
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Re: but the '...w.dll'

Wouldn't stop the NSA for long. All they need is a signing key or signing of their own bootloader. I can think straight away of three ways to get these:

1. Hack Microsoft. Either technologically, or via blackmail/bribery.

2. Super-secret national security letter demanding MS sign the NSA hack, or else someone goes to jail.

3. Hint that people with Influence really want MS to be cooperative on this, and the government is considering converting a couple of departments to Windows 10 and Surface tablets.

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Elon Musk's Tesla set to unveil home storage battery

Suricou Raven
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Re: WTF?

I can see two potential niches for it. First, those plagued by frequent power cuts may find a home battery appealing, as it would let them ignore the shorter ones and gracefully prepare for the long ones. It might also be a money-saver, as you could charge it off-peak for use in the day - the youtube tinkerer PhotonicInductction does exactly that, and has run through the calculations to determine it can be economical. Even with the efficiency loss, the price difference is enough to justify operating the battery. The payback time would be poor, I expect - but a lot better than those rooftop wind turbines, and people are suckered into buying those.

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'Camera-shy' Raspberry Pi 2 suffers strange 'XENON DEATH FLASH' glitch

Suricou Raven
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Re: Does anybody remember eproms?

PROM: Writes once. Often just an EPROM without a window.

EPROM: The one with the window in, erases on exposure to UV light.

EEPROM: No window, erases electrically.

You don't see them so often these days because of the rise of flash really-cheap flash, but EPROM does still have a niche in hobby-electronics because it's a lot easier to interface to than a flash chip. It's a very small niche now though - almost any hobby-application which would once have been tackled by the classic arrangement of EPROM+processor* is now easier to tackle with an arduino or one of the many self-contained microcontrollers. The only place you're likely to find an EPROM these days is when taking apart obsolete hardware - a lot of 386-era mainboards used one for the BIOS.

You can read the data out of an EPROM with nothing more than a battery, some wires and a voltmeter - and a great deal of patience, at about one byte per minute by hand.

*RAM optional. Sometimes you only need registers.

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WHERE'S WALLY? He's in this algorithm, says developer

Suricou Raven
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Re: Misleading title

I could produce a program myself to find 'candidate wally' sites in an image by looking for the characteristic adjacent regions of red and white. However, the artist is on to this trick and always includes a number of 'decoy' appearances of the same pattern for those who scan visually for stripes. So human verification would still be needed to determine which candidate was the real Wally.

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'Revenge porn' law to arrive in spring – MoJ

Suricou Raven
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Anyone got the text?

It's not hard to imagine this going wrong, if sites can be held liable too. Facebook and the like can afford a policing system and the legal muscle to defend themselves - but it could put an end to legal user-submitted porn sites in the UK. Not that it'd really change anything, they'd just host overseas.

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Why Windows 10 on Raspberry Pi 2? Upton: 'I drank the Kool-Aid'

Suricou Raven
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Re: Embrace. Extend. Extinguish.

It's hard to even get a netbook these days - manufacturers realised that their razor-thin-margin netbook products were eating into the sales of their far more profitable ultrabook products.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Embrace. Extend. Extinguish.

Not so much negligence as differing priorities. Microsoft is very reluctant to do anything that would break backwards compatibility, which often means compromising on security. They also strongly dislike anything that could confuse or inconvenience users at all.

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'YOUTUBE is EVIL': Somebody had a tape running, Google...

Suricou Raven
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Re: The new man

You have it backwards.

If I made a kick-ass video and post it on youtube, it's a chance of getting popular. People find it, views go up, which means it starts appearing on the recommended page and the related videos list, bringing in more people. Youtube isn't just a video host: It's a powerful recommendation engine. A person can spend hours just following the chain of videos youtube presents.

If I put the same video on vimeo or blip.TV, it's not going to get even a fraction of the view count. Which means no-one bothers putting video up there unless they already have a high-traffic website in place on which to embed the video.

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Powering the Internet of Stuff – by sucking electricity from TREES

Suricou Raven
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Re: Energy from a nail in a tree

The power output is highly variable depending upon weather though.

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Bill Gates – I WISH I was like Zuck and spoke Chinese. Yep, I drink poo

Suricou Raven
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I'm not worried about superintelligent AI.

I'm more concerned about an AI just smart enough to do some of the more menial human jobs, and the economic impact that will have. Increases in economic productivity have always been a good thing in history - eventually. But the steepest ones often have an ugly transition period, and history is no guide in this case as the form of transition is unprecedented. What happens when the robots are doing all the driving, most of the cleaning and a good chunk of the service industry work? Unemployment that could trigger a positive feedback loop and push the world into a recession that'd make the Great Depression look quite mild in comparison.

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Which of UK's major ISPs will let you have exotic p0rn? NONE OF THEM

Suricou Raven
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Re: How futile given encrypted network tunnel services exist

Of course you can hack your way around - but it isn't a good thing for free speech to be dependant upon the outcome of a hacker-battle between users and censors.

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Prez Obama snubs UK PM's tough anti-encryption crusade at White House meet

Suricou Raven
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Re: Fifteen mentions

Ten. The others are in the titles or bylines of other articles mentioned on the page.

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Suricou Raven
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The word 'cyber' appears ten times in this article.

Does anyone even know what it's supposed to mean? It seems to have turned into a prefix for 'vaguely computer-related.'

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