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* Posts by Charles Manning

2945 posts • joined 26 Jun 2007

I saved Bitcoin and the PERFECT DRAFT OF HISTORY, says Assange

Charles Manning
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Vitamin D

Required for healthy brain function.

Assange is desperate to get himself relevant. Even jumping in the sack with Dotcom.

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City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub

Charles Manning
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Sounds just like medical school

Lots of short-bearded druids around no doubt.

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Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS

Charles Manning
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Paleontology

is a speculative art rather than a science. There's far too much assumtption and fanciful thinking to call this a real science.

From one tiny tooth fragment they'll claim a new dino species and make preposterous claims as to its size. Sure, some bones etc scale well, but some do not.

Imagine if you took girraffe bones and assumed the animal was more or less deer shaped. You'd end up with completely the wrong idea.

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California blue whale numbers soar to historical levels, say boffins

Charles Manning
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Re: TOO MANY HUMAN BEINGS?

"Maybe we're long overdue a cull?"

Volunteering, are you?

The problem with this horseshit reasoning is people want sacrafices to be made... but won't make them themselves.

Al Gore wants us all to go back to the stone age, except he needs his executive jet and power gobbling mansion because he has important work to do.

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Thieves steal more iPhones than any other handset, warns UK government

Charles Manning
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Careful with the numbers

These numbers are surely for those reported stolen. Where's the evidence they were really stolen?

Once a phone etc is getting a bit long in the tooth, some must surely be tempted to report it stolen to claim insurance and get a newer model.

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Chelyabinsk-sized SURPRISE asteroid to skim Earth, satnav birds

Charles Manning
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"...And the orbit may also be altered so that its further away in future."

This was the astronomer's once-in-a-lifetime chance to be in the media. May as well dramatise - it makes their role in society seem more pressing.

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Charles Manning
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... or ....

25k miles/40k km is approx once around the world at the equator.

That is surely approx 3 earth cross sections/ 6 earth radii.

It is also 3.3 million London buses.

Sureley that's a far better benchmark for most people than a fraction of distance to the moon?

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Jony Ive: Apple iWatch will SCREW UP Switzerland's economy

Charles Manning
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status is subjective

Status is all in the mind of the person trying to make the statement and the intended audience.

Even animal print lycra is "status" in the right surroundings.

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Crack team weighs LOHAN's substantial box

Charles Manning
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Should have used British aeronautical technology.

Contents 1k

Box 100 quid

Shipping the rest

It would have been a lot cheaper to take a leaf from our WW2 forefathers and build with a sandwich composite construction (ala Mosquito). The box would have cost a bit more, but would have weighed a lot less and cost a fraction in shipping.... while also giving you the smugness of UK genetics giving you an advantage.

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Work in the tech industry? The Ukraine WAR is coming to YOU

Charles Manning
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Yup. had that in apartheid South Africa

I grew up in South Africa during the sanctions. There were many things we could not get - in theory. Of course it was available at inflated prices so the richest and most powerful could still get everything they wanted. It was the others that lost out - regardless of race or political persuasion.

Of course it makes everyone that imposes the sanctions feel very righteous.

Many governments were still doing lots of business with South Africa behind closed doors because that still allowed you to get stuff done in Africa.

My landlord (mid 1980s) was a multi-millionaire with a trucking business. He made a lot of money brokering food aid deals for various government releif organisaions (eg. Canadian govt). He openly told them he was from South Africa and how his operation worked: he would take products (eg. maize) in unmarked sacks to Botswana. From there his other fleet would take them to Zimbabwe and have Product of Zimbabwe labels applied, then send them off to whereever.

At the end of the day, he got the most aid through to help the most people with a documented paper trail showing stuff actually got there. Dates, times, photgraphs of recipients. Sure he took a hefty cut, but it was way better outcome than if they had run through the normal channels of corruption, bribery etc.

And being quiet, the Canadian public could still hold their heads high that they were not dealing with those terrible South Africans.

No doubt this all plays out pretty much the same in Russia. The bootleggers will just profit while western citizens get to feel smug.

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Intel goes high-fashion with wearable supermodel

Charles Manning
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Love the tech specs

So Intel have finally given up. No mention of MHz and Watts, just sell them snake skin... Makes sense, they've been selling the oil for ages.

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Isis Wallet, NOT an Islamist militant group, reborn as Softcard

Charles Manning
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Re: "In a bid to distance itself from a violent Islamist militant group..."

It's not just to protect yourself from stupid citizens either. The law enforcement types would likely shut them down for being money laundering operation. Not exactly the way to run a money transfer service.

After all, after 9/11 they had some semi-legitimate reason to attack targets in Afgahnistan, but instead attacked Iraq.... a whole 3000 km away.

Imagine bombing Moscow if you didn't like London's fish and chips! (London to Moscow is approx 3000km)

... or bombing Mexico because the Canadaina make maple syrup.

... or NZ becuae you hate kangaroos.

Nope. With this lot best not to take chances.

Just hope like hell some large unfriendly orgaisation does not spring up with Soft in its name :-).

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CNN 'tech analyst' on NAKED CELEBS: WHO IS this mystery '4chan' PERSON?

Charles Manning
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Basically

If you're doing dumb shit that depends on a password for security...

and you depend on CNN for security advice...

You might as well just post it straight on wikipedia.

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Internet of Things: Major players agree on goals, but little else

Charles Manning
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Oh, we all know what the goals are...

Make tons of money out of... well... somebody.

The trillon sensor summit coming soon thinks that a year-on-year exponential increase in sensors can continue unchecked forever. http://www.tsensorssummit.org/Resources/Why%20TSensors%20Roadmap.pdf

This document is a nausiating mashup of "multi-physics" and "multi-biochemistry", electronic and nanomaterials. It promises Smart Cities, Smart Environment and Smart Water. It has all the buzzwords there to lure in the greedy investor.

Anongst other things it gravely warns: "Without focused commercialization efforts and availability of standardised development and manufacturing infrastructure, the developmen and scalability of sensors will be delayed, undoubtedly delaying Abundance."

Or in other words, buy up IVV6 routers or starving chindren will die of waterborn diseases in Africa.

As I have commented elsewhere, the vast majority of the people in the world live on $10/year or less and don't exactly have budget for anything beyond food and shelter. That means that less around 1 billion people will "need" to spend $15000 on 1000 sensors each in the next 8 years or so.

That's more than the annual household income of wealthy countries like USA.

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Drone captures shots of budding APPLE SPACESHIP HQ

Charles Manning
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walled garden

nuff sed.

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If you think 3D printing is just firing blanks, just you wait

Charles Manning
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Re: Like an 8 pin dot matrix printer...

The media only hype because that's what the numpty readers read. People like hype and buzz.

Don't blame McDonalds for not making lentil burgers. Don't blame the media for serving their readers what they want.

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What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?

Charles Manning
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Do something.... anything....

Whenever something bad happens, or is percieved to have happened, politicians need to be seen to be doing something.... anything...

What they do need not actually have any positive effect. It just has to push the right buttons with the citizens to placate them.

That's why government is incremental.We very rarely see them saying a rule does not work, or is pointless, so they strike it. Generally the best they do is tweak it. That is all governments - the world over.

That's how we end up with daft laws that permit the use of headsets when driving when they are as distracting as hand held phones which are banned.

Does having gun licensing reduce gun crime? Maybe, ut unlikely by much. Criminals don't bother themselves with licenses etc. Toff paying 10 quid per year seldom rob banks. But what it does do is placate a whole swath of anti-gun people who tut-tut that at least it is better than in USA where any maniac can get gun.

Of course they don't realise that USA has a vast amount of gun laws - restricting all sorts of things - many seemingly very stupid. You can buy a whole rifle at Wallmart, but you need a federal firearms license to buy some parts (triggers, bolts,...).

In USA you need a special $200 permit to buy a supressor. In Australia they are illegal. In UK you can get it one with a regular license. In NZ they are unrestricted - anyone can buy one through the post or in a shop.

As a license holding NZ gun owner, I don't mind the idea of a gun license at all - even though it costs be about $10NZ per year. It does perhaps weed out some nutters, but mainly it makes the naysayers happy so they get out of my hair.

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Community chest: Storage firms need to pay open-source debts

Charles Manning
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Re: It's just the way it is...

"If they've been collecting money on your behalf, you should claw it back... :)"

Unfotunately they have been collecting it on behalf of themselves.

I got an email once from someone at HTC expecting some free technical support. It happened to be on a day when I was feeling rather pissy. I suggested they contact Microsoft for support since they were paying Microsoft.

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Charles Manning
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It's just the way it is...

I wrote an open source file system that has been used in many tens of millions of devices. I have not received one cent of royalties or donations from the people building devices or the flash vendors who have sold billions of dollars of flash that use the file system.

About the only people who have made money out of this are Microsoft through gouging "Android tax" and alleging that my code infringes copyright (a claim from which they subsequently backed down). By my back of the envelope calculations they probably made $50M or so out of open source use of my work.

But, hey, that's open source. If you get all worked up about it you'll just get ulcers.

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Brit chip biz CSR rebuffs US takeover bid from Microchip Technologies

Charles Manning
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Microchip

Microchip is a has been company with 1980s technology. They still own a lot of legacy space with their 8-bit micros, but that's fading.

They really need a new game to keep their head above water in the next few years.

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Feds salute plucky human ROBOT-FIGHTERS

Charles Manning
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"The phone channel has become the weakest link in protecting individuals and businesses from scams and fraud,"

Nonsense. Human greed is the weakest link.

You can't cheat an honest man and all that...

While there are people who think they can get something for nothing or can make a deal with a lawyer wanting to hide ONE HUNDRED MILION DOLARS: $100,000,000.00 there will be a people scammed... through the interwebs, phones or people knocking on doors.

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Pay to play: The hidden cost of software defined everything

Charles Manning
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Re: And this differs from, say, what Microsoft have done for years .. how?

Exactly right. Nothing new at all. I've been in the electronics/software industry for over 30 years and it has always been thus.

Back in 1982 or so I worked for a company that used ICL kit. We had a huge line printer that came in two speed grades. We'd bought the low speed option and paida lot to get a speed upgrade.

The technician opened the case pulled out a jumper and closed the lid, leaving with the jumper in his pocket. Job done.

Does it really matter what the technician did to speed it up from 300lpm to 600? Nope. We saw value in the faster printer and were prepared to pay for the value. If this had been achieved by pulling a jumper, changing formware or installing new meachinery makes no difference.

When you buy a scope or whatever, you're buying a feature set, not hardware or software. How the manufacturer chooses to deliver the feature set is their damn business - not yours.

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Chipzilla gives birth to a TINY comms chip

Charles Manning
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Re: Looks big to me

"They could have used PoP for at least one pair of chips."

They do. The MCP thing at the bottom is essentially an PoP.

http://www.samsung.com/global/business/semiconductor/product/mcp/overview.

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Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store

Charles Manning
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From where I sit...

It seems like everyone is going the other way... running from Windows CE/phone as fast as possible.

In the early 2000s, Windows CE was the platform of choice for mobile handheld profressional products (eg. top-end GIS producst like ESRI's ARCGIS). Now..... welll... nothig. They've switching to iphones and Androids. Many still have Windows phone support, but that's certainly no longer the conerstone of the mobile strategy.

I've been in this game a long time - since WinCE 1.x.. It's been all downhill since 2007/8.

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China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE

Charles Manning
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Re: Why use the military?

Yes, the US National debt is mostly owned by its own citizens.... $10T out of $17T.

However,...

* only a paltry $7T is owed to foreigners, of which $4.5T is to China.

* The citizens are themselves in a hole greater than what Ucle Sam owes them. Sammy owes them $10T, but the citizenry owe $17T in private debt. Thus the citizens themsleves are in no position to dig a bit deeper.

* And then Sammy has a whole bunch of unfunded liabilities (eg. social security) which it owes (ie has promised) but has not yet had to pay, so don't yet show up as debt. That's $118T...

All in all, China could tear up their note and it wouldn't make any difference to the trajectory US is on. Any wonder that the Chinese don't want to trade in USD any more -even if they have a pile $5T high!

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Charles Manning
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Why use the military?

Why would China want to use the military to whack USA?

They can just sit back and watch USA destroy itself financially. Much easier than getting that messy red stuff all over you!

Anyway, it seems the Chinese have been able to get where they want for 7 years:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-492804/The-uninvited-guest-Chinese-sub-pops-middle-U-S-Navy-exercise-leaving-military-chiefs-red-faced.html

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MEN WANTED to satisfy town full of yearning BRAZILIAN HOTNESS

Charles Manning
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spiders

No doubt lots of spiders to kill.

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Galileo! Galileo. Galileo! Galileo frigged-LEO: Easy come, easy go. Little high, little low

Charles Manning
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Re: They may be usable in these orbits

They're still usable in ANY orbit.... so long as they are predictable.

Pseudolites - fake satellites - are even positioned on the ground to help provide exta "satellites" when there are insufficient real ones in view.

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Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE

Charles Manning
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Tolerating Intolerance

If you don't tolerate intolerance, you're just back to where you started:effectively going back to the past where the church or the BBC or whatever were the gatekeepers of society.

Those who have the mindset of thinking they should be in a position to tell others what to do seldom seem contented with a backseat approach. Instead they slowly get more and more intrusive into other people's lives.

It is why government intrusion is always increasing, never decreasing. It is why we have crap like home owners' associations.

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Charles Manning
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Re: "teenagers hogging the phone line "

BY2K

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Government report: average Oz user will want 15 Mbps by 2023

Charles Manning
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Sure.... want away

But are they prepared to pay for it.

As the old saying goes: want in one hand and crap in the other and see which gets filled first.

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Brit Sci-Fi author Alastair Reynolds says MS Word 'drives me to distraction'

Charles Manning
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Fool me once....

shame on you.

Fool me TWICE, shame on ME!

You are a victim of your own thinking, not a victim of Microsoft.

Silly whiny-pants author. Don't like it? Don't use it!

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The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal

Charles Manning
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Yup it is down to interpretation

(e) transmits the contents of such a publication electronically;

Now that's getting close to the wire.

You could argue that by clicking the link you are causing the transmission, but causing the transmission is not illegal, just transmission.

But you could also argue that your equipement does transmit the publication:

Your NAS/ADSL modem tranasmits it to your Wifi AP.

The Wifi AP transmits it to your computer's wifi module.

That transmits it to your CPU

Which transmits to your screen.

...

They could clarify this by a slight change to (e):

(e) transmits, or causes transmission of, the contents of such a publication electronically;

In that case, clicking a link would get you on the wrong side of the law.

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IT blokes: would you say that LEWD comment to a man? Then don't say it to a woman

Charles Manning
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Booze is often a trigger

Note I said trigger, not CAUSE.

Often the booze coming out shifts the gear from "work mode" to "club/social mode".

The biggest hassle is that the people at the conferences have been drawn together by a mutual interest in IT, or whatever, and are now thrown together in a completely different mode of operation. They would never normally socialise together.

The dickheads that would grope someone probably tend to socialise in an environment (eg. clubs) where it is common for people to grope eachother etc. They make the association that booze & music ==> singles club party.

Then there are the people who enjoy a drink, a few laughs and intelligent conversation with zero groping etc.

Mix the two and you have problems.

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US Copyright Office rules that monkeys CAN'T claim copyright over their selfies

Charles Manning
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"you have framed the shot as you want it to be" "did not frame the shot or have any real creative input into how the shot would come out. He even claimed it was a lucky accident."

In any action photography (of animals and sports) you're typically taking many pictures that don't come out. They are all "lucky accidents". A wildlife photographer once told hme he's lucky if he gets one good action shot out of 50.

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Pedals and wheel in that Google robo-car or it's off the road – Cali DMV

Charles Manning
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Re: Not such a big deal

Your insurance premium is based on the risk (or at least the perceived risjk) of a payout.

If you tell the insurance company you want a GBP10M policy that covers you being hit by an asteroid. You''l probably pay less than GBP 50 pa.

Then ask for the same cover for base jumping and rock climbing.

Same deal here. The insurance people expect a larger chance of a payout, not just because of the chance of a crash, but because they know the lawyers would be onto this as fast as anything and the courts would award a huge payout.

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Charles Manning
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which should be the default more-reliable case in the event of conflicting input?

One of the biggest headaches with designing any of these systems is handling the hand over from the computer control to the "backup" meatsack.

When everyhting is going well, the computer will, generally be able to do a better job of driving and will even handle extreme control situations better than people do. For example, this is why some fighter jets that are far too unstable for a human to control are flown fine when the computer is working.

Unfortunately the Plan B for almost all automated systems (autopilots, ...) is to disengage and hand back control to the meatsack.

This introduces three major dilemmas:

1) Loss of situational awareness: The meatsack has not been involved in the control and is not sufficiently aware to take control. In the case of an autonomious car, the driver has probably been reading a book, LOLling on twitter or whatever. Suddenly the controls think everything is too hard and dump control in the lap of the driver who is not sufficiently informed to take effective control. By the time the driver works out what is going on it is too late.

2) Exceeding human capability: Computers can cope with some control situations than people can, most speficially they can operate faster and with greater precision. If the computer is giving up, then the chances are a person is incapable of taking effective control. Bad things happen. This happened in an Air China crash some years ago where a thrust controller had kept tweaking things until if was forced to give up. As a result, the meatsack had no chance of recovering the plane and it crashed.

Thus, the control system has to be set up to give up when the meatsack still has a chance of coping - largely negating the benefits of the computer.

But is that the right decision? The compter is likely more skilled and probably more likely to recover from the situation. But if the computer tries more and then really does need to hand over, the pilot is in an even worse position.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Not at all easy to come up with a good decision.

3) Confusion of the control surface: As soon as there are more than one controllers (two people, or a computer and a person), there is the opportunity for some control to fall through the cracks.

A classic example of this is the driver using cruise control for the first time. There have been more than one occurrance of rear-ending the car in front? Why? Well in the criver's mind they hve handed over speed control to the cruise control. Part of speed control is braking when required. Unfortunately the cruse control does not brake when required. Drivers have literally watched the crash happen over a period of seconds dumbfounded that the computer did not slow down.

Of course it all makes sense in the clear light of day, but under the stress of the event, the driver's brain shuts down some of its thinking ability. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incident_pit for an explanation why).

In short, mixing human and computer control is a bloody nightmare.

The only people that will definitely benefit are the lawyers who outnumber engineers 5:1 in California.

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Red Hat: ARM servers will come when people crank out chips like AMD's 64-bit Seattle

Charles Manning
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Sorry Jon, not true

While I know Jon and generally respect his opinions, I don't believe he is entirely correct here.

The differences between boards is all int he drivers and device tree. That can surely vary between boards.

This does potentially make it harder for people like RedHat to roll out distros, So, from the point of view od a ditro vendor trying to do everything on their own he has a reasonable point.

However if the board vendors and the distro vendors work together then this does need to be problematic.

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Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico

Charles Manning
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Re: Yes, yes, but

Since satellites from multiple constellations can be used in one fix, they actually augment eachother.

It is possible that you don't have enough GPS or Galileo satellites in view to make a fix from one sert alone, but together you have enough. Or, even if you have enough for a rix, then adding more gives you a better fix.

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Charles Manning
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"EU GPS"

Saying Galileo GPS is like saying Dyson Hoover.

The generic term for sateliite nav systems is Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS).

There are many such systems: GPS, Galileo, GLONAS and Beidou.

Some receivers can receive signals from more than one of these.

Some receivers can even use satellites from multiple systems in a single position solution, but one satellite from each extra set is required to fix the clock, roughly speaking.

ie. a position calculated from 5 GPS and 3 Galileo satellites is more or less equivalent to a position calculated using 7 GPS satellites.

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Charles Manning
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Re: The good news, of course, being...

Please send me your snail mail address. I will send you a few rolls of tinfoil.

As others have said, GPS, and GNSS in general, are passive. Untrackable.

Your cellphone is trackable, with our without GPS or any other GNSS.

In general, you do not need another antenna to track Galileo. The frequency is close enough to GPS that a single antenna and front end will work for both.

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Your Bitcoins aren't money – but it is barter, so we'll tax it, ta ... says Australia's taxman

Charles Manning
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Re: A fair cop

The tax must be paid in $ though.

Your barter income might be in eggs and carrots or having your car fixed, but the taxman wants the $ equivalent for those too.

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Is it an iPad? Is it a MacBook Air? No, it's a Surface Pro 3

Charles Manning
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Dear Microsoft Humour Department

Most jokes only work once.

Second time you might still get some laughts from the slow people.

But three times never works.

Tell the one about the new Microsoft CEO who goes into a bar and....

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Hear ye, young cyber warriors of the realm: GCHQ wants you

Charles Manning
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Re: Nominative determinism or in-joke. You decide.

Norman or not, Vasive sounds very foreign. Better keep an eye on him.

Get them to serve borscht in the canteen and see if he takes a bowl.

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Charles Manning
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Do games really get the message across?

I offererd to take my FPS-playing son to the shooting range to fire some real guns. Not interested.

Some people people want to blame games for all the violence in the world, yet we actually know the world is a less violent place now than any other time in human history. I'm certainly not crediting games with the reduction in violence, but it sure has not made things worse.

From that we can say that what people do in games has little to do with what they want to do in real life. It is just escapist fantasy.

Will any of the GCHQ pixel-warriors actually want to spend their whole live in spooksville? I doubt it.

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Get ready: The top-bracket young coders of the 2020s will be mostly GIRLS

Charles Manning
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"Maths is not your strong suit Jasper"

If he was any good at the tech stuff, he'd be doing it - not writing about it.

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Need a green traffic light all the way home? Easy with insecure street signals, say researchers

Charles Manning
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Re: Why the different standards?

"IMHO the real double standard is that programmers aren't held to such high practical standards as civil engineers during the design and build phase. We can write shit code all day long and only ever be called on it when/if something goes horribly wrong."

Really??

Roads get pot holes in them. That is a civil engineering failure. Traffic lights fail for electrical reasons, as do power grids. Every mechanic in town currently has a car or two being repaired because mechanical stuff failed.

It always comes down to a compomise between costs and features. We could make roads for $5bn per km that would never get pot holes o break during eathquakes but we don't. We could make $5000 water pumps for cars that would never wear out, but we don't.

Same deal with software: in this age of 99c apps, nobody wants to pay $5M to develop a nuke-proof traffic light system.

The only real difference is that Joe Sixpack can understand that roads will fail and that mechanical stuff wears out, but the failure modes of software are far less obvious. What they don't understand, they don't make allowances for.

Really good software engineers are as skilled as top-end surgeons and certainly more skilled than bottom-of-the-barrel lawyers. The skilled surgeon will get paid $800/hr or more the crap lawyer will get paid $300/hr. Yet a really top sw eng will not be getting a quarter of that. Why? Same reason.

Software is invisble. You can't see software duct tape. People do not appreciate the difference between working and working well. As a result people will not pay for it.

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Charles Manning
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Why the different standards?

While this might be technically feasible, it is as illegal as stealing stop signs - something that got people long stretches in prison.

http://www.nytimes.com/1997/06/21/us/3-are-sentenced-to-15-years-in-fatal-stop-sign-prank.html

What we're seeing here is the expectation that electronics be held to a higher standard than what it is replacing.

Nobody hassled the stop sign makers for having bolts that could be unscrewed. Why did they not use "security" bolts? Why did they not weld the signs instead of using bolts? Were they negligent in making signs that could be disassembled?

This is one of the really hard parts of embedded design. People are relatively forgiving when cables snap , but get all lawyered up when electronics and software fail.

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Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?

Charles Manning
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"Once governments begin dictating edicts to the people, you no longer live in a democracy."

Well you voted for them, so it is a democracy.

Parties only develop their policies in response to what the public gives them feedback on by voting. Like any other manufacturer/service provider, they sell what the punters buy.

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Intel's Raspberry Pi rival Galileo can now run Windows

Charles Manning
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"I wonder if they know where the sources are for NT3.1"

Some of it is in Windows CE (or EC as it is called now).

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