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* Posts by Charles Manning

2904 posts • joined 26 Jun 2007

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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Charles Manning
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Re: Windows fans?

x86 gets hot.

Fans required.

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Charles Manning
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Meanwhile....

I work with a lot of ARM embedded systems. I often use buildroot for smaller projects. A full Linux build from source, including fetching the code, building Linux, u-boot, rootfs, and generating the final binaries. will take you less 10 minutes. It takes under 2 minutes once you've fetched everything.

Even on my crap old laptop and internet connection.

These boot into a running Linux application within 2 seconds. Maybe 5 seconds for a fat-arsed application that needs to load a bigger footprint (eg. Qt).

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Charles Manning
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Because

We all want our washing machines to be able to tweet the fridge.

Even if it means the washing machine take 2 minutes to boot, except when it's a Patch Tuesday and it takes 20 minutes to do all the updates.

Better keep the antivirus up to date too.

I think it is all an evil hippy plot to cut down on water use because nobody will want to do their laundry any more.

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Uh, Obama? Did you miss a zero or two off Samsung's Chinese supplier 'fib' settlement?

Charles Manning
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Limited by the law

These are fines, not civil damages. As such the amounts cannot be set on a whim.

The amounts specified probably were reasonable for other cases, but are out of whack when applied here.

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This'll end well: US govt says car-to-car jibber-jabber will SAVE lives

Charles Manning
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Universal maintenance too

If these things are talking to eachother and giving eachother hints, then this opens up a whole lot of interesting issues.

Currently, the reliability of your car depends largely on things you can control: what you buy, howe well you look after it, etc etc.

Now some other bloke's car is telling your car what to do. The firmware he forgot to update is DOSSing your comms with other vehicles or sending bogus "I'm braking" messages which are confusing your car.

Adding complexity and obscuring responsibility is a bad thing. People will just put their foot down and hope the computers all sort it out.

Bugger this... I'm walking.

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Cargo truck crammed with garbage explodes IN SPAAAAACE

Charles Manning
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Re: The big problem up there

"Expect some stuff is in a polar orbit, and some is equatorial orbit."

Space is 3D.

The stuff in a polar orbit does not fly at the same altitude as stuff in an equatorial orbit or a LEO.

It won't hit you.

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Don't think you're SAFE from Windows zombies just 'cos you have an iPhone - research

Charles Manning
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Re: iTunes is pretty much malware under Windows anyway.

"but surely it's USB that's inherently insecure"

USB is just a communications path - a bit of wire. Just as you don'e expect to get security from thernet, you should not expect security from USB.

What is fundamentally broken (security wise) is the design of the interaction between itunes and ithings.

Even if the exchange between the two was over tinfoil-wrapped encrypted Wifi or whatever it would not make any difference.

What it really comes dwon to is that Apple treats the itune connection differently than the rest of the world via wifi. itues is always trusted, rest of the world is not.

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Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report

Charles Manning
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Re: Only a complete idiot...

Actually, you'd be using a step down converter (ie. buck switch mode power supply). Using something like that is routine.

That the thing is running off 9V and fades suggests it is running from a linear regulator which is turning most of the battery energy into heat rather than useful work.

This suggests it was designed by a beancounter's electronic hobbyist brother wanting to scoop some municipal gravy.

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Charles Manning
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Replacing with solar cells is a CRAP idea

A design this bad should not be retrofitted with solar cells.

It should be completely redesigned - from the ground up.

Redesign to run off AAs - economically - would need a board replacement.

Redesign to run off solar cells would need a complete mechanical refit too, since solar cells hanging of the side would get smashed in minutes by people wanting free parking.

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Charles Manning
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Only a complete idiot...

would design a product like a parking meter to use a 9V battery.

Heck, even 4xAA would have been much better. They're cheaper and have more capacity.

But anyone that designs with a 9V would also have designed crap electronics. Most likely unbelievably inefficient too. A well designed parking meter (probably cheaper than a crappily designed one) should run for well over a year on a pair of AAs.

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Time to move away from Windows 7 ... whoa, whoa, who said anything about Windows 8?

Charles Manning
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How many zeros?

How much does Gartner get paid by MS to write this stuff?

Surely having an XP event once every 10 years is way better than the death-by-a-thousand-cuts of upgrading every release.

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Click on a Facebook ad on your mobe, then buy a thing on your PC ... Facebook remembers

Charles Manning
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Why don't they track useful stuff?

Like where the hell I parked my car last night.

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Snowden leaks show that terrorists are JUST LIKE US

Charles Manning
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Headmaster

Triangulation

"munin @munin

@thegrugq @empiricalerror Not sure I buy that. Cellular triangulation doesn't strike me as being the thing they're defending against w/ that

"

The problem with fancy-pants technical words like triangulation is that they often don't mean what people think they do.

Cellular triangulation would be hard to do since uses angles and therefore requires directional antennas.

Trilateration, OTOH, is perfectly feasible. It measures distance (ie. flight time of radio signals). That is the basis of GPS, LORAN and such and it does give pretty good location information.

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Charles Manning
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Hah!

They can still get to you through the fillings in your teeth.

Best wrap your head in tin foil!

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Charles Manning
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Re: The overlooked bit....

"From an operational viewpoint,this will create headaches. . For example, there can't be much easy communication between different groups/units/teams using different methods."

It is perfectly fine if different groups/cells use different encryption. You don't want them communicating or listening to eachother. Keeping them ignorant of eachother is basic operational safety.

Same deal for the French resistance people during WW2. The last thing you wanted was for a member of one cell to be captured and spill the beans on how everyone worked.

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Hollywood star Robin Williams dies of 'suspected suicide' at 63

Charles Manning
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Depression

It is a terrible thing. for the person involved and the people around them. Fortunately it can (mostly) be managed and (at least partially) alleviated.

Unfortunately there is a stigma. You'd get help for a broken leg so why not for a broken brain?

If you have depression, please get some help - for yourself and those around you. Just hiding if for "shame" is not worth it.

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WinPhone's Halo hottie Cortana to hit desktop in next Windows – report

Charles Manning
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Re: Prior Art

It's not just the vague idea, it is actually the method for making the thing work that is patentable.

Sure we have holographic transporter portals in scifi novels, but if you actually made one that worked then you'd be able to patent that.

Voice recognition has been around as bot an idea and as algorithms for a while now, however you could still come up with a new improved way to do VR and that could be patentable.

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Charles Manning
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Most frequent request

"Cortana, please ask Google [insert question here]"

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Stephen Hawking biopic: Big on romance, not so much with the science?

Charles Manning
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Re: Hollywood Doesn't Understand

Yes they do understand.

Chick flicks sell.

Science documentaries don't.

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US 911 service needs emergency upgrade and some basic security against scumbags

Charles Manning
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The flip side to saying the cops should protect you is this: the police are your employees, as an employer you have an obligation to provide them with a safe working environment for your employees.

Sure you'd hope the police get it right, but that is not always going to happen. Real life does not have an Undo button. These incidents are not scripted. Nobody really knows who's the good guy and who's the bad guy. Hence the standard way of doing things is to just supress everyone (good guys and bad guys) to give a safe environment in which the real story can be figured out.

It sounds like the Oz cops you mentioned went way beyond what they needed to do to achieve that.

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Charles Manning
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Don't give it a name

As soon as it gets an "internet name", people think it is cool to do it for a while.

It isn't twerking, it's waving your bum/fanny around.

It isn't swatting, it's being a dick.

Hopefully "swatting" will just go a way like flashmobs and other "memes".

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AMD's first 64-bit ARM cores star in ... Heatless in Seattle*

Charles Manning
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Re: Why compare it to a Xeon?

"Honestly I will admit what Intel has done with Atom is very impressive."

Certainly true. Staying competitive while dragging around the load of x86 has required amazing ability.

Imagine what we'd see if Intel got off their x86 hobby horse and used that same ability to build some ARM parts. That would be something to see.

Unfortunately Intel are structured as a high margin company. They would probably not cope if they were only making a dollar or two per chip.

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Why hackers won't be able to hijack your next flight - the facts

Charles Manning
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Wot about ILS?

ILS is unencrypted. Heck, it's not even digital.

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Twitter can trigger psychosis in users

Charles Manning
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Nothing to do with twitter

The damn docs just wanted something buzzwordy to get press attention.

Nutjobs have been getting messages from deities, celebrities, dead relatives and past lives using any available medium since yonks, BC.

Tea leaves, stone tablets found on mountains, scrolls left in caves, crystal balls, music played backwards, morse code over short wave.... of course they'll turn up on twitter too.

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IBM boffins stuff 16 million-neuron chips into binary 'frog' brain

Charles Manning
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Nothing like neurons

Back in 2004, 25000 rat neurons flew a flight simulator

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/12/07/rat_brain_flies_jet/

Here we have 16 million of these things and all it can do is is ribbet and catch flies....

Clearly calling these neurons is a huge stretch.

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Ex-Apple man Sam Sung - for it is he - sticks namebadge on eBay

Charles Manning
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Apple property

Like it or not, the id cards are the legal property of Apple. It isn't "his" badge, even if it has his likeness on it.

If he stole a computer and sold it on ebay for charity would that be Ok?

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DON'T PANIC! Satellite comms hacking won't be able to crash an aircraft

Charles Manning
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VHF?

Out in the middle of the oceans, VHF will help you SFA. VHF is pretty much line of sight. HF would be OK though.

In theory, it would be possible to spoof all the GPS and other RF used to steer planes, but in practice that would probably be very difficult far from anywhere.

I wonder about the stuff used for ILS though? ILS is unencrypted. Park a bunch of ILS marker beacons a few hundred metres short of a runway could make things "interesting".

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Intel forced to shoot down viral 'Israeli boycott' whopper

Charles Manning
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To the downvoters:

I am not at all pro-Intel, in fact I have turned down consulting work from them that would have required me to go to Isreal. I am not fearful of going to Israel (your chance of being killed by a rocket in Israel is about 1% that of being killed in a car crash). I am, however, uncomfortable with actively participating in the place.

But boycotting does not give you much room for smugness. Even if your computer is not Intel, you're using Intel all the time.

Getting smug about it is as pointless a greenie saying they don't use oil because they ride a bike while happily munching on a carrot that was grown by diesel powered tractors and brought to market by diesel powered trucks.

Like it or not, you're using Intel (and oil) all the time.

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Charles Manning
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"I already boycotted Intel many years ago."

You think so? Even if you're computer doesn't say Intel Inside, you would have used a whole lot of Intel stuff just in posting your comment.

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Brit kids match 45-year-old fogies' tech skill level by the age of 6

Charles Manning
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It's the tablets

Without the daily medication most of the oldies would have died in their 50s.

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Snowden is FREE to ESCAPE FROM RUSSIA, say officials

Charles Manning
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NSA spying on prez

"If you aren't a far right nationalist..."

It does not matter who you are they'll spy on you.

The KGB got to be a self-preserving entity that rose above the law. USA three-letter agencies have done the same.

You're either in the NSA, or you are the enemy. It does not matter how left or right winged you are, you just are not one of them.

It does not matter that Obama says they must not spy on Merkel, they will just continue to spy on both of them.

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Chinese 'linkfarms' propel Microsoft to web server crown

Charles Manning
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Where's Ballmer when you need him?

Link-farm, link-farm, link-farm, link-farm, link-farm, link-farm, link-farm, link-farm,

Link-farm, link-farm, link-farm, link-farm, link-farm, link-farm, link-farm, link-farm,

Link-farm, link-farm, link-farm, link-farm, link-farm, link-farm, link-farm, link-farm,

Link-farm, link-farm, link-farm, link-farm, link-farm, link-farm, link-farm, link-farm,

Link-farm, link-farm, link-farm, link-farm, link-farm, link-farm, link-farm, link-farm,

<Sigh> I never thought I'd miss the old days...

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Google's 'right to be forgotten': One rule for celebs, another for plebs

Charles Manning
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How to calibrate a slebometer

Got a lawyer on retainer?

YES: sleb

NO: pleb

California, where lawyers outnumber programmers 5 to 1.

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Not a load of Tosh: 5TB 'surveillance drive' from Toshiba hits shelves

Charles Manning
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NSA drives?

When the headline said "surveillance drive" I immediately thought of a hall full of these over at NSA.

It is a sobering (or depressing) thought that just one of these drives can keep 1kbyte of data for every adult on the planet.

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What's the point of the Internet of Things?

Charles Manning
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Huge spin-offs

While IoT is bollocks of itself, there are some huge spin-offs.

I'm currently doing some development with Bluetooth LE devices that can run off a coin cell for over a year. The parts are cheap: a 32-bit ARM CPU + Bluetooth baseband onchip + various peripherals, flash and RAM. All that for less than $3.

These open up amazing potential for new devices. I just hope these component manufacturers are profitable enough to stay in business.

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PEAK APPLE: One MILLION fewer iPads sold this quarter

Charles Manning
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Headmaster

Invested?

I love it when people call toy buying an investment:

" I invested in an iPad mini retina"

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Charles Manning
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Correlation != Causation

There is no evidence that tablets caused the slowdown in PC sales. All we knopw is that they happened at more or less the same time.

People used to buy a new computer every two years or so because computers were getting better at an amazing rate. Now, meh. My 3 year old laptop and 18 month old laptop are great. The latest offerings are not worth buying because they are not a big enough step up.

Coincidentally (from a customer perspective), tablets came on the market at about the same time and people had something else to buy.

The vendors like Apple knew this already, before they launched the tablets. They **knew** the computer market would saturate and stagnate and that is why they brought in new products to keep their revenue going.

So you really have cause and effect the wrong way around.

"... just as Tablet's caused a slowdown in the PC Market..."

should read

"... just as a slowdown in the PC Market caused the introduction of Tablets ..."

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Google on Gmail child abuse trawl: We're NOT looking for other crimes

Charles Manning
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Post Office Terms of Use

I think you'll find that the post office CAN open stuff itf they want to without a warrant. eg. if they suspect that a parcel contains illegal goods. If they do find something, they can report it.

That particular evidence might not be permissible if it was gathered without a warrant, but the tip-off is then enough to secure a warrant for other investigations.

It would seem pretty much the same has happened with Google and the kiddy porn. The Google filtered porn might not be useful as evidence, but it is enough for getting a warrant to either seize and search computers or to monitor future activity.

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Charles Manning
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Hashing...

Tweak one pixel and you're in the clear again?

The scary part of this is that it is the thin end of the wedge. Today kiddy porn is a hot button issue. What nextt? Once the jackboots have new toys they will want to use them.

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BAD VIBES: High-speed video camera records your voice from trash

Charles Manning
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Cavity resonator urban myth

Yup, the bug that nobody understood is just a good old urban ledgend.

Maybe the embassy staff would not have known how this works, but anyone that has worked with microwave would.

As Wonkapedia says in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thing_%28listening_device%29 , the principles of a cavity resonator was well understood and the concept of a modulating a cavity resonator like this was even patented in the US in 1941 - 4 years before the bug was installed.

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Charles Manning
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No ned to fire a laser

"Yep , but that requires you to fire a laser at a target such as a window and look at the light coming back "

Nope. You could equally use a passive reflection too.

The benefit of a laser, or any other bright reflection, is that the modulation is much higher and thus easier to detect. It does not need nearly as much signal processing as the crisp packet mechanism.

The laser also allows you to modulate with a carrier and thus remove unwanted signals.

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