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* Posts by DrXym

3394 posts • joined 18 Jul 2007

Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530

DrXym
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Another one?

This must be about the 4th or 5th android killer by now.

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Attack of the clones: Oracle's latest Red Hat Linux lookalike arrives

DrXym
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Re: Whenever you hear Oracle whine about Android

The use of GPL in a commercial product obliges the company to supply the source upon request. These days most companies would normally throw the tarballs up on a web server and let people click the link to get them.

Note of course that a Linux dist isn't just GPL, but dozens of open source licences with disparate obligations. So potentially RH could withhold parts of a dist (e.g. BSD licenced stuff) if they felt like it though it would cause bad feeling in the open source community if they did.

They could also dual licence something really important that they developed themselves to stop the likes of Oracle leeching off it but Canonical got burned by such practices so that might be a non runner.

What they have done is stop releasing discrete patch files for their fixes & changes. Instead they concatenate everything into one large patch. Presumably this is to frustrate Oracle's support efforts.

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DrXym
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Whenever you hear Oracle whine about Android

Just remember they're ripping off Red Hat Linux lock stock and barrel. "Ah", some apologist might say, "the licence allows them to". It sure does. It doesn't make them look any less hypocritical.

I do wonder who in their right minds would pay them for support though. If you want to pay for support why not pay it to the company which actually develops the distribution (or the package maintainer itself) instead of the barnacles hitching a ride.

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Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network

DrXym
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Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

"So you either log connections to the same standard or you don't offer an open hotspot. Even if you do provide a hotspot which logs everything (e.g. FON) the police have demonstrated time and again that technology confuses them."

I very much doubt that you as a householder would be on the hook if someone did something malicious on it.

Any complaint would come through BT and BT would know from the logs that it was someone piggybacking from your public wifi spot. They'd also know who that person was according to the login details.

So while plod might come around to ask if you saw someone doing a four fingered shuffle in your garden, you yourself would not be under suspicion of any crime.

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Boffins fill a dome with 480 cameras for 3D motion capture

DrXym
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And it goes without saying

That a porn studio will be first to pioneer this system

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You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary

DrXym
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Re: Eek!

"Otherwise, consider *why* I'm using Pirate Bay for my media needs. Hint: it isn't price, it's availability."

And midget porn

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Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN

DrXym
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This is why net neutrality is so important

Without net neutrality, ISPs will start throttling services and holding them to ransom which essentially means people pay more to use them. Aside from that people find themselves involuntarily segregated into service packages where one ISP works well with one set of services and another ISP works well with another set of services.

The only reason I see to break net neutrality is if the ISP actually paid Netflix or some other service to install servers on their backbone to minimize latency.

In other words, the ISPs should not be allowed to throttle or impede access to service outside of their network but they should be able to add proxies or servers inside their network to improve service..

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For Lenovo US, 8-inch Windows tablets are DEAD – long live 8-inch Windows tablets

DrXym
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Probably not so much the form factor

I think 8" would work better if the device came with a stylus and a keyboard attachment so the desktop could be used on the go. It wouldn't hurt either to throw in more storage and better CPU performance.

As it is these devices are destined to run in metro for the most part and that's where the problem is. Metro is quite a mature and usable touch GUI and the apps it ships with are very usable these days. However, the app store is a joke - the situation with 3rd party apps has improved but it doesn't bear favourable comparison to Android or the iPad. If I had money in my pocket to buy a 8" tablet, I'd probably drop it on a Galaxy Tab.

It's probably why Microsoft and vendors are looking to larger sizes where Android and iPad begin to look distinctly clunky and where a Windows tablet / hybrid makes more sense.

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ARM arms devs for 64-bit Android push with 'Juno' board

DrXym
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Dalvik and the NDK

Most apps are pure Dalvik. They neither know nor care if the host OS is 32-bit or higher since Dalvik imposes the app constraints in much the same way as a JVM does.

Apps that use the NDK (and some like games need to) on the other hand definitely know what the architecture is and are probably rolling their eyes about yet another target appearing. The problem at present is that every architecture .so needs to be built and bundled together in a single APK (bloating it out), or separate apks for each architecture (an administration and testing nightmare). Neither is optimal and unsurprisingly devs won't support a new architecture until it gains traction. And a new architecture won't gain traction unless the apps support it.

Google could help a lot here (and ARM and Intel) by supporting LLVM targets. Let someone compile their NDK app against a LLVM bitcode target. Let the device compile that target into native code during installation. Or even Google could do it when the apk is uploaded to their store. The point being that then devs don't care what the architecture is because their app will work on anything and new 64-bit cpus integrate seamlessly into the ecosystem.

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Microsoft hopes for FONDLESLAB FRENZY as Surface Pro 3 debuts

DrXym
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Re: Buy a Miix 2 instead

The Miix 2 11" has the choice of i3 or i5 processor and comes with 2 or 4GB RAM and 128GB or 256GB SSD. For much less than the Surface 3. And it includes the keyboard so it's cheaper again.

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DrXym
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Buy a Miix 2 instead

They're similar spec, they're cheaper and they come with a keyboard.

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YouView loses YourView trademark fight, may have to pick new name

DrXym
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Who's View?

You said Your View referring to "my" View. The correct answer was My View as in "your" View.

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British boffin tells Obama's science advisor: You're wrong on climate change

DrXym
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Re: Boffins disagreeing with each other?

Scientists disagree all the time. As if that's a bad thing.

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Silent, spacious and... well, insipid: Citroën's electric C-Zero car

DrXym
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Re: Price of Electricity

I'd say petrol costs are vastly more concerning. It only takes a whiff of regional instability (e.g. what's happening in Iraq right now) for the price to be hiked up. And over the long term the price always goes up.

I think it's crazy for electric cars to have so many batteries in them. It would be better for a hybrid that can do an average commute but can kick over to something else if the battery runs down - hydrogen, ethanol and diesel are all potentially renewable.

Or even an aluminium / air battery which can't be recharged but does provide a large range so someone won't be stranded if they exceed their conventional range.

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Women are too expensive to draw and code – Ubisoft

DrXym
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Understandable I guess

If you give people the choice of sexes for the main protagonist then the developers have to record hundreds of hours of the identical dialogue for both sexes. In every supported language (English, Spanish, French, German etc.). And motion capture too. And two sets of cutscenes if it's fmv. And get the engine to cope regardless of models used. It probably is a logistical headache.

But Ubisoft could choose a female protagonist more often than it does. The AC series has had one spinoff with a female lead (for the PS Vita) but otherwise it's just some lunk doing pretty much the same thing from one historical setting to the next.

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Apple is KILLING OFF BONKING, cries mobe research dude

DrXym
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Re: Why do we need "contactless" payments AT ALL?

"What's wrong with swiping a card?"

If I board a bus, it's easy to swipe an NFC card on and off. If I'm waiting for a train and want to buy a mars bar then it's faster if I can swipe through a small purchase without entering a PIN.

It probably offers nothing for larger purchases where it makes no difference if I put the card in a slot or wave it around before typing a PIN. I suppose someone in Visa / Mastercard might have decided that one method of payment is less likely to result in someone losing their card or having it skimmed though.

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DrXym
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I think most people would. An NFC can be embedded in a bit of plastic and works just as well. Why whip out a phone for all the thieves to see?

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UK govt 'tearing up road laws' for Google's self-driving cars: THE TRUTH

DrXym
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Intractible problems

You're driving up a country lane. 50m ahead you see a car coming the other way. One of you has to pull into the side to allow the other to pass. Usually it's obvious who has to do it and it can be resolved easily by humans.

How is a self drive car going to do that? How does it know that it must pull over? How does it signal its intention to the other driver? How does understand when other driver signals back? What happens if the car has to reverse to pull in?

Or is it going to be completely brain dead and drive right up to the other car and then halt because it is an obstacle? How is it going to extricate from that?

And that's just one very simple example of a problem that happens every single day that is almost intractible for a computer. There are thousands more like it - faulty traffic lights, police directing traffic (corollary: telling a police officer from a loony directing traffic), traffic calming islands, diversions, oil spills, lorries unloading goods, floods, potholes, buses stopping to change drivers, broken down cars, carparks / long tunnels with no gps, a lorry on fire, cones & roadworks, emergency vehicles w sirens etc.

I think the tech would be very useful for motorways and as an advanced safety system but completely self drive vehicles on public roads is so far off I don't see happening any time soon. There will have to be a conscious, sober driver behind the wheel ready to take over and extricate the car from a situation it can't solve itself.

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Look inside ELON MUSK'S CAR! Tesla S wundervehicle has voom

DrXym
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These are very big cars

I would think that most people who have need to drive through London or use on street parking would prefer something a bit smaller. It's also not hard to imagine the London Mayor deciding that people rich enough to afford a Model S are rich enough to pay for a congestion charge.

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Android is a BURNING 'hellstew' of malware, cackles Apple's Cook

DrXym
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And in other news

Freedom comes with risks sometimes. I'd rather a device which lets me choose what software I want to install on my device than one that doesn't. Sure, that means morons will install "sexy girl screensaver" which wants to dial phone numbers, or whatever.

For me it means I can choose to use a different browser, dialler, bittorrent client, emulator or anything else that is regularly or outright banned from Apple's store.

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The British are coming! The British are coming! And they're buying Surface fondleslabs

DrXym
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Re: blackberry playbook anyone?

"Is that a touch-enabled version of Eclipse?"

Some Windows tablets come with a keyboard dock (as do some Android tablets). The remainder can connect via USB or bluetooth to keyboard / mice.

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DrXym
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Re: blackberry playbook anyone?

I agree with the firesale sentiment for RT. But "pro" tablets are, as you say, full Windows devices and that is NOT A BAD THING. Some people's needs extend beyond hammering out 2 line responses to emails or watching videos. e.g. I develop software for a living and it would be rather nice to be take a tablet (and keyboard) and fire up Eclipse for that purpose. Another person might need to review a long document and print it to some random printer.

That's where a Windows based tablet would be useful although Microsoft's tablets are expensive examples. There are cheaper devices, even of similar spec.

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How to strip pesky copyright watermarks from photos ... says a FACEBOOK photo bod

DrXym
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Re: Probably only suitable for a thumbnail anyway

"People jump through hoops to avoid paying a dollar for a game on Android..."

I see this as not dissimilar to those arguments we see from time to time that X game was pirated 1,000,000 times ergo 1,000,000 lost sales. It may be that some of those pirate copies were potential sales but certainly not all of them or anywhere close. And in the case of someone shopping a lo-res watermarked picture of themselves isn't even getting a comparable product so I think the argument is even less valid.

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DrXym
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Probably only suitable for a thumbnail anyway

I really doubt that anyone who went to the trouble of photoshopping a lores, watermarked print was likely to have paid out for the full print anyway.

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100% driverless Wonka-wagon toy cars? Oh Google, you're having a laugh

DrXym
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Re: Use case

They might be great if you are in an airport hotel and need to get to the terminal. In this scenario one can envisage hitting a button by the kerb and a vehicles arrives in a dedicated lane to take you somewhere else in the same circuit.

But If you think you will see cars that will take you from one arbitrary point to another on public roads, you are going to be sorely disappointed. This is pure hype. It won't happen any time soon. Not in the US and not anywhere else. And even when it does, these vehicles will require a steering wheel and a person behind the wheel who is capable of driving at short notice. Why? Because the car will be too stupid to deal with a million and 1 intractable situations that it would encounter while driving and will need a human to sort it out.

There is no doubt self drive, or rather advanced driver assistance has a great potential for safety. Imagine if the car would maintain a safe braking distance between cars, or if it could hit the brakes in the fractions of a second that a human takes to react, or if it could handle steer out of skids. And so on. But being safe doesn't mean much if a car slams on the brakes because a plastic bag blew past, or a leaf got stuck on its sensor, or if it drives through a massive pothole, or goes up a street which is closed.

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DrXym
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Such hype

It is trivial to think of every day scenarios that a self drive car simply couldn't cope with. It would either halt (causing a delay to itself or vehicles behind) or it would do something dumb like nudge forward when another car has right of way.

It's all very well to say they are safe but cars must also make good progress and that requires more than just a bunch of sensors - it requires a brain behind it which can deal with problems it sees. The issue is that many of these problems are intractable.

So at the very least self drive cars require a manual override and a conscious, sober, qualified driver because the car will get confused, particular in city / urban environments.

I expect the only time there will be fully automatic self drive car is in closed loops, e.g. perhaps an airport could dedicate a lane for automatic cars to ferry people between terminals. I suspect that even in that scenario the car would still have a emergency stop button and there would still be someone somewhere whose job it is to extricate vehicles which have gotten stuck, confused or whatever and are blocking all the ones behind.

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Spanish village of 'Kill the Jews' votes for rebrand

DrXym
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They have to get with the times

These days the far right is screaming to kill the muslims.

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Tech that we want (but they never seem to give us)

DrXym
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Re: Smart phones where *you* decide which Apps are on them.

There are phones which ship with Cyanogenmod like the Oppo and OnePlus so it's possible to do. Some phones can also be root but it's definitely not for the squeamish.

Cyanogenmod has a nice feature called Privacy Guard to be able to kill certain permissions whether the app says it needs them or not. There is no excuse the base Android doesn't provide this.

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Redmond promises IE8 patch is in the pipeline

DrXym
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Re: What is the risk of this bug really?

"So what? IE8 is the default browser on a new install of Windows 7; thus its support ends with Win7."

And this new install of Windows 7 would instantly put up a wall of updates that it urges the user to install. In the case of Windows 7 (or Vista) that would already have a viable fix - upgrade to a later version of IE. You would have to be an extremely unfortunate person to ignore these warnings, use the default IE and happen upon a site which exploits you.

As I said, IE8 has low single digit % usage figures including Windows 7. This is not rich pickings for attackers. And I assume most people would have the sense to take heed of the warnings.

It is XP users who are affected since there is no update for IE8 and none forthcoming. My opinion is they've had ample warning of the end of life of XP (and associated products including IE) and there are numerous upgrade options. If people choose to stick with XP then at least they should use another browser.

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DrXym
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What is the risk of this bug really?

I bet the % of users on XP using IE8 to browse the web are low single digits. Very few attackers are going to bother shaping an exploit for such a low reward.

XP is end of lifed. Microsoft should advise users to upgrade, or use a different browser.

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Microsoft Surface 3 Pro: Flip me over, fondle me up

DrXym
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Re: Microsoft really have no clue

"Clearly there is - I want one, and lots of other senior IT guys I know do too. And these are ideal for business. Unlike Apple and Android products."

Lots of windows PCs are ideal for business and cost less money. Including tablets.

And Surface 3 tablets are arguably a pain in the arse for business, if you find yourself on a train, plane, airport terminal, hotel bed or anywhere else where you discover how stupid that kickstand is.

"They run Windows though which has a lot more included functionality than OS-X - particularly in the corporate world. Apple's laptops don't even support touch yet either."

Read what I said. They're more expensive than other Windows tablets. e.g. Lenovo are releasing a 11.6" i3/i5 powered tablet for considerably less than their equivalent Surface 3 and that includes the keyboard (which the tablet stands up in). You can have a better Windows tablet for less money than a Surface 3. So why would someone want a Surface 3?

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DrXym
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Microsoft really have no clue

There is a market for Windows tablets / hybrids but not at this price point. Not only are their tablets more expensive than other Windows tablets, they're also more expensive than Apple notebooks. And the keyboard costs a ludicrous $130 more.

And the kickstand sucks. It sucks if you want to use it on your knees. It sucks if you want to use it on a cliptray, or on those narrow lecture theatre desks. They should have gone with a stiff hinge.

There are far more interesting Windows tablet / hybrids coming out. E.g. has a Lenovo Miix 2 11.6" launching shortly which looks far better specced, practical and cheaper than Microsoft's offering.

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Silverlight finally becomes popular ... with crims

DrXym
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It would be a different matter if we were talking about content you bought and owned and where there is a reasonable expectation to be able to play content on any device, transfer it etc.

But Netflix is streaming subscription service. Streaming and rental services should be able to employ any DRM and support any platform they see fit in order to protect it from casual ripping.

I'm sure these services hate Silverlight and would prefer if they could support browsers in Linux, but until a viable alternative appears such as EME in HTML they won't because they can't.

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DrXym
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Amazon Prime uses it too.

I bet they only use it is for DRM streaming. Once browsers get proper support for encrypted media extensions you can bet they'll dump Silverlight as fast as is practicable.

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Gigabyte Brix Pro: You don't need no steenkin' Xbox... when you have 4K-ing amazing graphics

DrXym
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Re: A shame

"It's still early days for Steam OS and Valve have been clear about it. Games are going to be developed with Steam OS support from the start. At some point I'm expecting to have a box that boots into SteamOS and runs Windows in a VM."

I don't believe that. A very small fraction of games might support SteamOS, but the market will never be there to sustain more. Look how many games get ported to the Mac. I really don't see SteamOS challenging the Mac let alone Windows in any forseeable point in the future.

I suppose Linux benefits from whatever games it can get but to me it seems more likely that SteamOS is just a forerunner for some kind of cloud gaming service.

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DrXym
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A shame

I'd love a small PC capable of gaming but it sounds like they're a little away from producing something which works without a flaw. These Brix devices are the closest things yet but it worries me that they should have so many issues. Perhaps when the drivers & firmware settle down it will be a compelling format. I also hold out hope that an AMD A10 powered device could also be used in a similar fashion.

As for SteamOS, it seems like a largely pointless exercise at this time. It's not hard to boot to an app in Windows, including Steam and all the games are there on Windows instead of a tiny fraction on SteamOS. It would be easy to throw other apps like Netflix, XBMC etc. in there too.

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LA air traffic meltdown: System simply 'RAN OUT OF MEMORY'

DrXym
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60,000ft

60,000ft over 11 miles up in the sky. I wonder if the software was projecting a cone from this fast moving aircraft in order to do route calculations and the cone was intercepting pretty much everything else in the LA area causing it to melt down.

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Nintendo says sorry, but there will be NO gay marriage in Tomodachi Life ... EVER

DrXym
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Nintendo was asking for this

They blatantly ignored cisgender females who want to establish relationships with birth male pre op transexuals but without the hetronormative hegemonic displays of "love" that phallocentric society demands. Floating love hearts in a game are practically akin to penetrative rape. How DARE they!!!

Back in reality, this crappy game would have come and gone without anybody noticing or caring before this silly protest.

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Vinyl-fetish hipsters might just have a point

DrXym
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Re: Vinyl vs CD

Sampling an LP at 44Hz and doing a blind test would be a good way to put paid to the drivel that LPs are somehow better. If the LP were better then the sample should be measurably worse to someone who is randomly played clips of one or the other without knowing which is which. I expect that there would be no difference in results

Any difference between LP and CD versions are solely to do with the master track and any processing that went on during the reproduction of it.

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DrXym
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There is no "warmth" to a record, or "depth", or any of the other audiophile descriptive nonsense that gets attached to a record. None whatsoever. Any difference in perception probably has more to do with the ritual associated with getting the record out, putting it on the turntable, cleaning the dust off, putting the needle on and endless tinkering trying to get the thing to play without pops, hissing or other imperfections.

If I played an LP and digitally sampled it 44Hz sample rate, then I doubt there would be many people on earth who could tell the difference between the original and the sample outputs in a blind test where other biases are removed.

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McAfee accused of McSlurping Open Source Vulnerability Database

DrXym
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Re: Aaron Swartz

Well it wasn't quite the same. Aaron Schwartz went onto a university campus which had licenced the data, hid his laptop in a cupboard where it couldn't be found and then systematically ripped the data causing a DOS on the provider. He also changed his MAC address to circumvent blocks put in by campus staff intended to put a halt to his attack.

But it is IMO this incident should still be reported to the police, or at least form the basis of a sueball.

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DrXym
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Doesn't it count as hacking?

From reading the blog it sounds like they were silly to use a guessable sequence for record ids and to expose it in the url, but I don't think that is a defence for someone who systematically spams the site and requests each record in turn. They are constructing shaped urls to request data that were not publicly available from the website.

In other words they were hacking it and most countries have laws against that sort of thing. Why don't they apply here?

The OSVDB could protect itself by not exposing the id in requests, although perhaps they do so as a honey pot to identify abusers and block them. But if they did hide the id, then it would be better to generate keys - an encrypted id + ip address block + timestamp + salt. When the key is requested it will be decrypted and validated. The timestamp could be used to make the key stale after 5 minutes for example. The site could also throttle requests so that if more than X records are asked for in a short space of time they get redirected to a "cooldown" page which gets progressively longer and longer before auto blocking the requester entirely.

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Microsoft hints at smaller Surface

DrXym
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Re: As long as it's proper Windows

"The 10" keyboard/covers would mean no useful reduction."

I have a 7" netbook (an Asus 701 Eee PC if you care to look it up) but the bezel means it's effectively 8.5" or so. The keyboard is cramped but its usable in that form factor. And so could a windows tablet. But it requires it actually be Windows rather than some half-assed not-Windows version. If it's RT then it's a waste of time.

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DrXym
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Re: As long as it's proper Windows

Using Windows RT is not the "sensible way" given that its a lame duck platform. If it were proper Windows and capable of running other enterprise software then I might agree. And if OneNote on other platforms is lacking I suggest you look who wrote it. Even so I suspect Android will enjoy a longer life and support than RT.

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DrXym
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Re: As long as it's proper Windows

"I disagree. Right next to me I have an Asus Vivotab Note 8 which I use extensively with OneNote MX (the RT version) to take notes in meetings and to scribble systems diagrams that I can save and share with the rest of the team instantly."

That's great and you could do exactly the same with any number of Android tablets or iOS. I see a OneNote app right there on the Android store, and of course there are various similar apps and office suites. Many more apps than Windows RT has.

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DrXym
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As long as it's proper Windows

If they push out another shitty RT device then it will die on the spot. There *is* a market for tablets which are full blown Windows devices under the hood - people can use them like a tablet when they're on a plane or whatever but plug them into a dock and get a full blown desktop.

I don't know how effective a sub 10" screen would be for using a desktop but providing the resolution is high then maybe they could push out an 8.4" or something and still have a useful form factor.

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Tesco to tout its own smartphone – now THAT'S an unexpected item in the bagging area

DrXym
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Re: Far too creepy Tesco

Tesco can mine an enormous amount of data out of a loyalty card - the store you shop most in, what times you shop, the frequency of visits, your average spend, how special offers affect your spending, which parts of the store you visited most, your loyalty to Tesco, your brand loyalty, your favourite brands, your inclination to buy ingredients or prepared products, your preference for automatic / staff tills, your relationship status, your social class, your ethnicity, if you've had a baby recently, how fat / drunk you are, whether you're pregnant, and of course the name, sex, age & address filled in with the card.

Some of this information is obviously more useful than others and is probably useful for running their business - anticipating demand for products, setting staff levels etc.

I expect the amount of cross talk between Tesco Clubcard and other services like banking is quite limited thanks to EU data protection laws.

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You'll hate Google's experimental Chrome UI, but so will phishers

DrXym
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Re: "Wouldn't use them myself" <> scam

"Your problem is you are labelling something as a scam, simply because you see no value in it"

No they are scam because they charge people money for something people can have for free. They're a scam because they use adwords and search engine optimization to divert people away from the official site so they can skim a fee out of people.

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DrXym
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Re: Anti-phishing could be done in other ways

The domain is shown in black, not bold. The remainder of the path is shown in grey. The protocol is only shown if its https (in green for valid).

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DrXym
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Anti-phishing could be done in other ways

e.g. putting the domain in bold, or by hilighting a url in a warning colour if it contains fragments of other domains in its user / pass or path.

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