* Posts by DrXym

3631 posts • joined 18 Jul 2007

Visa: One million bonks a month for Europeans from next year

DrXym
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Hardly surprising

Many modern cards have contactless payment chips anyway so what's the point?

You wave the card and the payment happens. Conversely you wave the phone and F-all happens. So you turn the phone on, unlock it, swipe around a bit looking for the payment app, discover you've lost connectivity with the payment service and have been logged off, screw around enabling it, enter your login again etc. etc.

I would find it more useful if I could wave the card against a phone to get a balance statement or similar and use the card to pay when I'm in a queue.

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LinkedIn values your privacy at ONE WHOLE LOUSY DOLLAR

DrXym
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Re: Once again

This is LinkedIn you're talking about here.

It started off as a neat thing to keep track of people you worked with or went to school with. Then it was monetized and now it's just a cattle market. You're the cattle to be poked, prodded and inspected by anyone who pays LinkedIn to look at your info. Job agents, sales people, you name it.

I'm plagued by job agents to the extent I've unlinked the lot of them and restricted my privacy settings as much as I can. They think nothing of doing a skill search and indiscriminately spamming everyone who matches. The same job might result in multiple spams, none of which I've solicited. At least by unlinking they have to use one of their precious InMails if they want to contact me.

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So long, Lenovo, and no thanks for all the super-creepy Superfish

DrXym
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Stop lying Lenovo

"Superfish was previously included on some consumer notebook products shipped in a short window between September and December to help customers potentially discover interesting products while shopping,"

Er no Lenovo. It was included because you sought to profit by inflicting crapware / adware / spyware on your customers. You're not alone in doing this - vendors like HP, Dell etc. preinstall crap because a substantial percentage of users will never remove it. You just took it one sleazy step further.

It's very simple to fix. Do not install anything except Windows. If you absolutely must, put some programs in a single folder and allow people to electively install them. It's not hard.

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Linux clockpocalypse in 2038 is looming and there's no 'serious plan'

DrXym
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I really don't see the big deal

Redefine time_t as 64-bits. As it is already in some configurations.

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The Order: 1886 – Round Table gaming's all right on the knight

DrXym
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I don't mind QTEs

But they have to be used in moderation and the rest of the game should be something really special to justify them when they do turn up. I think the Order's problem is they focussed too much on the presentation and not enough on the actual content. Anyone paying to the preview footage would have probably guessed this already but it's still a shame.

Neither the XB1 or PS4 has produced a smash exclusive title yet which is kind of surprising. Both have tried (Ryse, Titanfall, Driveclub, LBP3 etc.) but nothing has quite gotten it right yet.

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Amazon's delivery drones SHOT DOWN by new FAA rules

DrXym
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Re: It was a stupid idea to begin with

Well that's a pretty lame analogy. I don't recall from history books about the Wright brothers testing their aircraft over populated urban centres.

Secondly we're not talking of just one drone, or two or even 10. Potentially there could be hundreds or thousands of flights per day buzzing around at relatively low altitude. It is quite obvious and inevitable that they would be smashing into buildings, hitting birds, becoming entangled with phone / electric wires, hitting masts, getting tipped by wind / rain, getting shot down, getting hacked / jammed, operator error and suffering more mundane technical issues.

I could see the benefit of unmanned drones distributing tonnes of cargo between centres over mostly unpopulated areas (or areas they could route around). Basically small jets with no pilot. But not smaller drones over urban centres.

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DrXym
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It was a stupid idea to begin with

I doubt the drone has the range or endurance to fly very far so why not just send somebody out in a van on a delivery route? Same difference except of course it would be far cheaper for customers and there wouldn't be drones falling out of the sky.

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Apple Watch 'didn't work on HAIRY FANBOIS, was stripped of sensor tech'

DrXym
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People will still buy them

The Apple Watch will be hamstrung by the same limitations as other smart watches - a screen that turns off, a battery that barely lasts a day, proprietary functionality which requires an phone, and most importantly a lack of reason for being. And it'll undoubtedly cost a lot more too.

I'm sure it will still sell extraordinarily well putting paid to the idea that people in general have any sense.

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Windows 10 to give passwords the finger and dangle dongles

DrXym
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A fingerprint would be broken down into a biometric description which would then be hashed. Assuming there was enough uniqueness in this description the hash would no more or less secure than a strong password. Both would depend on the database properly salting the hash though to make it difficult to reverse lookup.

Of course the one disadvantage of a print is you can't change it. So if thieves did grab your print they could happily unlock all your devices and accounts that used it. Biometrics that capture more than the print, e.g. blood vessels are probably more secure. It would also be desirable to use 2-factor authentication so that to log on you must supply your print (something you have) and type a pin (something you know).

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Got an Android Wear gizmo? Yeah, you and '719,999 other people'

DrXym
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Re: "the Apple Watch will offer leading energy efficiency"

I doubt the Apple iWatch will be any different in terms of power draw to any other "smart" watch that insists on packing a CPU & OLED display into the form factor. People will be lucky if it lasts 30 hours between charges and probably less than that.

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DrXym
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Re: Apple who?

Hololens might gain some popularity as a console / PC gaming peripheral or for people who want to watch movies at home or certain job roles (e.g. order fulfillment in a warehouse).

But do you really think you'll ever see people taking to the gym, or walking around in public with them? If not you haven't been paying attention to the whole Google Glass debacle. Hololens may as well have "twat" written on it for the effect it conveys on the wearer. Walking around with one of these in public is an invitation to be punched in the face and/or have it stolen.

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Cortana to form CIRCLE OF LIFE in Windows 10

DrXym
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It's so soothing

You don't even feel the personal data being sucked out of you.

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Samsung: Our TVs? SPYING on you? HA HA! Whee! Just a JOKE of course

DrXym
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Re: Is this at all surprising?

"Bitrotten - not so sure. "

Smart TVs have been a thing for 5 or 6 years now. If you look at the ones which have been knocking around for 3 years (for example) and note how crap they are - that's your TV 3 years hence. And 3 years is generous because I expect most people keep their TV for as long as it works or a new standard appears. The lifecycle of apps and OSes doesn't fit the lifecycle of a television.

Services get discontinued (e.g. LoveFilm, Blockbuster) or functionality is added to other platforms but not yours, or your TV doesn't get popular new apps at all. Or support ceases and security holes (opened by all that smartness) go unpatched.

At least if the smartness was in a box then you could get rid of the box or move it to a bedroom. When it's baked into the TV, you're stuck with it.

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DrXym
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Is this at all surprising?

It is not surprising at all that a TV with voice recognition will send audio off to be recognized. I expect there is an option to disable it. A better option is don't buy smart TVs in the first place - all that functionality will be bitrotten in a few years any way.

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Bitcoin trade biz MyCoin goes dark, investors fear $387 MEEELLION lost

DrXym
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Re: "We're not quite sure how that'll work"

Bitcoin is the ponzi. Buying contracts on a ponzi seems like a double dose of stupid.

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Google, Amazon 'n' pals fork out for AdBlock Plus 'unblock' – report

DrXym
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Taboola

Taboola is by far the sleaziest, scummiest "social" ad service in popular use on the web at the moment. If Ad Block Plus isn't blocking that shit out then it is not fit for purpose.

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Death becomes it: Grim Fandango Remastered

DrXym
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Still have the original in the cupboard

I must see if I can get it going in ResidualVM.

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Smartphones merge into homogeneous mass as 'flagship fatigue' bites

DrXym
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I don't know why anyone buys a locked phone

It's very rare for a "free" phone on 24 month contract to work out much better than just buying a phone and the SIM to go with it. As such I really don't why people would bother with the first option. It just means their phone is filled with network crapware, is locked to the network, firmware updates are few and far between and they're stuck on an expensive contract regardless of changes in their requirements or personal circumstances.

All to save a few quid. It's not worth it.

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ZX81 BEATEN at last as dev claims smallest Chess code crown

DrXym
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Our school had this RML-380Z which was a hulking CPM thing with elephant disks. It must have cost a fortune and nobody knew how to use it or was very interested. One day someone turned up with a ZX81 and 3D monster maze and everyone was crowded around to see it.

It's amazing now to think how this primitive, crappy little computer sparked more interest than a "proper computer". I got a ZX Spectrum soon after and was hooked.

The school didn't learn though. They more some RML480s which were sans floppy and booted off the network somehow. Nobody was interested in them. They switched to BBC micros soon after which at least had some games, colour, sound and enough other things for kids to find them interesting. I still preferred my Spectrum though.

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Spartan on Windows 7? Microsoft is 'watching demand'

DrXym
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Don't put it on Windows 7

Don't even bother. It would be far better that web devs learn to code their HTML to work with lots of different browsers across disparate operating systems and environments. If they code to a monoculture (in this case some browser engine called Sparta) then the same will set in that made IE4/5/6 so hard to get rid of.

Just leave Windows 7 alone.

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Welcome to Spartan, Microsoft's persuasive argument for... Chrome

DrXym
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I don't see that it should be a problem

Here's how you stop caring if IE uses Spartan / Trident or both - STOP CODING WEB PAGES TO BROWSERS.

For 99% of content it shouldn't matter a damn if the browser is IE, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Opera or any thing else. Code to the standards and only write special cases if there is a rendering issue in a very specific browser you want to support. Make sure the special case is isolated and narrow as possible.

Coding to a specific browser is extremely short sighted no matter who makes it or what the requirements might say.

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Windows 10: The Microsoft rule-o-three holds, THIS time it's looking DECENT

DrXym
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Re: We will tell them it's free - Muuhahahha

"This is more than a one-time upgrade: once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device – at no cost."

The problem with this should be obvious if you look at web sites which have introduced tiered service or paywalls. They begin gimping the free service to encourage people to pay for the ungimped service. LinkedIn for example started off free and then started crippling search and email to get people to pay.

Or look at game consoles - if you want multiplayer or a smattering of other features like cloud save on your console then you have to pay a subscription.

It's easy to envisage Windows going the same way. Maybe an ad tile starts appearing in your metro. Maybe backup/restore, antivirus, cloud storage, remote desktop etc. become "premium" features. Maybe the ability to have more than 4 users becomes a premium feature. Petty restrictions, adverts and limitations could peppered through the experience and only lifted for a low, low monthly price. Maybe they sweeten the deal by promising streaming music, apps or unlimited storage or whatnot but through a combination of carrot and stick they want your money.

Now I doubt any of this would be tolerated in the enterprise world where I expect we'll see a "pro" Windows which is the same as always. But it may well be what MS have in store for consumers, particularly the free download and whatever surprise updates you get in perpetuity.

I hope to be proven wrong, but Microsoft isn't a charity and it's clear from their statements where they see their money coming from.

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DrXym
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There'd better be a pay version

I really don't enjoy the idea of a subscription based Windows, if that's what they're hinting at.

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LEAKED: Samsung's iPHONE 6 KILLER... the Samsung Galaxy S6

DrXym
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Re: And the price will be?

"If it's £200-£250 I might be interested. Pointless spending more than that on a phone."

Get a OnePlus One. I have one and it's proven itself to be very reliable and is plenty fast for my needs.

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Google spent record cash lobbying Congress in 2014 – report

DrXym
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16 mil is pocket change

I'm surprised the figure is so low to be honest.

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Want a cheap Office-er-riffic tablet? Microsoft Windows takes on Android

DrXym
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Re: I bought one of these for Christmas@ DrXym

My argument is that you get a year's worth of Office 365 thrown in. Doesn't mean you have to use it but it's still better than a kick in the nuts especially in a £80 tablet.

Doesn't force you to use it in perpetuity.

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DrXym
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Re: I bought one of these for Christmas

"My guess is that your network will be hacked in no time at all. As the bad guys will know your flight dates you can expect to be burgled as well."

My guess is you are totally wrong. I have this thing called a PASSWORD.

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DrXym
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Re: I bought one of these for Christmas

"How much will it be when you've renewed your Office 365 subscription for a couple of years? And with MS about to launch W10, there's a huge unanswered question about whether you'd need and want to pay again for the fixed version of W8."

The answer is my six year old doesn't care about Office 365 but there's nothing to stop someone from using LibreOffice. Using 365 for a year on free trial is not a pact for all eternity.

As for Windows 10, I have no idea. Worst thing comes to the worst, the device can carry on running Win 8.1.

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DrXym
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I bought one of these for Christmas

I bought a Linx 8 tablet for a 6 year old. Why? Because it was 80 quid and came with 32GB, a relatively hires screen, a quad core Intel processor, and ran Windows 8.1 which meant it's basically a PC with enough apps to keep the kid happy. There is Netflix, a bunch of Disney games and various other bits and bobs on the store. The storage means she can play music and videos that I copy onto it, or stream them. The app selection is terrible compared to Android but it's enough. Just. And of course you can run anything that runs on a desktop.

It also means if we go on hols or whatever I could borrow the tablet to print out boarding passes or attach a keyboard and type something in a proper word processor. I printed out a picture she coloured with an app the other day and it just found the printer on the network and printed to it. None of the BS faffing around that Android would make me endure.

Now onto impressions - it's actually a rather good tablet. It feels solid, the screen is bright, there's not too much bloom and metro feels incredibly responsive. The desktop is fast enough for basics though you wouldn't want to play games on the thing. There is wifi, bluetooth, microsd, micro usb, micro HDMI. You could hook this thing up to a keyboard and monitor and use it as a PC if you wanted. Tiny yes, but it's a PC. For 80 quid. It also has a year's sub to Office 365.

On the negative side, this is actually the *second* Linx since the first one went kaput soon after purchase. It wouldn't charge, the light started blinking and when I left it on charge for a few days and tried to start it, I got a message that firmware was corrupted. So I've replaced it and it's too early to say if it was an isolated fault in one unit or not.

The other negative is battery life isn't great. It's about 12 hours on standby or 4-5 hours with screen on. I would have expected it to sleep far more efficiently than it does. Maybe this is a driver issue.

But barring the problem that required a replacement it is a solid tablet. It is incredible to think that this is an £80 PC in effect. That's cheaper than even netbooks were in their time.

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Firefox 35 stamps out critical bugs

DrXym
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Re: In the future

No there will be no such thing as a bug free browser.

The number of (new and existing) standards it must implement, the number of real world web sites it must work against, the performance it must deliver and the finite resources like time and money always means it will have bugs. There are also tradeoffs between keeping the user safe from harm and delivering the best browser experience, e.g. disabling JS by default would be a good security move but it would break virtually every site in the world.

The best you can hope for is that the development process does it's best to catch and fix bugs (preferably before they end up in the software) and mitigates the potential harm for those they don't already know about by providing sensible defaults.

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DANGER: Is that 'hot babe' on Skype a sextortionist?

DrXym
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Some scams are deliberately stupid

I suspect that Nigerian scams and these sorts are obvious on purpose. As a scammer you don't people who have the sense to see the con coming, or calling the police so you make it as dumb and obvious as possible - it gets rid of all the timewasters. So make the con big, stupid and obvious and when you get a bite you know you've caught a very gullible person.

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DrXym
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Re: Did they...

Me wuv you wong time

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This $10 phone charger will wirelessly keylog your boss

DrXym
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Microsoft wireless keyboards have built in feature to defeat this

The range of MS keyboards is so bloody pathetic that you'd have to plug your charger in within a few meters of the thing. Otherwise it will only capture every other letter.

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Remember Corel? It's just entered .DLL hell

DrXym
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I have a Corel Linux CD sitting in a cupboard somewhere which was handed out a Linux users group a long time ago. Must see if I can find it.

Anyway it certainly wasn't the first Linux dist by any stretch but it was perhaps the first dist pitched at consumers. The idea was that they'd slap it on cheap PCs for next to nothing and then make money selling bundled up versions of software (most of which were free to begin with). Xandros and Linspire took the idea over but it didn't catch on.

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DrXym
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Brings back memories

I remember buying Corel Draw, mostly for the clip art. The software was always buggy as hell and not fit for purpose.

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DAMN YOU! Microsoft blasts Google over zero-day blabgasm

DrXym
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The problem with slippery slope arguments is they assume that some minor upset to the status quo will inevitably lead to the end of the world. If Microsoft had a fix and asked for extra 2 days (e.g. to align with some patch schedule) to roll it out then it is not unreasonable for Google to allow them that.

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Google crashes supposedly secure Aviator browser

DrXym
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Doesn't exonerate Google though

A fork could be a exploit ridden heap of crap and perhaps this fork is precisely that.

But from the moment you start Chrome up it's nagging the user "sign on". Features like url auto correct (via Google), and predictive search (via Google) are also enabled. All this so they know pretty much everything you do to better serve you with ads and otherwise monetize you. These days it even has a "You" button embedded into the title bar but an All Seeing, Lidless Eye would be more appropriate.

Chrome does have privacy controls but they're buried and quite fiddly. e.g. there is no equivalent to Firefox's clear history on exit. So yeah perhaps this fork is crap, but it wouldn't need to exist if Google could curb its insatiable hunger for data and provide convenient privacy controls for those who'd rather not give it up.

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YES, we need TWO MEELLION ORACLE licences - DEFRA

DrXym
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Money better spent

Bung a few million at the likes of PostgreSQL to implement functionality / support required and enjoy free, unlimited use forever.

Perhaps Oracle and its ilk are vitally important for certain functionality - payrolls, benefits processing etc. where there may be millions of records to process in a timely fashion. But I suspect 99% of government use cases do not require this at all or the enormous complexity / horsepower / administrative overhead that goes with providing it.

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FREE EBOOKS: Apple falls into line with EU refund laws

DrXym
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Re: There is no requirement on digital content

"Therefore as soon as a user buys an app, ebook or streaming movie"

Thing is, you're not buying an app, ebook or movie. You're buying the licence to it. That's why they can screw people over and it's why ebooks are subject to VAT while physical books are not.

The EU would be better off codifying the concept of digital property and classifying all platform neutral content - images, video, audio and books as such. And put in language to stop content providers inserting dynamic code or changing the codec or obfuscating the format to pretend it's not platform neutral.

Imbue digital property with the same rights as physical property - the right to loan, sell, trade or destroy and basically use in any manner a person sees fit.

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UKIP website TAKES A KIP, but for why?

DrXym
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Re: They arent a serious party..

"FYI Ukip is currently the only party to ban former BNP members from joining. "

That's great. And it's also the party that ex-BNP members are most likely to want to join. I wonder why.

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DrXym
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The most likely reason

I think the web server briefly gained self awareness, realised what it was hosting and attempt to kill itself.

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By the power of Xbox, WE HAVE THE POWER! - Leakers publish One's SDK

DrXym
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Re: Homebrew with strings

"Well, remember the scenario we almost had with Microsoft where they announced that they'd virtually put an end to the re-sale of games? That's the technology you could use; it's already there - if only they weren't so draconian about it."

People screamed blue bloody murder about this. The idea was each disc would have the registration code uniquely embedded into it. By doing so, the console could register the disc and then it's basically a drinks coaster. No second hand trades, no loans, just a disc that became a backup. A bit like steam games and the registration code.

Microsoft backed down and consequently you need to validate you own the game by putting the disc in. It's a tradeoff.

It would be nice if they had an algorithmic "honour system" that reduced the need to verify the disc each time.

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DrXym
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Re: Homebrew with strings

"That's the kind of attitude we're talking about; modifications = criminal. It's not about piracy (that's the excuse), it's about control and extortion."

It's certainly about control. Extortion? Not so much.

"Last year a friend of mine asked me to modify his PS3 so he can copy his games and run them off an external drive, for ease of use and he's sick of them breaking (the games can be stored in a case away from his grubby mits, and doesn't need to get off his fat arse to change the game). Is he a criminal?"

So how does Sony / Microsoft / Nintendo distinguish between your "running backups from an external hdd" scenario and "running pirate copies from an external hdd" scenario?

I guarantee you that in the real world that the second example would be hugely more prevalent and the one that these companies are really concerned about. Anyway, both the PS4 and XB1 cache content on the HDD so the disc isn't used for much except to validate you own the game and install the content in the first place.

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DrXym
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Re: Homebrew with strings

"There's a great difference between "not designed to be open systems" and aggressively hindering any attempt at re-purposing or upgrading it or even repairing it yourself."

Perhaps I should have added that they are designed to be closed systems and it's strongly implied. Consoles are designed to stop people pirating games, enabling DLC, cheating, griefing or derive other benefits by tampering with the system.

Unfortunately there is no easy way to distinguish between homebrew and piracy. Attempts to split the groups such as the OtherOS in PS3 had moderate success but soon turned into attack surfaces and were removed.

Obviously it's in the company's interests to crack down on piracy but it's also in console owner's interests that they do too. A platform which succumbs to piracy will lose developer support and will die an early death or turn into a sea of shovelware. A platform which is opened to griefers or cheats will soon lose it's online appeal.

Even if you did manage to bypass the protections in some manner, that doesn't oblige the companies to allow you to continue to use their online services. That's exactly what has happened in the past - Microsoft has been quite aggressive swinging the banhammer against modders.

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DrXym
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Re: Homebrew with strings

"I find the whole thing disgusting: You buy a £300+ box that you have no control over."

Then use your £300 to buy a box which lets you fiddle with it. By and large consoles are not designed to be open systems.

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DrXym
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Homebrew with strings

Assuming someone genuinely wanted to run homebrew they'd almost certainly have to forfeit all all online functionality - XBL, multiplayer, patches, achievements etc. Homebrew would require a custom firmware to bypass checksum tests and sideload the applications.

When mods appeared for the 360 Microsoft wielded a mighty ban hammer against those stupid enough to sign using with them. I assume it would be simple enough to embed tests in the firmware, and even in games to do various tests to make sure the firmware is kosher - checksum a range of memory, check the value in a register, read a block from a disc - whatever passes on a legit firmware but not on a modified one.

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Sony FINGERS DDoS attackers for ruining PlayStation's Xmas

DrXym
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"Sony pays "Nada" - no fees or licensing cost for FreeBSD as its Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) but absolutely refuses to provide the APIs that allow FreeBSD based desktops OS to use Blu-Ray DVD player technology."

What you mean they used the software in a way the licence explicitly allows?? The monsters.

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Frustration with Elite:Dangerous boils over into 'Refund Quest'

DrXym
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Re: And the moral here is

"Are you really that clueless? No Kickstarter = no game. "

I don't really believe that and I doubt you do either. Elite is a franchise with sufficient heritage that they could have attracted a publisher and worked through on that basis.

"BASED ON WHAT WAS PROMISED"

Kickstarter / crowdsource projects promise a lot of stuff. Doesn't mean they all deliver.

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DrXym
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And the moral here is

Don't buy a game until it comes out and you know you'll like it.

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Hackers pop German steel mill, wreck furnace

DrXym
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Re: Separate LANs

Typically there is no access at all to a network controlling machinery. The only plausible reason I can think they didn't is if they had a PC sitting on 2 networks to publish a report or visualize what the hardware was doing.

The typical way to protect that PC would be to stick a firewall in front of it, define a bunch of explicit services on a port and filter out everything else - much like what might happen with a payment system or authentication server. So basically nothing but the request reaches the machine and nothing but the response leaves the machine. I'm guessing that random factories don't realise they're as much a target to malicious hackers as an ebusiness is which is why they occasionally turn into victims of attacks.

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