* Posts by DrXym

3974 posts • joined 18 Jul 2007

Hackers hijack Tesla Model S from afar, while the cars are moving

DrXym
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Re: Pretty likely how they attacked

"That sort of diagnostics should only be possible by plugging something via the OBD2 port."

It's not the same as the diagnostics when you bring your car in to be serviced.

I mean diagnostics that Tesla developers might in their app to test remote functionality like keyless entry, summon etc. The in-house build probably has a page with diagnostics, commands to hit the brakes and other stuff that a dev might need to test features in the car already or features they're in the process of adding. There must even be an API of sorts since there are 3rd party apps like Remote S can control the car remotely.

I agree they've screwed up big time. I expect the fault probably lies in the authentication layer, allowing replay attacks or suchlike. But Tesla should also disable certain commands from having any action when the car is in motion.

But yes Tesla have screwed up bigtime here.

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DrXym
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Re: Pretty likely how they attacked

Just because you can't see the commands in the app doesn't mean they're not there in the protocol. Cars have diagnostic modes. Providing you can convince the car to authenticate you it probably doesn't care what command you send over the wire.

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DrXym
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Pretty likely how they attacked

All those functions are things that an app for the car might contain. I assume they've just intercepted the traffic between app and car and figured out a way of doing a replay attack or a man in the middle.

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Mozilla emits JavaScript debugger for Firefox and Chrome

DrXym
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Re: Money wasting?

I could see merit in both approaches.

A standalone Javascript debugger that can attach to Chrome, NPM or Firefox is obviously a good thing. I could have a running browser and I could attach to it remotely from an IDE or something like Atom and start debugging it.

On the other hand, Javascript debugging is just one development tool you want in a browser. You want to see and modify css rules, see loading times, http headers, HTML/DOM, cookies etc. and you want to be able to contextually between things where it makes sense, e.g. In Firefox I can set a breakpoint when an HTML element changes. The debugger isn't something that happens in isolation.

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JDK 9 release delayed another four months

DrXym
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Re: Is Oracle really serious about Java?

Java is already open source so conceivably it could fork whenever it felt like. But Oracle hold the copyrights and probably certain patents so it'd have to be renamed as something else. It's not the first opensource that has walked from Oracle stewardship. Hudson became Jenkins, MySQL became MariaDB and of course OpenOffice became LibreOffice.

Of course companies that use Java tend to be highly conservative and even if it was forked it doesn't mean it would succeed. They'd probably stick with what they had for the support, certification and so on. It's probably that conservatism which explains the slow pace of Java development in the first place.

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Ten-year-old Windows Media Player hack is the new black, again

DrXym
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Re: whaaat?

"What that dosent come up? surely thats grounds to sue MS for aiding and abetting criminals ?"

The same argument could be applied to any social engineering scam although clearly Microsoft are not on the ball with WMV. They should either maintain a whitelist of DRMs they support, or bake them into their product and support no others. There are perhaps 4 or 5 major DRMs in common use and it's not like there is much reason to throw it open to others.

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DrXym
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The culprit is WMV and it never went away

WMV or Windows Media Video is a container format (like MKV, MP4 etc.). It can contain video, audio and other streams that are encoded by any number of codecs. The flaw is that if Windows Media Player doesn't have the right codec / drm to play the video / audio in the WMV, it will offer to download and install it.

It's easy to see how this combined with human nature can trick some people into installing a trojan -

1. New movie appears in a web site claiming to suicide-squad.wmv (or whatever)

2. People download and click on it

3. WMP starts up, offers to download the codecs / drm to play the movie

4. People click through these popups

5. Trojan downloads and installs itself using media framework as the bootstrap

The remedy to this is fairly simple:

* Don't download videos with a .wmv extension. It is a dead format and nobody would EVER use it unless they had malicious intent.

* Don't download movies which claim to be self extracting .exes. Chances are they are trojans / malware.

* Don't download movies which are inside .rar or .zip files. The seeder is trying to prevent you from seeing inside so it's likely malicious in some way, either a trojan, garbage data, or some other kind of trick / scam.

* The only container formats in common use would be mp4, mkv and avi. The only video codecs in common use would be H264, HEVC/H265 and MP4 ASP. There are less common formats like m2ts, MPEG-2 etc. but these are the prevalent ones.

* Use a well tested non-default player like VideoLAN to play videos and set the defaults to launch this instead of WMP.

* Don't install or use software which claim to offer free movies / tv shows unless it comes from a reputable source that has the rights to that content.

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Apple killed OS X today and binned its $10,000 BlingWatch too

DrXym
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Jet black scratches

I find this hilarious. Apple like to brag about their industrial design and they produce a super shiny version and the first piece of advice they give is, "put your high gloss shiny device in a bump case because we know it's going to scratch". What's the point of buying it at all if you have to hide it away because it will look awful if you don't?

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Linus Torvalds won't apply 'sh*t-for-brains stupid patch'

DrXym
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I think he does this because he gets fed up of receiving a bad piece of code and occasionally escalates into a profanity laced but reasoned and critical post to explain why its bad and why it won't be accepted. Presumably these posts do attract attention (clearly The Register is a subscriber if it can generate a cheap story for them) and perhaps that's the point. People read the post, get the message and stop submitting stuff that way.

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Google scraps its Project Ara modular smartphone wheeze

DrXym
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I don't see how it could have worked anyway

This doesn't surprise me. I wonder how many people would be interested in swapping out bits of their phone. A few phones like Motorola have tried it and it didn't really take off. All the added complexity of modularity (connectors, bus width, bandwidth, clock, voltage, handshaking etc.) is probably for nought.

I'd rather Google focus on providing design and support for serviceable phones. Something like the Fairphone where it is easy to replace broken screens, dud batteries etc.

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Lenovo's tablet with a real pen, Acer's monster laptop, Samsung Galaxy S3 watch

DrXym
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How about a normal gaming computer?

I wonder why manufacturers like Acer think gamers want computers with weird angular designs and gaudy neon lights. Maybe some do but I suspect most would be content to have a normal looking computer which just happened to play games exceptionally well.

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Phoney bling ring pinged by Tolkien's kin

DrXym
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One does not simply flout copyright law.

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Pizza delivery by drone 'trialled' in New Zealand

DrXym
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Re: Doesn't seem very useful

TJ Lazer, the show within Robocop.

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DrXym
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Doesn't seem very useful

How many customers are going to live somewhere in range where its safe to land a drone and how often are weather conditions suitable to fly it? A pizza in a box could easily catch a gust of wind and crash a drone. And of course there are hazards like wires, pylons, trees, rain, fog, buildings, night etc.

And I bet animals like seagulls would soon get the knack of attacking drones if there was a delicious pizza hanging underneath it. And people griefing the drone / vandalizing it because it's human nature to do it.

Until someone figures out how to solve these issues I don't see this anything more than a lame PR exercise.

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DVLA misses out on £400m in tax after scrapping paper discs

DrXym
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Re: This should be one of the easiest taxes to collect ...

The ANPR camera should really get stuck in police cars. It could be hooked up to a system that automatically alerts the cops of missing road tax, missing insurance, stolen vehicles etc.

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Windows Phone dives into irrelevant-like-BlackBerry territory

DrXym
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Blackberry has gone with Android already

The Priv runs Android and people seem very positive about the job they've done customising it. The hardware was criticized for getting very hot though.

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Oculus Rift will reach UK in September – and will cost more than two PS4s

DrXym
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Re: Google Cardboard

"You get what you pay for and looking at the price differential of the Rift and Cardboard it's probably near that of the 2CV versus Roller."

Cardboard isn't exactly cutting edge but it's still easy to discern some very serious issues with VR that apply equally to more expensive headsets. The screendoor effect and bad resolution are not issues restricted to cardboard. Both the Vive and Oculus suffer from them too.

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DrXym
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VR is still a thing?

I thought it arrived practically stillborn. It's not that the tech doesn't have promise but the expense of the kit, the tech requirements, the sheer hassle of all the cables, sensors etc, and the general meh-ness of the games means it's just not worth the money.

I wonder if PSVR will fare better. On the one hand it's cheaper than Oculus or Vive but on the other it's no less complex to set up. It was bad enough trying to configure a PS Eye with move controllers, but now people are supposed to do it while effectively blind.

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He's a p0wnball Wizard, and he's twisted one Ubuntu-powered game

DrXym
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Re: I can't see much scope for exploits

Dave and Busters still uses tokens, but they're issued digitally - you swipe a card and the card account credited for anything you win. And lots of other places still spew out paper tickets.

So a hacked machine could payout a jackpot more than it should, or otherwise distort the outcome, e.g. award free games. Not sure it matters with a pinball machine though since it probably wouldn't payout and anyone motivated to hack a machine simply to get free games isn't really thinking things through.

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DrXym
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I can't see much scope for exploits

I assume the coin box is locked and emptied by the premises. Any technician who turned up to service the machine wouldn't have much opportunity to steal cash or undercount the number of credits.

I suppose if the machine happened to be placed exactly where you wanted to spy on someone / something or if the machine paid out tokens / tickets in some kind of Dave & Busters place. Otherwise I don't see much reason for hacking except curiosity. I doubt video arcade games / pinball machines employ much more protection than a locked hatch and a service code to gain access to them.

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What next for the F-35 after Turkey's threats to turn its back on NATO?

DrXym
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Re: "The whole F-35 reminds me of a kickstarter campaign."

"Nothing about Kickstarters business model is new or innovative. "

You have to admit it's fairly innovative. They've set up a site that matches suckers with money to hucksters who want to take it from them. And they skim a mere 8% of all the cash flowing from one side to another for this matchmaking service.

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DrXym
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Just a guess

The EU and NATO would have been a lot more understanding about the coup if they hadn't seen Erdogan use it as an excuse to conduct a mass purge and take one more step along the path to dictatorship.

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Private moonshot gets the green light from US authorities

DrXym
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Re: Which moon

Trick question since Stanley Kubrick never died. He has spent the last 17 years building his Mars landing set.

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Microsoft to rip up P2P Skype, killing native Mac, Linux apps

DrXym
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Why the cloud?

All the better to listen to you my dear

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Dear Tesla, stop calling it autopilot – and drivers are not your guinea pigs

DrXym
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It doesn't matter what they communicate. A system which allows a driver to be inattentive will cause accidents. A system which is in itself is imperfect will cause accidents. Both need to be addressed for the system to be safer than a driver by themselves. So this is a forseeable consequence of bad design.

An analogy might be a factory with a dangerous hydraulic machine. You could put warnings all over the machine saying not to do certain things while it's running and someone still will either through stupidity, inattentiveness or whatever. That is why factories are required to install things safety gates, two handed controls, sensors etc. that automatically shut down the machine if the operator does something that puts them at risk. A car hurtling down the road at 70 mph is a dangerous machine and safety should be treated as importantly as it is in a factory.

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DrXym
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A sign of things to come

Tesla's "autopilot" is actually quite modest and it's easy to see how you might break the problem down and model it - multiple lanes of cars all going the same way, sensors that model the car's surroundings / lane markings, algorithms that maintain speed & distance, algorithms that mark opportunities to overtake, algorithms to avoid / brake hazards based on proximity, control steering / brakes / lights. It's complex no doubt but it can be modeled.

But it requires:

a) The computer is able to see all hazards, act in a predictable way and additionally only engage when the road and conditions are suitable. This is clearly not the case.

b) The car forces the driver's attention. Force the driver to hold the wheel with both hands. Force them to touch a pedal in a certain way. Monitor their head and posture. This is clearly not the case either.

It is the failure of a) and b) which causes accidents. A failure of a) is bad enough but without an attentive human, it's a guaranteed accident. This is a forseeable consequence of not forcing attention, i.e. bad design.

The funny part is Tesla's self drive solution is quite modest. The problems facing mostly or even fully automated cars are multiple factors higher. Perhaps reports of accidents might do something to allow a little bit of reality to creep into the hype about self drive vehicles.

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Salesforce bins all Android phones bar Nexii and Galaxies

DrXym
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Re: I believe they've made the correct choice

The simple answer is to pick a minimum version of Android as the cutoff and use a cross-section of tablets to test against that cover a range of screen, resolution and performance factors. It's not rocket science.

They don't even have to be *real* devices since they could be virtualized and run as part of an automation suite.

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DrXym
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Android is not the same everywhere - different devices have different sized screens, different resolutions and different aspect ratios. Some devices may also lack GPS, a telephone stack and so on. But most of these differences are pretty superficial and easy to deal with providing you write your code properly in the first place and don't make horrible assumptions.

I assume Salesforce hasn't. It's the modern day equivalent of notices on websites that said "This page only works on Internet Explorer 6 and 7 (because it's a heap of crap that makes all kinds of bad assumptions that we could fix but we won't)"

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Linus Torvalds in sweary rant about punctuation in kernel comments

DrXym
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Re: How do I get <tt> to work?

I can spot about 8 things wrong with that snippet.

But on a general point, end of line comments are usually never a good idea. There are exceptions of course, but it's usually clearer to put a comment before a piece of code rather than after it. Especially if the code has a formatter like astyle run over it.

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DrXym
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Code consistency is important

Anyone who has been on a large project knows everyone has their own ideas about indentation, use of spaces / tabs, formatting, braces on end of lines, naming conventions, ordering of #includes, public / private code etc.

You have to have a common coding style or the free-for-all becomes a dog's dinner with a greater chance of bugs being introduced. In addition patches can become a real mess if someone reformats a style or mixes their own style in with the rest of the other code.

I'm hardly surprised that the Linux kernel should enforce a coding style. It already has a document for this but oddly the network drivers are excepted from using the normal comment convention. Clearly Linus has gotten so pissed off with this exemption that he's put his foot down. I don't suppose it would be hard to write a perl script that fixed this in a single patch. Probably that will happen if it hasn't already.

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IBM scraps loyal staffer gifts in favour of... a congratulatory social page

DrXym
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Maybe disloyalty is their plan all along

All those loyal longtime staff are an expensive burden when the next wave of layoffs happens. Maybe they're trying to piss them off enough that some leave of their own accord. The company would save far more than the cost of a pen.

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Android Mew-ware, I choose you: Code nasty poses as Pokemon GO

DrXym
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And the moral of the tale here is

If you're stupid enough to download warez from some dodgy site then you get everything you deserve.

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Visiting America? US border agents want your Twitter, Facebook URLs

DrXym
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Ah the joys of CBP

I recently entered America (still there) and was treated to nearly 2 hours in a queue as people were greeted with 20 rows of US customs posts with only 3 of them open. Of course to "speed up" the process they had some electronic kiosks to complete some steps of immigration except they roped them all off for some other flight to use and not us.

As a final kick in the balls when I return to the UK I'll probably get another 2 hour queue thanks to their equally bullshit e-borders system which can't cope with families.

And that's on top of the inconvenience and bother of ESTA. The only faint praise I can give to their system was it was slightly less awful than Australia's electronic visa system which takes about 20 minutes a person to complete and only stops short of asking for a stool sample.

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Tech firms reel from Leave's Brexit win

DrXym
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All entirely predictable

Tech companies aren't going to invest any money in the UK when they have no idea what the hell is happening. Same for most industries. They'll just start developing plans to move their centre of operations somewhere else which is part of the EU, e.g. Ireland.

The UK needs to get some certainty into the situation and fast. e.g. fast track plans to join the European Economic Area. It's still a terrible choice compared to remain (all the rules, none of the influence) but its still better than uncertainty.

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Linux on PS3 white flag

DrXym
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Re: Rather difficult to prove

I downloaded and burned YDL to disc. I'm probably one of the miniscule % of people who bothered with the feature or had any intention of using it. It was neat to get going but in truth YDL ran pretty badly on the PS3 because there was a hypervisor in the way and the CPU wasn't designed for out of order execution. The main use someone might have had for it is to get at the SPUs.

It was hardly surprising Sony dropped the OtherOS when a viable hypervisor attack became possible. It would have been refined into a burnable ISO that would have been used to boot and root the console.

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Fedora 24 is here. Go ahead – dive in

DrXym
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Wayland worked pretty well in FC23

I was using it without issue on virtually every application. The only one which caused me trouble was Eclipse. For some reason the SWT -> GTK UI didn't open dialogs at the proper size and it was unusable. I had to switch back to X because of that. I hope it's fixed in FC24. Wayland is a long overdue replacement for X and it is tantalisingly close to becoming the default.

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This is how the EU's supreme court is stripping EU citizens of copyright protections

DrXym
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Re: A hyperlink is not content

A hyperlink CAN be content.

data:image/png;base64,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iOS10 bloatware deletion

DrXym
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This is probably not the reason why

I bet iOS is starting to use up all the space in its fixed system partition so they're shedding some apps in the hope they can go longer before doing something more drastic.

I don't see it helps users much since anything in the system partition is basically not using space in the user partition. But by moving these apps to the user partition, people who install them end up using up more space.

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FFS, Twitter. It's not that hard

DrXym
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The funny thing about Twitter

I like Twitter but it has started to become quite obnoxious with the amount of ads it puts in my feed. Not just in the list but in conversations.

I realise they've got to make money *some way* but I question if how they do it now is the appropriate one. I make sport of it by marking them as not relevant or offensive. Occasionally I'll slag off the thing in the ad too, particularly if its for some "freemium" mobile game, or bad movie. I'm helping in my own small way at driving advertisers away. #selfdestructive?

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Brexit threatens Cornish pasty's racial purity

DrXym
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Re: Swings and Roundabouts.

"Yes, this sort of regulation is what holds us back from producing the nation's entire requirements for meat products"

It's more to stop producers, stores or restaurants flogging stuff as Stilton cheese, or Parma ham when actually it came from somewhere in Bulgaria and bears no relation to the thing its trying to pass itself off as.

It doesn't stop Bulgarian cheese or ham being sold but its sold on its merits rather than riding the coattails of someone elses. And if in time it gains a reputation for quality it can register for protection too.

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DrXym
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Re: Champagne Cider

If I recall it was someone making elderflower champagne and they had to change the name to something else because champagne was a protected designation of origin. British food & drink producers benefit from the same rules e.g. Melton Mowbray pies are protected. At one point Newcastle Brown Ale was protected and then the manufacturer moved their factory out of Newcastle they had to have their protection cancelled because they were in violation of their own protection (!).

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McDonald's says bigger fonts cooked up improved profits

DrXym
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Re: Happy Meal

"Don't forget that "beef" probably doesn't mean steak, or even 100% meat + reasonable fat content. It'll surely include udder, rectum, anus, lips, nostrils, eyeballs, bladder, spleen etc."

McDonalds burgers are 100% beef. In the UK, Ireland and rest of Europe that would mean abiding by the EU definition of what meat is - "skeletal muscle with naturally included or adherent fat and connective tissue". i.e. cuts of meat which are ground up, chopped and formed into burgers.

Perhaps the definition differs in other regions. The US for example is notoriously bad at cracking down on food practice. So-called "pink slime" is mechanically separated meat particles which have been centrifugally spun to remove fat and treated with ammonia to kill bugs which is reintroduced with chopped meat. Lots of places use it to cut corners. McDonalds did too but don't know apparently.

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DrXym
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Re: Really? Fonts?

"CEO Stephen J. Easterbrook detailed myriad process improvements that have been made to make individual outlets more efficient and therefore make it more fun to buy food at McDonalds."

I expect it's a combination of lots of things and this is just one that the article happened to focus on.

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So. Why don't people talk to invisible robots in public?

DrXym
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Embarassment and a more obvious problem

I only have Android so I can't speak for rival systems. Aside from the "loony factor" of talking to your phone out loud, the fact is that Ok Google can be frustrating at times.

It's best for web searches and pretty diabolical for maps and reminders. I've tried dictating posts (like this one) into it and it flubs so many words that I have to heavily correct it.

Processing voice into coherent commands and sentences is obviously hard. But it demonstrates that people should stop drinking the koolaid when we hear about self driving cars, delivery drones or other AI projects. Google can't even get voice recognition in a phone working acceptably. At least your phone won't drive you into a brick wall or drop on your head.

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Unicode serves up bacon emoji

DrXym
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Emojis are so ephemeral

I really don't see why it's Unicode's job to store silly little pictures which change from one week to the next.

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Smartwatches: I hate to say ‘I told you so’. But I told you so.

DrXym
Silver badge

The shortcomings were quite obvious

The display which turned off to save battery. The display which didn't work in strong glare. The battery which could barely last a day or two. The constant bother of charging. The proprietary chargers and accessories. The lack of compelling apps. The proprietary protocols and ties to phone platforms. The cost. etc.

All these things sunk smart watches. At the end of the day a "smart" watch was just a normal watch which didn't tell the as well as a normal watch and was considerably more bother to use.

When smart watches make substantial progress on all of the issues above, then they may get some market traction.

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BBC's micro:bit retail shipments near

DrXym
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Re: Now we have Pi Zero

"That boot time depends on what you put on that card. My Pi probably boots up in around 15 seconds or so."

Great. But I was referring to something analogous to the programming the bit, i.e. to boot the Pi up to a desktop and Scratch or similar.

The bit is just on and its ready. The Pi isn't.

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DrXym
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Re: There's hope for us yet!

"32kb? Luxury. Kids these days are spoiled rotten enough as it is. When I were a lad, I remember getting my 16K ram pack for my ZX-81 and wondering what I'd do with all that memory! Teaching kids to write small, efficient code is far more useful given that should translate to cheaper/smaller iGizmos"

I reckon kids should still have to type out pages of hex printed on silvery bogroll like I did as a kid. With the added thrill that the characters for B, 8 and 0 look indistinguishable and the program will probably crash as soon as it runs.

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DrXym
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Re: Now we have Pi Zero

If you consider the amount of effort required for a kid to run a Pi Zero and program it vs the micro bit you might appreciate why the latter exists.

A Pi would require at least a USB charger, keyboard, display, HDMI cable, mouse, and micro SD card. And the SD card needs to be flashed with something and takes several minutes to boot up.

The only thing you need to program a micro bit is a USB charger and a phone or tablet with bluetooth. You can plug it into a PC if you want but a tablet or phone will do. In fact you don't even need actual hardware since there is an emulator that works with the tools.

And it's easier for the teacher to mark the kid's work because they can either upload and run them from the emulator, or the kid can bring the device in and simply plug it in to demonstrate it. I expect in time there will even be things like robots, weather stations etc. when you just plug the bit into a slot and it talks over GPIO.

There is no doubt in my mind which is easier for course work in schools. I don't see it as being bad news for the Pi because the micro bit has obvious limitations. It is meant for learning purposes. Those kids who started with the micro bit will graduate onto a Pi in time.

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Microsoft's Universal Windows Platform? It's an uphill battle, warns key partner

DrXym
Silver badge

Re: Maybe Microsoft will do the right thing eventually

"The UWP concept, "dumbing things down for the lowest common denominator" so that your crippled application runs on ANYTHING, just plain stinks. NOBODY wants a DUMBED DOWN application. PERCEPTION is EVERYTHING."

I really don't know what you're talking about here. Dumbed down? It merely rationalises the functionality that's in Win32, sweeping out a lot of dead or obsolete functionality and organises the rest along the lines seen in other modern APIs - io, file, net, etc. And it does so in a language agnostic way so you can write in C++, C# or anything else that binds with it.

The problem with UWP has nothing to do with the concept but the corner that Microsoft has painted it into by tying it to the store. If it weren't tied to the store then the chances are it would be more popular. It's could even become a cross platform lingua franca if Microsoft are bold enough to release it to Android and iOS.

But if you don't want to use it, then no one would force you. I'm sure Win32 will be around for a long time to come.

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