* Posts by David Roberts

199 posts • joined 25 Jan 2007

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Microsoft to offer special Surface 3 for schools

David Roberts
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Chromebook?

People keep trotting this out as a budget alternative.

The only time I really looked I found two apparently identical bits of kit with same processor, memory, screen size and resolution. Only apparent difference was the lack of HDD in one.

Virtually no difference in price either.

So where the big saving?

Or is MS now making Windows so cheap on that form factor that the expected saving from ChromeOS no longer makes a difference?

Storage (non SSD) is cheap as chips these days.

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LenovOUCH expands bits-blistering bodgy battery boomerang

David Roberts
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Low risk?

Too little information in the article but I get the impression that they list more model numbers than there have been incidents.

Given that the recall goes back to 2010 if you still have a working battery you are doing pretty well.

Unless of course they did something dumb like issuing defective replacement batteries.

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Google versus the EU: Sigh. You can't exploit a contestable monopoly

David Roberts
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Google shopping?

Well, learn a little something every day.

I didn't even know it existed. I use Google search.

So no problem with Google as a search engine, then?

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Mt Gox LEAKED Bitcoin for years before heist, says WizSec

David Roberts
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So a bit like finding a dodgy ATM which pays twice and debits your account once.

You just keep withdrawing money then paying it back in.

The bank thinks it is increasing its deposits when the opposite is happening.

Although paying it back into MtGox seems a bit dumb when you hit the point where it is virtually empty.

One thing - at some point they must have counted their BC and found the discrepancy.

Wonder when?

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Windows Phone 10: Less stuff that does more – plus IE-killer Project Spartan

David Roberts
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Thumb Down

50+ = OLD

Hence the down vote

Patronising little git.

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LA schools want multi-million Apple refund after kids hack iPads

David Roberts
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Re: Why not something reasonable like a Kindle?

You seem to have missed the point that it doesn't cost 150 to 200 dollars to print a text book.

The electronic version of each textbook would retail for a similar price.

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Backdoor bot brains snatched after cops, white hats raid servers

David Roberts
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FAIL

Re: Those responsible...

Yeah yeah yeah.

And those who jump traffic light, cycle on the pavements, play loud music....

.......perhaps we should sort out the death penalty for trivial things like rape and murder first, making sure that all convictions are safe of course.

Retard.

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Wi-Fi hotspots can put iPhones into ETERNAL super slow-mo

David Roberts
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Darwin at work

You can have some sympathy, but people are always attracted to something for nothing.

At one time the papers were full of people who lost money to 419 scams.

My SPAM folder was also full of these phishing emails.

I see few, if any, now in email or the news.

So I assume that the loss of the few has educated the many.

Microsoft support calls have been publicised.

Fake calls from banks claiming to be sending messengers to pick up your compromised credit cards.

Again now attracting publicity.

Presumably as one scam dies another appears.

So some sympathy for the weak who fall to the wolves but their suffering helps to strengthen and protect the rest of us. Perhaps it also educates the victim against gullibility.

Perhaps there should be more effort to target the predators (which is hard) instead of just patching the holes and sometimea compensating the victims (which is generally a lot easier).

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Operation Redstone: Microsoft preps double Windows update in 2016

David Roberts
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Subscription model?

There has (understandably) been a lot of push back against a subscription model but this made me think about what the problem is.

When W8 was first launched there was an offer for early adopters.

I obtained a couple of W8 Pro 64 bit keys for around £25 UKP a pop (using a 64 bit W7 system).

This (along with help from online fora) enabled me to upgrade a couple of 32 bit Vista systems to a better 64 bit OS and get another few productive years out of the hardware.

I didn't feel that I had been robbed.

It seemed (and still seems) a good deal.

So a subscription of £10 UKP per year per system (I have 4 Windows systems on the go at the

moment) is not going to make a dent in the grocery bill. In the great scheme of things it is a trivial amount.

People must pay more for Pro versions of software and I think a lot of people hapilly pay more for anti-virus which gets bundled with new systems.

People also pay for new peripherals with a short shelf life - for example Wifi dongles - without too much angst.

For me the issue is trust - once in the model what happens if the price starts to climb? Can I get off the escalator without losing my systems?

IMHO Microsoft could defuse a lot of hostility if they published and guaranteed reasonable Ts&Cs.

They might even get a lot of people to migrate from XP with the right deal.

The subscription model works well for a lot of industries, not least by stabilising cash flow.

All you need is to be able to trust Microsoft.

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Crack security team finishes TrueCrypt audit – and the results are in

David Roberts
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Re: ..what the hell am I doing here???

".........I don't belong here!"

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The coming of DAB+: Stereo eluded the radio star

David Roberts
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Re: broadcasts?

With respect, anyone who buys dedicated kit with built in software to deal with Internet based material is unlikely to see long term support.

This is particularly obvious for "smart" TVs but also apples to set top boxes which used to support iPlayer.

For this kind of thing get something where you can update the software via third parties.

For example a raspberry pi and a DAC.

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David Roberts
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Re: DAB killed the radio star - portable radio

Our one and only DAB radio has only one speaker - but the headphone socket outputs in stereo.

So we can feed it through an amp to listen in stereo.

[Or even use headphones!]

Possibly many others do as well.

Not used much, though, since streaming radio stations over the Internet became so easy.

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Nuclear waste spill: How a pro-organic push sparked $240m blunder

David Roberts
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Word creep?

A lot of people seem to be treating the term "organic" as a food marketing term instead of meaning "(derived from) something living".

Which seems to be one of the significant differences between rare earths (umm...apart from anything diatomaceous...) and stuff derived from recently dead trees.

Still, you are all having such a gay time of it it is probably churlish to point this out.

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Why Feed.Me.Pizza will never exist: Inside the world of government vetoes and the internet

David Roberts
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s.uk.me

FTFY

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Ding Dong, ALIENS CALLING

David Roberts
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Two words

Bussard Ramjet

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Cross-dressing blokes storm NSA HQ: One shot dead, one hurt

David Roberts
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Mushroom

Re: @Matt Bryasnt: JustWiz If only the NSA protected MY information with such zeal.

"That sort of response makes me furious."

Me too.

I see the US (government, corporate and individual citizens) as a bunch of irresponsible, unruly children with no real understanding of how their actions affect other people. Standing on top of a high rise building with a pile of rocks, throwing them off and watching them hit the ants and Dinky Toys far below and cheering each other on. Safe in the knowledge that they are too far away for any retribution.

Finally someone made the long and painful effort to climb all that way up and spank one of the kids.

Cue floods of tears, recriminations, and blaming the nasty person who smacked one of them.

Perhaps followed by the understanding that if you stand there chucking rocks off your high rise building it is actually affecting real people down below.

For perspective, why not Google "US funding IRA post 9/11" and see what turns up.

Be very clear; I do not support violence and terrorism.

Be equally clear; I despise those who fund violence and terrorism.

Final touch of clarification - I believe that the vast majority of US citizens are decent, caring and very polite people who do not and did not support or fund violence and terrorism. Shame about the rest, though.

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Virgin Media takes its time on website crypto upgrade

David Roberts
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Re: Dozens of experts?

Probably because VM is cobbled together from loads of small, failed cable companies all with their own bits of infrastructure.

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Vodafone: So what exactly is 'ludicrous' about the Frontier report?

David Roberts
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Poles!

Just put poles in the pavement then let anyone string wire/fibres between them!

Solves all the problems about digging up roads, trenches, ducting, crossing roads etc.

I'm amazed nobody has thought of this.

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ROBOT INVASION has already STARTED in HIPSTERLAND

David Roberts
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Re: Cheap flexible version

On a more serious note - the application which I described above is already in use globally in consumer land.

That is, doting parents all over the world fire up Skype (or other similar program) on their fondleslab and point it at their adorable kids and shout things like "Look - here's Granny and Granddad. Wave to Granny and Granddad, kids! Shout HI!"

Now it is *cough* years since I worked in a cubicle farm so I have no recent experience of that environment, but these days do people walk around with tablets and point them at staff saying "The boss would like a word with you."?

If so, mechanisation of this function might have a place in the office.

If not, then I submit that this use of technology, which is already possible without the mobile coat rack, will probably not catch on just because you can have a brainless bit of mechanisation wheel it around.

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David Roberts
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Re: Cheap flexible version

I may well patent the unique command and control interface.

It is based on the original concept of the spoken word, via an innovative delivery channel combining a "mobile phone" and a "bluetooth headset".

The advanced command set, such as "Go to Harry's desk, I want to talk to him." is generations ahead of less sophisticated AI programming.

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David Roberts
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Cheap flexible version

I just have an unpaid intern carry around a tablet running Skype.

More flexible, infinitely replaceable cheap hardware, same visual interface, easily repurposed when I don't need it.

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Australian online voting system may have FREAK bug

David Roberts
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WTF?

Man in the middle?

By definition the man has to be between you and the target system.

If you think of the online voting world as a massive star network centred on the Australian servers then to have any noticeable effect your man would have to be very near the middle of the star.

The assumption is that you have to connect via a compromised network server, probably an Internet cafe or coffee shop, I would guess.

That would be an intersting challenge - compromise enough network architecture globally (or even in rural Australia) to be able to specifically target Oz voters.

If this has been achieved then I would guess the problems are far more seriousn than subverting a small percentage of the vote.

However I now wonder how many PCs owned by Oz voters are also owned by malware.

This might be a more effective attack - does it still count as MITM if you own the browser?

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‘Digital by default’ agricultural payments halted: Farmers start smirking

David Roberts
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Agile?

Is this the same as showing a proof of concept weekend hack to marketing and finding it launched as a "product" two weeks later?

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Osbo: Choose a f*cking IoT fridge. Choose spirit-crushing driverless cars

David Roberts
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Coat

100 Mb/sec?

Hope this isn't mandatory - I get 150 Mb/sec at the moment.

[Or I would if the bloody power didn't keep going off and on like a dodgy CFL]

Mine's the one with "smug bastard" written on the back.

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Watching porn makes men BETTER in bed, say trick-cyclists

David Roberts
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WTF?

Chicken/egg?

It says (I think) that men who report watching more porn also report feeling more horny.

So - does watching more porn make you more horny?

Or - does being more horny make you watch more porn?

Only one of these seems to fit with the claimed study result.

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BT fined £800k over lax emergency text relay delay blunder

David Roberts
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Paris Hilton

Re: Public floggings

Can we have a list of potential floggers as well as flogees?

Paris because....

...well.......

......I have been a VERY naughty boy!

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Brute force box lets researchers, Cops, pop iDevice locks

David Roberts
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PIN over USB?

Claiming no knowledge of the ability to do this on Android or Windoes phones, but....

...the central part of this hack is the automation of authentication over USB.

Stop this and you go back to wearing your fingers out.

If the phone won't talk to the computer if the screen is locked then it must be a bit more secure.

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Give biometrics the FINGER: Horror tales from the ENCRYPT

David Roberts
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Usual shit security, then?

Sorry, couldn't resist.

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Chappie: The AI tale that’s about heart, not intelligence

David Roberts
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Re: Short Circuit 2 - balling your eyes out

If thst is truly what you meant then maximum respect for your precocious sexual development.

Then again, perhaps you were bawling you eyes out?

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How many Androids does it take to change a light bulb?

David Roberts
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CFLs are a waste of time

If you can ignore all the current UK building regulations about using low energy bulbs then you may well find most applications don't suit CFLs.

Main living area - flexible dimmable lights.

Halogen.

Bathrooms - instant full power lights - halogen (well, I ran out of halogens so the office has an incandescent from old stock). CFLs which give the same light as 60 - 100 watt lights take too long to warm up.

This leaves bedside lights and the main lights in the bedroom, plus hall and landing lights.

So currently we have more non-CFLs than CFLs. Not because we want to use more power but because they just don't work the way the old style incandescents did.

The house was rewired a couple of years ago when LEDs were just becoming main stream so we have dimmable LEDs over the kitchen work surfaces and they work very well. However we have had to upgrade some dimmer switches because those that claim to work with low power setups sometimes don't long term. 120 watts upwards seem fine, but below that be prepared to pay extra for a high specification dimmer. A single 60 watt halogen can cause dimmers to fail.

One additional thought - although I don't use Powerline adapters for Ethermet, why all this wireless stuff for light bulbs? Can't you just replace the switches with smart switches which are controllable over Ethernet over the power circuits? This might make the control interface much easier to implement as device and OS independent and give you a much wider choice of bulbs. Or is the point to load the expense into the things you replace most often?

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Didn't the Left once want the WORKERS to get all the dosh?

David Roberts
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IT Angle

Alternative explanation?

Nobody else seems to have looked at the original proposition, that is that paying highly skilled black players lower wages is evidence of racism. This is obviously one possible explanation, but there is this correlation/causation thing.

To bring in an IT angle, back in the day I had a small team of contractors to do some development work. One was an awesomely skilled Kiwi at a remarkably low rate. Turns out the agency was fishing for Kiwis coming to Europe to work and signing them up at rates which looked really good compared to NZ rates but which were less than their skills could command on thr open market.

So the same analysis applied to the IT industry at the time could be used to demonstrate racial prejudice against Kiwis.

Of course once the Kiwis saw what everyone else was getting then their rates went up, and lo there was no more racial prejudice.

Was this disparity in wages and skill levels by any chance at roughly the same time that African football (which strangely seems to have a lot of black players) began to mature and feed players into the European game?

So another explanation could be purely capitalist.

Locate a source of cheap goods, sell into an expensive market at a discount, profit.

As the cheap source is exploited more the price goes up.

Not saying that racism wasn't the cause, just that I don't see an automatic correlation between lower wages and racism.

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Shodan boss finds 250,000 routers have common keys

David Roberts
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Just checking...

So the threat is that if:

(1) remote management is enabled

(2) the router has the default admin user/password

then bad people could ssh into your router and change stuff (like your DNS server)?

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Your hard drives were RIDDLED with NSA SPYWARE for YEARS

David Roberts
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Fifty shades of hacking?

Or do our cousins not understand Fanny....Double Fantasy......Tripple Fantasy!!!!

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'Camera-shy' Raspberry Pi 2 suffers strange 'XENON DEATH FLASH' glitch

David Roberts
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Nail varnish?

See above. ^

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Smartphones don’t dumb you down, they DUMB you UP

David Roberts
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Nokia Maps?

All the talk about maps on devices motivated me to download Nokia Maps to my WiFi only tablet.

Offline maps being an especially good thing if you don't have a mobile data connection.

In the sign up Ts and Cs it says that on registration and each time you update the software a text message will be sent to Nokia. Not sure how my tablet will do this without a built in phone.

So is Nokia Maps only for phones (including very big ones over 10")?

Just to keep on message mine's a very big one ;-)

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Microsoft eyes slice of Raspberry Pi with free Windows 10 sprinkled on top

David Roberts
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Ports to other ARM platforms?

As I type this on my Sony Xperia Z tablet.....

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Boffin finds formula for four-year-five-nines disk arrays

David Roberts
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Some wierd assumptions

Firstly the apparent assumption that arrays don't carry spares.

I worked with RAID5 arrays in the '90s and there was always at least one hot spare.

Secondly (as already pointed out) using the cost of replacing a single disc vs. leaving the array untouched for 4 years. No apparent consideration of someone popping in once a month to replace failed drives as a bulk process.

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Sleepy Ofcom glances at Internet of Things, rolls over, takes nap

David Roberts
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Upvoted for the NAT comment.

If/when I start getting smart devices I expect to have them tucked away on an internal network.

I see no reason for each device to have a globally unique IP address.

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SURPRISE! Microsoft pops open Windows 10 Preview build early

David Roberts
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Re: Read privacy statement

Looks pretty mild compared with all the apps on an Android phone.

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Want an Internet of Stuff? Not so 4K-ing fast ... yet – Akamai

David Roberts
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WTF?

Why the 4k?

All this seems solely to relate to the streaming of 4k content.

No figures on the availability of 4k content.

No figures on the uptake of 4k capable TVs and other devices.

No mention of other options such as downloading before viewing.

Is all this 4k stuff just another desperate attempt to promote a new TV format after the spectacular failure of 3D?

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Ski MOUNT DOOM or take top coffee to the beach? Your choice

David Roberts
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Re: Just don't ask about the cheese

The comment was a bit tongue in cheek :-)

We even found a place south of Auckland which made local Dutch style cheeses which were very good.

With respect to pay (l know a couple of IT people who moved out a year or so ago) if you move from outside London then pay and life style can both improve considerably. Perhaps they were lucky. Perhaps their IT skils weren't quite as bad as another poster suggests?

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David Roberts
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Just don't ask about the cheese

Tasty or sharp.

That's it, move along, nothing more to see here.

That said, love the place.

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Crap broadband holds back HALF of rural small biz types

David Roberts
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FAIL

Still using dial up?

That won't be poor benighted SMEs hunkered down in their rural idylls.

That will be the SMEs (and quite a few large enterprises) in all towns throughout the UK who won't cough the dosh to upgrade their point of sale terminals from dial up to broadband.

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

David Roberts
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Coat

Picture or it didn't happen?

Mine's the one with the smutty postcards ---->

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What will happen to the oil price? Look to the PC for clues

David Roberts
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IT Angle

Re: PERSONAL computer!

O.K. - perhaps I should have another go.

The oil industry started out small and distributed with a low entry cost.

Much like the PC industry alluded to in the article.

All you needed was a wildcat rig and a "nodding donkey" and (with luck) you were an oil man.

All Texans were millionaires and fuel costs were so cheap that cars were made with huge engines and bodies because why not?

Since then the industry has followed the model of most major industries.

Over time the big players have swallowed up the small players maximising efficiency and productivity with ever larger plant and distribution networks.

Over time the "low hanging fruit" has been picked and each new major oil field required more complex and expensive equipment to begin extraction, and more complex and vulnerable distribution networks. Increasing the efficiency of recovery from older fields has also required more expensive technology.

Oh, apart from the Saudis who did the wildcat and nodding donkey thing back in the day and now just sit on the oil fields turning the tap on and off, and the price up and down, to match the production costs of the non-Saudi producers. No major new investment required as far as I am aware.

So as far as I can see all the investment in extraction technology required to recover more from old fields and remote recent fields has turned up a method of extracting crude using affordable plant from resources which are easily accessible - so much like the early days mentioned above.

So the clock has been reset back a few decades and oil can once again be extracted without having to pay governments with potentially dodgy backgrounds (hang on..) and always having to consider being held to ransom over our energy needs. We now start climbing the same slippery slope as the easily frackable resources are exploited and the cost and sophistication of the technology starts climbing again - just like in the old oil days. A reprieve, nothing more. Once again "peak oil" is just a spike on a jagged but steadily climbing graph which has a big dip at the moment..

Hopefully this will give us more time to develop alternative resources. More likely it will destroy all the current business cases for alternative energy such as wind and solar which seem to depend on an ever increasing oil price to justify the expenditure. The West will just coast along with a warm and toasty feeling that all is well again and all that green stuff can be safely ignored because we are more or less energy self sufficient. Watch out for changes in the requirements for new gas fired generation plant.

So I don't see any parallel with the mainframe/PC industry which started out high technology and horrendously expensive per unit of computing and then gradually cost reduced and became ubiquitous.

I see some parallel with the immense increase in the technology to produce computers coupled with the massive reduction in the location and number of producers. I wouldn't like to see fracking following this model because if a flood in Thailand crippled the global industry we would all be very unhappy.

Equally I don't see any major change in the technology basis of crude oil extraction - just a re-emergence of small distributed extraction plant where small onshore distributed resources in temperate first world locations are once more available and economically viable.

So the overwhelming impression is that this article has no real relevance to IT but has mainframe/PC shoved into it to shoehorn it into an IT rag - which I think is probably the aim of the original report the article is based on

Fracking is always interesting but ------->

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David Roberts
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Re: PERSONAL computer!

O.K. Elucidate.

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David Roberts
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PERSONAL computer!

The big feature about the personal computer is that it is personal. That is, you have your own device in your home.

Unless everyone can have at least one fracking rig on their property then I don't think the analogy works.

At most you have a switch from a few large global production sites to a local production industry with small plant and low start up costs. A bit like coal where there are small deposits all over the UK. Oh, hang on.....

...perhaps like dairy farming where you have a local dairy farm so you small production unit is close to the consumer. Oh, hang on....

So the model is that lots of small production units can change the way that oil is produced? Of course, it has to be refined so you either need lots of small local refineries or you need to transport your local small scale output to a big central refinery.

No, still not working for me as a conceptual model of a radical change in the production dynamics.

It may bring a few more large players in, though, and put pressure on OPEC.

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BAN email footers – they WASTE my INK, wails Ctrl+P MP

David Roberts
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WTF?

Illegal?

Did I miss something, or is the proposal to make it illegal to add these footers?

If so, how do the authorities propose to enforce this?

Seems like a mandate to read all emails to check for illegal content.

If this was the USA it would also be a mandate to persue anyone in the world who emailed a US recipient - even though you cannot tell this reliably from the email address.

Saving paper is just fluff and misdirection.

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Makers of Snowden movie Citizenfour sued by ex-oil exec

David Roberts
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Coat

Traitor to the USA (not America)?

....but hero to the free world?

Hang on, I'll get back to you whem I can confirm exactly where the free world is.

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Sony Pictures hack is Hollywood's 'Snowden moment' say infosec bods

David Roberts
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Coat

Get the picture?

I liked the bit about "looking for bad actors on the network"

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