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* Posts by Len Goddard

201 posts • joined 4 Sep 2007

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Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM

Len Goddard

Re: Interesting times

This was the subejct of a recent Scientific American (cover) article.

But then where did the 4 dimensional star come from? The collapse of a 5 dimensional star with a 4 dimensional event horizon?

Its turtles all the way down.

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The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES?

Len Goddard

Re: No thanks

A major advantage of steam is that it bypasses the extreme pain of upgrading windoze or migrating to a new machine.

MS have never really caught on to the concept of an upgrade - generally it is a case of reinstalling all your software and attempting to recreate your old configuration after they've moved all the settings around for no good reason. With your games in a steam library you just download steam and reinstall as/when you play them - no more searching around for old CDs/DVDs etc.

Of course, this is not an issue under linux where upgrade-in-place is generally well supported.

5
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Intel's Raspberry Pi rival Galileo can now run Windows

Len Goddard

Windows fans?

Is there such a thing? All the people I know who run windows do so because they have to in order to support essential apps (like games), not because they are fans of windows.

Apple has worshippers

Linux has fans

Windows has users

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1

Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors

Len Goddard

No long passwords

Since I never access important/secure sites away from home I use a locally based password generator/manager. I set it up to generate a 20 printable character passwords. At least 60% of the sites I try this on will not allow it - too long, objectionable characters etc. Not that any of these tell you beforehand what the restrictions are. 16 character alphanumeric works on most sites but even that is rejected by some as too long.

Much as I dislike it, I think 2 factor authentication has to be the way to go for sites requiring genuine security and everyone else should accept at least 32 printable characters.

Once or twice I have actually sent emails to webmasters at particularly bad sites (max 8 chars etc) saying that I have refrained from registering because the password policy was inherently insecure. I've never had a reply, though.

0
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Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY

Len Goddard

Too much change

I gave up on firefox with the major UI changes in version 30(?). Moved to Palemoon.

When will UI designers catch on to the idea that just because a new look/approach is theoretically more efficient it is still a total PITA for someone who has been using the existing UI for longer than they have been coding interfaces. By all means offer a new interface as an option but don't close off the old one or you risk alienating long-term users.

I abandoned Ubuntu for the same reason (Unity) and I won't be upgrading from Win 7 any time soon. Actually, the interface to Win7 on my PC looks more like Win2K but that's another story.

18
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Listen: WORST EVER customer service call – Comcast is 'very embarrassed'

Len Goddard

Amazing patience

I really cannot understand why the cancelling customer put up with the guy for so long.

3
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True fact: Your CAT wees ... like a racehorse

Len Goddard

Igs

Definitely a candidate for this year's ignoble award!

4
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TIME TRAVEL TEST finds black holes needed to make photons flit

Len Goddard

Singularity (information style)

With a CTC capable of transmitting photons, you could use the result of a computer operation as its own input. Any recursive algorithm could then be executed in essentially zero time.

Charles Stross used this as the basis of his weakly godlike AI (the Eschaton) in Singularity Sky/Iron Sun. Unfortunately without access to the technology he backed himself into a logical corner from whence he cannot continue the story without introducing inconsistencies. Pity, because those books cry out for a sequel.

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Samsung will ... sigh ... appeal $119m Apple patent verdict

Len Goddard

Not much to choose between them

Sumsung - serial patent violator

Apple - serial patenter of ridiculous non-inventions

A pox on both their houses.

19
3

NASA spots 'new' star just 7.2 light years away

Len Goddard

Pedantry

Mine, that is.

"At 7.2 light years distant, it's nearly twice as far away as our nearest neighbour Alpha Centauri,"

No it isn't. This mistake is commonly repeated (I've seen it on the Reg before). Alpha Centauri isn't even a star, it is a binary system. The closest star is Proxima Centauri which may or may not be gravitationally bound to the Alpha Centauri binary.

7
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Ubuntu 14.04 LTS: Great changes, but sssh don't mention the...

Len Goddard

I loathed the original unity release - top of screen menus are a disaster if you use to focus-follows-mouse and generally the whole thing had the look and feel of an OS designed for a 5-year old using a laptop or tablet.

The new Unity is a major improvement. focus-follows-mouse (sloppy) and click-to-raise are well supported (even if it can be a bit difficult to find them first time through) and work well with the menu-in-title bar. Personally I'd prefer the option for a fixed title bar but I can get used to this. Dual monitor support works out of the box and it is easy to disable the task bar on the second monitor. Also you can now shrink the task bar icons to a sensible size. However, I still cannot get the close button to the right-hand corner of the window. My understanding is that the window decorations were moved to the left to avoid interfering with the top bar notification area, but since I am not using global menu this is irrelevant. I've been using windowed OSs since before windows 3 and 20 plus years of muscle memory take a lot of retraining. More importantly, I still have to use windoze for some things and I really would like consistency.

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NSA denies it knew about and USED Heartbleed encryption flaw for TWO YEARS

Len Goddard

Not surprised, just disgusted

10
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Uh oh! Here comes the first bug in the Windows 8.1 Update

Len Goddard

Not just enterprise customers

A friend of mine silly enough to be using 8.1 has had a similar failure with Home Premium. Google suggests he is not alone.

5
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Samsung Galaxy S5 in El Reg's claws: This time the 'S' is for 'sensible'

Len Goddard

But it's waterproof

"A small quibble: my neatly-trimmed fingernails struggled to open the protective cover, especially after the sandy sojourn when some grains occupied the prising-open niche."

So, go dunk it in the ocean to wash the sand off!

9
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Middle England's allotments become metric battlefield

Len Goddard

Re: Get a life...

Rubbish. The pole is a quarter of a chain, which is perfectly logical.

As for the perfect acre being 4 poles by 40 poles, it is much easier to remember as a chain by a furlong. Since a furlong is 10 chains, an acre is thus 10 square chains. What is a chain? 100 links, of course.

As for money, the old system had many advantages - restaurant bills could be easily divided between parties of 3, 6, 8, 12 or whatever. Plus it gave innumerable opportunities to cheat foreigners.

I still miss the old red exercise books with all the measures on the back:

rod, pole, perch, bushel, peck, Troy ounce, furlong, and so on.

Metric units are so ... pedestrian ... by comparison. Just because we have 10 fingers doesn't make 10 a good base for a number system.

15
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Microsoft DirectX 12 pushes gaming code closer to GPU bare metal

Len Goddard

Re: Gamers on the whole will move anywhere and pay anything if...

This is true of a small core of hardcore (mainly FPS) gamers who tend to make noise out of all proportion to their numbers. Devs like to get them on board for that reason but it is not where the bulk of the money comes from. You still need to cater to the majority who have neither the time nor the money nor the obsession to work this way. If DX12 does stay WIn 8 only then most games will offer DX11 (or even DX10) support until Win8.x numbers justify exclusive games. MS may not do much to tweak gaming performance but I notice I still get nVidia updates which boost various games on Win7.

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Len Goddard

But many, if not most, of those games also support DX10 so you don't need DX11 support.

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Len Goddard

Re: Windows 7 or it will not be used

I agree. Several things came out as Vista only ... and were then backported to Win XP simply because the Vista customer base constrained the audience so severely. Win 8/Win 7 is much the same case.

10
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Whitehall and Microsoft thrashing out 1-year NHS WinXP lifeline

Len Goddard

Sorry, this is just a case of buck-passing. The fact that the systems still require IE6/7 (both moribund and renouned for bad security) is itself a disgrace. The end of XP has been known for years and those responsible for the back-end systems should have had them upgraded in good time. The NHS has enough financial and political clout to beat up on the PAS suppliers if the new versions are as bad as you say, but this should have been done some time ago not at or after the XP withdrawal deadline.

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My work-from-home setup's better than the office. It's GLORIOUS

Len Goddard

This is not news

I've had better machinery, more competent software and a generally more pleasant working environment at home for many years.

It's one of the reasons I retired a couple of years ago.

4
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For Windows guest - KVM or XEN and which distro for host?

Len Goddard

Unanimous, more or less

I've never seen such agreement in a computer discussion involving linux & windows.

Currently, most worthwhile computer games will need a native windows platform, so load host windows with hypervisor of choice and linux guest of choice. With a little care you could put all the userland linux stuff on a separate hard drive with a native linux boot/root partition and allow access to it both via a virtual client and via dual-boot if you want the full power of linux for some heavyweight task.

Having said that, I would go 2-box and put linux on a Haswell NUC. You can mount this on the back of your monitor thus consuming no valuable desk real-estate.

Finally, I have a particular dislike of Putty. You might consider installing Cygwin and OpenSSH. This will give you a linux-like command shell under windows from which you can use command line SSH to access your linux, be it virtual or on another box.

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Top patent troll sues US regulators for interfering with its business

Len Goddard

Venue

I sometimes get the impression that most of the patent trolling abuses could be prevented by banning Texas courts from hearing patent cases.

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Amazon, Hollywood, Samsung: PLEASE get excited about 4K telly

Len Goddard

Bigger House

So, I need to buy a bigger house so that I have a room large enough to hld a screen which is big enough to be able to see the difference between 1080p and 4K (why not 2160p?). Stuff that - I still mainly buy DVDs because with a decent upscaler it is all but impossible on my 46" TV to tell the difference between upscaled DVDs and native blurays. I make an exception for really dramatic photography (Earthflight, anyone?).

4K is just a techno-churn factor to try to get us to replace perfectly good TVs following the abject failure of 3D to do the same thing. I'd rather spend the price difference on media ... if they'd just produce films worth watching.

3
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Apple fanbois warned: No, Cupertino HASN'T built a Bitcoin mining function into Macs

Len Goddard

Re: dangers of 'sudo'

Any command which escalates the user to admin rights has its dangers in the hands of an inexperienced user (or an idiot). However, if you disable sudo you have to enable root login which has different and, in the opinion of most linux users, significantly more dangerous implications.

Disbling sudo might "work for you" but if you are going to advocate it you should at least add a rider to explain that the alternative may be worse.

The advantages and uses of sudo are explained here (and in many other places).

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/RootSudo

7
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WATCH LIVE: Comet ISON DESTROYED by Sun, NASA brains fear

Len Goddard

After fighting for about 10 mins to get signed in to Livestream all I see is max number of people accessing stream.

Max 64 - you have to be kidding.

2
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WHO was it that TAMED the WOLF? Heel, Rex! No! Aarrghh!

Len Goddard

It may be a dumb question but ...

is it possible that wolves were domesticated independently in more than one location?

9
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Nookie becomes, um, a virtual reality for Oculus Rift gadget gamers

Len Goddard

Surprised

I am, TBH, surprised it has taken this long for such a device to become available.

However, you would have to have a LOT of trust in the technology to use it. Or be really desperate.

1
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Feline OVERLORDS ditch camera-toting human servants, film selfie vids

Len Goddard

Been done

BBC did this a year or more ago:

Little Cat Diaries

The Secret Life of the Cat

They tracked all the movements of a group of cats in a village via collar locators and had catcams mounted on a number of them. Made an interesting documentary. Not sure where the art comes in.

1
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Do not adjust your set: TV market slows, 'connected TV' grows

Len Goddard

Saturation

Could it just be that most people have as many big TVs as they want/need and in times of financial insecurity paying a lot to replace a perfectly functional set with one which has some at best marginally useful extra functions is simply not an attractive proposition?

I finally swapped up from CRT SD (32") to LCD HD (46") a couple of years ago. There is nothing that the latest TVs can do that I cannot achieve with my current set and the things connected to it. Looking to the future I see no sign of that changing soon (4k is a joke - a very beautiful joke but still a joke for normal domestic use).

I'd rather spend my money on a new oven. At least it would save me having to clean the one I've got.

10
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Blighty's great digital radio switchover targets missed AGAIN

Len Goddard

Not any more

The BBC provider plugin for RadioDownloader has been removed ... at the request of the BBC.

get_iplayer still works and generally downloads better quality material than the official BBC podcasts.

2
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Bionym bracelet promises to replace passwords with ECG biometrics

Len Goddard

Exercise

Does it still work after you've been out jogging. Or had sex. Or smoked a joint. Or performed any other heartbeat-affecting action?

3
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Researcher bags $12,500 after showing how to hack Zuck's pics

Len Goddard

I'd pass on the money

If I could figure out how to replace Zuck's photo with that of a warthog, I doubt they could pay me enough to make it worthwhile to not do it.

5
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Fandroids blow $200,000 on secret PANIC BUTTON for their smartmobes

Len Goddard
Thumb Up

Yes, a physical shutter button for the camera!

11
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Wow, the future is HERE: Charge your phone (wirelessly) in your CAR

Len Goddard

Easier with a cable

A USB charging cable takes up a lot less room than a charging case. Probably cheaper to replace if you lose it as well.

1
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New tool lets single server map entire internet in 45 minutes

Len Goddard

lucky man

I've never been able to make Win 7 autodiscovery work on my home LAN.

Maybe I should figure out why and market the problem as a scanner defense?

1
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Google Glass: Would you pay a mere $299 to plop one on your brow?

Len Goddard

Re: FunnS'y

Disliking a particular piece of tech doesn't make you a luddite. In this case it just shows you have some sense.

11
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Can't agree on a coding style? Maybe the NEW YORK TIMES can help

Len Goddard

Re: curly bracket hell....

I agree with you about where the { should be.

However, it is my understanding that the reason for having it on the same line as the if() is that in the days of manual teletypes it saved waiting for the carriage return AND saved paper - remember that once upon a time we didn't edit code on a screen.

It also saved a card if you were submitting your code that way.

0
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Bloke in shed starts own DAB radio station - with Ofcom's blessing

Len Goddard

Why bother

Given the lack of popularity and limited penetration of DAB into the home, why would a local station (or a pirate) bother? Audience would be limited to a few DAB adopters and the broadcaster's mum (assuming (s)he had given her a DAB for Xmas).

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Intel's homage to Raspberry Pi: The much pricier Minnowboard

Len Goddard
Unhappy

Expensive

I just received an ad from ebuyer.

Asus motherboard, celeron processor, 4Gb memory, 500Gb HDD, DVD drive, case with 500W power supply.

Complete assemble it yourself PC for under £170.

Makes this thing look grossly overpriced.

1
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Google Reader replacement 'Old Reader' crashes

Len Goddard

Disappointed

"The Old Reader's site is now displaying apologies, cat photos and a promise that a fix “will probably take a day or two”."

I can't find the cat photos.

1
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Mars, bringer of WAR: Quatermass and the Pit

Len Goddard

Great TV, great film

I was too young to see the original TV broadcast - not sure we even had a TV back then - but the film was, I think, the first "X" rated movie I saw ... accompanied by an understanding father who actually bought the tickets.

The film was, I thought, excellent and when I finally caught up with the serial I was surprised to see how close the two were. The film was almost an edited and coloured version of the serial. The film makers had resisted the temptation to "improve" and it was all the better for that.

1
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Pirate Bay bod and pals bag $100k to craft NSA-proof mobe yammer app

Len Goddard

Re: The nothing to hide brigade

But if you live in the UK you don't have a secret ballot. Your ballot paper is numbered and the number corresponds to the counterfoil with your name on it. In theory this exists solely as a protection against fraud and the matching can only be undertaken by order of Parliament or a court in fairly extreme circumstances. In practice? There have been allegations of illegal matching (unproven) and more serious allegations of shoddy security of the used ballot papers (which hang around for a year before being disposed of).

So we don't need the cameras.

1
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Nokia tears wrapper off Lumia 1020 monster imaging mobe

Len Goddard
FAIL

No memory card, fixed battery

My first thought was that here was a phone with the potential to replace my trusty Canon G9 for casual use when I'm not lugging around a full-size camera. But without swappable memory cards and a way of replacing the battery without having to leave the thing charging it becomes impractical.

Shame.

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Win 8 man Sinofsky's 'retirement' deal: $14m shares, oath of silence

Len Goddard

Re: I'll believe in a conspiracy...

If he doesn't like the horrible TIFKAM he is entitled to say so. Telling people who speak out against a change they dislike is unnecessary and arrogant.

If you like TIFKAM you are entitled so say so. The OP here is equally entitled to describe it as a horror. I know who I would agree with

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Boffins fire up old dish to send interstellar SMS

Len Goddard

Maxox

Everybody involved in this project should read Charles Stross's short story Maxos first.

Available here : http://www.concatenation.org/futures/maxo_lo.pdf

5
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Culture Sec: You - Google. Where's the off switch for all this filth?

Len Goddard

Re: Will somone think of the children!!

To answer your questions.

Yes, it is a problem

No, they don't

And for your final assertion, mass filtering is a hideously crude tool which will either be ineffective or cause a huge number of collateral problems.

They are your kids, it is your responsibility to educate and supervise them.

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Facebook's Sean Parker fined $2.5m for tasteless eco-trashing wedding

Len Goddard

Should have stopped the wedding

or arrested him at the altar. Or both.

He should be made to work as a labourer on the restoration work until it is all back the way it was. Then shot.

15
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Motorola shows off tattoo and swallowable password hardware

Len Goddard

I'm missing something here

I take a pill and it broadcasts an 18-bit "password". Somehow something connected to my computer picks this up and uses it to authenticate me. Or does it just pass it on to my bank or whoever I want to deal with? Anyway, that is not the issue. I have my nice hot evening vindaloo and the pill passes through to wherever such things go, and the next morning I take another pill. Do I have a bottle of pills with identical passwords or do I have to somehow go through some reauthentication process to change my broadcast ID on every site I might want to use that day?

I think I'd rather spend 89.7 seconds a day typing passwords.

4
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Windows 8.1 Start button SPOTTED in the wild

Len Goddard
FAIL

How to please nobody

What an achievement. They've actually found a way of making it worse by appearing to give back the start button then making it do something NOBODY asked for.

Classic Shell forever!!

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Dell's PC-on-a-stick landing in July: report

Len Goddard

Bah. A Raspberry Pi in an old cigarette packet can do all of this. And its cheaper.

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