* Posts by Flocke Kroes

2646 posts • joined 19 Oct 2007

MPs accuse Amazon and eBay of profiteering from VAT fraudsters

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Re: petterm3 market price

The market price does not include enough margin for VAT. VAT registered sellers cannot get down to the market price so make no sales.

Amazon had a handy tax loop hole that allowed them to avoid (not evade) VAT. The government closed the loop hole and prices went up to include VAT. Very shortly afterwards prices from dropped down again, but not directly from Amazon - only from some third party vendors. I assumed this was because those vendors were evading (not avoiding) VAT.

Clearly the British public are voting with their wallets. Perhaps if the government weren't so exceptionally skilled at wasting money the public might vote differently.

DARPA lays out cash-splash to defibrillate Moore's Law

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Van Neumann?

Who is he? Wakipedia keeps giving me von Neuman instead.

(CPU's with a separate cache for each core are a step past von Neumann architecture, which assumes one memory device sharing code and data for a computer with only one core.)

This article has been deleted

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Re: miaow

Google internet search "Trump models". Far too many articles to link to, but I have yet to find one saying the girls were locked into a pizza restaurant basement. (The usual story they get to stay in an expensive hotel. Each pays the full rent but dozens share the same room).

Sacre bleu! Apple's high price, marginal gain iPhone strategy leaves it stuck in the mud

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iPhone's early unique selling points

Apple were able to convince the US carriers to stop blocking features that had been standard in Japan for years. I am not sure why people are comparing early iPhone to Microsoft's attempts. A more obvious comparison would be to Symbian.

The other unique selling point was the exorbitant pricing. The Apple logo was clear statement: "I have money to burn". Other brands may have a flag ship model, but people would have to do some thinking because the same logo is also on bargain basement phones.

The new model is a step back to what made the iPhone such a success. If anything, I think Apple did not go far enough. The price should be higher and they should cut some of the features. I am sure that what they have done this year will be wildly successful and Apple customers will be able to queue up with breathless anticipation for something more expensive next year.

Boffins' satcomms rig uses earthly LEDs to talk to orbiting PV panels

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Re: Did I read that right?

A slightly unfair comparison. To be fair you would need a system with thousands of satellites. The other down side of using light is how will your weather satellite tell you if it is cloudy?

Monkey selfie case settles for a quarter of future royalties

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Re: Standing

Standing has to be decided by the court. The court decided that PETA lacked standing (more than once). PETA appealed repeatedly until David Slater ran out of money. PETA's version of ethics is very different from mine.

Daily Stormer binned by yet another registrar, due to business risks

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Re: Free speach

Defending peoples' right to tell happy stories about the littlest elf is easy. It is more difficult when the speech is the rantings of a deluded Nazi. If you start saying only some kinds of free speech is all right then you will end up with presidential edicts banning the mention of modal warning and primate strange.

[Post modified to allow publication in the US.]

Stuff the movement of celestial spheres, let's sit down and watch Bonnie Tyler on TV

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Re: CCTV Drones first thought

Dark Angel.

User demanded PC be moved to move to a sunny desk – because it needed Windows

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Re: Oh dear

An old sig:

Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.

SpaceX sneaks in X-37B space plane launch ahead of Hurricane Irma

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Re: Falcon Heavy

Falcon Heavy demo flight is set for launch (or to be delayed again) in November.

So far, Falcons have not had names. I suppose "Funny, It Worked Last Time..." and "Only Slightly Bent" would be too tempting.

Smart cities? Tell it like it is, they're surveillance cities

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Re: Isnt there a name for this kind of 2+2 = 5 thinking?

Amber Rudd

Dolphins inspire ultrasonic attacks that pwn smartphones, cars and digital assistants

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Re: Lack of ultrasonic receiver is the problem

If phones had microphones capable of detecting ultrasound properly it would be easy to add an analogue or digital low pass filter to remove it. Ordinary microphones respond to ultrasound by outputting a signal in the audible range so Alexa, Siri and friends cannot distinguish it from a voice.

Facebook ran $100k of deliberately divisive Russian ads ahead of 2016 US election

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Re: Where's the substance?

It does matter who they are because there are rules about nationality. The Trump campaign sent donation requests to UK citizens, many of whom replied by advising that their campaign management should check the law about receiving donations from foreigners. It hit the (non-Breitbarf) news big time. Likewise the leave campaign should have received a severe spanking for accepting goods from Cambridge Analytica without declaring it.

Voters are supposed to be able to find out who owns their politicians, and the owners are not supposed to be foreigners. Imagine the outrage if it had been discovered that Mexico had supported Trump to get jobs and cement orders for building the wall.

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Re: Where's the substance?

I do not see Fartbook claiming to be innocent, but they clearly regret being naive.

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Re: Only 100K

I thought Cambridge Analytica gave the expertise to the leave campaign for free.

FCC taps the brakes on fudging US broadband speed amid senator fury

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Re: Don't worry, it won't matter

The link speed does not matter because the new definition will depend on "speeds that users actually subscribe to". 600↑200↓ will be sold as either "up to 100Mb/s", or (for twice the price) "up to 1Gb/s". Pai will have done his bit to make America great again by putting the US in first place for broadband subscription speeds.

Whoosh, there it is: Toshiba bods say 14TB helium-filled disk is coming soon

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Re: Helium Glut

Natural gas straight from the well is about 2% helium. The market for helium is so small that most natural gas suppliers do not bother to collect and sell it.

Asteroid Florence buzzes Earth, brings two moons along for the ride

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Re: only ones saved

The bible mentions 144,000 people several times. They get some kind of special pass for the afterlife, but there are arguments about exactly what the pass is good for. There are several smallish sects that are convinced they will be the only ones to get into heaven because everyone else got something wrong and will not be included in the 144,000.

As the end of the world is nigh, you will not need money. Buy guaranteed entry to heaven by sending 1 Bitcoin to ...

Minnesota Senator calls out US watchdogs: Why so cozy with Amazon?

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Confused about the customer data bit

I thought every detail of an American's life that goes through a computer was openly for sale already. Why would this be new data for Amazon?

PC sales to fall and fall and fall and fall and fall for the next five years

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Re: asking people on the ground ...

I am sure they ask, but the purpose is not to deliver what people want. The idea is to divide the market into segments and ensure that each segment can only get what they need by paying what they can barely afford.

That used to work great until a bottom of the range PC met the vast majority of people's needs. The next plan was to convince rich twits that they needed ultra-thin. Apparently not enough people are falling for ultra-fragile and the rest have been given a more suitable alternative.

As CPUs are more than fast enough, PC manufacturers have to keep hoping they will find some weird form factor to justify their margins. It is that or admit that a Raspberry Pi can handle email, internet banking and fartbook.

Paris nightclub red-faced after booze-for-boobs offer exposed

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Re: What is a leftie

A leftie is a homo Satan worshipper determined to spend white mens' taxes on supporting terrorist immigrants and using profits from sexually exploiting children to run gay conversion camps. All that pales into insignificance when you discover they use their own email servers.

German court reveals reason for Europe-wide patent system freeze

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Re: So it seems the heat of the EPO is a autocratic Ahole of the first order

I think he is doing an excellent job of screwing up the patent system. Can I vote him a second term in office?

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Re: "next time we conquer Europe"

Who is "we", and how much progress has already been made?

Boffins blast beats to bury secret sonar in your 'smart' home

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Re: ban hard switched

IIRC, cell phones are required not to have a physical switch to disconnect the microphone because 1984 was being used as an instruction manual.

What weighs 800kg and runs Windows XP? How to buy an ATM for fun and profit

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Re: TheElder

Next time you buy groceries, take a look at the cash register. Over here, there is a box with a card reader and a numeric key pad. The box connects to the cash register through a wire. The wire goes behind the register - presumably through a hidden key logger - before connecting to register somewhere dark and hard to examine.

The only way to be sure is a specialised payment device (not a phone / camera / music / video / torch / game / thermometer / web browser / Geiger counter / cat toy / address book / diary / taxi finder). The specialised device needs a display to show who is getting paid, how much (and if possible, what for) and a key pad (not a severed finger or eyeball scanner - even if almost every thief knows that a live finger is required.) The device needs a network connection, but minimal storage so there is no excuse for the TLAs to demand your pin.

Sorry, but those huge walls of terms and conditions you never read are legally binding

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Re: Proof of click?

I clicked "cancel" once and the software installed anyway. To avoid possible arguments in future, I kill the install process.

HBO Game Of Thrones leak: Four 'techies' arrested in India

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Re: I might watch it sometime

There are tits, blood and lots of death but there is a plot. There will be 8 seasons. 1-6 currently costs ~£60. There is an unlimited supply of free tits on the internet so they do not add any value, but I think the plot is easily worth the money.

hiQ prevails / LinkedIn must allow scraping / Of your page info

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Will no-one think of the robots.txt

"authorization" is required to access the public profile pages on LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/robots.txt is very clear. Near the end is:

User-agent: *

Disallow: /

Dismayed by woeful AI chatbots, boffins hired real people – and went back to square one

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When a human fails a Turing test

It often means the tester has unrealistic expectations for the abilities of AI.

The fact that ELIZA has passed a Turing test shows that the results say at least as much about the tester as the subject.

Kremlin's hackers 'wield stolen NSA exploit to spy on hotel guests in Europe, Mid East'

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Re: Richest, best educated

Qatar or Canada?

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Re: Curious to know

antiword thing.doc >thing.txt

Place your bets: How long will 1TFLOPS HPE box last in space without proper rad hardening

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Re: Lockstep RIP

What to do when radiation bit flips the hypervisor? Obvious: run three hypervisors in virtual machines and compare their output...

World's largest private submarine in mystery sink accident

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There are worse ways to sink a submarine

The old story was much funnier. Sometimes there is a downside to checking wakipedia before posting, as there is some evidence that the internet has been unfair to Captain Schlitt.

Horsemen of the disk-drive apocalypse will ride upon 256TB SSDs

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Re: Storage tiers

Very true, but the thing I never see mentioned: (R&D+NRE)/(market size)

As disks get bigger you do not need as many. Making disks bigger costs R&D and probably NRE. While this is happening, flash is eating the small end of the market. At some point, the cost of disks is going to rise and the cost of flash will rise to match until the profit margins tempt new manufacturers.

Can GCHQ order techies to work as govt snoops? Experts fear: 'Yes'

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Re: "threats about what would happen if they revealed its existence"

Secret policeman: This is a warrant requiring you to ...

Reseacher: Wait! Telling anyone about those warrants is illegal. Are you sure you want to complete that sentence?


Clerk of the court: You are charged with failure to comply with ...

Reseacher: Wait! ...

It goes down hill from there. Hands up everyone who has ever seen a warrant (my hand is up). Keep your hand up if you could tell just by looking at it is a warrant is genuine (my hand is down). If it is a fake, you can seek legal advice to find out if it is real. If not, getting advice is a crime. Complying with a fake warrant to install malware is crime. Imagine you get caught obeying a genuine warrant - you cannot mention the warrant as part of you defence without breaking the law.

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Re: What if...

Firing a skilled employee does not execute the warrant. There might not be a large number of appropriately skilled employees. What happens when there are none left?

So you're thinking about becoming an illegal hacker – what's your business plan?

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Correct number is three

Act as a man in the middle between your colleagues and pretend to each that you are the other. On retirement day dob them both in and hope they blame each other. Get it right and it still works if both your colleagues are doing the same, even if one of them retires first.

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Are there any security researchers left in the UK?

I thought May made security research illegal.

Samsung drops 128TB SSD and kinetic-type flash drive bombshells

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The millibit/second strikes again!

From context, it is clear that the dies are 1Tb and stacking 8 or 16 of them makes a 1TB or 2TB chip. Is the big SSD 1Tb or 1TB?

(On a good day, modem speeds are quoted as up to X millibits/second because marketing do not know that mega is abbreviated with an M not an m. Likes b for bits and B for bytes. On a bad day speeds are quoted as up to Xmb with a secret time period - presumably per galactic year.)

If we're in a simulation, someone hit it with a hammer, please: Milky Way spews up to 100 MEELLLION black holes

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No, they are a quick way to become tall and thin


Engineer gets 18 months in the clink for looting ex-bosses' FTP server

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18 months for incompetent opsec

The Register has covered a tutorial for this sort of thing already. If you must use someone else's business proposal, put it through the encheferizer first.

Microsoft dumps mobility from its Vision

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What would a fair headline be?

Q1 2017 installed base is 81% Android, 19% iOS and (because of rounding error) 1% Others. Q1 sales are 0.1% for Windows Phone.

Gov workers told their social posts are more believable than politicians' statements

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Document's author in breach of code of conduct

"The Code’s behavioural standards are directed at securing public confidence in the integrity of the Australian Public Service"

"As an employee of your agency, people will assume that you have a high level of knowledge about what your agency does."

The author of the guide has just broken the code by implying that employees do not have knowledge of what their agency does.

Forget Iran and North Korea. Now there's another uranium source

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Re: Voyna i Mor

"There is no centrifugal (i.e. outward) force to be found anywhere."

When the giant hamster wheel spins what is the direction that Mr Bond's body/corpse applies to the wheel?

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Re: Newton's third law

A great deal would depend on the question, for example:

Durham interviewer: "Why does heat transfer across a temperature gradient?"

Anonymous Coward: "Centrifugal force!"

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Re: Newton's third law

Whenever I read about someone complaining about centrifugal force, I find myself wondering if the person in question knows as much as they claim.

Imagine holding a piece of string with a rock glued to the other end. The Earth's gravity pulls the rock down. The rocks gravity pulls the Earth up. The rock pulls down on the string and the string pulls up on the rock. The string pulls down on your hand and your hand pulls up on the string.

Spin the rock round in circles - you are providing a centripetal force that curves the rock's motion into a circle. The rock provides a centrifugal force pulling on your hand.

In the article, the spin of a neutron star increases because matter moves into a black hole in the middle. Gravity provides the centripetal force required to curve the motion of the outside of the neutron star into a circle. While the star holds together, there must be an equal an opposite force preventing collapse. That is centrifugal force provided by the spin. The spin increases until centrifugal force exceeds gravity, at which point the star breaks up.

Centrifugal force is an example of an inertial force (a force proportional to mass). From another (Einstein's) point of view, inertial forces are artifacts created by selecting an accelerating reference frame. Astronauts in a rocket with the engines on experience a force like gravity because they are in an accelerating reference frame. A motor cyclist riding inside a wall of death experiences a force like gravity because he is in an accelerating (rotating) reference frame. People on Earth think that they experience gravity, but gravity is an inertial force. Although you think you are sitting still in your arm chair, you are really in an accelerating reference frame. Centrifugal force is an inertial force that results from selecting an accelerating reference frame and is just as real/unreal as gravity.

Send mixed messages: Mozilla wants you to try its encrypted file sharing

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Re: Salted hash

Just tested appending 8 bytes to an image of a young goat. The sha512sum changed but the image displayed correctly. Should work for cat videos too. Clearly the only solution is for May to ban all image and video display software.

Mid-flight jumbo font smartphone text shock sparks kid abuse arrests

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Danger: rational thought was banned decades ago

Life of Brian was banned in Ireland, Malaysia, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, parts of Germany, Scotland, some towns in the US and several counties in the UK. (The Aberystwyth ban was eventually cancelled by Judith Iscariot.)

WannaCry-killer Marcus Hutchins denies Feds' malware claims

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Re: Guilty

Saying anything other than "Lawyer please" and "no comment" during a police interview is a crime: "lying to the police". Even if you know what every law is, never broken any of them and answer truthfully, the officer can still fail to remember your exact words when he writes his interview report.

The other fun part of being a foreigner released on bail in the US: no work permit. You will be stuck there for months waiting for a court date.

Google drops poker face, allows gambling apps on Play Store

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Re: There are only two kinds of people in the world.

Those that understand gambler's fallacy and gamblers.

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