* Posts by Flocke Kroes

2646 posts • joined 19 Oct 2007

Astronauts on long-haul space flights risk getting 'space brains'

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Re Donald / Boris

I just did a web search for "Farage Trump". Do not try this at home unless you have a bucket handy to catch the vomit.

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Re: Get Real..

I have set up several email servers and still use them. This is a techie site, so I am sure many of the commentards here have done done likewise. Reading the friendly manual and following the instructions is so simple that even a Republican could do it. It is so convenient to be able to send emails from inside my own software without having to curl my way through some web interface that changes with the phase of the moon. Imagine you work in an environment where clueless colleagues could send you unencrypted classified documents. Gmail and Hotmail simply would not be an option.

Please go and work for Trump - and not get paid. While your at it, do some quick web searches for Trump hotel in Russia, Paul Manafort, Trump illegal deals with Cuba, Pam Bondi, the Trump foundation bribing Attorney Generals and Trump University.

Leap second scheduled for New Year's Eve 2016

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Re: Another already

Some twit put a big rock into orbit that goes round once per month slowing down the planet. The rock speeds up, orbits higher up and the extra circumference means it takes more time to go around the Earth. Eventually, each day will be a moonth long. The temporary solution is migration towards the poles. By moving closer to the axis of rotation you will make the Earth spin faster. If you take you really big oil tanker from the equator to the north pole you will speed up the Earth by about one second every ten million years.

FT journo roasts channel leaders for spouting bullshit

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Re: Crazy People

For those who do not get the reference.

Don't panic, but a 'computer error' cut the brakes on a San Francisco bus this week

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Re: Shouldn't they have a 'safe' failure mode?

2nd worst. You forgot/repressed the sequel.

Hubble telescope spies massive 'cannonballs' of fire from dying star

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Astrobreaking in progress

Kicking a planet sized of mass forward really fast during periastron reduces the companion star's velocity, apastron and orbital period. The loss of mass should be small compared to V Hydrae, so these cannon balls should get fired more and more often until the companion's orbit becomes circular. At that point the firing becomes continuous and the companion drops deeper and deeper into V Hydrae. V Hydrae should become more oblate - more mass pulling it tighter, but more spin provided by the companion.

We will not live long enough to see this happen, but now astronomers know what to look for, they should be able to find similar stars further along the same process.

'Please label things so I can tell the difference between a mouse and a microphone'

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Back when hard disks were expensive extras ...

A customer complained that the hard disk didn't work. He knew it didn't work because file access hadn't got any faster. After a few minutes of confused conversation, I discovered that the files being accessed were on floppy disk. After a reasonably short explanation of copying files to the hard disk and accessing them from there, I had a contented customer (he was unhappy that this was not explained in the installation manual for the disk). The customer was not thick - explaining the solution went far more smoothly than I expected. He had read the manual, and it did not explain what a hard disk is, and that files have to be stored there for it to do anything useful.

The problem was the transition from computers being exclusively for techies to being a device used by computer illiterates whose illiteracy was far beyond the understanding of techies.

Now for the really difficult problems I have with computer illiterates:

1) Type date<enter>. Look at the number of seconds. Count to three. Look at the number of seconds. See that a terminal emulator shows a record of past interactions that are not updated. Demonstrate this every week for months. The user still complains that old contents of a terminal window are not up to date.

2) Two websites need to be updated with the same information. For the one I set up, user types one word<enter> and it is done - correctly every week. The other one I have no control over and uses wordpress. It requires about 30 seconds of typing/clicking, 3 minutes of waiting for the browser to update. One step is typing most of the file name and using tab completion to ensure it is typed correctly. The user will not use tab completion. The user types the file name wrong about one time in four. The shell says no such file, but she carries on regardless. The user looks at a blank text editor, realises something is wrong, and types shell commands into the editor expecting something to happen. (The file has to be damaged so wordpress can understand it, then she can use xclip to type it in). Has anyone successfully explained that typing shell commands into a text editor doesn't work?

Bloke gets six years in slammer after fessing up to £4.75m tax scam

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Think it through

If they catch him early, they can only claim to have caught say £100,000 of fraud. It won't make the headlines, and getting the money back would be simpler as he would have less time to hide the money. By waiting an extra year or two, they show that they are hauling in a big fish, and can employ a whole team for a year to track the money and bring it back.

In the mean time, a thousand commentards are I thinking "What a clueless twit - I could do it much better and retire in Brazil before they catch on." We will be reading about one of them five years from now. Excuse we while I get back to my paperless NHS software scam proposal.

Prime Minister May hints at shaking up Blighty's 'dysfunctional' rural broadband

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Re: UK Prime Minister Theresa May has suggested her government could intervene in failing markets

If transport is broken then they will have to start with something closer to home, like government.

Criticize Donald Trump, get your site smashed offline from Russia

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Re: If this asshat gets elected..

Donald and team know he is clueless and intended to push all decisions down to his VP like Bush/Cheney. The promise to any potential VP was that they would the effective power of president, with the bonus that legally responsibility has to remain with Trump. A VP should at least bring in a marginal state, or preferably a demographic that brings in multiple states. The biggest single demographic is women (53% of votes cast in a normal election - more if a woman or a misogenist is a candidate). The Republican's postmortem from their last defeat concluded they needed to get more votes from hispanics. Donald can drive women away by simply talking, there is the wall for hispanics, and as a bonus, Trump was found guilty of not renting apartments to black people. There are young Republican hispanics, and women who could have blunted some of Trump's negatives as VP candidates. Oprah was asked and said no. So did Nikki Haley, Condoleezza Rice, Susana Martinez, Mary Fallin, Susan Collins, Jan Brewer, John Kasich, Joni Ernst, Bob Corker, Lt Gen Stanley McChrystal. Chris Christie dropped out of the primaries early to be Trump's waiter and Donald would have picked him, but the family said no (Christie put Ivanka's father-in-law in prison). Donald wanted to pick Lt Gen Michael Flynn, but the party said no democrats.

So Donald had to grudgingly announce his final final first choice for VP was Mike Pence - with "You Can’t Always Get What You Want" playing in the background. As an old white man, Pence brings no new votes and as a bonus is about as popular with gays as Rick Santorum.

Judging by past performance, President Pence would: have schools teach the benefits of smoking (except marijuana), that coal and oil have no effect on climate, that queer bashing is socially acceptable and intelligent design is backed by scientific evidence. He is also against condoms and in favour of NAFTA, guns in schools and aids.

On Tuesday, he gets to defend Trump and attack Clinton live on television in front of an audience of thousands of committed Republicans and Democrats (undecideds rarely bother with the vice presidential debate).

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@Little John

You may have difficulty, but the rest of us can spot a narcisist when he displays the symptoms so clearly. We do not normally commit narcisists to mental institutions - unless you count the house of commons here or the senate/congress there. Narcisists are skilled at persuation, but not good at signing cheques on pay day.

Have you considered driving for Uber?

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Value of the Trump name

Bookings falling at Trump Hotels. Donald may have to let blacks visit. Perhaps Putin will allow a Trump Tower in Moscow.

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Don't worry ... Trump does it himself

During the debate, Trump said very little about Alicia Machado. The most memorable line was "Where did you find this?" (It is in a book he "wrote"). Afterwards, Trump went on a Twitter rant. Clearly he did a porn search, found lot of results but did not understand that occasionally the porn industry is not completely honest about who is in their videos.

During the debate Trump also falsely claims to have been against Iraq war 2 from the start. He also claimed that Hillary's staff started the "Obama not born in the US" lies and the he stopped his birtherism claims on September 2016 because Obama published his birth certificate in 2011. (Trump has a real problem with dates, blaming Hillary for things done by President Cheney Bush.)

I am sure we can expect a continuous stream of anti-Trump stories direct from the man himself all the way up to the election.

Ludicrous Patent of the Week: Rectangles on a computer screen

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I'm all against patents...

Patent offices think that independent review done for free by volunteers in their spare time is an excellent method of finding prior art. They feigned shock where no-one bothered. It is almost as if people were not willing to risk the triple damages for wilful infringement that the possibility of glancing at a patent causes.

Lets fund medical research by creating a shortage of medicines!

One-way Martian ticket: Pick passengers for Musk's first Mars pioneer squad

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Re: Brexitters

The Brexits could have left Europe any time they wanted, but they are still here.

User couldn't open documents or turn on PC, still asked for reference as IT expert

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Re: Plugs....

In the days before USB, devices were either Data Terminal Equipment or Data Communication Equipment. If by some miracle they had the same number of pins on the connector, they could in theory be jammed together to communicate. In real life, a simple straight through cable with connectors of different genders at each end was required. Sometimes someone would need to connect DTE to DTE. This requires a cable with the same gender on each end, but most of the connections crossed (eg Txd to Rxd). With great care and determination it was possible to buy null modem cables that did this.

Then came "gender changers" - the same gender on each end, but wired straight through. Take a standard serial cable, add a gender changer and you can physically connect two PCs, and get really frustrated because they cannot transfer data. There were cables sold by computer distributors with "Null Modem Cable" written on the label, but wired straight through.

At about that time, ethernet design was just as bad. All cables had the same gender on each end. Computer to switch/hub required a straight through cable. Computer to computer required a cross over cable and some hubs had a port wired like a computer for connection to another hub.

After years of this rubbish, it became obvious to everyone in the industry how to design network cables: same gender on each end - cross over. Different gender on each end straight through. So what does Intel do with USB? Return to the DTE/DCE crap so that devices would not be able to talk directly to each other without an (Intel) PC. And what a surprise: USB gender changers turn up - just as useless as they were in the days of RS232.

Want to connect two computers by USB? You needed a chip hidden in each connector that converts USB to RS232 and back, plus PPP to turn it into a network connection. The cable looks just like a USB-A to USB-A, and some distributors think it is clever to save money by missing the chips out.

Next time you are having difficulty remaining calm and patient in the face of an ID10T error, remember it took us 18 years to get from USB-1 to USB-C.

But is it safe? Uncork a bottle of vintage open-source FUD

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Missed the really big question

Does it do what you want?

For something not accessible over the internet, that is the only question that matters. Perhaps it won't do what you want next year, but if you never bothered to check you just delayed the expense of finding out for a year.

If it is accessible over the internet, a good question is "Could someone exploit a flaw in this software to steal millions from other companies who have been making this software accessible over the internet for years?" If the answer is yes, then the continued existence of those companies demonstrates that criminals have easier targets, so the software is secure enough for the revenue it currently handles.

The questions I personally like are: Can I download the source code, read a relatively short README.TXT, follow this instructions to compile the software, and run a self test that works and requires more than 0.001 seconds of CPU time to complete? Can I find the bit that does something interesting, read some clear, up-to-date and relevant comments, add a minimal extra feature, compile and test without the whole thing falling to pieces?

Raspberry Pi adds PIXEL eye candy to desktop

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Re: slippery slope of bloat

Already fell off that cliff. First up, imagine a barely coherent snarling rant at the latest ½bit who covered the handy boot up diagnostics with another useless picture. Next up, soon after LXDE->XFCE, I delete the icons and task bar.

Icons are inaccessible because there is a terminal emulator on top. The task bar takes space that limits the width/height/font of terminal emulators. Starting a terminal emulator is done by right clicking on a terminal emulator (or a virtual desktop if it is not yet completely covered in terminal emulators.)

It is almost as if ½bits do not understand that the purpose of a GUI is so you can see all the terminal emulators for a task at the same time, and switch to different virtual desktops when you are doing multiple unrelated tasks.

Add 'fattism' and hacker stereotyping to the list of Donald Trump's list of non-PC positions

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Re: "Better to remain silent..."

Hillary has inherited and improved Narwhal. Narwhal crushed ORCA. Trump has not inherited ORCA. He does have some people working on new get-out-the-vote software, but he does not consider it that important, has given it minimal funding, and people with a clue are not lining up to work on it because they do not want to be associated with the inevitable spectacular failure.

When it comes to absurd sitcoms, Trump has the most experience, with the apprentice and world wrestling entertainment. There aren't enough ignorant old white men to elect Trump. His second rate election team have been fired, and third raters only join his campaign if it will be their last before retirement. Clinton has a skilled and experience campaign team of about 1500 paid staff plus lots of volunteers. Trump's team (about 500 remain) thinks that Scotland, Mexico and Israel are battleground states.

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Re: Trump Taxes

There could be an explanation for the focus.

When Trump University (The one Trump said got an A from the Better Business Bureau.) was attracting investigations by district attorneys in several states, Pam Bondi received $25,000 from the Trump Foundation.

Clearly the IRS will not settle for a one-off bribe.

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Re: National Disgrace

"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."

A Einstein.

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Trump Taxes

The obvious way for Trump to legally pay no taxes is to qualify as a real estate professional. One of the requirements is that Trump would have to spend more time on real estate related work than on other tasks like candidate for Republican presidential nominee, or presidential candidate. Trump has spent plenty of time fund raising for his presidential bid. Sufficient that if he dropped out now and spent the rest of the year working real estate he would still not qualify for most of the tax concessions available to real estate professionals. For Trump, that is about $400M.

The US banks have been burned by Trump bankruptcies, and will not lend him money. Deutsche Bank are worried about getting back what he currently owes them, so they will not advance him more. There are $300M of loans to Trump unaccounted for. My bet I is on the European Russian Bank. Trump wont get his extra $400M from the ERB as their owners, the First Czech-Russian Bank, recently had their license revoked by the Russians because they had no assets.

If Trump is really interested in emails, he should go after the 22 million emails that were deleted from the Bush administration's servers when Congress tried to subpoena evidence about the reasons for Iraq War Version 2.

Sinclair fans rejoice: ZX Spectrum Vega+ to launch October 20

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Re: adapted ARM core or 8051 and increased clock speed

The 8051 compatible core you are likely to find in a modern SDHC card will probably have a 32bit ALU, 24 bit address bus and run at several hundred MHz. The architecture has evolved massively beyond the device with 128 bytes of RAM that I programmed in hand-optimised assembly language when I was a PFY. I would expect a modern 8051 compatible to be able to compile Z80 machine code into native, keep track of the amount of time a 3.5MHz Z80 would take, execute the result and still have plenty of time to spare to emulate the minimal hardware in a Spectrum. People really have put a ton of lipstick on the old 8051 pig.

Apparently Mike put an entire Spectrum on an FPGA three years ago. Clock accurate emulation of a Spectrum dates back to 200MHz Pentiums, Acorn RISC, 68020 and DEC Alpha. Try playing with QEMU some time. I think you will be shocked at how good CPU emulation has become.

Scrapped NHS care.data ballsup cost taxpayer almost £8m

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NHS Budget

The National Audit Office publishes the NHS budget along with a bunch of other handy pages for debunking politicians. £8.1M is about 36 minutes of the annual budget, or nearly 4 hours of the weekly £350M that the Brexits haven't diverted to the NHS.

I must admit that I am shocked. I expect government IT projects to reach over £100M before being scrapped. Some one has clearly made the others look bad, and will shortly be moved to the office with the funny smell.

Intel, Lenovo officially gone to the dogs – with FIDO fingerprint logins

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Leave the house, close the door - oops, I just left my password on the door handle. Get on the bus, pay the fair - oops, I just wrote my password on a coin that I gave to the driver. Go shopping, touch the 'I brought my own bags' icon - oops...

Now that I have left my password everywhere, I had better change it. There is only one place biometrics should be used: people should only be allowed into the house of commons if they have the hand or eye of an MP.

Uni student cuffed for 'hacking professor's PC to change his grades'

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Re: It's always "hacking"

Plenty of systems keep the password in plain text. The first place to check is the post-it notes on the monitor. If your target makes an effort to keep their password secret, look under the keyboard.

Forgive me, father, for I have used an ad-blocker on news websites...

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Re: Forbes

I have come across Forbes twice. First time I was told it was a magazine for "executive bathroom user wannabes". The second time was early in the SCO vs The World litigation. Apparently Forbes' regular IT correspondents would not cover the case because SCO's allegations were complete fiction. Rob Enderle proudly stepped up and said he had not problem presenting Darl's deluded diatribes as world changing news. Later he wrote something promising to be an apology for writing tripe. Instead he crowed about how he used the vast number of corrections he received about his tripe as evidence that he was bringing traffic to the site. At least some of the other journalists writing that SCO were going to win big were genuinely gullible ignorant fools. Forbes knew better, but decided to publish Enderle anyway.

I thought the whole ad/block war had moved on. These days, the article is the advert. Some sites employ an Enderle clone who can bring in some decent revenue for writing rubbish that some industry wants to pass off as journalism. Others receive offers of artiverts written by guest writers. One of these writers has addressed the need to warn people about the terrible and rarely recognised danger from ponies.

Victoria Police warn of malware-laden USB sticks in letterboxes

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Depends on the provider, but some are after bug reports, patches and donations to cover the cost of distribution.

Wow, RIP hackers ... It's Cyber-Lord Blunkett to the rescue for UK big biz

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From outside the UK, the people you are likely to see representing the UK government are politicians from the house of commons. These are usually loud, because the need media attention to get elected, and ignorant because of the danger of letting anyone with a clue hold real power. They are only one third of the government. Another third is the house of lords. A few of them inherited their title, the others are often ex-members of the house of commons pushed into the other house to make way for someone less competent. A few members of the house of lords actually ask the right questions and get the worst of the house of commons' legislation delayed a year or two. The other third is the civil service - like the US presidents staff, but not replaced with the president. This lot are in theory responsible for implementing the policy dreamed up by the house of commons, but in practice keep everything pretty much as it has been for decades. For a more in depth understanding of UK politics, try the "Yes, Minister" TV series.

In the UK Cyber-Lord is the leader of an army of human brains in metal suits who stomp about saying "Delete".

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Mixed bag

The requirements do include some bits that are sensible and practical, and some that are neither. Take care to read to the end of each section before flaming. There is a cop-out for most of the over-broad requirements that reduce them to practicality or irrelevance. Careful choice for the definitions of undefined terms can make several requirements anywhere between practical and ineffective. Here are the howlers:

A subset of 8 character passwords are considered secure.

Administrative accounts should be configured to require a password change on a regular basis (e.g. at least every 60 days). - someone hasn't read the memo.

Administrative accounts should not be granted access to email or the internet (Diverting mail sent to an administrative account to the appropriate user account is simple and practical. If a sysadmin cannot fake From: and Reply-to: for the replies then he should RTFM promptly. What I do not get is how to prevent someone with administrative access getting around any restriction to internet access on an internet connected device.)

There is a long list of references to other standards that are not referenced in the text. This is where I expected to find requirements that effectively specify a particular brand of software. As they are not referenced, I would assume they are not requirements for certification.

There are two other documents: a questionaire and something about what to do with the answers. I am sure someone else will critique them before I get back.

Summary: vague woolly and the blind leading the apathetic.

Samsung intros super-speedy consumer SSDs, 'fastest M.2s ever'

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I want to get WORMs when my spinning disks die.

WORM allows smaller cell sizes (costs endurance that isn't needed any more), more bits per cell (hits endurance again) and does not require significant over-provisioning. Combined, that should reduce to price to the point where solid state reliability is worth the extra money. My plan is to put new files on a 128GB SSD. When it gets over 80% full, copy the oldest 30GB to the WORM and replace those files on the SSD with symbolic links. Backups remain on the surviving spinning disks that only spin up for the backup.

This won't suit everyone, but if your use case has files getting modified, then becoming stable but still accessed for years then you might want to get WORMs too.

Target lost, Cruz missile misses: Ted's ICANN crusade is basically over

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Re: In other words

Imagine having to write on your CV: Lost party's presidential nomination to Donald Trump.

Non-doms pay 10 times more in income tax than average taxpayer group

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If you add in national insurance, VAT and council tax you are probably paying over 50% already.

Jeff Bezos' thrusting cylinder makes Elon Musk's look minuscule

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Four big choices

Falcon heavy demo 1 is scheduled for early 2017. Senate launch System first test launch planned for November 2018, New Glenn before 2020 and Long March 9 in 2025.

Anyone want to bet on the next big rocket (after Saturn V) to have a successful launch?

Perhaps I didn't see the last man on the moon.

'Oi! El Reg! Stop pretending Microsoft has a BSOD monopoly!'

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Black screens of death

7 working scan-it-yourself POS terminals out of about 20 (and 3 of those 7 tried to short change me last week). Most had a big 'No Entry' sign, which I presume means the software is sufficiently alive and kicking to understand it should say the terminal is broken. There were some Windows dialog boxes saying 'I should have sent an email to the appropriate techy explaining the problem so he can ssh in and fix it, but instead I am going to spew my guts onto the screen and invite any passers-by to poke things with interesting consequences because the committee of clueless twits who specced my OS are too thick to understand that not all computers can rely on friendly humans being near by'.

The last two were the ones with black screens of death: UEFI saying "I bet you wish you had used a Pi now"

The real stupidity prize goes to the customers who thought it would be sensible to form a queue at the entrance to the scan-it-yourself section instead of walking past the obviously broken ones to the point where they would be able to see 4 working terminals ready and waiting.

World eats its 10 millionth Raspberry Pi

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Re: I thought I'd buy one to try when they first came out..

$80-$150 x86 - I have one. It has an uptime measure in hours. The Pi's uptime depends on the next power cut, so months.

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Re: Auntie sulking a bit?

IIRC he said something like "I will make the same machine for half the price"

Brexit? We have heard of this, says Dixons Carphone CEO

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Re: Hang on. ...

The lull will keep going.

1) Us: "Lets talk about Brexit". Them: "You haven't activated article 50"

2) Us: "A50 done. Now lets talk about Brexit". Them: "No rush, the deadline is 2 years away"

3) Us: "The deadline is approaching, and we do not want to get stuck with just the WTO treaties". Them "Would you like an extension?"

4) Us: "Extension please". Foreach(member of EU) {"We want "+consession[member]}

5) Us: "We might go for some of them, but not all". Them: "An extension requires unanimous agreement. Agree to everything or we will ask for more"

6) Us: Cancel A50, and delay a referendum until the older Brexits are dead || fall back on WTO || accept whatever shit the EU dumps on us.

I was expected a longer shouting match about who would be PM, so the politicians are make prompt regress with Brexit.

Tesla driver dies after Model S hits tree

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Re: clickbaity

Come on, you can do better (and Betteridge's law is clickrepellent):

Killer tree threatens firemen with electrocution

Musk machine arborbreaking attempt ends in RUD

UK Parliament's back for Snoopers' Charter. Former head of GCHQ talks to El Reg

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Re: The role of mass surveillance in fighting cybercrime cannot be understated

Of course there is evidence. The purpose of legalising hacking for GCHQ is so they can plant their manufactured evidence.

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@Doctor Syntax

"innocence until proven guilty has no veracity in a court of law" is not grounds for an appeal. A criminal court requires proof beyond reasonable doubt. A magistrate's court only requires the preponderance of evidence. If you are not guilty, but someone wants to abuse the legal system against you, then the accusation will change from crime (prosecution by the state in front of a judge with some legal qualifications) to civil offence (prosecution by an individual or company in front of a magistrate), and the evidence will be "because I said so".

"Innocent until proven guilty" is the wrong target anyway. We should be aiming for "innocent unless proven guilty". In real life, we have bail conditions which are a sentence against the accused before any evidence is heard.

Japan's Brexit warning casts shadow over Softbank ARM promises

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Theresa May has been saying no second referendum? Politicians have a different idea about factual statements and promises than ordinary people. So, when is this second referendum going to be announced?

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Re: inmypjs

I thought the EU was a democracy.

Nul points: PM May's post-Brexit EU immigration options

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Re: How we leave should be ...

How we leave should be as we agreed when we joined: Trigger article 50, negotiate a leaving strategy agreement and a continuing relationship agreement with EU representatives for up to two years. When the two years are almost up, either beg for an extension from every member state (requires unanimous agreement for an extension), or admit it was all a stupid mistake and stop trying to leave.

The rest of the EU have watched us glue a bomb to our back, and will not start negotiating until we jump off the ship and start the timer. It is in the interest of every other member state to take their time so we end up having to buy an extension from all of them individually. Article 50 was intended to be a complete disaster for any nation that invokes it.

If the UK decides to forget about its contractual obligations, and makes a plan based on a compromise acceptable to the majority of clueless twits in the house of commons or a 'wisdom of the crowd' series of referendums then no-one is going to take any trade agreement we proposed seriously.

The simplest solution is for our government to do what they do best: argue with each other incessantly about things that do not matter. More Brexits are old than remainers. Wait a few years for people to die, and when the spilt reaches 49/51 we can dump Brexit and find some less dangerous topic for our politicians to argue about. If Brexits really want to leave the EU, their is nothing to stop them getting a boat or plane ticket to whatever non-EU country will take them.

HSBC: How will we verify business banking customers? Selfies!

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Re: I doubt they are all security experts

Clearly 20% of customers have at least a minimal understanding of security.

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You do not have to

Get a photo of your victim off fecalbook and open an account in his name. Get a loan and buy some bitcoins.

Windows Update borks PowerShell – Microsoft won't fix it for a week

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I thought the sequence was ...

Ready... Fire... AIM!

Watch the world's biggest 'flying bum' go arse over tit in a crash

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Almost impossible to create?

Helium is relatively easy to create. It is a by-product in the manufacture of tritium, and a waste product of experimental fusion reactors. Manufacturing elements is expensive and only worth the trouble if the element does not exist naturally and has a profitable / military use. Even collecting naturally occurring Helium is not worth the effort - unless someone creates a market for it by, for example, flying giant airships.

NIST spins atomic gyroscope to allow navigation without GPS

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Re: That's a rather accurate scale to weigh out 8 million Rb atoms...

Instead of thinking of rubidium metal oxidising on a microbalance, think about a liquid helium cooled vacuum chamber contaminated with a hint of rubidium gas.

Microsoft, Lenovo cross-licensing love-in: Android mobes knocked up with... Office apps

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Re: I see no crux

The threat is 'Buy a license for MS Office for all Android phones or your marketing support funds for Windows disappears'. Windows costs too much to install on a new PC, but qualifying OEMs get marketing support cash that effectively reduces the cost to competitive levels. To qualify, the OEM must do something like install Windows on all laptops, or discontinue small cheap computers. Marketing cash is a trick to avoid anti-trust regulations about changing the price of your product depending on the obedience or the re-seller.

When something is good, it can be sold to customers. When it is bad, it is sold to businesses. When it is broken, the government buys it. Clearly MS Office is sufficiently non-functional that businesses will not bundle it without credible threats, but not yet so thoroughly broken that it requires a state mandate to force people to pay for it.

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