* Posts by Flocke Kroes

1981 posts • joined 19 Oct 2007

Apple faces Beijing blackout for iPhone 6

Flocke Kroes
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Re: Look to Samsung

Do you have any evidence Samsung suffered from losing a chip fab contract with Apple? I found some speculation that they might, but the journalist only gave 50/50 odds on that speculation, and he believed Samsung could find other work for their fabs. I saw some speculation that Samsung would delay opening one of their new fabs, but with hindsight, we see it started production in good time. Samsung also invested $3.5billion in a fab in Texas, and $14billion in a new fab in Korea. Hardly the actions of a company worried about lack of orders.

Apple may make a vast amount of money, but they do not make that many phones. Samsung sell far more than Apple, and a wide range of other kit too. Apple are notorious for demanding low prices from sub-contractors. Loss of a supply contract with Apple probably boosted Samsung's profits. The best way to suffer from losing an Apple contract is if you do an exclusive deal like GT Advanced Technologies. (Apple used to buy displays from Samsung. When they stopped, quality problems with iPhone displays hit the news, followed by Apple doing a deal with GT to make Sapphire glass).

This patent spat in Beijing is a storm in a teacup compared to Apple vs Samsung, but it couldn't happen to a more deserving company. (Unicode has a square with rounded corners: ▢. Is there a reason for lack of a similar rectangle?)

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BOFH: Follow the paper trail

Flocke Kroes
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Re: "black A4 photocopy paper"

There was a proposal to save money (and the environment) by missing out the bleach stage of recycling paper, then fill ink jet printer cartridges with bleach. I think the results would have been boring black and white reports transformed with pretty colours and the price per gram of bleach competing with iridium.

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SpaceX winning streak meets explosive end

Flocke Kroes
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@joed

I rather expected Falcon 9 to use gimbaled engines for thrust vectoring. I did not find utterly conclusive evidence with a quick web search. I did find the kestrel engine (Falcon 1 upper stage) used gimbals. As Falcon 9 upper stage has only one Merlin 1D engine, it cannot steer by reducing thrust from the engines on one side. One of the new features of the Merlin 1D is 70%-100% thrust control, so Falcon 9s that flew with Merlin 1C and earlier needed some kind of vectored thrust that could not be done by selecting different power outputs to each engine on stage one. Wikipedia lists some other methods for thrust vectoring. We can rule out some of them because the parts would be visible. Also you can buy a thrust vector control actuator designed for Merlin 1 engines here. I do not know if these parts were selected by SpaceX, or exactly where they would go.

The three engines used for landing are also among the nine used for lift-off. If one of the three is not working properly for landing then it quite possible that two of the six not used for landing are broken too. I was surprised to find that the software did not look for other working engines to land safely. Stage one is programmed to continue with 8 if one fails on the way up (This has happened, but getting to the right orbit used too much fuel from stage 2 to complete the mission safely, so customer cancelled the rest of the flight.)

Falcon 9 v1.1 first stage has 30% bigger fuel tank than v1.0. The extra capacity is for experimental landing at sea. The extra fuel and liquid oxygen costs about $60,000, and a complete launch costs about $60,000,000. I do not have separate figures for the price of an empty satge 1, the cost of launching it and the cost of sailing it back home. No-one has an accurate figure for the price of testing and preparing a recovered stage 1 for a second flight, but hopefully SpaceX will find out this year.

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Patent trolls, innovation and Brexit: What the FT won't tell you

Flocke Kroes
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@apr004

I think one of the problems with patents in Europe is that they are not nearly expensive enough. Having to repeat the same actions in every country in Europe is one of the few benefits of the current system. Perhaps you would like to post a few of your patent numbers so the rest of us commentards can tell you how much we think you should have paid to get them granted.

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Flocke Kroes
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Re: Few problems with this....

By itself, 325979 patent grants in 2015 is sufficient evidence that the US patent system is a barrier to innovation.

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Linux devs open up universal Ubuntu Snap packages to other distros

Flocke Kroes
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What is the advantage of snap over static linking?

Decades ago, static linking included only the parts of each library that an application used, and as it was not limited to position independent code, the compiler could pick a more efficient sequence of instructions. Also, when a flaw was found in a library, each application that was statically linked to it had to recompiled against the updated library instead of just updating a shared library that applications linked to at run time.

Now we have snap, developers can combine all the disadvantages of static and shared linking. Why bother?

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Explicit Intel 'Beach' pics 'leaked': All eyeballs on Optane SSD roadmap

Flocke Kroes
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Intel product names ...

Are intended to cause confusion. You are supposed to read an excellent review with impressive benchmarks, then when you try to buy something it must be almost impossible to match a product with a review. Enough people buy expensive when they wanted fast to make it worth the effort. It almost made sense a decade ago, but now that cheapest is fast enough I do not see the point.

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I spy with my little fibre, ten MEELLION or so galaxies

Flocke Kroes
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How it works

The instrument starts with a big mirror, like a normal telescope, but instead of putting a CCD in the focal plane, there is a large number of ends of fibre optic cable. Point the big mirror at patch of sky, and move it to counter the rotation of the earth, then each optical fibre gets the light from a different galaxy. Presumably the other ends of the fibres are lined up pointing at a diffraction grating to split the light into colours, and the result goes to a CCD so you get a complete spectrum of a bunch of galaxies in the same patch of sky in one go. Every time you pick a different patch of sky all the fibres have to be moved, and that appears to be the tricky bit.

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Microsoft's paid $60 per LinkedIn user – and it's a bargain, because we're mugs

Flocke Kroes
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Re: marketing people's valuations...

The purpose of the valuations is to sell adverts, not products.

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Now Google backs everyone's favorite trade pact: The TPP

Flocke Kroes
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Re: Can we even officially read it yet?

The vast majority of internet users have voted. Mostly by not changing their default search engine, and a few by selecting a different search engine.

I would like to say "Don't blame me, I voted for the other guy", but I suspect the other guy read his copy and didn't even bother to tell us what to think.

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Eds off their meds: Does this headline REALLY need to be so astronomically long it can be measured in parsecs?

Flocke Kroes
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Re: Spotting the sensible articles

The Register maintains a list of articles not worth bothering with here.

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PC market sinking even faster than first thought, thanks to Windows 10

Flocke Kroes
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Re: You could say

Intel could not produce a chip that competed with ARMs on power, performance and price at the same time. Without that, people could not move their legacy software from PC to phone. Both sides of Wintel have broken monopolies so neither can help the other to the extent that they used to.

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Flocke Kroes
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Re: Knew it!

The headline is that the PC market is shrinking. MSFT is mostly a software company, going through a transition to compete with free. Requiring a 8GHz 64 core CPU and 4 graphics cards was not going to drive another hardware refresh and repurchase of software licenses. PCs have been fast enough for years, and people were going to stick with what the have even if the next version of Word had to do real time VR rendering of clippy swimming through a burning aquarium while you type.

MSFT's future revenue will be your choice of ads or a rental fee to block the irritating and disruptive adverts. Shrinking PC yearly sales does not matter if the installed base keeps growing from longer PC life times. What will matter is the rate at which desktop tasks become phone tasks and if Office for Android becomes a popular product.

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Microsoft has created its own FreeBSD image. Repeat. Microsoft has created its own FreeBSD image

Flocke Kroes
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Re: Just another good example...

The down votes will all be for thinking Linux User = Eadon.

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Oooooklahoma! Where the cops can stop and empty your bank cards – on just a hunch

Flocke Kroes
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"I know that a lot of people are just going to focus on the seizing money. That's a very small thing that's happening now."

Perhaps Highway Patrol Lt John Vincent would like to tell us about some of the other things that are happening now. Is taking a car a very small thing or a small thing. How about a house? is that medium sized yet?

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Scots denied Saltire emoji

Flocke Kroes
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Re: our national animal, the unicorn

A wise man never plays leapfrog with a unicorn.

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Mars One puts 100 Red Planet corpses colonists through fresh tests

Flocke Kroes
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Re: Venus

The good news: about 50km up, you get 1 atmosphere pressure, a reasonable temperature and a good radiation shield. A breathable atmosphere would be a lifting gas, so you could but a habitat inside the bulk of an airship.

The bad news is sulphuric acid rain and a shortage of raw materials unless you can do remote mining at over 400 centigrade.

Venus is not an easy destination, but a properly planned and funded mission is far more sane than expecting four reality TV personalities surviving a trip to Mars in anything we could launch in under a decade.

NASA has put some thought into a manned mission to venus.

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Unicode serves up bacon emoji

Flocke Kroes
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Re: Unicode has lots or letters on their side

≀≀ ∬ ⌇⌇ (a post must contain letters)

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Flocke Kroes
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Re: Emojis are so ephemeral

There are a couple of better choices. Chinese has plenty of pictograms, with the bonus that if people use them, they might be able to read a few words of Chinese. Chinese letters are often simplified for writing with a brush to the point that they are too abstract to guess. Egyptian hieroglyphs are much more recognisable, but fewer people have ancient language fonts installed than Chinese.

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Flocke Kroes
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You can have: teacup without handle U+1F375

I was hoping for the laser hazard symbol. Poison, radiation, biohazard and high voltage are available, but not laser. The closest is sixteen pointed asterisk: ✺ U+273A

I thought I was going to get away with putting a teacup symbol in the title. It worked in preview, but got caught when I clicked submit. Anyone got a list of vulture friendly code points?

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Software snafu let EU citizens get referendum vote, says Electoral Commission

Flocke Kroes
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Re: If they saw "men who live as dogs" in the Graun ...

I just read the article. Not quite as terrifying as The Clangers, probably closer to Bagpuss. I didn't see the connection to the EU referendum.

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Flocke Kroes
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Re: Error?

Notice the priority is on counting, not on ensuring only eligible people can vote.

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Flocke Kroes
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Re: damn

"For practical purposes she has to invite someone who can get laws through parliament, especially tax laws."

Perhaps it would be better if the PM were someone who could not get laws through parliament, especially tax laws.

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Even in remotest Africa, Windows 10 nagware ruins your day: Update burns satellite link cash

Flocke Kroes
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Re: Disclaimer

Software comes with a 'warranty', but a more accurate word would be disclaimer. A typical warranty disclaims everything, unless such a broad disclaimer would make it invalid. There are limits on what can be disclaimed for a physical object, so software sometimes comes with half a promise to replace the media it is supplied on if it is defective. Consequential damage is explicitly disclaimed. Restitution (if there is the remotest possibility of it ever happening) is limited to the purchase price of the software. Fitness for purpose and fitness for merchantability are usually explicitly denied.

There could be an implied warranty from a name, for example 'Internet Explorer' could possibly imply the software might enable a user to explore the internet. 'Edge' provides no such implied warranty, and any implied warranty (that it is Edgy?) is almost certainly disclaimed.

IANAL, and I have not read a Microsoft license recently, but I would expect: Downloading something when explicitly told not to is not actionable because no warranty of fitness for purpose was ever given. A big phone bill and being shot at are consequential damages that are explicitly disclaimed. If the download failed, Microsoft might possibly be required to let them download again, but I wouldn't bet on it. Unless the contributors paid extra for a distributor license, Microsoft licenses typically say they are not transferable. This means the operating system that comes with a gift computer is not properly licensed, so Microsoft could sue the chinko project unlicensed use of software and copyright infringement.

Free software comes with a similar warranty, but a distributor license is available to anyone willing to abide by the conditions (sometimes preserving attribution, sometimes preserving the rights of the recipients).

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Windows 10 market share jumps two per cent

Flocke Kroes
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Re: "This doesn't mean the nagware is working:"

Desktop sales fall because there is no real need to replace anything under five years old and because people would rather replace with a laptop, phone or tablet. People who want Linux have been able to get a blank desktop or laptop for less than the cost of one with Windows for a few years.

The traditional PC distribution channel has always had good reasons not to distribute Linux: discounts for selling 100% with Windows pre-installed. Lack of crapware for Linux. Linux running on cheap hardware. No commission on AV and Microsoft Office (except for Dell, who would sell you MS Office with your Windowsless Desktop).

Pre-installed Linux sales come from outside the traditional channel, such as Raspberry Pi and phones. I do not see that changing until after the desktop market is thoroughly dead.

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Flocke Kroes
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The other columns

Analytics.gov give Microsoft 100% of the desktop market. The March, April, May figures for the others are:

Netmarketshare: 86.50, 83.64, 84.86

Statcounter: 85.91, 85.34, 84.61

So ABM have about 15% market share, and gain about .75% per month. As the figures are for desktops, not phones or servers we are looking at Apple, Linux, and a *BSD user, not Android, Openwrt, or the commercial Unixes. If Windows 10 can keep growing at this rate, Microsoft will be out of the desktop business in 10 years. In real life, Microsoft would need a sequence of spectacular fails to maintain this trend. Although I have confidence in their ability to screw up, they would need Stephen Elop back for such a consistent run of failure. On the other hand, ten years is far enough in the future for the desktop market fade into insignificance.

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'UnaPhone' promises Android privacy by binning Google Play

Flocke Kroes
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Re: So as all

The Unaphone would hide that one person uses two SIMs, but so would two dumb phones if they do not move around together while both are switched on.

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Flocke Kroes
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Re: "scrubs out and falsifies information that [..] would allow carriers to identify the handset"

At a guess, the identity in the SIM card is passed through, and the network can then route calls to the SIM. If you switch off the phone, move to a different cell, put in a different SIM and switch back on, then the phone may be able to hide that one phone uses multiple SIMs, and you may be able to hide that you are Batman as well as being Bruce Wayne.

In real life, if only dozen's of Unaphones get sold, then they know who you are. Just like enabling javascript means sites can near enough identify a computer from the list of installed fonts, but if you disable javascript, then you can be identified as one of the few (techies|weirdos) who disables javascript.

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'Windows 10 nagware: You can't click X. Make a date OR ELSE'

Flocke Kroes
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Re: I can understand not waning to support multiple OS

Easy solution: Order the customers to buy new supported computers. If they aren't locked in thoroughly enough to pay up on demand then they are not customers that Microsoft care about.

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Flocke Kroes
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From previous articles ...

First the (up|down|re)grade to 10 is scheduled, then you used to have some chance at cancelling it. If you successfully kill the process telling you what Microsoft have decided, it happens anyway when you are not watching.

(Warning: My last significant contact with Windows was in 1998, so get advice from someone else if you cannot switch to Linux.)

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Samsung: Don't install Windows 10. REALLY

Flocke Kroes
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Price of Windows 10?

My guess is the price will be "Watch the advert and answer a question about it to continue using the OS for free, or pay $10/month".

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Flocke Kroes
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@massivelySerial

"IF you carefully hand-pick all your components to be Linux compatible."

Certainly used to be true. Back when people used desktop computers, the big brands liked to order motherboards with a couple of power pins swapped over and power supplies to match. They could then charge triple for replacement power supplies and mother boards, and sell complete new computers to people who didn't know they had been tricked. The modern equivalent is to incorporate undocumented parts with odd interfaces or protocols. This makes updating to drivers challenging and forces purchase of a complete new laptop.

Buy from some no-name manufacturer. They do not have the resources to get odd components to work at all, so they go for generic standard chips with documentation that does not have an NDA requiring you sacrifice your first born if anyone reads it. These days, Distributors Own Brand is available with no installed OS - the secret code for 'we know you are going to install Linux, but someone would cancel marketing support incentives if we said "all the required drivers have been in the main line Linux kernel for years".'

If you are not that brave, just buy a Pi. The new ones run libreoffice fine.

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Intel's new plan: A circle that starts in your hand and ends in the cloud

Flocke Kroes
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Translation

We make our money on really expensive CPUs. They are fast. Far faster than any normal person needs at all, and only gamers can max them out for more than a couple of minutes at a time (and they spend money on graphics cards made by other people). We have tried making small CPUs, and can now get the performance per watt similar to our competitors, but we cannot sell them for the enormous prices we like. In fact, any cheap CPU we sell means we lost the opportunity to sell something more expensive.

Desktop sales fell as they were replaced by laptops, and we did not care because we own the laptop CPU market. Laptops are becoming phones, and someone else owns the phone CPU market. Our future is in data centres - the only place where people can aggregate work loads big enough to fully utilise our most profitable products. We need more and bigger data centres to maintain our revenue, so here is the plan:

1) Other people can earn a pittance by collecting underwear with IoT CPUs.

2) Send all the underwear to the cloud

3) We profit.

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Disk death: Three-quarters of PCs will run SSDs by 2020

Flocke Kroes
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I think it is in the article

Look at the first graph (revenue), along the bottom. The first four years are do not have an E, implying that the blue rectangles are actual correct numbers arrived at by having someone follow every single disk out of the factories to the customers and getting the bank records of the customers and the manufacturers to find out precisely how much money changed hands. The blue rectangles for years 2016E onwards are clearly marked as guEsses from Stifel.

The blobs with lines are all Gartner estimates, but each line came from a Gartner estimate published at a different date. This clearly shows the Gartner estimates are 'correct' for the date published, but no use when looking for future perfomance.On the other hand, Stifel do not have historical predictions on the graph at all.

The second graph (capacity) works precisely the same way, but the third is complete Gartner. If you predict HDDs revenue continues to fall (instead of Gartner's near constant prediction) and you go for modest increases in capacity (instead of Gartner's wild optimism) you get a vaguely falling cost/GB for HDDs (using Gartner predictions you should have a rapidly falling line instead of the level one on the graph).

I will leave my predictions for the future until later, just like Gartner would if they wanted to be accurate.

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Helium... No. Do you think this is some kind of game? Toshiba intros 8TB desktop drive

Flocke Kroes
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You don't - use an SSD

Nine crates of DVDs need 7TB. That is were a pair of 8TB drives would be handy at home, but for this use case, shingled would be acceptable.

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Flocke Kroes
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Re: Longevity

Blackblaze Q1 2016 data shows HGSTs Helium drives have a lower than average failure rate. Data for WD is in there, but I do not recognise which models are Helium. Read and think before drawing conclusions: very new models often get bad numbers when the defective ones fail early. Very old models get bad numbers because they have been in service for over five years. Seagate used to have poor reliability, but low price and clear warnings of imminent failure in the SMART data made them cost effective anyway.

WD spent lots of time working out how to keep helium in a box, and IIRC were first to market with a Helium filled drive. Their competitors did not rush competing products to market because keeping helium in a box for years is difficult. Toshiba's small market share will make statistically significant data very rare.

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You deleted the customer. What now? Human error - deal with it

Flocke Kroes
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Re: Write temporary scripts when you're doing something potentially dangerous

Mine are:

type 'm superfluous_thing', proof read, '<home>r<enter>'.

A script with echo in front of anything dangerous. Run the script, then remove the echos.

Finally: restore from backups regularly.

Two days work in 6502 assembler on someone else's computer. Tested, working, and saved twice to 5¼" floppy disks (IAVO) on Friday afternoon ready for demonstration to the customer on Monday. Clean up everything on the borrowed computer, then find both floppy disks are unreadable. Suddenly I was not looking forward to the weekend any more. I have not lost data since then.

No project is complete until it has been restored from backups, preferably twice, the second time by someone you trust to deal with problems while you are on holiday.

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Rats revive phones-and-cancer scares

Flocke Kroes
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Re: Purveying woo

Mr Infernoz may well be a purveyor of woo, but not necessarily because of the last paragraph. The difference between pulsed and continuous microwaves on (yeast) cells is something I come across years ago (debunking cellphones cause cancer scares). I tried to find the article again, but it is one tree in a forest (is there a way to tell Google that 'pulsed' is important for this search?).

That forest includes studies where the modulation made a difference, and studies where it didn't. The quantity of studies where modulation is tested suggest that researchers in this field consider modulation an important factor in cell phone/cancer research/funding.

I applaud your skepticism, but recommend you follow it past a comment full of references. Last time I made the effort, I found some links supported electromaganic paranoia, some behind a paywall, some did not exist and a few said the precise opposite of what the commentard claimed they did.

I regularly find some quite disturbing results with rats that are not repeated when the test animal is more big-headed and thick skulled.

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Flocke Kroes
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Modulation makes a difference

"It seems wildly improbable to The Register that the difference between CDMA and GSM modulation somehow triggers a different response in rat DNA."

Studies have already shown that time varying microwave signals cause higher rates of apoptosis than continuous ones - in yeast. GSM uses time division multiplexing - over simplified, phones take turns to transmit, and spent only about 1/8th of the time transmitting. CDMA transmits continuously (multiplexing is done with codes). Clearly telcos with a high number of yeast subscribers should use CDMA.

Pre-liminary cell phone/cancer experiments often show interesting effects like higher cancer rates in the ear furthest from the phone. Regrettably the cancer preventing properties of phones often disappear when studies become large enough to be statistically significant.

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Euro Patent Office prez's brake line cut – aka how to tell you're not popular

Flocke Kroes
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The difference between genius and stupidy?

Genius has limits.

Bullet proof bicycle already patented.

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$10bn Oracle v Google copyright jury verdict: Google wins, Java APIs in Android are Fair Use

Flocke Kroes
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when does the copyright expire

I thought it was when Mickey Mouse says so. His earliest cartoons (1928) were saved from the public domain by Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998. (Mickey himself is a trade mark, which lasts as long as he is defended.)

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Flocke Kroes
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Re: Phew...

It was for rangeCheck. Out of the whole a Java, Oracle wanted billions just for rangeCheck. The judge reminded Oracle's lawyer that an expert witness had said a high school student could right it, and the judge is a programmer and had written similar code hundreds of times himself.

Oracle's lawyer boasted that he would not be able to implement rangeCheck in 6 months. As the lawyer (Boies) couldn't win a legal argument with a gardener, his claimed ineptitude at programming is actually credible. Multiply that by the hourly rate he gets for cases not related to SCO, and you still do not get to 9 billion. (Yes, it is the same David Boies who committed BS&F into representing SCO against IBM for a share in the profits.)

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Bank in the UK? Plans afoot to make YOU liable for bank fraud

Flocke Kroes
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Amazon works without Javascript

There used to be other sites that did not require javascript, but they changed and I abandoned them. I would really like Amazon to have some competition, but there are only so many times I am prepared to fail to create a new account before I go back to the site I know will work.

If only 'Do you want a free trial of Amazon Prime' were as simple to avoid as a Windows 10 downgrade.

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Flocke Kroes
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Re: Who doesn't use card readers?

I don't because I do not use online banking. When banking is possible without javascript I will re-evaluate their security practices.

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Microsoft's Windows Phone folly costs it another billion dollars

Flocke Kroes
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Re: MS Windows is finished

I would agree that Windows phone is mortally wounded, and about to expire.

Microsoft are still trying to get into the cloud market. The problem here is not specifically Linux, but Amazon. Amazon need at least ten times their average capacity to handle spikes in demand. The remaining 90% would just sit idle, so they rent it out. When there is a spike in demand, it is because people are looking at Amazon, not at the other sites hosted on the same servers. Until Microsoft need reserve capacity on the same scale as Amazon, they will not be able to profitably compete on price.

The old problem with China was that Windows was 'free' (pirated). Microsoft have made an effort to get revenue from China, but I do not have figures to support success or failure there. I would be surprised if the majority of residents in the countries you mention made an effort to understand computer security. Theresa May's best efforts have not caused a stampede to Linux here.

Microsoft haven't incorporated the Linux kernel into Windows because of licensing issues. Likewise, WINE does not include Microsoft code for the same reason. Each is a compatibility layer that allows software compiled for the other operating system to execute. Microsoft's compatibility layer lowers to barrier for Penguins to do something useful with Windows. When that barrier drops to lower than wiping and installing a penguin's favourite distribution then it might have some effect. Microsoft are a long way from needing penguins to claim their OS has developers.

When OSes have faded away in the past, the fanboys who wasted years honing skills with dinosaur wrangling found their rare abilities in high demand from those too locked in to jump ship early. A decade from now, Windows devs may be getting over £1000/hour from the truly desperate. We are not there yet.

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Flocke Kroes
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Re: No surprise here

Step 1 of Microsoft's traditional sequence is to buy out the company in third place. First place is too expensive, second place thinks he can be first place, and is too expensive. Nokia was in first place, but Elop's burning platform memo quickly dropped sales/profit below Samsung and Apple and got Nokia into third place.

Step 2 is to bundle the software with the operating system. Demand that in order to get Windows licenses, all PC distributors must include a Lumia with each PC. As phones outsell computers by a huge margin, that was never going to fly.

Step 3 is to sit back and watch the first and second place companies die of revenue starvation. The Microsoft product may not be as good, but it should be sufficient that people do not make the effort to buy something else. Windows Phone started with so many problems that 2 out of 3 purchasers returned the phone for refund/exchange. If you wanted to buy a Windows phone, the salesman would try to sell you something else to avoid the hassle of filling out yet another returned product form.

Microsoft did not follow their standard take over sequence with mobile phones because it was impossible. They tried anyway because the desktop PC market is shrinking and in future personal computers will be called phones. Elop nearly didn't get his $25million bonus. The bonus would only trigger if Microsoft bought Nokia, and Nokia wasn't in third place. The Lumia name was toxic - it didn't matter if Microsoft fixed all the flaws as only the truly dedicated would consider it, and lack of upgrades to incompatible versions pissed off most of the few remaining loyal customers. Elop's first attempt at selling to Microsoft failed. At this point, he made his first sensible decision: sell Android phones. Microsoft would and did pay to put a stop to that, and Elop got his bonus.

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Boffins blow up water with LASERS, to watch explosions in slow-mo

Flocke Kroes
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Re: A valuable extension of this kind of research

Already done, but with a rocket, instead of a laser.

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Pastejack attack turns your clipboard into a threat

Flocke Kroes
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Re: I think I'm safe, buuuut...

Completely safe if you have turned off javascript, and probably for other reasons too.

The article mentions something about copying with ctrl+c. Click and drag to select and middle click to paste have been standard in X since I was a PFY. The behaviour is so consistent that I had to ask for help when I was stuck with Windows for a few minutes. I have seen Windows style somewhat consistent keyboard shortcuts for copy and paste in Unix software either to make Windows user feel at home, or as pointless cruft in portable applications. Click and drag puts the selected text in the paste buffer, so my browser has no keyboard short cut for copy. It does understand shift+<cursor movement> to select, shift+delete to delete and shift+insert to put back, but those only work in text boxes, and do not use the paste buffer.

Someone brave enough to enable javascript could test to see if the code really required a key press, and if it can find the one used for copy (if it even exists).

For this attack to work the attack page needs enough social engineering to get a user to find and press the copy button, then paste into a shell instead of a text editor. A Unix text editor is the ultimate defence against this sort of attack. No-one can escape from vi.

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Want a better password? Pretend you eat kale. We won't tell anyone

Flocke Kroes
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If only you could type commands and have each output to the next...

strings /dev/urandom | less

A pathetic 8 letter password picked from the command above gets you over 10^15 possibilities, and with a little practice you can memorise double that by typing it repeatedly, waiting and hour, typing it again, wait till bed time, type it again, then again in the morning.

In real life, you will need at least a dozen passwords, and many of those will need their own date of birth, mother's maiden name and town of birth. So far, sites have been happy with answers like Miss Pertpwjb from Wdudlumy and echo $(($RANDOM/(32768/31)+1)) for a date. Put the sites' URLs, your user names, the passwords and all the lies in a file you encrypt with gpg, and remember to shred the file after you have proved you can decrypt the encrypted copy.

The only difficult bit is mapping a new site's password validator. If the rules seem too cryptic, you can always try:

Password'); DROP TABLE customers;--

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Coders crack Oculus DRM in 24 hours, open door to mass piracy

Flocke Kroes
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@John Bailey

Yes, the content providers wanted fewer sales.

You could sell a million for £5, or you could sell 100,000 for £20, wait three months and sell 200,000 for £15. Wait again and sell 300,000 for £10, and after a year sell the last 400,000 for £5. Plan B costs you some interest on not making all the sales early, but you do not have to buy enough capacity to do everything in the first month, then throw it away immediately after. Buying a twentieth of the capacity and running it for two years trims the interest on capital investment enough to match the loss of interest on early sales. There is less risk because you do not have to correctly guess you market size on the first day. You control rate of purchase by selecting the dates when you drop the price, and in my example get an extra 68% revenue.

If a distributor offers you a few million to reduce your sales (not revenue) for a year, then you giggle all the way to the bank because you will make the 'lost' sales next year. Oculus and the content providers both saw a mutual opportunity for profit. Ranting at either one does not help. If you feel cheated, then wait a couple of years and buy second hand.

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