* Posts by Chronos

860 posts • joined 21 Oct 2007

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Montezuma's Revenge still too tough for AI, new Google Brain office, and other bits and bytes

Chronos
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“Every time a human or agent plays Montezuma’s Revenge, they are presented with the exact same set of rooms, each containing the exact same set of obstacles and puzzles. As such, the simple memorization of the movements through each room is enough to lead to a high-score, and the ability to complete the level.”

Yup, I could get Chuckie Egg II up to double figure levels with my eyes closed on the Beeb just by muscle memory and the sound of Harry's footstep clicks, which was sort of my party trick at school; yes, I was very popular - not - but it beat playing the Beverly Hills Cop tune on the black keys of a Casio or making my calculator watch print "BOOBLESS", things that seemed to be all the rage for the in-crowd at the time.

If I dug the Beeb out, assuming it still powers up and the Watfraud EPROM board still has the CEII ROM in it, it would probably take just two or three runs through to bring that 30+ year old muscle memory back. There is also a high probability that I would utterly fail on an emulator with a standard 105 key keyboard.

This is probably not intelligent at all, including when I was doing it as a snotty-nosed kid. Nice work if you can get it, though.

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No, seriously, why are you holding your phone like that?

Chronos
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Re: What was that quote allegedly from Cardinal Richelieu again?

probably buffering a bunch and sending them together

That's exactly how it will be done or, instead of a fat (relatively) pipe cellular link, they'd be using LoRa or similar for the last half hour usage reading which, unless you're running multiple flux capacitors, should fit into a float().

When I said "real-time" I probably should have said time stamped events. After all, they don't want to be snooping on everyone immediately, just a nice virtual paper trail to look back upon should the need arise and a great big database they can broker access to. With SMETS2, the central database multiple client structure is already there, ostensibly to enable competition in the energy sector.

So, regardless of the frequency of actual uploads, the data is captured in real time. Same data, less snoopmatics talking all at once.

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Chronos
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Re: What was that quote allegedly from Cardinal Richelieu again?

Why would this have to be per-household rather than per-substation if that is its main purpose?

I suspect at least partly because of this 'leccy car fad they're expecting people to provide their own multi-kWh storage that they can raid because they've sold off public infrastructure and haven't planned for the future. The problem with that is every charge/discharge cycle is one more step toward the grave for the most expensive part in your unicornmobile, which is a good thing for the manufacturer and The Economy™ but bloody awful for the poor sods who have to pay for it and accept the feature disparity between grandiose milk floats and proper internal combustion.

I do hope everyone caught the "mandatory smart¹ elctrojalopy charge point in every new build" proposal. When you gather all the evidence together it becomes obvious.

¹ Monitors and reports energy used to charge, storage capacity and so on. They then know where all the big capacitors are. I give it five minutes until they start collecting geodata, timing and usage stats for road pricing through the same pipe.

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Chronos
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Re: What was that quote allegedly from Cardinal Richelieu again?

Nah, but it would have been a good excuse to make a cuppa and glance at the clock... hang on...

I'm very ashamed I missed that opportunity. Well spotted, sir. I worry that the AI won't take into account the water used to warm the pot, too :-)

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Chronos
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Meh

Re: What was that quote allegedly from Cardinal Richelieu again?

Google DCC SMETS2 and inform yourseves on how it works, it's all public information.

Tell me, who is under contract to run DCC? Hint: It starts with Crap and ends in ita. That's how toxic this whole thing is.

Will no one rid me of this turbulent contractor?

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Chronos
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Re: What was that quote allegedly from Cardinal Richelieu again?

:-) indeed.

Don't forget these are almost real-time readings, i.e. "meter point x started drawing 5.1A more at hh:mm:ss for a duration of 2.3¹ minutes." AI says you boiled the kettle with even more certainty because it happened during an ad break on the channel your "smart" TV also told the cloud you were watching. You used too much water for the two people who live in your house because AI says it should only take 1.4 minutes to boil the correct amount so you're either guilty of profligacy and eco-vandalism or you have a visitor. That's a rather mundane example. I have others just as easy to detect and much more embarrassing, especially if you add the card issuers' data into the mix.

I wasn't saying that the quote applies to smart meters on their own but we're blindly giving far too much away. The above example is just two connected devices being extrapolated. Can you look me in the monitor and state in all honesty that someone, somewhere won't eventually put all this together if we continue to accept ever more leakage of data from our private lives?

¹ Numbers from nether region, natch. I'm not breaking out the formulae for boiling a sodding kettle.

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Chronos
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Re: They have a point.

Har har, yes, very funny. Only it won't make the slightest difference with that honking great aerial sticking out of it that you're not allowed to touch. I'm talking about the incoming feed line.

It's all tinfoil hats and paranoia jokes until the data leaks, isn't it? What was that quote allegedly from Cardinal Richelieu again? I forget...

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Chronos
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They have a point.

About the smart meters, I mean. Anything with a transmitter in it that you can't turn off and transmits without your knowledge is called a bug. Can you sit there with a straight face and tell me some bugger, one day in the not too distant future, will not decide this data is so informative with a few tweaks and an "AI" to infer what's going on behind your closed curtains that it's a crime not to (here comes that bloody word again) "monetise" it and add a continuous development stamp to the consumer-fuckery section of their MBA? That's even before the sods at Snoophenge get hold of it, which will probably be in real-time.

"Some bugger" makes up a significant portion of the population, Some of them have to be working in telemetrics.

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Forking hell. It's summer, and Windows 10 is already thinking about autumn

Chronos
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With all the issues ongoing - {Facebook, Google, Microsoft}=GDPR, Microsofts Windows 10 issues, continuous data exposure or hacking of personal information, then corporations are really taking the p!ss out of people. People are very much like sheep - ambivalent and ignorant to the reality.

...which is sort of what I was hinting at without standing on a box, pointing and saying it j'accuse style. How quickly can we get to 100C without the frog jumping out?

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Chronos
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Gimp

Is Windows 10 free on new PC's or do the vendors have to pay Microsoft ??? - seems to be a scam.

I think it's actually a huge social experiment. There are so many other options available. MacOS, Linux of all flavours from Mint to Slack, a Pi with Rasbpian desktop, the BSDs, hell, you can even run Android if you're willing to put up with it.

But no, people still run WinX(beta) and find all the bugs for the enterprise rollouts simply because that's what was pre-installed. That's like crapping yourself because in your pants is where your arse happened to be at the time. We'll probably find out the whole thing is a test to see how far a vendor can push its users before they sod off and find something that actually works.

Icon. Some of these people have to be Masochists.

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Spidey sense is literally tingling! Arachnids detect Earth's electric field, use it to fly away

Chronos
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Flying nopes.

Yes, the nope-ocalypse is upon us. I shall be buying a bee-keeper's hat and avoiding open spaces. Oh wait, I'm a geek. Strike that last one as a change...

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Every step you take: We track you for your own safety, you know?

Chronos
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"Safe place"

Now I get it. The tracker isn't in the van, it's in Jeff's smartphone. And looking more closely at the street map, it appears he's not in my back garden but my neighbour's, placing his delivery package in its "safe location" at the back porch.

Which is now not so safe as it has broadcast the fact that mateyboy has just put something there. With my security hat on, this is a potential vector, quite aside from the privacy of the worker delivering the packages.

Still, this is Dabbsy's column, so I shouldn't be so bloody serious.

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European Parliament balks at copyright law reform vote

Chronos
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Devil

Supporters of the amendments – which included Paul McCartney and the BPI

...will now scream and scream and scream until they turn blue or "democracy" decides on an answer they like, whichever comes soonest.

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Euro bank regulator: Don't follow the crowd. Stay off the cloud

Chronos
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How do you funge something, anyway? What manner of thing readily lends itself to a damned good funging?

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Chronos
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They catch on fast, don't they?

Most of us have only been saying this since the idea of "cloud computing" (someone else has all your valuable data and your virtual testes in a hydraulic press) came along which was, what, ten years ago at least?

Very unusual for a monolithic, stagnant, stuffed-shirt sector to wise up so quickly. What's next? The government doing shit itself rather than handing it all to Crapita to underestimate, overspend and miss the deadline on?

Nah, too far fetched.

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Call your MEP! Wikipedia blacks out for European YouTube vote

Chronos
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Re: Gentlemen (and ladies to)...

As far as I'm aware, only monkeys have had copyright issues, so perhaps our feline masters are not concerned?

I was under the impression that the monkeys were the main offenders, bashing out the collective works of The Bard and all. Or was that typewriter manufacturers? I get so confused since that "Mix tapes are evil" thing which now seems like an aeon ago, whereupon I immediately burnt the C60 in my car with the likes of Bach's Third Brandenburg and the duet from Bizet's Pearl Fisher Suite on it. I'm sure Johann and Georges were gratified.

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Google weeps as its home state of California passes its own GDPR

Chronos
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Re: Legitimate business interests

Seem totally reasonable to me.

Also to me at the time. Of course, when I've dabbed away the rabid foam from my chin, can see without a red mist or dancing spots and my diastolic is back to double figures, I'll quite happily admit that this is not nearly a capital offence - except for the storage medium that holds the data which does need to expire in a conflagration.

That should be why we have laws, to keep the torch and pitchfork industry from being the largest employer in the world.

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Chronos
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Legitimate business interests

The more I hear this phrase, the more I want to kick whoever first coined it. The only "legitimate business interest" is "more profit."

Adding the word "legitimate" to something does not automatically make it good. For example, I have a legitimate interest in anyone trying to con me out of my personal information being force-fed a large bag of plump donkey dicks until they explode. That doesn't make it right, recommended or a reasonable path to take. Far better to let objective legislation take care of the problem.

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Git365. Git for Teams. Quatermass and the Git Pit. GitHub simply won't do now Microsoft has it

Chronos
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Git Off My Lawn

Since MS are officially Old™

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Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a giant alien space cigar? Whatever it is, boffins are baffled

Chronos
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Comets

Slight correction: It's not Sol's heat that sublimes off bits of comets to form the tail, it's the solar wind, that constant stream of highly energetic particles from which the Earth's magnetic field largely protects we humble Terrans. This is why, regardless of direction of travel of the body, the tail will always point away from the local star.

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In non-startling news, EFF says STARTTLS email crypto is mostly done wrong

Chronos
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Re: opportunity

DANE is rather time-consuming if you're using Letsencrypt. LE certificates expire every three months, realistically two and a bit, so there's an overhead there of updating your TLSA record every time the certificate fingerprint changes.

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Net's druids thrash out specs for an independent IETF

Chronos
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Re: Tenuous

Nonsense! The IETF should absolutely be burdened with numerous layers of administrators and bureaucrats, because IT people with failed careers need to eat, too. Plus, let's give people from every nation with a dodgy record on Internet freedoms and human rights priority placement in the new organization, because diversity.

Touché, right on the funny bone :)

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Chronos
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Stop

Tenuous

This is a strength. It presupposes any project must be met with "what a good idea" before it becomes a standard. Organisations which can be ignored if they get too new-age whalesong, pet-projecty or creature-feepy are incredibly useful; it keeps the various bit of such organisations honest.

I, for one, would like to retain Request For Comment rather than Thy Will Be Done.

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Shiny new Capita boss to UK.gov: I know you are but what am I?

Chronos
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Holy jumping shitballs

The department today handed Capita yet another contract, this time to run its fire and rescue services – covering 2,200 staff at 78 defence fire stations worldwide

So not only have they been TUPE'd to Crapita, they're going to have some clipboard wielding halfwit on three times their salary getting in the way and telling them how to do their jobs despite the sum total of its experience in the field being setting the living room curtains on fire when it was 8? This is how we thank these people for doing difficult and dangerous work?

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Strip Capita of defence IT contract unless things improve – Brit MPs

Chronos
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Re: That

Can someone explain why , given their past failures, we keep throwing work to them?

DJO just did, up there ^

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Shatner's solar-powered Bitcoin gambit wouldn't power a deflector shield

Chronos
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I predict...

This will be more tribble than it's worth.

"And two: Somebody close that hatch!"

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No fandango for you: EU boots UK off Galileo satellite project

Chronos
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Re: Politics..

No ones drawn any lines yet , except the EU that has drawn this line around their gps project.

Our government is still arguing with itself about where it wants the lines

They're still arguing about what colour the lines should be, what shape and how broad. Some want dotted lines, others want solid and some want no lines at all. They haven't noticed the 27 other Sharpies of varying colours that have been busily drawing € shaped lines on most things already.

What, did you think the EU was going to wait for us to sort our shit out after the dummy-spitting tantrum? Are we that egocentric to think 27 other countries are going to just stand still for two years? Like any parent, they're just going to cover all the sharp edges with padding and close the door until the nerve-jangling noise stops so they can at least hear themselves think long enough to find the Hedex.

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Chronos
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"The Excelsior line!... and that compass in the top will come in handy..."

So off we trot, through the petrified, flaming beaver infested forest with no sense of direction, skint, terrified and lonely with only the clothes on our backs and a walking stick. The metaphor is striking, which is what I suspect you intended and all the pointy-button smashers missed.

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Devuan ships second stable cut of its systemd-free Linux

Chronos
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Mushroom

Pulseaudio next, please

I finally caved¹ after a particularly nasty deadlock and no sodding logfiles because systemd. I note with distaste that pulse bloody audio is still being used, which I consider to be several orders of magnitude more evil than systemd (I liked systemd's unit files approach to the rcorder problem but not enough to put up with not being able to diagnose why my machine has suddenly crapped itself) and it needs to die in a fire.

Have a look at FreeBSD's audio stack for how to do virtual, multi-consumer access to sound hardware properly without some awful userland daemon pet project sitting in the background.

Icon. I want Pulseaudio at the epicentre, please ->

¹ Migration from Stretch was a doddle. Install sysvinit, reboot, nuke systemd from orbit, change to Devuan's repos, add the repo keys and just treat it as an upgrade. It even worked utterly flawlessly on my Banana Pi NAS box.

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In defence of online ads: The 'net ain't free and you ain't paying

Chronos
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Re: The thing is... it's nothing new.

That's 'em. Forgot the "n" at the end, which anyway goes to show how much notice I take of spam.

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Chronos
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Re: The thing is... it's nothing new.

It's what the sender's paper recycling bin is for when their litter's been posted back to them.

Mix'n'match spam and prepaid envelopes. Keeps Royal Mail solvent and the spammers out of pocket. I'm sure Anglia Windows would like an MBNA credit card and MBNA would like some new-age meals on wheels and a few Farmfoods vouchers¹, so my handy pass-it-on service fills a gap in the market.

Am I evil? Quite possibly, although all they have to do to stop it happening is leave me alone.

¹ The only shop in the world where the packaging is more nutritious than the food therein.

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Chronos
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Re: +1

90% of my playlist is prog of one sort or another[1] and the rest is people like Paul Weller, Sting[2], Linton Kwesi Johnson etc etc. And some folk music. And Jazz

No Knopfler? Privateering was a pretty good mashup of most of your eclectic taste.

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Chronos
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Re: +1

Aye, but He rides majestic past homes of men who care not or gaze with joy pretty much sums up the bipolar situation with regards online advertising. It's all bollocks, naturally, since the web was meant to be fair sharing of ideas and knowledge but the ad-men came anyway and here we are.

From the same track, The sands of time are eroded by the rivers of constant change. This, too, shall pass.

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Android users: Are you ready for the great unbundling?

Chronos
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Do what now?

Oh, you mean that shite that gets installed when you flash Gapps. No, sorry, none of that has ever been on my handset. F-Droid has all the apps I need, thanks. I even completely remove that poxy Jelly browser from my builds because I don't trust it. Icecat Mobile is much better.

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Russia appears to be 'live testing' cyber attacks – Former UK spy boss Robert Hannigan

Chronos
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As we used to say on Usenet

PPoGTFO. Vague, hand-wavy assignment of baddie-du-jour just isn't going to cut it any more. It's looking increasingly like justifying their own position.

If our infrastructure is so fragile that any random Sergey Hackovitch with his computamabob¹ can knock it over, perhaps instead of spending billions on spooks we should be concentrating on making it not so fragile?

¹ Those sodding meerkats have seeped into the consciousness. Bloody ad flingers.

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Stern Vint Cerf blasts techies for lackluster worldwide IPv6 adoption

Chronos
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Devil

Re: But ...

Sure they can. They'll just go into the address market and say they're seeking an IPv4 address of a certain range and see if someone's willing to sell it.

...and hello routing table madness. Your "just" in that post assumes a simplicity that, while it's SEP (someone else's problem) invisible to the halfwit who caused it, certainly isn't simple. When we get to the stage that every company and its uncle Freddy has a routable /29 (six usable, probably NATted at the gateway on one of them) because that's all they could afford, let's just see how long the core routers stay up with all that extra load.

I'll say it again, you cannot do this reliably with v4. The infrastructure just doesn't support this level of granularity in the address space - which is before we consider rDNS, delegation of off-boundary subnets, misconfiguration and/or assumptions leading to broadcasting on someone else's block etcetera.

Makes remembering 2001:f00:f00::/48 seem a bit like whining about the weather, doesn't it? If your NOC still has kit from nineteen-hundred and frozen stiff that doesn't support v6 and/or admins who refuse point blank to re-skill to v6, perhaps it's time to replace them? They will be full of bulging capacitors, the congealed remnants of the shed skin and sandwich crumbs of a couple of decades, inefficient and power-hungry. The routers won't be looking too healthy, either.

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Chronos
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Re: Why?

Roland6 wrote: Re: MBA mentality

Remember the problems that were had in getting business to take Y2K seriously and more recently GDPR? "MBA mentality" is more widespread than you may think - particularly outside of the IT department.

Well said. Until the iceberg makes a hole, we steam on at full speed. Then we all go down together¹. I think they teach that damned mantra in Business Schmooze 101.

¹ Except Ismay, the White Star chairman, natch.

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Chronos
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Holmes

Re: Why?

IPv6 has no business benefit.

Two words: Routing tables. Once IPv4 trading of sub-class C blocks begins in earnest (you ain't seen nothing yet) the black boxes that connect the dots that your MBA mentality doesn't even think about are going to start breaking in new, hitherto unseen and quite probably amusing ways.

IPv4 was designed with the old class system in mind. CIDR was an afterthought. Like so many of these afterthoughts such as PAE, it was a half-arsed, horrible bodge that just happened to mask one symptom while leaving the underlying disease in place.

Besides, this is the Internet. "Business interests" should not be your first concern. Keeping it open, neutral, working and self-healing should be. Again I find myself checking the address bar to make sure I'm on El Reg and not some bloody awful, buzzword-laden business think-tank site which has a bottom line of "how can we give everyone else a smaller share and us a bigger one?"

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Chronos
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Yes, yes, we know, The Register is still IPv4, and not on IPv6. Word from our sysadmins is that we'll migrate Soon™

TFFT!®

Joking aside, that is very welcome news, although "go dual stack" would probably be more appropriate a phrase than "migrate," which has connotations of leaving v4 behind.

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UK.gov lobs £25m at self-driving, self-parking, self-selling auto autos

Chronos
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Re: Data marketplace

Um, instant access to all travel data on everyone? Data fetishism much?

Seriously, we need to start playing Littlefinger's game: What's the worst reason they could possibly have for doing what they do?

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Chronos
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Go

Self-driving, self parking, self selling autonomous vehicles.

They're called "taxis." We've had them for years. The AI is a bit suspect with its views on immigration, party politics and penchant for taking "shortcuts" which aren't, as evidenced by the meter reading at the end of the journey, but they tend to work quite well.

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Continental: We, er, tire of Whatsapp, Snapchat on work phones. GDPR, innit?

Chronos
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Interesting stance.

It's about time this particular leaky hole was plugged. Getting contact details by the back door of making users agree to share them without permission from the actual owners is a concern I've had for a while, which started when these buggers partnered with the now defunct Cyanogen Inc (CNGN, nothing to do with CyanogenMod/Lineage).

Of course, world+dog are now doing the same thing, so much so that it's pretty much guaranteed that Facebook or some other ne'er do well has your details if you're in more than two smartphones' contacts.

For now. It will be interesting to see how this pans out. Continental and Gates are the only two manufacturers I'll trust to supply timing belts - now I may have one more reason to prefer Contitech if their policy results in a wider review of this shady practice.

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'Moore's Revenge' is upon us and will make the world weird

Chronos
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Terminator

Re: A chip in everything...

The same is true of most "smart" devices, the smart functionality doesn't generally bring anything really useful to the table

That depends entirely on your perspective, i.e. whether you're customer or product. One "weirdness" that has emerged quite early on in this process is the blurring of the lines between the two.

In the meantime, I have reached the stage where I can, for example, turn off the garage lights, which I have left on and forgotten about until I'm in bed, by stabbing a button in a browser, open the garage door from within the car when it's pelting down and even schedule the immersion heater for an hour before I get home to allow me a nice soak to wash off the stink of betrayal and incompetence from all around. None of this was obtained from a vendor, though, so it serves me. The other way around is becoming increasingly common - and not just in Soviet Russia, as the meme would have you believe.

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Whois? Whowas. So what's next for ICANN and its vast database of domain-name owners?

Chronos
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Thank you. Power grabbing at the Internet has been an ITU wet dream for years now.

That's the trouble with being a bitter, misanthropic old git: You're rarely disappointed, even when you want to be.

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Chronos
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Holmes

A visit from the head of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Hamadoun Toure, to an ICANN meeting in 2007 led to a shouting match between him and an ICANN board member who felt he had been disrespectful.

Well, was he being disrespectful? Was he sitting in a corner muttering about how the ITU should be doing this and that these people were all a bunch of self-serving amateurs? It's obvious to anyone with half a brain that he went there on a mission with an empire-building agenda. Get two people in a room who want something only one of them can have, you get a shouty bickering session. Even more so when one of them already has it and the other is making up reasons he shouldn't.

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Visa Europe fscks up Friday night with other GDPR: 'God Dammit, Payment Refused'

Chronos
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Joke

TITSUP

"Tonight I Tried Some Unusual Payments.

The barman took the promissory note from me and I stood bemused as he proceeded to put it in a little drawer that went "ding" as it opened. No PIN was requested and he kept the note, telling me to bog off when I asked for it back. How am I to pay for the next round without my promissory note if they won't give it back? Should I call the police?"

Have we reached that stage yet?

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TSB meltdown latest: Facepalming reaches critical mass as Brits get strangers' bank letters

Chronos
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Re: Not fit for (any) purpose

Oh, they have standards. They're not very high, but they've got them.

They weren't all that clueful back before Lloyds gobbled them up, when they started calling themselves the TSB Bank. So that'll be the Trustee Savings Bank Bank, then?

Resurrected, it seems it's [monkey] business as usual for TSB.

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ZTE can't buy chips from America – but can still get sued for patent infringement in the US

Chronos
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Go

a Northern Texas US District Court

Who'd have thunk?

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US judge won't budge over Facebook's last-minute bid to 'derail' facial biometrics trial

Chronos
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Re: Reputational injury

Most FB users are just like smokers: Hooked.

They don't care if it's damaging, or not.

Hmm...

/me is not going to go there.

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Chronos
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Holmes

Reputational injury

What are FB's land-sharks smoking? From the judgement:

sending notice to the class in advance of the trial will embarrass it and inflict “reputational” injury.

Well, yes, there's nothing quite like putting a man with one leg into an arse-kicking contest. FB's "reputation" is irreparably damaged as it is; the news just hasn't filtered down to everyone yet.

Of course, if said man cut his own leg off, knowing full well the trial of buttock pugilism was coming, he only has himself to blame.

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