* Posts by Frumious Bandersnatch

2112 posts • joined 8 Nov 2007

FTP becoming Forgotten Transfer Protocol as Debian turns it off

Frumious Bandersnatch
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"no caching"? Hmm.

I was going to complain that most people use something akin to apt-cacher-ng or squid on the client side, anyway. But then, realised that FTP doesn't have a standard way of getting file metadata, particularly the HTTP-like "last-modified" data that's crucial for avoiding downloading (mirroring) stuff you already have. Sure, running "dir" works, but there doesn't seem to be a standard way of presenting all the fields ...

Overall, probably a sensible move. Still, with FTP disappearing it does make me feel just that little bit more antiquated.

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Drone maker DJI quietly made large chunks of Iraq, Syria no-fly zones

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Black Helicopters

Re: Why Just War Zones?

Why not ...?

I know that you're probably just asking rhetorically, but you got me thinking of what sort of algorithms and data structures you'd need to scale up the number of no-fly zones. As the number increases, you obviously hit a practical limit if you do a linear scan on them.

I reckon quadtrees, possibly with some sort of arithmetic or wavelet encoding of the number of NFZs in each sector.

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Reg reader offered £999,998 train ticket from Cambridge to Horley

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Headmaster

Re: More guidance needed

Funnily enough, I also started thinking about how to do differential equations when I saw the word "exponentially" in the article. AFAICR, differentiating ex with respect to x (can't do fancy LaTeX or mathml markup here) is ex. "Exponential" means that we have a superincreasing sequence since the dy/dx (slope) at each point is constantly increasing (approaching infinity) in the x direction.

It doesn't make sense to compare two numbers and say that the second is an exponential increase over the first. There's no curve (or an infinite number of curves), just a straight line between two points, so "exponential" doesn't apply.

There may be an order of (base 10) magnitude between the two prices, though, which would be mathematically correct.

(Yeah, I know, I'm being really pedantic here. That's why I'm making a comment, not using the "make corrections" link.)

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High Court hands Lauri Love permission to appeal extradition to US

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: If all else fails...

why hasn't he tried tunnelling out of the embassy

Shh! We don't talk about those "diplomatic channels".

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Irish Stripe techie denied entry to US – for having wrong stamp in passport

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Automatic downvote

for "reached out".

Top journalistic tip: You have to reach out for the phone or keyboard, not just do a zombie impression and hope that someone will contact you to corroborate your story based on your mad skills.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaAC9dBPcOM

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Jimbo announces Team Wikipedia: 'Global News Police'

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Fake News is pretty old..

Apparently, he also said "Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel". I can't see how news organs are going to take kindly to Wikipedia scraping and aggregating all their articles and deleting all their revenue-generating ads.

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CompSci boffins find Reddit is ideal source for sarcasm database

Frumious Bandersnatch
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wasn't using sarcasm at all... but irony

FTA:

Since sarcasm often involves humans stating something opposed to their beliefs or wants

Oops.

<sarcasm>Typical Yanks. Can't tell the difference between irony and sarcasm</sarcasm>

<sarcasm><irony>Finally, something to learn Americans to speak English good</irony></sarcasm>

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Alaska dentist 'pulled out patient's tooth while riding a hoverboard'

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Is it safe?

She probably won't say, but Alaska.

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Q. Why is Baidu sharing its secret self-driving sauce? A. To help China corner the market

Frumious Bandersnatch
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cloud privacy issues

Are these self-driving cars going to be uploading any part of the video feed with a Windows-style "telemetry" excuse? Would such data be able to be aggregated across many self-driving cars to identify and track other cars on the road, either through their license plates or tagging and tracking other vehicles while they're in your field of view, and using the cloud part to fill in for discontinuities ("white van was tracked until point A, then lost; another sighting at point B is consistent with being the same white van, ...").

An autonomous driving system obviously needs to be able to be aware of other vehicles and make sure that it doesn't forget that they could still be around (temporarily in a blind spot or obstructed from view) before making manoeuvring decisions, but surely there are issues if these data are being aggregated in near-real time in a cloud somewhere.

Also, why stop at tracking vehicles? Surely it would need to have awareness of pedestrians, too. Maybe the current crop of cars are more suited to highway driving or driving somewhere like the US, where vehicles have right of way, so ignoring pedestrians who might suddenly walk out in front of you might make sense (until you have to go into collision-avoidance mode). For city driving, though, and in countries where jaywalking isn't a crime, surely they'll have to follow the same rules as for human drivers. Part of that is being able to figure out where pedestrians are or might be, and reading their intent, at least to some degree. Obviously, simple things like seeing that they're very close to the kerb or partly on the road is a good sign that they're looking for an opportunity to cross(*), and that can be handled by simple physical rules based on distances/location. However, reading intent is often much more complicated. If you want computers to be as good as humans, you're going to have to include things like how they act (do they turn around to look at the road as they approach a crossing, or look up at a traffic light), and figuring out where their attention is directed.

All this analysis of pedestrians (and tracking them, obviously) probably won't make it into first-generation cars, so in the initial (training) stages at least, manufacturers are going to be slurping a lot of so-called telemetry data. You can't say that blurring faces or whatever is a solution because they will need facial features to do things like gaze tracking or to judge how aware the person might be of traffic (or, eg, they're talking on a mobile phone or texting rather than paying attention to other things). The easiest thing is just to slurp everything they can, but if real-time tracking is the norm from the outset, it's hard to see how spy agencies or whatever (or even just traffic police) wouldn't want to tap into that and make sure that they continue to be able to use the system even after the AI part has been trained and downloaded as a set of real-time rules that can run on the car.

I'm sure that these sorts of concerns would definitely be looked at in Europe or the US, but in China? Somehow, I don't think so.

* another, unrelated scenario with self-drive cars strikes me. If you're coming to a crossing and you see someone that you know (or think you know) and make eye contact and give them a nod or something, how are they going to interpret that? Maybe they don't know that you're not the driver. If you were the driver, they could take your gesture or general demeanour as giving them the OK to cross the road in front of you. The car's not going to understand that...

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Zuckerberg's absolutely mental: Brain sensors that read YOUR MIND at 100 words a minute

Frumious Bandersnatch
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web 3.0 direct, from our brain to yours at 100wpm

... that old servant Ines told me that one drop even if it got into you at all after I tried with the Banana but I was afraid it might break and get lost up in me somewhere because they once took something down out of a woman that was up there for years covered with limesalts they're all mad to get in there where they come out of you'd think they could never go far enough up and then they're done with you in a way till the next time yes because there's a wonderful feeling there so tender all the time how did we finish it off yes O yes I pulled him off into my handkerchief pretending not to be excited but I opened my legs I wouldn't let him touch me inside my petticoat because I had a skirt opening up the side I tormented the life out of him first tickling him I loved rousing that dog in the hotel rrrsssstt awokwokawok his eyes shut and a bird flying below us he was shy all the same I liked him like that moaning I made him blush a little when I got over him that way when I unbuttoned him and took his out and drew back the skin it had a kind of eye in it they're all Buttons men down the middle on the wrong side of them Molly darling he called me what was his name ...

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Stop asking people for their passwords, rights warriors yell at US Homeland Security

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: We desperately need a Trump icon.

I suggest something like a cross between a chef's hat and a nuclear mushroom emanating from a "cleftal horizon" (a couple of tasteful curves framing a Y for Yankee).

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Hmm. Those guys that have been accumulating fake social media profiles apparently have been on to something all this time. Who knew they could be used for good?

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Common profile...

Yes, I am Mr. Cypherpunk, and so is my wife.

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Regulate This! Time to subject algorithms to our laws

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Plase stop using the word algorithms

I totally agree, Ken. We should be talking about "automated processes" or the like.

It seems to me that the only thing that needs legislating here is in the realm of data protection (or FoI) requests. Let's say that someone is refused insurance cover. I think that it's quite possible and reasonable to make a data request asking the organisation to clarify the factors leading to the decision. I'm pretty sure, though not certain, that this sort of request is allowable and that it should receive a reply.

However, once you start using automated processes, there is a great risk that the organisation being asked for such information will, deliberately or not, seek to obfuscate what their processes are. You'll just get a response "computer says no". If you kick this up to the ombudsman or whatever, there's every likelihood that the organisation will argue two main points: first, they'll say that their algorithms are a trade secret, and second, they'll say that the cost of satisfying the request is excessive. I don't think that the first point needs much comment, but for the second, it's quite possible that they'll be able to make a good excuse: since software is so much more complicated than manual processes (which they'll no doubt have documented as part of their quality certification or whatever), the cost to audit it will be so much more. Since data requests can legally be refused on grounds of cost, this will end up with more data requests being refused, with little or no recourse.

So, as a result, I think that the only changes that need to come about are to ensure that the same transparency standards are applied to automated processes as manual ones. This needs to happen both in terms of privacy/FoI legislation and non-legislative areas, such as ISO quality standards (which I assume is immune to Brexit).

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Good job, everyone. We're making AI just as tediously racist and sexist as ourselves

Frumious Bandersnatch
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other uses of the data

I've often thought that this sort of collation of data could be very useful for language learners.

There are plenty of basic things that scanning corpora like this can turn up. You can have some basic stuff like collocations that existing in the target language (eg, "take" and "bath" form a collocation in English) and distinguish that sort of association from more conceptual linkages. For example, when "president" appears, you're likely to see more vocabulary related to countries, laws, government, debates and so on, as well as particular current events or issues. More or less what the article says about "spaghetti" appearing more often with "food" than "shoe".

Besides being able to group new vocabulary and presenting related words to be learned together, in context, a computer-aided learning tool could use the data in a lot more ways, eg:

  • grade vocab (and reading material) by frequency, to avoid overloading the learner
  • build up a profile of what a person knows (and how well), including both vocab/grammar patterns and general knowledge (eg, "Trump" is a "president")
  • automatically generate all sorts of review/comprehension questions based on the material
  • be a lot more user-directed, letting them follow up areas or reading material that they're more interested in
  • maybe even generate synthetic reading/teaching/testing material using events/grammar/vocab/common knowledge that exists within the corpus (eg, simple sentences stories or scenarios)

Maybe it's too much to expect a machine learning system to do all of this unsupervised, but still, you could have it at least generate different kinds of material and use crowd-sourcing to weed out errors or re-train the thing. Lots of ways to have a hybrid human/computer system.

The other big use that I've often thought about is automatic classification of documents. I've got tons of PDF files downloaded from the net, but no actual filing system for them. One simple way of clustering similar documents together is to do a frequency analysis of the words in the document and then to get rid of all the most common words from the language (like "it", "for", "and", "the", etc.). The remaining top ten words, say, should help to give a very good idea about the topic of that document. Basic statistical clustering like this should help a lot to find relevant/related documents on a given topic, but there seems to be so much more that could be done with AI/machine learning techniques.

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Back to the Future 2: Gasp! America's trade watchdog discovers the risks of 'free' movies

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Oh no...

Dumb ways to die (for a more upbeat version)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJNR2EpS0jw

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Canonical sharpens post-Unity axe for 80-plus Ubuntu spinners

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Reboot

... shouldn't be needed.

The kernel loads itself into memory at the start and then, apart from loadable modules, it doesn't need to re-load (page) itself from disk. The only thing that stops working after installing a new kernel is hibernate. That fails (in the sense of starting to hibernate, but not going through with it) because on the next reboot, a new kernel is in place and it wouldn't make sense to reload the memory image belonging to an old kernel.

Regular programs/services should also be restartable without needing a reboot. Even upgrading loadable kernel modules on the fly is fine because they are (like the kernel) just loaded once and the init system (or something like dbus) knows about dependencies and can restart affected parts of the system in the right order.

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Apple wets its pants over Swatch ad tagline

Frumious Bandersnatch
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"gramatically incorrect phrase"

'tis the Register, forsooth, where thinkly different knaves do with such smacking of chops pour such scorn 'pon such frutious ventures that all most righteous and perspicacious men couldst but call them what they are: butchers!

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Daft thing is ...

> blazoned all over damn near every consumer ... made

Yes, even the ones with digital watches.

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Qualcommotion: Sueball return alleges Apple 'pay-to-play' deal

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: er Bribery?

I believe that this practice goes by the nice, friendly name of "'hello' money".

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Mark Shuttleworth says some free software folk are 'deeply anti-social' and 'love to hate'

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: What does he expect?

Thanks, jake, for showing us all that this is a rather nuanced issue---by completely failing to notice it.

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Eric S. Raymond says you probably fit one of eight tech archetypes

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: forgotten archetypes

where's Mr. Incompetent?

You mean Peter/Mr. Peters?

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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The word "Tinker"

Bit of a pejorative term this side of the pond. I reckon he's better off with "Tinkerer".

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US govt ceases fire in legal spat with Twitter to unmask anti-Trump 'immigration official'

Frumious Bandersnatch
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That, or the court should rule that the DHS was engaging in vexatious litigation.

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Microsoft's new hardware: eight x86 cores, 40 GPU cores

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Project Scorpio?

Might I suggest free hammocks for all users?

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'Evidence of Chinese spying' uncovered on eve of Trump-Xi summit

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Surely the NSA knew since ...

The young man stepped into the hall of mirrors

Where he discovered a reflection of himself

Even the greatest stars discover themselves in the looking glass

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Revealed: Blueprints to Google's AI FPU aka the Tensor Processing Unit

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: So about par with the (soon I hope) new Parrallella chip.

Hmmm. I didn't know that Adapteva were bringing out a new model. Last time I checked on their website (around a month and a half ago?) the whole effort looked pretty moribund. While reading this article I was tempted to start messing around with my 16-core board again.

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We know what you're thinking: Where the hell is all the antimatter?

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Not to Antigonish anyone....

Flappity, floppity, flip

The mouse on the mobius strip;

The strip revolved,

The mouse dissolved

In a chronodimensional skip.

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Ubuntu UNITY is GNOME-MORE: 'One Linux' dream of phone, slab, desktop UI axed

Frumious Bandersnatch
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ding dong, the witch is dead

Well, one of them anyway.

Hopefully people will start looking at GTK3 in general and systemd. Unity (along with Mir) and GTK3 were the main reasons I abandoned Ubuntu long ago. There's still that fucking metastasis that is systemd to extricate from the heart of Debian-based distros.

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FCC Commish: Hey, don't look at me – Congress should sort out net neutrality mess

Frumious Bandersnatch
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"Google dominates desktop search"

Reading that paragraph, and the following one (rebutting his point by looking at the cost of the service they offer) you completely missed out on the more salient fact: You don't have to use Google to search, whereas most people are effectively in thrall to one or two ISPs. Google represents a captive market only insofar as customers are unaware of the options available to them.

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Trump sets sights on net neutrality

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Thumb Up

Re: "You're just a forum troll - why even bother picking an icon?"

Ahh. I have seen the light, and ze goggles, zey do nothing!!!

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Stop

"You're just a forum troll - why even bother picking an icon?"

What the hell is that message (plus all icons set to trollface) all about?

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BOFH: The Boss, the floppy and the work 'experience'

Frumious Bandersnatch
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maths trick

When subtracting two numbers that are the same except for some transposed digits (say 35 vs 53), the result is always a multiple of 9. The difference between 53 and 35 is around 20, so pick the multiple of 9 that's just less than that. So 53,000 - 35,000 can be quickly calculated as 18,000 with no need to do awkward carrying or the like.

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Europe to push new laws to access encrypted apps data

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: If apps are intrinsicly insecure ...

Actually, I was also thinking about Bitcoin. Since the ledger is public, you can encode your "go/no-go" message using a transaction of a certain amount. I assume that wallet IDs are stored in the ledger, although it's impossible to know who they belong to unless you find it on someone's PC, which shouldn't happen if you're doing it right.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: and picture messaging will be banned

As someone mentioned above, it's much easier to use specific pre-arranged codes, preferably one use only. Something simple like posting an animal picture or video on a certain day, with the choice of animal (or no post at all) giving a traffic light-like status update or selecting from a set of targets, or whatever. Assuming you can meet up in person at least once without being bugged/spied on, it's trivial to pre-arrange this sort of thing and no amount of technology or anti-encryption laws can defeat it.

(Hmm... I didn't see that post that's (now) right above mine, suggesting exactly the same thing)

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BDSM sex rocks Drupal world: Top dev banished for sci-fi hanky-panky

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Jeez.

It's like you make one sexy Star Trek role-play video for your own private amusement, and everyone's like "I know they call it the naughties, but that sort of thing isn't acceptable"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1x-ATlpqo1M

Plus, role-play is generally all that this is.

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Boffins give 'D.TRUMP' an AI injection

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Prof. Holmes

So, pretty much the Socratic method of pedagogy.

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As of today, iThings are even harder for police to probe

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Once glaring omission

No data checksumming, unlike ZFS.

I've no idea about whether this is true or not, but could it be that the flash controller includes bad block detection and recovery (where possible; returning an I/O error otherwise) at a lower level? If so, perhaps there's no need for duplicated functionality. Besides, I think that read errors are much less of a problem with flash: it's write endurance that's the main problem.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Speed

the original Nexus 7

The solution there is to root it and periodically run fstrim. I don't think that they ever fixed that problem and even with the workaround, my tablet still falls off a performance cliff before I can run the fstrim, followed by a complete crash/reboot.

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Cheap, flimsy, breakable and replaceable – yup, Ikea, you'll be right at home in the IoT world

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Not Ikea, but Lego

That's what I want. I want a building block that slots in nicely, is easy to switch out, doesn't phone home (not that I'm particularly singling out Ikea on this), and connects to just the stuff that we want it to. All the ancillary stuff to do with data collection and actuation (as well as the logic glue that holds sensor nets together) should be done in a secure manner using your own properly-firewalled home network subnet (and possibly a portal via a secure VPN for secure control when outside). All this stuff about connecting to some mothership can go stick its head in a pig.

Causing excruciating pain when you step on it barefoot is optional.

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Samsung plans Galaxy Note 7 fire sale

Frumious Bandersnatch
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give it to us with a replacable battery

Then it might be a goer (or blower, with an added SIM)

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Manufacturers reject ‘no deal’ Brexit approach

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Welcome to Trump.UK

The last prime minister called this election to pacify his own right wing, safe in the knowledge he'd comfortably win.

This, a hundred times. He gambled the entire country for the sake of party politics and to cement his own position. It was a spectacularly stupid gamble to take, and now all the dominoes are falling. I'd say that this is not unlike the domino effect that cause the first World War, with parochial local politics somehow managing to ensnare the whole fucking continent. The sort of clusterfuck that the EU originally set out to avoid happening again, I might add.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: It'll be fine

They're intransigent no matter how much it benefits them

That has still to be seen. If May, as she indicates she will do, goes into negotiations effectively saying "fuck you, we're prepared for these negotiations to fail, despite the massive collateral damage this will cause to both sides," then it's hardly a good strategy for dealing with the other member states. You brought them to the negotiating table so if you want to soften their perceived intransigence, this strategy is pretty much guaranteed to achieve the opposite.

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Toshiba's nuclear power plant business runs out of steam

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Hmmm

Maybe Trump could ride in on Rocinante and save all those Murcan jobs?

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Astroboffins stunned by biggest brown dwarf ever seen – just a hop and a skip away (750 ly)

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: 99.9 per cent hydrogen

ditto, but Minter was just channelling Floyd.

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UK Home Sec: Give us a snoop-around for WhatApp encryption. Don't worry, we won't go into the cloud

Frumious Bandersnatch
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as quoted in the Guardian

> The home secretary said it was “completely unacceptable” that

> the government could not read messages protected by end-to-end

> encryption

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/26/intelligence-services-access-whatsapp-amber-rudd-westminster-attack-encrypted-messaging

So not only was the cloud-related stuff as mentioned in the article here a bit fluffy, but so is the secretary's grasp of what "end-to-end" encryption means. If WhatsApp is actually end-to-end, then what the hell is ranting to the company going to achieve: they surely wouldn't be able to decrypt it even if they wanted to.

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Why do GUIs jump around like a demented terrier while starting up? Am I on my own?

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Spot on

The most annoying thing on Windows is with automatic updates. It goes and downloads something and pops up an alert at some random time. If you're typing something at the time and just happen to be hitting enter, it's always "yes, do shut down my machine, ignoring any unsaved work that I have, and while you're at it, why don't you make the machine unusable for the next 20 minutes". Aaagh.

Also, speaking of UI components that jump around the place for not good reason, whoever designed the UI for Netflix in a browser deserves to be shot. Stop fucking moving shit around when I mouse-over on it!

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Amazing new WikiLeaks CIA bombshell: Agents can install software on Apple Macs, iPhones right in front of them

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Airports

> /Frumious

You rang?

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Erm, but ...

You dismiss the possibility of interfering with the supply chain, but how does that square away with more recent events:

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/03/12/malware_infecting_androids_somewhere_in_the_supply_chain/

OK, it's apples for oranges (lemons?) and different animals on your free Chinese takeaway calendar, but still...

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