* Posts by John H Woods

2408 posts • joined 14 Nov 2007

You should install smart meters even if they're dumb, says flack

John H Woods
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Re: Massively beneficial ...

One is always tumble drying individual socks, even when they go into the laundry in pairs.

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Come in HTTP, your time is up: Google Chrome to shame leaky non-HTTPS sites from January

John H Woods
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Re: Internal sites

"What about all the internal home based web enabled things we have"

AFAIUI, you'll still be able to do that. You'll get a warning, that's all, which presumably you can override so it does not subsequently appear.

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Spoof an Ethernet adapter on USB, and you can sniff credentials from locked laptops

John H Woods
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So...

... the fantasy USB stick beloved of crime and spy dramas which can subvert a computer just by being shoved into a locked computer is actually real!

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Sex is bad for older men, and even worse when it's good

John H Woods
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Pillow talk...

Me: "Honey, fancy a shag?"

Mrs: "Hmm, I'm a bit tired."

Me: "Ok. Oh, I doubled my life insurance today, by the way."

Mrs: "Honey ... fancy a shag?"

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Hollywood offers Daniel Craig $150m to (slash wrists) play James Bond

John H Woods
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Re: Stephen Fry?

Hugh Laurie?

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BA check-in system checks out: Staff flung back to cruel '90s world of paper

John H Woods
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I am sure I cannot be the only person who has been somewhat aggrieved to hear this described as a "glitch" or, even less justifiably, a "blip."

Glitches happen. Whether they cause blips or major system downtime is, if not exclusively, usually a matter of "cost control."

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

John H Woods
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Wrong question

People tell me that "much of the Leave campaign was based on immigration" but I have two problems with this: (1) the margin was not hugely in favour of Leave, so even if only 10% of Leave voters were not bothered about freedom of movement a victory for Leave does not imply a victory for restriction of movement; and (2), most importantly IT WAS NOT THE QUESTION which was put to the vote.

If "Brexit means Brexit" can be understood to mean anything useful it must mean that a vote to leave the EU must be translated into leaving the EU. How we leave the EU should now be decided by parliament or further referendums, depending on whether one favours representative or direct democracy. But it seems odd that a vote on one issue should be considered a mandate on another.

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Robot cars probably won't happen, sniffs US transport chief

John H Woods
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Re: Teleporting trucks

"If you are a person you can see far enough into it to make a decision that the lane is currently empty "

The number of places you can safely swerve is VERY limited: most drivers could only safely perform that manouvre if they were already preparing to safely overtake the vehicle in front.

Swerving to avoid hitting a pedestrian, cyclist or horse is probably acceptable. But you have to remember that most modern cars will keep you safe in a front-on impact at considerable speed. Even if your swerve is not endangering other road users, you may pose a greater risk to yourself by virtue of the fact that you are more likely to lose control of the car.

I swerved a 7.5 tonne horsebox to avoid hitting a lorry that had attempted to cross a main road in front of me and had stalled. This was firstly a defensive driving failure. I had seen the lorry stop at the junction to the road I was travelling down, and I assumed it would stay stopped. Then when I saw it moving I assumed it would safely cross in front of me. When it stalled, I braked as hard as I could given that there were valuable horses on board and was at about 20mph when I would have crashed; I swerved round at low speed, mounting the verge, and we were all safe. A self driving car would never have made this mistake as it would have assumed (as I now do) that a vehicle on the side of the road may pull in front of you at any time. And without horses on board, I could have easily stopped the vehicle in the distance I had. And, even if the distance had been a lot shorter, without horses on board, I wouldn't have swerved, either: I would hae just driven it into the side of the lorry at 20mph.

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John H Woods
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Re: Teleporting trucks

Sorry but "partially concealed driveways" just means that the visibility is too low for the road speed.

A sudden rockfall, a bridge collapsing in front of you M20 style, or a 400kg hay bale bursting through a fence because some idiots wondered if it would roll down the hill, yes that's an unavoidable problem, for human and robot alike, although the latter will always be able to react quicker.

Driveways, however, are not camouflaged. Even if the rare corner is completely blind, there is a speed at which it can be negotiated with near-zero lethality. Remember, metal is only metal --- driving into the back, side or even front of the truck that has mysteriously teleported into your field of view at 20mph is probably not going to kill anyone. In fact about most pedestrians could survive a hit at this speed.

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John H Woods
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Teleporting trucks

"My automated car is confronted by an 80,000 pound truck in my lane"

Trucks do not just appear out of thin air. The (single) rule is:

Always drive in a manner (allowing for the condition of the road, the vehicle and the driver) which allows you to stop the vehicle on your own side of the road in the distance you can see to be clear.

What would you do if you were a human in such a situation? You'd brake hard and hit the lorry as gently as you could. If you think that swerving, either into pedestrians, or into oncoming traffic, is even an option, I hope you won't be programming any car systems!

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Swedish Pokemon teens terrorised by laser-wielding 'sex pigs'

John H Woods
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Re: Some prick is shining lasers at teenagers playing a computer game?

Maybe he was downvoted by the manager to whom he referred?

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Air gap breached by disk drive noise

John H Woods
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Re: Security? What security?

"they go in different rooms, one of them preferably RF screened" -- AC

And I think there's probably a good argument for making sure they are on different power supplies. I haven't heard of any malware manipulating the power consumption of a server but I would think that you could probably transmit a low bit rate signal on this channel if you tried hard enough.

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US Politicians tell DEF CON it'll take Congress ages to sort out how to regulate crypto

John H Woods
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Re: Trust!

"Frankly, the greatest threat to modern civilization are a mob of stupid people with the vote." -- AC

Ochlocracy, a word I discovered listening to this interesting discussion about Xenophon

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If you use ‘smart’ Bluetooth locks, you're asking to be burgled

John H Woods
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I use a whitetooth packet sniffer for security

He's 40kg, and he will sniff your packet. Chances are he's friendly but do you want to risk it?

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Forget security training, it's never going to solve Layer 8 (aka people)

John H Woods
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Errm

It is maybe an unpopular, and certainly somewhat simplistic, view of mine that no software application should be exploitable by feeding it incorrect inputs. ok, you could click a link and see something horrendous, like a bad taste video, or a PowerPoint of your company's training policy but, in the end, you are just feeding input to a program. It seems to me that our apparent inability to create programs that are resistant to such input is the real issue we need to address, not the futile task of trying to persuade people to never click links or, even more unfeasibly, to never open attachments.

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HMRC's IR35 tweaks have 90% of UK's IT contractors up in arms

John H Woods
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Re: Why only IT?

Interesting point re: "because IT"... a quick noodle in Private Eye soon reveals very highly paid people earning money through single person companies by providing various consultancy services to national and local government. Maybe one should describe oneself "merely" as a professional services consultant and only discuss one's IT knowledge in the interview?

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Tesla spends $2.6bn on solar

John H Woods
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What is the point of this? You'd be hard pressed to get a couple of horsepower over the surface of a car in direct sunlight!

The only sensible way Musk could power Teslas using this technology is by harnessing his reusable vehicle to get them into space.

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EE roaming outage hits Brits basking abroad

John H Woods
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Shouldn't BT and EE rebrand as Beet?

Well if we're "still close to France" and we can be permitted a circumflex, bête might be more apposite.

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Microsoft adds useful feature to PowerPoint. Seriously

John H Woods
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Re: Still - and incredibly boring

+1 for the good ref. and link to Tufte; it's also worth checking out this hilarious PowerPoint version of the Gettysburg Address

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Gullible Essex Police are now using junk science lie detectors

John H Woods
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Re: "scanty and scientifically weak"

I have a memory of Jeremy Kyle saying that lie detectors are 95% accurate and then proceeding to test no fewer than 8 Suspects regarding who stole grandpa's savings or something.

My maths isn't what it was but it seems to me that you have a 1/3 chance of getting the wrong answer in such a scenario!

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Fear not, humanity – Saint Elon has finished part two of his world-saving 'master plan'

John H Woods
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Re: Reaching

I know Musk is famously anti space-based-solar, but I'm pretty sure this is what we have to work on long term. Nuclear should fill the gap until then.

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It's not our fault we don't hire black people, says Facebook

John H Woods
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Re: Not sure

what **IS** the official count and list of "genders"? --- Keith Glass

Four: Unknown, Male, Female, N/A (IEC 5218). Although you'd be amazed at the number of people in the healthcare IT sector who still think it's binary, forty years after this standard.

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Wannabe Prime Minister Andrea Leadsom thinks all websites should be rated – just like movies

John H Woods
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Re: What a choice

"An unknown number couldn't be arsed either way"

Is it unknown? The number of eligible voters who didn't is approx 12.5m, which is approx 10x the size of the majority.

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Prominent Brit law firm instructed to block Brexit Article 50 trigger

John H Woods
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Re: What a horrible waste of time and money

"The UK constitution *IS* written and is contained in documents dating back to the 1297 Magna Carta, which is still on the books. What I think you mean to say is that it is *uncodified*. This is two very, very different things." --- AC

The UK constitution is referred to as "unwritten" by several current and historic authorities although you are correct that the term "uncodified" may make it clearer to lay people and is preferred by some authorities.. However, it is arguable that some of the constitution is *actually* unwritten i.e. in terms of parliamentary conventions, so if we are going to be absolute sticklers for accuracy it might be best to say "partially unwritten and fully uncodified" with the corollary that it is probably best not to shout down anyone referring to it as "unwritten" until they make it clear that they believe something silly like there isn't one or that none of it is written down.

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John H Woods
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Re: From another angle...

"It cannot be the case that a referendum which claims to determine the future of x, does not in fact have any actual power to do so" -- nuked

Sorry but that is absolutely the case due to UK Parliamentary Sovereignty, whether you or I think it is right or wrong.

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John H Woods
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Re: Bollocks

Yes, I heard that too, but Mishcon de Reya are a serious force and it is hard to dismiss them out of hand. Perhaps the point is that the Prime Minister absolutely can use Royal Prerogative but that it might also be unconstitutional of him or her to do so. More popcorn, please ...

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John H Woods
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Re: What a horrible waste of time and money

"I'd be interested to hear informed opinion counter to this position; as far as I can tell, existing legislation enables the government to trigger article 50 without a new authorisation from parliament." --- Tom7

This was my view too, and was the view of all three guest experts on BBC R4's Law in Action special on the Referendum result. However, the arguments presented by Mishcon de Reya do seem to suggest that it may not be that simple: as the UK constitution is unwritten, there seems to this non-expert a possibility that it could indeed be the case that one Act of Parliament can only be overturned by another.

* Mishcon website a bit slow at the moment, I think a lot more people are going to the horse's mouth to see for themselves.

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Fear and Brexit in Tech City: Digital 'elite' are having a nervous breakdown

John H Woods
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Re: Really its up to Boris to take the lead now

"That assumes a PM can unilaterally serve notice without getting Parliament to agree. Any UK residents know whether that's possible?" -- DougS

IANAL but according to these experts it absolutely is possible for the PM to serve this notice.

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John H Woods
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Legal Headaches

"The EU has primarily been a source of legal headaches"

Of course it has; within the EU it is the source of regulation. To me it makes sense that a single trading bloc will try to harmonize regulation. But, regardless of whether you agree with that or not, surely it is rather simplistic to expert that regulation will go away. You'll just get your legal headaches from trying to comply with UK regulation instead.

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Those Xbox Fitness vids you 'bought'? Look up the meaning of the word 'rent'

John H Woods
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Ts&Cs

"You know those Terms & Conditions you just click accept to without reading..." -- woleftone

You mean people who expect consumer law to protect them? Come on, Ts & Cs are so long and complex now that it would take a non-legal person a significant amount of time to give them a reasonable read and get anything approaching comprehension. IANAL but a legal friend of mine opined that if he counted his time at a any reasonable rate he'd have to charge at least fifty to a hundred quid to read the average set of Ts & Cs and then explain them fully to the end user.

Come on, you buy a physical box item whose functions can be turned off later by the vendor --- this fact has to be front and centre "on the packaging" before it can even be considered remotely valid.

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I want to learn about gamification but all I see is same-ification

John H Woods
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John 104 --- In a sense I agree. Perhaps this will resolve itself as more of today's female gamers grow up and some of them become game devs. At the moment gaming can be more than a bit female-unfriendly. Not because the girls are no good at it, but because of established culture.

Both my wife (who is a racing genius) and my daughter (FPS boss) have to play with gender-neutral IDs and with their mic's off because it just gets somewhat unpleasant, especially when they're winning (as usual). I don't believe in positive discrimination but I can't wait for it all to become a bit less sexist.

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Patriotic Brits rush into streets to celebrate… National Cream Tea Day

John H Woods
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Re: “tea before milk”.

Am I the only one who puts half the milk in before the tea and the other half after?

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PM resigns as Britain votes to leave EU

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Late night smartphone use makes women go blind

John H Woods
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Deliberate differential dark adaption...

This is why pirates wore eye-patches and soldiers are trained to close/cover one eye when flares are deployed. It is also why I cover one eye when switching off the yard lights in winter. Looks ridiculous, but less ridiculous than stumbling blindly around the car-park. Also a handy technique on nocturnal dog walks where you know you are going to trigger somebody's 50 billion watt searchlight when you walk past their house.

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Microsoft cancels Remain speech after death of Labour MP

John H Woods
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Re: "The increasingly tedious referendum"

"Reforming the EU, while a good intention, is likely to take many years and arguments" - Adrian 4

Absolutely true. How long do you think it will take to complete a review of the last four decades of UK legislation and negotiate scores of bilateral trade deals?

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John H Woods
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Interest ...

I note that many people automatically suspect specific interest in cases like these. What's in it for Microsoft? This is something any sensible person should look into. But the idea that you should reject a position simply because the person making it has a special interest is absolutely ridiculous.

Somebody told me the CIA were supportive of the setting up of the Union, so it was clearly a bad idea, if not a total US conspiracy. It did not seem to have occurred to them that, if the CIA thought it would be in US interests, they would support it. Maybe the CIA thought it might help prevent another European war. But just because the CIA are against it, doesn't mean that we should be for it!

Very little examination seems to have been made into why the few top-level pro-Leave business superstars have their position. Lord Bamford's famous email seems to have missed this paragraph ...

---

P.S. I was in favour of the common market in 1975 when I realised it would benefit my exports. But, when I tried to game the system, by trying to prevent customers from buying my goods at a lower price in other EU countries, I got caught out, lost the court case and we got fined forty million euros. It is clearly unfair that we cannot exploit the benefits of the common market whilst ignoring the silly little obligations that come with it. This is why I'm backing the leave campaign. Don't worry, I've got plenty of money, some of it probably in offshore tax havens (I've got so much I can't be expected to remember where it all is), so it isn't too much of a burden making big donations to the Brexit campaign.

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John H Woods
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Re: State of disappointment? @ Flatpackhamster

All the shit in the media? I think you'll find the Leave campaign have a very variable relationship with the truth, Remain less so, but perhaps only because they've said fewer specifics.

I can't see how a referendum result can even be valid until the campaigners on both sides retract all the false statements they have made and that's going to take time.

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Austrians are most likely to bare all on beaches

John H Woods
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Re: Where did Denmark come in the rankings?

"Memories of adolescent holidays in Jutland, make me think they gave the Austrians a run for their money." -- Colin Ritchie

Yes! I got a sunburned back because I couldn't turn over!

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John H Woods
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So's mine ... if you count being found at the low tide mark by the proverbial dog walker

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Buggy vote-counting software borks Australian election

John H Woods
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Re: Counting votes under STV can be laborious.

"Have they tried scanning the paper votes into the computer, "

Note that, as per my earlier comment, STV papers cannot all be identical: the order of the candidates has to be permuted.

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John H Woods
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Re: What, me, do math?

"No, its a hard problem, I mean 1 million peoples vote can barely fit in a home PC with 8GB of ram, and it takes many many nanoseconds to computer the full vote."

STV makes counting complicated --- it's not like FPP. And the order on the ballot paper has to be randomized, especially in locations where voting is mandatory, to avoid "donkey voting" so that the papers cannot all be identical.

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In obesity fight, UK’s heavy-handed soda tax beats US' watered-down warning

John H Woods
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Re: @ Vic re: parachute jumps

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10476298

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Forget Game of Thrones as Android ransomware infects TVs

John H Woods
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Good news for *big* screen fans though ...

... current affordable projectors are mainly dumb. If you want a TV big enough* to see Tyrion Lannister life size, you probably won't have to worry too much about malware for a while. Buy one before they muck it up!

* 108" or 275cm

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