* Posts by Mage

6433 posts • joined 23 Nov 2007

Apple’s premium TV plans – the hobby doomed to stay that way

Mage
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Re: TV Subscriptions

Anything with ANY boradcast TV (Sky, BT, Virgin) needs a TV licence in UK. Subscription or FTA based is irrelevant.

I expect UK will follow Ireland (Previously TV licence was OWNING a receiver). It's just a tax. They will extend to watching ANY kind of video, like Ireland (for any screen above a certain size).

If it's subscription only, I don't watch it. Subscriptions cost you every month even if you don't watch, and Sky is certainly more expensive than TV licence (which you need also, in either country). Over 90% of what people with a cable or satellite subscription watch, is actually Free to Air!

Expect Netflex to double or triple in price in UK & Ireland when they reach saturation (Pay TV, is 82% in Ireland, not as high in UK).

Netflix is crazy, as though it''s not broadcast, but VOD, there is no long tail and even comparatively recent stuff is retired. It's because VOD scales badly compared to broadcast, they have to install servers all over the place on ISPs they partner with to reduce the backhaul traffic, or else it wouldn't work.

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OLE-y hell. Bug in MSFT Word allows total PC p0wnage

Mage
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Devil

OLE

OLE was evil from the beginning on Win 3.x.

A file using it transferred to another PC might not have the other application(s) needed.

It's inherently vulnerable.

COM and DCOM are its later evil siblings.

If you are using OLE, you are doing your documents wrong. Better to export and import a static copy from the other application, or if it has to be dynamic, then using a connection (validated and sanitised) to a database. The entire idea of OLE is stupid and facilitates lazy convenience instead of proper solutions.

Over 20 years ago, when giving training, I explained and demo'd why to never use OLE.

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Ex-IBMer sues Google for $10bn – after his web ad for 'divine honey cancer cure' was pulled

Mage
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Google Healthcare

Allegedly they are in "Healthcare".

i.e. processing patents records.

I'm sceptical as to what they are doing.

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TP-Link 3G/Wi-Fi modem spills credentials to an evil text message

Mage
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SMS

15 years ago I interfaced SMS to a server using serial adaptor on a Nokia phone, but it had a whitelist of numbers to process (not great security) and needed a password. It only responded with information on the web site anyway...

This is mental. Why no whitelist of numbers at least?

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

Mage
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Re: Rubber hose decryption

Though was it a rubber hose or a big spanner in the XKCD?

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Facebook's 'delightful' AI Clippy the Paperclip creeps into Messenger

Mage
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Facepalm

No,

Absolutely no.

Though it's OK if you can actually disable the snooping and the stupid bot responses. Default should be OFF.

Do Tech companies not realise that the HHGTG was NOT a blueprint for the future but a mix of satire about stupid stuff already existing and egotistical stupidly idealistic SF? Are they competing to see which is most like "The Sirius Cybernetics Corporation"?

Just like 1984 was highlighting EXISTING 1948 totalitarian states, not a blueprint for government.

Actually Machiavelli's "The Prince" might have been illustrating existing evil leaders, not a manual, though I'm not sure.

Silicon Valley / US Tech are mostly a bunch of greedy exploitive sociopaths. They are not giving us the future we wanted, but one that people like Harry Harrison warned about! (Read "To the Stars Trilogy"), or read "Shockwave Rider".

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Murdoch will get EU green light for full Sky takeover – reports

Mage
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: So ...

It won't be any different as he has always effectively controlled it.

I guess either it's ego he is taking it over completely, or expects to get more money. It's not about actual control.

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An echo chamber full of fake news? Blame Google and Facebook, says Murdoch chief

Mage
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Devil

Re: Hillarious: NOT!

I may despise Murdoch, his exploitive news papers and his rip-off PayTV empire, that should not distract from the fact that what this guy is saying is basically correct.

Google and Facebook are exploitive parasites. Google does make a fortune both from their own IP infringements and ignoring the infringements of others.

What other eBook publisher / retailer allows hard copy scans as an eBook source as Google does. Almost all their YouTube income is based on either IP infringement by uploaders or allowing dodgy content!

Almost all the adverts on Facebook seem to be scams or fake news.

Then transparent auditing. How many views or click are bots or real users? I'd be surprised if Google and Facebook don't know, but ignore it as the advertiser pays and it increases their revenue.

Google knows when someone uses a different PC or OS when it's an account. Facebook and Google track browsers across sites. Of course they know which views are probably fake.

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Crafty Fokker: Norfolk surgeon builds Red Baron triplane replica

Mage
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I remember the song

With snoopy in it?

Fantastic achievement for one person without the resources of nation's war machine urged on by Bill.

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Aviation regulator flies in face of UK.gov ban, says electronics should be stowed in cabin. Duh

Mage
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Black Helicopters

Re: Entirely predictable

No,

With having to use checked in baggage, certain people then can be targeted and either the device "stolen" for analysis or have spyware / root kit monitoring installed.

Doing it to everyone means the target is not sup

Arrrgh

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Put down your coffee and admire the sheer amount of data Windows 10 Creators Update will slurp from your PC

Mage
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Coffee/keyboard

Data slurped and settings

a) All of Win10 is too restrictive on customisation

b) It's awkward and clunky (did they copy Facebook and Android)

c) Can we trust what they say or that the settings work? (May even be mistakes, not deliberate).

No, I've left Windows and this is too minor to entice me back. Shame as for 25 years I really liked it.

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

Mage
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Coat

Re: single device

IMO, such a single device needs to be just storage for all your data, MRU lists, application settings, customisations etc.

Then the challenge is purely two alternate sets of applications, using the same settings, same data and similar functionality on two alternate GUIs.

The dock can be simply interfaces, or a dumb connector and entirely optional if it uses a different GPU or a different CPU and GPU.

So in theory this can be done on an SD card, or using USB Storage mode on a phone/tablet to a laptop as a demo, using two sets of applications written (phone & laptop) to show it off. No need to ever sync bookmarks, email, data files.

The idea of one GUI to fit all, or one app to run everywhere misses the point that the gadget/phone/tablet/laptop etc is only differentiated from the factory shipped one by the user's data and settings!

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Mage
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Unhappy

Re: Qt?

QT is a framework for GUI and applications.

It's NOT about one GUI for everything. I've seen both win9x and tile style "desktop managers" implemented using QT.

I also have used Windows XP, Windows7, Linux Desktop applications that look like any other desktop application, implemented using QT.

QT doesn't make the impossible of writing the SAME application (that's more trivial than a widget) work on a laptop or a phone usable any more than Java or MS Universal thingy does.

Even on a decent resolution 7" android tablet, a full wordprocessor done like a clone of the Windows/Linux version is horrible. You need a differently designed application, even apart from the GUI libraries for a touch screen (even if it has a keyboard cover option), compared to a keyboard & mouse GUI on a larger screen typically twice as far away. Also "touch" on a laptop or desktop screen is pretty useless ergonomically. I've tried it.

QT is real and useful alternative to Java, though not a language, it's an alternative to VB forms, c# forms, Visual C or C++ MS forms / windows frameworks etc.

The default language to use QT was always C++, but they have added more language support.

QT 5 language bindings

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Mage
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Re: Makes sense

It's not about popularity, the very concept isn't viable. There is a reason why iOS and MacOS are different and that the GUIs are different too. Apple has that right. If they do an iOS for a true Mac Air device, (keyboard and Wacom) rather than the half baked copy of the MS Surface, then it needs a new GUI *AND* suitable apps.

I have a Lenovo X201 Tablet. It works OK with Win7 or Linux Mint as a "netbook", but really only artistic work can make use of its wacom pen. It's a failure in Tablet mode, though that would be more usable with Win 8, but then the applications would still be poorly supported, they really need the keyboard and mouse. So it's a niche product.

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Mage
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Re: When prototypes go too far

My ancient Sony Z1 takes mouse, keyboard, 1920x1080 HD HDMI screen.

Though you can't power it at the same time.

The fact is though, Android is rubbish on a big screen and for an alternative to netbook or laptop. Many apps can't use the SD card, hardly any support printing. Networked storage requires the file manager. Most apps don't suit a mouse.

So even if Android supported multi-window use better, the apps are designed for phone / tablet and often aren't that great.

So not only does a phone / medium tablet need a different GUI to a laptop or netbook, you need differently designed applications too. Microsoft's Universal idea can't work.

I can do ONE version of a java program that looks native and works OK on Linux, Windows XP or 7. But I have to design it differently for a set box (TV screen) or a phone/ tablet.

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Mage
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Mushroom

Good

The entire idea of one GUI to rule them all is bonkers.

TVs, phones, eBook readers, mid to large tablets and stuff used mainly with keyboard / mouse all need different nuances to the GUI, different resolution/screen percentage per interactive element and text sizes as they are also used at different distances too.

Unity was doomed. As was Windows 8 (phone centric on desktop) or even Windows CE / Win Phone < 6, as that was a regular WIMP desktop, on a too small screen which is why it was resistive with a stylus. What idiot thought a Win9x desktop was suitable for 320 x 240, or the Win phone 6.5 Zune like interface suitable for a laptop with no touch. What moron thought changing menus or ribbon was a good idea.

Really Ubuntu needs to IGNORE Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac, go back to WIMP GUI basics and take a course at Norman Nieslen Group.

Ditch FLAT, avoid hyper realistic and rendered. Simple highlight & shadow, a bare hint of 3D like Win3.11, Win9x, NT3.5x 4.0, Win2000. No eye candy OR newspaper flat.

Mozilla take heed too!

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Huawei faces UK sales ban if it doesn't cough up 4G patent tithes

Mage
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Interesting

I'd be surprised if Huawei refuses. It sounds like they accept it and it's much closer to what they offered than the obviously inflated demand off "unwired".

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It's not just Elon building bridges to the brain: The Internet of Things is coming to a head

Mage
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Write

There ARE "write" interfaces, for vision and hearing. The sensation is nothing like regular vision or hearing and the user can take over a year to "learn" the relationship between the real world and what they experience.

So indeed not like video tape, hard drives or flash memory.

Our memories are not remotely like a PVR or RAM.

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Mage
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Re: Random Numbers

Actually Random numbers are REALLY hard to program. The trivial simple method is a physical noise source such as a pair of neons or zener diodes. A pair so you can cancel out repetitive supply voltage noise.

Or a big predefined table.

A lot of computer based "random number" generators can be predicted if you store enough past output and the generator isn't influenced / seeded by external semi-random events.

Certainly a human can't do random numbers with an equal probability, but possibly can give you random digits that are more random in reality than a "straight" computer program.

Several computational methods for random-number generation exist. Many fall short of the goal of true randomness, although they may meet, with varying success, some of the statistical tests for randomness intended to measure how unpredictable their results are (that is, to what degree their patterns are discernible).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Random_number_generation

It's really hard without having the program read external events (noise).

Random doesn't even mean what many think it means.

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Mage
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FAIL

Re: You humans think very highly of yourselves

give me a list of a hundred random numbers, find all the spelling mistakes in the posts in this forum, and memorise and recite the complete works of Shakespeare. Even quite simple computers can do those things

None of those involve intelligence and can in theory be done with racks of relays or even cogwheels.

Who wrote the programs that allows a computer to do any of those? Without a human written program it's just a bunch of expensive sand.

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Mage
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Boffin

Re: So we're still a disappointingly long way away from...

Joe 90?

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Mage
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Boffin

Dead fish in MRI scanner

I wonder how nuanced it can be?

Yes there is progress: cochlear implants don't give normal hearing but we are so amazing that they allow the recipient to understand speech, gadgets to control limbs by thought work too, but again because we are amazingly adaptive and clever and can learn to use them.

A brain on life support controlling a waldo-avatar machine styled like an android is still science fiction, though no doubt feasible (unlike a computer AI controlled avatar). See Anne McCaffery Ship books, OTH, Ian M.Banks sort of AI and transhumanism (reading an identity and resurrecting it) seems like egotism by people that can't accept death, not even real SF, but magic fanasty dressed as SF, cute names though.

Like every other tech today, this will be oversold. Hopefully though eventually people that are quadraplegic or in a "locked in" condition will benefit. It will be clumsy and take weeks to years to learn use. Not a clip on and instantly browse the internet, write a novel, video edit or VR gadget, though given time and no alternative I'm sure those are possible.

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Online Trust Alliance merges with Internet Society

Mage
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Happy

Good?

It sounds positive.

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OK... Red wire or black... *Clickety* You've emailed the schematic? Yes, got it! It's opening. And... WHAT? NO!

Mage
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Broadband?

How many are using Mobile data mis-sold as broadband. An "up to" 100Mbps mobile package is often rubbish compared to 2Mbps on DSL.

I'd love 100Mbps plus, but (a) I can't afford it, crazy it's x3 more expensive than Mobile Data*, and (b)I'd have to move to town, though I'm in a large village (1200+) only 5km from the edge of cable/fibre areas.

[*Mobile data is often sold below cost as it's subsidised by voice, or in the case of Three Ireland, by Hong Kong parent as they historically never made profit. Also mobile has a much lower cap, which should be even lower to reduce usage and thus increase speed. If people using it instead of broadband could get affordable broadband, then mobile would be maybe twice as good.]

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Pong, anyone? How about Pong on a vintage oscilloscope?

Mage
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affordable in the 60s and even the 70s

Actually, taking account of inflation, it's much cheaper now, using Chinese and Russian NOS.

I don't remember these boxes of free valves. It's true that war surplus in 1950s and 1960s was cheaper than new valves. My ex WWII wireless sets used up a lot of pocket money in the latter 1960s.

As did photocopies of the R&TVS from Central Library to repair valve TVs and valve Radios. One paid a small fee to get valves tested rather than wasting money on new ones for repairs.

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Mage
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Thermionic Pong

Probably work out at about $400 using the small Russian 6.3V indirect double triodes similar spec to ECC82. Maybe $800 using Russian rod Pentodes such as 1j24b (much cooler as filament is about 12mA at 1.2V), but you need twice as many.

You can get NOS Russian tubes/valves made as late as 1980s on eBay from Eastern European or Russia for as low as $1.50 each in bulk.

So totally doable. I remember in 1970s in college that someone made a "pong" using a matrix of red LEDs as display and simple 4000 series logic. You can make a flip flop with two valves and gates using resistor capacitor inputs need one valve.

The difficulty is that grids can't couple direct to anodes. But example gate circuits are on the internet.

The Rod Pentode, though, can be switched at high voltage on screen grid, so DC coupling using the g1 only for bias is possible, then the HT can be about +45V.

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Mac Pro update: Apple promises another pricey thing it will no doubt abandon after a year

Mage
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Alien

Apple

They are a consumer gadget company.

They just want Apple badges in their own offices.

They took "computer" out of their name.

They make FAR more profit from non-OSX products, it's a niche. But it hurts their ego that pro users don't much like the macs now.

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Startup remotely 'bricks' grumpy bloke's IoT car garage door – then hits reverse gear

Mage
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Black Helicopters

Re: There's a reason some of us call this stuff IoS.

The problem is that regular folk will be taken in by the marketing hype. That's part of why Hobbs was right about needing governments for our security. Now it's not so much the neighbouring king, but the corporation that is a modern robber baron.

Wrong regulation is horrible. But none or soft touch leaves ordinary people to be exploited by these tech parasites.

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Mage
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Facepalm

Remote Garage Door opener

Don't buy one that needs a 3rd party server.

P.S. They have actually existed since 1950s, also if you are IN the car, needing to use a phone app is a retrograde step from models fitted on a car.

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BezosBux: Amazon gets into scrip game with Cash scheme

Mage
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Re: sending the grandkids their birthday postal order.

You've been able to txt, email or post an Amazon "gift card" for ages to anyone. It's just text. It works for ANYONE. So if some third party gets a copy and uses it first, it's gone.

Gift cards are a problem, especially ones that expire or businesses that go bust. The money should be in escrow and interest applied to the card code.

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Mage
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Coat

Barcodes?

Barcodes are just numbers, or even text.

They are easily replicated.

They don't work with lots of phones.

Can the digits of the code just be typed in?

It seems just like a variation of their existing schemes, I can't see how it helps money laundering or anonymisation. The first would be illegal to help and Amazon isn't interested in the second.

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Google's video recognition AI is trivially trollable

Mage
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Is it a bug?

No, it's a fundamental flaw in how all so called AI is hyped, presented, marketed. And how it actually works.

If it was a tiny bug it could be fixed.

I see this on AI junk mail filters.

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Android beats Windows as most popular OS for interwebz – by 0.02%

Mage
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Re: Welcome to the new burning platform

Nokia got MS to pay billions for a division it didn't want, and kept all the IP and name.

They re-invented themselves as Networks and Infrastructure before the phones tanked.

In the past they did paper, welly boots, TV sets, satellite boxes etc before surprising people with phones.

Nokia might be making starships or stepping discs when Microsoft and Apple are memories. But who knows, Who'd have thought DEC, Digital Research, Wang, Westinghouse (Electronics), Zenith, RCA, Bell Labs[*], Motorola, Telefunken, EMI/HMV would be gone and Hollerith (IBM) still with us?

[*]AT&T / Bell Labs / UNIX is owned by .... Nokia!

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Mage
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Linux

Oddly

A decent phone costs more than an a supermarket laptop. Though a decent laptop (unavailable in any retail bricks & mortar?) costs more than a decent phone.

Also I, family and friends all use Linux Mint on Laptops. At the peak I was installing over 400 Windows workstations in a month. Now thankfully I write novels instead of IT support.

Since Android runs a modified Linux kernel and technical people with a choice now often chose Linux laptops (Macs are a small percentage of iPods and some are running Linux, and both iOS and MacOS derived from BSD), the Year of UNIX I was promised in 1987 has arrived, but as Android, iOS, Mac OS, Linux, BSD, OpenWRT, etc.

A lot of set boxes, NAS, Servers, TVs, Routers etc are based on Linux or Android too.

Sage, SAP, Adobe and Retail sales etc are keeping Windows alive?

Not the year of the cat but the Penguin? Actually just as the death of Symbian was inevitable due to Nokia internal politics, killing of Nokia Touch R&D long before there was even start of Apple phone R&D as well as S80, Crystal, messing up Maemo/Mego, Trolltech etc, the decline in Windows was inevitable with the train wreck of Vista & Office Ribbon and MS management from 2004 onwards

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D'oh! Amber Rudd meant 'understand hashing', not 'hashtags'

Mage
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Re: "Banning end-to-end encryption"

Encrypt and then steganographicly embed in cat videos etc.

Yes, banning secret communications is impossible. Even forum posts don't have to be like Amanfrommars to have hidden encrypted payloads.

It's amazing that some numbers stations are still running, or were last year when I checked. Presumably for spies with no mobile / internet access.

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Mage
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Big Brother

None of the Above

I think unlikely to be coming to a ballot paper anywhere anytime as obviously the incumbents don't want evidence of how massively unpopular they are.

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Mediaeval Yorkshirefolk mutilated, burned t'dead to prevent reanimation

Mage
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Re: Help a foreigner, please

Try Shakespeare, and if that's too easy try Chaucer, unreadable for many English people*. Though in Ireland we have some good stories up to 500 years older than Chaucer. As few Irish speakers can cope with pre 1948 spelling, naturally even the pre-10th C stuff is unreadable.

Demons - Daemons

I just discovered Fay comes from Fae, which is the old singular for the plural Faerie, though why Morgan is Le Fay rather than La Fay maybe needs a Frenchman to explain, unless she was a he. Oddly Morgan (Morien) is more often a male name, in Wales, where the name and story comes from.

I love the Mediaeval stories.

[*Actually reading it out loud with a rustic English or Welsh accent helps a lot, as a lot of the time it's eccentric spelling]

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Mage
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Coat

re: Sheep

@ Yet Another Anonymous coward

I'm not sure if it was sheep, but yes, "the Clearances" in Scotland, though that was much later and may have been inspired by Cromwell's economic successes east of the Shannon and Elisabeth I's successes east of the river Bann.

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Mage
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Pirate

deserted mediaeval village

So the "treatment" failed, the villagers had to flee and no-one wanted to re-occupy the village.

Hmm.

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Boeing and Airbus fly new planes for first time

Mage
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Re: I basically gave up flying about 20 years ago

Well, TSA, etc too.

Skype at home desk is better.

Holidays? Doing nothing at home and good take outs is far less stressful and safer. DVDs, Streetview , Wikipedia and friends on Skype etc for "foreign". But then I do have good scenery. Dutch, Germans, Americans, Chinese etc pay to come here.

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Head of US military kit-testing slams F-35, says it's scarcely fit to fly

Mage
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Black Helicopters

Dare I say, Brexit?

How did they get it so wrong?

Well, Theresa May won't be using these to fight the Spanish over Gibraltar.

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Lochs, rifle stocks and two EPIC sea gates: Thomas Telford's Highland waterway

Mage
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Car, roads?

I'd have thought going by boat is the way to do it?

Very interesting.

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Is this a solution to Trump signing away your digital privacy? We give Invizbox Go a go

Mage
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Unhappy

Re: Ireland's not exactly known for that kind of messing.

Yes, even when they should, the Financial Regulator (Anglo Irish), Comreg (Three and NBS, or Eircom/Eir), Data Regulator (Facebook, Dept of Social Protection outsourcing), BAI (TV3) are rather soft touch.

Sadly Ireland need more intrusive proactive regulation, it's a not a lack of laws, it's unwillingness to enforce them, partly because that costs money and votes.

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Mage
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Comparison

How does it compare with customising Openwrt on a router?

Can a VPN server be set up on regular Linux hosting so only your (possibly German or other non-USA) hosting company and their peering know about your hosted VPN traffic to public internet? Like you don't need Tor, just a non-USA access point if you are in the USA?

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Microsoft taking CodePlex behind the shed and shooting it by Christmas

Mage
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Coat

Microsoft has decided that there's no point with the hassle of running a competitor that's not popular

When it generates no money. Win10 isn't popular in terms of "liked", but unlike codeplex it's unavoidable.

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Forget robot overlords, humankind will get finished off by IoT

Mage
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Re: Monty Python kitten walking on it's hind legs, tearing the rooves off houses

You mean the kitten in the Goodies that attacked the GPO / BT tower?

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Mage
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Thumb Up

Re: The real threat is not the Evil Robots

- it's the brainless, burbling marketing-droids: the Cloud-wallahs, the IoT-mongers, the SaaS-pushers with their fixed grins, zealots' eyes and empty, ringing braincases. And their sinister, pin-eyed financial backers.

Yes. Sadly I can only upvote you once, without being a sock-puppet.

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UK gov draws driverless car test zone around M40 corridor

Mage
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Devil

Re: "that buyers of driverless cars"

Also there is concern that autopilots on ships and aircraft result in LESS ability [for the human] to deal with the unexpected.

There is talk of changing the design of aircraft autopilots so that that the human is more involved and thus able to correctly assess what to do (c.f. Air France over the Atlantic, the human intervention was the opposite of what was needed).

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Mage
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UK testbed for autonomous vehicles yesterday.

Waste of taxpayers money and risk to public.

The real car makers have realistic "testbeds".

Note that Google, Apple, Uber, Intel (who just bought Telsa's provider) etc are not real car makers. Tesla is a niche market subsidised by the taxpayer, yet only affordable by the rich. His "autopilot" is far away from being a real autonomous car.

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BMW chief: Big auto will stay in the driving seat with autonomous cars

Mage
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Unhappy

Connected?

While much he says is reasonable, "connected" has not much to do with comfort and reduces security!

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