* Posts by Mage

6451 posts • joined 23 Nov 2007

Why Theresa May’s hard Brexit might be softer than you think

Mage
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Re: 2 years?

Indeed, the UK has almost no cards and N.I. will be destroyed by a hard border, the first ever. Gibraltar will become unemployed and economic collapse as Spain will close border.

Scotland has no say and can do nothing unless they leave UK (which will seriously upset the Spanish till it's pointed out that Scotland is not England and was only part of Great Britain from maybe 1707). So no EU deal for an Independent Scotland till Spain calms down (or possibly Catalonia leaves Spain, who knows what that would trigger?). Anyway why is Spain holding bits of North Africa?

It won't be marvellous for Ireland in short term but in longer term better as too many Irish Imports are via UK middle men creaming off a percent (likely goes back to Victorian Era in some cases). Certain agriculture aspects of Ireland will be hit worst.

It's a disaster, but at the end of the day it's UK, Gibraltar, NI that suffers most, short term damage to some Irish industries and nothing more than a blip for rest of EU.

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Balancing miners borks blockchains, say boffins

Mage
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Re: And in this day and age ...

Good luck finding two in the same country ...

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Mage
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Also issue is speed

How fast can the blockchain be processed with 700, 7000, 70,000 transactions at once?

I think it doesn't scale and is worse than linear.

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Smart guns are a neat idea on paper. They'll never survive reality

Mage
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Childcatcher

Re: 'Smart guns' - an inherent failure

Finger prints are easily copied.

Why not go full on impractical SF, a gun that can read your intentions, can't be used for hold-ups, assassinations, etc, only for self defence.

I'm against the USA gun culture and I think the the US constitution was talking about a Militia, as there was no concept of a permanent federal Army? Anyway I vaguely remember Alister Cooke's Letter from America on the subject.

I think this is a stupid idea. It's solving a problem that hardly exists, so badly as to be useless. The main problem with guns in USA lies elsewhere. This doesn't stop the gun's owner or a policeman shooting someone, armed or unarmed. It's pointless and missing the various elephants in the room.

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Nadella calls for AI sector to move beyond 'worshipping' a handful of companies

Mage
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Devil

AI

Maybe the reality is that "real" AI doesn't exist. What we have are nicer interfaces to 30 year old "Expert System" type programs using larger datasets (mostly human curated), often designed to exploit consumers by capturing our choices and behaviour.

Android on Phones, Tablets and most evil Android voice controlled TVs you can't even tune/install without agreeing to Google's coercive contract.

Amazon Echo.

MS Cortana

Apple Siri

AI isn't needed actually for voice control, and it's an unsafe and unreliable method of control.

Exactly what examples are there of real AI and how do it/they benefit humanity compared to clean drinking water, pollution free energy, proper toilets (I use my bathroom to wash), food not full of added water (ham, bacon), added sweetener (real or artificial), added fat and added salt.

Well, this is the guy that runs MS, and they have totally lost the plot anyway.

IBM: Don't look behind the curtain to see how Watson really works.

AI is an interesting goal. However after many years of study I'm more in doubt as to why we need it. Do we need to make silicon based gods in our own image and give up our free will to them? Is it indeed even possible? We don't understand Corvid or Chicken intelligence much less Human, so how can we create a program today to simulate it?

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Apple vs. Samsung goes back to court, again, to re-assess the value of a rounded corner

Mage
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Re: The damages could reasonably be cut to as little as $50 million

I agree, if the "patents" have been violated, then $1 per patent is all they should get.

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Mage
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Re: Rounded corners

Any patent for the appearance, shape or layout of Icons is an insult to intelligence!

The fact is the vast bulk of USPTO "Design Patents" (a special type of copyright called Registered Design) in UK are not sufficiently distinctive or original. Most of the actual "inventive" Patents are also invalid, as they are obvious to those versed in art, not original (prior art), or not realisable, or too broad etc.

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Mage
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Re: Ah, yes the Apple idea

A "coke" bottle or a Russell Hobbs kettle is extremely distinctive. The shape of an iPhone is more your generic wine bottle. There was nothing distinctive about the shape of the first iPhone.

Well, you'd expect certain fashion companies that sell Asian made tat at x10 or x100 price simply because it has their initials to support Apple. They are naked emperors who in reality have nothing more original than their logo.

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Amazon asks for spectrum to try out IoT networking gear

Mage
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Mushroom

Refuse them

This a typical corporate land grab.

They should use same rules as everyone else.

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Pirates, pirates, whatchu gonna do? Advertisers cop a visit from PIPCU

Mage
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Driveby malware from Ads

Also last year on CNN.com and bbc.com version of BBC News.

Legitimate sites often also have google managed ads for illegal stuff and piracy.

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Now that's a Blue Screen of Death: Windows 10 told me to jump off a cliff

Mage
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Coat

Removed the image

Eh?

It's the text that's stupid. Not the image.

It's true that part of Co. Clare overlooks Galway bay (Ballyvaughan), but the Cliffs shown are on the Atlantic coast.

Mines the one with real maps in the pocket.

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Opera scolds stale browsers with shocking Neon experiment

Mage
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Cool effects and animations

Cool effects and animations have a place in Cinema. TV etc. They are pretty in a demo or showroom, but 100% stupid and damaging to usability and productivity on a GUI.

As are totally flat interfaces. Clickable stuff needs a minimal 3D highlight and shadow (not a HUGE Aero blur). Icons need to be obvious and neither skeumorphic, nor abstracted to the point of being meaningless black glyphs.

Hyperlinks should look like hyperlinks.

Text should not be light grey on white or dark grey on black etc.

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AWS, you crack us up. Rebrands Westminster 'Webminster'

Mage
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Re: Now Amazon wants also to educate people to become...

Yes, it's pretty sad marketing.

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Train your self-driving car AI in Grand Theft Auto V – what could possibly go wrong?

Mage
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I''d be surprised if it wasn't pressed into service

I'd be surprised if it was, because how a human sees a scene and then reacts (partially unconsciously) is completely different to how a computer program drives a car. A computer relies much more on inputs that a human doesn't use (except maybe in a submarine, aircraft out of sight of ground or spaceship).

No computer program can drive adequately by simply having a video feed (one eyed humans can drive better than any autonomous car, if concentrating, experienced and not over tired).

Computers doing driving monitor all the wheels, multiple LIDAR, speed, steering angle, etc., dead reckoning of position updated with GP and only very rudimentary processing of video. Computer programs don't use the same inputs as people.

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Mage
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"I'm really surprised that these games companies..."

Because it's an artificial environment. It's nothing like the real world and it's Simulated Characters, not classical genuine AI. The "cars" in GTA have none of the inputs that real world vehicles have. The program in a game/driving simulation knows EXACTLY where the road and every object is and what it is.

Game companies have nothing relevant to sell autonomous vehicle developers. It's a completely unrelated programming environment.

I can't see how this has a huge relevance to real world autonomous vehicles. Now why don't developers pick a doable target first like the Tube and rails? On Southern they can't agree about staffing doors vs "driving".

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IBM: Hm, medical record security... security... Got it – we need blockchains

Mage
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FAIL

Blockchain?

It's for distributed anonymous transactions.

Regular security systems are more use for this. This is just IBM buzzword marketing.

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Oi, Mint 18.1! KEEP UP! Ubuntu LTS love breeds a laggard

Mage
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Re: Linux Noob question

Maybe it's a Broadcom chip set. The only WiFi I've ever had problem with in last 10 years of Linux. Always solved by using Synaptic Package Manager GUI to add broadcom stuff.

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Mage
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Re: Mint v Updating Windows.

Also very rarely need to reboot (mainly on version changes too entire OS, such as 17.3 to 18.0 which went fine on three machines, now running 18.1).

I prefer to disable log in screen slide show (plain GTK) and have Mate with NT4.0/Win98 style clean theme (roughly XP classic without the "Fisher Price" stuff.

I change a few other defaults such as Caps Lock = Compose Key.

The default Linux AltGr doing something on almost every key rather than just á é í ó ú € is nice too.

I've never switched as many people from XP and Win7 and Win 10 as the last couple of months.

NoScript on Firefox instead of Antivirus and disable Autorun / Autoplay on inserted media (Easier on Linux) is a good idea on Windows or Linux.

Windows Programs running on Linux:

I have Digiguide, Kindle eReader (use a UserAgent switcher plugin on browser to tell Amazon you run windows or there is no download link!), Orbitron, Duncan Valves, Coil Maestro etc on WINE. I have a copy of XP in OpenBox (but don't need it). WINE seems to run older programs better than Win7 64 bit (which won't run 16 bit ones and many Win98 / NT /XP for me).

Gqrx and a USB DTT stick as SDR is easier to setup in Mint+Mate+Redmond than the equivalent on Windows.

copying a profile for multiple new users is simpler than Windows (you need TWO working accounts on Window) by copying the appropriate .files in your own home to /etc/skel

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Qualcomm/NXP, Nvidia and Intel: The race to define the car platform

Mage
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Devil

5G and Cars

No mobile tech at all should be "integrated" to cars. RF transponders for anti-collision don't need mobile. GPS or better Galileo for navigation don't need mobile. Mobile integrated to car is a security/safety disaster and only facilitates personal data theft by corporations. Apps can use BT or WiFi (thought other than diagnostics are security fail).

Local traffic data can use even FM (and/or) DAB more efficiently than Mobile with better coverage, though they can't even do the security properly on that.

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FBI takes gag out of Cloudflare's mouth after three-year legal battle

Mage
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Frightening

I mean the FBI ought to be the good guys, not an evil Goliath being fought off by David CloudFlare.

I thought the USA Government was fighting for Truth, Justice and the American Way?

Spying without court orders, (on Americans or anyone else private), extra-judicial executions (drones in Pakistan), Police shooting unarmed people (their skin tint may make it more likely but actually is irrelevant to the issue, all lives matter), TSA seizing electronic items / data without court order (and claiming they can do it outside USA!). DMCA and DRM contravenes international law on copyright. Stupid patents, Trademarks and Design Patents. Stupid no choice race for President.

Winter is coming.

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EU wants power to fine behavioural data bad boys and the ad men aren't happy

Mage
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Ad mega corps don't like it.

Glad to hear that. Maybe the Ad guys will stop "stealing" my bandwidth, privacy and take more care and stop occasionally serving malware.

Keep whitelisting using Noscript on fully qualified domain and block all third party cookies anyway.

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UK can be a 'world leader in 5G', you say? Er, our 4G still takes a beating from Peru

Mage
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Absolute nonsense

"although still not fully developed it is likely that 5G will provide revolutionary new technologies to manage a seamless evolution in network, mobile and wireless services".

Fantasy.

What is needed is smaller cells, thus more masts, and even a single wholesale RAN would double performance.

There is no incentive for operators to improve performance as it costs more and brings in almost no extra customers. See ROI. Because people are on PAYG or bill pay, there is almost no extra income from PAYG for better performance, and no extra income but higher operational costs for bill pay, unless you charge by Mbyte.

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BBC surrenders 'linear' exclusivity to compete with binge-watch Netflix

Mage
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Re: Comments

Also they have massive web site, comments etc and yet promote Twitter and Facebook. Idiots.

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Mage
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Re: End of the TV Licence

I'd bet that Netflix realises linear broadcast is complementary and MUCH cheaper to deliver to 10M viewers at the same time in the same country. They will open cable & satellite Pay TV channels as well as VOD.

Also doesn't the Beeb need to actually stop outsourcing, build quality in house production teams & writers to have good content? Like they used to have when they were x10 better than USA garbage. Funny Netflix, Sky, Amazon etc are growing their own production teams and facilities?

Also c4 did great films, programs and commisioned animation and then decided Reality TV was a thing (which was simply voyeurism and cheap production and exploitation), shuttered all their production.

UK TV is now piss poor compared to 1970s.

What exactly other than ancient shows are they going to put on iPlayer?

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This'll be the next thing Trump crows about: Apple assembling servers on American soil

Mage
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assemble its own servers

Really?

Apple servers are still a thing?

Presumably it involves buying someone's basic rack mount unit, adding RAM, adding HDD / SSD etc, adding switches, adding OS (Linux?) etc. Not actually really building servers. Just assembling the final configuration.

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Mage
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Re: What's old is new again

Labour?

It's not really to do with labour, but supply chains and out sourcing.

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Is! Yahoo! dead?! Why! web! biz! will! rename! to! Altaba! – the! truth!

Mage
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Re: Does Flickr have a future in this brave new world?

Geocities, that was Yahoo and the cost to them was insignificant.

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Fake History Alert: Sorry BBC, but Apple really did invent the iPhone

Mage
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Invention of iPhone

It wasn't even really an invention.

The BBC frequently "invents" tech history. They probably think MS and IBM created personal computing, when in fact they held it back for 10 years and destroyed innovating companies then.

The only significant part was the touch interface by Fingerworks.

I was reading a BBC news web article and it was wrong too. It missed out emphasising that the real reason for success in 2007 was the deals with operators, cheap high cap data packages, often bundled with iPhone from the Mobile Operator.

This is nonsense:

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-38550016

"Those were the days, by the way, when phones were for making calls but all that was about to change."

Actually if you had a corporate account, you had a phone already with email, Apps, ability to read MS Office docs, web browser and even real Fax send/receive maybe 5 or 6 years before the iPhone. Apart from an easier touch interface, the pre-existing phones had more features like copy/paste, voice control and recording calls.

The revolution was ordinary consumers being able to have a smart phone AND afford the data. The actual HW was commodity stuff. I had the dev system for the SC6400 Samsung ARM cpu used it.

Why did other phones use resistive + stylus instead of capacitive finger touch?

1) Apple Newton and Palm: Handwriting & annotation. Needs high resolution.

2) Dominance of MS CE interface (only usable with with a high resolution stylus.

The capacitive touch existed in the late 1980s, but "holy grail" was handwriting recognition, not gesture control, though Xerox and IIS both had worked on it and guestures were defined before the 1990s. So the UK guy didn't invent anything.

Also irrelevant.

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-38552241

Mines the one with a N9110 and later N9210 in the pocket. The first commercial smart phone was 1998 and crippled by high per MByte or per second (or both!) charging. Also in 2002, max speed was often 28K, but then in 2005 my landline was still 19.2K till I got Broadband, though I had 128K in 1990s in the city (ISDN) before I moved.

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Google nukes ad-blocker AdNauseam, sweeps remains out of Chrome Web Store

Mage
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Re: Ad blockers on Android

Yes, uBlock and others work, I'd rather have noScript on Mobile. I don't quite understand why it's not available.

So I rarely use tablet for Internet, and never phone, TV & BD player not connected (I might add them to LAN and block mac at router). So limit myself to laptop.

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Mage
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Re: Interesting why block this one?

Software that "clicks ads" is simply fraud and not really ad blocking at all, as obviously the script must be run to have a link to click.

My main motive in ad blocking, isn't to block ads as such, but 3rd party scripts which break privacy and are one of the most common malware vectors. Even BBC.com and CNN were serving adverts that served malware via their javascript.

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Mage
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Ad blocking continues to hurt online publishers

Citation?

If I never click how is it hurting to go a step further and block ads?

Actually I don't that much care about static small images/text. I DO care about 3rd party scripts, 3rd party tracking, animated, video or audio adverts, or adverts that delay access to content (evil BBC.com news). All of those I will block. They may in any case be illegal.

I think Sony & Google have broken EU law. New TV, you can't install/tune it without agreeing to totally unacceptable Google Terms and Conditions.

It wouldn't surprise me if the Playstore is illegal in EU. Certainly it's immoral as are Google's popup multipage T&C or one sign in for all Google services (which are quite unrelated, such as Google Groups for programming support, You Tube, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Search, Translate).

Google are evil and arrogant.

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Apple's CEO Tim Cook declines invitation to discuss EU tax ruling with Irish parliament

Mage
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Re: The times they are a' changin'

Maybe Tim Cook will get a visit from guys in a white van.

Or a B&D brochure in the post.

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Slim pickings by the Biggest Loser: A year of fitness wearables

Mage
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Re: Sorry for your loss Alistair.

Indeed a bitter sweet article

I'm starting to feel very mortal. Maybe I need to write a book of instructions about my "junk".

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Routes taken by UK prosecutors over supply of modified TV set-top boxes

Mage
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Re: Thanks for the heads up

There is nothing special about the boxes, they probably run Kodi.

It's probably subscription keys and /or special plugins that allows the copyright infringement. You can do the same on a laptop.

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Mage
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technology might be adapted

"technology might be adapted and used for unlawful purposes should not necessarily mean the technology itself is unlawful."

Mostly it isn't. Actually very often you can use tech illegally without modification:

Kitchen knives, copiers, computers, cars, JCB diggers.

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Puny galaxy packs a big punch: A gazillion joules' worth of radio bursts

Mage
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Alien

Good News

It's far away.

I'd hate to be living in the same neighbourhood, except I'd be dead.

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Robo-supercar hype biz Faraday Future has invented something – a new word for 'disrupt'

Mage
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Windows

De Lorean

I was around then.

Same delusions.

I asked the NIDA why they were getting money for something that was a pretty turkey.

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Don't believe the 5G hype! £700m could make UK's 4G better than Albania's

Mage
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Thumb Up

Re: Professor or paid spokesman for BT?

100Mbps to a phone can't be achieved by ANY new standard.

Even bonded 3G or 4G CAN do it, but only if every other street light is a femto base station.

The xG standard is almost irrelevant. It's having smaller cells, very many more masts that gives extra speed.

Oh and having fixed users on fibre would maybe double speeds for those actually mobile

Then double speed again by having a single wholesale network (load balancing is impossible with spectrum split between companies)

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Mage
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Boffin

He's right

It's boring.

But the real solution is better utilisation of 900 / 1800 / 2100 /2500 by very many more masts and thus smaller cells.

1800/ 2100 /2500 are massively underutilised.

You can't increase mast density (decrease cell size) so much on 900, much less on 800 and 700 is only useful for GSM voice, the cell sizes are too large and uncontrollable.

Smaller cells mean much higher speed (fewer users), lower latency and more reliable operation. The only "technology" needed is a single wholesale RAN with phones able to bond channels on different bands.

No new spectrum is needed.

5G as such delivers no extra speed at all. New spectrum above 2500 is progressively useless due to line of sight. New spectrum below 900MHz is progressively very poor capacity BECAUSE the range is more. Twice range is less than 1/4 speed. Progressively below 900 the cell range is affected by weather and as range grows in certain weather some areas stop working due to interference from far off masts on same channel.

That's why UHF TV (470MHz to 862MHz) was designed on reuse of 8MHz channnels for only 4 unique signals and fitting in a 5th was really awkward.

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New Android-infecting malware brew hijacks devices. Why, you ask? Your router

Mage
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Facepalm

Oh no

Yet ANOTHER drive by router attack, the Gazzilioneth in the last 15 years because STUPIDLY routers work out of the box with out a mandatory new user name and non-dictionary password, easily guessed. Or the same on every box

Or based on the MAC.

Idiotic making it TOO simple to use the router. Even moronic Windows you have to create a new user and password to be able to connect to the internet.

It could equally javascript hidden in a image of an advert on a browser that does this. The problem is not the phone or Wifi but stupidity of defualt credentials to set Router parameters, especially DNS.

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Bitcoin breaks US$1,000

Mage
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Facepalm

Irrelvant value

As it's tulips bubble /pyramid scheme and secondarily a vehicle for money laundering, of course it will keep going up till it implodes.

It's a totally impractical system for the mass market. Look at time now to process the block chain. Imagine if it had even a tiny fraction of IBAN transactions.

The idea of a non-government currency isn't entirely stupid. The actual implementation of Bitcoin is stupid.

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‘Artificial Intelligence’ was 2016's fake news

Mage
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Re: If we're talking about actual AI, the number of jobs lost is zero

We have had automation since 1880s and pretty clever stuff by 1930s. You want to see old movies of almost entirely automated valve production (tubes in USA). Not computerised, but automated machines winding the grids, melting and sealing the button base etc.

Anything high volume and repetitive was automated nearly 80 years ago. The difference is than now (apart from ASICs) that production runs can be very small. The FPGA (a mass produced IC) for runs too small for custom chip.

3D printing isn't replacing mass production, and won't, it's making prototyping, mould making, concept work all faster and cheaper.

The last major industry to be much affected by automation was maybe newspaper production? I'm not sure. It's small changes now. It may impact publishing if a bookshop can do in house POD of one copy for $3, but the mass market would still be volume 25 cent per copy printing.

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Mage
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Emperor has no clothes

Great to see a significant outlet state that the "AI" stuff, whatever it is (and in reality very little) isn't actually AI.

Don't look behind the curtain.

Ignore the fact that the Young Lady's Primer is relying on real time human curation and a real actress.

We used to call them "Expert Systems" in 1980s. It wasn't AI then either.

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Folders return to Windows 10's Start Thing

Mage
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Re: Does anyone even use the Win 10 start mess?

I tried Classic Start Menu. It's not even polishing a turd.

Win 10 is STILL like Win2.0 and inferior to Win95, XP, Win7 (with no Aero) with it. Why bother when win7 is still supported and Linux Mint with Mate & Redmond theme is better?

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Meet the Internet of big, lethal Things

Mage
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Re: Do you own it, or not?

I think EFF's position is extreme.

John Deere are wrong too.

However while I don't think companies should be compelled to supply source (unless it's entirely a FOSS), copyright law is inappropriate.

Also the DMCA shouldn't exist at all. It's plain wrong.

People do need to be able to run diagnostics (that should be available for free), for safety reasons!

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Twas the week before Xmas ... not a creature was stirring – except Microsoft admitting its Windows 10 upgrade pop-up went 'too far'

Mage
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Re: VBA

VBA etc in Office is evil and a huge source of problems. Solutions without it are more robust, easier maintained and more secure.

VMware and other VM solutions run on Linux.

PC games are now a niche compared to phone/tablet and Console, esp. PS4.

Adobe is pricing themselves out of the market due to rental model except for rich corporates. They are no longer the only solution for photo/video, except for a small niche of professionals with well paid IT support.

Even MS is porting their SQL to Linux. I abandoned MS SQL in 2004.

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Mage
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Flame

Win 10 & Classic Shell

Still garbage reminiscent of Win2.0

Less customisable than any Windows from 3.0 /NT3.1 onwards.

Ghastly. I really tried hard. Even 1999 Red hat Linux was better.

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Mage
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Linux

Next OS

I've wiped XP, Win7 and Win 10 from multiple laptops for people in last few weeks. Replaced with Linux Mint, Mate + Redmond Theme, Firefox (Classic Theme & Noscript).

Two are setup up dual boot win 7 & Linux. One, the Win7 no longer used

Three new laptops ordered Lenovo with Win7 pro not Win10 since Oct (one now used only in Linux).

In last 21 years of installing Linux, Windows etc, I've never seen such a big switch to Linux as this year. IMO Linux Mint, Mate + Redmond Theme, Firefox (Classic Theme & Noscript), LibreOffice, Thunderbird email is now actually better and as usable as XP. It's more like Win9x / NT / 2K / XP experience than Vista/Win7/Win8/Win10 is. LibreOffice is as good as Office 2003, i.e. more usable than Ribbon!

Thunderbird, Firefox, FileZila, Calibre, Audacity, Eagle, Inkscape, Gimp (actually usable now PSP10 is a mess compared to PSP7 and Adobe is rental), Putty, Skype and many more on Windows and Linux now.

Is Sage and Outlook the only reason left to run Windows?

Most people only using Browser, basic Office features, Email, Skype anyway.

It's a big difference even to five years ago,

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Mage
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Re: 'We want people to be running Windows 10 from a security perspective'

Or automatic issue of NFC debit cards by your bank (they are insecure, in reality no faster). Bank "But you'll lose features and security using the old card"

"What features? Also my old card doesn't let passing strangers read my banking details or take up to €20 without asking"

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Virgin America mid-flight panic after moron sets phone Wi-Fi hotspot to 'Samsung Galaxy Note 7'

Mage
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Re: Hotspots

Off topic really...

But WHY do people have WiFi sharing / hotspot functionality turned on by default, esp in an aircraft. It's daft, wasting battery (on portable things) and an extra vulnerability.

I see an iPad appear regularly here at my home office. Why is that on by default? Idiotic Vendor programming and daft users?

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