* Posts by Mage

7377 posts • joined 23 Nov 2007

Kids' tech skills go backwards thanks to tablets and smartmobes

Mage
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Headmaster

Complements an earlier study

Too much Phones / Tablets / Computers holds back academic achievement generally. They are poorly integrated to teaching materials, distracting and without proper training and disciple even the "library / research" aspect is underused. Most people go to their favourite sites and have no idea how to search.

Tablets and esp. Phones make it harder to copy and paste any found info into documents.

You have work at it to have more than a text editor on Tablets / Phones.

Smartphones are largely communication and entertainment devices. Tablets are largely media browsing and entertainment.

Yes, I know you can install apps to create content, add keyboard etc, but dammed painful compared to netbook / laptop / notebook with OS X/ Windows /Linux. Even then in most schools a laptop/netbook is going to be a distraction, not an aid because kids have not been taught how to use one properly as a tool to aid study.

You still need good teachers, working out examples, attention to teaching, not being in an LCD illuminated enhanced personal internet bubble.

Amazon's trail of using Kindles (DX and DXG) for university was a complete fail not because eInk eBooks is a bad thing, but because even the Keyboard Kindle is garbage for annotation and overall ALL eBook devices have appalling GUI/software only good for reading short stories and novels. I've used 5 Kindles and Kobo Aura H20. The Kobo has a better home screen and access to list of books in use, but otherwise the SW is like a bad copy of Kindle.

I was doing better document management software 20 years ago!

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Apple's design 'drives up support costs, makes gadgets harder to use'

Mage
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Boffin

hardware designer Jony Ive?

News to me.

Isn't he an Industrial / Style designer, like his hero Dieter Rams, whom he copies slavishly (hence the white minimalist like late 1950s & early 1960s Braun "snow white" radio gram, radio, transistor set and calculators).

I think we'd be better off if Jony designed electric toothbrushes, electric shavers and vibrators. He's not good on GUIs and his case designs are simply copies of Dieter Rams' Braun stuff.

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Red dwarf superflares batter formerly 'habitable' exoplanet

Mage
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Not new news

Lower Mass = Worse flares

Dimmer star = Habitable / Goldilocks zone closer

So life periodically erased. This has been known for some time, Red Dwarves likely to only have primitive life or none?

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Behold, the fantasy of infinite cloud compute elasticity

Mage
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Facepalm

Summer, Winter, Hotels

Sure there can be some scheduling. But when is it "winter" for Data centres? Certainly Party Conferences etc are just after the peak holiday time for this reason.

Sure there will be spare capacity from time to time, but not predictably and certainly not instant.

How often does the hypothetical company need this capacity? For how long and how much a delay? Only small volumes are going to be "on demand" instantly for as long as you want. It also needs to be stuff were latency and traffic to your own site isn't an issue, unless it's traffic with Public. So we are back to is Cloud any real use except for Websites?

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Mage
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Big Brother

Ultimately ... good sense

Ultimately the "Cloud" is just someone else's servers they have to make a profit from.

You don't know what the security/privacy, backup or other arrangements are.

You might not know where they are.

You are at the mercy of your Internet connections.

Imagine a world were accountants think that it saves money to outsource IT as if it's a call centre (c.f. Banks, which is madness seeing as in reality IT is their core business) as well as the servers to run it.

Imagine there are eventually only four "cloud" providers, and maybe two ecosystems of software.

(c.f. Same false positive Virus warnings on hosted files/Websites. Two unconnected hosting companies in different countries).

The Hosting companies (aka Cloud) need to make profit. If you run your IT well then inherently cloud will cost more eventually than DIY (Connectivity costs + Hosting company profits). The Cloud does make sense for Web Sites, though if a high traffic site, perhaps co-location of your own server at a data centre is cheaper & better, more control). Really the Cloud makes no sense and is a backward step to 1960s & 1970s for stuff that should only be on your own LAN or own Corporate Network.

Good to see an article with some reality about Cloud.

If there is wide spread migration to Cloud of Banking, Billing, IT, etc, then one day a badly done patch will kill civilisation.

If no electronic transactions, no food. Riots & looting in less than 2 days.

Billing on Mobile will go down. So soon no calls.

Unless the "Cloud" ecosystem is fixed in less than 2 days, then you are looking at a cascade of failures ... no water, gas, electricity etc. Being able to buy & Sell and make calls (mobile or fixed) would be first to go.

How would you get cash from a Bank or Cash Machine?

How many people have Cheques or Cash, or will have in 5 years.

The Cloud hype has got to stop. Yes. it makes sense for minuscule to medium websites. For anything else it will eventually be a disaster of apocalyptic proportions.

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Nano-NAS market dives into the cloud

Mage
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FAIL

No.. Not the Cloud

Cloud is OK for small collaborative / sharing between people etc, madness for any volume of data and impractical to replace a NAS for a home user, SOHO, or small businesses. The majority of Internet connections can't support it.

I have 1 Mbps upload, which is better than average DSL. But my total traffic cap is 60 G byte. Most "unlimited" cable & DSL is really 150G to 1Tbyte a month, inc downloads.

"Cloud's been fingered as the culprit, especially for personal storage. It's not hard to see why, as the likes of Dropbox or OneDrive offer plenty of security and redundancy "

Almost nonsense as an explanation. Certainly some people will be foolishly using "Cloud" storage exclusively.

Security? Don't make me laugh, none are as secure as your own NAS behind a firewall/Router for a single person or a family.

Perhaps the market is saturated, as is PC market.

See also El Reg Comments here

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IBM bets POWER8 processor farm on hardware acceleration

Mage
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Flame

Re:nicer screen

16:9 is worse than 4:3 for laptops.

Unless it's a "retina" screen you get 1080 pixels high.

Non-Shiny is hard to get.

Cheap models have poorer viewing angle than 14 years ago.

2002 there were 15" totally matt, ultrasharp, wide view angle 1600 x 1200 screens on some laptops. Good luck finding one even as good as that in PC World.

Some high end Lenovos and Apples have better screens, but you need 17" due to the 16:9 form factor

HD Video curse, reducing resolution of PCs! Maybe we'll see some decently priced UHD/4K laptop screens, still be cursed by video factor .

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Mage
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Coat

"our cadence today is closer to 2.5 years than two."

Closer to 5 to 10, or non-existent for real world performance? Unless you can use more than 2 cores without I/O bottle neck. Per core performance for believable laptops compared with single CPU 2.2GHz P4 Laptop in 2002?

Anyway it WAS NOT CPU power but number of Transistors?

It was 12, then 18 then 24 months ...

It was never a law but an observation cum target?

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Apple supremo Tim Cook rules out OS X fondleslab, iOS merger

Mage
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Re: Not magical or game-changing then?

Now it's been officially denied, when do we reckon the iPad Pro will ship with iOS X?

Never. iOS is an ecosystem that makes more Revenue and gives Apple more control. The question is will there be a laptop with iOS?

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Mage
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Re: Only Half The Story

Follow the revenue.

There won't be a hybrid product running OS X.

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iPad data entry errors caused plane to strike runway during takeoff

Mage
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Re: Using toys as tools...

A surface and iPad are BOTH consumer toys.

I can't believe that airlines are using consumer stuff without real keyboards really designed for media browsing.

LUNATICS!

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Microsoft shelves 'suicidal' Android-on-Windows plan

Mage
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Windows

Never fear

Order in popcorn (or other snacks) and beverage of choice.

I'm quite sure MS will find another way to kill Win Phone.

Remember Danger / Sidekick.

Or the fact that in USA MS once dominated smartphones in pre Apple iPhone days.

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Trouble brewing as iThing coffee machine seems to be hackable

Mage
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Boffin

Bogus firmware updates?

Maybe as simple as changing the DNS server used, then making firmware.ithing.com point to the malware?

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No, the EU is not going to make hyperlinks illegal

Mage
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Re: Hyperlink != content

Yes, but iFraming or scraping other sites content is a violation of EXISTING Berne Convention copyright law.

Links, with perhaps a paragraph of text = OK.

Actual building a site from other people's content = BAD

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3ROS exploit wins plaudits for the prettiest Mal-GUI ever

Mage
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Paris Hilton

Good

Soon it will have ribbon, tiles, inconsistent configuration options, require crysis capable GPU & CPU, only run on latest versions of OS X and Windows and generally involve the developers spending 95% of effort maintaining the eye Candy.

I welcome this as it will distract from the development of effective malware/

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Apple to add 1000 jobs to Cork payroll

Mage
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Re: Irish iMacs

iMacs period are a tiny part of Apple's revenue stream. Just like they make some stuff in USA too for political reasons. Apple are largely a marketing driven badge engineering outfit, everything important to revenue is 3rd party China.

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Mage
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Temporary

Announcements like this all the time.

Then 1/4 to 1/2 the jobs created.

Grants are trousered.

Then a few years later it's shuttered.

AST, WANG, Dell and others made PCs here and are gone.

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US Congress grants leftpondians the right to own asteroid booty

Mage
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the United States does not thereby assert sovereignty

Yet.

Stupid arrogance.

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So. Farewell then Betamax. We always liked you better than VHS anyway

Mage
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Re: SECAM

SECAM was 625 lines like PAL (about 576 visible). NTSC 525 (about 480 visible)

There were various incompatible Secam systems eventually, surviving till Analogue switch off.

The post WWII French MONO system was 819 lines

UK Mono system was the 1936 405 lines (about 377 visible)

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Mage
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Re: V2000 Philips

It was REALLY late to market. It eliminated guard bands by using piezo mounted heads that could dynamically wiggle. So could use a flippable tape as well no noise bars for still or slow and speeded play (which changes angle of slanted track hence noise bar on Betamax and VHS)

Problem was they couldn't mass produce it for about 2 years after prototype demo!

Early VHS had to completely delace from drum to F-FWD / F-REW, Betamax didn't need to. Later VHS had the "Jet Drive".

Shame Minidisk never made it as alternate to Floppy, though a larger MO sony format was used in special 3.5" drives in 1990s (ZIP drives in comparison were rubbish). There was a Vaio with mini-disk but like net-MD player you could only transfer digital audio TO it and play, Even your own analogue recordings were not digitally readable on Net-MD or Viao due to Sony's BRAIN DEAD Entertainment division obsessing about DRM and copying. That's what destroyed MD. Artificial restrictions. Other people did make MD players.

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ARM's new Cortex-A35: How to fine-tune a CPU for web browsing on bargain smartphones

Mage
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Too big a queue and pipeline can slow down

If the program has a lot of branches/conditionals already fetched, then stuff gets discarded and it can be slower than a short queue.

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How Twitter can see the financial future – and change it

Mage
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Facepalm

can Twitter be used to fiddle the stock markets?

Silly question. Any news / comment on any platform can be used to fiddle the stock market if enough people that buy or sell the affected shares believe it.

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Let's get to the bottom of in-app purchases that go titsup

Mage
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Re SCART

Purely invented as a Tarriff wall by French. A TV had to have Peritel (SCART) to be allowed to be imported and sold. It was meant to be really cheap, which meant that the cables would easily fall off. It was a failure for intended purpose as everyone selling to France simply added them. They never really made to USA which prefered RCA connectors for EVERYTHING! (RF, audio, phono, Y/C aka s-video, composite video, stereo record / playback-- four cables instead of a DIN, component video, HD Component etc).

SCART could have done HD, but by time (much later than USA because PAL higher resolution than NTSC) HD came to Europe, copy protected Digital connections preferred.

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Mage
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Totally irrelevant fact

The first UK set top boxes were to add Band III (for ITV) to older Band I only sets (BBC 1 only) around 1955. Some earlier sets couldn't work if moved from London to Birmingham as they had only a single factory aligned channel.

Cable TV in USA was probably the first major set box market.

Fire TV and Apple TV are more misleading than AMDs 4 module Bulldozers as they are not TVs, no screen and no tuner. They are media streaming gadgets, not TVs.

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AMD sued: Number of Bulldozer cores in its chips is a lie, allegedly

Mage
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Facepalm

Re: SMP as we know it could be outlawed

Nonsense. It's not about forbidding anything other than misleading marketing.

The cores share parts(excluding cache and FPU) normally exclusive to a CPU.

It's certainly nothing to do with SMP either

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Mage
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Boffin

FPU

There are other important shared bits, not just the FPU. These modules are single cpus with some internal parallel parts to speed processing. They certainly can't work as two cpus.

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Cell networks' LTE-U will kill your Wi-Fi, say digital rights bods

Mage
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Mushroom

"listen-before-talk"

Only works for clients sharing same base. Search "hidden transmitter syndrome"

This is mobile Telco greed and attempt to have people use phone on expensive Mobile instead of fibre fed WiFi.

No matter how it's done, it's wrong. WiFi already barely works. band sharing is EVIL.

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GSMA offers a share and share alike approach to the C-Band

Mage
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Mushroom

Greed

Mobile misuse the spectrum that they have. They shouldn't get satellite bands and especially not sub 700MHz.

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What do you call a spreadsheet with lots of negative numbers? Qualcomm_FY2015.xlsx

Mage
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Desired income source

Qualcomm hates manufacturing. They prefer income from IP.

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Alumina in glass could stop smartphones cracking up

Mage
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Yes Transparent Alumina = Sapphire

Sapphire Glass

Been used for analogue watches for a very long time indeed. Problematic to make larger windows. Also while it's very hard so scratch resistant, a panel of it is easier to crack than some glasses.

It's interesting they have found a way to blend Alumina and glass. I'd have thought an alumina film on glass substrate (meta material) would be better.

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Is the world ready for a bare-metal OS/2 rebirth?

Mage
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Windows

But ...

Weird. The OS that MS morphed into NT3.1 (there was no NT1.x or NT 2.x) and that was killed by Win95 having better driver support. There was the strange MS OS/2 + Lan manager in 1989 after IBM and MS split on the OS/2 deal. (sold for servers with win 3.0 workstations I think?)

Does MS still have that source and a licence?

Of course MS once sold a Unix too.

I'm too old. I saw all these when they were new. Where did I put my Cromix and Minix discs?

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Chinese fire up world's 'most powerful' drone brain

Mage
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Megaphone

Re: Raspberry pi

This a a Raspberry Pi on steroids. The original Pi is built down to a price and is barely more than an obsolete phone chip on a breakout board. The Pi series is fine for the money. But if you have more money and want a more powerful ARM with much more I/O then this is it. I wish it cost 1/2 as much though.

At a bit lower price this would be very nice for all kinds of projects where the Pi lacks I/O or CPU power.

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'T-shaped' developers are the new normal

Mage
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Mushroom

The developers of today

"The developers of today cut their teeth on Linux and OS X and they use languages like SCALA, Python and Ruby, instead of .NET and Java."

a) Only some

b) Irrelevant

c) Relevance of article depends if developing Web applications, Android Apps, iOS, OSX, Windows, Linux Clients or embedded code (which is very different for a 50c 8 bit CPU and full fat OS in TV, Router or set box).

The big issue as always is poor design and implementation. You can't test in quality. Crap untyped Scripting languages make spotting implementation mistakes hard.

My impression is that "pretty" is on increase last 10 years, quality, usability and privacy down. We don't seem to have progressed in security judging by the vulnerability mailing lists I have for all the popular OS, web client applications and Web CMS server apps.

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E-mail crypto is as usable as it ever was, say boffins

Mage
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Coat

Not really hard?

Ha!

I use thunderbird. I installed the extensions etc. Now, I've in the past set up secure VPN server on Win2K and also on Linux, generated keys and setup clients. Did it on port 80 so it would work almost anywhere.

a) I gave up on getting a key generated for PGP

b) No-one I exchange email with is going to even try.

It's really too hard. I've been setting up SW, since 1980.

Setting up servers & OS since 1986

UNIX since 1986, Linux since 1999

It's stupidly hard. People complain about how hard it is to setup decent WiFi Security with a good password etc. This is very much harder.

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Windows 10 growth stalls during October

Mage
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With Xbox and Windows Mobile users to come

Really they are irrelevant in looking at x86 laptop/desktop/notebook OS market share.

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The story of .Gay: This bid is too gay! This bid is not gay enough! This bid is just right?

Mage
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Gay?

It used to be feeling light hearted. There is no suitable synonym. Happy isn't quite the same.

We've been robbed. Why should the TLD belong to a subsection of LGBT at all?

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Big mistake, Google. Big mistake: Chrome OS to be 'folded into Android'

Mage
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Coffee/keyboard

killing a secure, lightweight desktop OS in the process

a) It's just a shell on Linux to implement a browser based thin client.

b) It's really Google spyware.

c) It's horribly limited as a destop OS, it's really a "cloud" style terminal.

Android too is shell based on Linux optimised for small touch screens and is poor compared to a regular Linux Distro for a desktop / Laptop.

This doesn't matter, as a proper Linux distro is a better solution than Google's Chrome OS, which was never a real alternative OS.

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Patch this braXen bug: Hypervisor hole lets guest VMs hijack hosts

Mage
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Facepalm

entanglement of C macros

That was the FIRST thing I learnt, when learning Assembler in 1979, was that macros are needed by large assembler programming projects, but really DANGEROUS.

When I learnt C++ in 1987, then I learned that C macros are an evil throw back to Assembler.

1) Always check Array bounds / strings

2) Always sanitise stuff that uses SQL at back end.

3) Never use Macros, not ever.

What SEVEN years ago? That's 2008, over 20 years later.

Why is it that almost all vulnerabilities are continued implementations contrary to what was realised in the 1980s?

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'Profoundly stupid' Dubliner's hoax call lost Intel 6,000 hours of production

Mage
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Re: Phoning it in

Yes.

Sometimes they give wrong bomb location resulting in more deaths. (Omagh).

Personally, I'd never go to an evacuation point for a terror alert, a fire or natural disaster yes. But a terrorist is likely to put the bomb at the assembly point. Hint in the name. They are not attempting to take down infrastructure.

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Mage
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mastermind crimina

Ex Intel contract staff

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Mage
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No, CCTV, call box, DNA etc.

Original news 02/04/2015

"The phone box on Bath Road in Balbriggan from which the call was made was identified and sealed off just hours after the call"

""They were identified within hours of the investigation from phone records and CCTV."

Now the prosecution of one is complete

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Time Lords set for three-week battle over leap seconds

Mage
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Re: Why stop there?

Octal would be handier than Hex, for hands.

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Cisco: The day of PCs is passing, cloud storage will dominate by 2019

Mage
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Facepalm

Cloud?

It's 3rd party hosting.

Been around since 1960s, but rebranded, free security agency monitoring, unknown backup and security protocols. Rental computing on less reliable connection than a leased line.

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Yahoo! crypto! queen! turns! security! code! into! evil! tracker!

Mage
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Wikipedia commons user sites?

I think for read once and cache locally mediawiki installs using wiki commons from mother ship the HSTS is used. I got cryptic emails from Mediawiki last night about HTTPS only and need for HSTS on Wikipedia.

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New DMCA rules mean you can fiddle with your tablets, routers, cars (as if you weren't anyway)

Mage
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Pirate

examined and customized by their owners

Presumably the DMCA only applies in the USA, so this is of interest mainly to our poor privacy-free American cousins.

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Oracle's Larry Ellison claims his Sparc M7 chip is hacker-proof – Errr...

Mage
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4 bits one in 16

So you try 16 times?

Or what have I misunderstood?

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Verisign warns new dot-word domains could make internet unstable

Mage
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"actual public benefit reason"

Yes.

I've had deep forebodings about this. It's so obviously senseless, destabilising and a money grab.

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FCC under fire over TV, mobile broadband signal interference fears

Mage
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place too many broadcast television stations in the wireless portion of the band.

What?

600MHz is a POINTLESS STUPID band for Mobile. Cellular needs small cells to have capacity. Cellular needs 850MHz to 2.5GHz to have controlled and decent propagation.

The problem is MOBILE not TV. 600MHz is an excellent BROADCAST band. Rubbish for Mobile. Too uncontrollable cell size.

This is greed.

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Dad who shot 'snooping vid drone' out of the sky is cleared of charges

Mage
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200ft

Zoom lens on camera?

Still, decent cartridges to down a drone at 200ft?

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WhatsApp laid bare: Info-sucking app's innards probed

Mage
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Big Brother

Collects stuff

I thought everyone knew this was pointless spyware.

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