* Posts by Vic

5715 posts • joined 7 Dec 2007

Brilliant phishing attack probes sent mail, sends fake attachments

Vic
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Re: Sigh. Not again.

We need a new protocol, because email has been breaking for a long time now and this looks like the last straw.

This isn't email breaking, this is an inherent problem with HTML.

As with so many email-related risks, reading in plain text by default obviates this issue. If switching to HTML requires a positive action, the user should already be warned that strangeness might be around the next corner.

But most people seem far more interested in shiny shiny than in security...

Vic.

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Re: Sigh. Not again.

When it was first deployed, it used to be set up so that documents could be immutable, i.e. not changeable by the recipient, so that you could be sure that what you saw was what the creator wanted you to see.

Not really.

There's a flag that says "please do not edit this file". That's the extent of your protection against edits...

Vic.

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Samsung fans flames of burning Galaxy Note 7 mystery

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Re: "Explosion" .... Ever seen a LiPo go up?

Glowed like an LED for a brief moment too. Most impressed.

I had to fix an HT fault in a TV a few years back. The component responsible was easy to find - disk capacitors are not supposed to emit white light...

Vic.

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Just give up: 123456 is still the world's most popular password

Vic
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Re: Don't Just Blame Users

Get spam posts? Get rid of spammy posters! Simples! (and harden your account sign up process if that becomes an issue)

But then you're up against Marketing, who want account sign-up to be incredibly easy - after all, that's why we're all here, right? Maximum number of users is the goal, because Internet...

And when a CxO has to choose between the advice of a tekkie who knows what he's doing, or a marketroid who claims he does - guess what gets chosen?

Vic.

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

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Re: Best award

Stress concentration at sharp corners was discovered after 4 De Havilland Comets broke up in mid-air because of fatigue failure (early 1950's).

Nope. They'd already had Liberty ships breaking in half for the same reason, but a decade earlier.

I doubt this was the first time, either.

Vic.

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Uber, Apple, Amazon and Sully Sullenberger walk into a bar – er, self-driving car committee

Vic
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Re: Sullenberger: the movie

Is the movie any good?

It's OK. The flying scenes are really rather good.

Sadly, they "sexed up" the behaviour of the NTSB, who were , in reality, nothing like as confrontational as shown in the film; they asked difficult questions, of course, but the movie has them trying to assign blame, which they would not (could not?) do.

Still worth a watch, though.

Vic.

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

Vic
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Re: Methinks MSFT (and some here) are taking this too seriously.

It's the sort of quote that lots of employers put on posters around the building thinking it'll inspire their employees.

They should use this one.

Vic.

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Boffins turn timid mice into psycho killers – by firing lasers into brains

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Re: Animal abusers

how do you 'take' a mouse?

Something like this, I shouldn't wonder.

Vic.

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I do hope the boffins set up the machine with four settings

It's a mouse, not an Angel...

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FM now stands for 'fleeting mortality' in Norway

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Re: Ker-ching!

Explain to me how the decoder 'knows' when to play a particular video frame and the audio that goes with it?

All audio and video frames are stamped with a field called PTS - the Presentation Time Stamp. This denotes the point at which the frame is required to be played out.

All its timing information comes from the same transport stream it's decoding. It has no external absolute time reference.

The transport stream contains elements called PCR - the Program Clock Reference. This syncs the System Time Clock (STC) on the decoder to the time on the encoder. All compliant decoders will thus be running synchronised STCs, and so will output audio and video frames at the same time.

There is an inevitable delay in demodulating all the carriers from the COFDM transmission to get the individual bitstreams, reassembling these into an MPEG transport stream, applying the forward error correction, splitting out the individual elementary streams for the audio and video, buffering these to be synced together, decompressing the audio & video and converting it to the required HDMI bitstream format or the values to write to the DACs for the analog SCART connection.

None of that matters, as this is not an open-loop system; the frames are presented at the time specified in the PTS, not whenever the box feels like it.

Different DSP implementations in different receivers or in different HDMI TVs are going to have different decoding delays. I'm not aware of any specification that says this has to exactly N milliseconds from receiving the signal at the antenna to setting the voltage level of the speaker coil

Are you trying to tell me that's a significant delay? You're going to find it hard to measure that, let alone perceive it.

Why does home theatre kit often have an adjustable delay between its own amplifier output and that sent to the HDMI output, and sometimes one on the TOSLINK audio input too to compensate for the differences between its digital audio processing delay and the TV's?

That's because, in larger rooms, the speed of sound becomes significant; the difference in path length between the operator and each set of speakers can cause differences in when the sound actually reaches the ears. Adjustable delays allows you to tune that out to some extent.

I have three different models of DVB-T receivers in my lounge and bedrooms

They might well be a common chipset and be based on the same reference software - there are not very many chipset vendors, and every STB of which I'm aware is heavily based on the chipset vendor's reference software. Just because they have different boxes doesn't mean they are different units, and at least one chipset really cannot be truly compliant, even if they do adopt my fix for the truly heinous software bug in that ref tree.

Vic.

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Re: Ker-ching!

Like DVB TV receivers, every DAB radio introduces a slightly different decoding delay

DVB-T receivers should *not* have different delays. Each frame (both audio and video) is stamped as to when it should be played; this guarantees both uniform playout and lip-sync.

Decoders based on some of the early ST chipsets had a nasty hardware bug that meant there could be a small variation in playout time, and a much nastier software bug that meant the lipsync was permanently out. I fixed that whilst at ST, and then at several manufacturers after I'd left...

Vic.

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Re: DAB+ DrXym

I've seen enough "HD" to see it often suffers from colour banding and lots of blocky artefacts

That will be down to economics, not electronics. HD digital TV *can* be transmitted such that most people will not see any artefacts - but that takes up bandwidth, so it costs money. What most stations seem to do now is to wind the quantisation up as far as they think they can get away with, then a bit more besides. You end up using 4 bits per fortnight, but the video is unrecognisable.

I was there while digital TV was being developed. The focus was *always* about getting more channels so that there would be more advertising space. And all that happened there was that the advertising rates crashed.

Vic.

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Re: Considering that most digital radio is utter crap in quality...

which causes artifact issues of their own.

No it doesn't. Adding/subtracting analogue singals is trivial, and causes no more noise than the equivalent gain stage.

Vic.

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Do everything over IP, including streaming audio.

God, no.

Unicast does not scale to broadcast levels. Get multicast working everywhere and maybe you could get somewhere. But that's going to require quite a bit of infrastructure change; we're not kitted for ubiquitous multicast.

DAB/DAB+ would be vastly outclassed by the most basic of streams over 3G.

That's hardly saying much. But FM outclasses pretty much everything being streamed - with a very much simpler system.

I've sat in carparks outside football stadiums streaming entire series of TV over 4G.

And I've sat on a bus with people whinging about lack of signal, flat batteries etc. - while my cheapo FM radio gives me clear audio, running (for months) on a couple of coin cells.

It just bugs me that we all hastily gathered our things at great expense to free up all the TV analogue channels and yet they're still barely being used.

The reasons for that were political, not technical.

Vic.

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Do other variants of DAB perform better than the UK one?

In terms of sound quality, they do. The UK forged ahead with DAB, making a switch to DAB+ rather harder than it should have been. You know how crap MP3s can sound? DAB is restricted to MP2 *only*.

I doubt that will make any difference to the dropout rate, though.

Vic.

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You have the right to be informed: Write to UK.gov, save El Reg

Vic
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Re: Except the new regulator must be approved

So far only Impress has been approved.

Do we know how many would-be regulators have applied for approval?

Vic.

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TV anchor says live on-air 'Alexa, order me a dollhouse' – guess what happens next

Vic
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Re: Alexa?

Can you think of another way to do it that's quick to access, easy on the battery, AND inexpensive?

Yep. Can't you?

Vic.

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Re: Changing the name

a ROM, which unlike RAM can still be quick to access AND not need to be constantly refreshed--with RAM, it's one OR the other, not both

That's only true of DRAM. SRAM doesn't need refreshing, it's plenty quick enough, and low-enough power that battery-backed SRAM is commonplace.

It's just not very cheap...

Vic.

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Yes, the apostrophe probably should be there

No, it shouldn't.

Vic.

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Re: Even This Article..

would cause problems for partially sighted / blind people using web-to-spoken-voice-translation aids

You just know the next sort of advertising that's going to be aimed at blind people, don't you?

Vic.

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Corrupt NHS official jailed for £80k bribe over tech contract

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Re: Having seen the latest NHS IT Software in action

The poor frontline staff see possibly hundreds or more people through their doors on a daily basis.

And yet I once went to the eye hospital where one of the nurses remembered me from an appointment I'd had some thirty years earlier...

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Buyers are often shameless when demanding bribes from suppliers.

A long time ago, the company I worked for had a potential customer in. He "wanted training" so that he could commission a machine on his own.

He spent the entire day dropping exceptionally unsubtle hints that he wanted us to get him a hooker. This was quite a big deal, so it actually would have been cost-effective - particularly as we'd be able to charge for the commissioning of any machines he'd buy, as he was singularly incapable of doing the job.

My boss - one of the directors of the company - was a lay preacher, and was very serious about his faith. We didn't get that sale...

Vic.

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Top cop: Strap Wi-Fi jammers to teen web crims as punishment

Vic
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echo $crime | tr [:lower:] [:upper:]

That's terrible...

Vic.

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Re: Why would this happen-

The nastier the condiment the worse the punishment - pineapple jam, lemon and lime marmalade, fluorescent lemon curd, really bitter thick-cut marmalade, rowan jelly ... perhaps finishing with habanero jelly

I don't know what rowan jelly tastes like - but I like all the others in that list...

Vic.

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Man jailed for 3 days after Texas cops confuse cat litter for meth

Vic
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Re: Dehumidifier...?

Would it work over here...? </genuine question>

Certainly can do. Many of us fill a pair of tights with kitty litter and put them in our drysuits[1] between dives. It keeps the moisture - and accompanying smell - to a minimum...

VIc.

[1] Even a properly-sealed drysuit will end up being somewhat moist at the end of a dive, on account of the humid filling...

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

Vic
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Joke

Re: patent wars

I must have written thousands of words on why parents are bad over the years

Larkin was much more succinct.

Vic.

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Re: Diesel engine.

A steam engine can be very efficient

It can't. All heat engines are thermodynamically limited to a peak maximum efficiency of 1 - TC/TH.

For a steam engine, you're never going to get TH above about 400K, and TC is going to be around 300K, so you're left with a theoretical peak efficiency of about 25%.

Vic.

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Bank robber reveals identity – by using his debit card during crime

Vic
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Re: Curious

How is the guy being 'a registered sex offender' relevant?

It's another database. So they could get a picture of him easily.

It aids detection, not likelihood of criminal behaviour. Although it probably shouldn't have been queried in this situation, as there was no hint of sexual activity...

Vic.

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FBI let alleged pedo walk free rather than explain how they snared him

Vic
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Re: School Teacher

a massive stash of these images on his computer, that no one is refuting are there or that he didn't freely acquire them of his on volition?

Can you prove that?

We know that the FBI put executable code on his computer. We know that the same FBI was distributing child pornography.

The defendant's lawyer has asked to check the code that was put on his client's computer to ensure that the FBI didn't use it as a channel to put the pornography there as well - and the FBI has dismissed its own case rather than accede to that.

Far-fetched? Which bit? That the FBI would put something on someone else's computer? Or that they were distributing child pornography?

This guy might or might not be a scumbag - but he has been convicted of the same number of child pornography offences as you have. Are we still playing "innocent unless proven guilty"?

Vic.

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Re: 'We...

"Alleged" is a key word here. No conviction so in the eyes of the law he's innocent.

Sure. But if all his friends and neighbours have been told of the investigation, are they going to think he's an innocent man, or are they going to decide that he;s a filthy paedo that got off on a technicality? That's not a sentence that is likely to end, either.

I think we can expect the lawsuit to follow PDQ.

That will probably be good for all of us - but is unlikely to help the defendant in question.

Vic.

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Re: 'We...

Unless the images are cartoon/CGI

Under UK Law, even cartoon porn images are illegal. As are images of people well above the age of consent dressed up as children in a pornographic setting. Yes, we have totally bollocksed laws.

Stamping out the incentive to create images like that will protect children

There are two assumptions in that single sentence; that such prosecutions will have any impact whatsoever on the incentive, and that reducing the supply of images will prevent further abuse.

I don't think we have any data on the first - although it can be shown that, in situations like drug use, a relaxation of the law can show a decrease in use, I don't think that sort of study is applicable here. In short - we can't know.

But as to the latter - child abuse has been with us for millennia[1], so it's unlikely that we'll actually be able to stop it. There is an argument that says that a paedophile getting his rocks off to an image of an abused child is one that's not actively abusing another child; if this is the case - and I've not looked for studies so I don't know - then reducing the supply of images is actually likely to cause increased future abuse.

And that's the trouble with getting too emotional over various sorts of crime; although we'd obviously all like child abuse to stop forever, picking remedies because they "feel right" can often make the problem worse rather than better. It's entirely possible that the real solution is public dismemberment of anyone actually caught abusing children[2], but possession of child pornography be permitted to those who have registered themselves as being at risk of committing such an offence.

Or matbe it's something else entirely. Without objective studies, we'll probably never know.

Vic.

[1] My old classics teacher told us that the Ancient Greeks believed women were for procreation, boys for recreation.

[2] It concerns me significantly that copying an image - by, for example,downloading it from the Internet - is considered "creating an image" under UK law, and so is punished in a similar fashion to actually holding the camera whilst a child is being abused.

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Vinyl and streaming sales offset CD decline in UK music sales

Vic
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Re: Oh, the irony...

One poster stated that vinyl has no dynamic range limitation. This is patently false.

No it isn't. It is true.

There is a definite limit to how wide/deep a record groove can be

Yes. Now did I say that there is no limit to how loud a signal you can put onto a record, or did I say it has a theoretically unlimited dynamic range? Hint: dynamic range is not just about how loud something can go. You'll also note that I said this was merely theoretical, and attempting to use such a range would cause the signal to disappear below the noise floor. Have you worked out why this is yet? Because it does make your dismissal above look rather ignorant.

Vic.

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How the NYE leap second clocked Cloudflare – and how a single character fixed it

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Re: the code was updated to check if rttMAX was equal to or less than zero

Huh? What position would the second-hand be when displaying a second count of 60, and how would that position be different to displaying a second count of 00?

I don't care - it's not my clock. But if it can't show 23:59:60 as distinct from 00:00:00, then it's not showing UTC, because those are different times.

It's not the 24 hour system that's the issue, it's the fact that an analogue dial has 60 divisions (for seconds & minutes) rather than 61 .

Nobody said anything about the 24-hour system being at fault. And if you can't put together an analogue dial that can show at least 61 divisions, then you can't make an analogue clock that sows UTC, because UTC requires that many divisions in order to be UTC. It's the only way you can make a UTC clock.

So - as I said - if you make an analogue clock that can't show 23:59:60, you haven't made a clock that is showing UTC.

Vic.

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Re: the code was updated to check if rttMAX was equal to or less than zero

But an analogue clock cannot display a time of 23:59:60

Then it is not a clock showing UTC...

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Re: the code was updated to check if rttMAX was equal to or less than zero

UTC can indeed go backward

No it can't. It's defined as being monotonic.

It is entirely possible that a second may need to be removed from UTC to align with solar time rather than one being added.

That would make the time go from 23:59:58 directly to 00:00:00 on the following day. This is not going backwards...

Vic.

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Re: the code was updated to check if rttMAX was equal to or less than zero

I still don't follow how a time difference between successive "now" instants on the same system could ever be negative if it's measuring UTC.

Go's Now() function is defined as returning "the current local time", rather than UTC. This would appear to be a blunder.

Vic.

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

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Re: Conspiracy...

if it did in fact happen that way

It didn't happen that way.

There were allegations against Sky made by Canal+ which went away when Murdoch so generously bought the loss-making Telepiu broadcaster that Messier wanted rid of.

Disclosure: I was working for C+T at the time (but not in anything to do with CA).

Vic.

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Re: City of London Police = Rent-a-cop

the City of London Police, the National Lead Force for Fraud

I did initially wonder if they meant "the National Lead Force for Fraud detection", but then I realised they were probably just trying to be accurate.

Vic.

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Forget aircraft – now cretins are laser-blinding ferry boat crewmen

Vic
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Re: Bah!

their actions have consequences.

But their actions don't have consequences - not for them, anyway.

This pillock has a history of targeting people with lasers - e.g. shining them into faces at close range. It's deliberate. Just search for "Mark Raden laser" to get a taste of what this animal is like. And yet he has had little or no punishment for any of these attacks; even this latest one has only cost him a fortnight in clink and a couple of grand.

I don't normally approve if the double-jeopardy civil suits than invariably accompany criminal trials in the US, bat at least this time, his victims were awarded $100K against him. It remains to be seen if he will ever pay.

Vic.

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Re: 15 days jail time ?

The Romans did pretty well despite drinking water from lead pipes and containers. I suspect there are still houses in the UK with lead water pipes, which were common until fairly recently, yet relatively few people indulge in this moronic activity.

There was a tale doing the rounds that much inner-city moronic behaviour was down to airborne lead from car exhausts. The switch to unleaded fuel has, apparently, made things better - but many people were exposed for many years, so there is a long tail of affected people.

I've no idea whether or not his might be true.

Vic.

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Google gives up YOUR private data to US govt – but won't hand over its OWN staff personal info

Vic
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Re: Job opening: Needed, one copy editor. Send resume to "The Register".

I agree that it's somewhat awkward, but there is nothing wrong with the original and it's not strictly redundant

It is neither awkward nor redundant; it's simply the pluperfect tense of the verb "to have". And that is entirely the correct tense to have chosen for the sentence.

Vic.

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Put walls around home Things, win $25k from US government

Vic
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Re: Simple option...

A set of standards should be agreed on like "don't hard code back doors" then force all the manufacturers to comply

If manufacturers could be forced to comply, we wouldn't have the problem in the first place...

Vic.

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Re: The prize is mine.

You'd still plug them in after soaking them in petrol?

Look straight up. Squint a bit - maybe use binoculars.

That thing, up there - that's the joke.

Vic.

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The prize is mine.

I have a simple but effective solution.

All IoT devices should be soaked in a bucket of petrol immediately prior to use.

Job done.

Vic.

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Hapless scouser scours streets for lost Crimble drone

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Re: legal operation?

given that the operator has to be in direct visual contact with the drone and not > 500m and the drone cannot be operated close to buildings, etc etc I'm not sure why this got lost

I lost a helicopter some months back - I managed to get it into a bit of wind, and I couldn't make headway against it. I could see the aircraft, I was in control of it - but it wasn't coming back to me. Eventually, it dropped into a field of rapeseed and was never seen again...

Vic.

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

Vic
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Meaning their router transmits at more than the broadcast signal strength limit set by the standard?

No. That's the sort of thing you;re supposed to infer from the advertising, but it is very specifically not said.

Their being the "most powerful" doesn't mean they are any more powerful than anyone else - just that no-one is more powerful than them. And no-one is less powerful either...

Vic.

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

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Re: Like they said, it was...

That's one mighty big light sabre...

Sure is...

Vic.

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Ransomware scum: 'I believe I'm a good fit. See attachments'

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Re: "one threat actor leveraging the German CV campaign"

He's synergising a known pro-active solution that has been proven in the field to gain result-driven wins.

I'll upvote, but I really hate you now...

Vic.

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Hackers could turn your smart meter into a bomb and blow your family to smithereens – new claim

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Re: Alarmist nonsense?

How did the electricity co turn off your supply when you didn't pay your bill in the ancient times of spinning-metal-wheel meters, then? Hint: they didn't send an engineer out to your home.

Well, I've only been disconnected once in my life - but yes, they did send a bloke out.

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Re: What devices connect to 'Smart' meters?

the whole story appears to be bullshit

*Mostly* bullshit.

These things do seem to be monumentally insecure, so breaking into the meter is probably quite easy. But why the original researcher seems to think that means unfettered access to everything the meter does eludes me, as does why even that access might meant you could make it explode...

He seems to have demonstrated some crap security, and then turned the hype meter up to 11 in a desperate attempt to get people to take this seriously - thereby doing the exact opposite.

Vic.

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