* Posts by bazza

1906 posts • joined 23 Apr 2008

Regulate, says Musk – OK, but who writes the New Robot Rules?

bazza
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Re: Liabilty? No difference!

If you take the phrase:

“If an autonomous system acts to avoid a group of school children but then kills a single adult, did the system fail or perform well?”

and replace "autonomous system" with "human driver", what you almost certainly have is a case of Driving Without Due Care and Attention, or Causing Death by Reckless Driving. It's an open and shut case of driving too fast for the conditions. You're supposed to be able to anticipate that the group of school kids might move so as to be in one's way. If they already were in the way (say, crossing the road on a blind corner), the driver has no defence whatsoever.

So if an autonomous system does it, the manufacturer of that system has failed to build in enough anticipation into the machine's abilities. If it happens just once, all our self driving cars will then start crawling through town at a snail's pace, just in case.

==EDIT==

Er yes, what Pete 2 said.

The difference is that I think humans are far better at anticipating what other humans will do than any machine will ever be. A group of well behaved school kids walking tidily down the pavement emits a completely different set of warning signs to a bunch of kids mucking about. You're wary of the former, you're down right paranoid about the latter.

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It's September 2017, and .NET lets PDFs hijack your Windows PC

bazza
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Re: Just say no to software developed using unsafe languages like C/C++

...and what does he think Java, .Net, Linux, WindowsNT kernel, web servers, etc are all written in?!

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Another reason to hate Excel: its Macros can help pivot attacks

bazza
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Re: Waddyamean 'Another reason to hate'?

No, I won't accept this. Slurs on Word or Excel are unfair, unwarranted, and ridiculous. Such excellent pieces of code should be loved by all, marvels of usability and usefulness.

At least, that's how they are compared to Visio.

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Solaris update plan is real, but future looks cloudy by design

bazza
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Sparc Emulator?

Previous efforts have been, well, how can I put it, sluggish?

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Intel ME controller chip has secret kill switch

bazza
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Re: The mind absolutely boggles.

It kinda cuts both ways.

Intel build in a ME, don't properly tell anyone about it or what it can do, cock it up badly, and we're all left with machines we're wondering whether we can trust or not. And unbeknownst to us (until now), to placate some TLA there's a way of turning it off.

On the other hand there's a bunch TLAs somewhere who have presumably set this mysterious bit in some config file who are perhaps more vulnerable than they anticipated. It turns out that a simple config change can turn the whole damned thing back on again. So they're asking themselves, did our techs really get the config right, and is the config still right?

I don't think Intel have done anyone at all any favours whatsoever.

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Forget trigonometry, 'cos Babylonians did it better 3,700 years ago – by counting in base 60!

bazza
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For some applications, that's not entirely true anymore. Multi-Level Cells in FLASH are not 1 or 0, there's several inbetween.

In asynchronous (i.e. clock-less) electronics there's been some different approaches too: 1, 0, or not sure yet...

Binary logic dominates in CPUs because with volts/no volts representing 1 and 0, there's practically no calibration to incorporate into a manufacturing process. With multi-level logic, e.g. 1, 2/3, 1/3, 0 (2 bits) suddenly it all becomes a lot harder to build.

However, in communications multi-level representation of data is pretty common. QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation, see Wikipedia) involves multiple signal amplitudes, a far remove from simple binary on/off keying. In communications such schemes are used to get more data through a given signal bandwidth. It's the equivalent of storing more than 1 bit in a single memory cell (which is what MLC Flash is doing).

Of course, the reason such signalling isn't used on, say, the memory bus between RAM and CPU is because it takes a lot of electronics to generate and receive such a signal; not good for speed / power. RAM buses these days are complicated enough, what with their propagation de-skew delay lines, more than 1 bit on the PCB trace at a time, etc. But complex modulations are used on links like Thunderbolt, USB3, Ethernet. There's way more than one bit on the wire at any single point in time.

Really these days most high speed buses inside and outside of computers are RF data links, not just a single voltage level on a PCB trace.

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Oldest flying 747 finally grounded, 47 years after first flight

bazza
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Re: Poor Design

Today's 787s and A350s will. Scone our grandkid's older-than-us engineering marvels

I hate this keyboard.

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bazza
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Re: Poor Design

Are yes, the passing of Properly Built Kit, something to mourn indeed.

Though with aircraft, the limiting factor is primarily fatigue life. Commercial airliners have to be built strong otherwise they'd be useless in service. There's A320s and 737s with way more cycles on them than this 747; they're strong. They're often stronger than military aircraft, which tend to do far less flying.

With 787 and A350, carbon fibre is the primary construction material. Provided it's not abused, this looks like it will last forever. Quite literally. No fatigue. Airlines buying these today will likely never replace them (at least not until something radically better comes along). Upgrades, refurbs, certainly but the airframes themselves should last forever. Boeing and Airbus are building aircraft that will mean they're not building so many in 20 years time.

Today's 787s and A350s will. Scone our grandkid's older-than-us engineering marvels.

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bazza
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Re: A venerable workhorse

A good ROI, but also a harbinger of enourmous problems for GE, RR, NASA, USAF, and a few other niche operators of the 747. For some jobs; you really do need 4 engines.

For GE and Rolls Royce, they absolutely need a 4 engine aircraft for engine testing. Everyone has been using 747 because it is ideal. Yet with today's trend for large twin jets, one day there will be no large 4 jet airframes left flying. Even the A380 will one day stop operating. So how then would GE and RR flight test an engine?

NASA uses an old 747 as a flying telescope, SOFIA. This is a remarkable piece of kit, extremely useful for a lot of astronomers across the world. The higher it flies, the better it works. A 747 can fly surprisingly high, thanks in part to having 4 engines (lots of surplus power). I don't think that any modern 2 jet airliner gets anywhere near as high, so SOFIA will one day be diminished.

Airforce 1 is supposed to have 4 jets for all sorts of reasons, mostly related to the USA's nuclear chain of command.

Anyway, there's a few operators for whom 4 engines is an imperative, who have been able to pick up 747s (and maybe A340 and A380s) cheaply and easily, and who have gone on to have a truly beneficial impact on our lives (please feel free to reserve judgement about the merits of AF1). When we stop flying 4 engine aircraft commercially, those niche operators are going to be in difficulty; where's their next one coming from?

Anyone got a plan for that?

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Google's Android 8.0 Oreo has been served

bazza
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Google Need Them To

And it maybe that they get their way. If all bespoke device drivers get ported into Project Treble, then Google can update literally everything else on the phone, including the kernel, without any input from the manufacturer. or at least that's the idea.

I think people have gotten so used to Android being unupgradable that most people have little idea that it could be different. It will be interesting to see how it goes.

It will place a lot of pressure on those manufacturers that doctor the user interface on their phones. They will still have to do a ton of work to move up OS versions. Those who just stick to the stock Android experience and who put all their drivers into Project Treble will be making phones that are more upgradable by Google. Word will get around.

Of course, they might all just decide to ignore Project Treble and keep things as they are. Cartel...

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Slurping people's info without a warrant? That's OUR JOB, Google, Facebook et al tell US Supreme Court

bazza
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That's all very well, but you'd better turn off caller ID forwarding on the phone calls you make. Call someone else's Android and Google are using caller ID to track who you're calling. And use cash in the shops. And if you email or call someone else who has an Android phone and you are in their contacts list, Google know who you are and where you live.

It's basically impossible to avoid being profiled by Google.

No, I don't like it either.

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Can GCHQ order techies to work as govt snoops? Experts fear: 'Yes'

bazza
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@Doctor Syntax,

I reckon over-broadly worded legislation straying well beyond centuries-old legal limits parading ministerial authority as due process of law and under-scrutinised by Parliament is a dangerous thing.

I also reckon that possibly the notion that a warrant could be served on an individual and binding on a telecoms provider may have been intended to allow someone to collar a bloke driving an Openreach van and tell him, as a representative of a telecoms provider to put a tap on a given line without going through too much paperwork. I further reckon that even if that's the case it's open to misuse far beyond that.

Hang on a minute. A warrant is not and never has been an order, instruction, something compelling. It is permission to act in a way that would otherwise be illegal, those actions being judged a necessity to advance a specific investigation by a minister and/or judge and/or someone else duly empowered to make such decisions. It is not served on anyone, it is given to someone.

The dictionary definition of a warrant is "a document issued by a legal or government official authorizing the police or another body to make an arrest, search premises, or carry out some other action relating to the administration of justice". The key word is authorise; there's no compulsion.

An ordinary policeman who wants to enter a property needs a warrant, but once it has been obtained they're not actually obliged to bust down the relevant door. AFAIK the only way someone can be compelled to do anything is by direct order from a high court judge (or greater), but that's a very different beast to a warrant.

If a warrant were an irrisistable order, there'd be no need to specifically mention telecoms companies in the acts. They are mentioned because a warrant is simply permission, not an order, so the act has to specifically state that telecoms have to help out with the warrant.

I don't see why anone would collar a wireman out on the streets - I'm pretty sure that the networks are more nationally reachable than that. And, strictly speaking, a warrant is basically the only paperwork that someone needs to take an action that would otherwise be illegal. And it's not going to be carte-blanche to do anything, it's going to very specific.

I think that this whole thing has come about because whats-his-name has misunderstood what a warrant actually is. If one considers the act in the context of a warrant being permission (specifically permission for someone who can and wants to assist to actually provide that assistance), and not an order, the wording makes a lot more sense and is far less 1984 than whats-his-name has been making out.

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bazza
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@Doctor Syntax

Hmm, well I think given that the act makes specific provisions for people to get a hearing, I think European courts would be the last port of call.

I think another way of looking at this is, invited / asked, that it's an opportunity to help get the job done properly.

Someone asked to help who then refuses to help can't very well then go on to criticise them for how they've gone about doing the job without that help.

Warrant's True Purpose

I think that one thing everyone has forgotten is that for anyone to do anything investigatory, they need the legal top cover offered by the warrant.

Without the warrant an expert cannot legally assist the authorities in their investigatory actions, even if they wanted to. Without the warrant the expert would likely be breaking the law. I think that the act is saying that if an expert is asked, and volunteers, they are protected from prosecution for things they do within the terms of the warrant. Important to have...

A telecoms company cannot just tap a phone conversation that's running over their wires; that's illegal. They themselves need the warrant to carry out what has been requested.

It's the same for the authorities; they themselves cannot act without a warrant saying they can act (which has always been the case).

That's my interpretation of what the act is really getting at. It's likely just an unfortunate turn of phrase with an unforeseen interpretation.

The fact that the act says that only a telecoms company is obliged to respond to a warrant I think gives weight to this line of thought.

What do you reckon?

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Red Hat acquires Permabit to put the squeeze on RHEL

bazza
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As far as licensing goes, CDDL was deliberately designed to be incompatible with GPL

As far as the wider picture is concerned, that was a good thing. More OSes have been able to make use of it than if it had been GPL.

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bazza
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Canonical has had their lawyers go over the CDDL terms and they think they can get around the problems by distributing the ZFS module as a binary and distributing the source code separately. Before you jump in and say that "but the GPL says that etc., etc.", the problem isn't with the GPL, the problem is with CDDL. Their lawyers think that this still leaves some technical violations, but that Oracle would have difficulty bringing a case to court based on them.

Hang on, I thought the legal issue being considered by Canonical was whether they could distribute Linux with a ZFS kernel module. AFAIK (IANAL) there's no problem for Canonical from Oracle's direction in distributing OpenZFS under the CDDL license - the license is pretty clear, and FreeBSD / NetBSD seem to have no problems.

I suppose the issue is whether or not including ZFS as a kernel module in Linux counts as distributing ZFS under GPL, not CDDL (due to GPL's claim to extend to all linked code). However so long as Canonical aren't actually changing the CDDL license statement in the source code they clearly wouldn't be breaking CDDL. They will be upsetting Richard Stallman though...

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Linus Torvalds pens vintage 'f*cking' rant at kernel dev's 'utter BS'

bazza
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Re: @bombastic bob - As I've said before ...

Ps that's an outcome that I'm not so keen on, to put it mildly...

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bazza
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Re: @bombastic bob - As I've said before ...

I wouldn't dismiss the RedHat trying to steal Linux. It is always good when you can lock-in customers and get rid of competition.

Quite. If enough kernel devs end up being RedHat employees, they own Linux. Linus is good at driving people away from the project, leaving it vulnerable to a group with a plan and the money and the motivation to dominate the project.

If that happened, and they then forked Linux and went their own way, everyone else has to follow. "You wanna desktop, use our fork. Use Linus's original if you want but there's no desktop for you". It's worked with systemd, it would work with the kernel too. There's simply not enough people who care enough about the specifics of the lower layer stuff to resist it. Most people just want a working system and don't give a damn if the code itself was personally blessed by Linus.

The longer Linus keeps ranting at hardworking kernel devs, the more likely we'll end with Pottering being in charge of the only fork of Linux one can actually use.

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bazza
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Re: As I've said before ...

@frobnicate,

I think you're missing the point. Crashes are good, they're Rust's way of pointing out bugs in your code. C is nasty because unless you do something spectacular to cause a segment fault or similar, your code will run quite happily causing mayhem that you might learn abroad during development, or you might not.

Rust itself is still evolving, but is a very good systems language. It's pretty hard to code for, because it doesn't let you get away with mistakes. That's its strength. You write junk code, you're going to be told all about it straight away.

Unlike C, where bugs lie dormant for decades undiscovered.

If ISO standardises Rust, it will become the language of choice for low level stuff like kernels.

I'm a long time C programmer, I love it to bits, but Rust is the writing on the wall. The speed with which Redox has gone from nothing to a running desktop is hugely impressive. The fact that they could bash out a whole new kernel very quickly, and apparently it's pretty bomb proof already, shows that it's a language where you can concentrate on ideas instead of worrying about memory all the time.

Large C projects like Linux will be seen as just too demanding of resources. There's a lot of people spending a lot of time chasing down problems in Linux that simply don't exist if Rust was used instead.

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GPS III satellites and ground station projects get even later as costs gently spiral

bazza
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Coat

New Word Invented and Claimed...

...if GPS does go tits up and the world suddenly finds itself unable to find out where or when anything is, it'll be the:

Gonnagetlostalotalypse

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The ultimate full English breakfast – have your SAY

bazza
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Down voted, but with the greatest of respect such as is owed to one so misled by life thus far as to want coffee, not tea, with their breakfast.

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Nest security camera captures landlord's romp on tenants' bed

bazza
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Re: cops?!

There's a lovely phrase in the law about a tennant being entitled to "Quietly enjoy all benefits of the lease". The "quietly" part is interpreted as the landlord cannot intrude, and if they do they're breaking the law big time. Judges often look upon such transgressions quite seriously and have been known to hand out some serious levels of compensation at the landlord's expense.

There's even been a case where a tenant who was jailed for a rape offence successfully used his landlady who, with no knowledge of her tenant's incarceration, assumed he'd just moved on and cleared the flat. Having some where to come back to after a stretch at Her Majesty's Pleasure apparently counts as part of the benefits of a lease...

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Valley VC sues blogger after sex pest claims, discovers writer is a male tech biz rival

bazza
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Speaking of Uber

There's been a couple of articles about Uber in the Japan Times recently. The first suggested that Uber were trying to persuade SoftBank to buy a slice of the company. The second was that SoftBank had instead put money into a popular East Asian rival of Uber's. Seems SoftBank weren't tempted in the least...

Articles here and here

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Google goes home to Cali to overturn Canada's worldwide search result ban

bazza
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Re: But do they care?

Google have already unwittingly been involved in throwing an election; their unmoderated trend driven auto news service got comprehensively hijacked during the last US election, seemingly by bunches of kids in Eastern Europe somewhere who were simply boosting their ad revenue.

Google's entire business is based largely on not having to be accountable for the content of some of their services, like search, YouTube. This position is slowly being eroded. It's understandable why they'd want to resist that, but it's beginning to look like a lost cause. I think that the sooner they start seriously thinking of ways to change their business mode, the better it will be for their long term future.

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bazza
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You have illustrated the fundamental contradiction in the User Requirements for the Internet:

1) Allow good people to use the Internet for whatever they want.

2) Stop bad people using the Internet for whatever they want.

The problem is that there are different views on who is good and who is bad. It encompasses everything from religion, politics, law and order, social attitudes and geo-politics. That lot isn't going to be resolved any time soon...

In a way the global OTT tech companies like Google have been pretending that these problems don't exist, but really they do.

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bazza
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Re: At some point a tech company is going to simply pull out of a territory

I'm not convinced that anyone would care that much if Google left their territory, and blocked use of Google services within that territory. There are alternatives. And it would be a golden opportunity for a home player to get into the market.

The company is that might do very well is Apple. Android is all about Google and its acquisitiveness and its integration with Google's ecosystem. Google might cut that off, it costs them money to provide the services for that phone. Bye bye Android. Apple have thus far avoided becoming an ad funded freetard OTT service provider, so I can't see them getting into a similar position. Their phones might be the only game in town.

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O2 admits to throttling network bandwidth for EU data roamers

bazza
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Dunno about tethering. Three don't (didn't) support tethering whilst roaming at all, they won't even sell it as an add on.

Is this some fundamental technology limitation in the telecoms standards, or is this just Three being skin flints?

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Amazing new algorithm makes fusion power slightly less incredibly inefficient

bazza
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Re: Here are some free ideas

Ah yes, subs. I remember an RN sub steam kettler explaining the antiquity of the turbine machinery design, effectively harking back to the days before superheated steam in the early 20th century. Big slow turbines, to deal with the damp steam. Nothing like the small fast turbines found in surface ships circa 1940s.

Re: heat exchangers - sure, they're pretty good, and of course they bring further benefits too in a nuclear plant; the turbine machinery shouldn't (all being well) get contaminated. That was the main attraction of helium as a coolant; it wouldn't be transmuted into anything else and become radiologically nasty. So provided the pebbles remain intact, the turbine machinery would remain clean despite being driven directly by the primary coolant.

I didn't know that civil power reactors often had oil fired superheaters. Seems like cheating somehow!

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bazza
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Re: Here are some free ideas

There are ideas for helium cooled fission reactors that use the hot helium directly in power turbines. This misses out the heat exchanger commonly found in fission reactor plants. The designs are quite clever - self regulating graphite pebble bed reactors could be entirely passively controlled. About the he only perceived difficulty is how to make the graphite pebbles not fall to pieces as a result of the neutron flux running through them. The design relies on cycling pebbles through the reactor and out the he other end when done with, but if one breaks then it's a big mess.

There's also ideas for direct working gas cooling of Americium reactors. You need far less material, and the Americium can be in direct physical contact with the working gas (it doesn't need to be a powdered oxide fuel like is needed for Uranium/Plutonium fuels).

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bazza
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Re: Rule 0

That's the easy one to keep! Though you'd be amazed at how irrational some people can be. I remember there being anti-nuclear protests outside the JET project at Culham, despite the physical impossibility of the machine doing anything dangerous (in the nuclear sense).

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Intel is upset that Qualcomm is treating it like Intel treated AMD for years and years

bazza
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Re: Uh, *raises hand*

AMD needed to copy the Intel architecture or you have something that won't run the same software.

Hmm, well I think it was more to do with Intel being obliged to reach a cross licensing deal with AMD to avoid monopoly investigations reaching damaging conclusions.

And of course Intel's chips are these days copies of AMD's ISA; it was AMD who developed the 64 bit architecture we all use today. Intel decided to go 64bit with Itanium; we all know how badly that went. AMD did something different, which worked, and Intel had to copy it.

In fact Intel copied it so early on that their first copies were "emt64", which lacked some of the instructions that amd64 had when it first hit the market. There's still differences today, but compilers generally work around this problem without difficulties.

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Q. What's today's top language? A. Python... no, wait, Java... no, C

bazza
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Re: anything but python

Seconded, Python is horrid.

Plus there's no such thing as Python. There's Python 2, and then there's Python 3. Which one to use? Solving this by going polyglotal is madness.

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bazza
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C is Getting Rusty

I to am an ardent C programmer. It's been a superbly useful tool over the decades. I have done some pretty big C systems very successfully with C.

However, I am intrigued by Rust. If they standardise that, there's a very good chance that I'll convert. It's usable as a system's language, it doesn't need a runtime, but it has some nice high level languages ideas, and does Communicating Sequential Processes too. There's lots to like!

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US Homeland Sec boss has snazzy new laptop bomb scanning tech – but admits he doesn't know what it's called

bazza
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So says Homeland Security boss John Kelly has, although he doesn't know exactly what that tech is.

Could it possible be a sledgehammer? I'm told they're excellent for cracking walnuts.

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Crazy bug of the week: Gnome Files' .MSI parser runs evil VBScripts

bazza
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Re: Please tell me it doesn't have a dependency on WINE

Here's a NMI (non-maskable interrupt) - see icon

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bazza
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Re: Over complicating things

Ah, the fond memories of OpenLook. About the only thing I didn't like was the way it maximised windows.

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FreeRADIUS fragged by fuzzer – by invitation – and fifteen fails found

bazza
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Re: One problem...

It's not standardised yet, it's still a young language. But the signs are promising. It looks like a language worth standardising, ISOified.

If that happens, then one would have to truly consider the choices made in future systems projects.

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bazza
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“C is a terrible language for security”.

Only if written wrong...

RUST is looking quite cool. There's a growing and strong argument in favour of re-writing lots of stuff in it.

There's a whole OS (redox?) coming along nicely, with a kernel written in RUST. The speed with which it's been written is pretty impressive.

The language seems to be a happy balance between ideas taken from high level languages and being a suitable systems language.

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The curious case of a Tesla smash, Autopilot blamed, and the driver's next-day U-turn

bazza
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Re: Hmm

Agreed. If Tesla were stupid enough to bribe someone who is the subject of a minor police enquiry, when it'd be oh so easy for the cops to obtain the data through a warrant, they would be risking that enquiry becoming a major affair. I can't believe that the company would do that.

Nonetheless I suspect that the police department is now going to request the data. If it's missing (for example, there was no cellular coverage in the area), then things could become more interesting... No coverage gives Tesla plausible deniability, and an enterprising police department might want to explore the depths of that.

Anyone any good at data forensics on Teslas? I mean, apart from Tesla?

On the whole though it sounds like Autopilot was off. If they've leaned on the guy to change his tune, they did so pretty quickly and that probably means they do have the relevant data in their servers. They may well have already furnished the police department with a copy of their data; we just haven't heard that part of the story yet.

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Pastor la vista, baby! FCC enforcers shut down church pirate radio

bazza
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Re: I wouldn't say it was ALL downhill.

And Kenny Everett. Briefly. Several times. They, like everyone else, we're serial Everett hirers / firers.

Sadly missed, both of them.

We could certainly do with Kenny's documentary series being back on air. I reckon some world politicians would be appalled at the continued atrocities being committed by the Thargoids, and would set out to do something about it. That's something we need them to do.

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UK spookhaus GCHQ can crack end-to-end encryption, claims Australian A-G

bazza
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What we should be asking is how they intend to PREVENT messages such as im.qq.com from being secured

If it's ad funded, the law can go after the advertisers, and ultimately the law can go after the telcos and ISPs too. The software may exist, but it can be made unprofitable and, perhaps, its servers unresolvable.

For example, the Google boycott that started in the UK and spread has shown governments all over the world how to get a grip on online services. It became socially unacceptable to advertise on Google, so Google lost some revenue. If that social unacceptability became law, the boycott is country-wide and they lose even more money.

Cue lots of talk of extra moderators and AIs, all across the industry. Will it be enough? Who knows, but they need to try hard. One day it could be that if WhatsApp annoys the cops in a country, Facebook risks losing all advertising revenue in that country.

If enough countries get fed up with a particular service's uncooperative responses to law enforcement warrants, their money stream gets cut off.

It's a cunning tactic. End users don't notice, apart from the lack of ads.

It's a disaster in the making for the social networks because they really cannot trust their users to self moderate, so they have to do it instead. This kind of governmental pressure on their revenue stream is only going to increase. For example, Gov wants to clamp down on on line bullying? Make it socially unacceptable to advertise, pass a law to back that up. Facebook's (or whoever's) AI and moderation systems will have to get better and better, which sounds more and more expensive.

Now, if they knew for sure who their users actually were, that's a different matter. The buck can be easily passed is a user is legally identifiable.

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Guess who doesn't have to pay $1.3bn in back taxes? Of course it's fscking Google

bazza
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Re: Change the law, then

France can change the law by ruling what they consider is taxable. The eu law says sales cannot be taxed twice. If they rule there is one contract with ireland and one with france then they can tax each service once.

They might rule that, but there is no actual contract made with Google France. That's effectively what the French court ruled.

It would be pretty difficult for French law to say there is a contract in France when no agreement is made in France. There wouldn't be a piece of paper with Google.fr on it to point at. There wouldn't be a financial transaction in France to point at. It would be a stupid law that says something exists when it plainly doesn't. What would the law do, magic such a piece of paper into existing?

The only thing that does exist is a flow of cash moving from French bank accounts to an Irish company. That could be taxed.

But to tax that flow is the imposition of a services trade barrier with Ireland, something no EU member nation can do according to the treaties they've signed. France could withdraw from the treaty if they want, but that is FREXIT.

Or they could persuade the Irish to not tax it, but that doesn't sound like a good idea for the Irish balance of payments. Can't see that happening.

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bazza
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Re: Change the law, then

Can't change the law. It's not their law that matters.

Effectively the French court has pointed out that the French government cannot do anything about it. They cannot even make a law change that will have any effect. The relevant legal / tax jurisdiction is Ireland, and France's impotence in the matter is a consequence of the EU treaties that France is a signatory to.

The only change France can definitely make that allows them to redress the imbalance is to prevent free trade of services and goods, AKA FREXIT.

Of course, they could try and renegotiate the whole of the EU trade arrangements, but that'd be very difficult.

If we think BREXIT is dramatic, we've not seen anything yet. The spectre of protectionism in Europe and across the world is looming. Some people will be better off for it. Most won't be.

The idea behind free trade is to spread the cash round, bring everyone up to a similar level. It doesn't work if mega corporations simply accumulate cash, taking it out of the world economy altogether (Apple's cash pile, etc). Free trade is being allowed to become socially useless.

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Ubuntu Linux now on Windows Store (for Insiders)

bazza
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Re: But...

Shouldn't Canonical object to this misuse of their trademark?

Apparently they gave it their blessing. But as their stuff is open source and freely available, fork-able, etc there is nothing they could do to stop it anyway. Bit like CentOS vs RedHat.

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bazza
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Re: But...

Oh, sort of Wine in reverse then?

Not really. WINE emulates win32.dll, and other high level dlls. These are exclusively used by Windows binaries to access kernel services. The reverse of WINE would be sort of like a reimplemented glibc.so for Windows.

This is a Linux kernel system call shim for Windows. So a real Linux binary calls a function in the real glibc, which in turn makes Linux kernel calls just as if it were really running on Linux. And the shim translates that into the equivalent windows kernel call(s).

Reasons

The reason why Wine does what it does is because the Windows kernel system call interface has never been published. So they had to emulate the next layer up (win32.dll).

Because the Windows kernel system call interface is not public, no one can do a windows kernel shim layer for Linux. Apart from Microsoft.

Which is exactly what they're doing with their port of SQL Server to Linux. Instead of using Wine or doing an actual source code port, they're emulating the Windows kernel on Linux.

Consequences

Ultimately this kind of abstraction of kernels will mean that people will stop caring about which kernel they're running. In theory you could construct an OS that looks like Ubuntu, smells like Ubuntu, feels like Ubuntu, but just happens to have a Windows kernel and Windows drivers instead of the Linux kernel and it's lesser set of drivers.

If MS were giving the kernel away for free so that the Linux Distro companies could do this if they wanted to, such frankenOSes could be quite useful. All the same freedoms as commonly enjoyed now (who ever really does their own kernel hacking? Not many...), but with rock solid driver support. The Linux kernel community might care for GPL2 and open source purity, but quite a lot of people just want an OS that works on their hardware for free.

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bazza
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Re: new fangled Windows Subsystem for Linux

Essentially 21st C version of the old MS Services For Unix, slightly updated.

It's not even remotely close to being that.

if you want to dual boot, or run Ubuntu in a VM on Windows (the reverse is better), then get Ubuntu or any other Linux distro (or BSD etc) in the normal way.

Why bother? If an Ubuntu user land installation cannot tell the difference, why both dual booting or going the whole VM route?

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bazza
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Re: But...

This is the new fangled Windows Subsystem for Linux. It allows linux binaries to natively call their expected APIs under a windows OS, through a very lightweight translation layer.

To add to that excellent post, it's basically the same trick that Solaris, FreeBSD and QNX also do to support Linux binaries.

It works so long as the Linux binary is compiled for the same CPU that the OS is running on. So Solaris x86 can support Linux binaries so long as they were also compiled for x86. QNX can do it on ARMs.

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bazza
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Whoops! Typo

Yes^hars.

Thank you for your forbearance.

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bazza
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Regarding your latter point, that'll be leap yes only...

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LHC finds a new and very charming particle: the Xicc++ baryon

bazza
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Re: Awe

I would offer them a beer but I suppose they would be too busy looking for the next quantamy quarky higgs thingy to come along.

Nope, beer works well no matter what, offer away!

In fact beer was the inspiration for the bubble chamber, a now sadly obsolete detector type that used vast quantities of superheated liquid hydrogen to form bubbles around the tracks of particles which were then photographed.

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U wot M8? Oracle chip designers quietly work on new SPARC CPU

bazza
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Re: Scale

What's age got to do with it?

There's features in Solaris that Linux is still trying to replicate. ZFS is one of those.

Sparc/solaris clearly matter to enough people to make comparisons to Intel / Amd / Linux / Windows irrelevant. They want it, Larry's selling it. Or maybe Fujitsu are.

IBM is similar. There's enough niche applications for which mainframes based on POWER are ideal to be worthwhile making them. For example POWER, with its decimal maths coprocessor, is fantastic for currency exchange calculations. Some people want to do a lot of those ultra reliably every day of the year.

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