* Posts by YARR

484 posts • joined 24 Nov 2008

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Munich council: To hell with Linux, we're going full Windows in 2020

YARR
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How have they worked for the last 10-15 years with Linux desktops if there are 800+ apps they need that are Windows only? They must have used both platforms interoperably, so why the need to switch to Windows only now? If management insist the whole network must run the same OS to simplify support / improve security, that doesn't bode well for an IOT / mobile app future.

Linux desktops reduce support and licencing costs for the common apps they run well. For more obscure apps that are only available for Windows, these should be virtualised (RDP-ed) where possible to avoid users needing multiple desktops or having to dual-boot. Further, if virtualised Windows VMs are isolated from the internet, they can maintain older versions and avoid paying for updates (reducing TCO). From the tax payer's perspective, all apps and data formats should ideally be platform neutral / open standards to avoid the long term costs of vendor lock-in.

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Firefox 57: Good news? It's nippy. Bad news? It'll also trash your add-ons

YARR
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Megaphone

Browser speed obsession

Is this obsession with browser speed becoming a bit long in the tooth now, like a certain mobile phone maker's obsession with thin-ness?

i.e. Most of the time, most browsers are fast enough, but the odd badly written javascript will slow any browser to a grind regardless, as used to happen with flash.

Maybe some Jobsian strictness is in order to punish the offenders? In this era of slurped metrics, browsers could report home URLs / functions that cause slowdowns. The collated results would be published as a live league table to publicly humiliate the worst offenders.

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Parity calamity! Wallet code bug destroys $280 MEEELLION in Ethereum

YARR
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Headmaster

A fool and his money...

That's quantities of money; this is actual currency. Different.

How different? The majority of money is numbers in a ledger (which has been electronic for the last 40+ years), cash is only a fraction of all money that exists: MB + M0 - M3 + MZM).

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

Value is more likely to be preserved if a currency has :

(1) Reliable ledgers.

(2) An entire nation / economy of workers who are contractually paid with that currency. (Who is obliged to accept bitcoin?)

(3) The issue of new currency (lending) is restricted to new assets that devalue slowly (not worthless used computer processing).

(4) New currency can be created according to demand. If supply of a currency is artificially restricted (like Bitcoin) or is tied to a rare asset (like gold), this can restrict lending and economic growth, causing people to switch to alternatives.

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China-owned Opera touts big comeback

YARR
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Coat

This Opera's not over 'til...

... xie phan li dai zhang.

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American upstart seeks hotshot guinea pig for Concorde-a-like airliner

YARR
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FAIL

XB = Experimental Bomber

Unless I'm mistaken, the designation XB means experimental bomber. Could this be the first service to drop passengers off at their destination, saving them the bothersome journey from the airport? I guess that's why they need a military pilot with aiming experience.

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ATM fees shake-up may push Britain towards cashless society

YARR
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"cash back from what?"

Your shopping bill paid for on debit card. The amount of cash back you request is added to your bill by the checkout operator, and paid to you from the till. There is no extra charge for cash back, so it's the cheaper option if the only available ATM is one that charges.

It seems that "cashback" is also confusingly used for schemes where a % of credit card processing fees is paid back to the purchaser.

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Apple hauls in $52.6bn in Q4, iPhone, iPad and Mac sales all up

YARR
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Big Brother

Pique Apple over Apple's peak

Now all but the most power-hungry users can work with a seven-year-old Mac

that's assuming they last seven years. In my (limited) experince, I've seen disproportionately many faulty / dead Macs that are long outlived by PCs and even older Macs. Perhaps a journalist should commission a hardware survey to find out if Apple have passed their peak hardware reliability? If they have, that may have helped their recent sales.

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Lenovo buys majority stake in Fujitsu's sickly PC biz

YARR
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The race to the top?

No one who cares about security will buy Fujitsu computers now

If you care about security...

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/10/21/purism_cleanses_laptops_of_intel_management_engine/

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Osama Bin Laden had copy of Resident Evil, smut, in compound

YARR
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Stop

No privacy for the dead, no privacy for anyone except the rulers of this hierarchy of "freedom"

I wonder what criteria they use to decide what private information is relevant to the public interest?

If an authority arrests / kills you without proving your guilt, should you have fewer rights (including privacy) than anyone else? Even if they do prove you have committed a crime, should you lose your privacy? Should a criminal's rights diminish in proportion to the severity of their crime?

Since they (allegedly) killed Osama without bringing him to trial, the US government can wash it's hands of any need to lawfully prove his involvement in 9/11 and other purported terrorism. As with Russian electoral interfering, the media tells us what to think without providing evidence. How convenient.

If morality is served in equal measure, all who deny others their rights must accept the loss of those rights themselves.

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Two drones, two crashes in two months: MoD still won't say why

YARR
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Boffin

Airflow will *increase* the temperature of the airframe (from friction). "Chill factor" applies only to things that are hotter than the air

If the airframe is hotter than the air due to friction, the "chill factor" will cool it back down again.

Since flying in cold air is a unique technical challenge that no previous aircraft have mastered, perhaps the answer is to copy nature and give it a warm furry coat?

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Fresh bit o' Linux to spruce up that ancient Windows Vista box? Why not, we say...

YARR
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Great machines retired because of restricted disk space with no easy upgrade as early SSDs were proprietary or no longer available with a compatible interface for sensible money.

Which early SSDs were proprietary? Early netbooks circa 2008 often used the mSATA standard, which are still available if you look in the right places.

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The EU is sooo 2016. We're all about the US now, say Brit scaleups

YARR
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The French aren't to blame - they objected to us joining, even though we subsidised their farmers until Maggie wrangled a rebate.

We didn't vote to join an empire. Our empire is history - it was before most "old" people's time.

Since waves of EU immigrants arrived on mass, it's young British people who've endured unaffordable housing, stagnating wages (in real-terms). Wealthy oldies have enjoyed appreciating house prices, lost cost labour and cheaper imports.

Once the EU trade situation is known, industry will realign. We will have to live more within our means and stop running up debt - which is better for us in the long run. Once immigration is reduced, housing will be more affordable and young people can expect rising wages from less competition. You're right - there may be no tangible benefits for you.

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UK's NHS to pilot 'Airbnb'-style care service in homeowners' spare rooms

YARR
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Meh

Cornflakes and microwave meals v prisoners and asylum seekers

With interest rates predicted to start rising soon, paring down the national debt ASAP is a prudent policy, but at what practical cost? Like all ideas, this could work well in some instances, but it depends on the judgement of the administrator and should remain the exception.

I object that anyone would consider cornflakes and microwave meals a sufficient quality of nutrition for a recovering patient. What about patients with specific meal requirements? It could get complicated fast. It would have been better long term policy if they hadn't (permanently) closed down all those wards and sold off NHS land.

I believe we spend more on secure accommodation for prisoners and asylum seekers than on patient care, I'd certainly put those groups further down the list of spending priorities. I can think of lots of ways to cut the cost of secure accommodation, but I don't want to attract too many downvotes from Guardian readers.

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Credit insurance tightens for geek shack Maplin Electronics

YARR
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Megaphone

We need an alternative to the jungle monopoly

It's obvious that online is the future of anything that can retail online, and physical retailers that don't adapt face oblivion. The problem is that one online retailer has outgrown all others and will eventually have a near-monopoly. Something must be done! Either that retailer will have to be broken up, or other retailers must rise to the challenge.

The problem is that consumers want simplicity - they don't like registering multiple accounts and searching multiple stores. Either we need a single online shopping account that can search items and place orders with many retailers (OK, someone has a monopoly there already), or retailers of non-overlapping products need to merge their online shopping experience.

For the latter, it would make sense for specialists like Maplins to merge their online store with a generalist, like Argos, under a new brand. For this to really succeed would mean lots of smaller retailers across many sectors co-operating so their product range can compete with the non-indigenous arboreal behemoth. Is this ever likely to happen? The longer it takes, the more entrenched the monopoly becomes.

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NetBSD, OpenBSD improve kernel security, randomly

YARR
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Stating the obvious?

If the memory controller had a flag to make memory blocks read-only until they are freed up, then the kernel code would be immune to buffer overruns. Only the memory containing the kernel state (stack / heap) might need to be dynamically relocated.

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Yes, British F-35 engines must be sent to Turkey for overhaul

YARR
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...Mr. Farage and ... Boris Johnson warned us about how terrible the Turks were, about to overrun the UK, and how we should vote to Take Back Control. I would be most interested to hear their take on this development. Taking back control - who from?

This was in relation to leaving the EU so that we can take back control of our borders. If Turkey's application to join the EU was approved, then 80 million Turkish citizens would have the right to live and work in the EU (including the UK). I don't believe that these two issues are connected.

The dividing of F35 maintenance duties between NATO members is a means to cement political relations for the life of the F35. Any member considering leaving NATO during that time period could face difficulties maintaining their F35 fleet. These maintenance contracts would obviously be reviewed if the political circumstances changed. NATO would not be hampered by them for very long.

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ARM chip OG Steve Furber: Turing missed the mark on human intelligence

YARR
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I've also read that neurons exhibit quantum behaviour (which could be considered a form of parallelism) and might allow neurons to communicate at a distance.

If the observed behaviour of a neuron is so complex, how can scientists be confident that the classic model neuron they simulate, truly represents how a brain works? Maybe AI researchers are barking up the wrong tree and should return to researching how individual neurons and networks of neurons behave?

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IT at sea makes data too easy to see: Ships are basically big floating security nightmares

YARR
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Funny how the Brits, the US, the Chinese, the Indians, the Italians, the South Koreans and the Turks all have carriers currently under construction and Russia and Brazil have announced plans for further carriers.

Several of those nations have or are constructing helicopter carriers / landing ships, rather than aircraft carriers. Some such vessels can support V/STOL aircraft if their decks are built to withstand a downwards jet blast.

In WW2 26 aircraft & escort carriers were sunk out of about 125 actually in service. Since the majority were only commissioned in the period 1943-45, that's not very good odds

Have you compared this with the survival odds of other classes of ship in WW2? Besides, the purpose of a warship is to win the war. If sacrificial, their presence may allow a strategic war goal to be achieved. Many of those WW2 carriers were cheaply constructed (with poor survival odds) for this reason.

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Western Dig's MAMR is so phat, it'll store 100TB on a hard drive by 2032

YARR
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Boffin

Guesstimate...

How long would it take to do a format ?

For a constant rotation speed, and number of heads/platters and assuming the data bus speed is unlimited, capacity increases as the square of linear density. If drive capacity increases x10 in the next 15 years as speculated, the read/write time will increase by at least SQRT(10) = x3.16. So if your format (or RAID rebuild) takes about 2 days to complete now, by 2032 it will take around a week.

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Equifax: About those 400,000 UK records we lost? It's now 15.2M. Yes, M for MEELLLION

YARR
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Boffin

You can't lie about your Date of Birth when applying for Credit......well you can, but it's Fraud!

This is good reason to store mandatory personal data in a hashed form like passwords.

i.e. The bank don't know your DOB, but if you give them a date they can check if it's the same as before.

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BAE confirms it is slashing 2,000 jobs

YARR
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Re: Forward Planning

Reality is that the RAF and similar need a simpler air defence aircraft to tackle Russian heavy bombers and something simple, cheaper and robust for ground strike -preferably with a decent range

Both sound like ideal scenarios for drones.

Perhaps some newly redundant workers should found a UK drone design bureau to compete with BAe, using UK gov funding for startups. Might save the taxpayer a fortune in the long run.

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How many times can Microsoft kill Mobile?

YARR
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I don't think MS will be abandoning UWP because Store apps are the future for Windows 10s which is their answer to Chromebooks. A few tweaks to the Windows 10 UI might be possible, if there is widespread demand for specific changes.

Personally I like the UI, but I think they should concentrate on fixing the bugs and make all their apps consistent before adding new features. Making zero telemetary an option would be desirable too.

As for Windows Mobile, if I'd known there was a WileyFox handset coming I might have bought one. Why didn't TheReg tell us?!

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Microsoft shows off Windows 10 Second Li, er, Mixed Reality

YARR
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Really, just what is the point of all this VR/AR stuff for the average user?

With AR you can sit on the same settee and watch different things on "the telly" at once, in 3D. Bliss.

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2019: The year that Microsoft quits Surface hardware

YARR
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Flat surface sales

If high end hardware is considered "low margin" how is Apple so wealthy?

Microsoft always take several versions to get their products working right. Having invested so much in Surface R&D, once the design is mature, it takes less investment to upgrade the silicon each generation. Sacrificing the Surface before it's time could end in closing their (physical) stores.

So if they want to attract more customers in-store they could diversify into:

- Hololens experiences. A different experience every month.

- Windows bootable USB sticks (who has a Windows USB stick ready when their PC gets corrupted or infected? Read-only or physically write-locked by default would safeguard against infection)

- Cortana AI assistants, perhaps for the workplace / public environments rather than the home? They could replace their shop assistants with Cortana kiosks.

- Copies of "Hit Refresh". What better way to get people in store if you couldn't buy it elsewhere?

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Nadella says senior management pay now linked to improving gender diversity

YARR
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Meh

It would be ironic if the (presumably) most highly paid male within Microsoft increases his salary by paying women more in raises then men, just because they are women. The overall effect will be an increasing disparity between the most lowly and highly paid employees (contrary to his supposedly Marxist background).

He's certain to succeed and get his bonus by simply instructing his minions to hire and promote more women. But hiring / promoting more women is simple, the hard problem is addressing the gender disparity of available skilled employees, and students interested in pursing a career in the IT profession (assuming this is a problem that really needs solving).

Nadella also wants Microsoft's hiring practice to represent the global population (which is code for more ethnic minorities). This is fair enough given, Microsoft is a global company, but this is a justification for creating more jobs and finding more customers across the world. It's not a justification for bringing the rest of the world into the west to undercut or replace the existing workforce. Doing so brings global companies into a conflict of interest with western workers. Western governments represent their voters not lobbyists of global companies. So they should recognise this conflict of interest and support their voters interests first.

There is clearly a political agenda motivating this (top-down rather than bottom-up / grassroots). Their agenda is presented as moral but is not the truth. Frequent news headlines suggest the IT industry is inherently sexist and discriminatory. Future generations will read those headlines and believe it to be the truth. IMO this is a serious misrepresentation of the industry, but if CEOs are willing to accept this, then they must also accept responsibility for the apparent historic discrimination that has taken place within their organisations.

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We went to Nadella's launch of Hit Refresh so you didn't have to

YARR
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"non - violent communication"

I presume this is a reference to the former chair-chucker in chief.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/09/05/chair_chucking/

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You better explain yourself, mister: DARPA's mission to make an accountable AI

YARR
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This sounds somewhat like the Cyc project, but I can't explain why.

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EasyJet: We'll have electric airliners within the next decade

YARR
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Could this be more efficient than a turbo-prop or a jet engine?

Perhaps the answer is electric props powered by a hydrocarbon fuelled generrator mounted within the fuselage. Electric motors would be smaller than turbofans, causing less drag. You could also take advantage of more energy dense fuels like diesel - there are already drones powered by diesel for maximum endurance.

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YARR
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Re: It's cold up there.

Not to mention that fuel is often stored in the wings where exposure to the airflow cools it down below the ambient temp, hence fuel is used as a coolant. A battery powered plane would need an alternate cooling system.

Lithium batteries would be dangerous in an accident, particularly if the plane crash lands on water. They can vent toxic fumes when damaged, burst into flames when crushed and react explosively with water.

They would do better to spend their money researching carbon-neutral ways of producing kerosene fuel from natural / renewable sources.

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My name is Bill Gates and I am an Android user

YARR
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You can't blame anyone for not choosing another Windows Phone with apps disappearing from the Windows Store, and security updates ending for some phones. That said, after a bumpy ride, recent releases of Windows 10 Mobile were very favourable. I had assumed that Windows 10 Mobile used a HAL like PCs, so they could release OS updates independent of device manufacturers. However my experience with updates suggests otherwise. Maybe Android will crack this problem eventually.

As you said, they could have attempted to boost sales by releasing the Android app runtime. Perhaps they thought this would deter developers from releasing native apps, hence threatening the future of desktop Windows / Windows 10 S.

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Helium's for balloons and squeaky voices, not this 10TB Toshiba beast

YARR
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Holmes

1.43TB/platter areal density

It's good to see non-He drives improving, but what these articles neglect to mention is the equivalent density 2.5" drives. I may be mistaken, but I thought 2.5" drives were favoured as server drives nowadays. Or would that be compute servers, but not data farms?

You can now buy 5Tb 2.5" portable drives for under $140 on offer * (are they He drives?). The equivalent 3.5" capacity (by volume) should be 15-20Tb for around $420-560. Does this mean 3.5" drive tech is behind 2.5" drives? The price of 3.5" drives can be dearer than 2.5" drives of the same capacity, despite using lower density platters.

* https://www.amazon.com/Seagate-Backup-Portable-External-STDR5000100/dp/B01LZP2B23/

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Web devs griping about iPhone X notch: You're rendering it wrong

YARR
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Devil

Invisible pixels

I assume for the sake of simplicity they allocate memory in the screen buffer for the absent pixels where the notch is. This means that app developers can have fun writing naughty messages to the invisible screen buffer which wont be discovered until they create an even bigger iPhone.

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iPhone 8: Apple has CPU cycles to burn

YARR
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Re: I have a better idea

The optical properties of a phone lens cannot compare to a larger camera lens (see: Optical Transfer Functions). Phone lenses also suffer from micro-abrasions due to lacking a lens cover.

My point about AR was in relation to an app that would require the CPU power of the latest generation iPhones. AR is a demanding real-time processing task. A future AR app might require ALL that CPU power, and hence justify people needing to upgrade from older phones like your SE. I'm aware that less demanding AR apps have been available for several years.

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YARR
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Re: I have a better idea

The new iPhones are overpriced and overspeced for many uses. The 4k video is nice, but anyone wanting quality footage would buy a camera with a proper sized lens. The killer app is probably going to be something AR related, but it might not take off until phones with this spec are commonplace.

Phones with removable batteries were readily available, yet the majority of people don't buy them, so the manufacturers stopped making them. Same with Micro SD cards,

Are you sure it wasn't the other way around? i.e. Manufacturers stopped making them so they could increase their profit from storage and future battery sales. Captive consumers who only trust established brands, or who need another feature only available on those phones had no choice.

Previous comment : you can't really measure the satisfaction engendered by other people's envy and that is the part that makes it totally worth it... When I first imported an iPhone from the US in 2007, using it in the street would cause a cooing group of people to gather round you in awe

It's probably not envy (of you personally); people are just curious about new things. Most people (in wealthy countries) could afford to buy an iPhone if they really wanted, but sensible people weigh up the cost v benefit against their other needs.

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HPE sharpening the axe for 5,000 heads – report

YARR
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Contrary to perceived wisdom in the industry – that software and cloud services are the best paths to make money – Whitman has largely fashioned a bigger hardware business

Someone has to.

If your hardware company becomes too big to fail, then profitable companies that depend on your hardware might have to bail you out.

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GNOME Foundation backs 'freedom-oriented' smartphone

YARR
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Thumb Up

I hope this succeeds in the long term but agree with the points about hardware. Hardware changes quickly and driver support is soon dropped. Software development usually overruns and can struggle to keep up. They should focus on creating a software foundation that is hardware-agnostic that others can build on. Open source hardware can be developed once the software is mature and there is established demand.

Regarding apps, why re-invent the wheel, can't Android apps run atop this and be sand-boxed if there are security issues with the APIs?

Given how Google are restricting access to the Play store for ideological reasons, and major phone makers dislike being dependent on Google, the time is nigh for the birth of a free (uncensored) Android app store, which could then be used by secure open source phones.

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Fancy that! Craft which float over everything on a cushion of air

YARR
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This is just down the road from the Royal Navy Submarine Museum at Gosport which is worth a visit to make a day of it.

So were these hovercraft operated by Network Rail at one time, given the logo they once had on he tail?

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Google sued by Gab over Play Store booting

YARR
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Stop

Re: So Google told them to fuck off

Isn't telling anyone to "fuck off" hate speech? Then the act of banning an app for permitting free speech (and no other valid reason) is an act of hatred. So Google are haters of free speech.

The principle of freedom of speech is core to American + western values - i.e. defending the right of others to say what they think, even if you don't agree with them. Without freedom of speech you cannot challenge creeping oppression.

Maybe the persons of Russian origin who founded Google are attempting to subvert western freedom in the guise of promoting their own superior (in their opinion) ideals? Freedom must be continually defended every generation, since there is always a new wave of incomers who seek to take it from us.

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Another month, another malware outbreak in Google's Play Store

YARR
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Boffin

5. Have a button to report / record suspicious behaviour for an app which someone at Google will investigate pronto.

6. Support permission sandboxing / raised security, which when enabled the user is asked whether to allow the app to access (specific device / resource / URL etc.) right now. This way the user can see if an app is doing something unwarranted. (Allow such metrics to be logged and voluntarily submitted to Google for analysis. Google can scan these logs for unexpected changes in app behaviour. ).

7. Have an author reputation system built into the app store so users can choose to ignore apps from authors with lower ratings, i.e. to easily identify indie apps from full apps.

8. Don't allow apps to download an executable payload (as some on this forum have suggested they can).

9. Don't allow device makers to made default apps uninstallable. My phone's YouTube app is identified as a "harmful app" by the Play store but can't be uninstalled. Deactivating it causes an infinite loop at startup!

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Would you get in a one-man quadcopter air taxi?

YARR
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Black Helicopters

Re: Parachute

The idea is that you jump first and fall faster than the 'copter, then deploy the parachute when you're a safe distance. OTOH if you want an ejector seat with parachute, they can make the rotors eject before you do (they fly off at a tangent and slice into the ground or whoever is standing in the way).

I were flying at 10,000ft and the LiPos started smoking, I'd choose a parachute and jump, then be a he-hang.

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Sacre bleu! Apple's high price, marginal gain iPhone strategy leaves it stuck in the mud

YARR
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Paris Hilton

Re: £1,149

I suppose someone has to garner the Vertu end of the market.

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Everybody without Android Oreo vulnerable to overlay attack

YARR
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Megaphone

Just how many people actually get hit by these 'killer' vulnerabilities? It's enough to make you buy an iPhone next time...

In a recent interview ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVVjlYz-YeM ) John McAfee says (wrt phones)

"there is no security whatsoever", "the OS is designed to watch you", they are the "ultimate spy device", "the anti-virus paradigm is no longer functional", "by the time malware is found it's too late", "hackers spend weeks, months, some times even years sniffing around your device".

(31:45) "BTW, what is the least secure phone?"

"The Samsung S7 is the most secure ... All iPhones can be remotely rooted ... The most hackable phone in the world is the iPhone"

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Argentina eyes up laser death cannon testbed warship

YARR
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I would have thought an inactive warship required a lot less maintenance than an active one. Mechanical systems will need to be periodically activated to stop them ceasing up. Aren't most electrical systems inert? Offload explosive weapons to an armoury. Cover vulnerable exposed areas in taurpaulins. It sounds so simple in theory.

What if there was a friendly country near to the Falklands with lower labour costs, who might agree to take on maintenance work in exchange for being gifted some surplus warships and receiving training? Even if they are only a deterrent, it's more fruitful than scrapping them.

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YARR
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Stop

If our old warships are good enough for other navies when they reach the end of their expected life, why aren't they good enough for us to keep in reserve? Compared to the cost of constructing new ones, we get peanuts for them. A reserve fleet of last generation attack subs, frigates and destroyers could be stationed in a defended harbour on the Falklands, or even St. Helena (which now has a runway). Within 24h of any invasion threat, a crew could be flown in and have them operational.

As for the Eurofighters, don't land based anti-ship missiles have sufficient range to protect the islands from sea-borne invasion?

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UK engineering software firm swallowed in £3bn merger with France's Schneider Electric

YARR
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Joke

In tomorrow's news...

British company buys foreign one.

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Remember when Lenovo sold PCs with Superfish adware? It just got a mild scolding from FTC

YARR
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Windows

Not just Lenovo's fault

I bought one of the affected PCs. Fortunately they issued a BIOS update to remove the "feature", but I doubt the majority of users are savvy enough to update their BIOS.

However, it takes two to tango. For this feature to work requires the OS to co-operate with the BIOS, to auto download and install the software that the BIOS points at. Needless to say only Windows supports this "feature" and it couldn't have happened without Microsoft's endorsement.

Are there any PC hardware companies on the user's side?

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China bans crypto-currency fundraising schemes

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Boffin

Cryptocurrencies defy the purpose of money + devalue other currencies

If the purpose of a currency is to track who owes what to whom (i.e. to serve as a store of value) then a currency that rapidly appreciates like a ponzi scheme defies that purpose. Given alternatives, why would I want to gamble my earnings for a cryptocurrency that rewards a select few who got in early, and could equally collapse to zero since it has no intrinsic value?

The ideal currency would be one specifically designed to PRESERVE VALUE regardless of how much it is traded. A day's labour today is still worth a day's labour tomorrow. Unstable currencies should be avoided in the interests of economic stability. I'd be surprised if many of these new cryptocurrencies are long lived.

Given there are only a finite amount of physical goods that can be traded, does the introduction of new currencies not threaten the value of established currencies? Every time a purchase is made using a new currency, the set of goods available for purchase reduces, but the total amount of old currencies in circulation remains unchanged. Hence the purchasing power of the old currencies is reduced.

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China claims to have turbine-powered drone carrying 200kg payload

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If it loses power, anything carrying people should land in a controlled glide like an autogyro rather than dropping out of the sky. Ideally any quadcopter heavy enough to cause injury should do the same.

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New York Police scrap 36,000 Windows smartphones

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WTF?

Why scrap them?

I agree it's poor of Microsoft to drop support so early, but most Android phones in a similar price bracket only get updates for a year or two after release if you're lucky. Unsupported Android versions are more vulnerable to exploits than a phone running Windows Mobile 8.1 due to security by obscurity. If the phone works and runs the apps you need then just continue using them!

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Fewer than half GCSE computing students got a B or higher this year

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Megaphone

e-learning / Computer Based Training

There's a simple solution to a shortage of qualified teachers: convert the entire course to an e-learning syllabus, with video material prepared by a few experts. Employ a few of these experts to answer student's questions in an on-line forum, then all you need are some classroom supervisors. Every student can learn at their own pace. Simples.

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