* Posts by bish

79 posts • joined 30 May 2009

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A fine host for a Raspberry Pi: The Register rakes a talon over the NexDock 2

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Re: Why some people keep on reinventing the ill-fated Palm Foleo?

The main selling point would appear to be that, because all the processing is external, it can easily be upgraded and therefore - in theory - last longer. I suppose in that respect it *might* be possible to bill it as a less-wasteful solution than a traditional laptop, although I have my doubts about how long the keyboard and screen will last. I'd be interested to know how easy it is to replace the battery, too, because if it's anything other than a simple external, screw-less latching system, the whole premise of longevity falls down immediately. And of course, I'd have to believe that they'll continue to make suitable replacement batteries...

Nah, I'm really not sold on it, either. The fact they claim it's a great solution for carting a PS4 around suggests to me that they really haven't figured out the point of it themselves.

High-resolution display output or Wi-Fi: It seems you can only choose one on Raspberry Pi 4

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Re: Firmware?

Seems like a decent theory. I definitely don't buy into the suggestion it's purely hardware - I don't remember any complaints about WiFi connectivity at launch.

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Bah

Since launch day, I'd been using mine as a headless development server, but recently replaced it with a full blown PC so have been trying to repurpose it. Have been tearing my hair out over weird WiFi issues for days now (at 1080p, it won't connect to a 5G SSID - 2.4GHz is fine, but seems to dropout periodically). It's undoubtedly an incredible feat of engineering to squeeze so much capability onto such a small board, but it is beginning to feel like all that squishing came at a cost. That said, my suspicion is that this is actually a software problem: I'm getting some weird errors in logs, and find it extremely odd that these issues weren't raised at launch when everyone was wanging on about CPU temps. So I suspect the 'hardware interference' theory is a red herring.

Want an ethical smartphone? Fairphone 3 is on the way – but tiny market share suggests few care

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Hm. My wife bought a FF1 at launch. It's still running (painfully slowly, which is ok as she only uses it for phonecalls on a couple of international SIMs) but I had to Sugru in a differently-shaped battery when the original died, as they'd stopped stocking the official, custom-spec battery. I understand that the phone market is both very competitive and utterly dominated by a handful of big players, and a small Dutch independent isn't ever going to become a market leader, but my impression is still that the FF series have been proof of concept devices first and foremost, rather than a serious consumer offering. Maybe that's changing with the FF3 - they certainly seem to have generated a lot more press this time, and if the comments here are anything to go by, people seem fairly positive about the device - but I'll probably stick with my unethical phone until either the FF4 launches, or FF3's success prompts the big boys to use their financial clout to encourage their own supply chains to smarten up.

Too hot to handle? Raspberry Pi 4 fans left wondering if kit should come with a heatsink

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Re: Fan of fans

Yep. Wish I'd ordered mine right away, rather than bumping up against the throttling threshold for a week.

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Re: Corrupt SD cards

Also depends on use. I have several Sandisk SD cards in various Pis that have been going strong for over 4 years, with me regularly pulling the plug without safely shutting down, and one that corrupted after only one power failure while running openhabian (which seems to constantly read and write to the card - I replaced it with my own homebrew scripting and have had no such problems). But yeah, as long as you're not intensively reading/writing, I've found the SD corruption thing to not really be as big of an issue as some make out.

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Re: "heat-spreading technology"

I got the 4GB one on launch, and after a week ordered the FanShim from Pimoroni to stop it throttling itself, because it was almost constantly bumping up at the limit (just running some containers, headlessly, albeit in a warm cupboard). But no: because it uses the whole board to (very inefficiently) dissipate heat, the whole board only seems to get slightly warm (YMMV). Even the processor itself didn't seem to get hot enough to cause a burn, unless one were to find the most sensitive patch of a baby's very sensitive skin and hold it in place for a while. I'm not sure there's much mileage in going to court with that sort of use-case.

Let's talk about April Fools' Day jokes. Are they ever really harmless?

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Re: Error Messages

I could be wrong, but in my opinion, all of following statements can be true:

1) Father Ted was a very funny show.

2a) Graham Linehan's conduct on social media isn't always exemplary, and is often rather unpleasant.

2b) This can make it hard (for some) to appreciate his work.

3) As a (global) society, we're still a long way from adequately defining gender in any meaningful way.

4) Transgender people should not be oppressed.

5) Issues around transgender people and trans rights are incredibly complex, and the likelihood of such a tricky and sensitive set of arguments being resolved in a massively off topic BTL thread on El Reg is so vanishingly close to zero, any further discussion of the subject here is essentially pointless.

6) You (whoever is reading this) have every right to disagree with any and all of these statements.

7) My comment isn't an attempt to shutdown or censor debate, merely an attempt to point out that there are many other places on the Internet where one can shout at people with different opinions. This is not really one of those places: this is the comments section of a lighthearted article about an anonymous IT worker's confession to a couple of stupid mistakes.

You know whose kit for 5G is Huawei better? Go on, have a guess, says UK mobile player Three

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Can't parse headline

Confusing me too much it is.

Biz tells ransomware victims it can decrypt their files... by secretly paying off the crooks and banking a fat margin

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Absolutely right (and the people below you too) - as I said, being transparent about operating this way doesn't mean you'll lose all of your customers, some people are happy to pay to make the bad things go away. But not being transparent about it is also the difference between a legitimate IT service and a possible case of fraud.

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A downvote? Conor Lairg, is that you?

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Re: Trust

Hm. The bit where they requested that the client install TeamViewer suggests they had no intention of running the decrypt on their own systems. Of course, you can use TeamViewer to send and receive files, but you'd be daft to use it for a large transfer. Then again, perhaps they wanted to remote into the machine to upload the files to some cloud instance - I suppose, if this entailed a full clone of the host disk(s), the absurd $3k premium might begin to look less scandalous - but my money is on them simply running the decrypt on the client's machine, with all the risks that entails.

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Curious to see people defending this (senior management offering their comments belatedly, maybe?). The key takeaways for me appear to be:

1) They quoted $3950, of which $3050 was pure profit, just to send a few emails, install a decrypt tool and run it (regardless of overheads, that's a seriously steep markup)

2) They quoted for a decrypt and gave an ETA before first establishing that the key worked and the tool was legit. (what would happen if it the stuff provided by 'Team Gotcha!' didn't work?)

3) They didn't give the victim any indication that they'd simply be paying the ransom: 'data recovery service' and 'Priority Recovery Service' seem deliberately misleading.

The thing is, I'd have no issue at all with their methods if they were transparent about them. Hype up your threat detection on the decrypt tools, your negotiating skills and your extensive library of common encrypt/decrypt tools, upsell consultation on prevention strategies and give loyalty points to the numpties who don't heed the advice, but for heaven's sake, tell the buyer what they're ultimately paying for with an itemised quote. I dare say most small businesses would want to negotiate the 300% markup, but a lot of places wouldn't mind paying *some* sort of extra wedge to cover overheads and such, if only to avoid getting their own hands dirty.

Want a good Android smartphone without the $1,000+ price tag? Then buy Google's Pixel 3a

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I'm not saying you're wrong but...

You're almost certainly wrong. The speakers are driven by the same source, and the speakers reportely sound great on both this phone and the Samsung Tab S5e. As this review says:

"It was good coming out the speakers at the base...but the headphones? It felt like we were at the back of the hall and kept increasing the volume in the hope the sound would get stronger and clearer."

This sounds to me like one of the channels is out of phase with the other - or, more outlandishly (but fitting better with the description) crosstalk between, or even summing of, the two channels, AND one of them being out of phase, causing phase cancellation that leaves only the sounds that are unique to either channel (if you've ever used one of those dreadful karaoke/vocal removal DSP plugins, you'll recognise the description of sounding like you're 'at the back of the hall'), - which is hopefully just a cock up on an early release review unit. If that's what's going wrong, the cause could be either software or hardware related, and as long as the hardware isn't too desperately badly wired (ie the two channels are reasonably discreet and not wired together) the fix could be either, too.

Either way, though, if Google are going to bother including a headphone jack, they really ought to make the effort to ensure it works properly, regardless of whether many - or even most - customers will never use it.

Techie with outdated documentation gets his step count in searching for non-existent cabinet

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I suspect...

The former manager really didn't like Wayne very much, and relished the opportunity for vengeance.

Buffer overflow flaw in British Airways in-flight entertainment systems will affect other airlines, but why try it in the air?

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Re: Entertainment system pen testing

I rather suspect that the next generation of in flight entertainment systems on Ryanair flights will involve large screens, endlessly looping adverts and the Ludovico technique. Customers can simply pay a £50 upgrade fee to retain control over their eyelids.

Pour $25m in its coffers and the local NAS box gets it. That's backers' hope for public cloud type Nasuni

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Planning

"It's a very financially driven model and required a lot more money than we expected."

Whoever signed off on the $25m must be reading that quote and weeping. It's the 'a lot' part that tips it over the edge from 'slightly concerning' to 'amateur hour'.

Return of the audio format wars and other money-making scams

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Re: ZpulNg

Yep, it's entirely deliberate, and actually just good social engineering: on the one hand, you don't waste time on anyone tech-savvy, and those who you do catch are often too embarrassed to ask their technical friends and family for help, and on the other, you allow the techie types to think you, the criminal, are far too stupid to concoct a convincing phishing scam, which makes them far more vulnerable (through misplaced confidence) to spear phishing. I wish no ill of Dabbs, but I'd be very surprised if he could correctly identify a well-executed spear phishing attack: the good ones can be incredibly hard to detect, and aren't even necessarily about getting you to hand over a password. Sometimes they simply want your correct email and signature, so they can convincingly spoof a message as you to someone else.

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Re: MiniDisk? Bah!

It's all been downhill since the reproducing piano went out of fashion. I'm not really joking, either - the early 20th Century tech let you listen to note-perfect performances by world-renowned musicians on your own instrument, in your own home, at much higher fidelity (ie - actual live acoustic sound) than most of the music that's 'consumed' nowadays. Sure, no one bothered with the effort and hassle of dragging one around on public transport - it really wasn't a portable option - but if they had, even out of tune and crashing madly on every pothole, it would've still sounded a lot better than the distorted hiss of an overdriven iPhone speaker at the back of a bus.

One click and you're out: UK makes it an offence to view terrorist propaganda even once

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"likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism"

That would logically include the locations of key targets, and procurement of the means of transport needed to reach them: tourists visiting the UK are advised to eschew all guidebooks, and just wander round the airport until the return flight. Mind you, being in the country at all seems pretty 'useful', so perhaps just stay away altogether.

Seagate punts external PS4 drive at the millions who uninstalled their game libraries to fit Red Dead Redemption 2

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Re: Replace it

It doesn't require a spare external drive at all, you can simply format a blank drive and start installing games again. It'll take a while, because PSN download speeds are painful, but it's possible.

What a cheep shot: Bird sorry after legal eagles fire DMCA takedown at scooter unlock blog

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Re: Even if you couldn't replace the board

It's the board that costs $30. The scooters themselves are being auctioned off, so prices inevitably vary - but you're absolutely right that many appear to be going for a lot less than the combined cost of the components. I have no use for an electric scooter, but it could be a great way to pick up some cheap batteries and motors with which to build something else, assuming you aren't outbid by someone who actually values them as scooters.

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Re: Legal question

I took "more illegal" to mean that the vandalism approach is illegal, but theft is, uh, more illegal. I believe the law bears this out, with (broadly) harsher punishments for theft than vandalism (ymmv).

Before dipping a toe in the new ThinkPad high-end, make sure your desk is compatible

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"far-field microphones... in the expectation that voice interaction is an increasingly used feature."

If my voice gets far enough from my lap to validate the inclusion of those mics, I won't need a smart assistant, I'll need a surgeon.

Germany pushes router security rules, OpenWRT and CCC push back

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Sell an upgrade

"Support for open firmware is, arguably, a niche consideration at the moment, but you could argue that one of the reasons to block it on end-of-life devices would be to protect the vendor's chance to sell an upgrade."

You could also argue that releasing new hardware that improves or adds features, reliability and speed would be a good way for the vendors to protect their chance to sell an upgrade.

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Re: Routers are not firewalls

Yeah, I've got one of those too. I forget who it's made by but it gets rebadged and included as a free* 'perk' in fibre packages all over the EU - mine's from UPC in Slovakia, but while investigating how hopeless it is, I found it's also used in many other West and Central European countries - presumably because it's cheap as shit.

At least the Virgin one (which I had before I moved) makes it easy to enable 'modem mode' and then just connect some functional hardware between the Internet and your own kit - my Slovak variant defaults to IPv6 which hilariously breaks 'modem mode' so, each time they push an update that restores it to v6 (3 times so far this calendar year), I have to call the ISP and ask them to switch us back to IPv4, which inevitably involves lots of patiently explaining that actually their Super Hub is not remotely super and I don't mind whether I'm on v4 or v6, I'd just much rather be able to use use my own router and AP - with which I can actually secure my network - thank you very much, so either switch me to v4, supply a gateway that actually works, or cancel my contract, please. Unsurprisingly, they've always opted for the easiest and cheapest way - click, click, done - of shutting me up.

*actually, now I think about it, the most galling thing about this is that it isn't actually free at all, but rather leased from the ISP. As I recall, you simply had to return the device at end of contract with Virgin, but with my current suppliers I pay some nominal fee like a Euro a month for the privilege of having the piece of crap in my home.

Raspberry Pi fans up in arms as Mathematica disappears from Raspbian downloads

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300 baud!? You were lucky...

... There were a hundred and sixty of us living in a small shoebox in the middle of the road, cueing up once a week for a chance to use the village carrier pigeon.

Finally. The palm-sized Palm phone is back. And it will, er, save you from your real smartphone

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It’s turtles all the way down.

Gone but not forgotten.

Amazon Alexa outage: Voice-activated devices are down in UK and beyond

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Re: Mine are dead

Just for the record: andy-whatever-number is fully entitled to his opinion, as are you, Anonymous Coward, (and the AC before you). I wasn't remotely offended by Andy's opinion, but it did strike me that he had mistaken his comment for a brilliantly satirical skewering of foolish hipsters, rather than a fairly base bit of snobbery, and I felt it only right that someone disabused him of that particular notion. I didn't and don't wish to censor him, you, or anyone else... but that cuts both ways, and I believe we're all entitled to call out dumb opinions when we see them.

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Mine are dead

We've got three Dots(*) here in Slovakia (all UK-bought and registered) and none of them have been able to connect to the backend at all today (although, to be fair, it's not like we've been testing at routine intervals - hearing the error message once is enough). To be honest, I'm quite relieved that for once it's not my fault for tinkering with the setup.

(*) For the benefit of andy 103, and any folk like him who agree that, 'If you're the sort of person who needs or relies on devices like this, you have far bigger problems than whether they can be used at any given time.' I'd suggest that - just perhaps - the sort of person who needs or relies on devices like this might not be a dumb, early-adopting, gadget-loving consumer, but rather someone who simply wants or needs to make life easier for themselves or their loved ones - especially if they or their loved ones are especially young, elderly or in some way disabled.

With that in mind, maybe right now, when the devices they rely on aren't working, isn't the best possible time to explain to them which of their problems are more important than their Echo devices going down. But, y'know, thanks for your input, andy 103.

ZX Spectrum Vega+ blows a FUSE: It runs open-source emulator

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Re: but that's the same as everyone elses review!

True enough, but the point is that if there's no added value in buying the 'consumer' unit compared with just throwing together some off the shelf parts and spending a few hours soldering, printing and flashing an SD card - and if the latter approach is *cheaper* - then the consumer unit is pretty pointless.

If it was possible to build something *as good as* an iPhone, for *cheaper* than an iPhone, and the only added cost was a maximum of a day's work, there would be a lot more people building their own phones. They don't because the parts wouldn't be cheaper, iPhones are engineered to a standard much better than the average hobbyist could ever hope to achieve, and iOS isn't horrendously buggy while a roll-your-own phone OS can be pretty intimidating. (Installing an emulator shouldn't really intimidate anyone who wants to play Spectrum games!) This Speccy knock off doesn't tick any of those boxes, so I've no idea why anyone would spend more money for something less good - a Pi wouldn't be nearly as limited in playable games, and it could be repurposed if you got bored of it, unlike this thing, which will inevitably end up in landfill.

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Re: but that's the same as everyone elses review!

Someone else has pointed out that you forgot about the screen and the button controller. The former is obviously essential, but as it sounds like the buttons aren't even debounced, you could get the same functionality by just connecting some mini switches up to GPIO.

Oh, and you really don't need a Pi3 for FUSE: A Pi Zero would work just fine, and save you some money for that screen (I'm a bit vague on the Speccy's screen, but Pimoroni's HyperPixel would probably work fine).

There's no question that someone, young or old, could easily throw together something as basic as this for about the same outlay, if they were determined to cut corners and not at all bothered whether it was actually any good. I'm just not sure why anyone would.

'Unhackable' Bitfi crypto-currency wallet maker will be shocked to find fingernails exist

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Lay off the kool aid

First of all, you're calling out the Register's article as 'BS', but using a quote from a completely different source: the article, in that section, is quoting what Andrew Tierney wrote elsewhere. You can call bullshit on Tierney's opinions (and you'd be wrong) but you can't call bullshit on El Reg, since they're just accurately reporting someone else's (relevant and informed) opinion on the story.

Secondly, and finally, you seem to think 'hacking' is exclusively about using code to manipulate factory standard kit. Social engineering, bugs/key loggers, rubber duckies, etc etc are presumably not 'hacks' in your world, since they don't fit your absurdly narrow requirements that hacks use only stock hard/soft ware. You'd presumably also argue that even software exploits aren't technically vulnerabilities, because people aren't supposed to use software that way. God help anyone who relies on you for tech/security advice.

Tired sysadmin plugged cable into wrong port, unleashed a 'virus'

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Re: A common occurrence

Those 'pass through' ports are, in my experience, often 10 Mbit/s. So when you've specifically allowed for two gigabit ports per desk, to ensure the thin clients' remote desktop connections glide along smoothly without being snarled up by the ancient phones, it's rather frustrating when, every couple of weeks, the office staff do a tidy up and some smartarse decides to start daisy chaining devices, and you immediately get support tickets for 'help! URGENT!! computers are slow again'. And no one will admit to even realising the cables were there, much less having dared to touch them.

I'm so glad I don't work there anymore.

Oddly enough, when a Tesla accelerates at a barrier, someone dies: Autopilot report lands

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Fire Department

I realise that everyone is far more interested in attacking or defending Tesla's flakey autopilot, but can I ask: what were the fire department doing, pouring water on a burning battery? Electric and hybrid cars are pretty common now (more so in the Valley, I'd guess), so either no one has bothered to tool up the fire fighters with suitable extinguishing materials, or they haven't yet realised that pouring water on a chemical battery is probably the second worst thing you can do, behind setting fire to it in the first place.

Zero arrests, 2 correct matches, no criminals: London cops' facial recog tech slammed

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Modern Policing

I'm just waking up so I might be misreading, but:

"If an incorrect match has been made, officers will explain to the individual what has happened and invite them to see the equipment along with providing them with a Fair Processing Notice.”

If fifteen arrests at the football represented 0.005% of matches, that means police were giving an explanation, a Fair Processing Notice, and the (oh so tempting) offer of a guided tour around the equipment ("There's the camera that recorded you doing nothing wrong, and this is the laptop that passed your photo to a central server, where our highly advanced software matched your face with that of a completely different person. No sir, I'm afraid you can't see who that is for legal reasons, but I will say she's a looker.") to two thousand, nine hundred and eighty five pissed-up football fans.

Can someone arrest the system (and/or its devs, and/or the numpties who commissioned it) for wasting police time?

Three storage hardware devices, a cash raise and Oracle gets blocked

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Re: "Really? In the cameras themselves? That’s kind of hard to believe. "

I found the disbelieving tone quite hard to believe. As you've said, it's really not so novel an idea.

El Reg needs you – to help build an automated beer-transporting robot

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Re: Eh.. Get an office Jnr its easier....maybe

GPS? It's just got to follow the PFY. And while you might use a duino to drive the motors, you'll want the Pi for the brains (whatever following system is used, and obstacle avoidance).

But the really difficult part here is 'without spilling a drop'. If we're talking about pints, in proper, broad-rimmed pint glasses, filled to the brim, putting them on any kind of motor vehicle without spillage is damn tricky. The platform will have to be suspended nicely so that it remains flat, and even then, the robot will need to avoid sudden jerky movements.

I'd probably just give the PFYs a talk on why the business is transitioning to performance-related pay, and clearly explain their new KPIs.

As Zuck apologizes again... Facebook admits 'most' of its 2bn+ users may have had public profiles slurped by bots

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If the last couple of weeks have shown anything, it's that Zuck is the absolute king of the straw man. Whether it's his 'maybe I shouldn't be the one in charge of Internet censorship' or this 'I can't fix everything', he's a master at trotting out arguments that make clear he's just this guy, you know, and can't be responsible for everything Facebook does.

Which is perfectly reasonable. Except that he's their CEO, and responsible for everything they do.

Apple, if you want to win in education, look at what sucks about iPads

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Re: Sadly a lot of bollocks being talked here

Wish I could upvote you more.

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I'm also going to generalise and suggest that people who don't actually teach in schools perhaps aren't the best people to be critiquing the school curriculum.

For the record, I tend to agree that C is a good starting point for learning about code, but since this thread began with the notion that tech in schools is practically useless except as a means to learn to code: I'm just going to gently suggest that computers of all stripes can (when sensibly and thoughtfully applied) be excellent tools to boost student engagement, as well as providing a range of ways for those kids who don't necessarily excel at writing to synthesise their learning in interesting forms. After all (as long as the students can all read and write to a reasonable level) shouldn't producing a slideshow, video or comic that demonstrates the same high-level learning be regarded as just as valid as scribbling a tedious three-page essay?

Oh, and since we're veering way off topic here, I'm going to loop back and add that, while the iPad may seem like the perfect device for what I've just suggested, the OP is spot on in that the management tools are (or have been, in my experience, YMMV, yada yada) terrible and broken.

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Oh my...

Thank you, Giles, for writing this. I've been trawling round the mass of thinly veiled press releases published on supposedly informative tech sites, doing my best to articulate why 'buyer beware' is essential advice for any educationalists tempted by Apple's sales pitch. Now I can just link to this article, which (far more eloquently than my own red mist rants) itemises every one of my frustrations from my experience of trying to use iPads in a college.

I, for one, will continue to steer the people with the cash towards Chromebooks until I hear from (a lot of) peers telling me that Apple has finally bothered to create the tools to make iPads work (properly, seamlessly) in a classroom.

Europe dumps 300,000 UK-owned .EU domains into the Brexit bin

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Meh

They're just taking back control. It's entirely ridiculous and utterly petty, but then, that's Brexit.

SUSE bakes a Raspberry Pi-powered GNU/Linux Enterprise Server

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Re: Since the BBC Acorn days...

Yeah, power consumption is practically impossible to improve, but the Pi's size and affordability make all kinds of fun things seem tantalisingly within reach... Until you need to run a power supply to it.

I'd settle for a (cheap) HAT or similar, that allowed a broad range of different types of power source, and included a backup battery to keep things going while you recharge the primary source (assuming that's also a battery). At least that way you could pair it with a big power bank that you'd recharge daily and not have any downtime.

Failing that, I believe young Mr Tesla had some interesting ideas about wireless electricity... :)

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Why not remove them?

If you're confident enough with a soldering iron that you reckon you could attach them when needed, surely you can just as easily remove them? You won't be the first, either: check YouTube for examples.

I haven't bothered, personally, because whenever I've needed small/thin, the power tradeoff of using a 0w has been acceptable, and I've never had a problem with the USB/Ether location (having the HDMI perpendicular to them, on the other hand, is a little annoying - but a blob of blutack stops the pi from spinning around too much). If it's just a question of rerouting, there's nothing really stopping you.

Ethics? Yeah, that's great, but do they scale?

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Re: Ancient?!

In what way is anyone here guilty of plagiarism? As you yourself noted, few (if any) readers here will not recognise the lyrics, so I can't see how anyone above can be accused of passing them off as their own.

It sounds as though you're having a bad day. Cheer up, the weekend approacheth.

Super Cali's futuristic robo-cars in focus. Even though a watchdog says tech is quite atrocious

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Give the headline writer a raise

Superb.

James Damore's labor complaint went over about as well as his trash diversity manifesto

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Re: @Voland

"the stress of having to identify blips and blops on a screen"

Blips and blops and thermonuclear weapons. You're an idiot.

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Re: controversial bro-grammer ?

You're absolutely right, a handful of right wing arseholes stepping away from El Reg is sure to make a significant enough dent in the site's ad revenue to warrant a news story. Bye.

Sky customer dinged for livestreaming pay-per-view boxing to Facebook

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Joking?

It's possible that I'm not getting a very good bit of satire, but, um, maybe they just looked at the name of the person at the top of the Facebook feed, and got their lawyers on the case. It's really not as complicated as you're suggesting.

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