* Posts by The Indomitable Gall

1367 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

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Man sues date for cinema texting fiasco, demands $17.31

The Indomitable Gall

@Robert Helpmann??

" how is it OK to leave the guy and drive off? If you cannot deal with a person, it is understandable to part ways, but at least call a cab. "

What, you mean you want her to give the keys to her car to a guy she's on a date with for the first time? Or are you saying she should get in a taxi so that they both have to pay for taxis home in the name of equality?

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ZX Spectrum reboot firm slapped with £52k court costs repayment order

The Indomitable Gall

Re: Lets face it

The Vega+ was just going to use the good old emulators anyway....

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Blighty bloke: PC World lost my Mac Mini – and trolled my blog!

The Indomitable Gall

Re: Why oh why

"Why oh why

does anyone buy anything from that place?"

In my case because my (very) old laptop took to switching itself off without warning and I was (still am) working on my masters dissertation and wanted something that day.

I went for a crappy wee HP netbook with Windows 10 at £200.

"Can I ask what you'll be using it for?" asked the shop muppet.

"Basic web browsing, word processing, Python programming."

Cue confused look. "What?"

"Python programming."

"Well it might not work, because of the processor."

I pointed at myself "Python programming. I'm a programmer. That means I know a thing or two about computers."

"Fine."

No further hard sell.

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Amazon tweaks so-called 'assisted suicide' publishing contracts to ink EU deal

The Indomitable Gall

Re: A Monopsonist is...

" A monopsonist is a dominant buyer, not seller. That's a monopolist. "

I see nothing that says otherwise. Amazon has "dominant market power" as a buyer, buying virtual stock from publishers and authors. This puts their buy price down.

They also have a fair degree of monopoly, which lets them charge the buyer more, but that's not what this is really about (although dealing with the monopsony issue will lead to more market competition and also reduce the monopoly).

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Worry not, Python devs – you can program a quantum computer

The Indomitable Gall

Re: Scratch?

It's adapted from both until you open the box.

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Why is the Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega+ project so delayed?

The Indomitable Gall

Re: 0/0

" I assume this is why Kickstarter and Indiegogo seem to have people take the risk of contributing towards the development of a product that they might not see, yet don't share in the rewards if that product is a success. "

Actually, this is one area where Kickstarter and Indiegogo differ. If you are offering a physical product on Kickstarter, you must have a working prototype to show at the time of the campaign -- if you're soliciting funds for early dev work, you can't offer the final product as a reward.

Indiegogo have grown considerably since Kickstarter started refusing projects for this... which makes me hesitant to even look at a hardware project on Indiegogo, because they're far, far riskier in the end.

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The Indomitable Gall

Re: A rational and reasonable write-up of the issue.

"Though on the point about the FUSE emulator, I don't see why notifying (or not) the originators of an open source product that you want to use it is relevant, so long as the terms are complied with."

I think in this case it's being mentioned as part of establishing a timeline of events by witness testimony.

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The top doc, the FBI, the Geek Squad informant – and the child porn pic that technically wasn't

The Indomitable Gall

@Iain Michael Gumby

" The defense lawyer is arguing that because the FBI pays a reward for the tip, the tech is acting as an agent of the FBI therefore he's doing a search on the behalf of the FBI and without a warrant. This fails the sniff test. Imagine you invite a police officer in to your house and there's a kilo of coke sitting on the coffee table. The officer doesn't need a warrant to arrest you because the cocaine is in plain sight. "

OK, but now imagine the kilo of coke is in an unlocked box with its lid closed on the sideboard. If the cop opens the box, that's warrantless search. What justification is there for the Best Buy technician to be looking at the customer's images, particularly ones that were in "unallocated space"? If there was no justification to see it, there's the possibility of that being a warrantless search.

A rather interesting point is that the FBI is paying $500 for the reporting of things that people are legally obligated to report, and (in this case, at least) that people encounter incidentally in the course of their paid employment. Why is there any money at all?

This is why I think it sounds a lot like incitement to fishing. I'm pretty convinced this would be a problem in modern Europe, but the US legal system retains many traits inherited from 19th century jurisprudence that most European countries have already eliminated.

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The Indomitable Gall

Re: I'm not sure you can make the its not porn argument

The warrantless search argument may well have held water in a European country. Evidence from a passer-by is all well and good, but the FBI have, whether directly or indirectly, incentivised computer techs to engage in FBI fishing trips by proxy. It seems to me like a total fiddle -- FBI employees aren't allowed to go fishing, so they get "contractors" in to do the job instead.

Best Buy's problem goes beyond the loss of public trust -- the people who go out of their way to search for potentially prosecutable material are doing so during their hours of employment, so they're effectively getting paid by Best Buy to look for the stuff, but taking the bounty themselves when they find it.

Technically, Best Buy should be firing anyone who takes the reward, but there are too many members of the public who will still consider these people "

heroes, rather than greedy invasive self-serving little ****s.

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Putting the 'Port' in Portal: Old-school fan brings game to Apple II

The Indomitable Gall

Are they gaslighting me?

" "A lot of people would like it if I improved things to be a fast and fully playable hours-long game," he said. "I am not sure how faithful I could be to the original before Valve's lawyers become involved." "

If you want it to be faithful to the original, stop having things going in a blue portal and out an orange one -- portals all come in pairs of the same colour... don't they?

Why do people referencing Portal always do this? I'm convinced they're gaslighting me -- making me doubt my own memories of Portal.

I can't even check, because even though it's a Source game, Valve never recompiled it to Linux, and I don't currently have a Windows box....

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The Indomitable Gall

Re: Time to dig out my old Apple II?

Capacitor rot can be fixed with a few cheap capacitors and a soldering iron. The real problem is junction depletion in the chips. If the junction between layers of silicon becomes degraded due to lack of electron flow, you can't do anything but try to find replacement chips, and even a lot of new-old-stock chips will have the same problem.

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Aaarrgh, zombie! Dead Apple iOS monopoly lawsuit is reanimated

The Indomitable Gall

Re: How were they not customers?

@DougS

" Apple's devs are giving their apps away for free, so even if the App Store charged nothing it would be hard to compete with that. "

Apple have made some of their apps free that they earlier charged money for. As a non-retina user, I had to pay for Pages, and would still have to pay for Keynote if I wanted it. I activated my iPad the month before iMovie and GarageBand became free apps (and bought 3rd party video and audio editors instead).

Are all of their apps free to new users now?

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The Indomitable Gall

Re: Who is paying these corrupted judges, uh?

" There is no damn monopoly! iOS is and Apple OS product, the App Store is for iOS based devices and customers. Period. "

No, the app store is for some iOS-based devices and some Apple customers.

The App Store does not allow software houses to market new apps for older 32-bit iOS devices (Apple will only approve new 64-bit apps).

The App Store does not allow software houses to maintain distinct versions for older and newer versions of iOS, effectively forcing publishers to drop support for older devices in order to get access to the latest libraries and hardware features and to keep their software current.

This is perhaps the weakest link in Apple's armour -- their policies seem to promote early obsolescence of hardware by choking out the software ecosystem.

Prior to the release of iOS 10, I regularly deleted apps and installed as required, as part of my memory management strategy. However, I can't do that any more, because the moment one of my favourite apps becomes iOS 10 only, my non-retina iPad Mini won't run it any more. I'm also really worried any time I'm offered an upgrade that the new version will suffer fatal bugs and there's no way to roll back -- and if the fixed version is 10 only, I'm stuffed.

Basically, Apple is taking software away from people who've already paid for it and making you pay them more money to get access to it again (by buying a new device) and this money isn't even shared with the app developers who's product it is that I really want.

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For Fark's sake! Fark fury follows 5-week ad ban for 5-year-old story

The Indomitable Gall
Flame

Re: "even just one day's delay is not worth the risk"

Personally I think that the lack of pic helps the article, and a good editorial decision. Typically, when a story pops up about censorship, it's customary across the net to accompany it with a generic pixelated image or a "censored" banner. By eschewing convention and leaving the article with no pic whatsoever, they've made a bold editorial statement.

Oh... wait...

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The Indomitable Gall

Re: Alternatives?

The problem is that Google has the most data, so Google can target ads best, so Google is the most valuable advertising platform from the perspective of both the advertisers (they get seen by the people they want to see them) and of the site hosts (they get higher clickthrough, so more revenue).

Unless you're a well-established specialist site with a very specific demographic of visitors (like The Reg) you're not going to be able to make the direct relationships you need with advertisers and bypass the need for The Algorithm.

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

The Indomitable Gall

Re: Wired connection

I think he meant "not because of their young", because that's who they generally ask for computer support.

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Could YOU survive a zombie apocalypse? Uni eggheads say you'd last just 100 days

The Indomitable Gall

Re: Of course I wouldn't survive

You're OK -- CDs fly better anyway (as we discovered in the computer labs at uni, thanks to free AOL and Compuserve discs).

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The Indomitable Gall

Re: Not very scary...

Zebrafish... duh!

(You have now failed your PhD viva/defense.)

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The Indomitable Gall

Re: Relevant and accessible?

" He's appalled by it, being European, and sees it as an embarrassment that people even try to go to uni with that level of appreciation of the subject they are studying. "

You say that as though things are any better in Europe. I taught in a French university for a brief spell, and because their pass mark for the year is calculated on an average basis, most of my students failed my course and still got their degree -- heck, the number attending the resits was about a quarter of the number who failed the course.

This was bad enough with final year students, but it was a major problem for continuing students, because they'd progress with the next year and progress to advanced courses in subjects they had failed at lower levels, so they didn't have the prerequisite knowledge they were supposed to have picked up during their studies.

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Microsoft goes retro with Vista, Zune-style Windows Neon makeover

The Indomitable Gall

Re: At least they're trying!

There is a place to try something new, and it's called a "lab". Always test on "prod", never on "live", sort of thing.

MS made a rod for their own back by not abstracting their GUI libraries. This means that any time they try to change the GUI, they break consistency across apps as many aren't updated to the new paradigm. It's also meant that desktop apps have never worked well with small screens (windows run off the edges, with no way to scroll to the invisible bits) or high pixel-density screens (as text and icons shrink away to nothing)

MS keep going down the route of making a new UI a new hardcoded library, and although the "modern" UI is far friendlier in terms of intelligent scaling, the fact that it's completely distinct from "office Windows" is a major turn-off to developers.

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Meet the Internet of big, lethal Things

The Indomitable Gall

Re: Do you own it, or not?

@Oh Homer:

" Do you own it, or not?

If you do, then you should have full and unrestricted access to and control of your own legally purchased property.

Period. "

I own my car.

Does that mean I'm allowed to fit bullbars to it? No, because bullbars have been banned in my country because they were dangerous to people outside the car.

Does it mean I'm allowed to put a 3m axle on it? No, because it would take up too much of the road.

Now if Ford decided to put together a car that was designed to be moddable to the point where I could make such changes easily, they'd probably not get certification, and it wouldn't be road legal. John Deere similarly have to make sure that it is sufficiently difficult to mod their tractors to ensure that they meet their safety certifications.

If their tractors were sold as toys for use at specific tractor-racing facilities, it would be a different question.

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How Rogue One's Imperial stormtroopers SAVED Star Wars and restored order

The Indomitable Gall

Re: Vader

Oh... not forgetting that the first member of the Rebel Alliance we saw, who happened to get more screen time than any other, was Mexican. These are not the "USA great" droids you are looking for.

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The Indomitable Gall

Re: Vader

" Still has the usual issues with the fairy tale of the US. "

Not proven. The rag-tag bunch of soldiers fighting on the South Pacific-inspired beaches were wearing uniforms that were ambiguous in whether they were modelled on US or Japanese uniforms. Two of the main fighters in the battle were oriental martial artists, and another pivotal figure was of Middle Eastern extract. And then the real biggie is that there were two Death Star explosions, and not on a planet scale. You can justify the lack of planet scale explosions by continuity (Tarkin using Alderaan as a test for the weapon), but it also gives a much slower, expanding explosion, and in the context of two such explosions, we see something that really doesn't send out the "Team US, heroes of the world" message you think it does.

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The Indomitable Gall

Re: Critique

K-2SO is a very clever character. He's comic relief with an explanation -- his hyper-honesty is deftly defined as a side effect of the hack, whereas C3PO's witterings were presumably part of the factory spec. But more than that, they've used a good understanding of people in it. Autistic human characters in TV and film are typically portrayed unfairly as being quite "robotic", and here they have used behaviours that mimic certain traits on the autistic spectrum to make a robot seem more human (his excessive frankness and inability to stop himself blurting out inappropriate things people don't want to hear).

I'm massively, massively impressed. For anyone writing a Star Wars story, one of the heaviest millstones they've got to carry is that the comedy droids are an established part of the formula, and they managed to turn that to a strength.

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The Indomitable Gall

" But these last two - especially R1 - are just too infested with PC messages to allow me to enjoy it properly. "

I'd like to point out that Lucas's original vision for Star Wars was for a female lead, so it's more Star Wars than you think. The fact that Lucas put a woman (Mon Mothma) high in the ranks of the Rebel Alliance should indicate that Lucas's galaxy far far away was also far far more equal than 1970s Earth.

As to the merits of female leads, well, the one in Rogue One is infinitely better than the one in The Force Awakens. How so? Because The Force Awakens was too knowing and conscious about their female lead -- the conversation between Rey and the orange alien woman was far too self-absorbedly "worthy". But then again, J.J. Abrams has never been one to do anything without making it painfully obvious. (Thank the Force he didn't smash the whole thing up with gratuitous lens flare!)

However, in Rogue One, you have a strong female character whose sex/gender/sexuality is not really relevant to the plot, and she's simply a strong character who happens to be female. The only place in the entire plot where her sex matters a damn is in the dialogue between her and her father, which is an extremely well-written father/daughter relationship.

And the men around her weren't "bumbling idiots". She was brash and reckless and her life was saved several times by men, and yet she wasn't "damselled" in the process.

And crucially it was men who convinced her to fight. They could have slipped into the same lazy "sisters are doin it for themselves" mode as Rey-and-the-orange-woman, and had Mon Mothma be the one to talk her into helping the alliance, but they didn't -- they went with the desert-dwelling terrorist surrogate father and the amoral secret agent.

In fact, the whole character development was one of absolute equality, because Jyn and Cassian were both jaded fighters at the start, and both taught the other to care -- Cassian taught Jyn to care about the cause, and Jyn taught Cassian that the cause was worth nothing if you didn't care about people.

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The Indomitable Gall

Re: Not seen R1 yet but...

" Meh, most of the Expanded Universe was crap, with the notable exception of the Heir to the Empire trilogy and Grand Admiral Thrawn. I'm glad it's gone. "

If the best thing in the "expanded universe" was the work of a cheap pulp writer like Timothy Zahn, I too am glad it's gone.

Of course, "the" EU was not internally consistent either, as Dark Horse wrote their stories independent of Zahn to start off with.

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Sysadmin 'fixed' PC by hiding it on a bookshelf for a few weeks

The Indomitable Gall

@PNGuin

" Instances of Linus using it or I call bulls*it. "

Why would Linus use a Finnish word? He's a Swedish speaker.

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All aboard the warship that'll make you Sicker

The Indomitable Gall

Re: All sounds German to me

Yep, "mak siccar" (or variants thereof) are Anglo-Saxon derived Lowland Scots, not Celtic Scottish Gaelic.

As pointed out "mak siccar" is just the Scots equivalent of "make sure" in English. And before anyone says "it's just English with an accent", similar parallels can be made in most related language pairs.

Climb the mountain might be "escalar la montaña" in Spanish and "scalare la montagna" in Italian, but that doesn't make one of them "the other with an accent".

Modern Gaelic would have the phrase as "dèan cinnteach" or "dèannaibh cinnteach", but some people have suggested to me that that's a recent calque (literal translation) and that older forms would have used "dearbhaich"/"dearbhaichibh" (literally "verify").

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Privacy is theft! Dave Eggers' big-screen takedown of Google and Facebook emerges

The Indomitable Gall

Re: Tom Hanks

I thought that too. When I read "Tom Hanks", I thought "WTF?" (never liked the dude). However, when I saw him in the clip, I thought that this might actually be the ideal role for him.

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Going underground: The Royal Mail's great London train squeeze

The Indomitable Gall

Quaintness

The LHC has detected evidence of the existence of the hypothesised "quaint quark", postulated to be responsible for the phenomenon known as "nostalgic action at a distance", where people's memories of their childhood hellholes are magically transformed into images of wonder and light...

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It’s Brexploitation! Microsoft punishes UK for Brexit with cloud price-gouging

The Indomitable Gall

MS are dealing with marketplace demands. As a major player, they're dealing with essentially commoditised services. They can't have highly reactive pricing, because most of their customers don't have reactive pricing for their customers; pricing in US dollars would effectively be instantly reactive pricing dependant on exchange rate movements only, and making smaller adjustments to pound price to account for exchange rates would be literally reactive pricing. That means dollar pricing would bugger up MS's clients' budgets very quickly indeed, which would be total disaster in international markets.

Consider:

Microsoft sells only in dollars.

Market movements lead to deflation/devaluation in Xland.

Speculators then consider that the majority of companies in Xland are going to have a soaring cost-base, so consider all such companies a liability, further destabilising the economy of Xland.

Microsoft's policy of making large, infrequent corrections to account for exchange rate moves is actually pretty good for everyone.

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The Indomitable Gall

"They invested a lot of money up front to get this going, with a view to making back that investment with a profit over many years.

The 'over many years' is the main point here. At the moment it looks as if they wand to do it in one year."

I seem to recall that Microsoft's MO is to have the minimum number of price changes possible. At every price change they try to predict future trends and price accordingly.

If I'm recalling correctly, I picked that up from a Reg article on enterprise VLAs some time last decade.

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The Indomitable Gall

Re: "the democratizing force of Microsoft technology"

" It's Democracy US-style. "

You mean you get more for your Microsoft if you live in an area with a lower population...? Or is it that you don't license your software, but license someone to license it for you?

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Chap creates Slack client for Commodore 64

The Indomitable Gall

I have a feeling there was a practical problem with using the full 2.4 k... Either it was only possible in simplex (one-way) mode or it blocked out the memory bus and either blocked screen refresh or the CPU. Whichever it was, not brilliant for realtime chat, so better to stick with 1.2 k

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Woman rescues red pepper Donald Trump from vegetarian chilli

The Indomitable Gall

Re: End times are-

" When a certain Prophet (pbuh) appears in a fruit, toast or cheese food.... then what?!?!? "

How would you know? Due to the rules of the religion, there are no known images to compare to.

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Half-ton handbuilt CPU heads to Centre for Computing History

The Indomitable Gall

Re: We build a basic RAM registry out of a FESTO pneumatic kit...

"We then did a napkin math to find out how many kits would we need to emulate 1GB of RAM... and I don't think FESTO produced enough didactic kits to do that.

Did you calculate the floor area required as well?"

How about the effect on local air pressure in changing between all 0s and all 1s?

"As the night continues, rapid fluctuations in air pressure will bring in a series of warm and cold fronts, as some geek tries to unzip a ISO CD image.

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Ofcom to force a legal separation of Openreach

The Indomitable Gall

"Then watch as BT die a death except with granny who wouldn't know who else to use, and has to start competing properly again, and lower their stupendous prices for what they offer."

I did some IT work for a company offering white label broadband. The business guys there told me that BT was actually officially barred from offering competitive prices due to its dominance in the market....

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The future often starts as a toy, so don't shun toy VR this Christmas

The Indomitable Gall

Re: small? more like miniscule

""I fail to see how the geometry works unless you find the headphone jack to be of sufficient diamet.... oh, you said flAshlight. Nevermind."

Ahh but I'm sure that somewhere out there, there is smartphone controlled device of sufficient diameter to encompass your every need!"

And then your magic wand can interface with your magic wand!

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NASA sets fire to stuff in SPAAACE. On purpose. Because science

The Indomitable Gall

Re: How does this work?

The sideways flame... two theories:

1) That the flame is continuously ventilated, so the fire acts like it would before the fire suppression systems stop circulating oxygen in an emergency situation.

2) As the materials are in a closed area (the test vessel) the expansion of the gases due to the heating (and also the additional pyrolytic gases increasing the local pressure) leads to a constant movement of the burning vapours away from the centre of the fire, which in this instance means movement from the right of the container to the left.

Personally, I'd put my money on 1.

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Navy STEALS? US sailors dispute piracy claim

The Indomitable Gall

Thinking of the WTO

As a signatory to the Berne Convention, the US government is responsible for not having any laws that allow any body, public or private, to rip off the copyright of anyone from outside their country.

That should in theory mean that if the court finds against the complainant, they'll be able to take it to the WTO and get a judgement against the US. The way that works is that they can then ignore copyright of anybody the hell they like from the US to the value of the debt.

What would be really cool would be for them to decide to make fully legal clones of MacOS or iOS devices.

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Anti-ultrasound tech aims to foil the dog-whistle marketeers

The Indomitable Gall

Re: Or

Don't these beacons fall foul of the ruling against the "mosquito" device for stopping kids hanging around? i.e. they are "discriminatory" against a large demographic on arbitrary grounds because they cause noise nuisance to kids.

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Five-a-day energy drink habit turned chap's eyes yellow, urine dark, caused anorexia

The Indomitable Gall

" According to the excellent book "Generation Kill" (also watch the HBO Miniseries, it's that good!), US Army Ranger PFYs operating Hummvees partake of Ripped Fuel, then get the shakes on the wheel. "

That's nothin -- Hitler gave his troops crystal meth.

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WebAssembly: Finally something everyone agrees on – websites running C/C++ code

The Indomitable Gall

Re: Just complete the circle

Native code? For which of the various target platforms currently on the market?

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The Indomitable Gall

Re: Apps

" No, nature never intended to run applications in something called a "browser", which was born for a very different use. "

I'm pretty sure nature didn't create sand just so that we could melt it down and form massive crystals that we then slice into thin sheets and bombard with focused photons in order to start firing pulses of electrons through them.

Computers are way beyond what nature intended anyway.

I remember a time when an operating system was considered to be a waste of resources. The Dreamcast was the first console with a proper OS, and even then, almost everything was coded for bare metal.

A web-browser is a type of GUI, designed initially for very specific types of data and presentation. If I'm knocking together a quick program for my own use, I'll often put up with the general crappiness of Javascript so as to take advantage of HTML forms as a quick and easy GUI.

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Uber drivers entitled to UK minimum wage, London tribunal rules

The Indomitable Gall

Re: How to classify workers

The point is that UK law has been gradually refined to get past contractor cons. There was a time when a company could pay minimum wage to an agency, and the agency would take their cut leaving the worker below minimum wage, and they claimed this was legal because the agent wasn't an employer, but the worker's representative.

The standard now hangs on the worker's right to negotiate terms and hours.

If you can't negotiate hours, you're not self-employed. (With Uber you choose your hours. OK.)

If you can't negotiate rate, you're not self-employed. (With Uber you can't. Not OK.)

And notably, in agency settings "bodyshopping" is employment -- if your agent can drop in a replacement for you, you're not a specialist unique worker, so you're not self-employed. (If Uber is considered the agent selling you to the public, they're bodyshopping. Not OK.)

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Hell desk thought PC fire report was a first-day-on-the-job prank

The Indomitable Gall

Re: @I ain't Spartacus

" I believe it's a (really stupid) EU directive, so come Brexit we can have our fire extinguishers back in black, blue, cream and red - as God intended. "

I agree that the old colour coding was better, but the problem was that the colours were not encoded in law. If we had had strong legislative protections before the EU directive came into force, we would have been exempt.

But the EU directive was a very good thing, because before it you could make extinguishers any colour you liked. When I was doing fire safety training, the trainer asked the whole class to imagine walking into their local MacDonalds, you know, "shut your eyes, picture it" sort of thing. Where are the fire extinguishers? Everyone stopped. No-one could picture them. MacDonald's's standard interior design used chrome fire extinguishers that were designed to blend into the background, which meant if a fire did break out, you'd be unable to find one quick.

Speaking of chromed fire extinguishers, these were also very popular on military bases. Because of restrictions on discipline, the only thing officers were allowed to do as a punishment was to assign domestic chores. Chrome fire extinguishers gave something particularly tedious: polishing. Do something wrong? Your job is polishing the fire extinguisher. Of course, the person who got the real punishment was the person who tried to use the extinguisher to put out a fire, because the polish was highly flammable!

But yeah -- our own stupid fault for never actually having any bloody laws to stop the sort of stupidity above.

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Google has unleashed Factivism to smite the untruthy

The Indomitable Gall

Babies and bathwater spring to mind

Clearly those are some extremely bad examples, but surely the best approach is to encourage sensible fact checking, rather than dismiss the whole idea based on poor implementation?

My vision for the future of fact checking would be to start with figures and quotes. Most published quotes are stripped of context -- the fact checkers only need to put that back in, which would instantly undermine most purposeful misrepresentation.

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Basic income after automation? That’s not how capitalism works

The Indomitable Gall

Not to mention resource availability

The old "increased production" argument also fails to account for the limited resources we have to hand -- we're already churning through natural raw materials at an unsustainable rate (particularly crude oil, possibly the most inherently valuable yet underpriced substance on the planet). Mineral mining operations have negative effects on food production (either directly by digging up farmland, or through environmental pollution in the local area). Increased production is a Very Bad Thing, so we do need to find an alternative pressure valve to cope with increased productivity.

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The Indomitable Gall

Re: Make robots pay tax

" I can't quite work out where the author is coming from: libertarian - all state is bad - or socialist - all capitalism is evil? Their penultimate argument, if it is in fact an argument, that:

"Those of us who are laid off are not entitled to any of the gains that the new technology produces. The owner of the new technology alone is entitled to its proceeds, while all of our fellow citizens are now responsible to pay for our living (through taxes that fund basic income)." "

What you're missing is the second part of the headline: "That's not how capitalism works."

The author includes a lot of spraff about economic theory, but that's a common fallacy -- equating industrial/post-industrial economics with capitalism. None of the economic theories capitalists adhere to are unique to capitalism. The difference between capitalism, cooperativism, communism and socialism is simply the model of ownership and the resulting distribution of profit.

Capitalism is nothing more sophisticated than "the guy (aka "capitalist") who puts the money (aka "capital") in to start/improve the business owns the machine and gets the profit". There is nothing more to it than that. The paragraph you quote is simply a restatement of what capitalism, and a claim that this means basic income shouldn't exist.

But taxation has always diluted pure capitalism, so we do not live in a truly capitalist society anyway.

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Mercedes answers autonomous car moral dilemma: Yeah, we'll just run over pedestrians

The Indomitable Gall

Re: Car companies are not in this alone.

It's not even about responsibility to the customers though, is it?

Technology is the limiting factor here -- self-driving car control systems are optimised for road-awareness, and rightly so. If you need the computer to analyse the off-road environment, you're going to need to process a huge amount of data, and the hardware and algorithms will become scarily complex.

But before you let a self-driving car leave the road in an attempt to avoid a collision, you need that complexity; otherwise you risk driving into an occupied bus shelter, through a fence into a garden full of playing children, or over a cliff.

Like it or not, the safest place for a self-driving car is on the road.

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