* Posts by Charles 9

10416 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

The real battle of Android's future – who controls the updates

Charles 9
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Re: No Skins please.

"You mean they'd then have to compete on actual FEATURES."

Except the Feature War's pretty much hit a stalemate. As much as you like the features you've mentioned, you've been outvoted by the bling-lovers who will outpay you for less features, meaning you're out of luck. Anyway, all the manufacturers have pretty much hit the peak of what they can pack into their phones while keeping them slim (remember, in the REAL phone world, slim sells). You've seen one phone, you've pretty much seen them all, so the war moves to the software front. Sad, but true.

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Charles 9
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Re: @Charles 9

Work on using ARM processors in servers is actually providing inroads into a common enumerated bus for ARM-based systems (look up SBSA or Server Base System Architecture).

As for trying to force cutthroat SoC manufacturers to comply, it'd be easier for Google to do what Apple did and take out their own ARM license and roll their own silicon. The likes of Qualcomm, Rockchip, and Mediatek get enough business from other sources that, if push came to shove, they could simply walk away.

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Charles 9
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Re: and it's not going to get any better ...

Because you DON'T want to hear the voice reply that comes out when the device is left to its own resources. Good text-to-speech still requires cloud levels of resources.

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Charles 9
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Does the phrase ACPI ring a bell? The point is, PC architecture is based on enumerated buses because they wanted a unified front end. When a PC boots, it queries the common points via ACPI that tell it what's where. And BTW, you know what's one reason why support for modern graphics cards in Linux is hit or miss? Because AMD and nVidia will ONLY provide their cutting-edge drivers as blobs, fearing Giving Information To The Enemy.

Phones don't have that same commonality. Instead, everything's memory-mapped and not by any common standard. Unlike in the PC world, that settled on the peace treaty and accepted the open standard of a common bus, ARM SoC makers are competing cutthroat for each other's business which relies on complete control. That's why you can't do something like a Linux Live CD that can work in most PC configurations out of the box. No, each image you build for an ARM system only works with that specific design.

"It wouldn't be that hard if the manufacturers supplied the drivers and Google did the OS."

That's part of the problem. Those drivers to them are trade secrets, potential Information For The Enemy, which is why they're ONLY provided as blobs.

PS. To add to what Malcolm said, Microsoft was actually closer to Apple than it was to Google in terms of hardware control. They dictated terms and laid down minimum hardware specifications, thus allowing them more control over the environment.

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Charles 9
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Google can't act the way Microsoft does due to the architectural differences. Windows doesn't normally run on Systems-on-a-Chip that have black-boxed internal workings protected by patents and NDAs and whose drivers are ONLY provided in binary blobs (for the same reasons) that are ONLY certified to work with whatever version of Android was available at launch. For phone manufacturers, they're DISincentivized to update their devices since their ONLY revenue stream 9 times out of 10 is selling new devices. Only the threat to not buy from them AT ALL is what makes some of them keep phones updated to some extent.

And BTW, since Apple has full control over its whole ecosystem (hardware AND software), it doesn't have this problem. It can pick and choose as the circumstances dictate.

Since manufacturers are actually disincentivized from keeping devices up to date, Google has to find a way around them, say by allowing phone OS's to be updateable IN SPITE of their recalcitrance.

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Sorry Google, it's boring old workloads that are pumping up AWS and Azure, not sexy AI

Charles 9
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Re: "to pay big dividends..

"And again your point is? us-east-1 had an outage on one service, and people migrated elsewhere just like the promise."

I think part of the problem was that many of them couldn't migrate...because all the other data centers were too full. It's like trying to move 10 eggs from a broken carton only to find the only other carton only has room for two more. It's a very hard problem regarding load: nobody really likes surge capacity because you have to pay for it even when it's doing nothing; ideally, you keep as much of it running for as long as you can to maximize your return on investment, but then you end up with no surge capacity for when crap happens. It's true of iron; it's true of hospitals. It's a case of you can't please everyone.

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DeX Station: Samsung's Windows-killer is ready for prime time

Charles 9
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Re: They should give these things away as promo or charge a fiver.

Sounds like you have a Miracast receiver. I have one of those, too, and have used it once in a while. Not perfect, but I keep it to leave my options open. It's nice that all my Samsung devices (S4, S5, Note 4) can use it. Bought mine used, so it only set me back $20.

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Charles 9
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"I'd like to see a chromecast like device that plugs into the back of the monitor and allows this functionality wirelessly - much easier to chuck in a pocket/bottom of a bag as you leave the house - Still need a Bluetooth Kb and mouse though I suppose."

Miracast receivers come close. They're about puck-shaped and you just need to set up a local hotspot, through the phone if need be.

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Charles 9
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Re: Why would you need a dock?

I stick with S5's and Note 4's because they were the last models to feature removable batteries. No phone without it is a hard point for me because I've personally replaced plenty of batteries from cell phones in my time. Why waste an otherwise useful phone or be held hostage to manufacturer eccentricities?

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Charles 9
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"Offline working isn't desirable when other team members need to work to changes you have made and vice versa."

But what if you're OFFline more often than you're ON? Say you live in a not-zone?

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Charles 9
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Re: ORLY?

Call me when it can do Crysis acceptably. Then it'll have the raw horsepower to get most things done, even the occasional game and encoding job. Then PCS will really become a niche item.

PS. You can't RDP to a computer that doesn't exist for you.

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Charles 9
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Re: Linux

On Macs, it's called the Command key (next to the Alt with the loopy symbol). It's technically different from the Win key, but Linux takes it a six of one and half a dozen of the other.

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Flying robots are great... until they meet flying humans, anyway

Charles 9
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Re: Risk analysis needed

But thing is, most HUMANS are on the ground as well, plus humans and vehicles tend to coexist in the same locations whereas a drone crashing into an uninhabited junkyard isn't going to mean much. Besides, craft like that can at least attempt to fail safe and try not to come down so hard, not to mention they're probably noisy enough to make you look up.

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Charles 9
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I'm not so worried about the cockpit window as they're designed to contain large pressure differential and so (like with the passenger windows) are thick and well-mounted. It would likely take explosives to do it and there's no guarantee the blast will significantly breach the window. The MythBusters found that out busting the Explosive Decompression myth. Even dazzling would be difficult for two reasons: (1) to hit both pilot and copilot at once, it would have to match speed with it: tricky once it's aloft, and (2) if it tries to avoid this by adhering, it can only get one or the other, allowing the undazzled pilot to take steps. No, the most vulnerable part of a jet remains the engines while for a helicopter, it's the rotors (the smaller, the more vulnerable).

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Charles 9
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It doesn't take a bird the size of a goose to tear up an airline engine, not to mention some of them have metallic components, and don't forget helicopters are much more delicate, especially those with tail rotors.

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Charles 9
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Re: Also, what about emergency aircraft?

But that assumes all drone have (a) positive control and (b) enough sensory awareness to know when other craft and/or obstacles are nearby. At this point, NEITHER are assured. And unlike with vehicles, drones don't have meatbags INSIDE them which automatically make them more wary about collisions.

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Deeming Facebook a 'publisher' of users' posts won't tackle paedo or terrorist content

Charles 9
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Re: Good article

"If the Times win, how will they stand with people publishing an advert (do they still have a personal column?) with a rather bad haiku "A grey goose in dusky sky. A child cries. No one listens - Baudelaire" What's the problem? It's a code for today's IP address for a hidden kiddiepr0n site!

Except you have to be able to establish that code in the first place, meaning you'd have to have met in person (First Contact Problem) which could expose you to the plods. Plus, something nonsensical like that is going to raise some eyebrows. So it poses an interesting issue: how do you deliver instructions in a non-obvious way (meaning it must look legitimate) to someone you probably never met before?

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Banking association calls for end of 'screen-scraping'

Charles 9
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1) Explain Microsoft, then.

2) Point there, but it could be patient as well and wait for a permission it needs to come legitimately and then just abuse that. Like an app that can access your contacts because it rummages through them legitimately say to update pictures of details but it copies them on the sly.

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Charles 9
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Unless the third party tricks you into giving MORE access than it needs. In today's world, you MUST work on the assumption the user is stupider and more gullible than you think.

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Machine vs. machine battle has begun to de-fraud the internet of lies

Charles 9
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Re: Machine vs Machine Battle?

What happened to those ISPs that didn't reply or happened to be hosted by hostile powers?

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Charles 9
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Re: The Greatest Fraud of All

Hyper encryption? You mean "perpetual encryption"? Sounds about as plausible as a perpetual motion machine. After all, how do you encrypt something such that it continually updates itself even if it's frozen in time? Sorry, but my BS sense is off the charts with your talk, especially since no web searching whatsoever (not even privacy-hardered searches or using darknets) has uncovered any kind of independent verification of your techniques.

Face facts. EVERYTHING made by man can be UNmade. Not even the one-time pad is bulletproof (that's why I mentioned the wrench, as evoked by the famous xkcd comic #538). How do you beat "Rubber-Hose Cryptanalysis" other than being a masochist or a wimp?

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US court decision will destroy the internet, roar Google, Facebook et al

Charles 9
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Re: No reasonable person can ever know if I have permission

Attach a permissions clause to the EXIF?

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Charles 9
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Re: What about abuse of fair use?

So what happens when an American abuses content from Doctor Who, an English work, while on vacation somewhere that doesn't respect either country's copyrights (like Kuwait, NOT signatory to the Berne Convention)?

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Charles 9
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And if it's proven that the way Facebook designed its business model makes the whole thing part and parcel, meaning there IS no third option?

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Charles 9
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Re: Takedown doesn't work

"Not before asserting one single copyright takedown claim in error results in many years of prison sentence for the claimant and years of barring from making any further claims for his business."

No, because it could've been an HONEST mistake. Say it LOOKs infringing but it turns out it's not because it's not the original content but, say, cosplayers in masks acting out.

The REAL real problem is that tracking copyright use is not a black-and-white issue but an infinitely-shifting murk of gray that differs from instance to instance.

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Charles 9
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It wasn't mentioned specifically, but isn't one of the argument that, because the text of the Act doesn't specifically cater to the actions in question, that the Act must therefore be amended and that the responsibility for doing that doesn't fall to the Courts (who are supposed to interpret the law, not make it) but to Congress? What's the argument for and against such an approach?

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Why Microsoft's Windows game plan makes us WannaCry

Charles 9
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"To add to the Ford analogy, If they used windows for engine management how long do you think customers and govt's would accept the kind of performance we seem to accept on the desktop?"

Quite a long time, as it would take something really major (and by that I mean computers physically exploding, putting actual lives at direct risk) to really get their attention. Recall, recalls really only make the news when the problems they're fixing are potentially-fatal crashes.

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Charles 9
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Re: Hang on a minute... @Ledswinger

"They can, and they do, when it suits them."

Name one (that was grossly and provably unpopular) that didn't get them voted out in the next election.

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Charles 9
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Re: the wrong question

"Are we really such sheeple that we will never join forces to demand higher standards of software quality? Not statutory patching, but software that isn’t fundamentally broken when delivered."

YES!

The government doesn't like smart people because smart people come to realize they really don't need the government that much.

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Charles 9
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Devil

Re: Never trust a binary - and never trust a vendor who works with the NSA

Wait it out. There may be a small customer base, but an EVEN SMALLER supplier base. And more often than not it's the CUSTOMER who doesn't have time on their side since they're usually trying to replace a broken machine. Meaning it's a seller's market, not a buyer's one. What does the customer tell his/her superiors when he/she won't get a new machine when their current one is broken?

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Charles 9
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Re: It's more difficult for science

"Just you try convincing a manager in a university/hospital/reasearch institute to replace a perfectly working instrument or PC every couple of years just to keep up with the O/S"

Simple. Just tell him it WILL break very soon if he doesn't AND that ALL the replacements have the same problem. Unless they have the resources and guts to roll their own, the words "captive market" spring to mind.

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Charles 9
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"A long, long while ago somebody wrote an article on an OS with default-deny as policy, where you (as admin) have to approve each and every bit of software that wanted to run/install itself on your purdy compootah."

You know Windows tried to do that with Vista, with UAC. The end result was exploits STILL going through due to a psychological phenomenon once called "hoop jumping" and now better known as "click fatigue". The problem with default-deny is that it irks users to do it over and over and over again. Make something annoying enough and people either "zombie" their way through it or find ways AROUND it.

IOW, there's just no pleasing some people. Our current situation is untenable, but so is default-deny to the average user. So what do you do?

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Charles 9
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Re: "Adding to the bottom line"

"If businesses still needed to run XP software (as a stop-gap until application upgrade), Microsoft provided downloadable XP emulation support in proper versions of Windows 7. VMWare and VirtualBox were also possible workarounds (for strictly limited scope use), as were RDP/Citrix if the local machine had limited RAM/Storage, so had to run a lighter secure new OS e.g. an embedded version of Windows 7 or a Linux."

But what about if the thing holding you back is the hardware, such as custom controllers that are ONLY supported up to XP (say because it uses the ISA bus, support of which was dropped in Vista), and the replacement of which is so expensive as to require the approval of the board or whatever? You can't virtualize custom hardware because the VM has no idea what's in it.

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Travel IT biz reportedly testing 100TB SSDs

Charles 9
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Don't you mean a supernova as all those electronics heat up at once? Even solid state drives build up heat, and you're talking cramming hundreds of them into a single rack.

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Charles 9
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Seriously? According to your own numbers, it crossed the line 5 times over.

24 x 100TB = 2400 TB = 2.4 PB

2.4 PB x 21 units = 50.4 PB raw (or about 100 PB with about 2:1 compression).

Now it makes more sense. Short by a factor of 10-20.

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US judges say you can Google Google, but you can't google Google

Charles 9
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Re: Videotape (tm)

What about "Cinerama," a portmanteau of cinema and panorama?

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Robot lands a 737 by hand, on a dare from DARPA

Charles 9
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Re: "Not until they invent planes that you only fuel up once and never pay for fuel again."

Also, easy to envision lower running costs (no food, water, or sleep needed) and potentially reduced risks (no risk of them showing up DRUNK or otherwise stressed out).

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Ransomware scum have already unleashed kill-switch-free WannaCry‬pt‪ variant

Charles 9
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Re: systems therefore really need protecting

How does user training work when the infection comes from UP TOP?

As for the server, how do you counter lack of budget and potential legal liability should THAT get pwned?

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Charles 9
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Re: So you're blaming a commercial company for not patching a 13 year old OS?

But I wonder if it's possible to MAKE it exist with something like, "This 8-figure contract will go to the first company that's makes their equipment X, Y, and Z completely."

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Charles 9
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Re: A dish best served cold

In other words, if this REALLY were a State attack, they'd be going for the jugular: using as as an inroad to permanently borking all the hardware in the machines to make them nuke-proof.

And THEN they'd let them lay low. Perhaps remove the original vector to make things look all hunky-dory.

And then, after a while, start having the borked hardware exfiltrate useful stuff, a bit at a time, encrypted, hidden in actual traffic. Perhaps even to legitimate destinations that have been secretly subverted so they can sniff the packets out in transit or whatever.

IOW, a State attack is one you wouldn't even know it ever happened.

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Customer satisfaction is our highest priority… OK, maybe second-highest… or third...

Charles 9
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You can only do that by unlocking the phone first. His does it ON the lock screen.

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'I feel violated': Engineer who pointed out traffic signals flaw fined for 'unlicensed engineering'

Charles 9
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Re: Why is the US having trouble?

Two main reasons:

1) Each state and each locality gets to make the call. There is no uniform federal requirement for roads unless the road has a federal designation (either a U.S. Route or an Interstate), and even then federal proceeds for them go through the states, since it's their respective Departments of Transportation (or equivalent) that actually do the work. Traffic violations and such are normally handled by the municipality in which it occurred and they get the proceeds. For small towns and such, "bear traps" (bear is trucker's slang for police) are about the only things keeping their budgets afloat.

2) The general public attitude towards such laws is not considered very respectable. As far as they're concerned, the rules are made to be broken, and it's hard to make them change their minds (I recently saw a case of a man with at least TEN DUI convictions, and I'm told such repeat offenders are distressingly common; plus it's hard to just throw them in jail because they're the breadwinners, as in spouses and children depend on them). Night racing even gets it's appeal BECAUSE part of the aim is to outrun the cops. To give you a counter-example, here's how a supposedly-typical Bostonian views the traffic lights:

Green = Go as quickly as you can.

Yellow = Go FASTER!

Red = Room for one more!

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74 countries hit by NSA-powered WannaCrypt ransomware backdoor: Emergency fixes emitted by Microsoft for WinXP+

Charles 9
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"Yeah, Microsoft only supported XP for 13 years (2001-2014)."

And your average large piece of medical equipment stays in use for a minimum of 20 years and often longer than that. Same with other pieces of heavy industrial machinery that could have XP-based computers controlling them.

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Charles 9
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Re: "took out your video drivers"

"It doesn't have to be like this."

Actually, it MUST be like this, because that's how most people are. You Can't Fix Stupid.

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Charles 9
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Re: Political SNAFU

"If there was such an attack on the banks, the crooks would be had up against a wall and shot before you could say SMB bug."

Unless, of course, the crooks were found to be protected by hostile governments. Are you willing to declare World War III over a bank hack?

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Charles 9
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Tell. Us. HOW. Without us falling on our swords first.

The very expensive medical machine you use to save lives ONLY runs Windows. And this is true of EVERY other supplier of the same equipment.

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Charles 9
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Re: Executive summary

But what if you're up against the proverbial immovable object, when no haggling whatsoever will work, and EVERY supplier's the same way? Remember, medical tech is a very niche industry.

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Charles 9
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Re: GCHQ and Patches

Unless there WASN'T a choice. If ALL the suppliers (and note that medical equipment is considered a niche industry: few suppliers) shipped their machines with Windows and nothing else, how would you go about with your goal, especially if the machine needs to be obtained in a timely manner because it's replacing a broken unit?

Besides, Linux isn't immune to this, either. Hardware support CAN get borked by a kernel change (because the hardware driver requires something in the part of the kernel that got changed).

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For now, GNU GPL is an enforceable contract, says US federal judge

Charles 9
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"If some ex-Microsoft employee (and it would be an ex-employee) put GPL licensed code into Office, and a version of Microsoft containing that code were published, then Microsoft would have the choice of publishing the Office source code, or to pay whatever fine they are given for copyright infringement. Of course they would go to court and argue to keep that fine as low as possible, but they would be ordered to pay."

Whatever happened to arguing that it was not by their hand and simply removing the offending code? Otherwise, what would happen if this were to happen in the Windows kernel?

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Autonomous cars are about to do to transport what the internet did to information

Charles 9
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Re: Wrong Problem

"The grocery argument against PRT is certainly one I have not seen before, but I don't really think it stands up on examination."

Then you've never seen the parking lot of your typical Walmart on Friday afternoon. There's a reason it's considered one of the worst times to go there unless you really, REALLY have to. Other dates to avoid: the 1st after midnight because military paychecks and EBT benefits drop, the 15th for military payday, and of course Black Friday.

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