* Posts by Charles 9

8633 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

OK Google, Alexa, why can't I choose my own safe, er, wake word?

Charles 9
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Re: Voice, gesture recognition, no thanks

"Someone tell me why the buggering fuck I would want to twirl my hand in the air in a futile manner instead of reaching a further 2 inches and actually just turning the volume control?"

Because those two inches could well put it out of reach when you can't move yourself (you're seated) or the device (it's fixed to its location)?

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Charles 9
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Re: Not for me

How about driving while negotiating traffic, meaning you need both hands to steer properly?

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Charles 9
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"Though Motorola, under Rick, now boss of Google hardware, allowed you to choose an alternative wake word to 'ok google', when Motorola phones were made by Google."

Not necessarily. For example, did it work when the phone was sleeping? Or any of the other circumstances we expect to work now rather than before?

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Charles 9
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Re: I don't really care what the phrase is

You know you can arrange that?

Google App > Settings > Voice > "Ok Google" detection > Train/Retrain voice model

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Charles 9
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Re: Not for me

Even when your hands are busy?

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Charles 9
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Re: @Andrew Jones 2

Google does that right now with a training system which can key to your voice to make it harder to trigger a false positive. But what happens when you have more than one Google-enabled device within earshot, like a phone and a tablet?

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Charles 9
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Re: Trickery

"Your points are valid, but no longer required if a simple button press/long press is required before the voice recognition starts."

And if one's hands are busy or it's not in an easy to reach location?

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Charles 9
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Re: Slartibartfast Hovercraft

"I think the computer needs to be able to use other cues than just a trigger word."

And you can't rely on alternative cues, either. What if it's fixed into a location, such as a car, and the potential speaker is speaking precisely because they're busy and can't unlock the device any other way than by spoken word? Something like, "OK Google, find nearest detour" while in the middle of negotiating a traffic jam in an unknown place could certainly be visualized.

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‘Andromeda’ will be Google’s Windows NT

Charles 9
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Re: What's the incentive for vendors to use this?

How when Google has access too all those computers and other devices? Google has more reach than Apple and here doesn't have a huge network of users monitoring traffic the way Waze and the like do. Plus Google through Android can directly analyze mobile data traffic to get information. Who else can do that?

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Charles 9
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Re: Google’s NT You mean BSODs? Actually, no

Last I checked, ARM (the dominant tech in the mobile world) isn't that much better. Plus another thing with context switching is when data has to be transferred between contexts (such as raw data from a network driver being processed into userland). It seems noteworthy that no microkernel OS AFAIK has been successfully deployed in areas such as 3D gaming and low-latency networking where high throughput is required, and consumers WILL demand high performance.

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Charles 9
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Problem is, there's not much you CAN do once they're in. Once the first wall goes down things can start to cascade. Furthermore, security frequently interferes with productivity. And for now at least, productivity takes precedence over security, as the job needs to get done first. What good's a lock if no one has the key, for example?

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Charles 9
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Re: Google’s NT You mean BSODs? Actually, no

I don't think they had a choice. Microkernels tend to have one nasty little fault with them: lackluster performance (usually because of lots of context switching between the kernel and userland). Especially with stuff like graphics (and in other fields, high-speed low-latency networking), maximum performance tends to require getting close to the metal, and microkernels are built to prevent this for security reasons (seL4, for example, is only formally verified if you don't use DMA, which happens to be one of those ways to speed up hardware access when throughput is necessary). Since Microsoft had to sell to the end-user who was waking up to 3D graphics offerings from 3dfx, ATi, and newcomer nVidia, something had to give. QNX never had to really deal with this because high-performance graphics weren't on the top of the priority list where it's used. But 3D games ARE a noteworthy section of Android's app assortment. So this does raise the issue. How can Google balance the competing needs of high performance and high security?

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Charles 9
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Re: What's the incentive for vendors to use this?

That's why Android introduced Overlays. The idea is that the custom stuff can be shoved off to Userland and away form the sensitive stuff. No reason Andromeda couldn't do the same. What Google wants and needs (for legal protection) is the ability to keep the nuts and bolts of the system under their control the way Apple does.

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Charles 9
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Re: Dropping Linux and the GPL completely?

"Avoiding GPL projects as much as they could. If vendors couldn't modify the source and had to stick to a hardware platform standard, then we could update freely. If vendors had to open their modifications to the source, it could all be upstreamed and reworked and we could update freely."

That's not really Google's problem to blame. There's no standardized method of presenting hardware in most ARM setups that we know about. It's all set up just so and presented to the system via boot images and memory maps. It's like going back to the days of the PC ISA bus, jumpers, and hand-inputting ports and so on. Mind you, for an embedded device like a smartphone, this is actually a good way to go since unlike in a PC the hardware can't be adjusted in its working life. However, this creates wiggle room for highly-competitive component manufacturers who protect their products even more than Google does. Since they produce actual physical hardware, they can and do employ patents, NDAs, and trade secrets to "black box" their products. Thus all their drivers are submitted to device manufacturers as binary blobs. GPL is no help against a patent.

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‘You can’t opt out of IoT’: Our future is the Rise of the Sensor Machines

Charles 9
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Given that your average library is OPERATED by a local government, I'd say you're already screwed (even if the librarians object, City Council can probably go around them). And most of the private-run libraries are run by educational institutions who also have Big Brother connections.

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Charles 9
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Re: Resistance is right!

But what good is killing the antenna if it kills the device as well, meaning you'll have to go get another one out of pocket (because you voided the warranty) and because of corporate manipulation, EVERY replacement device is similarly wired with no used options available (by rendering the older ones not fit for purpose by law)? When all roads lead to Big Brother and the way back just got closed off, what options do you have?

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Charles 9
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Re: Resistance is right!

Thought about it, but also considered the possibility of someone hacking the firmware. A hardware-based killswitch will be harder to work around, especially one rigged to fail deadly.

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Charles 9
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Re: Resist

"We'll live in small neon-lit communities along with others who've been unplugged from the IoT."

They'll just slip them into the neon lights and so on while you're not looking. Or they'll turn the mains lines into a network or set up a long-range WiFi network.

I think the point they're trying to make is that while you are MOSTLY in control of your own home, you're NOT in control of the things outside your bounds yet are able to creep in via windows, mains wires, and so on.

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'My REPLACEMENT Samsung Galaxy Note 7 blew up on plane'

Charles 9
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Re: re: you've still got some time before it combusts

"But is it enough time to get the battery out or only enough to have your hands hideously burnt?"

It usually is, as the battery isn't THAT hot yet. I've done it with an S4 twice, an S5 once, and have a spare handy for a Note 4, and I won't buy anything newer until it has a removable battery.

Still, I wonder what'll it take before legislation forces the issue? When an exploding phone kills a family overnight in a house fire?

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Charles 9
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At least when the back starts to pop off and you see it swell up, you've still got some time before it combusts. Try doing that with a Note 7 or another of those with "non-user-serviceable" batteries.

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Charles 9
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And people wonder why I insist on removable batteries. Someone should write Congress and make this mandatory for reasons such as this. Lithium-based battery technology is just that risky and needs safety features.

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NIST: People have given up on cybersecurity – it's too much hassle

Charles 9
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Re: Ditch Windows

"When you see the day to day stuff most people use PC for at home, browsing social media, reading news, sending email and producing documents and (poorly conceived) spreadsheets then you realise that they don't need windows for that. Linux could serve them well."

What about the games? And there's usually one or two things the casual users need that happen to be Windows-only from my experience, and WINE usually won't work on them, either.

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Charles 9
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Re: "People believe that security has become too complex "

And lose access to 90% of the software out there since most software is Windows-ONLY, including likely something you use everyday that has no analogue (I speak from experience). Furthermore, Linux is not as invulnerable as you think (remember Shellshock?). That's yet another headache.

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Good God, we've found a Google thing we like – the Pixel iPhone killer

Charles 9
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Re: iPhone frustrations

"Upvote, no SD slot is a must have for my usage."

I hope that's sarcasm since I can't conceive a use case where you MUST NOT have an SD slot.

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Charles 9
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Re: SD cards and Batteries

IOW, a docking station. Not a bad idea if one existed, but last I checked you can't use USB on the go AND charge at the same time unless you use USB Type-C. So for listening to music on an external device for a transoceanic flight, you're in a dilemma.

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Charles 9
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Re: Clearly...

You can't CHARGE the phone when you use OTG, which is a concern with long trips.

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Charles 9
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Re: You obviously haven't used Android 6 or 7.

Not that much slower if you buy a card with good speed ratings. Try using a UHS-1 or better rated SD card and you'll find yourself rarely wanting. Plus it keeps data safe from factory resets and facilitates easy migration when it's time to switch phones.

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Get ready for Google's proprietary Android. It's coming – analyst

Charles 9
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And it looks like the future of Android, Andromeda, is going to pretty much go as I noted it: with Google in control of the nuts and bolts so as to cover their kiesters.

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FCC death vote looms for the Golden Age of American TV

Charles 9
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Re: Our data should be owned by us.

But who owns the information that you work for your employer? It's a datum about BOTH you AND your employer, so that's where the gray area begins. You want ownership to be black and white, but joint ownership clouds the issue. Who gets to make the call on dissemination when more than one party owns the datum and they may possess conflicting interests on dissemination (one side insists on publishing it, the other insists on keeping it private)?

And that still doesn't address the idea of subsidiary data and its relation to the parent company and from there to other subsidiaries.

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Charles 9
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Re: You're missing a fundamental problem

"That's what the networks really want, they view this as a golden opportunity to get control over when and how their viewers watch their programming - to have control over whether something can be recorded at all, and if it can whether commercials can be skipped, how long it can be saved, etc."

The reason the VCR came to vogue was precise because people's lives CAN'T be scheduled around their favorite programming. How does one watch the latest Survivor (DISCLAIMER: Just an example of a show that ONLY appears in prime time) if they're scheduled the afternoon shift (3-11PM, for example)? Or live one-time-only events like a grand final, the Olympics, or whatever. Once they're gone, they're gone practically forever and viewers who miss out for whatever reason get ticked. That's why cable companies still offer recorder boxes. Otherwise, a competitor provides a recorder and you have a defection. Networks are actually aware of this, which is why they offer SOME of their shows on-demand, but the system is complicated, plus what of the lesser shows that don't appear on-demand. That still leaves the narrow window of opportunity to catch it and they may not be home at the time.

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Charles 9
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Re: Our data should be owned by us.

Sounds simple enough, but there is lots of gray area potential. For example, your current employment. Do you own this datum as an employEE, or your boss as employER? What about those giant conglomerates with tentacles across multiple industries. If you do business with ONE branch of it, are ALL the branches entitled to the same data since they're all essentially one company?

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Charles 9
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Re: You're missing a fundamental problem

If it can be displayed, it can be recorded, because fundamentally, it MUST be decoded to be able to display it (since our Eyeballs v.1 can't grok encrypted video), and remember the HDCP master key, at least for the vast majority of TVs that matter, has been broken.

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Charles 9
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Re: Hmm, still no mention of a la carte channels

"As somebody who has recently moved in the US I am looking for a TV service. The amazing thing is that I *still* cannot get fully a la carte channels, and from what I can see DSTAC does not address that"

And it never will for the very reason you note: niche channels would never get the support they'd need to stay on the air although they have their diehard fans. That's why channels are rarely independent anymore and tend to be part of a company portfolio. Because of this, it becomes an all-or-nothing proposition because Discovery Networks would hardly be interested in selling you Discovery and not support their other channels like TLC, ID, Military, etc. Even the big broadcast channels are tied to major media conglomerates (ABC to Disney, NBC to Comcast, CBS to Viacom, CW at least partially to Time Warner, and FOX is self-identifying). It's just like with newspapers; they'll ONLY sell them as a whole because it's the ONLY way they can stay running. Otherwise, someone would've tried it already and run away with the market.

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Charles 9
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Re: EPG subscription

The time-setting was set up by the government, which is why the signals are typically transmitted on PBS stations (read: a government-supported network). As for the EPG, that's considered a data aggregation so is subject to copyright, making it a "limited resource" that the aggregators want to protect because it means money.

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Charles 9
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Re: Golden age my foot

I don't think that's possible because of licensing restrictions for some of the shows.

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Charles 9
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Re: All I want is...

The television companies have been fighting back against the VCR since it first came out. They basically made a "no VCR" world a prerequisite to going HD. Otherwise, they'll refuse and stick to SD.

As for plugging the cable directly into the TV, that creates a problem if standards change over time (like ClearQAM being removed) and your TV can't be updated to support it. I'd much rather see an interchangeable module (based on open standards that anyone, source and builder, can follow) that can be plugged into the TV so that it's easy to keep the TV up to date over time since the normal working life of a TV is at least a decade.

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Microsoft paid me $650 to scrub Windows 10 from my grandpa's PC, says man

Charles 9
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Re: Why anyone

So why isn't there so much support for those alternatives? For example, SteamOS, in spite of Valve's serious investing into it to escape Microsoft's lock-in?

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Firefox to doctor Pepper so it can run Chrome's PDF, Flash plugins

Charles 9
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Re: It's All Core

"Also, why bother doing anything further to Flash now, just kill the sucker and be done with it. If they make it more "secure" it'll just be another excuse for websites to keep using it."

Because many people don't need an excuse...they're REQUIRED to use it, and the requirement won't be going away anytime soon.

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Charles 9
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Re: unsafe at any sandbox

" Again ideally flash should run on Chrome in *nix in a VM."

But with only one set of targets, they'll know how to chain them: break Flash to break Chrome to attack the hypervisor, then you're back to square one with performance penalties to boot and again no affordable way to replace the hardware that can ONLY be controlled by Flash. And it's not a matter of IF but WHEN.

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Charles 9
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Re: Out of the frying pan..

What good is a form viewer if you can't fill out the form? Forms are a type of document, after all, and it's hard to really trust ANY PDF viewer, so why not limit the attack surface?

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Charles 9
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Re: Out of the frying pan..

It NOT fine as it is. It can't do FORMS.

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Charles 9
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Re: unsafe at any sandbox

What about all those industrial control interfaces for critical, expensive, irreplaceable machines that can't run on anything BUT Flash? Some people have no choice BUT to swim with sharks for a living.

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Source code unleashed for junk-blasting Internet of Things botnet

Charles 9
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Re: Lack of regulation, blah, blah

Companies could care less about standards compliance (they'll fake it or use Amazon/eBay to ship them straight form China who doesn't care), directors will be out of the law's reach (in anti-extradition countries), and the governments WANT Big Brother avenues. So NOT so easily dealt with.

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The web is past peak innovation: It's all negative returns from here

Charles 9
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Re: Idiots are the root cause of security flaws

"Back before I was personally even aware of the concept of GUI I knew of systems designed with at least an attempt to cater for the ( hypotheteical ? ) most stupid user. The term used for such systems was 'idiot proof'."

I thought it's been said that you can't make something foolproof/idiotproof because the world just goes you one better. How do you account for the kind of stupid that presses a button clearly labeled "DO NOT TOUCH!" simply because it's there?

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Charles 9
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Re: Idiots are the root cause of security flaws

" In the example given, it the duty of the company officers to not only try to make a profit, but also to ensure said profits are not wiped out by a crash and the resulting compensation claims."

Not if it's cheaper to pay off the claims...

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Sad reality: Look, no one's going to patch their insecure IoT gear

Charles 9
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Re: "Governments respond most readily to what the public wants."

Why bother? Just direct debit them and be done with it. And if you insist on cash, they'll just garnish it from your employer, beneficiary, or whatever.

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Charles 9
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Re: "non-geeks have shown little interest in the security of their IoT gizmos "

Or they can just disappear and pop up again under new names six months later somewhere no one knows about them.

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Oracle loses (again) in battle to get Google Java case retried (again)

Charles 9
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Re: SSDD

"Persistence: Doing the same thing over and over and actually getting different results."

And this tends to be praised.

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Charles 9
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Re: The UK has it better on this point

But what he described about defending it IS correct for Trademark AND is in the trademark laws as a requirement for keeping it. If you aren't vigilant about enforcing your trademark, someone else can file a claim to have it declared abandoned, removing it from the USPTO files and rendering it open season again.

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Portsmouth bomb about to be detonated

Charles 9
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"I was trying to find an equivalent explosive force or some such."

Texas City (1947) probably ranks near the top. Combination of munitions and a crap ton of ammonium nitrate fertilizer aboard one ship that caught fire, detonated, chained with nitrate nearby and basically leveled the city.

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