* Posts by Richard 12

2764 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

London mayor: Self-driving cars? Not without jacked-up taxes, you don't!

Richard 12
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Re: Make Road Tax simple....

That's foolish because it's trivial to evade.

People don't bother faking mileage much because there's littlw reward for doing so. Change that and poof!

VED should die. Fuel taxes are a really good proxy for road impact as it scales with distance, vehicle size and driving style, and is extremely difficult to evade (red diesel is easily detected)

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Richard 12
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Re: Using the EV to charge a bike

No, we'd need at least 10 Hinkley Points. Possibly more.

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Linus Torvalds 'sorry' for swearing, blames popularity of Linux itself

Richard 12
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Re: Actually I'd have said not breaking kernal space was more important

Any change that requires such a list is a bad, and usually completely broken feature, as no list of affected applications can ever be complete.

Don't Break Userspace is a fundamental requirement of any operating system.*

Don't Break Drivers is a secondary one that isn't quite as critical, but close.**

*Apple break userspace on a regular basis. Bastards.

** Microsoft broke drivers in Vista. Look how that turned out.

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The Quantum of Firefox: Why is this one unlike any other Firefox?

Richard 12
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Re: Everything's gone. Everything.

The only things it's imported are my Bookmarks and logins - the same as Chrome and Edge do when migrating.

All my addons are gone without any warning, and all my customisation is gone - eg "Pocket" is suddenly back in the address bar, download history is gone completely.

It no longer asks where to save downloads, and I'm even now finding further settings it has reset. Some of them don't appear to even exist anymore.

Heck, I can't even find what it did to Download History. Or even the most recent download.

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Richard 12
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Re: I went for the mobile version

Gestures are gone forever. They cannot be done in the API.

There appears to be an add-on that injects Javascript into the page itself to try to fake it - but I can't install that, it will break a lot of pages.

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Richard 12
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Mushroom

Everything's gone. Everything.

And no warning.

I'd accepted losing CTR forever. From reading here I knew it was going.

I could have accepted losing FireGestures forever.

I could have accepted losing FireFTP forever.

I can't accept losing all my settings.

But there was no warning. Firefox just updated itself and poof! Everything was gone.

This isn't an update. It's an entirely new browser that forcibly uninstalled my old one.

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How can airlines stop hackers pwning planes over the air? And don't say 'regular patches'

Richard 12
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Satcom remote monitoring

It's both really useful and mandated by law.

The large commercial aircraft ping their location and a lot of running parameters out over satcomm at regular intervals.

This is necessary for air traffic control, and very useful for maintenance as the mechanics can be ready and waiting for the plane to land, with the right components to fix a problem or perform preventative maintenance as the aircraft lands.

So a full airgap isn't possible.

A one-way airgap might be, but I suspect there is a lot of "that value is odd, plane, tell me these extra parameters" going on as well.

And I bet that's all squirted through the same link as the onboard wifi.

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Thousand-dollar iPhone X's Face ID wrecked by '$150 3D-printed mask'

Richard 12
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Re: they failed to unlock the phone

You are assuming the "attention aware" thing isn't merely having the pupils aimed in the right direction.

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Richard 12
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Reconstructing a 3D model can be fairly easily done with a few photos.

Front and side profile are usually enough for a face, especially if the lighting conditions are known - mugshot database, anyone?

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Richard 12
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Re: they failed to unlock the phone

The second time it worked, so now they know how to do it first time.

And does it really permanently lock out after a couple of failed attempts at facial? The fingerprint doesn't, it just forces a wait before retrying (or passcode to bypass the wait).

Biometric is not security, it's just a complicated username. That's why phones won't accept it after power cycle.

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

Richard 12
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Re: What 400 apps?

So it doesn't work under Windows 10, and never will.

Just like I said.

If the cost of staying on XP or 2000 ever gets too high, Linux is very likely to be the only feasible way to keep it running - because it has low-level support for practically every communications protocol, and support for modern hardware.

Assuming that it genuinely does require a driver package that nobody has ever made for Linux, you could pay someone to write it.

Whether it's worth the cost of that development is a different question. Maybe, maybe not.

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Richard 12
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Re: What 400 apps?

In fact, ancient hardware support is one place where Windows is a complete non-starter and Linux absolutely excels. Printers like that probably work perfectly under modern Linux, and not at all undwr Windows 10.

There will be specialist software that specifically requires Windows, macOS, Linux or even some particular Unix flavour. That's to be expected, and those users should have their specific needs provided for.

It is clearly rather foolish to put everyone in a large organisation onto a single hardware and software platform. A mix is the right thing to do for practically every large org.

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Richard 12
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Re: Exchange Servers, eh?

Such things have everything to do with the format. DOC and DOCX are fundamentally flawed.

In my experience, MS Word is not fully compatible with anything, including itself.

Staying on a single machine usually works, copying onto any other... Good luck.

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Richard 12
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I don't say AutoCAD

Because I use Computer-Aided Design packages, not a jumped-up 2D drafting program.

Solidworks, Vectorworks, PTC Creo (pro/Engineer) et al.

Not sure on Linux editions, to be honest I've never looked. I first used Pro/engineer on real Unix.

Though it doesn't matter. There will always be some specialists who need specific hardware and software platforms to do the thing they do.

You don't give everyone a dual-socket 96GB workstation with quad graphics cards just because your senior engineers need one, and you don't force your senior engineers to work on a smartphone just because your delivery staff use them to handle their delivery paperwork.

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Richard 12
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Re: Why not web?

Some things make more sense as web apps, some as local applications.

For example, if you're creating and updating transactions in some central database - 100% of CRM, ERP, billing and payments - then a web app is now the best approach.

After all, if you can't reach (a shard of) the DB server you're not doing anything anyway, so you lose nothing and gain independence from any particular client OS.

If you're designing a building, then it does need to be local because you need the horsepower and latency will kill you inch by inch.

There is no One True Way. Pretending there is leads to death by a thousand cuts.

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Richard 12
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Re: still not able to add page numbers without putting number to first page

Outlook uses Word as the default "text" editor under the hood.

Annoyingly it doesn't share config so I end up having to disable smart quotes and set the spelling language repeatedly.

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Teensy weensy space shuttle flies and lands

Richard 12
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Re: How many flights?

That's *insane*.

Boing!

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Richard 12
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Re: How many flights?

If 'twas only nose gear failure then the previous flight was also a success, with a poor landing.

Most aircraft can pull off a successful landing without nosegear (or tailwheel).

Sometimes you can even use the plane again.

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

Richard 12
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Re: vim keystrokes indeed

This is actually built into Windows. There is a set of keyboard scancode remappings that extend your locale, so you can rearrange - or disable - keys as you wish.

I used to kill capslock.

However, it's a fundamentally bad idea because it makes it impossible for any application to use (eg) Ctrl+J for anything.

Most content creation applications have a myriad of useful keyboard shortcuts, and losing them can make the program almost unusable.

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Richard 12
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Too late

Your Firefox profile is no longer compatible with the ESR, as of about three or four months ago.

So you'd need to start over and import what you can.

Might as well switch browser.

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Richard 12
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Re: No Classic Theme Restorer?

Mozilla make all their money from Firefox.

If they lose their users, they lose their income and cease to exist.

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Alexa, please cause the cops to raid my home

Richard 12
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Sounds plausible.

I wonder how many police summons, costs and headlines it will take to reach the top of their buglist?

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Give us a bloody PIN: MPs grill BBC bosses over subscriber access

Richard 12
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Re: Total ineptitude at all levels...

Addresses are licenced, not people.

How many people live at your address?

How many people work at your office?

What about when people visit?

They'd all need to link into that single licence somehow, and next door should not unless they come around to visit in which case they should...

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Richard 12
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Re: Sick and tired of the freeloaders

Channel 4 is part funded by the licence fee.

ITV and commercial radio are only commercially viable because the BBC pay a large proportion of the transmitter infrastructure costs. They couldn't exist if it didn't.

But you know, never let reality get in the way of a good rant.

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This could be our favorite gadget of 2017: A portable projector

Richard 12
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Re: Such a long review and no mention of brightness in lumens

Yuck. No good.

My 4" by 4" by 1" miniprojector is that bright, and it weighs a quarter or less.

Ok the speaker is awful but that's trivial to fix and the whole shebang would still be smaller.

Can't buy it anymore though, because it's too dim.

Go away, and come back once you have more than 1k lumens.

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AMD, Intel hate Nvidia so much they're building a laptop chip to spite it

Richard 12
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Re: One assumes...

AMD are pretty desperate to make some money, but they need to be very, very careful.

Intel have chewed up and spat out a lot of other companies.

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Richard 12
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Re: "Nvidia's dominance"?

I'm glad Intel support Linux, because they don't support Windows.

So many horrific driver bugs. Take a look at the Chromium blacklist...

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Guy Glitchy: Villagers torch Openreach effigy

Richard 12
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Or possibly they have, several times, only to be scuppered by OpenReach saying they are about to do it and vacuuming up the funding.

Where doth the bag get emptied...

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

Richard 12
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Re: They Must REALLY Hate Wintel

I don't recognise that at all.

Macbooks and Windows laptops are equally reliable, and Windows is far, far, far, far easier to administer. There might not be enough "fars" there.

Manufacturers like Dell have a single standard PSU, and actual "drop in" docks, not octopuses.

Not to mention that simply plugging anything into a current Mac requires a dongle that will break/get lost.

Hotel conference rooms have VGA or HDMI - good luck with your business meeting.

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Richard 12
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Re: "the Mac had its best-ever full year for revenue"

The Touch Bar itself is quite nice.

Unfortunately they also decided to remove the physical Escape and F keys that 100% of professional applications use, making the machine effectively unusable.

If those had still been there then the touch bar edition of the Macbook Pro would have sold far, far better.

As it is, I only know one Mac user who has one - and they regret it. Everyone else is either waiting or got the next one down that's got physical keys.

Professional applications have a large number of keyboard shortcuts, and Macs were already short of keys.

Especially in France. The French keyboard layout is...

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Over a million Android users fooled by fake WhatsApp app in official Google Play Store

Richard 12
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Re: .. and that ..

Hate to be the one to break it to you, but the Apple App store also relies on algorithms to detect unwanted apps.

And it also makes stupid mistakes of this kind.

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Those IT gadget freebies you picked up this year? They make AWFUL Christmas presents

Richard 12
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Re: My Modern definition of Middle Class

Banananana flavoured usually.

Doesn't seem to involve any actual banananananas though.

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Tesla hits Model 3 production speed bumps, slides to loss

Richard 12
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Re: Kind of them not to name the supplier.

Best not to unless they have terminated the contract. Legal liability can be nasty.

Aside from that, anyone in the same industry will already know who screwed up. I don't think there are many suppliers in that field.

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Can you get from 'dog' to 'car' with one pixel? Japanese AI boffins can

Richard 12
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Gimp

True, they have captured more images.

However, unless there is another someone making sure they know when they got it wrong, they won't learn anything.

In humans that role is taken up by the many other humans around, who have received different training sets and can use carefully chosen training phrases such as "Are you blind you ****wit?" to inform of errors.

If the AIs in the cars are all synced, they all get the same training set and won't realise many mistakes.

If they're not synced, then when crashes occur the "outdated" AI gets blamed and people get very angry.

Which is a bit of a catch-22.

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Richard 12
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Re: The adjusted pixels

An image classifier is really a type of hashing algorithm.

It takes a large number of varied inputs and puts them into a small number of specified buckets, and the same input goes into the same bucket every time. That's what hashing does.

The only real difference is the intended purpose.

A cryptographic hash wants small input changes to give large output changes, and for it to be very difficult to find another input giving the same output.

A hash for a hashmap wants an even spread of outputs for the input set, and to be very fast.

Input (image) classifiers want small input changes not to change the output at all.

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Richard 12
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Re: The adjusted pixels

I believe those are markers to show where they changed it, not what it was changed to.

It shows that these hash functions (AI) are seriously unstable, and -more importantly - don't work in an even vaguely similar way to human pattern recognition.

Human vision can be tricked fairly easily, but it usually requires a change across a significant part of the field of vision.

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Malware hidden in vid app is so nasty, victims should wipe their Macs

Richard 12
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Re: Malware and developer servers ...

Doesn't matter.

It will have got in by infecting a development machine, quite possibly by infecting a framework/library they use.

As it is not possible to cross-compile and Apple don't make a server class machine, Apple software is almost always compiled for release on a normal desktop or laptop Mac.

Which is probably someone's daily work machine, and thus open to easy infection via drive-by or phishing.

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Facebook, Google and pals may be hit with TV political ads rules

Richard 12
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What are they selling?

If it's an idea then it's political and falls under this.

If it's a product or service then it might still be political but doesn't get classified as such.

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WPA2 KRACK attack smacks Wi-Fi security: Fundamental crypto crapto

Richard 12
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Cracking WEP took 2-3 minutes in 2007.

All smartphones can do it, there are probably apps for that.

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Richard 12
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Re: Standard?

There aren't very many manufacturers, and all of them are well-versed in keeping things secret until release.

For example, the Linux wpa component team leads can be contacted about the issue, and they can then prepare a patch in a small group - all of whom know it's important to keep secret until release - and have it tested and ready to push to the public on the day of publication.

They can even let the major distros know that something is coming without giving details.

Oh yes, looks like they did.

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Has Git ever driven you so mad you wanted to bomb it? Well, now you can with this tiny repo

Richard 12
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Re: tricky but powerful source control tool

I dunno.

Perforce seems incapable of basic causality, it's intermittently convinced that things committed years ago are new.

Not to mention CRCRLF. There's no possible excuse for that little piece of insanity.

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Equifax's malvertising scare, Chromebook TPM RSA key panic, Cuban embassy sonic weapon heard at last – and more

Richard 12
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Re: This sound may break your brain

The nocebo effect is believed to be quite powerful. It's been implicated in quite a number of rather nasty incidents.

It is however very difficult to study, as ethics committees tend to frown upon studies that are expected to cause harm, however minor.

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Sniffing substations will solve 'leccy car charging woes, reckons upstart

Richard 12
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Tesla do this in several locations.

The UK National Grid has a hige array of thousands of diesel generators used for surging and "black start" capacity.

It's not as daft as it sounds - large diesel generators are far more efficient than vehicles.

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Richard 12
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Re: Now you won't be laughing at us crazy Americans

The US has half the voltage.

200A at 110V is 22kW

100A at 230V is 23kW

Transmission losses scale as the cube of the current, double the current and you quadruple transmission losses.

- Though it isn't that simple as the US tends to use local poletop transformers each feeding one or two homes while the UK generally uses local substations feeding 30 or 40 homes.

Finally, many US homes have air conditioning which represents a relatively high continuous load. Choosing between charging or heating/cooling is probably not a useful tradeoff.

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What is the probability of being drunk at work and also being tested? Let's find out! Correctly

Richard 12
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Re: Socks in a drawer

After a few days, zero.

Socks ever match once they've been washed a few times.

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MH370 final report: Aussies still don’t know where it crashed or why

Richard 12
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Re: @Ledswinger

There was actually a fire a couple of years ago (fortunately on the ground) in the water-activated emergency beacon on the roof of a plane at Stansted or Gatwick. So even these need to be shut down sometimes.

The one you're thinking of was a 787 parked at Heathrow airport.

The AAIB report is here.

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Home Sec Amber Rudd: Yeah, I don't understand encryption. So what?

Richard 12
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Amber Rudd - this will cost you your job

Keep behaving like this and you will lose your seat.

You'll also lose your home, your bank account and driving licence, because somebody will get the secret key and use it to take everything you hold dear away from you.

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Apple Mac fans told: Something smells EFI in your firmware

Richard 12
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And it's nearly impossible to do this

If I leave my Mac turned off or not connected to the internet for a week or two, I'll miss a point update.

If I delay an update for a couple of weeks because I'm in the middle of something, I'll miss a point update.

If I go on holiday...

None of these things should matter because I should get all the updates next time. That's the whole point of automatic updates!

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Java security plagued by crappy docs, complex APIs, bad advice

Richard 12
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Re: if only

That only works when the voters are competent and experienced in the specific problem field.

The vast majority of people looking at answered questions on Stack Overflow are not competent and experienced, because if they were they wouldn't need to look.

Top answers get selected by the incompetent and/or inexperienced majority.

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Dyson to build electric car that doesn't suck

Richard 12
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The date seems very optimistic

Given that neither Dyson nor Dyson have any expertise or even any public experience of any of the components or regulatory requirements of an EV.

I wonder who they're buying.

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