* Posts by Richard 12

2728 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

Apple Macs, iPhones, iPads, Watches, TVs can be hijacked by evil Wi-Fi, PDFs – update now

Richard 12
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Re: NIght Shift

The theory behind the 'night shift' is sound and has been tested quite extensively.

"Warmer" colours are soothing (fire, candlelight, sunset), while bluer colours like the D50 and higher colour temp used in LED backlights cause a waking response, resetting the body clock.

Mamy people suffering SAD are helped by a bright high colour temp light during the day to keep their body clock in sync during the dark winter months.

There have been Android apps to do this for years.

It's odd that Apple are so far behind though, this is the kind of thing I would have expected them to jump at it years ago.

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Astronaut trio blast off to space station with ... er, rearview mirror toy?

Richard 12
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They've always done this

It's the approximate spacetime curvature indicator.

It's both more obvious and less likely to give erroneous readings than the other more precise units in the instrument panel.

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Apple engineers rebel, refuse to work on iOS amid FBI iPhone battle

Richard 12
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Re: I smell fish

Apple know how their phone backup system works, and clearly the FBI do not.

Changing the password was an obviously stupid thing to do - when I change my backup password, my phone suddenly can't make backups! Shocking, I know.

The remote wipe is a command sent from an Apple server, and is thus quite easy for Apple to block.

I'm sure that Apple have done so several times after receiving a lawful court order.

Apple have also already handed the FBI the content of this person's iCloud backup.

The case really looks like it's either the FBI trying to cover up their incompetence and then ending up in really hot constituiinal water by mistake, or a deliberate attempt to subvert the rule of law.

Personally I think it's both.

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Richard 12
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Re: It's likely I'm missing something.

You have several embedded computers with built-in keys that cannot be easily circumvented with physical access in your wallet.

The chip in a chip'n'pin does this.

The hardware is specialist but also very cheap.

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'Just give me any old date and I'll make it work' ... said the VB script to the coder

Richard 12
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Char isn't 8 bits

The C and C++ standards don't require it to be, and so you cannot assume that all compilers will actually do that.

Char also isn't signed or unsigned. The compiler can choose!

MAX_CHAR and CHAR_BIT exist because the compiler can make char (and int and long) as big as it likes. As does CHAR_BIT.

C89 was a mess. If you actually need the size to be right then you needed compiler checks to confirm the size of char etc.

At least C99 fixed that nonsense by adding int8_t and friends.

Shame that VS2008 didn't support them!

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Clear November in your diary: SpaceX teases first Falcon Heavy liftoff

Richard 12
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Re: still rockets

We'll need good rockets and lots of in-space manufacture and assembly experience to build an elevator.

Even if we actually could manufacture the appropriate material, it'll take a lot of launches to get the factory on-orbit.

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Richard 12
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Re: Potential

Doesn't count unless it's real.

Energia only flew twice - and succeeded once!

SLS has never flown.

Saturn V went rather well but cost way too much to attempt again.

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Feds tell court: Apple 'deliberately raised technological barriers' to thwart iPhone warrant

Richard 12
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Re: Single case Today --- ?? tomorrow...

No, there have already been two cases in court.

The other was refused by the judge.

Perjury is a crime. Time to prosecute the DoJ.

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Dead Steve Jobs is still a crook – and Apple must cough up $450m for over-pricing ebooks

Richard 12
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Nah, it's offset against tax

The guns and stockings are legitimate business expenses

As is the fine... Hang on, are businesses really allowed to count fines as reducing profit for tax purposes?

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Software dev 101: 'The best time to understand how your system works is when it is dying'

Richard 12
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Re: Is it just me ..

I would have more confidence.

It means they're actually testing the limits, not just spouting off a marketing specification.

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McAfee gaffe a quick AV kill for enterprising staff

Richard 12
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Only locally

Which doesn't help much.

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Blah Blah blah ... I don't care! To hell with your tech marketing bull

Richard 12
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Re: 2 solutions to your gripes.

Most "create installers" tools are pretty awful, and a lot do the wrong thing by default.

It doesn't help that most of the documentation is obtuse, and some is wrong.

That's before running into "virus scanner decided part X was a virus and silently removed it" problems.

Software installation is insane. Why is it still so hard?

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Apple: FBI request threatens kids, electricity grid, liberty

Richard 12
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Re: "it be used only on government or Apple premises"

"it be used only on government..."

Exactly. We already know how good they are at keeping electronic data secret.

We also know that given the chance, they'd use Apple's keys to backdoor every iPhone in the USA.

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Richard 12
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Re: Using a Phone to Control the World Is Mad

People's email is on their phone.

Including internal corporate "email" that normally only resides in corporate servers and has never been transmitted unencrypted.

Including information about private systems, that may include passwords.

Including access to password reset facilities.

That's before you consider the social engineering promise of being able to call someone from the CEO's actual phone.

And the general phishing opportunities if you have the entire contents of their phone.

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AMD to fix slippery hypervisor-busting bug in its CPU microcode

Richard 12
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Re: The really incredible thing is...

It's lucky that it was in a VM.

A guest taking down the host is a big and clear WTF!? as it's supposed to be impossible.

In an organisation that knows what it's doing, that's an immediate "We need to know why" - it's a serious bug!

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How the FBI will lose its iPhone fight, thanks to 'West Coast Law'

Richard 12
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@Bazza

And the other hundred or so requests currently pending?

And the millions of requests this would unleash?

And the fact that every other country in the world would immediately demand the same ability?

This isn't a slippery slope. It's an actual cliff that the FBI are currently pushing us over.

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Richard 12
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Re: Brain Encryption

Further to that, whether the US Government can force a software writer to write something that they fundamentally disagree with.

That's the nub of the free speech argument. Is the US Government permitted to force a legal person to say what the US Government wants?

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Ad-blockers are a Mafia-style 'protection racket' – UK's Minister of Fun

Richard 12
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You have confused cause and effect

The only - and I mean only - reason why people install an adblocker is because they are annoyed by adverts.

By making advertising more annoying, more people are annoyed by them and install an adblocker.

The only way this spiral can be broken is to make adverts less annoying.

If you believe otherwise then you understand very little about human behaviour.

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More and more Brits are using ad-blockers, says survey

Richard 12
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Re: Like it or not...

The advertising industry deliberately chose to ignore the wishes of the majority.

I am happy to let my browser download adverts that do not move, do not cause content to move, do not flash, do not make any noise, do not attmept to download anything else whatsoever and do not cover any content.

Basically, I'm happy to accept static images and/or static text. Just like Google used to serve when it first launched.

I only got an adblocker when adverts started moving around and making noise.

Almost everyone who has an adblocker decided to get one because of an advert that they found untenable - and most will never, ever disable that blocker.

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We survived a five-hour butt-numbing Congress hearing on FBI-Apple ... so you don't have to

Richard 12
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Re: Yes, you CAN remove the "non-volatile memory".

A brute force attack on this type of encryption would take many trillions of trillions times longer than the age of the universe.

https://m.reddit.com/r/theydidthemath/comments/1x50xl/time_and_energy_required_to_bruteforce_a_aes256/

If you don't believe me, do the maths yourself.

2 raised to the power of 255 (half the keyspace) is a very, very big number.

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Richard 12
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Re: Trey

They are asking for universal access.

To use a daft analogy that Congresscritters might understand:

Apple have built a pretty secure safe. It's almost impossible to break open that safe without destroying the contents.

The FBI want Apple to make a special lockpick they can use to open one of these safes.

However, that lockpick must, by definition, also open all safes of that type and once built it is trivial to copy.

Furthermore, the FBI have acted dishonestly throughout.

They claimed that the lockpick and the legal force used to create it would only be used for this one case.

Both of these are simple lies. It appears they now accept the latter.

They also did not allow Apple to present arguments to the judge when they asked for the order against Apple.

Put simply, this is a huge overreach by law enforcement.

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NASA funds new supersonic airliner research

Richard 12
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Re: Supersonic flight

Concorde did make money, but simply didn't have enough routes.

It was limited to EU to New York because of the boom.

If it could have been used for more routes then it'd probably still be flying.

The cost means that I'd probably never have flown on it, but there are plenty of people who would.

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Investigatory Powers Bill to be rushed into Parliament on Tuesday

Richard 12
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Re: Media really operating on 1 cylinder

Snoopers charter isn't a Tory policy.

It's a Home Office policy.

Most of the content of this Bill has been put forward in every recent Parliament with only minor changes - Labour, ConDem Coalition and Conservative.

One wonders why that particular set of civil servants are so keen on these mass surveillance powers.

What is it that they have to hide?

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Microsoft scraps Android Windows 10 bridge, but says yes to Objective-C compiler

Richard 12
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Re: Contemporary Microsoft Thinking

If true then they burned the wrong bridge.

The "run apk in simulator" approach could have worked - and can't have been that difficult given that Android simulators already exist for development use. Even ones that handle graphics acceleration.

An Objective-C compiler might be more fun to write, but it will be much harder and more difficult to use. A project is more than just a compiler...

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Richard 12
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They really have missed the point

If the app has to be rebuilt, then nobody will bother.

This would only ever have been used if the developer didn't need to do anything more than submit it to an app store.

If a developer wants to develop in a cross-platform manner that requires work on all platforms, then they will use a cross-platform toolkit.

They won't develop in an outdated language and then burn a few weeks trying to port it.

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My devil-possessed smartphone tried to emasculate me

Richard 12
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I turned it off within two days

Shortly after I realised that I hadn't received any calls at all since T-Mobile had enabled it.

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'I bet Russian hackers weren't expecting their target to suck so epically hard as this'

Richard 12
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Re: Dude: this is just wrong

Iterators are slightly slower and usually harder to read.

The former usually doesn't matter, the latter always does.

Readability trumps most things. Be nice to You-from-the-future.

They probably think you're an idiot, but hopefully you can make sure they don't think you're malicious.

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FBI v Apple spat latest: Bill Gates is really upset that you all thought he was on the Feds' side

Richard 12
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Re: I don't quite get it...

Incorrect.

They are being asked to create a toolkit that can be used to unlock all iPhones of that model, on demand.

Consider the following question:

How could Apple test that this software works?

Can't test it on the target device without risking wiping it by mistake.

So the software can be applied to any and all iPhones. By definition.

On top of that, we already know of over one hundred other petitions for this.

So no, you are simply completely wrong in broad and in detail.

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Richard 12
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They are asking for a vulnerability to be created

Right now no back door vulnerability exists. The FBI want Apple to make one.

There are two major problems with this, one technical and the other legal.

1) Once a back door vulnerability has been created, it will become a target for malicious actors to steal and other Governments to demand access to (making it easier to steal). Eventually they will succeed, and then all iPhones of that hardware are pwned.

2) If a US technology company can be coerced into created a back door vulnerability in one product, all US companies can be coerced into making a back door vulnerability in all their products.

Which then exposes all US products to (1)

Thus if the FBI get what they want, nobody can ever trust any US product ever again.

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Triple-murderer prisoner keeps mobile phone in his butt for a week

Richard 12
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Re: "why don't prisons just jam mobile phone signals?"

Because it affects those outside, and probably won't even work.

Jamming is done by transmitting a "wrong" signal that's strong enough to make it impossible to detect legitimate signals.

It is physically impossible to limit the jamming to within prison walls due to actual Physics.

So there will be large areas outside the prison where phone signals are jammed.

On top of that, reliably jamming throughout a complex shaped space with lots of metal and other RF reflectors/absorbers is basically impossible.

There will be "live spots" in the prison where the jamming doesn't work but external signal does.

Most probable places for these is inside some of the the cells...

You can ask the mobile phone companies not to cover the prison. This is more effective but also means that there won't be any mobile signal within a few miles of the prison either.

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Dan Kaminsky is an expert on DNS security – and he's saying: Patch right God damn now

Richard 12
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Re: Buffer overflows in 2016 are an embarrassment

They can't.

The OS can do something - and does with ASLR and killing a process that tries to access memory the OS doesn't think it should.

The next line is the standard C/C++ runtime libraries, such as glibc, msvcrt etc.

These do the allocation and bounds checking.

If there is a bug in OS or standard libraries, then any application can have trouble.

That's before considering bugs in actual applications.

Memory management is a very hard problem in general.

Recently I've been banging my head against a memory management bug in a commercial hardware driver - which glibc detected.

I can't fix it because it's closed source.

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How to build a plane that never needs to land

Richard 12
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Re: 5kg is a lot of payload

Lenses are still heavy - and are unlikely to get much lighter due to the physics of optics.

A camera sensor with a tiny lens is useless at that distance. Even assuming fixed focus it needs a really wide aperture to be any use - and a telephoto lens adds a lot more glass.

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iPhones clock-blocked and crocked by setting date to Jan 1, 1970

Richard 12
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Re: If the Phone Network time ...

It's not NTP.

Not sure what it is, but it also includes timezone data.

Been on one ship that had a set of not-yet-properly configured femto-cells, and it confused the heck out of my phone.

It could get five hours ahead simply by walking through the ship!

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Richard 12
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I'm reasonably sure they don't

There are a lot of bugs in "big software" that automatic regression testing should have found.

It also seems to be quite difficult to get good testers in general - it seems like many just want to follow The Procedure and do nothing else.

Which rather crushes the enthusiasm of the ones who don't.

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Boffins freeze brains, then thaw them – and they're in perfect order

Richard 12
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Washed out over several hours

So they're definitely totally dead before starting to freeze them.

Pickled even.

This is not the cryonics you're looking for.

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US Congress locks and loads three anti-encryption bullets

Richard 12
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If any Eve can decrypt

Everyone can decrypt.

It doesn't matter who the first Eve is, very soon it is all.

I have a great idea. We give the keys to a member of Congress.

They will soon be kidnapped, tortured and murdered, by a miscreant who really wants those keys.

Then we change the keys and give them to another member of Congress.

We keep doing this until we run out of politicians who want to hold the keys, then we canforget the whole idea and go back to living in the real world, where only Alice and Bob have keys.

The problem solves itself. It's quite elegant.

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Don't touch that PDF or webpage until your Windows PC is patched

Richard 12
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Re: As if we still needed reasons...

show me a drop-in replacement for Excel capable of operating any given complex, macro laden spreadsheet in full, without deviating from the behaviour of the version of Excel in which it was created

Excel doesn't do that either, new versions just quietly changes your results when you open the sheet.

Because it's stored in an opaque binary format, you can't even spot it until it mysteriously costs you.

If you want full, unchanged results you can't ever change Excel version. Ever.

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Security? We haven't heard of it, says hacker magnet VTech

Richard 12
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Re: Uh ?

Not even that.

They have now publicly stated that they do not intend to comply with the Criminal Law.

Dear ICO, please "educate" them.

When you're done, EU Information Commission, please also "educate" them.

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Scary RAM-gobbling bug in SQL Server 2014 exposed by Visual Studio online outage

Richard 12
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How do you mess that one up?

The query explicitly states that it will return one row at most!

How does a memory optimisation ignore the explicit limits set in a query?

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EU could force countries to allocate 700 MHz band to mobile by mid-2020

Richard 12
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Screwing over PMSE yet again

How about we withdraw that from the EU Parliament for the next week?

See how they cope with no radio mics and no simultaneous translation services.

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AdBlock Plus, websites draft peace deal so ads can bypass blockade

Richard 12
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That hasn't worked for a while

I recently found that ABP was even explicitly allowing some video adverts - with audio to boot. Scared the living daylights out of me.

So goodbye. You do not get to do that ABP, you are now dead.

I sent you the complaint so maybe you'll change that before everyone leaves, but goodbye.

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That's cute, Germany – China shows the world how fusion is done

Richard 12
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Yes

Fusion requires that you bang the rocks together really hard.

You can either do that by physically squashing them together, eg by gravity, or by making them go really fast and hope some of them hit each other.

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Official UN panel findings on embassy-squatter released. Assange: I'm 'vindicated'

Richard 12
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Re facts

Fact: He is accused of rape. That is a serious offence.

(It has also been used as an instrument of torture, but that's not important right now.)

Fact: Under Swedish law the accused has to be interviewed face to face and charged at interview.

Fact: He ran away before they could do that, and they did not block him from boarding because they believed that he wouldn't run away and so didn't apply for a travel ban.

Fact: That interview is what the Swedes want. They think there is a reasonable chance that after interviewing him they will want to charge him. Their law requires him to be present to argue his case.

That's actually very similar to here.

In the UK, you're arrested "on suspicion" and interviewed, perhaps "under caution".

You may then be released to go back to your daily business. Often are, in fact.

Later on they may ask you to come back in for further questioning - they want to clarify something, new evidence has appeared or similar.

At that later interview they may decide to charge you - or decide that there's no case to answer. Or that there isn't enough evidence to charge, but they're going to keep looking.

Note that even formally dropping it doesn't mean they can't re-arrest you. If new evidence comes to light then they are bound to come knocking.

Fact: He is guilty of breaching his UK bail conditions. The sentencing guidelines are published online, and while IANAJ he ticks almost all the boxes for the maximum possible sentence which I believe is 40 weeks imprisonment.

- He is certainly fully culpable and intended to cause maximum harm, is definitely flouting the authority of the Court - and deliberately did so again yesterday.

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Richard 12
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Re: Err ... but ..

He was held in that mansion while he was appealing against his EU arrest warrant

The moment that appeal completed, he was offered bail.

That's the way appeals work. Trials are similar.

You get arrested, and you are held while you and your lawyers argue that you shouldn't be extradited, and the other side argue that you should be.

At the end, a judgement is made and you're either released as innocent, held until the plane is ready, or offered bail on the basis that you are honourable and will present yourself for extradition on a given date.

This is called a "legal process". It's clearly hard for the UNWGoAD to understand, but most people do.

He continued his appeal for as long as is possible. That's fine, he has the legal right to do so.

The judge then offered bail, believing his friends who claimed he was honourable and would abide the ruling.

He didn't.

Regardless of whether or not he did rape anyone, he is now a criminal on the run for breaching his bail terms, no different to any other.

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Leak – UN says Assange detention 'unlawful'

Richard 12
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I believe the arrest warrant has priority.

So the order is:

Arrest. Sweden for questioning. Imprisoned for rape, aquitted, or charges dropped.

EU Arrest Warrant issued by the UK. Arrest. Extradition to the UK. Trial, imprisoned for skipping bail and contempt of court.

If he was genuinely afraid of being extradited to the USA, then he's a ****ing idiot because almost every action he's taken since leaving Sweden has made it easier for them to do so - if they cared.

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Richard 12
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The USA does not give a shit about him

None.

If they did, they'd have asked the UK to extradite him during the months of trial and appeals.

He is suspected of rape, and has skipped bail in the UK.

He is a suspect on the run. No more, no less.

Furthermore, if this really is their judgement then that part of the UN has lost all credibility.

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How a power blip briefly broke GitHub's boxes and tripped it offline

Richard 12
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The bigger question is why they rebooted

What was the momentary power disruption and why didn't the UPS systems mitigate it?

Was it a faulty UPS? What was the fault and how can they (and others) spot it in the future?

Did these 25% of devices not have dual PSUs on different UPS busses, or were these faulty but unnoticed?

Or was it a deliberate design decision to allow this type of reboot as it should be harmless?

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Autodesk vapourises ten per cent of jobs to go completely cloudy

Richard 12
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Re: "subscription revenue [...] far outstripped product revenue"

I've nothing against subscriptions, but it looks to me they're good when the tools are your main tools for everyday work. If they are tools you need less frequently just for some specific secondary tasks, subscriptions look far lesse appealing.

No, it's the other way around.

If you use a tool occasionally, it can be great to rent it for specific individual projects.

A tool you use all the time is the one you want to buy and keep forever.

Maybe in the future you'll want to buy a newer one that's better in some way that's important to you, but unless the newer one has some feature important to you, why spend the money? Especially as it will be different and you'll have to relearn some of it.

If you're digging a big hole you might hire a digger.

But if you do dig holes all the time, you want to buy that digger!

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College kids sue Google for 'spying' on them with Apps for Education

Richard 12
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Re: intercept student emails without their notification or consent

Yes. Absolutely.

When asking for damages you ask for a large amount - this is not recovering a loss, this is punishment for an entity taking something they had no right to do.

You can't imprison a company, and the only thing the company as a whole cares about is money.

If found to have caused the damage, the the judges hearing the case will decide how much is due - if anything.

The judges are permitted to say "Yes, you breached the contract and damaged the plaintiff. The sum of damages is zero and costs are not awarded."

- This is rare as it's basically telling the plaintiff that they shouldn't have bothered with legal action over something trivial, and lawyers are supposed to dissuade clients from doing that.

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Richard 12
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Contract breach

The allegation is quite simple.

Google collected data via Apps For Education, but said they did not do so.

If it can be proven to civil case standards that they did do it but did not specifically say that they would, then Google are in breach of contract and thus liable to pay damages.

It has some similarities to the idea of a plumber fixing your heating, then selling photos of you and your lounge in addition to whatever fee was arranged.

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