* Posts by Richard 12

2726 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

Despite high-profile hires, Apple's TV plans are doomed

Richard 12
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In the world of entertainment, content is King, Queen and dodgy-looking Grand Vizier.

It doesn't matter if their hardware turns out to be gold-pressed latinum hand-rolled on the thighs of gorgeous men and women.

If they don't have the content, it is dead before it's even made it out of the factory.

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Richard 12
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Re: Apple

Except that as a content creator, the current Macbook Pro range is completely and utterly useless.

The keyboard is awful to type on, and I can't plug in anything at all without a stack of adapter dongles and there are no docks - just adapters.

An octopus doesn't make a decent laptop.

In the Windows and Linux world, I can pick and choose from a great many laptops, many of which have all the connectivity I need and most of which have better keyboards.

Some of them also have nicer trackpads - though in general I just use a travel mouse which is both 10% of the cost and far better ergonomically than the Apple mouse.

The actual macOS is quite good - albeit often painfully inconsistent - but the hardware is just terrible.

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Blighty's first aircraft carrier in six years is set to take to the seas

Richard 12
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Loads of room.

Shipyards and drydocking staff are used to that.

For some really tight manoeuvres, find some video of ships entering the Gatun locks of the Panama canal.

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Men charged with theft of free newspapers

Richard 12
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My wild guess is they were distributors

If they were being paid to distribute them and decided to dump them in the recycling instead, that's fairly clearly theft.

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ICO fines 'Wolf of Wall Street' electrical survey biz for nuisance calls

Richard 12
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Re: @CAPS LOCK

Aside from that, just because you have a landline number doesn't mean you have anything connected to it.

Some contracts work out cheaper to have the "bare bones" phone line as an enabler for Internet.

On the other hand, I'm on cable and do not have a landline at all.

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Florida Man to be fined $1.25 per robocall... all 96 million of them

Richard 12
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Re: I don't get it

I read it as they were complainig about robocalls that they thought were TripAdvisor et al.

So were contacting TripAdvisor et al and telling then to kindly go stick their calls where the sun does not shine... except it wasn't them making the calls

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Richard 12
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Re: Lack Of Security

All of which are trivially fixed by only allowing a caller to present as a phone number they themselves own.

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'OK, everyone. Stop typing, this software is DONE,' said no one ever

Richard 12
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Saudi Arabia is in the middle of switching from 120VAC/60Hz to 230VAC/50Hz. This has been going for about a decade and will probably take another decade to complete.

It causes no end of fun when people and businesses move, or "consultants" forget to check the supply at the actual site.

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Report estimates cost of disruption to GPS in UK would be £1bn per day

Richard 12
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Re: ummmm

You are aware that GPS is simply a lot of clocks in the sky, all broadcasting the time?

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Richard 12
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No backup?

Sounds risky.

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2 kool 4 komputing: Teens' interest in GCSE course totally bombs

Richard 12
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Meaningless statistic unfortunately.

I expect better from El Reg.

What is the change relative to the total number of pupils taking any GCSEs?

If the total number of pupils taking any GCSEs has fallen or is flat this year, then that would actually mean Computing GCSE is in a major boom.

Rather like the reason class sizes fell under Mr Bliar was because of fewer kiddywinks, not better funding.

Demographics my dear commentards, demographics.

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Worried about election hacking? There's a technology fix – Helios

Richard 12
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Re: No, elections don't work this way

Yes, but such fraud is more easily detected by a lay observer than the equivalent switcheroo of electronic ballots.

Swapping out a few paper ballot boxes means printing and manually marking those ballots, then arranging for them to be swapped out at the right moment and the real ones destroyed.

This involves a lot of people and affords a lot of opportunities to get caught.

Swapping out electronic ballots means connecting to the system with your BallotHackTM machine for a few seconds - whether locally or remotely.

Faking large numbers of paper ballots takes a lot more manpower than faking electronic ones, and so is more likely to be spotted.

A concerned citizen can follow paper ballots all the way from printing, right through to the count, and it doesn't require them to have any specific technical expertise.

Inspecting and monitoring electronic ballots requires a lot of technical expertise, and is effectively physically impossible anyway - how do I check that the hardware and code running in the machine is the one you said it was?

That's the point.

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You'll soon be buying bulgur wheat salad* from Amazon, after it swallowed Whole Foods

Richard 12
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Kin - ooh - ah.

I asked the Peruvian ambassador.

Anyone pronouncing it kin-wa or keen-wa is a hipster and can be legally put down and used as fertiliser.

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Oh the irony: Government Digital Services can't pay staff because of tech problems

Richard 12
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Re: "Last month GDS switched over to a new payroll system"

Something tells me they'd pay everyone twice if they did that...

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Software dev bombshell: Programmers who use spaces earn MORE than those who use tabs

Richard 12
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I set up my IDE with the house style and let it do it all for me.

There seem to lot of people manually indenting. Weird.

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Richard 12
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Re: "error in line 123, colum 43"

Depends on context.

The line and column are very useful error indicators when failing to parse a file in something like xml or json format.

In languages like C or C++ that have a preprocessor, rather less so.

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Richard 12
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Re: If Only ...

And all the decent version control software has easy hooks for tools that enforce your chosen styles both in the repo and your local disc.

It's even built into some of them.

So really this is just bollocks. I can use what I like and you can use what you like and neither of us has to affect the other.

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Richard 12
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Re: If Only ...

Several IDEs strip end-of-line whitespace automatically.

(Obviously you can turn this off)

Sure, if you're not using an IDE that understands your language of choice then you don't get any of this. But you're also going to be orders of magnitude slower and make more mistakes.

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Richard 12
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Just let the IDE do it.

Costs zero time or effort.

All IDEs have a formatting ruleset and trivial "apply to whole selection/whole file" command.

Which is probably why the better paid use spaces, because the default for MSVC is spaces and it's just not worth the effort to change it.

Namespace and Switch/Case statement indentation is another holy war. Let's have that one next.

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Researcher says fixes to Windows Defender's engine incomplete

Richard 12
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Re: Almost as good as the shill who posted that WD was not inferior to Kaspersky

They will have been honest mistakes, because everybody makes mistakes.

They have however clearly failed to correct some of their mistakes because of the guys in sunglasses.

It remains unclear whether the black helicopter told them to leave these alone, or just kept quiet - wrongly thinking that no other malicious actors would ever find the faults.

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It came from space! Two-headed flatworm stuns scientists

Richard 12
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Re: Yeah that's not creepy at all /s

The Hydra is real!

Hail Hydra.

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British Airways poised to shed 1,000 jobs to Capita

Richard 12
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They'll lose them if they carry on trying to be a budget airline.

BA used to be worth the premium, because they ended up being only a little more, sometimes lower overall cost (luggage etc) while having much better service.

Now they're just more expensive with the same or worse service.

The new CEO is an idiot - in the race to the bottom, RyanAir have already won.

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Virgin Media resolves flaw in config backup for Super Hub routers

Richard 12
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It would be a vulnerability if you can do it without logging into the admin interface, or if all the routers ship with the same default password of "changeme".

That'd be rather stupid though.

I wonder whether they did both?

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Richard 12
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Re: Am I missing something?

Aside from that, does that mean it's now impossible for me to backup the config and restore it to the replacement SuperHub next time it fails?

If so, it's not a backup!

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In detail: How we are all pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered – by online biz all day

Richard 12
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Re: Lie all the time

Of course I do

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Shoebox-sized satellites made by civs win trip on NASA's newest rocket

Richard 12
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Re: For the boffin's sake I hope they have a backup plan.

FH has yet to fly, and has yet to be integrated - but the side boosters of FH have flown many times, and the engines and tankage of the FH core are a proven design.

- Heck, the demo launch has already flown 0.6 times, if you squint.

The main part of FH that's untested is the integration. They've never tried to run and balance three cores simultaneously.

SLS on the other hand, is using new everything except the liquid engines. While it's all based on earlier designs, there's a lot of pretty significant changes. They've only done static fire tests, so can't be as confident.

FH is very likely to fly in Q4 2017/Q1 2018, and SpaceX have long proven they have the manufacturing capacity to attempt a paying payload launch very rapidly - STP-2 may well be within a month of the demo flight, unless they find significant anomalies.

I'm pretty sure that the SLS Block 1/1B EM-1 and EC will happen either way, because most of the cost of launch has already been paid and it's unlikely to be possible to reintegrate the EC payload into FH. However I suspect that many other SLS missions will be moved to FH.

The ULA must be bricking it. If EM-1 is delayed much more - or worse, fails...

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Boeing preps pilotless passenger flights – once it has solved the Sully problem, of course

Richard 12
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Re: Emergancy action is the problem.

There is already a big problem with pilot training, as demonstrated by Air France.

These days commercial pilots have exactly two jobs:

1) Program the autopilot. Trivially replaced.

2) Catch the plane if the autopilot can't. Very hard.

They are only there to handle emergencies, and so should be primarily trained in flying the plane in emergency situations - dead VFDs, failed/lying instruments, and fewer engines, wings and other aerodynamic components than the flight started with.

Commercial pilots never need to fly the plane in good conditions.

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Human-free robo-cars on Washington streets after governor said the software is 'foolproof'

Richard 12
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Re: Dangerous bugs?

The USA has very balkanised traffic regulations, different in each state and some cities.

I very much doubt that any drivers know them all.

A self-driving vehicle could, in theory, but we all know how well current software deals with varying local standards...

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Richard 12
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Re: Am I the only one

Likely better than the meatsacks, which could be a problem if they stay in lane but the human drivers don't.

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Richard 12
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Re: Who really wants robo-cars??

Lots of people.

For example, a robocar could take me to the pub and bring me home sloshed.

It could take me to the airport then go back home, instead of paying through the nose for airport parking.

It could take my kids to and from school while my wife and I are on a beach in the Caribbean.

Loads of things.

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The nuclear launch button won't be pressed by a finger but by a bot

Richard 12
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Nothing anyone can do about a direct hit

It was all about surviving a near miss.

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Boffins find evidence of strange uranium-producing bacteria lurking underground

Richard 12
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Re: This is ridiculous

U(VI) and U(IV) are compounds - one of them is uranite, better known as pitchblende.

They're both uranium oxides with varying amount of bound oxygen, and bacteria can strip off extra oxygen atoms and excrete the remainder.

There are papers back to 2005 and earlier, so this isn't a new thing.

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BA IT systems failure: Uninterruptible Power Supply was interrupted

Richard 12
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Re: 480v?

Except that AC supplies don't work like that, and no UPS could ever be physically wired that way and ever work to begin with.

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Richard 12
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The UK used to be 240VAC +/-6% (225-254VAC), and various EU countries at 220VAC and 230VAC nominal.

Then the EU harmonised at 230VAC +10%/-6% (216-253VAC)

This range was carefully chosen to ensure that no EU install had to change anything at all.

Today, most sites in the UK still get 240VAC.

New builds often get 245-250VAC, as they tap high to allow for future additional load without having to touch anything.

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Richard 12
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Re: Electrical Interlocks

WTF are you even touching the neutral for any testing?

That's not needed for any form of electrical testing that I recognise. Low N to PE resistance on the load side is easily found by other means, and on the supply side they're either bonded together or they aren't.

In fact, if you disconnected the neutral to any system while any live was still connected I'd throw you straight off site and end your career.

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Richard 12
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Re: A data or application problem most likely

Lost neutral is seriously bad juju.

One or two phases will go hot, and once any phase goes over about 250VAC it'll rapidly kill things.

And it doesn't take a big imbalance to do that.

I've seen a few major installs with a rusty neutral - they tested out fine initially, then blew things up a few weeks or months later.

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Much-hyped Ara Blackphone LeEco Essential handset introduced

Richard 12
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Re: Dual SIM phones

You're forgetting that Brexit will bring the need back with a vengeance. Without legislation to enforce it, roaming charges will quickly return.

So I suppose your next phone won't need dual sim, just the one after that.

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Richard 12
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Re: Missing essentials?

Looks like you could do with a grammar phone.

Or maybe just a better sperm clunker. Mine's prefect.

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India sets June 5 as the day it will join the heavy-lift rocket club

Richard 12
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Re: the day will come

You mean cricket.

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Richard 12
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Re: Geostationary vs. LEO

And none of the launchers go to GEO anyway, they all go to a GTO and the payload burns some fuel to get into GEO.

So much of the GEO capability depends on the capability of the specific payload - some are happy to spend more fuel, or have more efficient engines.

All the launchers could put an inert lump of cheese into LEO, so it's genuinely comparable.

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Ad watchdog bites Plusnet over 'unintelligible' radio ads

Richard 12
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Re: But no fine?

There's no consequences for breaching ASA rules whatsoever.

Just "don't run that advert again", issued months after the end of the advert finished running.

That's like the DVLA revoking your driving licence a few years after your funeral.

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EU axes geo-blocking: Upsets studios, delights consumers

Richard 12
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Re: So that's why

It's about about the sports for Sky.

Lots of people are willing to pay quite large sums of money so they can watch the sports they like, and this would have allowed them to pay somebody else for it instead.

I'll never understand it, but I'm glad they're having fun. And I wish they weren't forced to pay Murdoch for most of it.

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Bitcoin exchange Coinbase crashes after Asian buying frenzy

Richard 12
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Re: "Legal tender"?

Nope, commodity-backed and fiat are strictly different.

That's like saying floats and integers are the same because they're both numbers.

Commodity-backed and fiat behave differently. Bitcoin is neither of these, though I suppose it has more in common with commodity-backed as there is a fixed maximum number.

Or perhaps more in common with pyramid schemes, as early adopters got lots of free btc while these days you can't get any without specialist hardware.

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Richard 12
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What happens as the limit is reached?

As I understand it, Bitcoin is deliberately designed to "run out" with a hard maximum on the number that can ever exist.

It can't be created like fiat currency - by being lent to borrowers - instead it's created by the payment processors (updating the blockchain to confirm transactions).

So as the creation rate falls, there will be fewer payment processors, and eventually none when it costs more in energy and hardware than they get paid.

So if I understand correctly, it must burst as the end hits - nobody can pay anyone any Bitcoin because nobody is confirming the payments.

Are there other ways that the processors get paid?

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US laptops-on-planes ban may extend to flights from ALL nations

Richard 12
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Re: Not a Chartered/Certifies Engineer or engineer but

So far every bomb that has ever brought down an aircraft was either inside the hold or attached to a missile.

Just think upon the reasons why this might be.

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Chipotle: Hackers did to our registers what our burritos did to your colon

Richard 12
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Re: I'm a little unclear about what POS means

The majority of POS systems are indeed POS.

Unexpected item in the bagging area...

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Schiaparelli probe crash caused by excessive spin, report concludes

Richard 12
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Re: Given this is a Pathfinder for the main event...

Yes, one would presume that the IMUs would fact-check each other and reject data that clearly "can't be right".

However, choosing those limits is probably quite difficult.

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How good are selfies these days? Good enough to fool Samsung Galaxy S8 biometrics

Richard 12
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Re: If does not matter

Nah, everyone was expecting this as all the camera-based unlock are pretty awful.

They kind of have to be because of their speed and user intolerance of false negatives.

I assume someone has broken the face recognition as well.

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America's drone owner database grounded: FAA rules blown out of sky

Richard 12
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Re: How to tell if they're "evil" drones or "good" ones

No, the test was not representative and the reportage useless.

Thin steel casings with magnets and copper coils along with carbon fibre rods are very different to foam and steel balls.

Maybe real drones are more damaging? Or less?

Nobody knows until somebody actually jabs it pointy end first with a real drone, and I would much prefer that happened in a lab instead of a flightpath.

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Richard 12
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Re: How to tell if they're "evil" drones or "good" ones

That does say "small drones are fine", only "larger drones" are a potential problem.

And it doesn't say what it means by a "larger" drone anywhere in the article. That's odd.

A steel ball "the size of a grape" isn't a valid standin for a motor either. Motors are not solid, much of the mass is copper wire, soft iron and magnets.

Why not use an actual motor?

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