* Posts by Richard 12

2728 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

If fast radio bursts really are revving up interstellar sailcraft, here's the maths

Richard 12
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Re: "accelerate nano craft to speeds up to 161 million km/h"

Investmentments in Twitter and Snapchat are for the exact opposite reason. You can make a lot of money in the first few seconds.

And lose everything after that.

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Favored Swift hits the charts: Now in top 10 programming languages

Richard 12
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C is number one in microcontrollers

C++ is becoming more popular now that the really cheap ARM M0+ have so much RAM, but when you need raw speed in a tiny memory footprint, it's C or assembly.

And no commercial enterprise wants to write assembly. It takes too long.

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Richard 12
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Re: Meh, iOS language at #10 Android at #1

Android itself is mostly C and C++, being a Linux kernel and custom userspace.

Go is rather clever for massively parallel jobs, but I doubt it will ever be very useful for an individual movile device.

Android apps are mostly Java(ish) or C++. Java has the advantage of not needing an x86 or Arm64 port, but lower performance.

Often you don't care about speed, often you don't care about x86 as there's hardly any x86 Android tablets.

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Richard 12
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No increment/decrement?

Really?

But that is the one piece of syntax most used by anyone ever!

Sorry, but pulling that is just stupid and an indication that the design team have run out of things they can usefully do - either the design team must go or the language is dead.

What's the replacement syntax for "next/previous iterator"?

- many iterators fundamentally can't jump forward/back by more than one step, what would that even mean for a red/black tree anyway?

Or is nobody allowed to use while(??){...} loops on sets of iterators in Swift?

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'Password rules are bullsh*t!' Stackoverflow Jeff's rage overflows

Richard 12
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Re: Better security questions needed

But those are all public knowledge!

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Richard 12
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Re: Why does anybody treat passwords as ASCII FFS

*cat* *sticking-out-tongue* *taco*

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Richard 12
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Why does anybody treat passwords as ASCII FFS

Just accept almost any bytes above a certain length into your hash function.

This only needs to be entered by the user, nobody ever needs to see it. Who cares if the current font can't actually display it? You're only showing * anyway.

There should be nothing wrong with using an emoji sequence.

Oh dear El Reg. I can't post emoji? That's terrible!

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Volkswagen pleads guilty to three Dieselgate criminal charges

Richard 12
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FAIL

That was never the test

Useful tests are under controlled conditions. A particular set of ambient temperatures and pressures etc.

The regulations do not and never can specify "real world" results.

They only specify results under a particular range of conditions.

The regulations specifically allow manufacturers to have higher emissions when cold etc.

Yes, it would be better if the test covered more sets of conditions. It didn't.

But nobody else actually changed how their engines ran based on whether they were actively being tested.

There have been a lot of really shitty articles about this.

It is meaningless to compare the emissions in unknown conditions to the emissions in specified conditions.

That's like saying Bolt is a terrible sprinter because he can't run 100m in 10sec, without mentioning that it was at 10,000m altitude. Of course he bloody can't!

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Richard 12
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Re: Natural Law v Governmental Law

The emissions laws are met by everyone else.

The difference is that the other manufacturers use a bottle of urea and a catalyst to scrub the NOx.

VW claimed not to need the urea. Seems they lost the pissing contest

The regulations are set un consultation with manufacturers - the targets are set at a level the manufacturers think they can meet.

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Road accident nuisance callers fined £270,000 for being absolute sh*tbags

Richard 12
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Re: My policy is...

Bollocks. You can 'ing swear all you want, because they called you.

What you can't do is phone someone else up at random and swear at them.

Anyone calling you is fair game.

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Richard 12
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It should be like H&S law

If you are prosecuted under the HASAWA, you have to prove that you did everything reasonably practicable to prevent anyone being injured.

Even if nobody has been hurt.

If someone has been injured, it's obvious that you didn't do enough to prevent the injury - but you still have a defence if you did everything reasonably practicable.

So why shouldn't telesales also have to prove that they did everything reasonably practicable to ensure that they never called anyone who didn't give explicit permission?

It's not like it would be hard to keep records of where the names and phone numbers came from and the specific permissions granted.

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MAC randomization: A massive failure that leaves iPhones, Android mobes open to tracking

Richard 12
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This isn't when the phone is connected

When wifi is on, your smart device regularly checks whether there is a wifi hotspot it can connect to - for example, as you get home it automatically connects to your home wifi.

When you open the "list of wifi", it also does this search and shows you the ones it found and their approx. signal quality.

Smartphones also use the visible wifi hotspots to determine their location without a GPS fix.

In order to do all this, it sends out wifi probe requests, asking for hotspots to answer with their MAC, SSID etc.

Those probe requests could have a randomised MAC, because they aren't used to connect anything. They are simply an "Is anybody there? Tell me about yourself please."

Once your phone decides that it will connect to a hotspot, it changes over to the "real" MAC address and attempts to connect to it.

The problem with the randomisation idea is that the hotspot can also send a "Tell me about yourself", and gets the real answer.

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After 20 years of Visual Studio, Microsoft unfurls its 2017 edition

Richard 12
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Re: What's NOT new for Visual Studio 2017

The cross-compilation is based on support for clang, so it's there.

I believe they currently have three supported toolchain backends - msbuild, nmake and clang.

To be fair, msbuild is quite good and a lot of other IDEs use nmake.

VS still seems very naiive about multicore/multiprocessor machines though. /MP is a hit of a hack, and it seems that it is still completely impossible to put pre-build steps in parallel.

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Richard 12
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Re: The best IDE bar none

Nope. Not even close.

For example, "Find References" just doesn't work at all.

It's a naiive text search. Look for references to a private member variable and they appear *everywhere*. Makes it utterly useless

The refactoring tools are a terrible joke. It can't even recognise a constructor, and half the time it just doesn't work at all.

Not to mention that changing a method signature is stupendously difficult. Forgot to make something const originally? Need to add an extra variable? Welcome to hours of pain trying to fix it, because VS will not help you.

- at least the compiler might.

The "find callers" is also ludicrously slow. How can it possibly take VS longer to find the callers of a method than it takes the toolchain to do a full clean build?

The other IDEs I use do all that - and finding callers and references seem nearly instant. Perhaps clang is just a better backend than Intellisense?

The project files are really scary in a multi-developer environment, as they are very hard to merge and VS will not help you.

Lost a closing tag in the merge? Poof, your project is gone. Not even an "invalid blah at line X". Just gone. Hooe you're good at manually manipulating XML.

VS does have some very nice debugging tools, but the rest is really very poor.

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Shopping for PCs? Ding, dong, the Dock is dead in 2017's new models

Richard 12
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Re: Or we can read this as

RJ45 depends what you do.

If your use of the network connection needs high bandwidth or low latency, you will curse every device without an RJ45.

Adapters on laptops are a curse. A bundle a extra bits - that all look very similar - will get forgotten, lost and broken.

I can't count the number of times an important Macbook user forgot the Mac-to-projector adapter and had to do the presentation on a small screen...

RJ45 adapters on laptops are even worse, as the RJ45 locks but the USB doesn't.

Many applications can handle hotplug of the network connection, practically none can handle hotplug of the network adapter itself...

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Your Amazon order is confirmed: Eutelsat via Blue Origin. Estimated delivery date: 2022

Richard 12
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One presumes this is an option, not a booking

Given that Blue Origin have yet to stage a rocket at all, let alone put anything into orbit.

SpaceX had a lot of trouble getting the staging sequence right, it seems likely that this is because it is hard.

I wish Blue Origin all the best, but this announcement is several years too soon.

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Facebook shopped BBC hacks to National Crime Agency over child abuse images probe

Richard 12
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Re: Answer

A successful defence is however meaningless in this situation.

You have already lost your job, your home, your family and your entire future.

Because you don't have anonymity, the news and the local gossips have destroyed you before your lawyer even speaks.

And the "enhanced" DBS will include this as well ("hearsay" is in there), so even if you move away your career is still ended if you were a teacher, care worker or other post where the Enhanced DBS searches are done.

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Watt the f... Dim smart meters caught simply making up readings

Richard 12
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Re: Please allow 6 to 8 weeks for delivery

Household loads are becoming increasingly non-linear with really awful harmonics.

For example, most LED lamps draw a huge surge partway up the rise, then snap off partway down the fall.

Then there are the electronic motor drives in modern washing machines etc, and the turn-on surfes of the SMPs in all the household equipment.

The only linear loads in my home are the kettle, coffe maker and electric oven. Everything else is an SMP or a motor drive.

This is only going to get worse, of course.

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Pence v Clinton: Both used private email for work, one hacked, one accused of hypocrisy

Richard 12
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Abject and total fail on your part

You *do not know* what Pence emailed using his personal email service.

He, the operators of his email server - and the group that hacked into it - are the only people who might.

He demanded that Clinton's use of a personal email service for Government business be investigated by the FBI.

Pence's use of his own personal email service for Government business also be investigated by the FBI.

There is no difference here. Both breached their duty, both must be investigated and, if anything is found, prosecuted.

In fact, so far we know that a great many, possibly a majority of US officials have used personal email services.

Clinton is the only one who has been investigated, and it was found that she had no case to answer.

Unless you are willing to subject your own side to such investigation, you are a pure, unadulterated hypocrite.

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Java? Nah, I do JavaScript, man. Wise up, hipster, to the money

Richard 12
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Re: Java generics

Inheriting a dozen interfaces doth not make for understandable code. It also makes it much harder to add new generic library functions.

Needing to bring in multiple interfaces is generally bad - not because it has any effect on speed or compiler/interpreter efficiency, but because it scatters a huge amount of verbose stuff all over. ISortable, IHashable, Icarumba... God forbid you need to sort by hash...

C++ templates mean I can make my new class X-able simply by making sure I implement the one or two methods needed to X it.

I don't have to add another line to the inheritance and implement everything in that interface.

I also don't have to re-write a pile of existing classes to add X-ing to them, just write the template that uses the methods they already have.

Even if they don't inherit any particular interface.

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Richard 12
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Re: Crippled C++

Somebody who thinks Java can't leak memory? Hate to break it to you, but it does and for basically the same reasons as C++.

You can write crap software in any language.

Massive multithreading is easy in C++11 and C11.

- It wasn't so great before as the STL didn't specify how, so you'd need to use one of the tens of great 3rd party libraries, but many of those also made it very simple. Of course, some places rolled their own of variable quality...

More importantly, as is scaling the number of threads to the actual hardware you're running on, and pooling them.

Hundreds of threads is very likely to be much slower than ten threads on commodity hardware. In general, thread pools are so much faster.

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Did your in-flight entertainment widget suck? It's Panasonic's fault, claims software biz

Richard 12
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Some of them are pretty good.

One wonders if the good ones aren't Panasonic, as they're very rare. Only had a really good inflight entertainment system once - A380 to Jo'burg, IIRC.

Every other time it's had a truly terrible UI, and often very unreliable.

This is not a difficult thing to do, and the hardware has been well below $100 per seat for over a decade. Even museums do a better job most of the time!

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COP BLOCKED: Uber app thwarted arrests of its drivers by fooling police with 'ghost cars'

Richard 12
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Re: You gotta give them credit

It is the expected result when the upper management are evil.

Ref. Capita.

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Smart meter firm EDMI asked UK for £7m to change a single component

Richard 12
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Re: Really smart meter?

If it could do load shedding

The UK smart meters can.

You're the load, you get shed. There's a 100A contactor inside, what else could that be for?

Well, other than destroying grid balance when there's a high enough market penetration for somebody to think it might be fun to draw a cock and balls visible from space.

Or when a foreign government wants fo cause us real - and very deniable - trouble.

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Richard 12
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Re: That doesn't sound ridiculous

It is ridiculous.

According to several people who work in RF, the developer time cost of such a change is about a fortnight.

Then a week of compliance testing, and if it fails another two weeks of dev and compliance to make it pass.

868MHz is not a difficult band. There are many standard modules.

We have swapped in the other direction a few years ago. It took a month to go from requirements to shipping product!

This is all assuming that the existing design actually works at all, which it must do because they are not allowed to charge twice for the same work, right?

The numbers and timescale are very suspicious. One suspects the existing system architecture and software doesn't actually work.

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Richard 12
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Re: Really smart meter?

government grant/bribe gave a return of 10~12% pa

It's not a government grant, it's directly paid for by everyone who uses electricity.

So I'm paying you for that solar PV, as is the poor sod in a council flat who can barely manage to keep in pre-pay tokens.

We are also all paying for the "smart meter" rollout. Several times.

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Richard 12
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Re: Solar Panels

The fact that it's a tax on poor and lower-middleclass people.

The subsidy directly increases the cost of electricity by a significant margin.

The only people who can take advantage of the subsidy are those who own a house (not a flat) and have £6-10k sat in the bank or sufficient equity to add it to a mortgage.

The solar panel subsidy is almost purely a method to steal from the poor to give to the rich.

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Two-thirds of TV Licensing prosecutions at one London court targeted women

Richard 12
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Re: James May Reassembler

Nope. Either the YouTube advertising fees are going to BBC Worldwide, or it's an infringement of their copyright and will eventually get taken down in the perpetual game of whack-a-mole.

In the UK the BBC has no adverts at all - and no product placement either.

In other countries BBC programmes are sold by BBC Worldwide to various broadcasters, mostly advert-driven.

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Richard 12
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Re: Daily Mail

Not in print. Yet.

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Richard 12
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Re: the Campaign to end the BBC Licence Fee

If they are harassing you, prosecute them.

Seriously. Send them a formal letter demanding that they cease and desist, and then call the police if they come back.

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Richard 12
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Re: Yup. I don't require a TV license, but...

Have you formally revoked their implied right of access to thr land between the pavement and your front door?

May be worth doing.

TV Licencing people used to be reasonable, seems that Capita have done their usual :(

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LUNAR-CY! SpaceX announces a Moon trip-for-two it'll inevitably miss the deadline on

Richard 12
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Re: true cost?

guidance and navigation

Though frankly, the cost of perhaps 20 people for a fortnight is insignificant compared to the fuel. Something like $80-100k, depending on what you pay them.

And that does assume they don't do anything else at all for that time, which seems unlikely as most of the mission time will be spent watching. They just need to be ready to act quickly if something goes wrong.

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Richard 12
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Re: "SpaceX has already sold 3 other Falcon Heavies. "

Weeell, a taxi driver buys their taxi, the rail company buys the train and the airline buys the plane...

The difference is that they get to use them more than once!

Rockets are still a one-shot affair.

So far everyone has bought the SpaceX rockets. Recently SpaceX started collecting some of the scrap metal back.

Hopefully they will actually refurb and refly one soon, but until then their customers did in fact buy the rocket.

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Richard 12
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Re: I hope his name is Jebediah

It isn't.

There is no fuel transfer between stages, the engineering to do that is currently too hard to be worthwhile for the delta-v improvement - emptying a tank out of two holes is much harder than for one!

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Jesse Jackson to Apple CEO Cook: Hire black

Richard 12
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Re: Math

I had thought I understood the sentence until I got to the "to 56%" part.

Then the words and numbers became meaningless stupidity.

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Licence-fee outsourcer Capita caught wringing BBC tax from vulnerable

Richard 12
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Re: Not Entirely Fair

You're Rupert Murdock and I claim my £5.

A colour TV licence is £145 per year. That's £12/month, less than fixed line rental.

You can't get Internet for that much by any method.

And even the cheapest Sky Sports packages are more than double that.

If you don't want to pay it then that's absolutely fine. Don't watch broadcast TV or BBC iPlayer, just use ITV player etc instead.

You'll be spending far more on broadband of course.

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Git fscked by SHA-1 collision? Not so fast, says Linus Torvalds

Richard 12
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Re: Once again - try it with .TXT files

Source code has comments.

/* gdiiw7ehsyw77 */

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Richard 12
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Re: Lifetime of Hash Algorithms

Well yes, of course.

Almost every file format has "ignored" sections that you could hide the hash-collision data in, and the appropriate viewer would still display - or execute it - it fine.

Including all known executable formats.

And yes, a binary comparison will always spot this. But that requires that you do have the original and can do such a comparison.

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Richard 12
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Re: Context is King

Everyone has always known that hashes aren't unique. Otherwise they'd be called compressed files instead of hashes (or digests).

The point of a cryptographic hash is twofold:

1) It should be extremely unlikely that a randomly corrupted copy of the item would result in the same hash as the perfect copy.

2) It should be infeasible for somebody to intentionally make two different and usable items that have the same hash.

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Richard 12
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Re: Lifetime of Hash Algorithms

The difference Google demonstrated was the background colour, so basically turning #FFFFFF into #FF0000

So yes, a small visible difference. Sufficient to turn a "site licence" into a "named user licence".

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Richard 12
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Context is King

The attack is important, however at present it only matters in a very limited context.

Google have proven that it is feasible for an entity to produce two PDFs with different content and the same SHA-1 hash, by means of embedding some "junk" in the unused data sections of both documents.

Thus a third party may replace a document they wrote by another document they wrote, and you won't detect it if SHA-1 is the only thing you use to check that it is unchanged.

In other words, don't use SHA-1 as the only method of checking if a document is unchanged. Use other hashes as well, and for very important things (eg contracts), compare the full binary data - it's the only way to be sure.

Heck, even MD5 is likely to be good enough. Yes, it's now simple to create a hash collision in MD5, but a collision of MD5 and SHA-1 at the same time?

The sky isn't falling.

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BOFH: Elf of Safety? Orc of Admin. Pleased to meet you

Richard 12
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Re: Ah yes...

So the H&S person was later involved in a terrible helmet accident?

And are they aware that they are breaking the H&S at Work Act?

A badly-fitting or unsuitable helmet is dangerous.

But yes, I have encountered many such H&S idiots. The HSE have spent a lot of time and effort trying to deal with that type of imbecile.

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New UK laws address driverless cars insurance and liability

Richard 12
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Re: We are living through the end of private motoring ...

Availability in urgent need - well, ambulances seem to work.

It is quite likely that the private car will eventually go the way of the private horse.

They will change from an expensive but necessary thing into an even more expensive toy/hobby.

This is a flawed analogy of course because most people didn't own horses, they walked or they hired a horse when they needed one.

So perhaps the driverless car is in fact a faster horse?

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Richard 12
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Re: "unauthorised alterations" eh?

> Now if the government starts saying I can't travel to B today I might be a bit miffed, but they can already do that by closing the road and it turns out that they aren't much interested in doing so. Driverless cars change nothing in this regard.

Except that you can decide to ignore the "road closed" sign and go there anyway. You can't do that with a car that is not under your control.

Very poor argument.

Right now a Government can only stop you going somewhere by paying a fairly large number of people to stop you. A police blockade for example - you can't decide to ignore that.

In a driverless car future it may become technically cheaper to blockade a road by "virtually" closing it.

The risk is that by making it cheaper, they do it more often.

However it doesn't work anyway because of the motorbike.

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Sysadmin's sole client was his wife – and she queried his bill

Richard 12
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Re: Had been together with a barrister myself

And there's The Library right next to the University of Leeds Mechanical Engineering building.

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Richard 12
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Re: So that's his self-employed social security fees covered for the month, then

Tax rules are different in every EU country, only Customs and overall VAT (guidelines, not rates) has been unified.

UK National Insurance isn't payable if you're making less than ~£5k profit a year.

Makes it much easier to (legally!) do a few jobs on the side, as clearly anyone under that earnings limit isn't really self-employed.

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I was authorized to trash my employer's network, sysadmin tells court

Richard 12
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Re: Bang whack bang

Yet is it criminal if they do?

Or is it merely a civil matter, where they have breached their contract?

That's the argument.

Would you expect the police to arrest a panel beater who broke your windscreen, or would you expect them to pay to replace the windscreen, and pay you appropriate compensation for the extra time your car was unusable?

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US judge halts mass fingerprint harvesting by cops to unlock iPhones

Richard 12
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Re: Available now: Fake-i-Finger [C]

Fake-i-Finger 2

Not enough time to destroy your fake-i-finger? Introducing the Fake-i-Finger 2!

Made of tasty jelly, the finger can be quickly eaten, destroying it in seconds.

Available in strawberry and lime flavours.

Only $3.99. As seen on El Reg.

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Big Blue's big blunder: IBM accidentally hands over root access to its data science servers

Richard 12
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Re: "Had the flaw been exploited"

Two weeks is easily long enough for a miscreant to take complete control of IBM's systems.

However, it's possible that they changed the locks immediately, and only took the old keys out fron under the flowerpot two weeks later.

Why is it so hard to learn not to leave the keys outside?

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Intel reveals Optane will need a 7th-gen core and a PC-centric launch

Richard 12
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M.2 already goes via PCIe lanes

The only faster interconnect I know of on those chips is the DDR bus, so do I have to sacrifice RAM to get this speedier storage?

If so, then it's unlikely to be worth it.

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