* Posts by AndyS

893 posts • joined 23 Jun 2009

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Reckon you deserve a Wikipedia entry? Try getting this bot's notice

AndyS
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> It’s still difficult for computers to craft long and coherent sentences automatically to do this. A group of researchers from Google Brain tried to get a neural network to do cough up new pages by summarizing snippets of information after scraping relevant webpages.

Apparently it's quite hard for human authors to do cough up coherent sentences too.

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Dear alt-right morons and other miscreants: Disrupt DEF CON, and the goons will 'ave you

AndyS
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What?

Why the hell would a bunch of racists, facists, Nazis, and Trump supporters decide that this particular style of conference is something they want to disrupt?

Like, are they feeling particularly hacked off?

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Boffins build a NAZI AI – wait, let's check that... OK, it's a grammar nazi

AndyS
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Re: Futile.

For the curious:

Ode to the Spell Checker

Eye halve a spelling chequer

It came with my pea sea

It plainly marques four my revue

Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a key and type a word

And weight four it two say

Weather eye am wrong oar write

It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid

It nose bee fore two long

And eye can put the error rite

Its rare lea ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it

I am shore your pleased two no

Its letter perfect awl the weigh

My chequer tolled me sew.

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Well, well, well. Crime does pay: Ransomware creeps let off with community service

AndyS
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Actually, this seems proportionate

Yes, they caused a whole lot of damage, but

1. They weren't violent, and

2. They were young, first-time offenders with a good prospect of rehabilitation.

Given those, and assuming the aim of the justice system is to prevent future crimes and rehabilitate convicted criminals, jail time seems inappropriate.

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On Android, US antitrust can go where nervous EU fears to tread

AndyS
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> You Sir are a pillock, Just like the President

Leaving aside the rest of your drivel, you see the little ".co.uk" bit at the end of this site's address? Sod off. We haven't got a President.

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AndyS
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I completely agree that the current state is pretty good as far as the consumer's perspective. But it's a dilemma, as it has been done that way at the cost of competition and choice. Maybe it could be better if there was real competition? Or maybe the manufacturers and carriers would completely balls it up again? I guess the latter is more likely, to be honest.

Take a political example - it's incredible what China has achieved in a single generation. Reduction in poverty, increased living standards, higher quality employment, greener energy... All through massively controlled, centralised government and almost complete lack of individual choice / human rights. It may be impressive, but I wouldn't want to be part of it.

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Cyber boffins drill into World Cup cyber honeypot used to cyber lure Israeli soldiers

AndyS
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It's a conscript army, made of young kids. Even if they had army-issued mobiles, it would be nigh on impossible to stop people using their personal devices.

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AndyS
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Re: What, really ?

Not only the images, but also the pixels they are made of!

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Chrome, Firefox pull very unstylish Stylish invasive browser plugin

AndyS
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Re: Problem when software changes hands

ES File Explorer is a bit of a "special" case. The free edition is utter crap, laden with adware and dark pattern user interface nonsense.

The paid version is actually very good, and strips all of that out.

It's a prime example of "you get what you pay for," and I actually understand the approach to an extent, but the distance they've gone to degrade the user experience in the free version is so off-putting that I can't see them getting many sales of the paid version any more. It's a real shame.

I had the paid version before it all went south, so continue using it, but my wife has (had) the free version installed and it made my eyes bleed every time I tried to use it.

Since it is by far the best file manager I've tried (with excellent support for network drives and chromecast, very good native image viewer, and other features which I've not found elsewhere), I've continued using the paid version.

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What a flap: SIM swiped from slain stork's GPS tracker used to rack up $2,700 phone bill

AndyS
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You're asking why a, presumably quite small, charity in Poland didn't have the same IT and security infrastructure in place as a commercial organisation that specialises in IT?

My guess - the £2,000 bill is the first time this has happened, and there is a step cost associated with the setup to avoid this situation. Which, being a small charity, the very few people there maybe didn't even consider.

If they handle this well, there is at least some chance that the bill will be refunded, especially as the telco could play it to the media as a charity contribution. They will also presumably now use locked-down sims, to prevent a repeat.

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Automated payment machines do NOT work the same all over the world – as I found out

AndyS
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Re: Similar experience in the USA

I had exactly the same experience while driving around the slums around LAX, trying desperately to refill my hire car before return.

Add in the meth-addicted "attendants" who are desperate to make the pump work (to get a "tip"), and are suitably reluctant to return your credit card until they get a cut. And the total lack of comprehension that there might be a place in the world that doesn't have Zip codes. And doesn't spend dollars. It really is a hell-hole of a country for visitors.

Still, they've found plenty of ways to make it worse since then. They hadn't even considered locking unnamed kids in cages in a desert concentration camp at that stage.

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AndyS
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Once, while driving on a motorway in Eastern Europe, early in the morning on a Sunday, we came across a toll with no cash lane. Pre-paid smart card access only, and no staff. Having just been through Italy, we did the usual figure-of-eight-U-turn-somersault maneuver to try and get off the motorway. Our travelling companions, however, used a less subtle maneuver which involved reversing, quite hard, into the pole with the number plate recognition camera on it. Which promptly fell over.

Nothing ever came of it, luckily. From empirical evidence, therefore, it appears the easiest way to get out of paying motorway tolls is simply to smash the cameras. Italy sounds like the right country to test this hypothesis.

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Hot new application for blockchain: How does botnet control sound?

AndyS
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Re: Something to be Terrified of and Terrorised by All Human Media Accounts/Programming Channels.

That's it. You've achieved sentience. Your comment made as much sense to me as the article.

(I have to believe you have gained sentience, because the alternative is obviously that I have lost it.)

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National ID cards might not mean much when up against incompetence of the UK Home Office

AndyS
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How would ID cards prevent anything?

Introduction of an ID card would not have prevented the Windrush debacle, it would have forced it to happen sooner (presumably during enrolement in the scheme). I don't see any reason that the outcome wouldn't have been the same.

Sure, it might prevent any further ambiguities arising, but it would solve the existing, 40-50 year old ones in the same sledgehammer-meet-nut way as the current Home Office approach.

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User spent 20 minutes trying to move mouse cursor, without success

AndyS
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Re: eeeww - gross

Relevant XKCD, as is tradition.

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Which? calls for compensation for users hit by Windows 10 woes

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First A380 flown in anger to be broken up for parts

AndyS
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Re: Ilike the 380

> Still no fatal accidents or hull loss incidents

Not for lack of trying though. Qantas Flight 32 - damn. Wouldn't have liked to be on that one.

Kidding aside, it's got a very good record, and is a very comfortable plane to fly on.

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RoboCop-ter: Boffins build drone to pinpoint brutal thugs in crowds

AndyS
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Colour me sceptical

This technology doesn't belong on a drone.

By the time a drone is qualified for police / military use, it is an expensive bit of kit, and will have at least a couple of operators monitoring it in real time. They will be much better at picking out suspicious behaviour than this AI.

This tech is interesting, but would be much more useful on fixed CCTV cameras, where it could be running 24/7 across thousands of cameras. The UK's city-wide camera systems, for example, could pick out fights outside bars automatically - that might actually be useful.

I suspect this is the new "on the internet" of patents. Do something interesting (novel analysis of a video stream)? OK, nice. Put it on a drone? Wow, where did all this cash come from?

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Facebook caught up in court battle with Amazon and pals over 'ageist job ads' that targeted young

AndyS
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Re: An interesting idea...

> Potential employers/advertizers have an incentive to follow the rules because they should be interested in having a wide audience

That simply isn't true. If I run an minimum-wage sweatshop, and facebook are going to charge me £0.01 per person they show a recruitment advert too, then I'll get a much better bang for my buck if that advert is only shown to young, unemployed, relatively desperate people. If they start showing it to stable, middle income, 50+ year old parents, they'll be wasting my money.

Wide audience works well when the advert is a fixed cost per run (eg a billboard, or a newspaper advert). When it is a pay-per-view, then I want the narrowest audience possible.

Legislation exists to prevent this turning into discrimination. Facebook doesn't appear to be paying any heed to the legislation.

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Ex-staffer of UK.gov dept bags payout after boss blabbed medical info to colleagues

AndyS
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> theres no context here

Yes there is. The apology, admission of guilt, and large settlement payment is the context.

The other context is the difference between "Bob has been off on a period of sick, and will begin a phased return next week" and "Bob has been suffering severe incontinence, but is improving with treatment, so please don't make him feel uncomfortable on his return next week."

The first gives everyone everything they need to know, and is a reasonably regular type of communication in any large company. The second may be well meaning, but is illegal, unethical, and leads to large settlements.

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AndyS
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But it's presented as a situation where the boss was negligent or didn't care. I wonder which one it was. It would have been better journalism to have addressed that question....

Let's recap:

1. Man has illness, feels need to tell his boss, asks for strict confidentiality.

2. Boss blabs about it to 11 people while man is on holiday.

3. Employer apologises, pays compensation, reprimands manager.

Do you really need it spelled out?

Here it is then. The manager didn't need to tell all those people.

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Remember that $5,000 you spent on Tesla's Autopilot and then sued when it didn't deliver? We have good news...

AndyS
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Re: Semi-autonomously =fail

> During which time the PIC thought he was doing the right thing by holding it in a stall, and the Captain recognised what was wrong about a minute after he entered the flight deck. They seem to have been addressing the problem correctly for about 1 1/2 minutes - which turned out to be too late to avoid the crash.

Slightly more complex than that. The Captain (and the senior 1st officer) very quickly assessed that they were in a stall, and with plenty of time to correct. He, and the senior 1st officer, believed they were addressing the problem, but the junior 1st officer was ignored / did not comprehend that they were stalling, and held it in a stall almost until it hit the water. Hence the confusion of the senior 1st officer, who could not comprehend why they had apparently lost control of the aircraft - he assessed the situation, reacted appropriately, but did not realise he was fighting his co-pilot.

The cause of the crash was that action, although the lack of awareness of that action from the other two pilots was a major contributing factor.

None of which is relevant to semi-self driving cars, in which the control is handed back to one person (who will individually fail to grasp the situation), rather than a team (who collectively fail to grasp the situation).

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America's comms watchdog takes on the internet era's real criminals: Pirate pastors

AndyS
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Re: Playing with fire.

There was a case finished in California just last week - a few Christian bible study groups had been taking over the communal area at a retirement community four times a week to hold hundred-person-plus bible study and praise sessions. When their regular crowds made it impossible for anyone else to use the area, the homeowners association ordered them to desist. Christians sued, claiming that this order violated state non-discrimination law. Not only did the churches get the legal right to take over the communal area for their groups, they also won damages from the homeowner's association for infliction of emotional distress.

Were those hundred plus people mostly living in the retirement community? If so, I can't see anything wrong. If residents wish to use the communal spaces for communal activities, where is the problem?

If a significant number of attendees were from outside the community, of course, I could see why they would be asked to desist.

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It's hip to be Square: Twitter founder Jack Dorsey's other firm targets White Van Man

AndyS
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Re: Startup finagling

That's hilarious. Talk about unscalable business practices.

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Can't pay Information Commissioner's fine? No problem! Just liquidate your firm

AndyS
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The comment currently directly above (from Aqua Marina) explains why this might be higher than expected - that the ICO can prevent voluntary liquidations and call in an administrator to do a proper bankruptcy. Which would result in a) fines being paid (if the company has enough value / assets), and b) banning directors from starting another company in the near future.

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US websites block netizens in Europe: Why are they ghosting EU? It's not you, it's GDPR

AndyS
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Pinterest

"...Pinterest... this week announced it would be unavailable for users in the EU "as it makes changes" in light of GDPR"

Oh please, please, pretty please?

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UK age-checking smut overlord won't be able to handle the pressure – critics

AndyS
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Re: The Government* response?

The Daily Mail website also has more hypocrisy on show than a 1984 censor, but that's never bothered them before.

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North will remain North for now, say geo-magnetic boffins

AndyS
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Re: Be prepared!

Exactly what I was going to comment.

Going on the current model, you could expect 200+ years of science deniers and populist idiots stating that "scientists don't agree" and "more research is required," followed by a completely avoidable, multi-generation catastrophe.

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UK consumer help bloke Martin Lewis is suing Facebook over fake ads

AndyS
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Re: I hope he takes them to the cleaners

> They should either clean up their act and stop this from happening OR they are complicit on the fraud.

I suppose saying they are complicit in the fraud may be pushing it slightly, but they are certainly making money off it.

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How 'parasitic' Google's 'We're journalists!' court defence was stamped into oblivion

AndyS
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Re: "get those taken down"

> It does in the US. We would do well to enshrine that in law too.

No, unrestrained and unrestricted freedom of speech does not exist in the US. The classic case is that Americans have no right to shout "Fire" in a crowded theatre, but there are many more restrictions, from grounds of National Security all the way down to various incitements.

Deciding what is, and what is not, allowed, is one of the core functions of Government. Using silly terms to try and demonise a government clarifying (or even making) law, in unclear cases, does nobody any favours.

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While Zuck squirmed, Reddit revealed it found and killed 944 Russian troll factory accounts

AndyS
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Re: I don't believe it.

To some extent you're right, but the article was about Reddit saying they've identified and banned accounts such as this, mostly before the 2016 US election. Essentially framing it as a past, dealt-with problem. Clearly, in reality, it is an on going issue.

Separately, it may be true that combating extremism with truth is one tactic, but it's not the only one. In this case, these posts are not organic views from withing a country, open to reasonable debate. They are state-sponsored messages from a hostile country, aimed at sowing discontent and division. They are not open to debate or reason, and they are not "real" views. Banning them is the only reasonable approach. And although the one I linked to is crude and obvious, there are many who are better at it than this guy.

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AndyS
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I don't believe it.

There are still, in every thread on any remotely contentious political topic, blatant Russian posts.

You know the sort. Like this one. Badly spelt, pro Russian propaganda.

That's not even getting into the aggressive, divisive nonsense spewed everywhere, sometimes supporting Trump, sometimes simply being racist.

I simply don't believe that this problem has been addressed. Maybe what they mean is that there were 944 accounts registered from the public IP addresses of the Russian government?

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No, Stephen Hawking's last paper didn't prove the existence of a multiverse

AndyS
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Re: Yet again:

@ Voland's right hand

Not sure I understand what you mean. An example might make it clearer?

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AndyS
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Re: Awesome

My problem with that (the concept of multiple universes), is an understanding of the word "universe."

Let's say there was another Big Bang. Wouldn't the products of both, by definition, be contained within the universe? We might need to come up with a new word, thought (star, galaxy, XXX, universe).

Of course, if both are expanding, then when the edges meet it could be fun. But there are already lots of high-energy, "fun" things happening in space.

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AndyS
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Yet again:

Scientist: "We don't think X is likely."

Press: "Scientist proves X is possible!"

It's almost a cliche at this point.

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China to offer recoverable satellites-as-a-service

AndyS
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> 1) We're running out of room

That's not an argument to make them recoverable, just to provide provision for a controlled suicide burn at end of life. Many larger sats do this already.

> 2) The chances of some random lump of metal landing on your head are increasing

Again, this isn't an argument for recoverable satellites. At best, it's an argument for a controlled suicide burn. But sats which are large enough to do damage can generally already do this. Micro-sats really don't need to - nothing will make it back through.

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AndyS
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> About time that ALL satellites were made recoverable

Why?

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Sysadmin held a rack of servers off the ground for 15 mins, crashed ISP when he put them down

AndyS
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tic-tacs have zero calories.

Nice. So, if a company is 'clever' enough, they could define a minimum outage period as that which is longer than the time to contact the help-desk and trouble-shoot the issue. They can then have as many outages as they like in a year, and still keep their official stat as 100% up-time.

Of course, only a cynic would suggest that out-sourcing the call centre to India, lowering the number of agents, and randomly dropping calls would lead to an increased allowable time...

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HP is turning off 'Always On' data deals but won't say why

AndyS
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Return under waranty?

Can't these laptops be returned, at least in the EU, if they no longer function as they were advertised? I'd give it a damn good try if that's the reason I bought it.

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Got some broken tech? Super Cali's trinket fix-it law brought into focus

AndyS
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Re: "Apple is the only poster child for destructive repair monopolies"

> I await the inevitable downvotes for daring to say something against Reg reader's strange obsession with going back in time to battery doors.

I actually agree with you, and have said so here before (and accepted the downvotes). I do not need a battery that can be replaced in 10 seconds via a pop-off door.

What I would not accept, though, is needing to fully dismantle the phone and break out the hot air gun and soldering iron.

There is a happy medium, involving 20 minutes, a few screws (or clippy catches) and a micro JST connector, which would allow replacing of a dying battery easily, without requiring the design compromises of a "user replaceable" battery.

Since this compromise is rare, and since it is difficult to assess before buying a phone, I've always ended up with phones with a replaceable battery (Moto Gs of various generations, a Wileyfox Swift, an old HTC etc).

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Info Commissioner tears into Google's 'call us journalists' trial defence

AndyS
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Re: Seems to me that the Right To Be Forgotten

Your point would be valid if it were necessary to take Google to court. The whole point is that it should not be - a simple request should allow you to access this. That's what the court cases are about.

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Too many bricks in the wall? Lego slashes inventory

AndyS
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Lego...

I grew up loving it but now, as a parent, I find that it is both eye-wateringly expensive, and obsessively niche. Why does my daughter need a pink set with ponies and flowers? But since it's on the shelf, that's what she will want.

Luckily we've still got 3 or 4 boxes of mid 90s lego railway in the attic, and a baby bath full of generic bricks.

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Fancy sitting in a Level 4 driverless car roaming London? Get in line

AndyS
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Re: Can we have them

> That will enable testing of driverless car in only situation they are wanted - saving someone from the dread designated driver role.

Letting me take a nap on the way to / from work is pretty high on my list of desired use cases, too.

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AndyS
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Maybe start by setting up their web server?

I think the url on the front of the "pod" in the photo says driverless.drl.co.uk - which currently returns a WebTitan error, "Unable to determine IP address from host name."

Doesn't inspire much confidence!

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Apple's new 'spaceship' HQ brings the pane for unobservant workers

AndyS
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Re: What about the manifestations?

I stayed in a hotel in Italy on a school trip when I was about 13. The hotel had lovely glass doors overlooking the coastal views. There were very clear manifestations (great word, by the way) on the glass, but they were still walked into semi regularly, including by some in our group.

Told my parents about it when I got home, and my dad, to his astonishment, realised it was the exact hotel where he had run, full speed, into the exact glass door when on a family holiday as a child, probably in the late 50s.

Different manifestations, same defenestration.

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Lenovo literally has a screw loose – so it's recalled flagship Carbon X1 ThinkPads

AndyS
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Re: Fault analysis undertaken and fix identified

> Investigation has identified the problem: the production line ran out of glue so the screw wasn't glued in.

You do realise this is likely exactly the problem? Screws are normally retained with a thread locker (the blue gunk on nearly all tiny screw threads). No thread lock? The screw will work loose over time.

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Accused Brit hacker Lauri Love will NOT be extradited to America

AndyS
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Re: Excellent news

> All this means is potentially spending time rotting in a UK jail as opposed to a US jail.

It means a fair trial, not a stitch-up in a hostile foreign country. And if found guilty, yes, it will mean jail time - in a country which doesn't glorify prison rape against weak inmates.

> Last time I checked, claiming you have assburgers and that you are going to kill yourself if you go to jail is not really a valid defense.

He has never claimed it as a defense. His mental health is an aspect of his appeal against extradition, not against the hacking (for which he has not yet been tried).

> It's clear UK and US have pretty solid evidence that he took all that data (otherwise why fight this), and eventually that hard disk will be decrypted, revealing all. (and the meantime, failure to provide decryption details is also a criminal offense)....

Yes. And now he will stand trial for those accusations, as is right (assuming the US actually provide any evidence, which in itself is perhaps unlikely as they will then be torn to shreds in our courts for their totally inadequate security, while it is made clear that US laws do not rule the world). In the process, he will be treated fairly, given appropriate care for his disability and illness, and will be able to stay in close contact with his family. None of those were likely if he was extradited.

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Shopper f-bombed PC shop staff, so they mocked her with too-polite tech tutorial

AndyS
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"She was so vile... She was an arse"

Good to see nice, succinct character descriptions used so appropriately!

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The blockchain era is here but big biz, like most folk, hasn't a clue what to do with it

AndyS
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Am I the only one who doesn't really have a clue what blockchain is?

Something to do with bitcoin transactions, right?

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