* Posts by Daedalus

413 posts • joined 15 Oct 2009

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Yes, British F-35 engines must be sent to Turkey for overhaul

Daedalus
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Re: Total cost ...

You don't need stealthy F-35's to take out ISIS. AC-130 gunships are the weapons of choice for adversaries without significant anti-air capability. And that's the problem: gearing up for a war we're not likely to ever fight, or if we do then a few dozen stealth aircraft aren't going to last long anyway.

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Let's dig into how open source could KO the Silicon Valley chat silos

Daedalus
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Geeks don't get it

The drones like their shiny baubles. They don't care about open source v. proprietary.

They want cool. Or is it dope these days? What-ev-errrrr.

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You can't find tech staff – wah, wah, wah. Start with your ridiculous job spec

Daedalus
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Re: That

File under "Internal Candidate"

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Daedalus
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Re: Bucolic programming

"I live in New Jersey (a nice part -- no, really, there are nice parts)"

Yep, been there. Northwest among the hills and lakes, or south among the swamps. Prefer the hills and lakes myself, some good skiing up there.

Myself I tolerate snow up to the knees and a post-industrial city nearby for probably the cheapest suburban living in the fine state of NY. Could have gone to Massachusetts, but who wants to?

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Daedalus
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Re: Depends What You're Looking For

"There are a surprising number of developers who can't code. "

Make that "astonishing". I tend to get the reputation of "The Guy" because I use modularity, structure, patterns etc. and don't just cut and paste example code. Of course if feels like climbing Everest in your underwear sometimes but results are gotten and they tend to be good. Not so with the C&P brigade or the "screw the design spec, I need this piece so I'm going to grab it even if I introduce pathological dependencies in the process" people.

Unfortunately the people who preside over chaos are the least well equipped to understand who can be expected to clear it up rather than make it worse. I did a major cleanup of a process once and got the cycle time down from weeks to hours. What got me noticed? Presenting the output in HTML instead of bog roll text.

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Xperia XZ1: Sony spies with its MotionEye something beginning...

Daedalus
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Ah memories...

Many many many years ago I got my first tranny, a Philips that just about got Radio Luxembourg under good conditions and chewed through batteries like you wouldn't believe. Then this plonker showed up at our school after his parents moved back from Hong Kong or wherever. He had a suntan, leopard pattern swimming trunks and a tranny that worked perfectly.

It was a Sony.

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I love disruptive computer jargon. It's so very William Burroughs

Daedalus
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Re: Thank you all...

"Only the other day I was asked to 'socialize the risk so we can drive corrective action'. "

This is how you know the person you're talking to is basically blagging (faking it, in USese).

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

Daedalus
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Re: Brave New World

Chances are that these charging circuits, if they ever get installed, will run on their own dedicated wires with their own fuse on the house side of the meter, or even possibly with their own meter.

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Calm down, Elon. Deep learning won't make AI generally intelligent

Daedalus
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Why would they want to take over the world?

Why indeed. But the Morris Internet Worm didn't want to take over the internet, poor fledgling little thing that it was back in 1988. But it did, at least until the real intelligences noticed. And those blue-green algae didn't want to poison the world with oxygen (one suspects that producing oxygen had more to do with fending off ancient bacteria), but they did. Those wasps who shed their wings and developed huge insect societies 200 megayears ago didn't want to take over, but they did.

You don't need intent. You just need ability.

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Town wants Amazon's new HQ so much it plans to split off new town called 'Amazon'

Daedalus
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Re: Stonecrest, Georgia?

Betcha that if they win, they lose. Greater Atlanta will quickly annex them and their new tenants, sucking all that luvverly revenue somewhere it can put to proper use by fat cat pols.

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

Daedalus
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Re: Little Miss Amber

She may be the first Home Sec. to actually complain about being sneered at.

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Bad news! Astroboffins find the stuff of life in space for the first time

Daedalus
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Boffin

Re: Also weakens the case for CFC damaging the Ozone layer.

CFC's are just a subclass of organohalogens. Most organohalogens are harmless to the ozone layer because they break down in the lower atmosphere. Many CFC's are so unreactive that they diffuse into the upper atmosphere where they break up due to solar ultraviolet radiation. The free chlorine atoms liberated there are responsible for the reactions that deplete ozone, or more exactly, destroy it faster than it can be created by solar UV.

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Open World? More like closed world: Women sue Oracle for 'paying them less' than blokes

Daedalus
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Catch 22?

It's sometimes hard to see why a rationally run company bothers to indulge in discrimination by design. What's the point, if the work gets done.

However their is a damned-if-you-do-etc scenario. Woman gets to level X along with similarly aged male of equivalent qualifications etc. She takes absence for whatever, and of course by law and modern custom returns at her previous level, presumably even at the salary current for that grade when she returns, rather than when she left. But male meanwhile has gotten points by whatever means, and is now being paid more. So does she have a case for claiming discrimination?

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Daedalus
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Re: Note to plaintiffs

It's the thin end of a wedge. Next comes "Discovery" where the defendant - yes, the defendant - is forced to turn over information to the plaintiff. The lawsuit, once accepted by the court, has the equivalent force of a search warrant.

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BYOD might be a hipster honeypot but it's rarely worth the extra hassle

Daedalus
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Big Brother

Wot abaht the workers?

Of course the average drone doesn't get it. By "it" I mean anything. Still they ought to know that by connecting to the company network at any level, they risk having their personal equipment subject to examination or even confiscation by the relevant authorities, be they lawyers, police or even (Thank God not here) the VAT men.

Which is why I wouldn't even give the company the MAC address of my phone, let alone connect it to any of their multifarious networks, even the so-called "Guest" network.

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Vibrating walls shafted servers at a time the SUN couldn't shine

Daedalus
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Re: At DEC's headquarters in Maynard

"RAID is not a particularly useful way to maintain reliability"

RAID is a magnificently useful way to maintain reliability. It's just not a perfect way to maintain reliability.

Actually RAID may be a good way to ensure that when something does go wrong, it's been so long since anyone looked at the hardware that nobody can remember why they installed it in the first place. And that's if there's anybody there who has the vaguest idea what hardware is.

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Boeing slams $2m on the desk, bellows: Now where's my jetpack?

Daedalus
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Re: Smells fishy

Herox.com also hosted the "NASA Space Poop Challenge".

In S-P-A-A-A-A-C-E !

Changes the smell a bit, I guess...

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Daedalus
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Smells fishy

Note that Boeing are only "sponsors". This is all hosted on some kind of crowdw*nking site (herox.com) with lots of optimistic patter. The GoFly people may or may not know what they're talking about: as others have pointed out, the tech for this exists in micro-jets but you can't lift a person and enough fuel to make the required distance. In any case nobody in their right mind would strap on something with an exhaust temperature that would burn you to a crisp. The James Bond rocket belt would have flayed the flesh of anyone foolish enough to put a hand in the super-heated steam exhaust.

By the time you've added safety stuff, flight controls, redundancy etc. you've got an aircraft, not a "personal flying device".

My verdict: somebody is running a nice little scam.

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Hotter than the Sun: JET – Earth’s biggest fusion reactor, in Culham

Daedalus
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Re: scaling up is the answer?

"Incontrovertibly you know so much better than these scientists, so why are you not running this project?"

Well, on the one hand there's a certainty that some version of fusion can eventually produce useful energy. We're just not sure when we'll get to it.

The whole thing has been sold on the idea of "harnessing the power of the Sun", but it turns out that the Sun generates net energy at about the same rate, per cubic metre, as a compost heap. Less indeed than a human body (100 W per person). This explains the use of deuterium and tritium: plain old hydrogen is NBG for our purposes because it won't fuse fast enough. The reaction time for two protons becoming deuterium is on the order of a billion years. The Sun has jillions of protons to work with, so it generates enough energy to warm our planet. To get a useful reactor, we need to use the rarer isotopes of hydrogen and up the reaction temperature by a lot. Eventually, maybe, we'll have a useful reactor that's smaller than, say, a skyscraper.

Maybe.

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Super Cali goes ballistic, Gatorade app is bogus: Even the sound of it is something quite atrocious

Daedalus
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Jerry-atric stuff

Much was made of the fact that President Ronald Reagan served until he was 78 and was going off his rocker towards the end.

Governor Jerry Brown of California is 79.

And Ron Knee is still 59!

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Sysadmin tells user CSI-style password guessing never w– wait WTF?! It's 'PASSWORD1'!

Daedalus
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Feynman's Rule

Actually what he did was put "Wise Guy" in one, "Same Guy" in the second, and "Feynman" in a third. The hapless victim opened "Same Guy" first and declared "It's the Same Guy! The one who's been trying to get into Area X!" (actually the result of a lot of false alarms by dozy guards). He then opened "Wise Guy" and panicked all over again. Finally he opened the last one and hugged his tormentor out of relief.

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Daedalus
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Re: Favourite

It all depends who's on first....

Or what's on second.

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You forgot that you hired me and now you're saying it's my fault?

Daedalus
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Nothing changes

A quarter of a century ago my US bosses were astonished that I declined a free trip back to the mother country on business, on the grounds that when I got there nothing would be ready, nobody would be available, and I'd probably be shunted off somewhere else to do something I wasn't prepared for while recovering from the jet lag. So they sent one of their own, and sure enough, the tragedy played out as scripted.

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Five ways Apple can fix the iPhone, but won't

Daedalus
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Where to start?

Andy Andy Andy....to get rich, you sell worthless stuff to nitwits. See the example of the guy who sold the sticky wall-clinging octopi.

Look at Motorola's ridiculous modular phone. Pure geek chic and totally meaningless to the droids who are the real users. That's why you don't get a decent DAC: the droids don't care. Battery life: so what. The average drone would either run a better battery down to zero anyway, or just blindly put the phone on charge whenever. Either way, so what. Do you think the hordes of phone zombies on the sidewalk are interested in quality? Most wouldn't know an IMSI from a mimsy.

We appreciate you have your needs, Andy. You just don't have theirs.

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Your boss asks you to run the 'cloud project': Ever-changing wish lists, packs of 'ideas'... and 1 deadline

Daedalus
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Hiow it's done

Engineers have to learn to think like execs and act like execs:

1. Lie.

2. Hype everything to the skies.

3. Focus on getting promoted outa here.

4. Leave someone else to pick up the pieces.

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Facebook claims a third more users in the US than people who exist

Daedalus
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Re: So what else is new?

The mag was largely run by marketeers. The one scientist they did have on the editorial staff pointed out what a load of cobblers all their research was, but was ignored. He analyzed their surveys and pointed out that the options for "Occupation" tended to have stuff like "Executive", "Medical Professional" etc. as choices with everything less desirable going to "Other". There were also myths about what kind of cover sold the most off the news-stand (it's an OLD story), what time of year was best for what kind of article, and the highly bogus "sell-through" number that measured the fraction of the print run that actually sold, ignoring the fact that the run size was itself highly variable and at the whim of marketing.

All highly suspect until you realize that the object is to maximize ad revenue, in which case it makes a twisted kind of sense.

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Daedalus
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So what else is new?

Scientific American had "scientific" surveys done that proved that most of its readers were rich executives likely to want to see ads for BMW's, Rolexes and high-end liquor, instead of far less valuable students and old shufflers. Hyping your "audience" is SOP for anybody selling eyes to advertisers. You'd think the ad droids would have figured it out by now.

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As Hurricane Irma grows, Earth now lashed by SOLAR storms

Daedalus
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Re: Public nudity?

Concerning "chafing" and bikes: apparently the current depilatory fashions among young ladies are leading to much discomfort, with or without spandex. Something about lushness being necessary for the maintenance of proper moisture and essential oils in the appropriate spots.

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Daedalus
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This is the

As predicted by Robert A. Heinlein in "The Year of the Jackpot". Crazy politics, check. Public nudity, check. Nuclear threats, check. Storms, check. Earthquakes...well when is there not an earthquake in California?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Year_of_the_Jackpot

Head for the hills. You'll last a bit longer...

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Give staff privacy at work, Euro human rights court tells bosses

Daedalus
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It's all academic anyway

Sooner or later companies will see the light and turn on the dark. Buildings will be shielded against all EM stuff, so your phone won't work at work. Execs might get a special internal phone network just for them. Wired networks will be walled and partitioned. And monitored.

Did anybody think that being able to send data anywhere in the world from your desk was a good idea for a company interested in preserving its IP? The only reason it can still be done is that people are basically dumb drones who don't get it. If the people at the top were tech savvy they would have slammed the door early on instead of having to fight a different brush fire every day as they do now. I suspect that the security companies make more money selling temporary fixes than they would from sealing the leaks for good, but that too shall pass.

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Flying electric taxi upstart scores $90m from investors

Daedalus
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Contrarian

There ought to be somewhere you can bet against this stuff....

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BAE Systems' autonomous research aircraft flies itself to Scotland

Daedalus
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Smart plane, dumb passengers

This still won't stop people getting on the plane for Panama City, Florida instead of Panama City, Panama. Or was it the other way round? See also Granada/Grenada, Naples/Naples etc. etc. etc.

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China claims to have turbine-powered drone carrying 200kg payload

Daedalus
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Boffin

Paging Mr. Robinson....

Check out the specs for the Robinson R22 light heli sometime. Dry wt 400 kg. Max takeoff wt 635 kg. Passengers : 2 plus fuel etc. Range 386 km.

While this doesn't mean the Chinese are talking out their Y-fronts, it shows what we're already able to do. Multi-rotor drones need less control paraphernalia than copters, but smaller props have to work harder for the same amount of lift, and use more power. If the honourable gentlemen produce anything it'll look a lot like a medium copter with four or more rotors, or indeed a lot like some of the existing VTOL drones the military have been keeping quiet about for the last few decades.

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Boffins prove oil and water CAN mix – if you do it in a gas giant

Daedalus
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Boffin

Ob Chem

"breaking apart the covalent bonds in other polar molecules like salts and sugars"

Wrong on both counts. Salts are packed arrays of ions such as Sodium (+ve) and Chlorine (-ve). Sugar crystals are bound together by a mixture of weak polar bonds between hydroxyl groups and good ol' Van der Waals forces that make most things stick together to some (weak) degree. VdV forces keep hydrocarbons together when they are liquid or solid. Water, being itself polar, binds to ions and hydroxyls alike, thus liberating them from the need to stick together. Some salts, however, resist even water's charms: silver chloride and lead iodide, for instance.

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Mazda and Toyota join forces on Linux-based connected car platform

Daedalus
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Re: Please Stop

Noooooooo! There's way too much distraction in the cab already. Anything that requires you to look away from the road is *dangerous*. There's too much designeritis even on the physical controls now. Knobs that rotate endlessly to change volume/fan speed/temperature, likewise up/down buttons that mean you have to look at the readout you're upping or downing. At least the Japanese manufacturers still have their heads screwed on right, so their cars feature knobs with hard stops and tactile clicks. In the US the designers have, as usual, gone overboard (probably over the objections of the engineers) in the fruitless pursuit of coolness. Giving them touch screens to play with is a literally fatal mistake.

Accidents are up these past few years. Distraction is being blamed: mostly phones yes, but what about the dash controls? Auto makers are curiously silent on the subject.

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Daedalus
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Blast from the past

So a 10-year old girl sits in the driver's seat, says "I know this! It's Linux!" and drives off (pursued by velociraptors).

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Dell's flagship XPS13 – a 2-in-1 that may fatally frustrate your fingers

Daedalus
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Death throes

This is just the dying of the PC market as perceived by a company that doesn't get it, so they're doubling down on what isn't working. The drones are moving their highly important activities to phones and tablets, leaving PC's for the people who know what to do with them. Dell and HP haven't figured this out yet, so they keep producing laptops that look good instead of ones that work. Lenovo seem to have gotten the message, which is why I bought one. The minor players are also looking like they've read the writing on the wall.

Live by marketing, die by marketing.

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China to identify commentards with real‑name policy

Daedalus
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Remember Wen

They say that paging someone with a name like Zhang Li in China will get you more responses than you can shake your little red book at. It's hard to see how "real names" works in a country where so many people have the same name.

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Fewer than half GCSE computing students got a B or higher this year

Daedalus
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Numbers numbers numbers

OK so out of maybe 700,000 kids in the annual cohort, about 64,000 are registered for the ICT exam.

How is this bad? To me it looks like more than you would expect based on natural ability. Good coders are where you find them, just like good mathematicians, good engineers, and good cricketers, for that matter. Teaching coding isn't like teaching numeracy or literacy. You don't use it in everyday life: the only possible justification for exposing everyone to it is to counter the FUD that most have of technology, regarding it as one step below black magic. Good luck with that, by the way.

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UK government's war on e-cigs is over

Daedalus
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Re: We already know.

Dunno about caramel flavour, but the process of caramelization is like burning: with heating of sugars many different compounds are formed, not all of which have been tested for the usual horrors. It's one of those things the sweet manufacturers probably don't want to talk about. See similar concerns about browning of meats etc. Same class of reactions (Maillard reactions, no duck jokes please).

So caramel flavoured vape may be one that is actually risky, even if the vapour is mostly steam. In general a vape should only be as risky as the unvaped flavouring, since the heating is comparatively mild and quick.

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Boffins blast beats to bury secret sonar in your 'smart' home

Daedalus
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Which one's Pink?

"plays music to cover sonar pings"

Or plays "Echoes".

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10% of UK's top firms would be screwed in a cyber attack – survey

Daedalus
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Bored level?

The suits probably think of it the way they think of lorry maintenance, or electricity bills.

"Don't we pay someone to look after that?"

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Bizzby balls-up: Handyman app spams customer's details to world+dog

Daedalus
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"Reuben" was the name of the monkey.

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Linux-loving lecturer 'lost' email, was actually confused by Outlook

Daedalus
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Wow, UI is HARD!

I sympathize with the various grumblers and rumblers, but the truth is that people are dumb and the only way to stop them doing something stupid is to make it impossible.

A certain large document company knew what it was doing when it put a Big Green Button on its products, along with a smaller Red, or sometimes Yellow one. The BGB tells the thing to do what you want it to do, the R/Y button tells it to stop. Add a green light to say things are OK and a red light to say otherwise, and you've got a UI that just about stretches the limit of what the average drone can handle.

Then along come Micros**t and their sales droids, convincing TPTB that everybody wants hugely intricate and "powerful" user interfaces, ignoring the fact that G. T. Tippler wants to sit down at a computer and have it show him/her what he/she needs to see without having to be asked, let alone launched, commanded and visualized. The document company had a similar problem, but convinced itself that the features were there to sell the machine, and the money, as in razor blades, was in the re-supply. MS has no such excuse.

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Don't panic, Chicago, but an AWS S3 config blunder exposed 1.8 million voter records

Daedalus
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Don't panic - well maybe.

People with better than short memories will recall Trumpton's demand for electoral rolls from various US states. They were told, yes this is technically public information, but we charge to give it to you. In fact, political parties routinely buy this info for their campaigns. Every year we get info sheets from the League of Women Voters telling us where and when we vote (note that in the dynamic individualistic USA, you're supposed to find out for yourself with too much govt. assistance). The LWV gets our names and addresses (and probably ages) just like the parties do, and in fact those same items of info are available for mail spammers etc.

The last 4 digits of the SS number are not supposed to be public, AFAIK. They can be used to gain access to certain websites, mostly as verification for name, address, age etc. OTOH they are routinely printed in mail you get from your bank, mutual fund etc. Thank God they stopped using the whole SS on medical insurance cards. What were they thinking?

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London council 'failed to test' parking ticket app, exposed personal info

Daedalus
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Early bird

"The council added that it had taken advantage of the reduced fine offered by the ICO for early payment, which cut the costs to £56,000."

No doubt they sent in evidence of disability and finances as well.

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Sigh. Big Cable execs dominate FCC panel overseeing Big Cable's broadband upgrades

Daedalus
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Good joke

How do you think cable companies got where they are in cities and towns? By buying their way into the good graces of local officials. Cable franchising has been local from the start, so naturally the local officials could expect some grease. The Feds got involved out of their usual half-assed concern over "fairness" back when cable mostly carried TV. Before that there was no FCC involvement. Chances are the city officials wanted on the commission to stay on the gravy train.

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US court system bug opened hole for hackers to scoop up legal docs for free on victims' dime

Daedalus
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It's Federal

This just affects the Federal courts, so if you got a speeding ticket in Podunk, Iowa, you're OK. Likewise Charles Manson's details in the California system are safe.

Things that don't actually exist whatever the rest of the world thinks:

The American Justice System.

The American Education System.

The American Health Care System (but they're working on it...)

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Lauri Love and Gary McKinnon's lawyer, UK supporters rally around Marcus Hutchins

Daedalus
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Re: US Justice

The Feds, unlike State prosecutors, are not known for plea bargaining. He's toast.

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