* Posts by Ogi

352 posts • joined 13 Nov 2009


UK surgeon suspects his PC was hacked to target Syrian hospital


"I wonder, is there anyone investigating Dr. Nott for supporting what are likely terrorist factions? Just because our govs do it doesn't mean we can, or can we?"

Of course you can.

The phrase "One mans terrorist is anothers freedom fighter" comes to mind. It can be read as each individual, but it also applies to an entire state.

For example, If Turkey sees the Kurds as terrorists and is bombing them to pieces, then it is fine for citizens of Turkey to support that effort, in any way possible. Those who support the Kurds in Turkey will be labelled terrorists or terrorist sympathisers, and in some cases have already been sent to prison.

However if another country does not see the Kurds as terrorists, then that countries citizens are free to support the Kurds, without fear or arrest or prison.

(However don't go traveling to any countries that do see them as terrorists, as you could be arrested as a terrorist sympathiser under anti terror laws).

Of course, as you can see with the situation with Turkey and NATO, when two opposing opinions on whether a group are terrorists clash between allies, odd things result (like NATO shipping weapons to Kurds, to fight a NATO member, who themselves buy NATO weapons). In that scenario the only people happy are the defense industries.

The UK does not see the "rebels" in Syria as terrorists, so it is perfectly fine and legal for the Dr to support them as much as he likes. Sure, if he went to Syria, he may be in trouble with the law as a terrorist sympathiser, but within the UK it is perfectly fine.

It isn't like Syria is going to declare war on the UK for supporting terrorism or harboring terrorists, and any attempts by Syria to extradite people like the Dr. on anti-terrorism laws would most likely be laughed at.


Robot cars will kill London jobs – but only from 2030, say politicans


Re: Driverless cars.

> Why are they replaced so often?

> It's at 11.6 years on this continent, and rising.

I suspect two reasons (based on my anecdotal experience):

1) A lot of cars are bought on finance now. A lot of people have to "keep up with the Jones" and drive around in a flashy new car, usually bought on a 3 year lease, or some kind of credit, then they trade it in for a new model.

Then you got the (fewer) enthusiasts driving around in classics that are 20+ years old, so you get an odd average like 7.5 years for a cars age.

2) Rust. The UK is a very wet country. I bought a 2003 car recently, paid a bit over the average price for it due to being in really good shape, when I took it to the local garage they were amazed at how little corrosion was on it for its age.

A few months later I took it to a garage in the south of France while I was there, and they told me they had never seen such a rusty car of its vintage before.

Cars don't last long here, it is far more common in the UK to have cars that are mechanically sound, but unfit for the road due to rusting through, while on the continent (especially further south) cars usually last much longer.

Indeed I know people who actually come here, buy rusted MOT failures and strip them for parts to sell in Europe (95% is the same, apart from the headlights and some RHD specific things) because generally you get a good quality bag of parts in a rusted tub.

The "European average" includes cars in very dry areas, and in very poor areas, where people will patch up and run cars for as long as they can, which, assuming little rust and access to spare parts, can be a very very long time.

Also it might be cultural. In some places they are not seen as a fashion accessory to be changed every 3 years, but a large investment, that can even be passed down the family line (Indeed my first car was passed down to me that way).


Re: A lot of 'hot air'

> String wires above the road ?

Why not? Its been done for more than 100 years now, and quite a few European cities have them. I have fond memories going on them 15+ years ago.


They work well, and as most buses have batteries on them and are constantly charging, they can in fact disconnect and travel a few miles without being wired up ( I suspect with the improving battery technology, they should be good for even longer range now), not even taking into account those that have an IC engine as well and can work as series hybrids if needed.

Plus you don't have to worry about charging points, and having buses run out of juice.

The UK used to have them as well (from 1911 till 1972), but for some reason they were all shut down:



We already give up our privacy to use phones, why not with cars too?


Re: So drive a..

> The only concern is that governments obsessed with tracking everyone may try and force such cars off the road with stupid "road tax" costs under the guise of pollution/emissions,

They have already started. Under the guise of "emissions reduction", places in Europe have started to restrict cars less than a certain EURO Emission standard.

From the 1st of January this I am no longer able to drive my 80s car into the city (as it predates the EURO standard), and every couple or so years they will up the minimum standard allowed, until all my cars are forbidden. My newest car is from 2003 and it is already stretching the limits of a home mechanic to maintain (too much computer gimmickry), so I won't be buying anything newer.

At the point where I can't use my cars to go to work, it is either "always on connected shitbox", never entering the city (tough as almost all jobs are there), or relocating to another country where they respect privacy (yeah, how many of those exist yet are affordable to non ultra-rich. Monaco is big on privacy for example, but I sure can't afford to live there).

Plus once they do it to the cities, it is not a small step to start restricting all cars (via registration perhaps?). Their ideal wish is to make old cars like horses are now, a kind of toy for the very rich, which have to be trailered on the main roads to and from dedicated tracks, not for practical use day to day or on public roads.

> and that as electric cars (with their highly polluting short life batteries) become more common, that petrol may become scarce - in much the same way as 4-star is nowadays.

Indeed, I suspect so as well. My idea there is to work on converting as many of my cars to run on Alcohol. E85 for the moment (as I can get that at the pump easily for now), but with the ability to run pure alcohol.

Bonus there is that it is a closed carbon renewable resource (so can't claim environmental issues) and humans have expertise making alcohol for thousands of years :-)

If worst comes to the worst, I can brew my own fuel in the backyard, but I suspect there will always be sources of alcohol around.


Privacy, only for your betters

> "In essence, by asking for full price, you ask to purchase privacy,""

And due to "cheap finance " pushing up the prices, I am sure that only the well off can purchase privacy.

So, eventually a world where the rich are free from prying eyes in what they get up to, and a bunch of serfs, spied upon, monitored and "managed" to be most productive.

Thanks, but no thanks. I have no interest to be part of your always on, connected dystopian hell hole.

"I would argue that the people, the demographic who are really nervous about privacy are going to stop driving pretty soon, and the people getting behind the wheel are more digital natives,"

For the record, I only started driving 5 years ago, and have no intention of stopping until I am physically unfit to do so, so with any luck that gives me a few more decades. My girlfriend is of the same opinion, as are a lot more of us "digital natives". I don't know where the spokesperson lives, but just because their little bubble is full of people happy to be violated, doesn't mean the rest of the world is of the same opinion.

Being for/against being spied upon isn't related to age. I would argue it is mostly related to ignorance. People don't realise quite how much they are spied upon. Only when they are burned by it, or they are shown exactly how much info is collected about them, do they turn against the idea.

We are seeing it already, things like Facebook are faltering, people are questioning privacy implications more and more, or just not wanting to be part of the system.

Also, what happens when cars are sold on second hand? Even if you get the initial purchaser to agree to some draconian spying EULA, what about the next person who buys the car? Do they have to sign the EULA? Is it automatically transferred with the car? Then how do you know whose data belongs to who? What if accounts get mixed up and you get each others data?

I know people who bought modern cars second hand (2013 Hybrid), and ended up getting the previous owners twitter account, previous GPS addresses, entire music collection and FB access from the central computer console thing.


Hyperscale oligarchs to rule the cloud as the big get bigger, and the small ... you won't care


> So, as a sysadmin specializing in Openstack deployments and maintenance, how fucked are my employment perspectives for the next five years according to this study?

I think "fucked", but not yet "very fucked" as there is still a few more years of life in it. I say this primarily as I had noted the shift in my career a while ago (As a sysadmin, who then went into openstack deployments and automation).

I am finding less and less work out there as a sysadmin, shorter and shorter duration work, and generally being offered lower and lower salaries (or correspondingly fewer benefits, more and more onerous work, like fewer weekends off, longer on call, etc...) . Those few high paying sysadmin jobs are being being chased by ever more and more people, so are getting hard to come by, and easy to lose as it is "an employers market" as they say.

Whereas devs are getting better and better salaries and benefits. A mate who is out of uni just over two years just landed a job as a Java/JS developer for £90k, free meals every day + amazing benefits, which is more than I get after 13 years as a sysadmin. In the financial sector I've heard of C++/Java devs on 120k+ type salaries.

A dev can easily spin up an OS instance and just configure and deploy. Now with docker and amazon style "compute cloud" they don't even have to bother configuring and operating an operating system.

If something cocks up or they get hacked, just "wipe and redeploy" and carry on, and recruit a decent PR person to spin it, and a "security consultant" to pin the blame on. There is no real need for a sysadmin in the eyes of SMEs.

The only places still hiring sysadmins are the cloud providers themselves, and those with legacy in-house infrastructure, so big businesses, businesses who don't trust their IP in the cloud, such as finance/defense (and even there they are using private/hybrid cloud tech, OpenStack and VMware mostly in my experience). The rest seem happy to not have the headache of their own IT infrastructure, and fewer IT staff on the payroll.

I predict in future you will have few highly paid sysadmins managing public and private clouds, and some cheap contract type low level "support/sysadmins" who manage peoples desktops/laptops/tablets, etc... At least until the next great rotation back from timeshare/mainframes into personal devices.

So yeah, for my latest job, I gave up sysadmin work, took a pay cut and switched to pure development. Hopefully it will unlock higher salaries for me in future. If not, then screw it, might become a car mechanic. The pay is relatively poor, but the skills don't become usless after a couple of years, and garages near me are always chock full of business, and show no sign of abating.


What did we say about Tesla's self-driving tech? SpaceX Roadster skips Mars, steers to asteroids


> External combustion, surely?

I would say no. In a rocket engine, there is a combustion chamber, where combustion happens. That is internal, so rocket engines are internal combustion engines.

Just that rather than acting against a piston, which converts the energy into motion (like in your car), the exhaust gasses propel the payload by blasting straight out of the exhaust nozzle, and letting Newtons laws do the rest.

Essentially internal combustion is defined by the working fluid being acted upon directly. For example, a car engines working fluid is air, which is directly heated by mixing with fuel and igniting, and that does work on a piston that gives you power.

External combustion engines work indirectly on the working fluid via a heat exchanger. For example, a steam engines working fluid is water, but you are heating air, which then heats the water via a heat exchanger (the boiler), that then does work (as steam).

Icon cause, fire, combustion and rocketry! :-D


> More proof the combustion engine is far superior, that would have worked much better in space then these electric ones. Lets burn more coal.

I think you are being sarcastic here, however you are not that far wrong. The Tesla was in fact shunted onto its path by combustion engines, no? Unless Musk has really outdone himself and was using some electric engines (EMDrive, where art thou?), there is a good chance he used chemical fuels combusting to propel his Tesla (ignoring of course, the massive combustion engines needed to loft it into orbit in first place).

So... is this the first Tesla powered by internal combustion? :-D


Wannabe W1 DOW-er faked car crash to track down reg plate's owner


> and why does he want widow on his numberplate?

Similar reason to the guy he wanted to buy it from? Or maybe he owns an early Porsche 911 and wanted an appropriate plate?


Linux Mint 18.3: A breath of fresh air? Well, it's a step into the unGNOME


Re: Eh?

Actually, most people still do connect to the internet via a dial up connection. Broadband connections are still "dial up" (*1), using PPP primarily (never seen SLIP on a modern broadband connection). If you use a broadband router provided by the ISP, it does the low level PPPoA or PPPoE stuff, and you just hook up to it via TCP.

If you are one of those people that uses a router to take care of that for you, then you don't need to read up on Slacks PPP page (you just do networking, probably with DHCP, which is a different page).

However, if you are using a broadband modem (or a router in "dumb bridge" mode) directly (or you want to run slack as your router), you will be configuring PPP settings to access the internet, in which case the page is relevant.

(*1) You still "dial-up" a broadband connection, some of the settings you get from your ISP are a dial up number,the country code number, login username and password, just like back in the days of 33k modems, just without the dialup noise (you can even get that if you don't use an ADSL filter and connect a phone to your landline, but your connection quality will drop). You can even do "on demand" dial up with timeouts, like the old days, but seeing as you pay a fixed monthly cost for the connection, there is little point to that (some security benefits to doing that though).


Oh good. Transport for London gives Capita £80m for WAN, LAN and Wi-Fi


Re: The 2 heads of Worzel ..Slurping WiFI/Daily location data to enforce the BBC Licence Fee?

> They then asked me if I had his new address.

Give them the address to the local cemetery. Would love to do that myself, just to see them try to serve a notice to a graveyard :-)


How's this for a stocking filler next year? El Reg catches up with Gemini


Oh wow, memories. I had three N810s (two in use, one spare), then a N900 (and I would still be using it if it didn't stop booting for some reason). Proper Linux on them, with the build chain, so you could (and I did) compile programs on it, and because you had a standard X server, you could run any Linux software on them, even open office.

I had one as a combo LAMP server for testing/debugging, with svn repo, DHCP and DNS. I could connect to it via ad-hoc wifi and work away where ever I was (usually via the other N810).

I had another as a portable desktop, and set up the X server to accept remote connections. I could also forward specific applications via SSH X forwarding. So in addition to using it as a portable machine, I could hook up to a network and use it as a desktop PC via a thin client.

This was really powerful, long before the masses were talking of being able to plug a phone into a screen/keyboard and have a full desktop, I already had it running and usable. Even the slow 802.11b wifi was adequate for basic terminal server use (don't go watching video over it). And because they didn't mess around with the Linux OS much, I could have all the desktop Linux software on it with no modification.

Not to mention I could code in any Linux supported language. I hacked Perl/Python/PHP and C on it merrily.

The N900 had a smaller keyboard, which I didn't like much (I prefer the N810 form factor, fits better in my hand) but they added a phone, and the SMS and phone apps could be called via the terminal, so I made little scripts, things like automatically sending "Happy New year", "Merry Christmas" bulk SMSes to my contact list, Also scripted a few "Happy Birthday" auto texts, and would pipe the fortune program to SMS for certain people so they got a "fortune of the day".

Once my N900 died, I had to go with Android. Android has ever since been a poor replacement, a reminder of how far backwards we went with flexibility, power, hackability and freedom. I tried the chroot Linux on it, but it always seemed unreliable, bug prone, and not worth the hassle of hacking it together.

I never had to worry about My Nokias spying on me, or shoving ads down my throat, but it is a constant (and increasingly difficult) task ripping all that crap out of Android to make it usable (but still not an OS I would trust with sensitive data). It is getting harder and harder to be able to reflash ROMs, unfortunately.

That is why This Gemini has held my interest for so long. It is like the next incarnation of the Nokias I had (and going further back, to the original Psion, Jornada 720 and the Libretto 20). I have already decided to get one, but will probably wait until it hits production before I purchase it. The first piece of tech I am quite excited about in a while!

Oh, and Merry Christmas to all of you :-)


Open source sets sights on killing WhatsApp and Slack



> It never really took off so I don't understand why making another open source protocol is going to be any different (even if it is 'easy to turn on' for sys admins).

Actually, it took off well, very well. WhatsApp, FBChat, Google Talk and Viber are basically wrappers around XMPP with some customisations, and that is only the ones I am aware of.

The problem is that having an open standard does not automatically mean interoperability. All the above systems could interact with each other, but their owners deliberately don't want to allow that, because the goal is to get users onto "their" platform so they can spy on them and sell the details to whoever.

That is not a technical problem, it is a social one. Creating a new chat network will just mean yet another app to install along with the others. How would you get people to ditch their old whatsapp (for example) for this if all their friends already use whatsapp? It is a catch 22 situation.


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


Re: The Future is Nuclear

"The large amount of energy required to isolate Hydrogen from natural compounds (water, natural gas, biomass), package the light gas by compression or liquefaction, transfer the energy carrier to the user, plus the energy lost when it is converted to useful electricity with fuel cells, leaves around 25% for practical use."

If only there was a way to store Hydrogen in a compact, energy dense form. Perhaps chemically linked with Carbon atoms?

I know, we could call them "Hydro-Carbons"!

Only part joking actually. Seems to me that all this money invested in better electric vehicles would be better spent on improving the cycle efficiency of closed carbon cycle liquid fuels (or biofuels). This would instantly allow all current and existing vehicles to become carbon neutral overnight, we could use the existing infrastructure outright as is, with the "couple minute" refuel convenience and long range.

Wins all round, except for those who own shares of battery makers and lithium/cobalt miners.

There is already bio diesel and bio butanol as like-for-like replacements to diesel and petrol (no modification needed), while bioethanol, while easier to make, needs engine modifications on non "flexfuel" cars.

With work on either fuel cells or really efficient series hybrid cars, we could really make a dent in carbon output. We would use liquid fuels as an energy storage/transport medium, rather than now when we just dig it out the ground.

However people in power are too fixated on "combustion" == "bad", to think of alternatives, and this push to battery electric will not only ruin the environment more, it will be less convenient, less range, and would a) require wholesale scrappage of existing vehicles and the infrastructure, and b) a completely parallel electric charging infrastructure side by side (for a long while, until nothing uses liquid fuels anymore), which is very wasteful in monetary (and other terms).


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


Re: academics and PFY's who can bearly produce stubble!

"For those who've not done it, try a Google image search on "dog dyeing". My favourite is the panda-dog. And don't have a mouthful of coffee when that search comes back."

Yeah I did this. Google "helpfully" thought I misspelled "dyeing" and automatically replaced it with "dying". Never saw a more heart wrenching set of images in one go.

Moral of the story, use a search engine that actually does what you tell it to, rather than thinking it is smarter than you (because, it almost always isn't). Alas duck duck go is just as "helpful", so need to find a simple, no nonsense search engine, but those no longer seem to exist.

Saying that, a search for "panda dog" and "tiger dog" did the trick, if you want to see examples of this new fad (I remember a time when they used to dye chicks, and keep them as pets. I think that was the 90s, so these fads seem to come in a cycle).


Ex-sperm-inate! Sam the sex-droid 'heavily soiled' in randy nerd rampage


> Try dating to find someone that definitely doesn't want kids, you'll find it slim pickings.

Just date career women. My past girlfriends don't want kids. Both were super smart lawyers, and very much in the "career woman" mindset. Their idea of a good life is to work hard, make loads of money, and spend it on a good time while traveling the world.

They primarily wanted company to do the above. I guess it depends on your social circles, or my luck (I actually want kids), but women who "just want fun" and don't want to be tied down with a family are a dime a dozen round here.

Actually finding a woman willing to sacrifice her career for motherhood, now that is rare here (London, UK).


NatWest customer services: We're aware of security glitch


Re: Had simi9lar issues

> Trying to op[en a new account with them 2 months ago; it didnt matter how many times they reset the password for us, it kept saying we were entering the wrong password.

That is interesting, because for the last few months I have had the exact same problem. I have been banking with Natwest for years, always with the same credentials, when a few months ago, without warning, no matter how many times I would type it in, it would say I was entering the wrong password. After 3 attempts it would lock me out and I would have to re-register for online banking.

So I have to register again, then it would work (because you can click "continue to online banking" straight from the registration confirmed page, so it doesn't prompt you for credentials), until I logout, then when I try to log in again I get exactly the same error.

It came to be that every time I wanted to log in to online banking, I had to re-register. After doing this 4-5 times, I kind of gave up, and just moved my account across to a competitor, along with all my Direct Debits and savings, thereby ridding myself of this problem (not to mention that my faith in their ability to actually keep my account secure is in doubt, if they can't do something as simple as count the number of characters in my password, I dread to think how the rest of their system is coded).


Nokia updates classic comeback mobe 3310

Thumb Up

> So if it's now 3G enabled, will it have a web browser and email?

Honestly I am not fussed, although it apparently has a web browser (see link below). If it has Bluetooth tethering, I am in for it. I can hook it up to a tablet, laptop or other device for web browsing, emai, apps, etc... depending on what features I need.

I tend to prefer having multiple devices optimised for a certain set of jobs, rather than a single one that does everything in a mediocre fashion (especially if it is expensive and fragile, like my smartphone). The long standby time is a plus as well quite frankly.

It apparently even supports dual sim!



Supposedly it has the Opera web browser, although no support for tethering according to the below link (which is for the EDGE/2.5G model):


Quite frankly, if they make a version with tethering, it will be my next phone. All the benefits of the old mobile phone (hopefully just as unbreakable), with the ability to use it as a modem with any other more advanced device I have.


¡Dios mío! Spain blocks DNS to hush Catalonian independence vote sites


"A Catalan government that uses public funds to organize a referendum that has been prohibited by Spain Constitutional Court (equivalent of US Supreme Court).

You all have to know that the Constitution of Spain stablishes that Spain is ONE SOVEREIGN PEOPLE and ONE SOVEREIGN NATION; This means that no region can assume the sovereignty of the whole Spain People and organize a referendum to decide their auto-determination. THIS IS THE LAW."

A constitution is a piece of paper. Unless (a) all parties agree to abide by it, or (b) it is backed up by violence, it is worthless. The history books (and present reality in the world) is littered with quasi states that are partially recognised (Nagorno-Karabakh, Kosovo, Israel, Palestine, Taiwan, Transnistria for example), and constitutions that have been violated left right and centre to the point of meaninglessness.

So far Spain had been trying to get all parties to abide by it. As that seems less and less likely to happen, they are bring it out the violence. It is a standard procedure, because if Spain says something is unconstitutional, and people go do it anyway, and there is no punishment, then other people may think they can violate the constitution as well.

It is a tricky situation, because by doing this Spain is turning more Catalans against Madrid, which can well cause problems down the line. However if they did nothing, and the Catalans declare unilateral independence, that may inspire other parts of Spain to the same. The Basques in particular may feel emboldened themselves to demand the same.

The question on my mind is this: If Spain ramps up the violence even more, more arrests, more denials of ability to vote, more suppression of independence opinions or talk, more "police action" against separatists. What will the Catalans do? Will they respond with violence? Roll over and submit? Push even harder for independence? Rarely do states peacefully allow a chunk of territory to leave (because that is the first crack in said states dissolution), so usually there is an armed insurrection at some point.

I also wonder where the Catalans suddenly got the bravery to challenge Spain like this. They have been making noises about independence for decades, but never moved towards it.

Usually when a minority in a country challenges the majority like this, and violates the constitution, it is because they have support of a stronger power. Someone who has an interest in an independence outcome, and the money, global political influence and/or army to support it. Without such a backer Catalonia would be crushed, and the Catalan politicians know this (hence they made noise, but no moves towards it for so long).


Spanish govt slammed over bizarre Catalan .cat internet registry cop raid


Re: Information is a dangerous good

> This is abusing a law designed for copyright theft or hate speech.

See this right here, right now, is why you should fight such laws, even if you disagree with Piracy or "hate speech" (which is particularly Orwellian in nature, as the government gets to decide what is or isn't "hate speech").

Every time here in the UK, I see people cheering for a new law against "hate speech" or whatever, I bring up these examples, only to get shot down with "do you support hate speech" and other such drivel.

If I even manage to explain to them that once you give the government a foot in the door, all bets are off and they can censor, I get intelligent responses like "don't be so paranoid, this is a liberal democracy, not North Korea!"

Yeah well, here is an example, of a "western democracy" going at it, no less. If anything can come out of this sorry situation, it is examples of government abuse of laws for "terrorism" or "hate speech", or whatever else they dream up. Laws that seem to be proliferating in the west as of late...


If you need to replace anything other than your iPhone 8's battery or display, good luck


Re: I must be luckly then...

> Surely that's indicative of the phone user, not an issue with the phone, if you can afford the £1k for the phone, you can afford the 2 year Apple Care for it to be fixed/replaced.

I never said it wasn't. However if I break the phone, I like to be able to repair it quickly, and myself, rather than have to take it to someone else to repair, wait for it to be done, returned to me (possibly working, possibly not, in which case send it back again).

Plus if I CBA to do it, there is a local Kiosk at the end of my road where the guy will fix them for £30-£50 within the next 2 hours for me.

Funny thing is, I could afford a £1k phone, just that I wouldn't want to. I would rather spend £1k on upteen other things in the world. I can smell a bad deal even if I can afford the cost of said deal.



> So why don't you get that Motorola with the shatterproof plastic screen? Obviously it'll scratch much more easily, but a good screen protector should fix that.

1) I didn't know about them

2) I like the OLED screens on the Samsungs

3) I've gotten quite apt at repair of Samsungs, and have the tools for it

4) despite shattering, the screens and touchpad keep working, so I can still use the phone. This is a godsend, because if the phone breaks an a very inopportune moment, I don't have to rush to buy one there and then, but can (somewhat) use it till I get home and switch with the other one. I think only once did a phone break so badly the screen didn't work.

5) unlocked bootloaders, so I can run custom ROMs

6) They have an external antenna port, which is useful when I am in the car, or somewhere with poor signal.

Those are my reasons. Although it is getting harder and harder to find up to date ROMs for the old phones, and the new ones with integrated battery + everything else don't interest me. As such, my next phone may well be one of those Chinese ones off aliexpress. They seem pretty good, and still have things like micro SD slots, removable batteries, etc...


"Renault, not Peugeot. From some point after Renault Clio Mk2 they went nuts. While an old Renault could be repaired by a barely literate bush mechanic armed with hammer and spanners, on anything after around 2003-4 you need specialized tools, service manual and you need to remove the front bumper to change a light bulb. PSV while also a known offender is not anywhere near as bad."

Never tried to replace the light bulbs on a 90s Peugeot 605 I take it? Remember doing it with my dad. Took over an hour, and required removal of the front bumper to do it. Nasty cars to work on, and pretty unreliable to boot, so you would spend a lot of time fixing them (or a lot of money paying someone else to do it).

We had a Peugeot 405 and 605 at the time. The 405 was really unreliable, sometimes would start, you would drive, then it would die and it wouldn't start, had a tendency to overheat, and sometimes just abandon you on the side of the road.

The 605 was nice. Had the top end V6 engine and all the trimmings. Worked ok as well, until one day the gearbox blew up while accelerating onto the motorway, leaving a lovely pile of metal and oil on the road, and a repair bill that convinced my dad to get rid of them both.

Needless to stay, he never bought a Peugeot again, and I stay away from them. Although I heard their smaller cars are pretty reliable.


Re: I must be luckly then...

> I've been using smart phones for over seven years now and have not broken (or even scratched) a single screen.

Indeed you must be lucky, living proof of balance in the universe perhaps, as you sound like my polar opposite! My phones (all Samsungs) survive on average 2 months from new before they get a scratch, or a broken screen. At one point I went through effectively 5 phones in a year (well, 2 actual phones, but I would repair one while using the other, and vice versa)

Once I broke down and bought the thickest, most armored case I could find for my Samsung S4 (armored front and back, with screen protector) and somehow even that didn't save the screen from cracking when it fell.

Needless to say I buy phones for ability to be repaired by me, otherwise things would get very expensive. I so miss my old Nokia 3210. Never broke a single thing on it, no matter how many times it fell. The n900 was a solid beast as well, as were the n810's (they tended to dent, being metal, but continued working fine)


Shock: Brit capital strips Uber of its taxi licence


Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

> London police cannot even be arsed to check that foreign cars have proper insurance, stay within the 6 months allowed by EU regs and have a valid foreign MOT. They are the only ones in Europe that are so lax. Emission control enforcement. You GOTTA BE KIDDING.

Your comment was an insightful read for me, but I think you are being a bit unfair on the London police.

Having extensively traveled across Europe by car multiple times, including the Serbia/Montenegro/FYROM/Greek borders, I can say that by and large the plod across the channel don't care that much about emissions either.

Serbia/Montenegro has very big problems with smuggling. Because they are non EU, some things are so cheap there (Especially ciggies) everyone and their mother tries to smuggle some into the EU for a handsome profit. Due to tariffs on certain goods, just as many try to smuggle laptops etc... the other way as well (they once booked me because I had two laptops for use. Had to explain one was business, and one personal, and they actually wrote it into my passport, so when I leave the country the make and models can be checked, to make sure I didn't flog them).

As a result their borders are one of the most locked down in Europe, and they will be thorough with checks. So while they do pay much attention and take their time, the side effect is that you can have 8 hour queues to cross the border, while they check and cross check every single detail of everyone.

If that happened across the whole of the EU, commerce and transport would grind to a halt.

I have also never seen an emissions check in the EU, and most Europeans who live there have also removed their particulate filters (or other emissions equipment) on their cars, and neither the plod nor their equivalent of MOT garages give a toss. Never thought I'd see people "rolling coal" on public roads in Europe, but I have, on a few occasions.

As for checking the 6 month limit. I know UK expats who never bothered registering their cars where they moved to in the EU. Some have driven for 5+ years over the 6 month limit, without ever getting bothered by the police. Indeed as I am thinking of moving to the EU, most of my friends there already said not to worry about the 6 month limit, because "nobody really cares that much".

Saying that, things might be different in Austria and Germany, two countries I have yet to extensively road trip on, so things could be radically different there, but the rest of the EU is not much different to the UK in that sense.


AI slurps, learns millions of passwords to work out which ones you may use next



> Anyone else tired of XKCD for everything? (Ok I realise I should not have asked that).

Heh, I remember when it was "obligatory userfriendly.org" link, but when that webcomic ended, people switched to xkcd.com, which is the current default "oblig" link.

Usually the reason is that techie comics tend to reflect current tech issues (such as the password one) in an easily understandable form, so that rather than have to re-explain each time, you just post a link to the relevant comic. If nothing else, it gets some chuckles out of people, and can kick start a conversation.

Traditions modify themselves with time, but they don't necessarily go away. If xkcd.com shuts down, or becomes less relevant to tech culture, something else will replace it.

You are of course welcome to post alternative comic links. I learned about UF.org years ago that way, then learned about xkcd, and maybe I will find new interesting webcomics that way too :)


Smart cities? Tell it like it is, they're surveillance cities


citizen infractions of rules can be prevented?

> citizen infractions of rules can be prevented

If I am honest (and I suspect if most people are honest with themselves) we infract against rules multiple times a day, every day.

Hell, it is what keeps me sane quite frankly. If I had to actually follow every single silly rule on the books, put in place by busybodies with nothing better to do over the course of decades, I would have become suicidal years ago.

There has to be a certain level of "slack" in rule enforcement in order for society to function. Up until recently, it was up to a human police officer's discretion as to whether a rule was applied to you or not, given the circumstances, situation, etc...

With automation, that human decision making is slowly being removed. A Police officer can exercise discretion with regards to jaywalking for example, however a machine is very strict, a rule was violated, so you get a penalty.

Another thing they talk about is "prevention". So, how would that work? Some sort of "pre-crime" detection? Will the AI make guesses based on what inputs it gets as to how likely you are to commit a crime? What then? Preemptive arrest? Extra invasive surveillance "just in case"?

A core tenet of law is not that it prevents you from doing something illegal, but that if you do something illegal, you face the consequences. The choice of breaking the law is still up to you, which is why you can be held accountable for your actions in a court of law. And then you argue your case for why you decided to ignore that law to do what you did, sometimes the court agrees with you, sometimes not.

If we want 100% rule enforcement, 100% of the time, I suspect society will have serious issues. Either rules will have to be watered down or scrapped, or these "smart cities" would become nothing more than massive virtual prisons for the masses.

Much as I believe people should be free to live in such prisons if they want ( I sure would not live in a city if it wasn't for the fact all the work is here, and the transport links out of the city are too awful for commuting) my worry is that once all the cities become like this, they will push the same systems out into the countryside, getting rid of those little pockets of freedom that resisted.


Voyager antenna operator: 'I was the first human to see images from Neptune'


Re: Unfortunately...

> Shirley, there's got to be a nerdette out there who digs this stuff?

There are, but they are a rare minority in my experience. The nerd/nerdette ratio is far skewed towards the male gender from my experience, unfortunately.

If the current push of getting more women interested in STEM results in more nerdettes in 15-20 years time, that would be great for the next generation of nerds, if a bit late for me though :-(


World's largest private submarine in mystery sink accident


Re: "Real submarines are rare"

Private submarines have been possible for a while, but the only people with the cashflow and a real need are the mafia, who don't really advertise their capabilities. The only knowledge is from submarines scuttled or captured by authorities while in dock, like this one:

On 3 July 2010 the Ecuadorian authorities seized a fully functional, completely submersible diesel electric submarine in the jungles bordering Ecuador and Colombia.[3] It had a cylindrical fiberglass and Kevlar hull 31 m long, a 3 m conning tower with periscope, and air conditioning. The vessel had the capacity for about 10 tonnes of cargo, a crew of five or six people, the ability to fully submerge down to 20 m, and capable of long-range underwater operation.

Excerpt from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narco-submarine, which is a really interesting read in of itself. Seems drug runners have been at it for a long time, as reports and rumors abounded in the 1980s of scuttled submersibles being discovered.

Sure they don't dive as deep as this one, but it was captured in 2010, so 7 years have passed. It could be that the ones capable of submersing deeper just haven't been captured yet. Just like the government, you can never be sure what the current state of the art is with the mafia.


Your top five dreadful people the Google manifesto has pulled out of the woodwork


Re: This Article

Thank you for taking the time to write this.

Honestly, this article on the reg reads like a propaganda hit piece, going off into a list of people the author doesn't like.

Did the author actually read the memo, or just assumed based on what they heard from other reports the memo actually contained?

For example, here are some extracts from the memo, and I quote:

(page 3)

I’m not saying that all men differ from all women in the following ways or that these differences are “just.” I’m simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership. Many of these differences are small and there’s significant overlap between men and women, so you can’t say anything about an individual given these population level distributions.

(page 8)


I hope it’s clear that I’m not saying that diversity is bad, that Google or society is 100% fair, that we shouldn’t try to correct for existing biases, or that minorities have the same experience of those in the majority. My larger point is that we have an intolerance for ideas and evidence that don’t fit a certain ideology. I’m also not saying that we should restrict people to certain gender roles; I’m advocating for quite the opposite: treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group (tribalism).

I sure didn't read that as:

But that also ignores the fundamental fact that Damore literally argued that women were biologically unsuitable to do certain types of jobs.

as the author contents. It sounds to me like a guy who wants to have a rational debate about the situation, he isn't name calling, he isn't saying "Women can't code and should have babies and sit in the kitchen all their life", or that everything is pure black and white (in fact he says the exact opposite in the memo). He made his position clear and backed it up with evidence.

You may not like what he says, you may not agree with what he says, but the answer is to challenge the message, and debate it. If your counter arguments/evidence are strong enough, you will be be victorious, that is how debates work. You do not insult and attack the messenger. So far all I have seen in response to this memo is horrid attacks on the person, not the message.

To me, a neutral third party, that makes me think that the other party in this debate does not have any decent counter arguments, so have resolved to use character assassination of the messenger, in the hope if they discredit the author enough, people won't read or pay attention to the memo.

The way I read it, his key point is mentioned in this quote:

I’m also not saying that we should restrict people to certain gender roles; I’m advocating for quite the opposite: treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group (tribalism).

That to me seems like a perfectly valid position to hold, I now await a reasoned counter argument against it. So far I have been let down.


RentBoy.com boss faces six months of hard time


I am not sure about the sentence

Perhaps I am misunderstanding this, but from what I gather, as long as you donate to the right causes, you can get leniency for committing crimes?

I am not sure that this is a good idea of justice. Ignoring what the money was spent on, it was still earned illegally, by breaking the law. Surely it is the crime itself that should be the basis for sentencing, rather than how the proceeds were spent?

Or do other criminals now just have to show that a portion of their proceeds went to "good causes" if they want leniency?

The only other thing I gathered from this situation, is that perhaps they need to consider changing their laws on prostitution, if someone breaking the law is seen as doing a social good.


Autonomous driving in a city? We're '95% of the way there'


Re: Strong push?

> Its a revenue stream - if you buy your own autonomous car then you only pay once.

I don't know, I suspect they are more likely to be rented out, a-la uber. They already said the cars will have internal cameras and microphones "for your safety", and I guess it is an opportunity to push adverts onto people. You are limited to how much you can advertise to someone who is driving without distracting them.

Plus the outside of the cars can be covered in adverts too, like mobile billboards. There is a big push to convince people that renting rather than owning is a good idea. I guess they try to generate "ongoing revenue", and make sure people can't improve their lot in life.

>There will come a tipping point when autonomous cars take over the roads - you will be able to take your porche on the road but you will be part of the smooth laminar flow generated by the autonomous cars and any attempt to disrupt that will get you nowhere.

Well, I am ok with sharing the roads with autonomous cars. Just how I like driving, there are those who despise it, and see it as a chore to get rid of asap (and these are the ones most likely not to give driving the attention and concentration it deserves, most accidents seem to be idiots reading/texting on their phone while driving). Each to their own, as they say. We will have to see how to make them co-exist.

To be fair though, few people enjoy motorway driving. Even today, people are more likely to take their Porsche on the winding country/coastal roads, away from traffic. While those in future autonomous cars will want to get from A-B as fast/efficiently as possible, so whey would pretty much always be on motorways (unless they explicitly want to be driven on the scenic route, which will probably be an occasional thing)

> Ocado can go and get fucked though - the only way this is going to work properly is with open designs and no patents on the bleeding obvious.

Hmm, would be nice if the hardware/software for autonomous cars would be open source, then at least we can look ourselves at the logic that will be in charge of human lives. Doesn't seem likely to occur though.


Re: Strong push?

> On the other hand personal computers and mobile phones were technology pushes that worked out.

I wouldn't consider those pushes really. People already had phones, many times I am sure, when people were desperately looking for a free phone box, or were in a train/car/etc... would have loved a mobile phone. Especially if they had to call the emergency services.

Hell, they created Walkie-talkies precisely to fit that missing segment, and it isn't surprising that with the proliferation of mobile phones, walkie-talkies fell out of use by the general public, and now are only in niche areas such as military/police/emergency units.

Personal computers were not a push either. Which is why in the beginning so few people had them. They were expensive, and didn't seem all that useful to the general public. As more and more things came to be represented digitally, the information computers could store/process/manipulate grew to the point where they became useful to a wider segment of the population. That was a massive pull, not a push.

As for the main reason for the push being "fashion". If it is true, it gives me a warm feeling inside to know that some of the most powerful corps, and governments (with their monopoly of coercion and violence) are basically lemmings.


Re: Strong push?

I do wonder, if they finally release autonomous cars, and find out that barring a small minority, nobody wants to use them. Would they restrict or ban driving? Make it really expensive to drive yourself? Somehow force people into using them (after all, all that time, money and effort was used, and they need to get some return on that investment).

Black Helicopters

Strong push?

> A detailed TRL whitepaper (here: PDF) in July expressed concern over what it called a “strong technology push for autonomous vehicles rather than a societal pull”.

So, people are getting always-on, connected autonomous cars shoved down their throats, rather than it being something the people want.

Really makes me wonder why government and megacorps are willing to throw so much money, time and effort at something unwanted by the masses, unless there is an ulterior motive they have not told us about, but will benefit them immensely at our expense.


Everything you never knew about mail: The Postal Museum opens



There’s also a small display of how mainline steam trains of yore used to deal with loading and unloading mail while travelling at full speed, courtesy of an alarming-looking system of nets and spikes.

Indeed, and a visual overview (and demonstration) of that (among the other things, including sorting in the train) is available on youtube, movie is called "night mail", original from 1936, and available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7SD6qt0EFI

The whole post office inner workings are an impressive and elegant system, I have to say. Very well organised.

I for one will be paying the museum a visit, although if 5'11 is hard to fit into the mail rail carriage, I suspect squeezing my 6+ ft frame will not really be possible :-S


Firefox doesn't need to be No 1 – and that's OK, 'cos it's falling off a cliff


IMO It is an engineering fault for their failure...

To writ...

1. Firefox abandoned stable releases for these rolling releases like Chrome does, which doesn't work in an office environment (and indeed, in an office I worked at, they decided to ditch firefox because of it). Also, it messes up OS repositories (like the Debian ones) because they can't push updates to the repo every time the firefox people decide for an update. However sites now assume the rolling update model, and will sometimes break on versions of firefox that haven't had a few rolling updates.

2. Firefox changed the UI to be more like Chrome. Which upset those of us who have been using firefox for ages, and who liked the UI (I personally never liked the Chrome UI).

3. The removal of XUL, the breaking of plugins/extensions/themes, and the general middle finger given to firefox power users not only lost those power users, but also the other people who went to those power users for advice. Once upon a time when building/repairing a machine for someone, I would install firefox by default and explain to them why they should use it over IE. No longer.

4. It has gotten worse. The new firefox uses more memory than the old one, is slower than Chrome, and is far more buggy. They seem to have split tabs into their own processes, like Chrome, but tabs keep crashing, and it just doesn't work that well.

It seems firefox tried really hard to be a clone of Chrome, which is stupid. If someone wants to use Chrome, they will use Chrome. Why would they use a Chrome clone that isn't as good?

However by doing this, they not only ended up being a poor Chrome clone, but they lost those of us who didn't like Chrome. This is exactly what happened with me, I didn't like Chrome, but when firefox became a poor copy and lost what I liked about the browser, I saw no reason to use it anymore, and now Chromium is my main browser (at least until I get around to installing pale moon, which seems to be hitting all the right buttons. Might give seamonkey a go as well).


'Millions of IoT gizmos' wide open to hijackers after devs drop gSOAP


Of course it won't happen anytime soon

I mean, why would vendors patch old hardware?

On one hand, they can spend time and money updating old firmware, then somehow sending the firmware out to owners, with instructions on how to update (and handle all the support calls), for no extra income, or..

They can just not care, state that the old hardware is "deprecated", and that the "fix" is to buy their latest shiny.

The second option is more profitable for them, precisely because there is no way of forcing them to fix old hardware. If you think about it, other industries have recalls, especially if a big problem is found, and companies are forced to do this, usually by whoever regulates their industry.

Software has no such regulator, so they can pretty much just wash their hands of the problem. If it causes the end user too much bother they should "upgrade" then.

Not sure what the best way of handling this is. On one hand, having millions of vulnerable IoT devices are just a botnet in waiting really. On the other hand, banning the devices from use or forcing companies to issue security patches both seem unlikely to happen and regulators could stifle what is a rather dynamic industry (for better or for worse).

My favorite solution is to just not have IoT devices unless absolutely necessary (and admittedly CCTV is one place where it is useful), however there seems to be a drive to shove a computer into every single thing possible, from children's toys to cars, and even lampposts, buildings and roads.

The world looks more and more like a cyberpunk dystopia as time goes on...


Russia launches non-terrifying satellite that focuses Sun's solar rays onto Earth


I doubt the app is actually related to the university, more likely someone had the idea to pull public data (all non military sats blasted into space are tagged and orbit publicly logged AFAIK) and package it into a scam app with one of those "affiliate" referral type deals.

Someone is just trading on the public interest to peddle their affiliate scam.


UK spookhaus GCHQ can crack end-to-end encryption, claims Australian A-G


Re: "Me thinks the UK bod really was implying that you install spyware on one of the devices "

Maybe it did explode but nobody noticed.

Maybe nobody noticed because there wasn't anything in there to go "pop" in the first place?

Saying that, fat good it is having uber secure and encrypted app if you run it on a complete sieve of an OS like Android.

Fact is, Android was designed from the ground up for spying. That was its prime purpose. Sure, the spying was for Google so they could target ads and make money off you (hence the OS was free) rather than some dark government agency, but spying none the less.

Hence why permissions are such a tacked on joke, and you have to fight the OS to stop it sending data to third parties (and you can never be sure you got it all).

The problem is, even if Google do not co-operate and provide access to their spying system to governments (which I find unlikely they would deny, even if they publicly deny it) government black hats can reverse engineer the OS and find them themselves.

It is like when you insert a backdoor into a system, for whatever reason (even a complete pure and noble one), there is always the chance someone else will stumble upon it, and abuse it.

Same here, so when the GHCQ boss says they can access encrypted messages, I believe him, they don't have to break the encryption, or the app itself.

If the underlying OS is compromised, everything above it is blown wide open (to the point of them pulling the session keys out of memory if they wanted to). Keypresses, screen output, microphone, camera, the lot.


Beware, sheep rustlers of the South West of England! Police drone spy unit gets to work


A hackers dream...

...possibly delivered right to their feet for free.

I mean, a drone with a HD thermal imaging camera (with what looks like a decent lens on it), cool electronics, batteries, powerful motors, etc... I can imagine these things being pilfered by those so inclined for their parts alone.

Especially if the communication is the same COTS as pretty much all other drones (it tends to be, as a general rule, unless it is military spec). One successful MITM over say, a forest, and you could just make it seem like the drone lost power and crashed into the forest floor, out of sight.

By the time they go there to retrieve it, it can already be long gone (unless they send another one to look for it, in which case you might end up with two drones that day).


Electric driverless cars could make petrol and diesel motors 'socially unacceptable'



Indeed, I had the same experience as you on public transport (and alas 13 years in, still am experiencing it), minus the cancelled trains. TFL tube has had cancellations, but not to the same level. On the flip side, standing is about 95% of the time on it.

I would add there is also the added worry of being mugged or killed. On the bus I take to my station, a guy was murdered by a recently released mental patient. Out of the blue, guy coming back from his commute, just like that. Guy sat behind the victim, and slit his throat because "the voices told him to". Didn't even say anything. I have to say I got quite nervous after that, especially when people sat behind me. Ignoring the bombings and other attacks that hit public transport links too, which didn't help matters.

Then you get all kinds of people, alcoholics, drug users, people who are rude, who spit at you, or just try to get into a fight. On the bus at least there is the driver, and a few times he has stopped the bus and thrown people out, but still a very unpleasant experience. A few times a fist fight would kick off as well, which is always fun, especially if you can't get out of the way in time.

The tube is worse because there is nobody there to deal with problems, and the other passengers will just ignore whatever is happening in the hope they are not next. Your best bet is to avoid anything kicking off before the next station, then get off and hope the other person doesn't follow you. If they do then just make a beeline to one of the security people in the station.

Quite frankly, if I could get a parking spot at work I would switch to a car in a heartbeat. Even sitting in rush hour traffic is better. At least there I am secure in my own little pod, I can turn on the air-con, sit in a comfy seat, put on some nice music on the radio, and chill. Sure it may take longer, but overall the experience is far more pleasant. I didn't originally get why people are willing to waste their time and money in such traffic, but a decade of commuting later (and a short consulting stint where I actually commuted by car) I now fully understand.


Hey, remember that monkey selfie copyright drama a few years ago? Get this – It's just hit the US appeals courts


Re: 2 thumbs up for this line

"Best line I have read in a while... and sums the situation up perfectly."

I fully agree. Made me laugh at the end, and so very true.

It is proof that between the lawyers, copyright system and arguing over who gets bits of paper with numbers written on them from a reproduction of a bunch of light waves, the monkey is the wisest of the lot. Just eat, sleep, shag and repeat. Pretty much the good life.

Sometimes I feel humans just invent problems so they can have an argument over them. I guess not having to run away from hungry Jaguars has given us quite a lot of free time, and some people are having trouble filling the hours with something productive.


Good luck building a VR PC: Ethereum miners are buying all the GPUs


Re: Cmon El Reg

> It still makes me cry.

Once I felt the same way. When I originally got into bitcoin I ended up mining 300 coins, I sold them at £25 a pop after a while to help with my first flat deposit.

Fast forward to present day, a bitcoin is worth almost £2000. Had I known I could have bought two flats outright with extra spending money on top.

A friend of mine who works in trading however, gave me a piece of advice "Any profit you can walk away from is a good result. Bitcoin has hit highs now, but it could just as easily have become worthless. There was no way to be sure of either future outcome".

And he is right. BTC could have floundered just as easily as it rallied. Makes me feel a bit better when I think of it that way. If you bought at £10 and sold at £30, then you made a very good return. ETH could have just as easily collapsed and you could have lost it all.

Saying that, I did get out of the cryptocurrency mining. I just can't compete with people in Asia who have stupidly cheap electricity costs compared to the UK/EU, not to mention they tend to get the newest hardware first due to proximity of hardware manufacture to them.


Zero accidents, all of your data – what The Reg learnt at Bosch's autonomous car bash


Re: Cars withe EULA

"The question is, if I buy a car - or a cell phone, or a computer, or any other tech - do I OWN what I paid for, or do I merely have a non-transferable license to USE my car in accordance with the car's EULA?"

The question on my mind is, how do you handle the second hand car market? Currently cars don't record an entire history of what happened in them, nor do you pay a monthly contract for the data connection.

What if it turns out to be like software? "Oh, you didn't buy the car, you bought a licence to use it", with all the restrictions, extra payments and general "fuck the customer" attitude that comes with software already.

Would you even be allowed to resell the car? What if they decide to change the licence terms, and you don't agree to the changes? Can they remotely disable the car until you agree? They can say you have 14 days to cancel your contract like with a phone, but do they just take the car away? Do you get a refund on your purchase price? Plus then you end up having to get another car with those terms already in the licence anyway, so you are screwed one way or another.

Bad enough having licensing restrictions and having monthly payments with software and mobile phones. Last thing I want to do is have a monthly payment and a EULA for my car as well.

The whole "connected automated car" thing sounds like a disaster in the making to me. Very dystopian, especially the whole "having cameras and microphones in the cabin" that are on all the time and tracking your eye movements and recording conversations.

Do normal people actually want this? I mean, as a geek I can think of all the ways this will go wrong, including the privacy and software security headache this would be, but even the "normal" people I know would not want a computer driving for them. I get the feeling this is more just being forced down our throats in the sense of "this is how the future will be, screw you if you don't like it" mantra that seems to have become quite pervasive in the last 10 years.

The only way I see these connected autonomous cars working is if you don't actually own them. You use them like you would a cab, bus, or public transport. Hail a pod from your phone/google brain implant, and it arrives to take you to any of the pre-vetted destinations (no driving around to areas the powers that be don't want you to see, citizen), ideally tailored to your preferences by AI as gleaned from all the data they collected on you. I guess you can sit in the pod and watch adverts inter spaced with a bit of entertainment to relieve the boredom until you reach your destination, then the pod leaves you there and goes to pick someone else up.


DDN burst buffer to bimble along more briskly after boost


Re: Not quite blurry enough...

I was going to say. They made it blurry enough for me to notice the number plate, but not blurry enough to be unable to read it.

Quite frankly had they left it alone I probably would have subconsciously filtered it out as I normally would.

Almost as if they wanted to let it be known :-P


Earth resists NASA's attempts to make red and green clouds

Black Helicopters

Re: Chemtrails FTW

> Just when I was thinking I hadn't seen much from the chemtrail crowd lately, along comes this one, the rocket is clearly just a cover to pretend they weren't already using planes to spread the stuff.

Naaah, people are so conditioned to ignore the tin-foilers that the deep state can not only not have to deny it anymore, but can dye the chemtrails funky colours in the sky, and the public will still not believe the tin-foilers.

I am sure it will drive the foilers nuts, especially as it is such a brazen public way of doing it!

/me tightens my tinfoil-hat strap.


Your emotionally absent pic-snapping partner's going to look you in the eye again


"And will they make the shutter click sound that is legally required in places like France? I sense an incoming ECJ sueball..."

Hmm, that is required for photo cameras. However if you are recording video, what is the legal requirement? If any?

I know that phones in franch make the clicky sound when a photo is taken, but videos seem to be silent. My old Nokia had a nice feature that if you were recording a video, a red LED would light up above the camera, so people knew when you were recording.

No modern phones have that (afaik) and they haven't been sued to oblivion, so I suspect it will be ok if the specs record constant video (and allow you to share "freeze-frames" from the video as snapshots).


Astroboffins spot a new type of galaxy bursting with stars


Re: Bah!

> So much for "science".

You could argue that it isn't Science at fault, but engineering :P

Specifically, Theorists have proposed multiple ways of getting to star systems, of varying "out-there-ness", from theoretical wormholes and warp drives, to more pedestrian systems.

I think the most practical one that could be designed and built with current tech is the Orion propulsion system, however politics and engineering challenges meant it never got anywhere.

The problem, as always, is power. Society thrives on energy, and up until the 60's, humans actively sought out more and more powerful energy sources to drive our societies. However with Nuclear we took steps back, as a race we decided against grasping this even more powerful energy source, and recoiled. Hence the somewhat stagnating quality of life, economy and energy tech advancement (apart from refinements into existing tech).

Eventually we will get kicked in the balls and will have to move forward, but till then we won't really move beyond the current space tech.


Bye bye MP3: You sucked the life out of music. But vinyl is just as warped


> Have you recently watched a VHS tape? You might find (like I did) that while "bad quality" is not part of what you remember, VHS is shockingly bad by any means.

Well yes, but it looked better on the old CRTs because they tended to blend the lines between scans, and because of the refresh rate sudden changes, and because the screens were smaller, quite frankly.

I played an old VHS tape on my flat screen TV, and it looked awful. However when I went to my grans place and played it back on the her 25+ year old CRT, it actually looked alright.

The technology worked well enough at the time, and they were matched. Not how I imagine one day, when people are used to 12-bit 4K video will look at 720p videos and wonder how they managed to watch such poor quality.




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