* Posts by MacroRodent

1156 posts • joined 18 May 2007

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Init freedom declared as systemd-free Devuan hits stable 1.0.0 status

MacroRodent
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Re: Happy with systemd? You won't be one day

So you immediately concluded the culprit is systemd, and not the particular Ubuntu version, or how it was pre-installed by the vendor? Personally, I would not trust pre-installations by Windows vendors like Dell at all...

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MacroRodent
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Re: Consider this: (was: No - systemd doesn't offend me)

And the choke point is controlled by whom, exactly?

Systemd is licensed with LGPL. So anytime the current developer tries to act up, and annoys enough users, it gets forked. Just like happened with Xfree86, MySQL, and OpenOffice, among others. That is one of the reasons for the existence of GPL and other free software licenses: Nobody has a chokehold.

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MacroRodent
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Re: No - systemd doesn't offend me

Maybe people who have actually used (as opposed to just flaming) a systemd-based system for some time, and got used to it?

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What's got a vast attack surface and runs on Linux? Windows Defender, of course

MacroRodent
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Re: But isn't the environment itself just as important?

It is also the case that fuzzing is no panacea. Nevertheless, it often does uncover interesting results. I have used a form of fuzzing to test a cross compiler I worked on. One more tool in the toolkit, but a wise tester should use others as well.

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And finally, monsieur, a wafer-thin hologram ... Sir, it is only wafer thin

MacroRodent
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Size problem

Could someone explain how holograms would make sense in small devices? Real holograms don't "project" anything, they are more like windows that show the apparent 3D object, but this image cannot be larger than the substrate of the hologram itself. There are other ways to create 3D images that can be viewed without glasses from different angles, but these involve lighting up "voxels" in some medium, like mist or a translucent block, and these are not holograms.

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Proposed PATCH Act forces US snoops to quit hoarding code exploits

MacroRodent
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Secret patching of Windows infeasible

Obviously GCHQ didn't know about it - otherwise they would have told the NHS

And what could the NHS have done about it on its own? It would have had to involve Microsoft anyway, which would probably have resulted in a patch for everyone.

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MP3 'died' and nobody noticed: Key patents expire on golden oldie tech

MacroRodent
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Re: I don't understand how it 'died'

Indeed. Finally even ultra careful Linux distributions can include MP3 software in their standard repositories, instead of requiring users to build them from source, or use semi-underground repos like Pacman for OpenSuse.

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Amazon may be using disk drives with hot-swappable components

MacroRodent
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Re: Amazing

Yeah, but ... Ever try to hop swap an ST-506?

As I remember it, you could not even move it to a different PC while cold, and expect to read the old data. (Tried it with my first two PCs). Some data was visible, but most was unreadable. The controllers evidenly controlled the drive in slightly different ways.

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MacroRodent
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Amazing

Not putting all the electronics into the same box with the mechanics? Who could have thought of it?

Sigh.

Wonder if the original floppy drives would be prior art? They had very few smarts, the microcomputer had to control them in great detail, which was one reason why in the old times, floppies from different microcomputers usually had different incompatible physical formats.

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Would you believe it? The Museum of Failure contains quite a few pieces of technology

MacroRodent
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Re: C5 any one?

Which C5? The Citroen C5? Chevrolet C5? (at least the Citroen one got a reputation as an unreliable car.)

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MacroRodent
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FAIL

Nomination: Philips DCC

Philips tried to redefine the C-cassettes as a digital format: Recording compressed audio digitally (some for of MPEG2-compression I think) on tape cartridges the same size as classic C-cassettes. This was supposed to be also backward-compatible: DCC recorders could play back (but not record) analogue cassettes, even though physically the cassettes looked quite different. The DCC cassette had a sliding tape protector, and was inserted only in one way, no flipping by the user needed. (It still had A and B sides, but switching between these was handled by the deck).

The sound quality was actually not bad, I owned a deck (probably still somewhere in the cellar) when they were in firesale mode. CD quality, as far as my ears could tell. But the format was harder to use than analogue cassettes. You could not just throw them in, and start recording, some formatting was needed. Also any dirt in the recording head killed it, and one way to get the head dirty quickly was to use the advertised compatibility feature and play back analogue tapes...

Also it had the problems of tape in seeking to a desired track. It could seek automatically, but it took time. The rival Sony MiniDisk did not have this problem, so it won, sort of.

Both formats were of course finally obsoleted by MP3 files on the Internet, and MP3 players.

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Script kiddies pwn 1000s of Windows boxes using leaked NSA hack tools

MacroRodent
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Another way to look at the mess...

If NSA really needed to infiltrate some Windows machine on the net, they probably could do it with ease, at least up to now. Of course it is possible they also have other ways, not revealed yet.

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Google's cloudy image recognition is easily blinded, say boffins

MacroRodent
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Autonomous cars

My first though was this kills self-driving cars, until sorted out, because an image with noise added is precisely what you see through the windshield when driving while it is snowing or raining heavily.

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Code-sharing leads to widespread bug sharing that black-hats can track

MacroRodent
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Re: Duh!

That solution would be far worse than the original problem: nobody would dare to publish any code (apart from a "hello world"), and progress in software would grind to a halt, since everything complex is really built on earlier work.

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'Tech troll' sues EFF to silence 'Stupid Patent of the Month' blog. Now the EFF sues back

MacroRodent
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Re: EFF Lawyers are EFF'n Stupid

> Putting a countdown in a computer window should count as a trivial and obvious extension, so not patentable.

Yes, in a rational intellectual property system it would. Unfortunately many existing software patents are of the form "implementing a <some well-known operation> using a computer".

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Hasta la Windows Vista, baby! It's now officially dead – good riddance

MacroRodent
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I wonder if Vista activation

still works if I need to reinstall it? (have an instance in a VirtualBox, just for an emergency case a Windows is needed on my Linux laptop).

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Mark Shuttleworth says some free software folk are 'deeply anti-social' and 'love to hate'

MacroRodent
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So what else is new?

Noisy flamefests and trolls have always been part of the scene, unfortunately. Online, it takes just a couple of obsessed people to make a forum appear hateful. I'm surprised Shuttleworth was shocked by this. Mark: just ignore the noisemakers.

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Germany gives social networks 24 hours to delete criminal content

MacroRodent
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Facepalm

Getting sued as part of the job description...

if the deadlines mentioned above aren't met the social network's designated complaints-handler could be fined up to five million Euros, while the network itself could cop a fine of 50 million Euros.

Hard to picture anyone wanting that complaints handler job. Probably the only way to survive is to immediately take down anything complained about, which then causes its own problems.

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Startup remotely 'bricks' grumpy bloke's IoT car garage door – then hits reverse gear

MacroRodent
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And yet here you are, on a device connected to the Internet...

It's unavoidable when the purpose (or part of the purpose) of the device is to communicate world-wide. But my fridge, door-lock or boiler have no need to post to The Register.

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MacroRodent
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Re: re Why do you need the intermediate server, which is just another thing to go wrong?

either having both the device and the phone talking out through the firewall onto some suppliers server, or else custom building a load of hardware myself.

The first is unacceptable to me on security grounds, and the second is more hassle than I want to get into.

Sounds like a business opportunity for someone who can package the home automation server into a device for installing at your own location easily!

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Europe to push new laws to access encrypted apps data

MacroRodent
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No problem for banks, sorry

such as a near-immediate threat of ID theft and breaching of anything we would like to control such as Internet banking and Internet shopping

Actually there would be no effect on banks, they can encrypt the communications between them and the clients all they want, but as an organization a bank is already compelled to keep records, and provide them to investigators if ordered to do so by courts.

The law enforcement types are really only after end-to-end encryption between individual people, or people and shady organizations.

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Firefox Quantum: BIG browser project, huh? I share your concern

MacroRodent
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Render CSS?

>Right now, for example, any CSS file in the head of an HTML document must be downloaded and rendered before a page can be displayed.

I don't quite get this. CSS files aren't rendered, instead they affect how the HTML is rendered. I suppose you could load them incrementally, but since each CSS file can override the previous, and there are also default rendering rules, wouldn't the effect be that of the the formatting of the page twitch and shudder strangely, until all CSS has been loaded and interpreted?

(Actually I have already seen that happen if the CSS for some reason loads slower than the page).

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Microsoft loves Linux so much, its OneDrive web app runs like a dog on Windows OS rivals

MacroRodent
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Re: How many Onedrive users run Linux?

As noted, free storage, especially earlier you could easily get a larger pile than from DropBox, without paying anything.

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MacroRodent
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Windows

Re: so why not just use Dropbox?

For me the reason has been than MS provided a pile of storage for free. (Due to various grandfathered offerings, it is currently 40Gb with no payments - will not apply to any latecomers, nyah nyah). But if MS starts being this evil to Linux OneDrive users, I guess I will reconsider.

Btw there also exist programs for using OneDrive without a browser on Linux to sync directories, but so far I have been too lazy to find out how well they work.

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NetBSD adds RPi Zero support with 7.1 release

MacroRodent
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Re: More choices onf the Free OS shop shelf

The downside is you then really *have* to learn about those configuration files and scripts, before getting anything done. Also to get beyond the spartan base system, you have to install lots of software from the "ports". This is fine for experienced users of unix-type systems, and for those with lots of motivation to become one, but for others the learning curve is a bit too steep. Installing NetBSD now is an experience similar to installing one of the first Linux distributions in early 1990's...

(Having said that, I might well give NetBSD 7.1 a go on one ten-year old PC I have at home, which currently has an old OpenSUSE Linux on it, and might not have the power to run the latest version so smoothly...).

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MacroRodent
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More choices onf the Free OS shop shelf

And why would I do that?

For some embedded purposes, NetBSD can be a good choice. Among other things, it is generally leaner than Linux, and has liberal (non-GPL) license. But you probably do not want it on your desktop, unless you really love Ye Olde Unix style of doing things.

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US military's latest toy set: Record-breaking laser death star, er, truck

MacroRodent
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Happy

Life imitating art

The weapon is a beam-combined fiber laser,

Just like the Death Star in the film, except there the beams seemed to combine in front of the weapon, instead of inside an optical cable.

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Microsoft kills Windows Vista on April 11: No security patches, no hot fixes, no support, nada

MacroRodent
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Updates, what updates?

"Windows Vista customers will no longer receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates from Microsoft,"

So there were supposed to be recent updates? I have a Vista inside a VirtualBox VM on the personal Linux minilaptop I lug around (just in case a Windows is needed, but it has not actually seen much use), and updates stopped working on it over a year ago.

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Do you use .home and .mail on your network? ICANN mulls .corp, .mail, .home dot-word domains

MacroRodent
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.home alone

> .home is used by routers. Not all but enough that it will screw with ISP.

Yes, I recently found out by accident my home router is doing this on its own for my HP multi-function printer, which I guess it auto-discovers (pnp? Bonjour?). Both devices came with so skimpy documentation (as is the fashion today) that I am still discovering fun things about them... I just cannot understand why it was mentioned nowhere that the printer has a useful web interface that can be used to change settings, or even use the scanner, without bothering with HP's bundled programs, or the printers built-in panel.

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FBI boss: 'Memories are not absolutely private in America'

MacroRodent
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In the future...

... If direct brain interfaces ever get good enough to scan people's memories, Comey would think it OK to use that on anyone suspected of crime, or of just possibly having relevant information...

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Spies do spying, part 97: Shock horror as CIA turn phones, TVs, computers into surveillance bugs

MacroRodent
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Don't close your eyes!

No coincidence, but not necessarily a US+UK collusion either. Most hackers are science fiction fans. "Weeping angel" is actually an apt name for something that looks like an inert everyday object, but is actively listening.

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ASLR-security-busting JavaScript hack demo'd by university boffins

MacroRodent
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Angel

Re: Java*.*

Try VNCing a video player...

Actually, this works if you have a VNC client and server capable of "tight " compression (like TightVNC or TigerVNC): the video (and other photo-like image parts) gets sent compressed with JPEG, so it is somewhat equivalent to streaming "Motion JPEG". Oh, you want to hear the sound also? well.... I think TigerVNC has some solution for this, but have not tried that part in practice.

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MacroRodent
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Re: Java*.*

> Honestly now, what's wrong with the idea of having a HTML frame in which one has an X window (well, a thoroughly modernised equivalent) dishing up an application display from the server, instead of having that application running as Javascript in the browser?

Then the black hats will simply proceed to crack your instance of the server side application. That may or may not be more difficult, depending on the competence of the application developers with respect to security (usually dismal), and the competence of the server managers (yeah, right...).

Also you need bigger servers. Client-side computing distributes some of the load.

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Netherlands reverts to hand-counted votes to quell security fears

MacroRodent
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Re: It is not the voting, it is the counting

If you go out and pick a PFY from the street today he will look at you in disbelief given a trivial DOS error. Ditto for Linux. I am not going to even start on BSD.

If you go the live-{Linux|BSD|FreeDOS} route it should not matter. The media is prepared to boot and then directly start the friendly vote-counting software. The staff is instructed that if it does not do so on a given PC, try another. A list of verified PC models is also supplied. It should be possible to make this setup fool-proof, since there is only one application to run. The users never see the OS, so it does not matter which one it is.

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MacroRodent
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Re: Wait... Wut?

@veti: Well said! It is also the case that while some minor fraud can happen in paper-and-pencil -based elections (no system is perfect), "stealing the election" would require a big operation, with large numbers of conspirators in multiple locations that would never go undetected in honestly run elections.

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GitLab.com melts down after wrong directory deleted, backups fail

MacroRodent
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Re: So I'm having....

Nobody ever test-restored a backup.

That is a step too often skipped, because you don't want your test to overwrite live data, so you would temporarily need as much space elsewhere as the restoration takes. In fact, you better have a complete spare system to test you can make everything working with the backup. May be difficult to arrange.

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Baird is the word: Netflix's grandaddy gets bronze London landmark

MacroRodent
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Re: His mechanical system, even enhanced, couldn't compete

film that was developed in real time

It sounds incredible, but early space probes did essentially this. Images were captured on film, developed onboard, then scanned at a speed the communications bandwidth could handle.

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MacroRodent
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Bandwidth?

Telechrome, a 1,000-line electronic colour system

Uh, I wonder how he planned to transmit it? HDTV did not really become practical until sufficiently effective digital compression was available.

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Google Cloud kicked QEMU to the kerb to harden KVM

MacroRodent
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Downside of reuse

QEMU was originally intended to be a full PC hardware emulator, and soon an emulator for many other systems besides the PC. Reusing it for virtualization was convenient, but brought with it a lot of old baggage that is no longer relevant when you just run VMs containing servers. So this really is a case of reusing software that was not quite meant for the new purpose.

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Windows 10 networking bug derails Microsoft's own IPv6 rollout

MacroRodent
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Sigh

The slowness of IPv6 adoption is depressing. Technically it is quite old hat by now, and really quite nice when you get used to it... Ten years ago I worked on a telecom product that used IPv6 extensively, even for its internal communication between units. The OS was a variant of FreeBSD, and the CPU power about tenth of what you nowadays get in low-end laptops. I sort of expected IPv6 to become common in a few years. Never underestimate the inertia of installed base...

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Linux is part of the IoT security problem, dev tells Linux conference

MacroRodent
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Linux

Re: Rolling your own vs. getting Linux

Instead of starting your own kernel, try Linux "make menuconfig" sometime. Most of the features in the kernel can be turned off. By enabling only what your application needs, you save memory greatly, and reduce the attack surface.

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Flight 666 lands safely in HEL on Friday the 13th

MacroRodent
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Re: Am I a killjoy

Yes, you are. In popular culture, 666 is the Number of the Beast, because that is the value used by all translations of the Bible over the centuries. In this respect, it does not matter if there are some obscure manuscripts that say 616.

- Greetings from HEL, currently quite frozen.

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It's now 2017, and your Windows PC can still be pwned by a Word file

MacroRodent
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Re: It never stops...

If Photoshop is terrible and it edits pictures, why doesn't someone use Capitalism to replace it with a better program?

Because of network effects. Graphics people are trained in Photoshop, and there is an ecosystem of plugins. Same reason Windows hasn't been replaced succesfully on desktops. Capitalism is powerless with this kind of issue.

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Meet the Internet of big, lethal Things

MacroRodent
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Re: Do you own it, or not?

the eff's ludicrous position, apparently supported by some down-voting twats, is that if you buy a product x that should entitle you to the producer's source code and other proprietary info so you can make your own changes to it

Interface information world be enough. Software makes possible to hide what used to be observable and measurable. For example, tractors have a power output shaft and attachment points in the rear for attaching tools. Is someone measuring them for the purpose of making custom machinery somehow infringing on Deere's rights?

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Hack attack fear scares Canadian exam board away from online tests

MacroRodent
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Re: If Exams are unworkable online,

The serial number on the ballot paper is recorded when issued to a voter, so a determined entity can find out how an individual voted. This is why ballot papers are usually destroyed after an election.

Sounds bad. In Finland., the ballot is just a folded piece of paper, with a printed circle inside which you are supposed to write your candidate's number. The official record nothing when handling one to you from a pile.

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Rogue One: This is the Star Wars back story you've been looking for

MacroRodent
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Re: Tape?

That's why it's called Science Fiction and not Future History. And even the best make mistakes :-)

Sure, but in the case of Clarke, he is (or used to be) lauded as a visionary, and in some of his non-fiction writings (some passages in "The Lost Worlds of 2001" come to mind) he even congratulates himself on getting predictions right - so pointing out things he did not get is fair game, more so than in the case of other science fiction writers. (Said in a good-natured way: I am actually a Clarke fan, and as a teenager read almost every story by him I could lay my hands on...)

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MacroRodent
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Re: Tape?

The Analyzer contained just short of a million vacuum tubes

It is fascinating how even Clarke failed to foresee the advances in electronics and digital technology. In "Earthlight" (1955), on an observatory set on the Moon sometime in the 2100's, they still make astronomical photographs the old way, chemically, and one character actually observes this is one area where electronics will never take over... The transistor had already been invented in 1947, which was before "Superiority" was written (1951).

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Give us encrypted camera storage, please – filmmakers, journos

MacroRodent
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Thumb Up

Would still be useful

Even if the journalist could sometimes be compelled to reveal the encryption key, the feature could still protect the images if the camera is stolen, or surreptitiously "borrowed" for a while by agents hoping to secretly make a copy of the images.

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A single typo may have tipped US election Trump's way

MacroRodent
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Simple attach was effective

It is interesting how the Gmail security feature of sending an email warning about accesses from unusual locations was subverted by the phishers. I have got some of those when travelling, but now I don't remember if the real ones contain a link to Gmail account information change. If they do, Google should consider removing it, and informing users that they should enter Gmail by explicitly writing the Gmail URL instead.

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Meet Hyper.is – the terminal written in HTML, JS and CSS

MacroRodent
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Toy

May have been an interesting exercise for the author, but for practical use I don't see any point at all. Terminal windows are one application where the performance must be good (sluggishness eats into you productivity in a very concrete way), and no bloat because a power user often keeps dozens of them open at any given time. And it is anyway a solved problem. Until last year, I used xterm for these reasons exclusively, but then reluctantly moved to Xfce4-terminal because xterm does not handle clipboard interactions with Windows when running in VM very well. Xfce-terminal solves this and is almost fast enough. (And can also open web links from selected text, if you want that kind of thing...)

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