* Posts by veti

2633 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

Japanese researchers spin up toilet paper gyroscopes for science

veti Silver badge

And so...?

Assuming this can be made into a reliable algorithm that works with more than half a dozen people to choose from... exactly what do they plan to infer from this "health monitoring data"?

Personally, I'm pretty sure the amount of paper I use varies quite a bit between visits. According, y'know.

Amazon's Alexa is worst receptionist ever: Crazy exes, stalkers' calls put through automatically

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Re: Calling Amazon support personally

Sounds like Agile development to me. Deliver a half-assed product, then add more features to it when you get time.

But Amazon being Amazon, of course, they see no reason not to launch the product to the public while it's still thoroughly half-assed. They probably call it "beta testing".

Comey was loathed by the left, reviled by the right – must have been doing something right

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And yet, not only Rosenstein's letter, but also Spicer's and Trump's combined efforts at laying out a justification, have all signally failed to mention this story.

I also note that when then-candidate Trump told it, last October, he described it as Clinton giving money to the wife of the official who was already investigating her.

So which is it? Can't be both, the stories are mutually contradictory.

I also note that McAuliffe is also a significant politician in his own right, he's the governor of a major state, and no doubt gives money to many of his party's proteges. He has had no particular connection to the Clintons since 2008, though doubtless they're still friends, and there's no actual evidence to suggest that this money was in any way Clinton-related. Just insinuation.

Oh, what am I say, of course that is evidence. In Trumpistan.

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Re: infuriated those people who know a thing or six about encryption

OK; fine. I was querying the wisdom of the widespread publication of what he did via the BBC. Surely a "security professional" might be better to limit the numbers of people he informs of his success and how it was achieved.

Sure, because professional malware authors would never dream of reading security blogs, or even monitoring the spread of their malware and noticing that it had abruptly stopped...

Seriously, what would keeping it secret have achieved?

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Re: Rod Rosenstein

Rosenstein's letter has been widely published, e.g. here. As far as I know there's no dispute about it.

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Re: Comey was a coward for not throwing Hilldog under the bus

@Rob D: you have made the connection that truly explains this mess.

Remember who The Donald is addressing: his core voters, lower-income whites not exactly overburdened with education. Remember what those people really wanted him to do, his supposedly number one priority? Shut down trade with China.

What has he done Instead? Signed a new trade deal with China.

So how to stop the aforementioned hillbillies turning on him? Simples: create a media shitstorm the same day, about some issue that is sufficiently removed from their everyday lives that they will reflexively support him over it, just for loyalty's sake.

And now he's at the middle of a shitstorm (of his own deliberate creation) with the press once again baying for his blood, those aforementioned gulls who support him will continue to support him even if the subject of the China deal comes up. Because they're primed for it; it's a matter of loyalty, it's tribal now.

The Donald understands this type of politics, it's what got him elected, and no-one else has caught up with it yet.

PC repair chap lets tech support scammer log on to his PC. His Linux PC

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Re: For the phone scammers ...

@Hollerithevo: the thing is, sociopathy is a spectrum. Sure, it's often pointless to try to appeal to something that's not there. But not every crook is like that.

There is such a thing as a crook with a conscience, and you never know when you might get lucky enough to run into one. The thing is, on the phone, you can afford (if you choose) to take time to find out.

Oz MP flies crypto-kite, wants backdoors without backdoors

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(Sidenote: What on earth does "sheeted" mean?)

As I recall, the feds eventually cracked the phone's encryption without Apple's help. Which I think goes to prove what security experts have said all along: once the attacker has physical access to the device, cracking is only a matter of time.

Bozos like this only see one half of the picture. It's not hard to describe ways in which the present system is - unsatisfactory. What is hard is to propose an alternative that isn't worse. What makes politicians (in general) dangerous is that they always gloss over this second point - that's how we got Brexit.

FCC: Take your spam and shove it, slacktivists!

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@strum: well, that's nice for you, but in my world: spam is a problem, pollution is a problem, congestion is a problem; deforestation, desertification, climate change, network congestion, world banking and insurance - all these things are problems because costs are being externalised. That's all the TotC means, and I don't see how it's deniable.

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Re: A solution.

It should be a trivial matter to detect all submissions with identical wording, merge them into a single submission, and then just attach the number of times it was received as metadata. That would make spam campaigns far, far easier to manager.

So there's no earthly reason why some human should have to read through all those submissions individually. Except, of course, for the bit where you're already looking for a pretext to ignore them.

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All of the above.

It's called the Tragedy of the Commons, and it's what happens whenever something has a price tag of "Free!".

Trump signs executive order on cybersecurity, White House now runs the show

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Two quite separate things

The first half of the order - get your shit together, report within 3 months - is surprisingly reasonable. I'd actually go so far as to call it a good idea.

But then comes the sting in the tail: "study the feasibility of merging systems". At the same time as securing them? That's... insane troll thinking. Either secure them first, then try to do some merging, or merge first and secure later. Trying to do both at once is a recipe for paralysis (if you're lucky), or (more likely, and I suspect the desired outcome) the biggest cost overrun in government history.

America 'will ban carry-on laptops on flights from UK, Europe to US'

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Well, that's been my approach for over a decade now.

But it's not realistic for everyone. Some people legitimately need to go there, for business or whatever. What I suggest in those cases is, don't take a computer.

1. Tell your hosts at the other end that you'll need them to lend you a PC of some description. Specify as many requirements as necessary

2. Put all your required files/information in some cloud storage facility.

3. When you arrive, put the two together.

4. When you get home, delete the cloud account.

Of course, this requires you to trust the party you're visiting. But if you don't trust them, you probably shouldn't be doing business with them anyway.

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Re: I remember the old joke...


How do you think stories like this one, or this, might read, if everyone concerned was armed? And they all knew it?

Crooks can nick Brits' identities just by picking up the phone and lying

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Re: Bank security is a complete joke

If your password was guessed and you don't know it, then a malicious actor has already done whatever they're going to do to you. The value in changing it periodically "just in case" is greatly undermined by the added cost of remembering it/entropy added by that requirement.

Number of passwords the average person is expected to maintain? About 20. Number of passwords a lay user can realistically be expected to remember? About 3, I reckon. Any more than that, I'ma gonna write down on a Post-it note and stick to my monitor.

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Re: re: I think it's a bit naïve to think that just paying existing staff more....

If you penalise them personally for falling for scammers, then you'll make it impossible for anyone to do their banking by phone, and the whole call centre will be redundant within a month.

This is what rules and procedures are for. Provided your call centre drone follows the correct R&Ps*, they should not be held personally responsible in any way for what happens next. Punishing people for making honest mistakes is only a smart idea if you want them to err massively on one side of the line.

* = And of course it will be obvious that they've done so, because only then will the appropriate online form/flowchart validate.

FBI boss James Comey was probing Trump's team for Russia links. You're fired, says Donald

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Re: Comey was caught lying under oath. So Trump fired him. -- opportunely.

Well, I've been to the lengths - extreme, I know - of reading all the correspondence I could find attached to this story. Including Trump's and Sessions' letters, and Rosenstein's much more interesting and detailed opinion (on which the other two both hinge). And then I checked out Comey's original statement from July 2016.

I advise you to look at that last now, today, because there's a good chance it'll disappear from the record pretty soon. Here it is, as of right now.

And if you take time to read it, you'll see it doesn't say what Rosenstein's character assassination piece imputes it as saying. Rosenstein's memo is like Blair's dodgy dossier - it's transparently a justification for something that his boss was determined to do anyway, rather than an honest account of the reasons for doing it.

UK General Election 2017: How EU law will hit British politicians' Facebook fight

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Re: Appealing to the individual voter?

Question for the Corbyn-lovers:

Which of his policies do you like? Be specific. Please quote primary sources, i.e. articles written by the man himself, rather than spin doctors or journalists

I ask because I tried to do some research on this topic, tracking down what the man himself has said, online, and I came up with - well, a lot more questions than answers.

The record at jeremycorbyn.org.uk is patchy to say the least - it has a honking great gap through most of last year, when apparently nothing was posted. His page at labour.org.uk says nothing at all. www.jeremyforlabour.com apparently hasn't been updated in six months, since I last looked at it - and all the posts there are undated anyway, which is never a good sign.

What does the man actually propose to do, if elected?

Just so we're all clear on this: Russia hacked the French elections, US Republicans and Dems

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In the first place, El Reg has never pretended to be objective. About anything.

In the second place, "objective" doesn't mean you can't tell the truth just because some politician somewhere doesn't like it.

Facebook fake news: Sort it out yourself, readers

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Re: Only one rule needed

Speaking as a professional, journalism-trained editor:

There's a lot of misunderstanding about that job. Remember: a journalist's job is to persuade as many people as possible to read something. (Or view something, or listen, or... you get the idea.)

That's it. The only metric that matters is "How many people read what you wrote today? Yesterday? Tomorrow?" Everything else is gravy.

Because the key word in your definition is "professional", i.e. "this is what they do for a living". Payment depends on eyeballs. Unless you can find some way to change that equation, then clickbait will remain the highest and purest form of journalism.

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Tip 0

They're still not including the real tip, which is READ the fucking story.

You're never gonna know what's real or fake unless you make an effort to, y'know, understand what it's saying. And what every news story says is:

"X says Y"

If the story doesn't tell you who X is, or what Y is, then it's not news. If it leaves you in doubt about these things, then it is at best badly written news - at worst, it's being intentionally misleading.

Once you know who X is, then you can look for other sources to cross-reference. Without that information, that's impossible. Anyone who leaves out that information? - whatever they're writing, it's not news.

Leaked: The UK's secret blueprint with telcos for mass spying on internet, phones – and backdoors

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They would know if they were the ones who provided it to you. Which, if you read the article, is the only kind of encryption that's actually covered.

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Re: Encryption is not made "illegal"

Err... no, it just doesn't. Look at the language again:

to disclose, where practicable, the content of communications...

to remove electronic protection applied by or on behalf of the telecommunications operator

There's nothing there that prevents you from having all the encryption you like. You just can't get it from a "telecommunications operator". At least, not a UK one.

Fake news is fake news, says Google-backed research

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First, kudos to Michigan State University. You can download the whole study as a PDF, there's no paywall or anything. Way to go.

But "the whole study" is over 200 pages, so I haven't read it yet. I shall, though.

At this point my main concern is that it seems to be surveying "how people use search". That's an entirely different question to "how people consume news", and it's not surprising that it's giving a different answer.

Basic tactics by Google, there - if you correctly define the parameters of your study, it should be possible to get the answer you want.

Booze stats confirm boring Britain is drying

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Re: drunk posting again

The Mail's coverage of this story includes the headlines:

"Young adults less likely to drink, official figures show"

"Boozy over-65s drink more than the Facebook generation: Older people are only age group to increase consumption ... "

The Mail gets a lot of stick, but personally I've found its reporting to be mostly accurate. Pro tip: you need to separate "reporting" from "comment", because the papers - all of them - will no longer do that for you.

Jeez, we'll do something about Facebook murder vids, moans Zuckerberg

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Keep in mind that most of those 1.86 billion "users" never actually post anything. I forget the exact fraction, but it's very large.

Identifying Facebook users wouldn't prevent these sorts of abuses. You think the police/authorities have any real difficulty identifying a Facebook user who posts a video of themself committing murder? I don't. "Evading arrest" is not part of their agenda, they're just angling for their 15 minutes of fame. That's how sick our culture is.

I think Facebook should (1) stop hosting video content entirely, (2) aggressively filter photos, and (3) impose a delay (of at least 30 minutes) between an update - any update, including pure text or links - being posted and it actually being visible online. I think that would change the psychological dynamic of posting something shocking.

Republicans go all Braveheart again with anti-net neutrality bill

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It makes perfect sense. Because the Protecting Internet Freedom Act 2016 failed (because Obama, naturally), now they need to Restore Internet Freedom.

You can accuse Congress of a lot of things - ho boy, a lot of things - but on this particular issue, there are at least being completely consistent. They were grandstanding jerks in 2015, in 2016, and now, with Hurricane Donald blowing away the cobwebs in sleazy old DC, they're jerks who are into grandstanding.

Just how screwed is IT at the Home Office?

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Re: So how are these aging systems going to handle

@MonkeyCee: I don't know about you, but my passport says I'm a British citizen, not a European one. Since, in order to be an EU citizen, you need to be a citizen of an EU member state - it's not clear that "EU citizenship" is really a thing in itself, rather than a derivative property.

Seems to me it should be fairly straightforward to withdraw EU citizenship from British citizens, while leaving their British citizenship intact.

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Re: There's only one way to fix this

If past history is any sign, nothing will ever get abandoned by the government. They will just throw more and more money at it, indefinitely. They may rename/rebrand things from time to time, or merge and split with other projects, so the public thinks something was shut down, but that is just pulling the wool over the public eyes.

So, just like Google then?

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Re: Agile and 'all over the place'

Your "Agile book"?

That's like talking about "your Computer book". Agile means lots of different things. If you don't make the effort to clarify what a particular speaker means by it, then you deserve all you get.

It's a question worth asking: Why is the FCC boss being such a jerk?

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Big John: if your aim is to "apply a little balance" and "object to the tactics being used by proponents", then you really need to tailor your attacks better to the content of the piece you're actually responding to. Because strawman attacks aren't going to balance anything.

FCC's Pai: I am going to kill net neutrality in US

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The one thing they know, that they're not telling us, is the very simple truth about their own jobs. As Trump would put it, if he had enough fundamental honesty in him: "Who knew that running a government was so hard?"

(Well, everyone who's ever tried it, of course. But the big selling point about Trump was that he refused to listen to those assholes.)

Seriously, read a few books about politics. A biography or two, perhaps. All the venom we hurl at politicians is basically the Dunning-Kruger effect writ just as large as it can be.

(Sidenote: this is why referendums are a stupid way of making political decisions.)

A very Canadian approach: How net neutrality rules reflect a country's true nature

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Re: Shurely shome mishtake?

In journalese, "schnapps" is simply "generic strong liquor". Can't expect the New York Times to alienate its readers by forcing them to learn furrin words.

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Re: there aren't any derogatory terms used by Canadians to describe their continental cousins

@JoeCool: I've always preferred "USAliens".

Brit behind Titanium Stresser DDoS malware sent to chokey

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Re: Mistaken character

Autism can cause similar behaviour. But it's not the same thing. If an autistic person can be persuaded to see that what they did was wrong, they'll feel genuine remorse.

The problem is that they don't see it naturally, they need to have it spelled out to them, and too often no-one bothers to do that.

High Court hands Lauri Love permission to appeal extradition to US

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Re: UK law ought to apply, surely?

@Commswonk: I agree, but you can't expect Love's lawyers *not* to throw everything they have into the pot, regardless of how good they think it is in general, if there's a chance it might tip the balance.

Support of 141 British MPs? Yeah, that plus $5 will buy you a glass of beer.

In all seriousness, I think his best hope here is to pay for someone to go up to Trump and say "You want to cut immigration? - well, here's one bad guy we don't need. PS: Getting him this far was a personal diplomatic triumph for Obama."

Uber engineer's widow: Stress and racism killed my husband ... Uber: Let's make flying cars!

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The job at Apple may have been a better environment, but there's no reason to suppose it would have paid more. It may have been a significantly lower level job. We don't know.

Anyway, even if it was (in retrospect) a mistake to turn that down - bad career choices should not be subject to a death sentence. Well, except in a very few edge cases.

Alaska dentist 'pulled out patient's tooth while riding a hoverboard'

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Re: My takeaway from this..

Just guessing, but my first thought was that it's not so much "riding a hoverboard" as "filming and sharing the video" that's the real crime here.

Looking at the complaint, it seems that the actual crime was "unnecessarily sedating the patient and billing Medicaid for it". Trust Alaska to reduce the whole thing to "unlawful billing". Presumably if you want to play silly buggers with a patient in this way, sedation becomes... more desirable.

Trump's lips sealed on surveillance, complains EU privacy chief

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Re: A mad idea.

Because they said they'd call us! We don't want to look desperate here.

Trump trumpets (pun intended) his l337 skillz as a Master Negotiator. If you go to him cap in hand, you should expect to be spanked until your buttocks fall off.

The only language he might even pretend to respect is hardball. Declare Safe Harbor finished, give all EU companies six months from today to show that they've repatriated all their data and, so far as possible, destroyed all copies within reach of US authorities. Start the clock ticking. That's the next move.

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Re: I think EU's bluff has been called

As an aside- whatever happened to Microsoft and the case the US government brought against them- for e-mails stored on a server in Ireland?

Microsoft won. Eventually.

Computer games to become medal sport at Asian Games

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Late breaking?

This has got to be an April Fool.

Oh snap! UK Prime Minister Theresa May calls June election

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Re: This goes to show one thing

"The SNP has 56 of 59 Scottish seats already" - yes, despite getting only 50% of the Scottish vote, because they have the same swingy winner-take-all constituency system as England & Wales. And guess what's the one aspect of their constitution that the SNP doesn't propose to change?

Sidenote, there's a popular Scots myth that the country voted solidly against Brexit. If that were true, then Brexit wouldn't be happening. The fact is that 38% of Scots - and 40% of Londoners, and 44% of Northern Irish - voted Leave. Moral: opinion was, and is, divided everywhere. (Except Gibraltar.)

I for one welcome the election. Either the Tories will be returned with a thumping majority, in which case fine, they can get on with Brexit in their own way (and they'll be cripplingly unpopular by the time of the next election, because of all the promises they'll have to break, but that's their problem) - or the Lib Dems will stage a big comeback, in which case equally fine, maybe they can reverse the whole thing. Either way I see a net gain on the present position.

Trump signs exec order signaling foreign H-1B visa techie crackdown

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Grandstanding on both sides

Chuck Schumer makes a fool of himself again. Of course it's going to create some jobs. Now that they're commissioned, someone is going to have to research and write the reports. That's probably, like, 100 employee-years' worth of work at the Dept of Labor.

Trump could shortcut the whole process by simply abolishing the H1B program entirely. Of course he's not going to do that, because it would interfere with the ability and/or willingness of people to give him money. But that's what he promised.

That apple.com link you clicked on? Yeah, it's actually Russian

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Re: Why is this difficult?

If you routinely browse in multiple languages, then you're sufficiently unusual that it's not unreasonable to expect you to be the one who has to do something different.

Like, maintain a separate browser window for each language. To me that doesn't sound too big an imposition. Note that you could still read Russian pages in your English-language browser window, except for the Cyrillic URLs. If you want to read those, you'd have to switch the native language in your current session.

NASA agent faces heat for 'degrading' moon rock sting during which grandmother wet herself

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She "emailed NASA for advice on how to sell the trinkets" - but instead of being told "you can't", she got this whole elaborate "sting" runaround?

That sounds like entrapment to me. (I mean: if she had intended to break the law, she presumably wouldn't have told NASA, of all people, about it beforehand.)

'Nobody's got to use the internet,' argues idiot congressman in row over ISP privacy rules

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Re: That's not an option.

They don't use porn. When the urge gets too much, they might use a prostitute, but mostly they just repress.

Think how much time they save that way. This also explains a lot of why they don't see why people get so worked up about online privacy.

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Re: Benefit of the doubt? "Notas Badoff" might not be American?

Is there any reputable evidence - by which I mean, published by people who are willing to attach their real names, their statistical methodology, and their actual results - that shows "multiple voting and voting by non-citizens" is a major issue anywhere in the USA?

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

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Re: Aussie Judges

Australia is famously luddite toward technology as a whole. They were a pioneer in censoring the internet at a national scale, they're the only major country in the world with higher per-capita CO2 emissions than the USA, and they're proud of it.

In this case, I would guess that the EFF simply didn't defend the case, so this is a default judgment. It's hard to see how, even under Australian law, calling something "stupid" could be actionable.

Microsoft raises pistol, pulls the trigger on Windows 7, 8 updates for new Intel, AMD chips

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Re: A funny thing happened...

Huh? Nobody has any business to be running IE8. Windows 7 supports up to IE11, which is an infinitely better browser than 8. (Personally I even prefer it to Chrome.)

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The thing is, the people who react with hostility are a relatively narrow set. They're people who: (a) currently use Windows, (b) know what a "version" is, (c) don't like the changes in W10.

That's quite a small minority of Windows users. Then, this particular change only affects the even smaller subset who are trying to upgrade their hardware.

Microsoft probably figures they can afford to offend that group, because the upside is that it removes a lot of confusion and conflicting information for the (much larger) group who are interested in upgrading their hardware, or who are buying a new computer, possibly for the very first time (and always remember: at a conservative estimate, approximately 30,000 people created their very first Windows login yesterday), but don't have any strong opinion on the merits of Windows versions. It's MS's business decision to make, and I for one think it's reasonably likely that they do know what they're doing.

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