* Posts by alain williams

1247 posts • joined 29 May 2007

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Arm debuts CPU roadmap for the first time, sort of

alain williams
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ARM not Arm

Please get the capitalisation right.

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Criminal justice software code could send you to jail and there’s nothing you can do about it

alain williams
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Open justice should mean open decisions

which means that for such decision aids the code (and the data that it 'learns' from) should be open source.

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Chip flinger TSMC warns 'WannaCry' outbreak will sting biz for $250m

alain williams
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Re: so installing critical security patches

Anyone have any data on what the economic impact of ...

Does anyone have any data on the economic impact of installing an operating system that is more resistant than what comes from Redmond? Tooling up to use a safe operating system might cost a bit more to start with (if some of the stuff that you use needs porting) ... but $250m pays for a lot of tooling up.

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Nah, it won't install: The return of the ad-blocker-blocker

alain williams
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Advertising from mobile 'phones

I get annoyed with the advertising that I get when I receive email from some people that has appended to it a line like:

Sent from my iPad

I have no idea if it is possible for them to tickle a setting to not put this in.

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Rights group launches legal challenge over London cops' use of facial recognition tech

alain williams
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If we really need this to protect places ...

then why not start where some of the most (self) important people hang out. Please install this kit to monitor everyone in & out of Downing Street and the Palace of Westminster.

Surely the MPs would feel grateful knowing that Big Brother is viewing all the comings and goings and thus keep them safe!

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ReactOS 0.4.9 release metes out stability and self-hosting, still looks like a '90s fever dream

alain williams
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This could be a hit in the NHS ...

or other places that have (embedded) kit running ancient versions of MS Windows - which, apparently, was the worry about the wannacry outbreak.

I don't know if they could make something that supports the Windows XP ABI; presumably - but when?

If they can then support it - they might have a viable business supporting free s/ware, much as does RedHat. OK: embedded kit vendors will still have to jump through certification hoops - but it might be cheaper than porting their stuff to the latest MS Windows, with the new hardware requirements. They will also get the added benefit of no spy-ware (sorry: telemetry, I'll get that right one day).

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How much do you think Cisco's paying erstwhile Brit PM David Cameron?

alain williams
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Re: £120,000/hr is Camoron's fee

I wonder how much tax he pays on that ?

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UK spies broke law for 15 years, but what can you do? shrugs judge

alain williams
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What to do about it ?

we can't change the past, but we can change the future. Make it so that the spooks and Home Secretary do what they are supposed to.

Impose penalties on the spook heads & Home Secs who ignored the law, removal of pensions would be about right. Then any of these in the future who think about ignoring the law will decide that their own financial security is more important than some illegal request.

It won't happen of course but it is measures such as this, rather than well intentioned hand-wringing, that will stop repeats of violations of human rights.

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You're burning £1.2bn for what? UK spending watchdog gives digital court plans a kicking

alain williams
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Outsourcing some of it to India

which will:

* kill English jobs. It might save the HMCTS some ££ but, overall, it will be bad for the UK economy. Why can't we have joined up a government thinking which tries to award its contracts within the UK (and EU, until Brexit). This would have created employment in the UK, which would help offset the 5,000 redundancies.

* be a security nightmare. Highly personal and sensitive data being sent somewhere and viewable by people who we have no control over. How long before a major leak ?

Muppets.

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By Jove! Astroboffins spot 12 new spanking moons around Jupiter

alain williams
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What is a moon ?

Just as they demoted Pluto from planet status (because it is too small) I wonder if they might demote some of these new moons from 'moon' status to become 'satellites'. Is a rock 1 km is diameter large enough to be considered a moon ?

This could be interesting.

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Fix this faxing hell! NHS told to stop hanging onto archaic tech

alain williams
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Re: Not the only Guvmint dept to use fax

she said, rather frostily, 'because of security...'

Well, congratulations to someone at HMRC who understands that sending an email is like sending a post card - which can be read by anyone who handles it. I have been asked a large number of times , and refused, to email sensitive information; I ask what encryption they use ... generally they not understanding.

I have been using PGP/GPG (encryption for email) for years but most people do not support it. I suspect that the likes of GCHQ discourage it where they can - they like postcard-like email.

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PC shipments just rose, thanks to Windows 10

alain williams
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Why need new hardware ?

And how many of those installations get wiped because the computer was purchased for the purpose of putting some other OS on it?

I have bought several laptops in the last couple of years: that is what happened to all of them, installed Linux Mint.**

My main desktop I bought without an operating system in 2012. I installed CentOS. It is still going strong, had a few minor fixes like a new power supply. I'll upgrade the OS when CentOS 8 comes out.

If I could buy cheap laptops without an OS I would do that as well.

** One one occasion I bought 2 identical ones at the same time. One I booted & installed Mint off a memory stick; the other I let it run the MS Windows first-time start-up. The Mint install completed long before MS Windows was ready.

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Cancelled in Crawley? At least your train has free Wi-Fi now, right?

alain williams
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50MB over what time ?

50MB over a 1/2 hour journey might be parsimonious but doable for webmail email checking; but on a long 4 hour cross country intercity ... not at all.

Oh - 50MB would do me fine for several hours: ssh and mutt don't use much.

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Give Samsung a hand: Chaebol pulls back Arm to strike Intel's chips

alain williams
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Please can we stop comparing CPU speeds by clock speeds

It is bad enough when we are talking about CPUs that implement the same instruction set, but with something different the numbers are largely meaningless. This is why we have SPEC, and even that is not simple.

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Sysadmin cracked military PC’s security by reading the manual

alain williams
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IBM asked me for a password

In about 1987 we borrowed a 6150 from IBM for use at a trade show. The 6150 was IBM's first AIX (their Unix) machine. It did not have a lot of disk so I removed about 1/2 the operating system so that we could make a decent demo of our application.

After the event we returned the machine.

A fortnight later I had a call from someone in Warwick. They wanted to know what I had changed the root password to. I told them, but was astounded that IBM were not going to just completely wipe/re-install the whole operating system - I would not trust a machine that had been loaned out to someone like me!

Also: did they not know how to break into their own machine at the hardware level ?

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Namecheap users rage at domain transfer pain, but their supplier Enom blames... er, GDPR?

alain williams
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The clue is in the name

Name*cheap*

Sometimes you get what you pay for.

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Sysadmin shut down server, it went ‘Clunk!’ but the app kept running

alain williams
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Halted machine on other side of the planet

Some 25 years ago: a small amount of inattention and it was a machine in California, not the machine in Blighty that I powered down. Whoops! I sent a grovelling email & had to wait until they arrived the following morning.

Fortunately: a development machine so my only penalty was to be the butt of jokes for a while.

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Facebook, Google, Microsoft scolded for tricking people into spilling their private info

alain williams
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Re: Well that Recent over-the-wire Update to non-365 versions of Microsoft Office 2016

I wonder what their response would be if I demanded under GDPR that they to Cease and Desist ?

Please do try this. Then let us know how you get on.

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Shared, not stirred: GCHQ chief says Europe needs British spies

alain williams
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Barnier bombastic bullshit

Michel Barnier is using any scare tactic that he can think of to try and hurt England in the Brexit negotiations, even if it ends up hurting the rest of the EU as well.

He claims that he is not trying to punish England, but this is exactly what he is doing. He does not display the desire to get something that is best for everyone but seems to want to make it as painful as possible - I suspect to discourage others leaving, eg Spexit or Grexit.

Still, we can't expect honesty from a politician.

.

The above is not a comment about Brexit being a good or a bad thing.

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Universal Credit has never delivered bang for buck, but now there's no turning back – watchdog

alain williams
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If I was several months late paying taxes ...

I shudder to think of the fines that I would need to pay.

UC is late paying 20% of claimants. What compensation is being paid ? I suspect zilch.

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Meet the Frenchman masterminding a Google-free Android

alain williams
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Two main hurdles

The two hurdles will be:

* device drivers: the GPL that the Linux kernel is under will help

* the ability to root the device & install another OS. Some vendors will make this hard.

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Dixons Carphone 'fesses to mega-breach: Probes 'attempt to compromise' 5.9m payment cards

alain williams
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Re: Me feeling happy ...

But having a domain means I can literally make up any nonsense and block it if they do ever spam it / lose it.

I do that as well - for the instances where they, reasonably, do need an email address. Running my own MTA means that I can reply to their email and the only address that they ever see is their-name@email.my-domain. Such configuration is one of the nice things about running MUA/MTA mutt/exim together.

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alain williams
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Me feeling happy ...

that when I last bought something at Dixons that I refused to give my email address when the checkout operator insisted that I had to ... I think that he either entered his own address or invented something bogus.

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Linus Torvalds decides world isn’t ready for Linux 5.0

alain williams
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Re: Please no v5, stay on v4.x.x forever?

if linus adopted this, we'd be on kernel version 300 by now

Really ? The kernel team go to great lengths :

We care about user-space interfaces to an insane degree. We go to extreme lengths to maintain even badly designed or unintentional interfaces. Breaking user programs simply isn't acceptable.

Yes: they do change internal Kernel APIs which can break 3rd party binary drivers, but the simple solution is for the 3rd parties to put them up for inclusion in the kernel -- which should have been done in the first place.

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alain williams
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Re: Please no v5, stay on v4.x.x forever?

There is a good reason for that: Semantic versioning - which says that a change in the major number means that there are incompatible changes from the previous version. Very sensible IMHO.

But we live in a marketing driven age where there is a belief that if the major number has not changed then the product/project is stagnant and, by implication, not being maintained. Since the kernel devs try very hard to not break backwards compatibility then the major number should not change.

The browser writers understood the marketing imperative a few years back, which is why Firefox is up at version 60.

Maybe Linus ought to make the next major number 11 - then those stuck on MS Windows would suddenly realise that Linux was better !

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Law forcing Feds to get warrants for email slurping is sneaked into US military budget

alain williams
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Much as I approve ...

of what this new will do (if it survives), I do not approve of laws being sneaked in under the radar by being hidden in something else - that is not how democracy is supposed to work.

This case is by no means unique - unfortunately.

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OnePlus 6: Perfect porridge? One has to make a smartphone that's juuuust right

alain williams
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Missing from review

I would like to see in reviews:

* what apps are non-removable, eg facebook

* how easy is it to replace the OS with something a bit more trusted, eg: Tizen or LineageOS

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Cold call bosses could be forced to cough up under new rules

alain williams
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Messing with CLI numbers

The calls come from abroad from different (random?) phone numbers

A good start would be severe restrictions on who can set the number displayed by CLI and what numbers they can set it to.

Just about the only non-people (ie organisations) who should be able to withhold it should be: child line, samaritans & the clap clinic.

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Activists hate them! One weird trick Facebook uses to fool people into accepting GDPR terms

alain williams
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Re: So glad I'm not affected

You are if you should use Websites that have Google or Facebook scripts.

That is why you run browser addons like noscript and RequestPolicy for. You just never allow facebook or google analytics. Not perfect, but a great help.

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GDPR for everyone, cries Microsoft: We'll extend Europe's privacy rights worldwide

alain williams
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So will telemetry be switched off ?

I doubt it.

MS did release a tool that it claims decodes what is being sent, but since the tool is closed source ... who knows ? I'm OK with MS keeping much of its stuff closed source, but things like this absolutely demand open source. Fully specifying the byte-stream format would be another way of doing it.

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Military brainboxes ponder 'UK needs you' list of AI boffins

alain williams
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Is this the answer to the Fermi paradox ?

Other civilisations have blasted themselves to eternity as we now look likely to do - it only takes a few ''rogue'' AIs, either through bugs, by design at the behest of an Ernst Blofeld character or ISIS type group.

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UK digital committee fumes: You didn't answer our questions, Facebook. (Psst. EU. Pass 'em on)

alain williams
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'Weasel words and wilfully blind'

Well,of course MPs would recognise that -- it is what they frequently do when they do not want to answer questions put to them by journalists & similar.

I suppose that it is too much to hope for a universal epiphany amongst MPs that we do not like it when they dodge questions.

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'Facebook takes data from my phone – but I don't have an account!'

alain williams
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GDPR violation ?

Your phone is *your* phone so it is personal information. Grabbing location/... data is taking personal information. Did you consent to this ? If not then it is illegal.

There need to be prosecutions.

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US Congress mulls expanding copyright yet again – to 144 years

alain williams
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Congress has screwed up

They did it better in 1998 when they extended copyright by 20 years. This meant that 20 years later they were showered with yet more mouse gold. This time, extending by 50 years, means that they will not get any more bribes ^w research contributions for a looong time.

They should, at least, make the mouse pay!

PS: 20 years in 1998, actually a bit more complicated, but still.

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Look how modern we are! UK network Three to kill off 3G-only phones

alain williams
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As long as they run a 3G service ...

I don't really care what new 'phones they sell - I don't buy my 'phone through my network supplier. Hell, there are still parts of the UK where 3G does not work and the 'phone has to use 2G.

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Airbus windscreen fell out at 32,000 feet

alain williams
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Re: Last time this happened...

Although you do have to ask why the thing was built with different diameter screws that were so close in size. It is asking for mistakes to be made.

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T-Mobile owner sends in legal heavies to lean on small Brit biz over use of 'trademarked' magenta

alain williams
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Who is plainly stupid ?

Nonetheless, DT claimed that the Great British Public (bless their silly little heads) might get the two companies mixed up as a result of the pinkness

Reply saying that the Great British Public are clearly more intelligent than the directors of T-Mobile as they do not get the two mixed up.

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Adobe, 'hyper personalisation' and your privacy

alain williams
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Hashing does not stop something identifying someone

"Device Co-op is not on personal identifiers. It is hashed," she said.

If you take a hash of a personal identifier that yields a unique hash, then it is a personal identifier. Just because you cannot (easily) reverse it to get the PI does not mean that it is not a PI. If push came to shove just look through the entire database hashing each ID.

Adobe is squirming, trying to evade the law; but they will still be breaking it.

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If you're a Fedora fanboi, this latest release might break your heart a little

alain williams
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The Mate spin

Gnome has long been unuseable. I'll download the spin that uses the Mate desktop over the weekend.

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LLVM contributor hits breakpoint, quits citing inclusivity intolerance

alain williams
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Re: Most discriminated against

@ eldakka

I don't think that your examples are due to discriminated against but evidence of social forces that encourage people to help other people. The ''cost'' to him of doing these things is far less than the cost to those who do have kids. When he becomes a dad then he will feel some of the benefits (although he would feel the benefits far more if he were a mum - society still believes that mothers care for their kids while fathers should go out to earn to pay for them).

You could, by your thinking, say that someone who is not carrying a bag is discriminated in a crowd of bag laden shoppers as it is expected that he will hold the door open for them while no one holds the door open for him.

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alain williams
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Re: The only valid form of positive discrimination

My strong instinct is to agree with what you say.

However I am mulling that education is one field where one might soften a bit: accept someone in from a poor educational background (ie bad school) in the hope that your school (a good one) can fix past problems. But I suppose that you would only do that for pupils who, while having not attained good exam grades, you (somehow) deduce are bright enough to do well in your good school.

So: I return to your assertion: discriminate on the basis of assertained innate ability rather than exam results.

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alain williams
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The promote discrimination while claiming to fight it

I applaud the LLVM code of conduct, short, easy to read & inclusive; summary: be nice to others.

I dislike the Outreachy Eligibility for being sponsored. The writers seem to have decided that white men are bad and so are excluded from sponsorship to a technical project. They seem to think that they can increase diversity by increasing divisions and discrimination by excluding some people on the basis of race & gender.

Somehow an organisation that promotes discrimination has succeeded in getting USA tax exempt status - this should be rescinded.

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HP Ink to compensate punters for bricking third-party ink cartridges

alain williams
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''give them AU$50 apiece''

that will hardly compensate for the hours of time wasted (even at minimum wage levels), the frustration, the problems caused by not being able to print something important.

It is also not enough to discourage HP from pulling a similar stunt again.

Compensation should be a minimum AU$500; or more if the customer can show consequential loss.

HP is acting as John Deere does with tractors. Both are despicable.

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Blighty: If EU won't let us play at Galileo, we're going home and taking encryption tech with us

alain williams
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Re: Fucking Brexit

It seems to me that Michel Barnier & pals want to make things as painful for the UK as they can, even if it means hurting the rest of the EU as well. International cooperation exists between many countries that are not part of the same trading/political block - they do this when they see the mutual benefits.

The Ukraine, Morocco, Norway & Switzerland are involved with Galileo so why should the UK be excluded ?

There is no real reason why the UK could continue to be part of Galileo (& pay its contribution) to the mutual benefit of the UK and EU.

Some politicians on both sides are plonkers.

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Hands off! Arm pitches tamper-resistant Cortex-M35-P CPU cores

alain williams
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Cost how much extra ?

If it is much more than 1p/chip then the bean counters will avoid it.

I see that the documentation is free - good start.

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Brit healthcare system inks Windows 10 install pact with Microsoft

alain williams
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All the easier for the USA to grab by health records ...

via the spy-ware, errm I mean, telemetry nailed into the W10 machines.

How much of NHS specialist IT application could be delivered via a web browser so that they could run a secure Linux on those machines. LibreOffice would provide a good enough word processor for appointment letters, test result reports, ... ?

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Brit MPs brand Facebook a 'great vampire squid' out for cash

alain williams
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OK: Facebook is a bad boy ...

MPs (appear) to finally understand that. What about the rest of them ? How about starting with Google.

Most of the public, unfortunately, will have tut-tutted a couple of times and continued as before.

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Astroboffins discover the stink of eggy farts wafting from Uranus

alain williams
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Optional, related reading

If you enjoyed this El Reg article then you will enjoy this book.

Ah, to be a school boy again!

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Time to ditch the front door key? Nest's new wireless smart lock is surprisingly convenient

alain williams
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How long before forced upgrade ...

when google decides that it will no longer support that model and wants you to buy a new one ?

The lock in my front door is 30+ years old ... will this Nest product still be working in 30 years ?

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Apple unleashes FoundationDB as an open source project

alain williams
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So, as I understand it ...

Apple has outsourced development of FoundationDB and expects the outsourcers to work for free.

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