* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Ailing Brit chip designer Imagination Technologies up for sale

DougS Silver badge

How is it market manipulation to tell a company you will no longer be needing their products? Just because Apple has used their GPU technology in the past, doesn't mean they are obligated to use it forever. Their contract no doubt specifies some notice period for a material change, which Apple provided. They didn't announce it to the public and crash the stock, it was when Imagination announced it (as required by regulations) that the price dropped.

If Apple buys them, it will only be for their patents - to protect them against potential lawsuits from someone else buying Imagination and/or from other companies like a lot of GPU IP like Nvidia or AMD.

F-Secure's Mikko Hypponen on IoT: If it uses electricity, it will go online

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Re: Typical snake oil salesman

Two cents won't even cover the licensing!

Builders will have to start putting a screen behind drywall in the walls/ceiling in new construction to kill the cell signal if crap like that every comes to pass.

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Typical snake oil salesman

Like everyone who sells AV software. Now the threat will be in your toaster, your light bulbs, your garage door opener....eeeek!! Only I can protect you (except the device I'm hawking today won't, so you'll need to buy more from me later)

How will these things magically connect? Obviously not ethernet, that leaves only power line networking for wired, which is easy to defend against (don't install a power line bridge) and wifi or cellular. Wifi is easy to defend against - don't tell it your wifi password. That leaves cellular. If he thinks vendors are going to make a "2 cent chip" with an integrated cellular radio he probably already owns Brooklyn Bridge so I won't need to sell it to him again.

Darkness to fall over North America from a total solar eclipse

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You mean like when clouds pass overhead?

Tesla's driverless car software chief steps down

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Re: Not a good fit...

Well consider that he left Apple for a new job, and six months in he's letting everyone know he's left Tesla and is looking for a job. That means he was fired.

No way to know under what circumstances he left Apple, but if he told them he was quitting and they wanted to keep him they could have beat Tesla's offer if they considered him valuable enough. If he left Apple on good terms and he was someone they would want back, he probably could have got himself re-hired right after Tesla fired him and wouldn't be putting the word out that he needs a job. So it doesn't look like Apple wants him back, either.

IBM's contractor crackdown continues: Survivors refusing pay cut have hours reduced

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Re: Abuse, plain and simple.

All my contracts are between my corp and another corp (a go between for the BigCorp I'm consulting for, because in the US no big corporations will contract directly with a little one person corp like mine)

This language covers anyone my corp employs on the contract, which is always just me, but if I had others in my corp it would affect them too. I asked about that clause once long ago, and was told it was a requirement of BigCorp to the go between so there was nothing they could do about it. I've had clauses struck from contracts before, but I only bother with ones that would negatively impact me to a significant degree like noncompetes, and this is one that does not impact me.

Since all of my contracts have been made through contacts in the various BigCorps, who then sole source me to their go between, I'm not beholden to that go between. If I find something I want struck, like the 25% example provided, if they won't play ball I tell my contact. They've always been able to tell the go between to do what I ask. It also allows me to negotiate my rate directly with the contact - the rate that will be paid to the go between. I then tell the go between they can take $10/hr, and if they squawk remind them I arranged the gig, not them, and there are other go betweens available for BigCorp (not always true, different divisions may have set go betweens, but by this time they're scared of me and just accept that I'm probably telling the truth)

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Half the team left, and then they laid three off the following week? Makes me think that the half who left got wind of the layoffs and decided to make their own plans first, but the layoffs were already in motion and couldn't be stopped in time. Whoever manages that team presumably begged his boss' boss to stop the layoffs, but probably they were ordered to "make x layoffs in your unit" and were being measured on a metric that didn't take voluntary exits into account.

Shitty management!

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It is a compensation problem, not a capitalism problem

If senior management is being compensated in a way that encourages short term thinking - quarterly results, stock price, etc. then they'll manage the company accordingly. When management is compensated using long term measures, they'll manage with a long term viewpoint and you won't see them pursuing strategies that will hurt the company in 3-5 years just to make this quarter/FY numbers.

So long as you realize everyone is going to pursue their own self-interest, and set goals that align the long term interests of the company with people's self-interest, you'll be fine. When their self-interest conflicts with the long term interests of the company, then it is the fault of people who set their goals (or in the case of management that sets their own goals, the board that approved it or the shareholders that stood by the board)

DougS Silver badge

Submitting expected hours

Depends on what they're going to do with it. If they're using it to budget for your expected labor, expect the most hours you can get away with so you don't have to worry about them telling you to cut back if you've exceeded your "budget", and if you work less than expected/budgeted no one is going to complain. If it is to determine who is the 'most expensive' and therefore who to get rid of, just say 40 hours a week and stop working when you reach that limit and if they ask why you weren't working Friday tell them why - "I submitted expectations for 40 hours a week, so I didn't think I was allowed to exceed that".

When you get weird questions like this, you just have to figure out why it is being asked. Then you'll know how to respond.

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Won't hurt winning new contracts

Because the customer will be fleeing someone else they were unhappy with, such as HP. It is easy to assume things will be better with a new partner. Kind of like how you are giddy when you start a new relationship and it takes a little time to see each others flaws and annoying habits :)

Where it will hurt is renewals and references. The impact on those won't be felt for a few years, but I'd expect to see IBM's outsourcing revenue begin to make a steep dive around 2020 as a result.

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Re: Abuse, plain and simple.

I've never contracted for IBM, but when I've contracted for a company that supported another customer, my contract has always included language preventing me from working, directly or indirectly, for that customer for a couple years or so. The contract the company has with that customer also prevents THEM from hiring on any of their staff or contractors, directly or indirectly.

I'm sure this sort of thing still happens because it isn't worth fighting over, but I've never thought it was worth testing those clauses. Maybe it is a more reasonable course of action is less sue-happy countries than the US.

DougS Silver badge

Re: I notice my bigcorp is taking the hint from IBM and HP

They're not taking their hint from IBM and HP, they're taking their hint from Wall Street. The market is overvalued right now, with overly high P/E ratios. Stocks that can't make earnings to justify their valuations will be punished in favor of those who do, and stock prices going down hurts senior management who typically have stock options or bonuses based on "shareholder value" (which unfortunately is shorthand for stock price, because compensation committees are lazy)

They respond with cost cutting measures to save quarterly results because failure to make quarterly numbers hits them in the wallet. Once they reach a point where even extreme cost cutting won't allow them to make the numbers they'll either leave for another job, or try to bring forward a bunch of expenses to make a few quarters REALLY bad, to lower Wall Street expectations and set them up for making big bonuses next year for their "recovery". Short term measures lead to short term management.

Don't worry, when the inevitable correction hits, it will be easier to make targets, and the pressure will be off. Assuming your company is actually healthy, and not in dire circumstances like IBM and HP. HP has been in cost cutting mode for about 15 years now, and now that they've driven away all the competent people the chickens are coming home to roost. IBM didn't have that head start, but they're doing their best to catch up in only a few years' time.

DougS Silver badge

Reducing hours is a better deal

Yeah, with 15% fewer hours you make 15% less money, but that's better than the guy who is working the same number of hours before and making 10% less money. Free time is worth something, and if your objection is "but I need that income to pay bills" then you shouldn't be a contractor - contracting is absolutely 100% not for people who live paycheck to paycheck, and don't have reserves to tolerate months off work, let alone a two week surprise furlough. If I was contracting for IBM, I'd respond to the 15% fewer hours by working 8.5 hours a day instead of 8 hours a day, and taking Fridays off. Your move, IBM.

As for the emphasis on "CLAIMED" hours in this thread, claimed hours = actual hours. If it doesn't, you might as well not be contracting. I've never worked a single hour I wasn't paid for - if I'm on a contract that limits me to 40 hours a week of work, when I hit 40 I'm done for the week, or I take it as comp time in a future week (if such an arrangement has been made) Anyone dumb enough to work 40 hours for IBM and bill them for only 34 hour needs to realize they turned down a 10% pay cut in favor of a 15% pay cut!

Apple ups the stakes in patent royalties battle with Qualcomm

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Re: QC's last throw of the dice maybe?

Samsung's SoC doesn't include CDMA, that's why you see Qualcomm SoCs in Samsung phones designed for North America and other markets where CDMA 3G is in use. That's also why iPhones used the Intel modem only on phones sold for AT&T/T-mobile (GSM carriers in the US) and not Verizon/Sprint (CDMA carriers)

Google may be designing their own SoC, but if it is used for smartphones (I don't think that's what they're intending) they will need a modem. They don't have people to design a modem (Intel has over a thousand engineers working on theirs, it is not a small effort to undertake!) so theirs will definitely not include one.

Thus they'd be like Apple and need to buy a separate modem. The only one who sells a discrete modem (other than Intel, who lacks CDMA) is Qualcomm. Rumor has it Qualcomm refuses to sell their modems without their full SoC to Android smartphone vendors. However, since it will take a few years for them to get an SoC designed and manufactured, maybe by the time they do they won't have to worry about CDMA and can go with Intel's LTE only modem even on CDMA carriers.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Well knock me down with a feather

It is almost certain that some of Qualcomm's patents are invalid or not required for standards based operation. That's likely true of almost every big patent holder, given how lawyers encourage patenting anything you think you can get a patent on, and standards processes require submitting any patent you believe to be applicable.

Apple is presenting Qualcomm with a quandry - if this goes to trial even if only a few of those 18 patents are declared invalid or not applicable to standards, they risk having to pay back not only Apple but everyone who has licensed those patents from them over the past decade. Whereas if they offer to settle, undoubtedly one of the terms of settlement Qualcomm would insist on is Apple keeping quiet about the terms of the settlement, so their other licensees can't come after them for repayment of royalties.

One wrinkle is that I've read some patent license agreements mandate that no reimbursement is made if patents are later declared invalid. If that's the case here, and a court couldn't overturn such terms, then Qualcomm wouldn't have to worry about Apple or anyone else getting money back. They would still have to worry about loss of future revenue, but it wouldn't be as damaging, or wouldn't put Qualcomm in such a difficult position.

Researchers take the piss with pee-powered liquid energy project

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Waste of effort

The energy used by the people developing this, for lights, computers, etc. will never be paid back by any possible use of this ridiculous technology. Surely they're going for an IgNoble, and don't think this really has a chance of anyone ever using it in the real world?

Google, Mozilla both say they sped up the web today. One by blocking ads. One with ads

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Re: Up to 40%?

But it also results in a 100% reduction in Google's earnings per page view, and they won't stand for that. If a proper ad blocking solution became popular on Android, they'd be forced to act to stop it.

Ego stroking, effusive praise and promise of billions: White House tech meeting in full

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Re: Wow

And if the stock market goes down, he'll blame on Hillary, or the special counsel, or congress' inability to pass his health care plan. The idea that he takes credit for stock market gains when so far the republicans have passed ZERO pieces of major or even minor legislation is laughable. But then Trump is a laughable fool, so you can't expect otherwise.

Tesla death smash probe: Neither driver nor autopilot saw the truck

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Re: They still call it Autopilot?

If ignoring a warning for more than 10 seconds meant the car pulled over and would require waiting a few minutes before moving again, it wouldn't be possible for people to let it do all the driving for them like this guy.

Tesla should have known better. Giving warnings that can be ignored is pointless, and it should be illegal to sell a car that will let you allow it to drive while you're ignoring warnings or even asleep when it is incapable of safely doing so.

Costa Rica complains of US govt harassment over Pirate Bay domain

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Note to Hollywood: you don't rule the world and your laws don't always apply to other countries. The US government is just doing the bidding of its various corporate masters.

Google may follow Apple, design mobile chips in-house

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If they couldn't before, the impending loss of over half their revenue will make it difficult for them to even stay in business, let alone expand into new markets like AR.

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@Dave 126

Why would Google want to hundreds of millions developing their own SoC, just to hand it to others? Why an OEM want to become even MORE dependent on Google, sacrificing even MORE ability to differentiate from the competition, by choosing this over similar (or better, if Qualcomm, Samsung etc. can continue designing better cores than ARM standard ones) offerings? What's the value add of Google's SoC over Snapdragon, especially since Google's would require they buy their cellular baseband etc. separately?

I still think Google's SoC efforts will not be targeted at smartphones.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Maybe an SoC, but maybe not for mobile

Chromecast is a halo product, designed to make Android phones a little more useful. I'm surprised they don't bundle them with Pixels.

DougS Silver badge

Maybe an SoC, but maybe not for mobile

A handful of SoC designers would let them design a custom SoC using standard ARM cores, like Apple did with the A4 and A5. They'd need a whole CPU design team if they wanted to do custom cores.

I don't believe this is for mobile. Their volumes are too low, even if Pixel becomes more successful they can't justify the cost. Maybe if they wanted to add some custom hardware to an otherwise stock SoC to give future Pixels an advantage not just in software but also hardware over the high end Android competition (i.e. Samsung) but that's a risky strategy. They can only upset Android OEMs so much before they start considering options that hurt Google's bottom line a lot more than Pixel helps it. Samsung has already tried to go its own way with S Voice, Samsung Pay and so forth. They could make a deal with Microsoft for the missing pieces like search and maps, and drop Google entirely like Chinese Android OEMs already have.

There are two categories where they might want a custom SoC. One, the watch/glasses wearables market. No one is making SoCs custom designed and targeted at that market, so if they think there's something there for them, they'll need their own.

Two, for their servers. They make those more and more custom, so maybe this is an SoC with some special support for search optimization, or neural networks to work alongside x86 CPUs and perhaps eventually replace them. They won't care if ARM cores are slower than x86 cores if most of their code eventually runs on DSPs or specialty ASIC blocks that are far faster than either for their particular needs.

In the Epyc center: More Zen server CPU specs, prices sneak out of AMD

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That SEV mode looks really interesting

I hadn't heard about this before, thanks for the mention. Undoubtedly there is more work to do to be able to run VMs in zero-trust environments, but it is a big step in the right direction. Bravo, AMD!

Microsoft throws its weight behind Parisian AI startup factory

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Re: Well, if you spread the $$$$ around wide enough

It shows Microsoft is getting smarter. Trying to make big acquisitions for billions to enter a market like they did with Aquantive and Nokia almost never works out. Apple has been smart with its acquisitions because they've always been small - pay $40 million for this little company, $300 for that little company. The biggest one in recent memory was Beats, for $3 billion, but rumor has it they were getting nowhere trying to negotiate streaming deals with music labels, so they bought Beats because it already had them.

Apple purchased companies that provided it with the CPU design expertise that is allowing their ARM cores to run circles around everyone else's, provided the technology behind Siri, and provided the capacitive touch screen knowledge that made the first iPhone possible. Maybe they've finally found something they can successfully copy from Apple.

Oxford profs tell Twitter, Facebook to take action against political bots

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Re: Nope, the truth is not relative

Since when has politics been about facts? Ideally you make true statements, leaving out context like the claims about hydrogen percentage. If necessary you make false statements, and hope that repeating them often enough will make your followers believe they are true. In the face of facts to th contrary, you can claim a conspiracy against you by the media, the party apparatus, soft money ads from outsiders, etc.

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Re: So...

A buggy one, since his tweets conflict with his own positions/interests on a regular basis.

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Re: Political Bots.

The biases are also made clear by the bylines on opinion articles. You know a George Will article will be conservative, etc. You don't have to worry about George Will writing articles under a bunch of different names trying to make it seem like a lot of people share his opinion, but that's easy to do with Twitter bots. The cost to run them is so negligible compared to the cost of campaigns in the US, or how much money you can extract through corrupt means in authoritarian countries, that of course you'll see them used more and more.

The Internet of Flying Thing: Reg man returns with explicit shots

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Interesting that South America is covered far better than North America

It is definitely odd how poorly the US is covered, do they have competition here already and don't expect to have a chance in this market? Or maybe a fourth satellite is on the way?

NSA had NFI about opsec: 2016 audit found laughably bad security

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Re: 2 sweet FA

Everyone already has a second factor - the CAC card - so rolling this out shouldn't be that difficult. I'm shocked it wasn't already in place at the NSA, to be honest. It has been pretty standard in the corporate world - first for VPN access and lately for everything - for some time now.

While 2FA is a necessity to implement here, how is this going to resolve issues like Snowden or Winner? It wouldn't have prevented either instance. Snowden could have been prevented by requiring "two in a box" for admin access, but that would increase cost a lot. Manning's dump could have been prevented by limiting the amount of classified data someone can download without special approval.

Not sure there's any way to prevent leaking a small amount of information like Winner. You can ban printing of classified information by most people (making it harder for regular work to get done) but determined leakers could take photos of the screen. Well, unless they require you to surrender all phones at the door when entering, and make you walk through a metal detector to insure you don't have one concealed on you.

You can't take the pervs off Facebook, says US Supreme Court

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@werdsmith - indecent exposure laws

It is different in various states. Some require intent to arouse either the viewer or the displayer, so if someone was sunbathing nude in a fenced backyard, and a neighbor's kid climbed 20' up a tree and saw them, the sunbather couldn't be prosecuted. That wouldn't stop them from being arrested by a cop who didn't know the law, or visited by one who did who informs them of their neighbor's complaint and asks them to refrain.

I don't know the law in NC, but 69 counts was especially ridiculous because even if everyone on the football team knew about it, most of them couldn't have seen it even if they tried. That's a stretch of the law I've never seen before, where simply knowing someone is exposing themselves is enough. I wonder if the DA who filed those charges realizes that everyone walking around is completely naked underneath their clothing?

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I'm not totally sure that anyone that up-tight would have survived the great land of Oz.

You say that like its a bad thing.

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Re: Sex offenders covers a lot of ground

My favorite was last year when a football team was going to have a team picture, and one player dared another to stick the top of his penis out of his pants. The picture was taken, and no one knew except those two guys, and thus the photo was printed in the school's yearbook.

When it became known (not clear whether he or his friend blabbed it) he was charged with 69(!) counts of indecent exposure - one for every person who was present when the photo was taken! PLUS a felony count of "furnishing items harmful to a minor" because 3400 copies of the yearbook were printed and distributed to the school, which has plenty of minors of course. Guess he's lucky they didn't charge him with a felony for every yearbook given to a minor.

Now I've heard of people getting arrested for indecent exposure for flashing/streaking/etc. but never for multiple counts adding up all the people that might have seen them. Someone streaking in a stadium at a sporting event could be locked up for life, especially if they got on national TV before the censor could hit the button!

Why the hell did England have to send us the Puritans? Couldn't you have sent them to Australia and given us the convicts?

Mexican government accused of illegal phone hacking of citizens

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I'm sure they're not the only ones

Does anyone really think the US and UK don't do this? Maybe not as widely to journalists (if the US did then Trump would find the "leakers" he's always whining about) but I'm sure they abuse this far more than we'd be comfortable with if we knew the full extent of it.

Intel: Joule's burned, Edison switched off, and Galileo – Galileo is no more

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Re: Another botched call by Intel

Exactly! Had Intel bought ARM, we'd probably be using MIPS or PowerPC in our phones, and getting pretty much identical performance. There's nothing magical about the ARM ISA that makes it better - it has just had way way way more resources put into it than the competition. If ARM was taken off the board, those resources would have gone elsewhere.

Apple chose ARM for the first iPod, and first iPhone probably because they were one of ARM's founders and had a little experience with it having used it for the Newton. But had Intel owned it and licensing wasn't as attractive, they'd have chosen something else.

By the time ARM was big and it was obvious x86 was not going to go anywhere in the Android world, the FTC would have never allowed Intel to buy ARM. There was no way Intel could have bought it instead of Softbank. They would have had to buy it a decade ago when it was still an asterisk in global CPU revenue.

US voter info stored on wide-open cloud box, thanks to bungling Republican contractor

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Re: Data mining?

The number of people using the same SSN and having the same name would be very limited. If found, it would point to a different type of fraud that would also be desirable to excise from the system.

As for rarely needing to present a SS card, that's definitely true. I lost mine as a teenager, but have gotten along just fine without it.

DougS Silver badge

Data mining?

It would be interesting to match the names and DOBs to try to locate people registered in more than one state. I've long believed that the real voter fraud in the US isn't illegals voting, or people voting the names of the deceased, but people who have residences in two states voting in both. Especially since the number one "snowbird" state, Florida, is a swing state.

You'd need other sources to confirm that the John Smith born on 1/1/1970 living in Milwaukee is the same John Smith born on 1/1/1970 living in Orlando, but such a list would be a very good starting point.

Fortunately the only guaranteed fix for the problem - using SSNs - wasn't implemented or this list would include them.

DougS Silver badge

200 million people in the DB?

That means it was the full list of ALL registered voters in the whole US. Nice.

Oh well, not like my name, address and DOB aren't out there already. Good thing they didn't have SSNs, or all hell would break loose!

At 1.1 TB, the database has over 5K per voter....that's more than just what was listed in the article. I wonder what else is in there? Perhaps some proprietary RNC data about donation history, frequency of contact, etc.?

Elon Musk reveals Mars colony rocket capable of bringing pizza joints to the red planet

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Re: Only 1 million?

Hmm, I don't know. Can we handle a war with mightily pissed off Martians?

Don't worry, we'll build a wall around the Earth and make Venus pay for it.

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Re: Wonder....

Sending a million people to Mars might be the trigger for life on Earth to become unsustainable - a self fulfilling prophecy!

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Re: Only 1 million?

It would be much cheaper to send him by himself. He's been unhappy to discover that the president has checks on his power, that it isn't unlimited like when he was CEO of the family business. On Mars he can have unlimited power over an entire planet - that ought to appeal to his ego!

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Re: Not optimal ...

Mars has lots of fine dust that will get in everything, we just haven't experienced it yet. It probably isn't razor sharp like Moon dust, but the "machinery" on the Moon can and should be underground anyway. Melt the floor/ceiling/walls to create dust-free 'caves' for living space and machinery. The dust should only be a problem for those who go outside and you need to get it off them when they come back inside. Fortunately people shouldn't need to go outside very often.

The Moon dust is only a problem if something moves it where you don't want. You never have to clean solar panels on the lunar surface, because there's nothing to blow the dust on them. Meanwhile on Mars, you have to worry about dust blowing around, and even big dust storms that will blot out your solar panels - which already operate at reduced efficiency due to the distance compared to the Moon. That means people going in and out all the time, unless you can automate the cleaning process.

DougS Silver badge

Plenty of oxygen on the Moon

It is locked up in rocks, but it is easy enough to free using solar power.

I don't understand why Musk wants to set up a colony on Mars. The Moon is a much better location given how close it is, minimal communication delay, better efficiency for solar power, and less of a gravity well for return trips. Mars' atmosphere is so thin it does us no good, and terraforming is a ridiculous dream with our current or near future level of technology.

I get the desire to be the first man on Mars, but not the desire to set up a colony there in preference to one on the Moon.

Hotheaded Brussels civil servants issued with cool warning: Leak

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I'm assuming they don't have AC

Otherwise the recommendation to open windows would be rather stupid. If they have AC and they are whining about 29C, then they deserve all the scorn being heaped upon them. I wouldn't even turn on my AC if the high was forecast for 29C, because 29C outside means it wouldn't even reach 25C inside.

Virtual reality audiences stare straight ahead 75% of the time

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Chase scenes

You see the same thing with car cases, where explicably a police/FBI SUV keeps up with a Porsche in city streets swerving through traffic.

Fancy buying our aircraft carrier satnav, Raytheon asks UK

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Maybe the wrong time to be selling a US Navy satnav

Given what happened to the USS Fitzgerald last week. Not quite the same system, but whatever they used worked so well for seeing a 700 ft container ship coming off starboard, after all! I wonder if it was Raytheon designed?

Obviously something basic went wrong there with basic US Navy processes, but the question seems to come down to 'were the sailors on watch asleep' or 'did the fancy computer system that runs it crash and they were flying blind'?

Google plans to scrub 'inflammatory' and terror vids from youTube

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"Decided the investment community should hear about it first"

Probably they've been getting questions from analysts who keep reading the bad press Google and Facebook have been getting about making it easier for terrorists to connect and want to know what they're going to do. Not that the analysts care about stopping terrorism, they just want to stop the bad press. And Google just wants to stop analysts asking them hard questions, because if they can't give satisfactory answers, analysts may respond with downgrades that will jeopardize exec's stock options!

Worried about election hacking? There's a technology fix – Helios

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@AC "possibility of less than a majority of the electorate determining a stupid result"

So you'd prefer to force people who don't care about the election to cast a vote, thus increasing the chance of a stupid result? Yeah, that makes sense...

Yet more reform efforts at the Euro Patent Office, and you'll never guess what...

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Re: As someone who voted Remain

As a Europe wide organization it may not be under control of the EU, but shows the problem with having governance by committee of countries.

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