* Posts by dajames

1037 posts • joined 20 Mar 2011

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Does Google make hardware just so nobody buys it?

dajames
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Re: But muh headphone jack!

As someone who is probably one of the older and stodgier greybeards in this forum, even I'm confused about the bitter clinging to the headphone jacks.

When I'm travelling, and realize that I've forgotten to pack any headphones, it's much cheaper to pick up a pair of wired earbud thingies that will tide me over than to have to buy yet another Bluetooth headset. This happens to me often enough that it's significant.

Having the 3.5mm jack doesn't prevent one from using high-quality Bluetooth headsets, but it provides the ability to use cheap and readily available earphones in an emergency. (Emergency? Ha! Talk about First World Problems.)

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dajames
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Re: ChromeOS Pyrrhic victory

Yes, but this one is an Intel and that means emulation for Android for ARM apps. And that's assuming Intel is maintaining the transpiler.

Most Android apps are platform agnostic. They're written in something (usually Java) that generates a bytecode image for the Dalvik runtime or for ART, and will run on any Android device. No emulation is required.

Some Android apps are written either in C++ or some other native-code language, or are built with some component written in such a language for speed. Those apps are usually built in ARM and Intel (and other?) variants, and the right version for the target hardware must be downloaded (Google's store does this automatically, I believe). Again, no emulation is needed.

I'm honestly not sure what happens if you have (say) an Intel x86 Android device and want to run a native code app written for ARM. I'd guess it probably doesn't run, because I'm not aware of the availability of any emulator for Android targets (there is an emulator for PC-hosted debugging in the Android SDK, but that's clearly different).

So, no, I don't think it means emulation. You just download the Intel version of the Android app.

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dajames
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Re: you can't make a Veblen good out of a dumb computer terminal

A typical dumb computer terminal is a "green screen".

I remember those days.

These days a typical "dumb computer terminal" is a PC running some kind of thin client under Windows 10. The device is capable of so much more ... but that's not how it gets used.

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Take my advice: The only safe ID is a fake ID

dajames
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Re: Aliases are fun

One site even accepted 5th Nov 1605 as my DOB....

... and yet, strangely, some sites don't accept a DOB of 1st January 1970 -- that's a Unix date value of 0, and the site complains that I haven't filled in the date.

Actually, that's not so strange, is it, given the quality of most websites? I wonder what people who really were born on that date do ...

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Samsung Galaxy A9: Mid-range bruiser that takes the fight to Huawei

dajames
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Check the facts?

Further down the scale the Galaxy J6 [snip link to Carphone Warehouse page] ... dispenses with the traditional microSD card slot

That surprised me, so I checked ...

Samsung's own product page says the J6 can take a micro-SD card up to 256GB.

Probably still comes with Bixby and a ton of other non-removable crap, though.

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Microsoft Surface Pro 4 owners: So, about that other broken update…

dajames
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Re: Come on...

It's not like there are a zillion different hardware configurations...

Indeed -- and Microsoft control the hardware, so they (should) know exactly what's out there. It's the easiest upgrade scenario you can imagine!

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Haven't updated your Adobe PDF software lately? Here's 85 new reasons to do it now

dajames
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Re: Enhancement?

Does it still attempt to back everything to the cloud... ie the Adove servers?

It seems to, yes ... though I only use the Android version (because I haven't yet found time to locate an Android PDF viewer that isn't worse -- suggestions please!).

On a recently reset tablet I reinstalled Adobe Reader and was horrified to be confronted with a screen that invited me to sign in to the Adobe Cloud (using a Google, Facebook, or Adobe ID). It took me a while to notice a small, subtle, cross in the top corner of the screen that let me bypass that crap and open the PDF.

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That scary old system with 'do not touch' on it? Your boss very much wants you to touch it. Now what do you do?

dajames
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... “six Rs” that ... remains (sic) useful when considering migrations. What are those Rs? Retain, retire, rehost, replatform, refactor, and rearchitect.

What happened to Retest, or for that matter Redocument, and Retrain (assuming those things were ever done in the first place)?

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Brexit campaigner AggregateIQ challenges UK's first GDPR notice

dajames
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Re: So this is punishment for supporting Brexit

Is it just me or does GDPR sound like a German state security service?

Nah ... stands for German Democratic People's Republic, dunnit?

Isn't that what the old East (or was it West) Germany was (nearly) called?

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UK getting ready to go it alone on Galileo

dajames
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What do you do when it's raining / cloudly

Stay indoors, where it's warm and dry!

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Huawei elbows aside Apple to claim number-two phone maker spot

dajames
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Lifetime ...

It's hard to justify splashing out on a high-end smartphone when you know that it will need replacing in two or three years time. If the non-replaceable battery hasn't failed then the software will be obsolete, buggy, and unpatched (even if Google have issued a patch for any bugs in Android you can't rely on the OEM to have applied that patch to the firmware for your handset -- that problem's not so bad in the Apple world, if you can live with the view from their walled garden).

The mobile phone has, unfortunately, to be seen as a consumable, disposable, device that needs to be replaced every couple of years, and as such it's not worth paying more than a couple of hundred each time.

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dajames
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Angel

Re: One idea

Maybe they'll sell more phones if they start spelling Honour correctly...

Methinks that if they named the phones after Honor Blackman (and why not?) then the spelling is already correct ...

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Go Zuck Yourself: Facebook destroys patent suit over timeline

dajames
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Re: None of these patents should ever have been granted

I think there's a simple thing that could be done to do away with patent trolls : tie the awarded amount to the revenue generated by the troll with the patent.

Well ... no.

I might have an idea, and patent it. I might then spend a lot of time and money working out how to get my idea to market -- developing the tech that's based on that idea, looking for backers to help put it in production, and so on. I might easily have to do that for a few years before I could bring a product to market and start to make money.

Now, imagine that in that period someone else with more money and more experience than I has the same idea and rushes it to market. What can I do but sue him?

At this point I'll have spent all my savings and a few years of my life pushing forward an idea that might one day have made me rich beyond the dreams of avarice, but to date has given me debts and an ulcer. You think it's fair that the only recompense I'd be entitled to in law would be bigger debts and another ulcer?

If you want to assess the value of the invention why not see how much the other guy has managed to make from it, since he's the one who's actually selling it.

Or turn the whole thing around, maybe. Give Zuckerberg the debts and the ulcer. He might find them ... broadening.

[I agree that patent trolls are pond-slime, I just want to point out that not everyone who holds a patent but isn't actively marketing a product based on that patent is a troll.]

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'Oh sh..' – the moment an infosec bod realized he was tracking a cop car's movements by its leaky cellular gateway

dajames
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Re: Oops

Although plod might not have known about this I expect the spooks did, and are probably not very happy it's gone public.

On the other hand, it enables them to argue that off-the-shelf solutions are not sufficiently secure for their own use, and they should have a bigger budget to enable them to specify their own systems and have them built ...

... and it enables them to argue that there is a vast untapped ocean of information about the movement of others that they are not yet tapping, and they need a bigger budget for that too!

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dajames
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Average

I think you mean median intelligence ;)

OK, I missed the wink of your smiley, you probably don't deserve the downvote I just gave you, but this particular piece of nit-picking gets my goat.

BUT you do realize, of course that the median is just one of the statistical values that are grenerally referred to a as the "average" -- see Wikipedia -- so the remark that "50% of the population will always be below average intelligence" is true because "average" can mean "median".

Then again, the distribution of intelligence in the population approximates to a bell-curve (a normal distribution) and one characteristic of the normal distribution is that the mean and the median have the same value. So, again, "50% of the population will always be below average intelligence" holds true.

But it's not really worth this debate. The remark is a joke that should pass without comment. 50% of anything will be below "average" (for some value of average), but that's not the point -- the point is that we all tend to forget how stupid some people can be, and it's worth having a bon mot like this to remind us.

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You: 'Alexa, open Cortana.' Alexa: 'Who?'

dajames
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My poor father-in-law was given an Amazon speaker thingie for Christmas by some subset of his loving but lost-for-present-dead daughters last year. It is without any doubt the most gratuitous piece of pointless, overpriced, shite that it has ever been my misfortune to encounter

It has once given me cause to smile, though:

Me: Alexa, how many beans make five?

Alexa: If you plant them carefully you can get more than five beans by planting one bean.

... and there I was expecting some stock answer like "two in each hand and one in your mouth" ... but, of course, Alexa doesn't have hands or a mouth. We anthropomorphize these things too readily and we really shouldn't.

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EU wants one phone plug to rule them all. But we've got a better idea.

dajames
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Re: Just add wireless charging

Power mats that can charge multiple devices at once can do this with less resources than multiple chargers and could ultimately reduce the need for chargers.

A single wired charger with multiple USB-A sockets to accept multiple charging cables -- be they Lightning, micro-USB, or USB-C -- would surely charge multiple devices more efficiently still?

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If you drop a tablet in a forest of smartphones, will anyone hear it fall?

dajames
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Re: Huh?

I know Windows is doing rather well on tablets, but I wouldn't have thought they were even above Android, let alone dominating the market...

I imagine a lot of that is Microsoft Surface devices ... they're not really tablets, they're laptops (OK, maybe they do have detachable keyboards) running full-fat Windows.

Methinks they don't really belong in a survey like this.

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dajames
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Re: big screen landfill

Depends on what you wipe your arse with, really! ;-)

I don't think there's an app for that ... not yet, anyway!

(Thinks: Maybe a bluetooth remote for one of those Japanese-style electric toilet-seat-cum-bidet thingies?)

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Oh my Tosh, it's only a 100TB small form-factor SSD, SK?

dajames
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Re: No-one will ever... need more than 64TB on a 2.5inch SSD

I refer the honourable member to the statement allegedly made by Mr William Gates in 1981 "640K ought to be enough for anybody", often paraphrased as "No-one will ever need more than 640K".

In all fairness to the said Mr. Gates, the remark would have been made in in the context of a machine architecture that couldn't address more than 1MB in any case, so his figure of 640K wasn't completely ridiculous, at the time.

It was still wrong, though, when there were machines like some of the Apricot and Sirius computers that could run DOS with 896K of free RAM.

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Here's a fab idea: Get crypto libs to warn devs when they screw up

dajames
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my experience is, crypto APIs are incredibly complicated, hard to use, and poorly documented. this especially applies to openSSL.

Designing and securely implementing cryptographic interfaces is a complex process really hard to do well ... but using them is much easier ... or would be if there was any documentation, which there all too often isn't (yes, OpenSSL, I'm looking at you, too).

Adding a few carefully-worded Doxygen comments would make all the difference ...

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Sur-Pies! Google shocks world with sudden Android 9 Pixel push

dajames
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Parkin?

Penguin (it does use a Linux kernel, but so has every other version)

I was SO sure it was going to be Popcorn ...

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'Unhackable' Bitfi crypto-currency wallet maker will be shocked to find fingernails exist

dajames
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Re: Money talks, bullshit walks

You mean Esther Rantzen and her curious shaped vegetables?

Vegetables? I had some idea they might be teeth ...

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Well, this makes scents: Kotlin code quality smells better than Java

dajames
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Re: The smell of outdated coding practices

Elderberries?

Only if your mother was a hamster.

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

dajames
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Re: haven't ad's died yet?

He / She says, whilst posting on The Register - a website funded by Ads.

There is a certain irony, isn't there?

If funding by advertising works for The Register that's fine for The Register (and I'm happy to get it for nothing) ... but, like the earlier poster, I don't understand how that works. Why does advertising pay? Are we really such a bunch of feckless shallow fools that we spend our money on things just because we're seen them advertised?

I'd really like to believe that we weren't, but the evidence seems to be to the contrary.

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dajames
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Re: I'm seriously thinking about charging Coca Cola rent.

... it isn't McDonald's fault that their customers are stupid fucks who litter because its easier than thinking.

Of course it is. If they wanted a more discerning clientele they'd market a less disgusting product.

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Some of you really don't want Windows 10's April 2018 update on your rigs

dajames
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Re: Linux and software installs and RPi

With Windows there are packaging tools (such as InstallShield) where you download a file to your PC, run it, and it does all the hard stuff for you. Leaving aside security issues (a long and thorny subject) I can't see Linux becoming useable by the average naive user until third party software installs have the same one click approach as Windows software.

Third-party software developers who don't provide their software in a format digestible by the standard Linux package managers aren't doing themselves any favours, I agree ... but please understand that when those developers do provide a package the install pretty-much is one-click.

The difficulty is that different distros use different package manages (aptitude, rpm, yum, etc) so the third party developer has more work to do to cover all the distros ... and different hardware architectures (such as the Pi, since you bring it up) require their own packages.

Building from source isn't a lot of fun, but at least it offers some hope that you can get the software to run on your own hardware, whatever that is.

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dajames
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Re: Use Linux...

Not my fault you can't use it right.

You raise an interesting point.

It used to be the case that one of the big advantages of commercial (and usually Windows-based) software was that it was much better documented than FOSS, and so easier to learn to use.

IME That's no longer the case. It's not that FOSS now has better documentation -- it doesn't. The fact is that hardly any software is now adequately documented -- and what documentation you do get is ungrammatical, misspelt, poorly laid-out, and lacking in proper indexing and cross-referencing. Commercial software is throwing away one of its clearest advantages.

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dajames
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Not designed for Grandma

Using Linux is a perpetual swim _against_ a current that is _much_ stronger than you ...

I do feel that at times, yes ... but not as much as I used to with Windows.

For the hypothetical Grandma of the title there probably isn't much difference, but for a techy like me the fact is that I actually can fix things in Linux, if I can be bothered to spend the effort, whereas Windows is just a black box full of broken parts.

Of course ... usually I can't be bothered to try.

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dajames
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Re: Stop breaking stuff

the desktops are 1280x1024 (19" 4:3 screens).

Methinks a little quick mental arithmetic will allow you to confirm that that is in fact 5:4 not 4:3.

Was it really so long ago that this was THE standard desktop monitor resolution (but usually on 17" screens) that we have all forgotten?

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If you're serious about securing IoT gadgets, may as well start here

dajames
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Re: why indeed

I always view an IoT device as (usually) an appliance, a limited function device that has been mis-designed so as not to operate without unnecessary internet connectivity back to specific vendor/product back-ends.

FIFY.

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You can take off the shades, squinting Outlook.com users. It has gone dark. Very dark

dajames
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Madness in cycles

I recall working -- ooh, a few years back -- with a couple of people who liked to use dark-on-white (dark blue, I think, was their preference) schemes in text-mode DOS on CGA screens (I said it was a few years back) because it was "easier to read".

Yes, it was easy to read ... until you made the text scroll, when it flickered like a disco and made my eyes hurt to look at it.

Nevertheless, my colleagues insisted that the default white-on-black was harder to read ...

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BBC websites down tools and head outside into the sun for a while

dajames
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Re: 60 Million people...

I know, it rarely does not rain here.

I worked on-site at a client in the West End (of London) for 18 months, a few years ago. Getting there involved a mixture of walking and public transport (or just a long walk), and I "wisely" carried a raincoat every day.

What surprised me was how seldom I actually needed it. Maybe five times in 18 months, which might have been a couple more times had I not once or twice taken shelter in the pub at the end of the day until the wet stuff had spent its fury.

We tend to forget that London has a lower annual rainfall than (say) Paris (France, not Texas).

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Sen. Ron Wyden: Adobe Flash is doomed, why is Uncle Sam still using it?

dajames
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Insecure versions of Java

Methinks there's a good case for encouraging anti-malware product vendors to get their software to report these things along with the other dangerous crap that they highlight.

It's a service that people might be happy to pay for, after all.

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Some Things just aren't meant to be (on Internet of Things networks). But we can work around that

dajames
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Rule 3 is "Try to remember that many of those 'Lusers' will be the people who actually generate revenue for the company so it can continue to exist...

So ... shouldn't they be doing that, then, rather than spending time attaching unauthorized devices to the company network?

Leave the networking to those whose job that actually is.

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Windows 10 IoT Core Services unleashed to public preview

dajames
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February 30th?

... for those moments when Debian just doesn't quite cut it.

Which moments would those be, then? I must have missed them ...

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dajames
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Headmaster

A Saddle Girth

Compared to setting up a .deb repo and creating debs which is a sinch and pretty solid tech.

I'm indebted to you, #teknopaul, for encouraging me to wonder about the origin of the word "cinch" (by misspelling it).

Apparently it comes from the Spanish-American word "cincha" meaning a saddle-girth (the strap that goes around the horse to hold the saddle in place, making it safe and secure). You learn something every day!

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Fork it! Google fined €4.34bn over Android, has 90 days to behave

dajames
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Re: what about Apple?

You can use whatever you damn well please on Google products.

You can, as a user, yes.

The EU's complaint is that Google don't allow OEMs to exercise the same freedom by installing alternative apps instead of Google's own.

I, personally, don't mind Google insisting that all their own apps should be present on a new device -- as long as I can delete or disable the ones I don't want to use (which I can't, in some cases) -- but that's not the issue, either.

The issue that sticks in the craw is that Google apparently don't allow an OEM to produce two Android devices, one of which is fully Googled-up while the other is not. If they're different devices they should be allowed to use different licensing schemes.

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dajames
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Wrong target?

When was the last time you saw a complete open-source driver base for Rockchip or Mediatek SoCs? EVERYTHING out there is blobs, and they can legally argue on the basis of Trade Secrets.

So ... what you're saying is that the EU should be going after the SoC makers, and insisting that they publish Open Source reference implementations of all the drivers for their devices -- or face a fine or being banned from the market -- in order to enable small AOSP-based device vendors to compete effectively with the big boys and girls?

Sounds good to me ...

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dajames
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If Google are so great ...

... how come they abused their monopoly by forcing vendors to use Google Search and other services, but didn't use the same power to force them to issue security updates for the OS?

Good question. I do wish that Google would make timely support with software updates a requirement for any vendor licensing Android.

I can see why they might not, though ... part of the answer to that must be that most vendors will bow -- albeit perhaps grudgingly -- to Google's bundling requirements because complying with those doesn't actually cost them very much money. They're barred from producing some other products for which there might be a market, but that market isn't very lucrative.

Having to keep an OS version in development for an old device has an ongoing cash cost that the vendors are unlikely to swallow with good grace. Google keeps the vendors on-side by refraining from making that a requirement.

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Official: The shape of the smartphone is changing forever

dajames
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"Traditional"

The "Traditional" shape for a widescreen display is 16:10. We only have 16:9 because HD television screens have that aspect ratio and there are economies of scale in using the same panels for both (and because LCD panels are now good enough to be used for both).

18:9 (or 2:1, as we used to call it) seems calculated to remove any possibility of using the same screen as (say) a pocket TV, and so has no chance of bringing any economy.

Personally, when I view a very-wide display I find the short dimension limiting and want it to be larger in comparison with the larger. I'd prefer something squarer.

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Samsung’s new phone-as-desktop is slick, fast and ready for splash-down ... somewhere

dajames
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Headmaster

"Tellie"

Really?

"Telly", surely.

"Tellies", though, of course; that's how we do plurals in English.

(I remember asking my primary school teacher how to spell "telly", many years ago, and she said that I should just write "TV" because "telly" wasn't a proper word.)

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Git365. Git for Teams. Quatermass and the Git Pit. GitHub simply won't do now Microsoft has it

dajames
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I just hope it's not

GitStore ...

... or Microsoft SourceStore ...

... but I'm sure monetization will come into it.

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RIP Peter Firmin: Clangers creator dies aged 89

dajames
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The Clangers were pink?

Who knew?

The earliest TV I remember watching was Popeye the Sailor -- which I used to watch at my Grandmother's house, because she had a TV set and we didn't, back then.

Later on, my favourites were Gerry Anderson's Supercar and Fireball XL5 ... and especially Roberta Leigh's excellent Space Patrol.

[Warning: The DVD box set of Space Patrol contains a 'bonus' episode of the series Sarah and Hoppity which I always hated but which was a favourite of my younger sister and whose theme tune is still an ear-worm. (Don't ask me how I know this)]

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GitHub given Windows 9x's awesome and so very modern look

dajames
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The Windows GUI ...

Wasn't always as bad as it is today.

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Sysadmin cracked military PC’s security by reading the manual

dajames
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Headmaster

Re: a sort of oversized Meccano.

Or what real engineers call "Dexian".

Only engineers that can't spell "Dexion" do that.

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dajames
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Re: Only cracking I have done is

I guess the lock was cheap and must of (sic) knocked the setting as I was locking it.

... or, perhaps, some passing wag had picked the lock, changed the combination, and locked it again.

Maybe a friend of the guy in the bike shop -- he seems to have known how to go about such a prank.

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No one wants new phones – it's chips that keep Samsung chugging

dajames
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False dual-SIM

I was very annoyed to see that the S9+ takes either a second SIM or an SD card, not both at the same time.

That is all-too common, unfortunately, and is seldom correctly described in manufacturers' product specs or properly condemned by reviewers.

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A slick phone Linux for your pocket PDA? Ooh, don't mind if I do, sir

dajames
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Thanks for the links

I find it odd that the Planet -- having made so much fuss about how the Gemini would run Linux, etc. to build it up before the launch -- have not made it easier to find out just how one goes about this.

It's good to see that they're making more information and assistance available.

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Amazon, eBay and pals agree to Europe's other GDPR: Generally Dangerous Products Removed from websites

dajames
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Re: Dangerous?

I'm baffled by chargers with ONLY USA flat blade pins having a CE mark.

Such goods require a CE mark if they are manufactured or sold in Europe -- even if they are obviously intended to be used elsewhere.

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