* Posts by Brewster's Angle Grinder

1940 posts • joined 23 May 2011

Yahoo! webmail! hacker! faces! nearly! eight! years! in! the! cooler!

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Maybe! It's! Just! My! Intellecatual! Level! But! Somehow! That! Yahoo! Headline! Exclamation! Mark! Joke! Doesn't! Get! Old!

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Bloke fruit flies enjoy ejaculating, turn to booze when starved of sexy times

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Thumb Up

Whereas when I'm feeling sexually frustrated, I shamelessly troll for upvotes.

Okay, upvotes don't produce quite the same hit of endorphins, but there's less vomit and no legal proceeding stripping me of my driving licence.

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Beware! Medical AI systems are easy targets for fraud and error

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I'm struggling with the attack vectors here. A nurse takes a photo or scan and feeds it into the AI. How do I get to attack it? If there's motive to corrupt the diagnosis, then it's as easy to hack in and corrupt the result as corrupt the photo. (Okay, corrupting the photo means if they run the test again, they'll get the desired result, provided they don't take a new photo. So there's some mileage in that.)

And I struggle with how much this can be exploited. Suppose the patient sends in their own photo of a suspected skin cancer. Why would they corrupt it? The patient's not going to want to turn it into a false positive. A hacker could delay necessary treatment (making death more likely) or force someone to have treatment who doesn't need it. But there has got to be an initial concern. Novichok on a door handle sounds easier.

Obviously this is interesting and worthy of thinking about at this early stage. But it's about as practical as one of those fake pregnancy tests.

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Pyro-brainiacs set new record with waste-heat-into-electricity study

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Headmaster

Re: Waste heat below 100oC...?

Which bit of below 100°C do you not understand? In the paper, they say they're exploring ΔT of 10–90K above a room temperature of 25 °C.

There are a lot of issues. But it's doesn't depend on electronics that can make you a brew.

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More than 87m Facebook profiles farmed, says second ex-Cambridge Analytica witness

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Re: "because, as upper class Brits, they did not want to front up the deal"

I'm a Brit and I could do with having it explained to me. :/

If Banks is working-class, they may have thought he'd take umbrage at them for being posh. I know, I might.

Or perhaps class was just cover. Maybe they couldn't stand Banks. Maybe they thought he was a letch who might open up for a bit totty; you know what they say about sex.1

1. What they say about sex is, "Ask first." As Julian Assange will confirm.

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Google accidentally reveals new swipe-happy Android UI

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Re: Please no

I'm old enough to remember getting my hands on a mouse for the first time. Double-clicks weren't discoverable at all; it had to be explained to me how to do this magical thing. You could make a similar argument for long presses -- I can think of game puzzles where the "puzzle" is holding down a button in the environment for several seconds. (Or several minutes, for one Uru puzzle.)

Discoverability is important. But I think its reasonable to have a few platform wide gestures. Think about language: you're not expected to discover the basic words, but once you've been taught them you can discover the rest.

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HMRC delays digi tax plans amid Brexit customs woes

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Re: I hope that HMRC...

"And it will all be for nothing when the next generation take us back into the EU."

No, it won't be for nothing. We'll have given up the forty years of opt-outs, rebates, and special exemptions that's allowed us to have our cake and eat it.

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Google's not-Linux OS documentation cracks box open at last

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Re: C++????

I think you'll find it's !Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh;

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Are meta, self-referential or recursive science-fiction films doomed?

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Re: Seveneves bad, Anathem good

I don't recall there's being anything new in Anathem. (That's one for those of you who've read it.)

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Not one, but 20,000 black holes hiding in Milky Way's heart

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Re: Cool.

You answer your own question below: there just isn't any missing mass in the centre of the galaxy. And, anyway, it appears these black holes are already budgeted for and predicted to exist -- we just haven't found them yet.

And if a black hole halo was to explain dark matter, there'd need to be five black holes for every star in the galaxy. Which should give you pause for thought. And we'd definitely have detected them through gravitational lensing events. (Also, theories of galaxy formation would be borked and we'd need to rethink the spectrum of cosmic microwave background radiation.)

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Law's changed, now cough up: Uncle Sam serves Microsoft fresh warrant for Irish emails

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Gimp

Dear El Reg,

I kept reading this as the "CLOWN-act". I don't know why.

Yours etc...

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Why a merged Apple OS is one mash-up too far

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OS !== UX && OS !== CPU

Linux runs Android and can run desktops. So a common kernel is already a reality; we just need to argue about how far up the stack up we want to go. And on the web, a single site can adapt between desktop and touch. (To what extant and how well is in the lap of the designers).

Tablet computing, itself, is a precedent for Apple perfecting what Microsoft has screwed up.

And there is an unmet need for portable, personal computing: I just like the idea of being to plug a device into a keyboard and mouse (and perhaps a monitor) and to have a desktop OS that's mine. So perhaps the time is ripe for Apple to come along and "invent" this.

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Amazon warns you have 30 days before Music Storage files bloodbath

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Pirate

Inquiring minds want to know...

"Such a company would probably also make world headlines for developing a money tree as well."

They've developed a magic money tree?! Great! How much does it cost?

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Brit cloud slinger iomart goes TITSUP, knackers Virgin Trains, Parentpay

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Re: Erm...

Because you were bussed (or driven) into school from one of the surrounding villages and either don't have an ATM card, left it at home (because, like, it's a school, not a mall) or don't have the time between exams to do the forty minutes there-and-back through the torrential rain to the nearest ATM.

Although, on second thoughts, "ANY means" includes mugging a third former or shoplifting. Okay, as you were.

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Happy as Larry: Why Oracle won the Google Java Android case

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As, I've said before, an API is like the index to a book. So "copying" the API is like arranging for your book to have an index which has all the entries that are present in the book you're "copying". (Although you can throw in a few extras.)

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Meet the open sorcerers who have vowed to make Facebook history

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Trollface

Re: What has IMAP got to do with Facebook?

Ironically, the original email (as spec'd in RFC821) had the SEND command to send messages directly to an online user. (As well as SOML and SAML). We don't need no fancy IMAP enhancements; all we need to do is resurrect that. Job done.

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India: Yeah, we would like to 3D-print igloos on the Moon

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Devil

"A sphere or igloo-like dome is the most efficient shape for a habitat in a vacuum."

Well which is it? Igloos aren't spheres -- they're helical catenoids.

As you say, "the devil is always in the detail."

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UK Court of Appeal settles reseller's question: Is software a good?

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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A computer program is just a very long number. Can a number be counted as goods? ("Here's my number twelve and here's my copy of pi...")

What's special about these particular numbers is they explain to a binary slave how to perform a service. It's a way of mapping electrical inputs into outputs; a configuration file that configures your computer to serve you in a particular form.

(That said, the original judge was right. There are no perpetual services. The only things that can serve you for as long as you own them are goods.)

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SpaceX blasted massive plasma hole in Earth's ionosphere

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Re: SAW?

Note that for naming the ionospheric response of the shock wave, the literature uses terminology incorporating a different physical interpretation, among them the term ‘shock-acoustic wave’ (SAW) (Nagorsky, 1998).

[SOURCE]

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Programming languages can be hard to grasp for non-English speakers. Step forward, Bato: A Ruby port for Filipinos

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Local language be dammned.

At the moment, my variable names are Greek, my comments are Latex, and I could still do with a way to embed diagrams more complicated than Ascii art can achieve.

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Oh bucket! Unpack the suitcases. TRAPPIST-1 planets too wet to support life

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Oceans and land are a narrow window to aim at. You either end up with a water world or a hunk rock. (Remember earth is only a fraction of a percent of water. If you were looking at it through a telescope, you'd probably write off the water as an error and conclude it was as dry as mars.)

They do give a graph in the paper. No amount of error is going to give f and g continents. b and c could get there. But, if their assumptions hold, the balance of probabilities is "land" is a long way down.

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Telegram still won't hand over crypto keys it says it does not store

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Re: Can you stop repeating Boris shite

"...I wonder why... Steele never bothered to ask any of us..."

Could it be because, AFAIK, Steele had nothing to do with any of the investigations into Litvinenko or the Skripals?

And, for what it's worth, here's a Russian expert with first-hand experience of novichok refuting your claims:

Vil Mirzayanov, 83, said the chemical was too dangerous for anyone but a “high-level senior scientist” to handle and that even he – who worked for 30 years inside the secret military installation where novichok was developed and gained extensive personal experience in handling the agent – would not know how to weaponize it.

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No, Stephen Hawking's last paper didn't prove the existence of a multiverse

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"A multiverse would have limits to it's size and expansion also."

Why? Even if this is the sole "universe", there are no limits to its expansion. It just ends up more and more empty. (The heat death of the universe.)

Think about the number line for positive integers: given n you can always find n+1., n+n n*n, nn, etc... Numbers can grow without bound; likewise the universe.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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"This sparked a conjecture that by the <u>end of the inflationary period, there wasn't one universe</u> – the one we see – but a potentially infinite number (the multiverse)."

In eternal inflation, the "inflationary period" only ever ends for patches here and there. Most of the "universe" remains perpetually in an inflationary state. That's Hawking's "fractal-like multiverse".

What you imply is lots of patches of universe side by side functioning as different universes. That can't happen. The universe can't exit inflation "simultaneously" and get different laws.

But I did read a related paper the other day which said that, if you get the numbers exactly right, you can get all the universe to exit inflation and be left with a cluster of different universes. But the "inflationary period" ends at different times and it needs detailed fine tuning; most models tend to produce run-away inflation or a single universe.

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Bitcoin's blockchain: Potentially a hazardous waste dump of child abuse, malware, etc

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Re: Data vs Code

It's not possible to prove an arbitrary program is correct. But it's possible to prove a particular program is correct.

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Facebook suspends account of Cambridge Analytica whistleblower

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Paris Hilton

Re: Oldsters?

Sorry, babe, you're over the hill.

Paris, because she's never over the hill.

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Boffins find sign of water existing deep into Earth's mantle by looking at diamonds

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Re: Isotopes

My thought was subduction, too. I imagine the authors did. Unfortunately, I can't find a preprint.

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Mulled EU copyright shakeup will turn us into robo-censors – GitHub

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I say kudos to the person who's managed to copyright the sound of the ocean. Let's face it, there shouldn't be a resource on this planet that can't be privatised and turned into a revenue source for the rich.

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Google to 'forget me' man: Have you forgotten what you said earlier?

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Re: Add spent convictions to the discrimination legislation

"So if I am understanding this correctly: If I was looking for an accountant, I wouldn't or shouldn't be able to see that one of the interviewees had 5 convictions for embezzlement, since the terms had been served?"

It depends upon the length of the sentence. If it was for more than four years (as seems likely for 5 counts of embezzlement) then the conviction never becomes spent. Even if it is spent, it still may have to be revealed for some jobs. But for mundane stuff, if you refuse to hire someone on the basis of spent convictions, then you are committing a crime. [SOURCE]

In summary, the law attempts to balance the right to a second chance against the risk of recidivism.

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Airbus ditches Microsoft, flies off to Google

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Re: "I'm guessing you're a systemd developer."

"Sorry, I'm an assembler/C/C++ developer. Who started when Linux didn't exist yet. And who always hated those who can't understand data structures and think text files are good because they can read"

Sounds a lot like me. Except I don't live in the past. (And I don't get to program much C++ these days. Although WebAssembly might change that.)

It's not clear to me what you mean by data structures. To me a data structure is something in memory.

We're talking about on disk files which have be transformed into data structures on load. They can be serialised as text or in binary, it doesn't make much difference. Perhaps a particular data structure has a natural serialisation, but that will be specific to the class of problems you're solving. If somebody asks a different set of questions then it could be horribly inappropriate format for the data, and then the program has to deserialize data into your chosen data structure, and rearrange it before it can answer questions, and that has blown any efficiency over a more neutral format.

Nor is text just about debugging. It's about portability - as it avoids concerns over endianess or floating point formats with ascii numbers. (And for the record, if I have an eight-bit clean editor, including nulls---and don't get me started on C's "asciiz" strings---I'd take utf8 over utf16, and utf16 over the legacy multibyte formats.) And its about archiving: that data will be readable long after you're gone.

That said, if you're railing against XML I will join you in the queue. (Okay, XML does work for documents and has left things slightly better than legacy binary formats. I still hate it.)

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: "and switching to plain text"

"IT has already became far less efficient since web developers, unable to understand proper data structures, used only inefficient text representation of everything. "

I'm guessing you're a systemd developer.

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Fermi famously asked: 'Where is everybody?' Probably dead, says renewed Drake equation

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: Obligatory DNA

"...there is an infinite amount of space..."

Paging Herr Olbers. Paging Herr Olbers.

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Stephen Hawking dies, aged 76

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Re: "a tribute to the NHS"?

"Private medicine would surely have done the same if called upon to do so."

A professor's salary doesn't stretch very far. And if he'd had to rely on private insurance, or a much diminished public health service, where healthcare was doled out in accordance with ability to pay, rather than need, then perhaps he would never have been able to contribute so significantly to human society.

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Developer mistakenly deleted data - so thoroughly nobody could pin it on him!

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Re: Something odd going on here

But the blocks used would be marked as free. And, in ext2, the allocation information for files larger than 12 blocks is "data" that is dynamically allocated. So if these indirect blocks get reused before `rm -rf /` completes (and while you're busy "backing up" the filesystem, other processes are appending to logs and writing data) then you'll only be recovering text files.

Apparently ext3 is even worse: "In order to ensure that ext3 can safely resume an unlink after a crash, it actually zeros out the block pointers in the inode, whereas ext2 just marks these blocks as unused in the block bitmaps and marks the inode as "deleted" and leaves the block pointers alone." (?I presume ext4 inherits this?)

Contrasts that with FAT, where there's a good chance the allocation chain is intact. So even if the directory entry has been overwritten, you can probably recover the file; all you have to do is work out which file it is. (And if you're really lucky, you can find an old directory that tells you.)

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Tim Berners-Lee says regulation of the web may be needed

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"...most of our laws about hate speech, extremist content and suchlike are completely ineffective."

Are they? I don't know how our laws are framed. But, while we might not be able to convince the site hosting the material to remove it, I'm sure we could prosecute the act of sitting at a keyboard and typing hate speech.

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Sneaky satellite launch raises risk of Gravity-style space collision

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Re: How big are these things?

"Wouldn't they also need to be black.... really black?"

You mean Vantablack?

I know, Vantablack is only unreflective in the visible; not radar.

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Sacked saleswoman told to pay Intel £45k after losing discrim case

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Re: I feel you are vindicated as well

"Only a voice recording would be of benefit not meeting notes."

Completely the reverse. As pointed out above, a recording is a very grey area whereas contemporaneous notes are sacrosanct; the law has very different notions of proof than to us lay people.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: I feel you are vindicated as well

"I couldn't prove whatever she said to me in a mtg room as her response."

If, as soon as you got back to your desk, you typed up what she said, noting the date and time, then that would count as papertrail. Unless the company could produce equivalent notes (e.g minutes of meetings), contradictory evidence or otherwise show you up as an unreliable witness, then you would have a strong case -- especially given emails going unanswered.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: Representing yourself

"There is an old legal saying "A lawyer who is representing himself, has a fool for a client"."

When I represented myself, I found I had a fool for a lawyer!

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Ex-Google recruiter: I was fired for opposing hiring caps on white, Asian male nerds

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Re: time to get the frilly frock...

You won't, though, will you? Even if you thought your $sex was discriminated against and that there would be a huge advantage in "pretending" to be the other $sex, you wouldn't do it, would you? That's the nature of gender identity; it's deeply held.

And you should admit that rather than colluding in the argument some cis women are using to attack non-cis women and defend their privilege.

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The phone OS that muggers wouldn't touch is back from the dead

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So you want an unripe banana phone?

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Does my boom look big in this? New universe measurements bewilder boffins

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Re: Dark matter/energy.

"As for the rest, you're hitting up a modified version of Fred Hoyle's "continuous creation" there."

If the eternal inflation guys are right, then Hoyle has the last laugh on that.

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"What’s it expanding into?"

It's not that the universe is expanding. No, it occupies the same space it has always occupied. The problem is we're shrinking.

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New Google bias lawsuit claims company fired chap who opposed discrimination

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"Keep politics out of the workplace and there won't be a problem."

Okay, but the quid pro quo is we we keep "workplaces" out of politics; i.e. no corporate funding of political parties and lobbyists.

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iPhone X 'slump' is real, whisper supply chain moles

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Re: So Someone Learn me....

"You can't just order 30 million and then only buy 20 million, so presumably they've made some money from Apple by doing nothing."

Presumably Samsung didn't whip up 30 million screens and shove them into a warehouse for when Apple was ready. It's a production line. They can stop the run when they get to 20E6 rather than 30E6. And given it's Apple, they may well be able to cut the order on a whim. (And Samsung may well be able to do the same to their supplies.)

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Developer recovered deleted data with his face – his Poker face

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"Hmmm. It's 24 bit colour, so we should definitely be able to set the red value to greater than 8 bits."

(I'm actually surprised it saturated rather than wrapping. But maybe I'm just old.)

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James Damore's labor complaint went over about as well as his trash diversity manifesto

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Boffin

Re: Political correctness

"Damore is fired for writing a carefully argued statistical paper."

I really hope you're not a practising scientist.

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Apple Macs, iThings, smart watches choke on tiny Indian delicacy

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Re: "Only if the coder anticipated the problem."

But this is fundamentally a case of recognising a sequence of code points ([U+0c1c, U+0c4d, U+0c1e, U+200c, U+0c3e]) and finding the relevant glyph in the font table. Yes, there are all sorts of combing characters that can cause multiple code points to render as a single glyph. But it shouldn't have to dynamically create glyphs, just find the right one.

And my betting would be a mismatched set of lengths. U+200c (the zero-width non-joiner) normally forces two glyphs where one would otherwise be. But in this case it seems not to do that. So I'm guessing the text processing code naively allocates space for two glyphs but ends up outputting one. If the glyph-list is an array of pointers (into, say, the font table), then the renderer is going to crash when it hits a null or uninitialized pointer.

Interestingly, when I pasted the character into the Chrome console, it displayed as two characters separated by a red dot, only converting to the final glyph as I hit enter. Chrome then uses a single glyph. By contrast, Firefox appears to use two glyphs to represent this character. So this is a confusing character. But everybody's behaviour is better than crashing.

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I'm guessing this thread doesn't contain many contributions from people with Apple hardware.

జ్ఞ‌ా

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Helicopter crashes after manoeuvres to 'avoid... DJI Phantom drone'

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Coat

Re: Makes no sense

According to DJI's website the maximum weight of a Phantom is 1.2Kg. So basically it's a flying bag of sugar, or equivalently, a typical city pigeon.

Still, imagine what could happen if one of themgot tangled in a chopper's tail rotor...

My coat is the one that's being blown across the field by the rotor down-draft. Thanks.

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