* Posts by Robert Helpmann??

1929 posts • joined 31 May 2011

Boffin wins (Ig) Nobel prize asking if cats can be liquid

Robert Helpmann??
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Coat

Re: Cats are neither a solid nor a liquid.

Casinos don't need to do maths, the odds are already in their favour.

And how do you suppose that happy circumstance was arrived at? By thoroughly understanding probability. How do they set up new games and expect to bring in the money? Same answer. Why do they prevent collusion between players? Now we're on to game theory. So yes, they do in fact need to understand maths or risk going out of business.

Mine has a copy of Radner on Dice in the pocket.

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BOFH: We're only here because they said there would be biscuits

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: Episode 2?

If we are going to go with fairy tale endings, it might as well be inspired by Grimm, Anderson, et al., rather than some watered down version in which the bright young sysadmin wins by dint of personality and pluck... unless pluck refers to what the crows enjoy at the end.

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Apple’s facial recognition: Well, it is more secure for the, er, sleeping user

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: Biometrics

Biometrics do not replace passwords...

Precisely. Biometric measurements are fine as a method of identification, but not as a key. Who I am should establish my user ID, but it should never be used as my password.

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Everybody without Android Oreo vulnerable to overlay attack

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: "will need updating"

This kind of issue is the biggest flaw in android...

The flaw is not with Android, but with the service providers. If a patch has been created by Google and the phone companies will not push it out, it is not a flaw with the OS but with the service model that it is implemented under. Small pleasure in knowing this if you are affected, but pressure should be placed on those responsible for the lack of updates, not on those who actually created them and made them available.

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Airbus issues patch to prevent A350 airliner fuel tanks exploding

Robert Helpmann??
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Flame

Re: Stop <> prevent

The entire publication would be lifted into the next league—where arguably it belongs—if it would simply stop the clumsy, infantile puns...

I read the stories precisely because of the puns. DO NOT CHANGE!

There. In much the same way reporting should be fair and balanced, so too should comments.

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Seriously, friends. You suck at driving. Get a computer behind the wheel to save your life

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: @Robert Helpmann: Another way of looking at automatic braking.

More or less, Jay. I live in the burbs about 25 miles out of the city. I moved to this area from another US state where there was less in the way of rail or bus service. There, I carpooled and used light rail as much as I could, but it was limited. I will probably move farther out from the metro center as the rail line is expanding beyond its current 60+ mile range. I appreciate the advantages of country life, but am more than happy to enjoy those of the city, too. I have no complaints about being able to have it both ways.

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Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: Another way of looking at automatic braking.

While I think self-driving cars are the way to go if I am forced to be on the roadways, I prefer to partake as little as possible. I know it is not always possible to avoid getting in a car to go somewhere, but I have managed to replace more than 90% of time spent behind the wheel from my life with rail transport and walking. It looks as though I will be able to pare that down even more.

Cars are more and more a lifestyle choice and not a necessity. Doesn't that imply that those who use them most are, at least to a certain extent, choosing to risk life and limb simply by doing so? Will insurers start asking if you drive and inquiring about self-driving tech if you do in much the same way they currently do concerning smoking, drinking and drug use?

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US prosecutors drop demand for 1.3m IP addresses of folks who visited anti-Trump site

Robert Helpmann??
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Paris Hilton

Re: Ok...

...There is no in between or half way house because then someone has to determine who is good and who is bad...

There are a number of simple logical fallacies in your arguments. First, saying both groups have broken a law makes them equivalent is simply wrong. Under such logic, jaywalking and mass murder have the same standing. This is neither the way the law actually works nor the way society as a whole views things. However this is exactly the position put forth in many political "discussions". Points off for False Equivalence.

Framing rights in absolute terms is likewise incorrect. Under legal frameworks of which I am aware, there are limits to rights. This is particularly evident in which the exercise of rights by different groups brings them into conflict.

Likewise, it is possible to frame laws in such a way as to be applied to everyone in the same manner and yet discriminate against a class. This may be done for the benefit of society (preventing access to weapons on the part of known violent offenders) or to its detriment (implementing a poll tax in order to vote). While you touch on this concept, your statements fall down on the implications.

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Smart robots prove stupidly easy to hack for spying and murder

Robert Helpmann??
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Devil

Re: You have to wonder is all this SW written by the same bunch of clueless code monkeys?

90-95% of the code is probably stolen from some online site.

While this is undoubtedly true, it is far past the point where incompetence can explain away all the security flaws out in the wild. I have come to believe that there are a number of bad actors teaching people to code who feel that including basic security is to be avoided under all circumstances.

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Phisherfolk dangle bait at dot-fish domain

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Don't be crabby; it's always fun to pun. Besides, I can't think of a better use for "plaice".

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Disbanding your security team may not be an entirely dumb idea

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: I met one chief security officer who..

Appropriately enough, I had one of those conversations today. Worked out well, thanks very much. The programmers got an immediate band-aid and an acceptable long term solution.

What I see in proposals like this is a simple alternative to the way things are normally done getting enough attention to have a temporary effect. It isn't inherently better or worse than other methods, but the initial enthusiasm for the change can have things get better (or worse, if there is none) for a while. Enthusiasm eventually peters out. What gets you through is good, robust methods, training, documentation and... well all the boring bits of doing work in a technical field.

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Vaping ads flout EU rules, even if to promote healthier lifestyles

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: Nicotine is not Tobacco

Vaping isn't that bad when you compare it to smoking.

That really is damning by faint praise. A bit like "Not as bad a poke in the eye with a sharp stick". Vaping is a drug delivery system. It is commonly used for nicotine today, but can also be used for other inhaled drugs, both legal and otherwise. Big Tobacco has an issue with vaping as they have a vested interest in the status quo and even if they can have a large slice of the pie, they may not necessarily get it. Entrenched monopolists don't like change.

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NASA delivers CREAM-y load to ISS to improve cosmic ray detection

Robert Helpmann??
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Mushroom

Can't get tired of watching stage 1 nailing that landing!

Just wait until the Falcon Heavy gets going properly. You will hopefully get to multiply that feeling by three very soon. Otherwise, see icon.

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Are Asimov's laws enough to stop AI stomping humanity?

Robert Helpmann??
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Terminator

Re: Need a 4th and even a 5th law

From "The Duel" in Robots and Empire, the 0th Law:

0. A robot may not harm humanity, or through inaction allow humanity to come to harm.

1. A robot may not harm a human, or through inaction allow a human to come to harm, unless this interferes with the zeroth law.

2. A robot must obey orders given to it by a human being unless such orders interfere with the zeroth or first laws.

3. A robot must defend its own existence unless such defense interferes with the zeroth, first or second laws.

Setting up emergent behavior which leads inevitably to robots as our benevolent overlords.

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Hell desk to user: 'I know you're wrong. I wrote the software. And the protocol it runs on'

Robert Helpmann??
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Joke

Re: HR Fail

I'm not sure what the difference with Human Resources is...

It's in the names: with Personnel, you are a person whereas with Human Resources, you are a resource. You work with one and use the other.

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If we're in a simulation, someone hit it with a hammer, please: Milky Way spews up to 100 MEELLLION black holes

Robert Helpmann??
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Joke

Re: Answers the Fermi Paradox?

Actually, I think it does. There is always some twit that just has to poke it with a stick. Makes me wonder what the ET version of "Here, hold my beer!" is.

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Don't make Aug 21 a blind date: Beware crap solar eclipse specs

Robert Helpmann??
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Boffin

Re: Don't worry USA

> you don't look directly at the sun for more than a glance no matter how much is obscured by the moon

But when it is completely obscured at Totality then it _is_ safe to look and you really, really should.

The rub is in knowing when to look. Even glancing at the sun without protection adds up. Bad timing will result in a crescent shaped burn on your retina rather than the full circle you would get looking at our star on a normal day. Safest ways are to use eclipse glasses or indirect methods of viewing. Don't wake up blind the day after!

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Game of Pwns: Hackers invade HBO, 'leak Game of Thrones script'

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: It's a book already.

It's not like the series is staying too close to the books, any way, so a different ending in one compared to the other is reasonable. I stopped reading the books when it took 5 years between volumes. I am a patient man, but I also know my limits.

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Crazy bug of the week: Gnome Files' .MSI parser runs evil VBScripts

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Just the tip

...if you can create arbitrary files, you can have all sorts of fun with a Linux environment (even if only in the current user's context).

The first and most obvious thing to do with this is try to gain root and have some real fun.

Arbitrary files equals arbitrary commands leads to eventual pwnage.

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Google G-Suite spotted erecting stiff member vetting tool

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: It won't work...

The latest protections apply to newly created web apps and Apps Scripts.

The 90s called. They want to know if we are enjoying the macro viruses.

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SQL Server 2017's first rc lands and – yes! – it runs on Linux

Robert Helpmann??
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You have to think not only of the database, but also what else will be used with the database.

Indeed, there are any number of apps that were built with MS SQL as their back end. If the devs for these apps decided to move to Linux, this is the only way for MS to stay in the game.

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Truck spills slimy load all over Oregon road – drivers slip in eel slick

Robert Helpmann??
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Re: Beware susi eel

Don't know why salmon is an exception.

Salmon used in sushi are from Norway. Salmon from the Pacific are considered to be undesirable for sashimi due to parasites and low fat content. Here is an article that tells the tale:

http://www.norwayexports.no/sectors/articles/norways-introduction-of-salmon-sushi-to-japan/

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Want to kill your IT security team? Put the top hacker in charge

Robert Helpmann??
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Re: Best advice

There isn't an easy way around this problem. Shitty management courses aren't the answer but good management programmes (there really are some and they require time and investment) might be the least worst treatment, at least improving some people's skills.

Management is a skill. It take time, effort and energy to learn and grow, just like any other skill. It also requires a good knowledge of the people and projects being managed, so pulling someone up from the ranks makes sense to a certain extent, but is not enough on its own. One of my greatest peeves are managers who claim that they can manage anything simply because they are great managers.

I've worked both tech and management (in IT security, as it happens) and have spent time in effort learning both skill sets. What I typically I see in promoting top talent is a general lack of experience on the part of upper management. The idea isn't new; the term Peter Principle has been around since 1969.

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Pretty fly for an AI: Bioboffins use machine learning to decipher fruit flies' brains

Robert Helpmann??
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Thumb Up

It was a task RIPE for machine learning.

I see what you did there!

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If we could just get a word in Edgewise... New kid says it can do data center firewalls better

Robert Helpmann??
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Re: NS

More on our website: www.edgewise.net

I went looking for product guides and other documentation, but it looks as though I have to sign up for the beta release in order to get any of that. Not much there on the site, but I see you are hiring.

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Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

What am I missing?

The devil is in the details and we only have an executive summary. It looks like an interesting tool, but I would want to know how much training and time it would take to implement, how it will scale, how well it can be tuned (to your comment concerning error rates, really_adf), what kind of overhead it will impose on equipment and how much maintenance is required once it is put in place. This certainly does not sound like a fire and forget sort of application. Also, since it is a very young tech, I would expect there to be the sorts of issues that any new software brings.

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AGFEO smart home controllers need patching

Robert Helpmann??
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Coffee/keyboard

Best Practice Internet Things Security

I wonder what kind of questions this new domain will generate for the CISSP or Security+ tests. No, I take it back: this material is already covered on the CEH.

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Russia, China vow to kill off VPNs, Tor browser

Robert Helpmann??
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Trollface

Re: Simple explanation

Russia has not "invaded" any country since 1991.

Do you perform stand up as well? Tell us another one!

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Ubuntu Linux now on Windows Store (for Insiders)

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: Mensa

"But at least it have me bragging rights with my brother - I beat him.."

Clearly they didn't teach you English.

Looks to be more a question of typing and proof reading ability than one of grammar... but a good beating is its own reward.

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Uncle Sam says 'nyet' to Kaspersky amid fresh claims of Russian ties

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: Only in Russia

...foreign governments might have to ban Microsoft/Google/Intel/etc

They did it first!

I am not really sure which they "They" is, but this is just the latest in a long chain of bans. Mostly, we hear about China, Russia and the US banning each other's tech. There have to be other examples that don't get the same amount of coverage. Perhaps India has banned Pakistani AV products. Maybe the Canadian government is harshing on Sri Lankan firewall imports. Any other real world examples?

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Just in time for summer boozing: Boffins smash world record for the most perfect ice cubes

Robert Helpmann??
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Headmaster

Re: most perfect

In this case it is not a range of perfection that is being stipulated, but an amount relative to other efforts. The scientists created more examples or a greater percentage of perfect ice cubes than previous groups have.

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GitHub flub spaffs 8Tracks database, 18 million accounts leaked

Robert Helpmann??
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Facepalm

I'm guessing that the dev got complacent and started treating a remote repo like a personal disk volume.

You had me at "complacent".

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NATO: 'Cyber' is a military domain

Robert Helpmann??
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Meh

Re: I'm fine with NATO working on cyber-defense

I'm not so fine with... [e]xpanding NATO to include the Ukraine

Not sure how this fits in with your other points, MH. They seem to be related a little more closely than this one. I'm not attacking your opinion on this, even if I do not necessarily agree, it's that it doesn't track from the rest of what you've stated. Care to tie it together?

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O Rly? O'Reilly exits direct book sales

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: As long as they're still publishing dead tree books ...

We live in a bizarre world where everyone makes their documentation in railway carriage form and is surprised when it doesnt fit into the matter transporter.

I know the article and above comments mostly refer to IT documentation, but digitization projects that have involved scanning historical texts and making them available online have brought rare texts in reach of many people who would not otherwise have access. There are a number of transcription efforts that are crowd-sourced, allowing said texts to become easily searched. As otherwise noted, it depends on what your particular needs are, but for many if not most in this area digital texts have far outstripped the utility of the physical page.

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US Copyright Office suggests 'right to repair' laws a good idea

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: OH RLY?

Creative breakage, anyone?

Please. The correct term is "percussive maintenance".

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50th anniversary of the ATM opens debate about mobile payments

Robert Helpmann??
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Headmaster

thus, if you're in this city and you ask for an ATM machine, you could be driven to a metro/bus ticket dispenser...

Possibly the only time it is appropriate to ask for an ATM machine. Cheers to the Milanese for getting that right.

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SpaceX nails two launches and barge landings in one weekend

Robert Helpmann??
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Re: Even old curmudgeons are happy!

...remember that space shuttle design work began before the Apollo 11 landing.

Yes, in 1968, IIRC. I have pic on my phone of the first concept design for the shuttle (1969). It looks an awful lot like SpaceShipOne.

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Let's go live to the 3rd circle of Hell – and see what Comcast and Charter are screwing up

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: 3rd level of hell

The 3rd circle of Hell is Gluttony. I would think that the 4th (Greed) would be more applicable or perhaps a little further down because of fraud. As far as I am concerned, these two can burn so any level will do.

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Latest Windows 10 Insider build pulls the trigger on crappy SMB1

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Revisionist History

From the article: "SMB1 was developed almost 30 years ago..."

So, late 80s early 90s?

From Wikipedia: "Barry Feigenbaum originally designed SMB at IBM ... Microsoft merged the SMB protocol with the LAN Manager product ...around 1990, and continued to add features to the protocol in Windows for Workgroups (c. 1992) and in later versions of Windows."

Yes, that's about right.

Again, from the article, "It was designed for a world that no longer exists... A world without malicious actors."

What? I saw the movie War Games in the theater when it came out in 1983. I know, it's a work of fiction, but hacker's were a real enough part of the world to write a movie about, even if it depicted them in Hollywood implausible ways. A quick search shows viruses started in the early 70s (https://www.radware.com/resources/malware_timeline.aspx) and that Mitnik gained unauthorized access to the Ark computer network in 1979 (https://web.archive.org/web/20090317050834/http://www.thememoryhole.org/lit/deception-ch1.htm).

I call BS! Which world had no malicious actors? Human nature being what it is should give a clue to those designing any system. There will always be the curious, the thrill seekers and the bad actors. There have been locks on doors since there were doors. To claim that things were otherwise is stupidity or lies. To operate as if there are no bad actors now... well, we can watch that play out with IoT among an unfortunate number of examples.

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Waymo: We've got a hot smoking gun in Uber 'tech theft' brouhaha

Robert Helpmann??
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Joke

Re: Okay...

...those things are probably the tip of a larger iceberg.

That's right. It's just the tip.

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

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: 2 sweet FA

While 2FA may be non-trivial to implement on all systems, it may be implemented on the systems needed to reach those that don't have it. To my mind, the lack of physical security on servers is more damning than the fact that 2FA had not been fully deployed or implemented.

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No, really. You can see through walls using drones and Wi-Fi

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: Just one problem with that.

...for the majority of users there is no chance in hell of them penetrating their dwelling.

Two points concerning this: 1) the signal strength needed to form an image is not necessarily the same as that needed to create a usable image and 2) passive scanning might be more effective as most houses and businesses have wi-fi of some sort running all the time. In fact, passive scanning has the potential for clearer images in some cases as it has to go through, on average, half of what an active system would.

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You're all too skeptical of super-duper self-driving cars, apparently

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: What worries me is that a lot of large corporations

To push back on the idea of losers a bit, AC, while there definitely will be shifts, not all of these are inevitable or even bad. Also, I don't think it is about control so much as money, though the two understandably may be conflated.

From your list of losers:

- luxury car manufacturers: One argument I have heard concerning electrics, which are going to be more and more common especially among self-driving cars, is that the base components are going to become commodities. This means that for car manufacturers to differentiate themselves, they will have to focus more on styling. This would seem to indicate that there will be more freedom for boutique car shops to provide a higher degree of customization. In other words, we are likely to have more companies working in this area rather than fewer.

- insurance companies: Insurance of one form or another will always be a part of this equation. Insurance companies may achieve cost savings by streamlining their operations as having fewer large customers will make this feasible. Individuals will pay whether they owe or rent. It's that way with houses (renter's insurance plus rolled into rent). Why would it be any different with cars? One thing you can always count on is that they will game the system to their advantage.

- marketing boutiques: While there may not be much marketing by smaller cab companies, I have seen ads for both Uber and Lyft. Also, why wouldn't ad companies negotiate to place marketing in vehicles for hire and at pick-up stations and in ride hailing aps? They already do all of these, of course.

- second car dealers: You are probably right on this one, though those that hang on will be more of the nature of antique dealers. I would not think this would be traumatic or abrupt as the widespread adoption of the new technology will not be overnight and there will always be old car enthusiasts.

- repair shops: More apt to be taken entirely in-house. While there probably will be some economic impact to this, it is not a bad thing. As with used car dealerships, this is not apt to disappear overnight and the workers in this area are also some that are apt to be able to pick up a new set of technical skills.

- taxi drivers: Again, you are probably right, but this is not apt to be abrupt. Those that persist in this profession are apt to be at the high end of the market. There are still doormen, so chauffeurs are likely to hang around, too.

- health systems (especially in US): This is likely to have the opposite effect from what you predict. By reducing mortality, average lifespan is increased. As the population's average age increases, so too does the need for health care. Increased demand leads to more jobs, et cetera.

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Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Re: Lesser of two evils?

So it rather looks as if you think humans can learn from something, whether it be from mistakes or from simple practice. And yet you say they can't.

I have plenty of time behind the wheel and from that experience I gather that while people are capable of learning, they typically don't unless forced to do so. In the case of fatal automobile accidents, or fatal accidents of any sort, that presents a bit of a problem as the learning curve can be both steep and abrupt.

From a personal point of view, I don't have any sympathy for folks clinging on to their ability to drive when there are much, much safer alternatives available. Much in the same fashion that preventing people from smoking in most public places has improved the health of those who would otherwise be exposed to second-hand smoke, preventing people from inflicting now-unnecessary risk on everyone around them seems reasonable. To carry the analogy forward, perhaps to an absurd degree, we should next create roads just for human drivers isolated from the rest and let nature run its course.

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BOFH: Halon is not a rad new vape flavour

Robert Helpmann??
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Facepalm

Boxes or Mercedes

These sales drones really lacked imagination. They should have known it was going to be down to how and not if they were going to go, so why not go in the most spectacular fashion possible? Cannonball into the Mercedes! Actually, just throw something heavy into the car and stick your head out the window as high up as possible for a chance at going on to round two.

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Europe-wide BitTorrent indexer blockade looms after Pirate Bay blow

Robert Helpmann??
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Paris Hilton

Re: Don't shoot the messenger

So since Microsoft, Facebook, Google et all do not categorize other people's files, posts, messages etc., especially being aware of the legal or illegal status of said content, in the same way, that legal nuance doesn't apply.

Do you use a different Google than I do? They have been pioneers of automatic categorization and have also put their metaphorical backs into making others' work available online, regardless of their wishes. MS, FB and others are playing catch-up, but see the value in following suit. In fact, Google hosts plenty of copyrighted material (YouTube is still theirs, right?), so the comparison with TPB looks even worse in that light.

I am not apologizing for bad behavior on anyone's part by pointing out that all the cool kids do it, but there is more than a bit of hypocrisy at play here.

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Disney mulls Mickey Mouse magic material to thwart pirates' 3D scans

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

...and who wants a counterfit toy?

There are thousands upon thousands of cheap knock-offs out there. Kids don't care and sellers are happy to save a few bucks and parents just want their kids to be happy. There is definitely a market. A bigger problem for Disney is that so much of what they do is copied from other sources. Anyone can make a Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, et cetera movie, toys, books and so on. Perhaps the Haus of Maus ought to come up with more original content rather than recycling stories they have already covered.

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Banking websites are 'littered with trackers' ogling your credit risk

Robert Helpmann??
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FAIL

Re: I think we need to know...

There is one additional domain that interferes with the logon process with an annoying popup ad...They said that the popup will go away if I 1) reconfigure my browsers to never delete cookies and 2) let the popup run once.

Translation: If you just let us track everything you do, we will stop annoying you with those pesky pop-ups.

Nice.

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Internet hygiene still stinks despite botnet and ransomware flood

Robert Helpmann??
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Childcatcher

Oblivious of the Situation

Why couldn't the first action of a system virus scanner be to call a remote port scan of the user's IP followed by a vulnerability report?

Great idea! So you want the first thing a consumer grade security product to do is scan everything in the immediate environment and send up alarms to the completely uneducated system owner? Good. I assume the report will be accompanied by a set of recommendations of actions to take accompanied by buttons to press ordering said actions? Also good. Customer pushes buttons and stuff stops working. Now what? How is this behavior different from that of any number of sketchy "security" products currently available. The problem in providing reasonable security is it takes a certain amount of expertise which is difficult to automate. The best alternative is to have a trained person help out, of which there are not enough.

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It came from space! Two-headed flatworm stuns scientists

Robert Helpmann??
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Boffin

What next?

So when do we move on from animal testing to using politicians as subjects? No? Perhaps testing on other animals with regenerative abilities is next on the list.

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