* Posts by Cuddles

1227 posts • joined 3 Nov 2011


You heard the latest Chinese CRISPRs? They are real: Renegade bio-boffin did genetically modify baby twins

Cuddles Silver badge

But that's not how it works

"eight couples, where the men had HIV but the women did not, and genetically modified embryos with CRISPR before implanting them into the wombs of the women. The goal was, as you can imagine, to make babies that were not HIV positive despite their parentage."

HIV can be passed from a mother to a fetus during pregnancy. The HIV status of the father is irrelevant; the only way a father can infect a fetus is by passing the infection to the mother first. According to the description given, He took uninfected embryos and implanted them in uninfected women. In that situation, no-one was ever going to end up infected with HIV, whether they were genetically modified or not. Ethics aside, the whole thing appears to have been a complete waste of time that could never have proved anything.

Ginni, you may have to get out and push: IBM sales, profit stuck in the mud. $13bn is $13bn, tho

Cuddles Silver badge

Wait, what?

"the company's traditional mainframe business, declined 21 per cent

"This is the most successful mainframe product cycle in quite some time"

I'll happily admit I'm not too familiar with management-speak, but it really feels like something doesn't quite add up here.

Holy crappuccino. There's a latte trouble brewing... Bio-boffins reckon 60%+ of coffee species may be doomed

Cuddles Silver badge

Re: Umm... nope.

"Even if the area covering the current (already hot and tropical) coffee belt gets TOO hot, then won't that merely shift the crop areas further into higher latitudes?"

The vast majority of the species in question are not crops. Grapes can grow in areas they couldn't previously because humans decided to plant them there. Absent such human intervention, most species that suddenly find the climate unsuitable simply die, especially plants which obviously are less able to migrate.

"Once upon a time during the minor warming period in the dark ages, England grew some acceptable varietals for a short time."

There's been wine produced in the UK pretty much continuously since the Romans arrived, it certainly didn't require the Medieval Warm Period to make it viable.

Top GP: Medical app Your.MD's data security wasn't my remit

Cuddles Silver badge

"So I must admit to being a little puzzled abut what Sidhu is in court for and the line of questioning."

You certainly are puzzled if you think Sidhu is in court for anything. As the article says, Randeep Sidhu is the former employee who is taking Your.MD to court for unfair dismissal. Professor Maureen Baker is the one being questioned. She is in court because it is suggested that as Chief Medical Officer of the company, it was at least partially her responsibility to ensure confidential medical information was, in fact, confidential and not open to be viewed and edited by literally anyone with an internet connection.

To be honest, I'm not sure why so many people seem to be having trouble understanding the article, it all seems to be very clear and well explained. The only part that is at all confusing is the fact that Professor Baker's replies appear to bear very little relation to the actual questions, but I suspect that's rather par for the course in a situation like this.

Brit comms regulator Ofcom: Disabled left behind by tech

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Self reporting

"Ofcom also found that around half of those with a disability were confident that they understand the language and terminology used by providers, compared to the 75 per cent average."

It might be more useful to find out how many people actually understand the terminology rather than just asking them how confident they are about it. The Dunning-Kruger effect says that the real percentage is a lot lower, although admittedly it would affect everyone equally regardless of disabilities.

World's first robot hotel massacres half of its robot staff

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Re: Well, yes

"That's probably more because this campaign is obviously nonsense"

Since when has that ever stopped a crowdfunding effort from being successful?

Outlook Mobile heads to the White House, passes infosec clearance for federal sector

Cuddles Silver badge

Bing location services don’t work

Of course, that's not anything to do with the secure environment, it's just a standard feature across all versions.

Cops told: No, you can't have a warrant to force a big bunch of people to unlock their phones by fingerprint, face scans

Cuddles Silver badge

"digital documents should be viewed as physical, if there is a reasonable way to do it and working safety mechanisms to protect from abuse then there should be ways for law enforcement to search devices."

If you'd read the article, you might have noticed this is the entire point of the ruling. Physical things already are protected - police need a warrant to search specific things, they can't just blindly demand everyone in an area open everything and let them search it. Yet that's exactly what they wanted to do in this case, and so the judge said exactly what you claim to want them to say - it's fine for the police to get a warrant to access specific, relevant devices, but not for them to demand blanket access to every device owned by anyone who happens to be nearby.

What's the fate of our Solar System? Boffins peer into giant crystal ball – ah, no, wait, that's our Sun in 10bn years

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Re: Boom!

"No, far too hot"

To begin with. They're going to cool down eventually though. Indeed, it's actually an interesting question which crops up in many places - at what point do you have to stop doing particle physics and start doing physical chemistry instead?

Fake news? More like ache news. Grandma, grampa 'more likely' to share made-up articles during US election

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Re: Where did they get these people?

"One would think that the longer you live the wiser you get to being conned"

Why would one think that? Certainly there doesn't appear to be any evidence that the aphorism "older and wiser" is anything other than propaganda put about by Big Age. Old people have a well established history of being at least as gullible as everyone else, if not more so. Personally I'm of the opinion that wisdom peaks somewhere in the 30s. Younger whipersnappers are clearly all idiots, but it's all too soon after that point that things like combovers, socks with sandles, and tight lycra to match the shiny new road bike start seeming like good ideas, and it's only downhill from there.

Google Play Store spews malware onto 9 million 'Droids

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Re: Do phones still have an IR port?

"It's a flaw in the review systems. They should all have separate ratings for not only the quality of the item purchased but also the customer service. This would allow someone to grade it as "1" for the item, but give a "5" for the way the seller responded to the problem."

That's exactly what Amazon do have. Ratings and reviews for goods and vendors are completely separate. The problem is that far too many idiots are apparently unable to understand the difference between the two and insist on putting the wrong reviews in the wrong places. Presumably these are the same people who have the bizarre habit of responding to random questions people have asked about products with the very helpful "I don't know".

Low-power chips are secret sauce behind long-life wearables

Cuddles Silver badge

The elusive mass market

The trouble with the mass market for smart/fitness/watches is that it's elusive in the same sense as bigfoot - the problem is not simply that no-one can find it, but that there's no evidence it actually exists in the first place. There's certainly a relatively small market for real Garmin-style sports trackers. And there seems to be at least some market for stripped-down phones that can be strapped to your wrist. But in terms of people wanting a watch that isn't great at being a watch, isn't smart enough to do useful things, and is just barely competent at counting steps? It's a gimmick that people occasionally decide it's worth chucking 20 quid at. People who actually care about fitness either get a useful tool or, all too commonly, simply don't worry about needing a fancy watch in order to go running. People who don't care about fitness... don't care about fitness, and a £100 watch that occasionally tells them they've been walking or whatever isn't going to change that.

There simply isn't a mass market place for "relatively expensive but not actually very useful watch cum step counter". It either needs to be more useful or less expensive, and both of those markets are already covered and doing about as well as they're ever likely to. In the absence of some killer new feature, continuing to throw the same crap out and expecting it to fare any differently isn't exactly sensible. Especially when their "long life" wearables are still only boasting 30 days use as a basic watch or 3 days of actually doing anything, which somehow manages to be worse than an actual GPS watch.

Cuddles Silver badge

Re: Engineering query

"How many Wh can you generate using such technologies in a watch? And how many Wh does a more conventional smart-watch use? Never mind how you store the energy in your battery, I just wonder how far apart these numbers are that we could ever conceivably see a self-'winding' smart watch? A fitbit that relied on the owner to exercise to keep it charged"

You can order one powered by your body heat right now - https://www.powerwatch.com/collections/products

I have no idea how good they actually are, but apparently we've reached the point where it's a commercially viable idea (as long as you don't live somewhere hot). I expect the mechanical self-winding idea would be rather more difficult to implement. The traditional type relied pretty much literally on self-winding, using your motion to put energy into the mechanical system that was already there to make the watch work. A digital watch with no such mechanical system would have to add the whole thing from scratch. It might still be possible from a power needs point of view, but I suspect it would have to be quite bulky.

FYI: Twitter's API still spews enough metadata to reveal exactly where you lived, worked

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Re: That data is useless anyway, why keep it?

"So many people move, change jobs, change doctors, this wouldn't be terribly practical to advertisers trying direct targeting."

In the UK, the average person moves house every 23 years (and are unlikely to change doctors except when moving). They change jobs every 4-5 years. So 5 or 10 year old location data has a very high chance of showing your current home, doctor, lawyer, shops, and so on, and still a decent chance of knowing where you work. Given that Twitter only stopped attaching all this information 3 years ago, you have well over a 50% chance of it still being correct about pretty much everything.

"So, why does Twitter keep it around?"

It was attached to tweets when they were posted. Twitter aren't deliberately keeping it around, they just haven't bothered to make the effort to remove metadata from old tweets.

It'll soon be even more illegal to fly drones near UK airports

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99 luftdrones

Could be worse, at least we didn't get a nuclear war. This time.

Attention all British .eu owners: Buy dotcom domains and prepare to sue, says UK govt

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Re: Wow, it's almost...

"BUT ignoring the referendum result because you don't like it isn't how things work in a democracy."

Of course it is. Some people seem to have a very odd idea of what democracy actually means. Every single democratic country in the world is a representative democracy, in which a small number of people are chosen to actually make decisions. Direct democracy, in which the people as a whole vote on all decisions, is essentially non-existent. Even Switzerland, which is well known as having a lot of binding referendums, actually still runs on representative democracy most of the time, and the few other examples around the world are mostly for minor local matters not for entire countries.

In systems like the one we use in the UK, referendums are rarely binding. They're essentially little more than an opinion poll that happens to be run by the government rather than a polling company. The whole point of having elected representatives is that they are supposed to make a considered decision based on all the facts available; a public referendum might help inform that decision, but it is far from the only relevant factor. To claim that a non-binding opinion poll being overridden by an elected government is undemocratic is just plain nonsense.

Dark matter's such a pushover: Baby stars can shove weird stuff around dwarf galaxies

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Re: Alternate theory

"All we actually know - the only believable observations are:

1. angular velocity vs diameter of a spinning galaxy doesn't quite add up right.

2. something gravitationally lenses light from very far away - space is more warped than we thought.

That's it."

And yet even a cursory glance at Wikipedia would show at least 11 separate, independent lines of evidence all supporting it. Calling actual scientists idiots while demonstrating less understanding than that of an uneducated layman with a few spare minutes on their hands is probably not the best way to convince everyone you're worth paying attention to.

Happy new year, readers. Yes, we have threaded comments, an image-lite mode, and more...

Cuddles Silver badge

Not even close

"Our website is now mobile-desktop responsive, meaning whether you visit us on a phone, laptop, workstation, tablet, telly, holographic love dungeon, whatever it may be, it should automatically display in a layout appropriate to your screen size. "

And yet you've been aware since you first launched this crap that it absolutely does not do any such thing. Use a normal browser on a normal PC and it remains always stuck at no more than 4 articles to a row on the front page, with the text in an actual article restricted to about 10-12 words, in both cases taking up at most maybe 1/4 of the available space and leaving the rest of the screen completely blank. And yes, I've seen the excuses about people not wanting more than that and so on. The problem isn't just that it's such a crap design, but that you insist on lying about it. It is not in any way a "responsive" site, it's simply a mobile site that you happen to able to view on a real computer if you're willing to put up with a shit layout and huge amounts of wasted space.

Also, there's clearly an image in that screenshot. I do love the idea of insisting on cramming hideous adverts down the throat of people who have specifically asked not to have pictures shown.

More nodding dogs green-light terrible UK.gov pr0n age verification plans

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Re: All you need is......

"Soon the hedgerows will be alive again with naked ladies and men, although video is a bit harder."

Looks like it's time to rediscover the lost art of flip-books.

Full frontal vulnerability: Photos can still trick, unlock Android mobes via facial recognition

Cuddles Silver badge

What is security for?

This isn't particularly new or surprising, and as others have already mentioned biometrics are just not a replacement for something like a decent password. What the complaints tend to miss, however, is that that's not really what they're intended for in many situations. I don't need my phone to be locked up well enough to keep out TLAs with the full resources of a large country behind them. I don't even need it to be locked up well enough to keep out someone with the time and dedication to specifically target me for fingerprinting. If someone swipes my phone in a pub or wherever, I just want it locked up well enough that it's not any use to them, or ideally to avoid having it swiped in the first place because they know that will be the case.

That's the situation the vast majority of people are in. Sure, my phone might be vulnerable to anyone with a decent photo of my face, but a casual thief doesn't even know whose phone it is so that simply doesn't matter. Trying to keep out specifically targetted attacks is certainly not something a cheap fingerprint sensor is good for, but that's just not something most people need to worry about. If all you want to do is stop your mate getting on your Facebook page while you're in the toilet, security on the average phone is more than good enough. If you're worried about more serious attacks than that, you'd be a fool to expect cheap consumer goods to have that level of security off the shelf. It's no different from noting that the front door of my house is not as secure as a bank vault; as long as you understand what job it's there to do the fact that some things are less secure than others is not inherently a problem.

FCC tosses aside rules, treats Google to a happy ending following request for handy tech

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Re: So what ?

"The power level is tiny - +10dBm peak transmitter power is 0.01watt (10 milliwatts) - 2.4GHz WiFi allows 10 times the power 0.1 watts (100 milliwatts), 5GHz WiFi allows up 4 watts (4000 milliwatts) and 802.11ad (depending on use) allows 10 watts or more (at the same frequencies as the Soli equipment)."

I guess the question is how much power is needed to interfere with a signal, as opposed to simply drowning it out? Scatter a few of these sensors in an area and they can easily be putting out 1% or more of the maximum allowed power for a router. Is that irrelevant, or is it actually enough to cause potential issues? Perhaps more importantly, the maximum power isn't generally where you want to operate all the time, so even if all these things do is force routers in the area to crank up their power output a bit to compensate that's a potential issue, if only due to increased power consumption.

"This seems to be a reasonable technical increase"

Which brings up the other important question others have already mentioned - if it really is not a problem at all and is all perfectly reasonable from a technical standpoint, why keep the old rules in place for everyone else? Presumably the existing figures were calculated somehow based on some assumptions. If those assumptions and/or calculations are no longer valid, the rules as a whole need updating. If they are still valid, why don't they apply to Google? Maybe it's all perfectly above board, but it's always going to look suspicious when a hilariously incompetent and corrupt body gives individual approval to the biggest* briber lobbyist in the US.

* They were second in 2017. Final figures for 2018 aren't around yet, but Google were on course to be number one based on data from a few months ago.

No not THAT kind of Office Wizard! Roll a diplomacy check to win the election: Vote tie resolved by a D20

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Re: Statistically speaking

"I completely agree with that. AD&D 2nd Edition (where I started with the hobby) was the current edition for 20 years under TSR. And then we had 4 new editions (counting 3.5 as seperate) in 15 years."

2nd edition was the current edition for less than 11 years (1989 - 2000). The first version of OD&D was current for between 3 and 5 years depending on exactly how you count it, and the game was effectively rewritten at least three times in 20 years, so complaining about new editions not lasting doesn't make a lot of sense. Even 2nd Ed AD&D was heavily revised halfway through its time, so the only edition that actually stands out as lasting a long time is 1st Ed AD&D which lasted for 12 years with no changes.

Spending watchdog points finger at Capita for 1,300 shortfall in British Army rookies

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That's not how penalties work

"The cost of the 10-year Capita contract rose from £495m to £677m partly because of the automated online recruitment platform, which, when combined with costs for keeping the legacy system running longer than planned, cost the Army £113m.

As a result of the missed recruitment targets over the years, the Army shaved some 6 per cent off Capita's contract payments, applying financial service credit deductions of £26m."

Not counting the extra costs to the army, that looks like Crapita got paid an extra £69m. After applying penalties, that means they were paid about 10% more than the original contract price. So of course this nonsense keeps happening. Supply a broken system several years late, and the only "penalty" you get is a hefty pay rise.

Amazon's creepy facial recog doorbell, Facebook open sources machine learning code and much more

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Bias isn't always bad

"The ACLU argued that facial recognition is biased against people of darker skin and women"

The problem facial recognition generally has with non-white skin is that it fails to identify the person correctly, or may even fail to recognise there's a person there at all. Given the insanely Big Brother lengths the likes of Amazon are going to, not being recognised would seem to be the best outcome possible.

Virgin Galactic test flight reaches space for the first time, lugging NASA cargo in place of tourists

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Re: Terminological inexactitudes

"You wonder what it'd take to blow the skirt up of some of the less-impressed posters - I don't get any human who doesn't think the achievement is spectacular."

What achievement? Rockets capable of doing better than this have been in use since at least WW2. Multiple countries routinely launch rockets not just into orbit but to land on other planets, and even private enterprise has started hitting orbit as a matter of routine. There are student groups launching rockets almost as capable in their spare time. An online IT rag sent a paper aeroplane not too much lower for goodness sake.

"Be in the first handful of people who've seen our home from above?"

First handful? If this was still the 1960s maybe, but we're a bit past that now. I completely agree that this would be a cool sight-seeing trip for those who can afford it. But in terms of actual achievement it's about equivalent to catching the train up Snowdon - trains were impressive engineering when they were invented but we've had them going higher and faster for quite a while now, and taking one to somewhere people have been visiting for decades just isn't a big deal. There are plenty of spectacular achievements around that absolutely do blow my skirt up. But when we're landing on comets, bringing back bits of asteroids, looking at multiple probes still working while leaving the Solar System nearly 50 years after launch... finding yourself arguing about whether your rocket reached space because you can't even reach the generally agreed border is not something most people would consider spectacular.

'Say hello to my little vacuum cleaner!' US drug squad puts spycams in cleaner's kit

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Re: The War on Drugs

"Given that the CIA is known to have dabbled in the drug trade in order to fund its black projects, the war on drugs was doomed from the start."

People always bring up the CIA and similar in this context, but they're really not relevant. People have been enjoying drugs for as far back in time as it's possible for us to detect that sort of thing. Alcohol is unsurprisingly the biggest, but you just have to look at how almost every culture has some kind of tradition involving some sort of mind altering substance to see just how fundamental this is. And of course, once you start looking at other animals, you find that pretty much all of them will behave in exactly the same way given half a chance; they're mostly limited simply by the inability to produce said substances themselves rather than all being puritanical teetotals.

The war on drugs was doomed from the start not because of the CIA, but simply because running around shouting at everyone to stop enjoying themselves was just never going to work. Sensible regulations and education are one thing, but trying to enforce a blanket ban on everything is obviously stupid on the face of it. No government black ops required, just basic human animal nature.

Boffins build blazing battery bonfire

Cuddles Silver badge

"which have been known to burst into flames"

The problem with energy storage is that it involves storing energy. If the storage system fails in some way, that energy will inevitably be released. Sure, lithium-ion batteries can catch fire when that happens. But look at the results when a dam bursts, a big flywheel gets loose, or a coal mine catches fire. When your goal is to compress as much energy as you can into the smallest volume possible, the results of suddenly dumping it all into the local environment are never going to be pretty.

Tech support discovers users who buy the 'sh*ttest PCs known to Man' struggle with basics

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Re: I spent two years in tech support

"Though the button no longer has the text 'Start', if you hover your mouse over it you get a tooltip that says 'Start'. In Windows 10 at least."

Not the version of Windows 10 I'm using. In fact, the not-start button appears to be the only thing on the taskbar that doesn't have a tooltip at all.

Naked women cleaning biz smashes patriarchy by introducing naked bloke gardening service

Cuddles Silver badge

Still seems kind of sexist

The whole point of not being sexist is that men and women are treated the same. Providing women to do the cooking and cleaning and men to do manly things with tool outdoors is still just as sexist as only providing one of them. The non-sexist way to do it would simply be to provide anyone who is willing and able to do the job without worrying about what gender they might be. You know, exactly the same way non-naked cleaning and gardening services work. If customer demand or the pool of willing workers happens to favour one thing over another that's not an issue, but stating up front that you'll only allow girls to do one job doesn't get balanced out by only allowing boys to do something completely different.

Oz opposition folds, agrees to give Australians coal in their stockings this Christmas

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Re: You can read my SMSs but you can take my WhatsApps from my cold dead hands

"1. Are we ok with lawful intercept?

2a. If not, why is nobody saying this in these discussions?"

They are. The problem is that some technologies are inherently insecure, so there's very little point making a fuss about it. Not all that long ago, the only way to send communications beyond shouting distance was to write it down and give it to someone to carry for you. Complain all you like about whether they should be able to, but there's absolutely nothing you can do to stop anyone from reading that letter, so for the most part people simply didn't bother complaining about it. Similarly, intercepting telegraph and radio signals was not particularly difficult (with broadcast radio, potentially much easier), so if the government says they reserve the right to snoop, why bother complaining? They're going to do it anyway, and there's simply no such thing as a secure alternative.

The arguments about encryption are all coming up now because there's actually an argument to be had. The development of things like public key cryptography and the spread of powerful computers means that people now have the option to have truly secure communications. And not only do they have that option, but since these things have spread before laws regulating them have been made, they've become used to actually using that option. It's similar to how people were willing to buy hilariously overpriced albums because that was the only way to get music, then Napster came along and suddenly there was an argument to be had about how things should work. No matter what your thoughts on ethics and such, once you've shown people a way of doing things that they like, taking it away from them again is not an easy task. Hence Amazon and iTunes and Spotify and so on.

Communications are in essentially the same position now. All communications used to be open to easy snooping, so there didn't used to be much point worrying about it (although some still did; see for example protests about censorship of letters during WWI and II). Now we have some secure methods of communication, but some people want to take them away from us.

As for why some formats should be privileged and others not, see above. There's absolutely nothing you can do to stop someone reading your letters, so complaining that they shouldn't is just wasting your breath. As the British government has demonstrated recently, spy agencies are going to snoop on everything they can whether it's legal or not, and they'll make it retroactively legal if they think it's worth the bother. Since I can't, in practice, protect my letters, I'm willing to accept that they are not protected. But since I can and currently do protect my Whatapp messages, encrypted emails, and so on, I'm willing to fight not to lose access to such things.

Thought black holes were donut-shaped? It turns out they're more like deadly fountains

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Re: Well, the accretion disk anyhow

"To be clear, the black hole itself is still extremely spherical."

No it isn't. The only kind of black hole that can be spherical is a perfectly isolated one with zero charge and zero angular momentum, and it's impossible for that to exist in the real world. It's been known that neither the singularity or event horizon in real black holes are actually spherical for quite a while.

It's also worth noting that this article is completely wrong. From the paper:

"which would explain the longstanding mystery of the physical origin of the AGN torus."

Note that "torus" is the technical term for "donut-shaped". The paper doesn't say anything about the accretion disk being fountain-shaped instead of donut-shaped, the fountain is the explanation for how the disk becomes donut-shaped. Without that, it wasn't understood why it would be a thick donut instead of the expected thin disk.

Gigabit? More like, you can gigabet the US will fall behind on super-fast broadband access

Cuddles Silver badge

Re: A variation of the early computer model then...

"I would like to be able to upload or down load 5GB of grand baby movies or a 3GB Linux upgrade in seconds instead of hours."

Indeed. For some reason this keeps having to be said every single time anyone mentions internet speeds, but apparently some people just can't grasp the concept that saving time is actually useful, or that many households contain more than one person. Hands up who remembers the good not-that-old days when it took half an hour or more just to download a single entirely legal mp3 from Napster? Surely there can be no need for anything faster than 56.6kbps; after all, we had our music at the end of it so what could possibly be the point in downloading it any faster?

At this point, sane people will probably notice that being able to download an entire album in under a minute is actually quite a bit more convenient, and most people were quite happy to see faster download speeds even before online video became widespread. Nothing meaningful has changed since then. Gaming is bigger than ever and almost entirely online these days - even if you buy a physical disc you'll still need to download GBs of updates as soon as you install it. And with games easily topping 100 GB, anyone telling me that 20 MBps internet is fine because there's no reason I would want to download a game in minutes instead of hours is simply an idiot.

Sure, no normal home user is going to continuously saturate a gigabit internet connection 24/7, but that's not relevant. Pretty much anyone will be able to see a benefit from higher download speeds (and more rarely upload speeds). Exactly how much benefit they see and what cost they consider worth it will of course vary depending on circumstances, but the idea that there's no use for it at all is utterly ridiculous.

Mobile networks are killing Wi-Fi for speed around the world

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Re: Just to echo so many more of the comments

"Highest 'normal' usage I can think of is a spangly Netflix 4k HDR stream - which comes in around 15M."

And you have four people in your house all streaming different shows, while one of them also downloads a game on Steam, and they're all looking at videos and other shit on WhatsFace while doing it. I really don't understand why every single time this issue comes up, people insist on declaring that since they only ever have a single person doing a single low-bandwidth activity, no-one could ever care about having more than 256kB of memory 15Mbps download speeds.

Google logins make JavaScript mandatory, Huawei China spy shock, Mac malware, Iran gets new Stuxnet, and more

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Static content

"Chances are, JavaScript is already enabled in your browser; it helps power lots of the websites people use everyday. But, because it may save bandwidth or help pages load more quickly, a tiny minority of our users (0.1%) choose to keep it off," Google offers.

"This might make sense if you are reading static content"

Static content like search results or email, for example? I suppose maps might need some clever stuff going on somewhere, but I can't think of anything else Google provides that isn't entirely static content with no use for Javascript. Maybe advertising and tracking would need it, but they said they're doing this to protect their users, not to make it even easier to steal everyone's data. Right?

While everyone coos at the promise of 5G, UK network Three asks if it can tempt you with 4G+

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Re: Interesting...

"Then I think you misunderstand the point of 5G.

It's not just about theoretical data rates to an individual phone. It's about scaling data rates in aggregate in congested areas where there simply isn't enough 4G spectrum to go around."

I think you misunderstand the point of 5G.

It's not about data rates at all. It's about a marketing buzzword that's been thrown around so much that now the poor engineers are having to desperately scramble to come up with a real idea it can be attached to. No-one has any clue what the standard might actually end up looking like or what purpose will be retroactively attached to it, but as long as we can throw around terms like IoT and blockchain, at least we can all have a good game of buzzword bingo.

We (may) now know the real reason for that IBM takeover. A distraction for Red Hat to axe KDE

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Re: Does anyone use an IDE on RHEL anyway?

Not only do we use desktop RHEL, we're using KDE. Of course, given the version we're currently on, I don't expect anyone to notice this for a good decade or so.

Nikola Tesla's greatest challenge: He could measure electricity but not stupidity

Cuddles Silver badge

Re: Anti-intellectual?

"It's one thing for a bunch of religion-stoned goatshaggers to be hostile to science, but it is positively baffling to see the same thing in Britain"

It's almost as though people are pretty much the same the world over, and trying to split them up into a nice neat "enlightened us" and "religion-stoned goatshagging them" doesn't do a particularly good job of representing reality.

Budget 2018: Landlords could be forced to grant access for full-fibre connections

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"But I'm pretty sure I don't have to agree to have my house ripped apart to install gas pipes."

Try re-reading the part you quoted at the start:

"If a landlord is absent or unidentifiable"

If you say no to them, you're obviously not absent or unidentifiable. What they want is permission to install when the people actually living in the place want the service, but the person who actually owns the building refuses to acknowledge any communications - not saying no, but simply not replying to anything at all.

If you have inner peace, it's probably 'cos your broadband works: Zen Internet least whinged-about Brit ISP – survey

Cuddles Silver badge

A bit more information please

What does any of this actually mean? Some people were apparently surveyed in some way. What were they asked, and what responses were possible? Are the numbers presented absolute or some proportion? 100 people per 100,000 would be huge, 100 total would be tiny, 100 out of some sample specifically prompted to voice their complaints would be something depending on the questions. As it stands, there's no meaningful information being presented here at all, and not even a link to where it all came from to allow us to go and check.

Edit: Ah, just noticed it's an Orlowski article. I really need to get better at checking that before I waste my time reading.

Concerns over cops' crap computer kit: UK MPs call for cash, capacity, command

Cuddles Silver badge


"Policing in the UK has suffered massive budget cuts in recent years, but crime continues to rise."

That's an odd way to phrase it. Policing in the UK has suffered massive budget cuts in recent years, which is why crime continues to rise. It may not be the only factor involved, but it's sure as hell one of the big ones.

AI can predict the structure of chemical compounds thousands of times faster than quantum chemistry

Cuddles Silver badge

"People had to do all the DFT calculation -- and still have to do them for anything unusual the thing has not been trained for."

Indeed. It's all very well getting a AI machine learning prediction on what a new molecule might look like in only 6 minutes, but that doesn't really help if you still need to spend years doing real physics to check if it's actually right.

Sorry friends, I'm afraid I just can't quite afford the Bitcoin to stop that vid from leaking everywhere

Cuddles Silver badge

The Coffin' Henry approach

"Now that I think about it, perhaps I should begin threatening to send these videos out myself. It could be like a protection racket. Or a kind of crowdfunded auto-boycott. Pay up or witness a middle-aged British IT journalist tucking into a bit of beef jerky! I could have a website, an e-zine and everything!"

Sir Pterry already figured that one out. "For sum money, I won't follow you home. Coff coff." Perhaps we should be thankful Discworld never developed an equivalent of the internet, or even VHS.

Shingled-minded Western Digital insists its latest hard drive sets disk capacity record

Cuddles Silver badge

Re: Wow, a 7% increase

"Without some major capacity increases, hard drives will eventually not make economic sense even for nearline storage."

"Eventually" being the important word there. Even with major capacity increases, it's pretty much a certainty that hard drives will eventually become obsolete. So will tape. So will our current version of solid-state storage. Exactly when any of that happens will depend on the details of exactly what technological developments happen when, but there can be no doubt that it will happen. Eventually. But aside from navel-gazing futurists, what matters is what's actually available now and likely to be available in the near future. No-one actually cares if hard drives will stop making economic sense in 20 years or 100 years; developments like this are important for deciding what makes economic sense right now.

Motorola: Oops, phone busted? Grab a spudger and go get 'em, champ

Cuddles Silver badge

Re: I think my next phone will be a Motorola

"They'll also need to sell parts, so you have an official source. Or do you just plan to trust whatever gets sold on eBay as "Motorola compatible"?"

I guess it's a good job that they are, in fact, selling parts. Through iFixit. You know, the one linked in the article. If only there were some way of finding that out before commenting on it.

Talk about a curveball: Microsoft director of sports marketing fired, charged with fraud over 'fake' invoices

Cuddles Silver badge

Bloody hell

Over $3200 for a single sportsball match? Pretty sure Tran isn't the only one scamming people here.

Note that's not a comment against sport in general; the FA Cup, for example, is the equivalent for football in England and you can get a ticket for between £45-145. Depending on who you support, for the same price of one Superbowl ticket you could watch every match from a premier league club for 22 years. Even in the most expensive clubs that price will get you the best part of 2 years of games in the most expensive seats available.

Oz to turn pirates into vampires: You won't see their images in mirrors

Cuddles Silver badge

Re: You already know what happens next...

"American sites that didn't want to deal with the GDPR headache simply blocked everyone from the EU. If Google doesn't want the headache of dealing with $Location, they'll just block $Location from accessing Google search."

There's an important difference - money. American sites that didn't want to deal with GDPR simply blocked the EU because they only had a tiny proportion of visitors from the EU in the first place. The costs of complying massively outweighed the potential income from keeping their EU-based customers, so they didn't bother.

Yes, Google will do exactly the same - if and only if the costs of any compliance outweigh the benefits. See China, for example, where Google (along with many others) are happy to go to great lengths to do whatever is necessary to get a foothold there because the potential payoff is huge. Australia is a much smaller market, but at the same time Google already have pretty much all the necessary systems in place to do exactly what they'll need to. Note that Google did not abandon Europe when all that right to be forgotten nonsense popped up, and from their point of view there's really no difference here - they have to remove certain search results in a certain location when someone officially tells them to.

FYI: Drone maker DJI's 'Get it on Google Play' website button definitely does not get the app from Google Play...

Cuddles Silver badge

"To falsely say "Get it on Google Play" and then do nothing of the sort is deliberately misleading and should be highlighted."

Exactly. A lot of people seem to be rather missing the point. The problem is not that DJI are offering a download from their own servers instead of Google's. Plenty of people already do that, and while issues of security do get raised it's not really different from installing a program on your PC from somewhere other than the MS store. And note that there didn't used to be any such thing as the MS store so until very recently that was essentially the only option.

No, the problem is that DJI are apparently deliberately lying to people. They say they're sending people to Google, but are actually doing no such thing. Which is then made all the more suspicious by having the file they offer different from the one provided if you actually go to Google to find the same thing. I doubt many of us posting here have a big problem with being able to install programmes from wherever we like, but any sane person should have a problem with being lied to about what we're trying to install.

Silent running: Computer sounds are so '90s

Cuddles Silver badge

Re: Ringtones are cringworthy

"In this age of notification lights and custom vibration, I don't get why ringtones are STILL popular"

Because sound is actually quite a useful phenomenon for providing all kinds of useful information. Vibration only helps if you have a device in close contact with a sensitive body part; even with my phone in a pocket I often miss it vibrating if I'm doing anything other than sitting still. And that's just for noticing it vibrating at all, the idea that custom vibrations covering a wide range of different notifications could be easily and reliably distinguished anywhere outside laboratory conditions is simply ludicrous. Of course, notification lights are completely worthless if you're not actually looking at the thing, for example if it's still in said pocket. Or if it's in a protective case. Or if your phone doesn't actually have them (mine, for example). Notification sounds are still used because they remain by far the most effective method of actually letting you know that something has happened.

They can, of course, be annoying if they're too loud or going off all the time. Which is why it's now so easy to set up various different modes, switch between them easily, and even have things happen automatically at different times. I'll have my phone nice and quiet while I'm in a meeting, but noisy when I'm at home and might not even be in the same room as it. Sound might not be the best solution to all problems all the time, but the idea that it's been rendered utterly obsolete by a crappy vibrator with an LED taped to it is just plain silly.

Ex-Huawei man claims Chinese giant is suing his startup to 'surpass' US tech dominance

Cuddles Silver badge

Employee poaching?

"Huawei also claimed Huang unlawfully solicited Huawei employees to join CNEX."

Is this even a real thing? I understand that companies sometimes come to agreements with each other and/or their employees not to actively recruit each others' staff or not to work for competing companies for some time after leaving. But that's simply a contract arrangement and any court action would be simply about breach of contract; the actual law doesn't get involved at all. The idea that it could be illegal merely to offer a job to someone sounds absurd on the face of it.

In fact, the whole thing sounds pretty ridiculous. Huawei want to have all the patents Huang is ever involved in because apparently he signed a contract saying they could. Which sounds like a rather silly contract for him to have signed, but I guess it's possible and they could have a leg to stand on in that regard. But what the hell does that have to do with IP theft and racketeering? Again, it's simply a matter of a contract between two parties and whether one of them is in breach of it. It sounds like quite a complicated case, since they're not actually his patents and a contract he signed is not necessarily binding on the company that holds them, but at no point does there appear to be any suggestion of actual illegal activity.

Chinese biz baron wants to shove his artificial moon where the sun doesn't shine – literally

Cuddles Silver badge

Re: Suitably Qualified and Experienced Personnel...?

"Now, I'll grant you that a new constant moon isn't going to have all that much effect, especially not when compared to street lights in a city"

Given that the whole point is to replace street lights in a city, at a minimum it must have at least the same effect as street lights in a city. In practice, street lights are generally placed only in areas where there's actually a reason to have them, with plenty of back streets, parks, non-residential areas, and so on, left unlit. And even then light pollution is a huge problem that interferes with everything from insect lifecycles to sleep disorders, and that's before you even start thinking about the harder to quantify aesthetic effects. Having an entire city lit up everywhere at all times is just a terrible idea in pretty much every conceivable way, and has exactly zero possible benefit compared to the alternatives.


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