* Posts by Cuddles

688 posts • joined 3 Nov 2011

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.. ..-. / -.-- --- ..- / -.-. .- -. / .-. . .- -.. / - .... .. ... then a US Navy fondleslab just put you out of a job

Cuddles
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Trained != practiced

The trouble with having someone who knows Morse code is that learning a skill isn't enough, you have to actually use it otherwise you'll lose it. That's even more the case for something like this as an emergency backup, since it really needs to be second nature to be useful in that kind of situation. And that means constant practice of probably hours per week just for something that will probably never be used, taking time away from work and training that is much more useful.

In addition, humans are rather squishy. It's all very well to complain about unlikely events like EMP, but in the real world systems like this are far more likely to be used for boring reasons like a broken radio set. A rugged tablet stored in a secure locker is far less likely to be damaged by shooting, explosions and collisions than a human. And, indeed, as long as the locker is metal it won't be affected by an EMP either. A tablet controlled system could well be more robust and reliable than one that relies on a couple of squishy, out of practice meatbags.

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One-quarter of UK.gov IT projects at high risk of failure

Cuddles
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Not a big problem?

"One-quarter of the UK government’s major IT programmes worth a total lifetime cost of £8bn are at high risk of failure, according to a Register analysis of the major project watchdog's annual report of 143 government programmes worth over £455bn."

There seems to be some argument over whether 25% is high or not for the proportion at risk of failure, but in terms of actual cost 8 out of 455 billion is unequivocally small; that's not even 2%. So shockingly, it seems as though there must actually be some sensible oversight in there somewhere - the big projects are not at risk, but lots of small ones are. As is often the case, there are diminishing returns; looking after 98% of your money in 75% of projects is worth the effort, doing the same for the remaining 2% of your money spread much more thinly over 25% of projects could easily end up costing more than just writing off the loss if they fail.

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Jodie Who-ttaker? The Doctor is in

Cuddles
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Re: Sorry, but ...

"I've always thought the best Doctor was the one you watched between the ages of 7 and 10"

The important exception being people around my age, who would be stuck with Paul McGann.

As for Doctor Jodie, all the new Whos have been pretty good so I'm optimistic she'll be fine as well. The writing is much more of an issue than the actors really; it's not just the Doctor that needs replacing from time to time to keep things from getting stale.

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Russia launches non-TERRIFYING satellite that focuses Sun's solar rays onto Earth

Cuddles
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Re: It's a marketing campaign by "Rocketbank", nothing to see here

"limited to either the funders of the project...

So at least the Android app is at best a pretty dirty marketing campaign targeted purely at the Russian market, and at worst a scam."

I'm not sure I see the problem. It was a crowd-funded project, and the results are only made available to the people who backed it. Presumably the bank also provided funding and so counts as a backer. That's how pretty much every crowdfunded project works, so why would it make you think it's a scam?

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Openreach asks UK what it thinks about 10 million 'full fibre' connections

Cuddles
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"Looking forward the better part of a decade"

Indeed, this is the rather important part that all the people complaining that a 28.8 kb modem should be good enough for everyone seem to miss - we're not talking about what it's possible for many people to make do with now, we're talking about what will be needed decades into the future. It might be possible to get away with ADSL to stream fairly poor quality, low framerate 1080p video, but we're already at the point where 4K and higher framerates are becoming the norm. Is your ADSL still going to be good enough in 30 years? Unless you're the kind of person who still only has a black-and-white TV license for their 10" CRT dating back to the war, no, it really isn't.

In addition, the complaints seem to avoid noting the difference between average and peak use. I'm perfectly capable of saturating my FTTC 60ish Mb connection for an hour just by downloading a single game on Steam. Even if I use no other internet for the rest of the week and so have very low average bandwidth use, I would still get a significant benefit from a faster connection. And what happens if I want to watch Netflix while I'm downloading it? What happens if I'm in a house with three other people also wanting to watch different things at the same time? ADSL might be OK for a single person who occasionally streams single programs and does little else on the internet, but the majority of people share their houses, and thus internet connections, with multiple other people who will frequently all want to engage in high-bandwidth activities at the same time. And despite the persistence of outdated stereotypes, the majority of people actually are gamers these days; Netflix and Youtube make up the majority of usage, but peak use will tend to come from downloading large files such as games - even mobile games can be 1 GB or more these days, while PC console games are much more and are only going to get bigger over the next couple of decades.

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Luxembourg passes first EU space mining law. One can possess the Spice

Cuddles
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Seems to be missing some definitions

"Space resources are capable of being appropriated."

There does not appear to be any mention of what is meant by either "space" or "resources". As it stands, this law allows people to appropriate* things such as communications satellites or the Hubble space telescope.

* Definition - "take (something) for one's own use, typically without the owner's permission".

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Dell gives world its first wireless-charging laptop if you buy $580 extra kit

Cuddles
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Re: Pedantic ...

"Adds extra cost, less reliability"

Actually, that's by far the main benefit - not having to constantly make and break connections means much better reliability. USB connectors have a fairly good MTBF these days, but damaging ports, plug and cables is still generally the main point of failure for portable devices, other than cracking phone screens by dropping them. Indeed, despite all the fuss about Apple getting rid of headphone ports, I've been using bluetooth for years simply because of the annoyance of having cables fail (especially the ones I used to connect my phone to the car stereo for some reason).

Whether the benefit is worth the cost, especially for a laptop that hopefully uses something a little more robust than a micro-USB charger, is reasonable question, but reliability is the one area where wireless charging unquestionably has the advantage.

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Cuddles
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Interesting price

My Qi charging pad for my phone cost less than £10, and you can get adapter kits for many phones for not much more than that. A laptop system will need to handle higher power, but £330 worth of higher power that isn't compatible with any other device? I'm not convinced.

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Mappy days! Ordnance Survey offers up free map of UK greenery

Cuddles
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Re: mafia

"I use Viewranger at present, what App do you use that gives you full UK access for £20/yr and what scale does it go to?"

I use Backcountry Navigator, which has OS maps (although only 1:50000 I think) as well as a wide variety of maps worldwide (including quite a few government-run maps similar to OS, various open maps such as OpenStreetMap, and some more unusual ones like NOAA ocean charts) for a single payment of about £10.

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Two-factor FAIL: Chap gets pwned after 'AT&T falls for hacker tricks'

Cuddles
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Re: why would anyone link their bank accnt to paypal

"I don't like borrowing money, I'll stick to debit thanks."

Or you could just set up a direct debit to pay the whole bill every month, and enjoy the better protections provided through credit card use without ever going into debt. As is so often the case, just because some people misuse a thing does not mean such misuse is required for all users. It makes no more sense than complaining that some people are bad at painting so you'll stick to having bare plaster for your walls.

As for the article itself, pretty much a big "eh". Yes, social engineering remains by far the biggest threat when it comes to fraud. Humans are always the weakest link when it comes to security; as long as there is someone, somewhere, with the ability to screw around with your account details, this kind of fraud is always going to be possible. And since changing account details is something that often needs to be done legitimately, that's never going to change.

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Fast-spreading CopyCat Android malware nicks pennies via pop-up ads

Cuddles
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"Powerful and fast-spreading"

"User installs malware from dodgy app store / spam email"

I'm not sure it counts as particularly powerful or fast-spreading if it relies on asking users nicely to install it. The spread of such malware says an awful lot about the general competence of users, but really very little about the malware itself.

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Tesla, GitHub, tech bro VCs... Silicon Valley sexism row explodes as more women go public

Cuddles
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Re: Harry, you're a beast!

"where males ought be less piggish, not more, what gives? Could there possibly be an excess of charges instead? Or is it all true, and guys who run IT companies just get extra horny?"

Your missing a rather obvious third option - it's actually worse elsewhere. Careers as diverse as manual labour and banking have long had reputations for harassing not just colleagues but anything female in the general vicinity. You can argue about whether it's deserved in specific cases, but those reputations didn't just pop up out of nowhere. As for politics, Trump openly boasted about sexual assaults that should have landed him in prison and was elected president instead, while Berlusconi seemed to think he was living in the Playboy mansion while running Italy. And of course the less said about things like the Catholic church and children's entertainers the better.

Far from there being something special about IT companies, it's rather clear that sexism, racism, and various other -isms are still extremely pervasive throughout society. We've done a decent job over the last century of officially recognising that people of various different shapes and colours actually are people, but there still seems to be quite a way to go in getting a lot of people to actually act like it. The only reason Silicon Valley is currently getting attention in the matter is because, much like the Catholic church, it's managed to hit a critical mass of complaints that mean the problem can no longer by dismissed as a small number of isolated incidents but is actually an endemic problem. Unfortunately this largely results in people, as demonstrated in the above post, dismissing Silicon Valley itself as a somewhat larger isolated incident rather than recognising the issue is present to at least some extent pretty much anywhere you care to look.

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RED ALERT! High-speed alien fugitives are invading our Milky Way

Cuddles
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Re: Hypervelocity...

"Are they really moving that quickly, or is it only an apparent velocity based on their momentum relative to the speed and direction of travel of the Milky Way itself?"

What do you mean "really"? All velocities are measured relative to something else. Obviously since the question is why and how these stars are travelling faster than the escape velocity of the Milky Way, the frame of reference here is the Milky Way. Their velocities relative to other things will be entirely different. None of the velocities measured relative to anything are more or less real than any of the others, although the vast majority of them will be irrelevant in trying to figure out what's happening.

What you're asking is essentially equivalent to asking whether a car moving at 30 mph is really moving that fast or is it just relative to the Earth's surface. Yes, that is the velocity relative to the Earth's surface. You could measure its velocity relative to the centre of mass of the Andromeda galaxy and that would be just as real, but not particularly useful.

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Cuddles
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central rotational center

Presumably located near the Department of Redundancy Department?

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Britain's warhead-watcher to simulate Trident nukes with Atos supercomputer

Cuddles
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Re: do we really need to simulate this?

"if it goes off, then it will be bad. why do we really need to know how bad?"

That "if" being exactly why it needs simulating - nuclear weapons are fairly complicated things, and as the article notes there have been plenty of changes made over the years, as well as other factors like deterioration of components. You can argue all you like about whether we should have nukes, but given that we do have them it's probably a good idea to check that they will actually work as expected and won't, for example, explode on the launchpad or leak radioactive material everywhere while in storage.

"if one of those things goes off, there are going to be a lot more of them flying around shortly after. is it going to model that as well?"

No. Nuclear physics simulations are surprisingly unhelpful at things like socio-economic analysis and strategic planning.

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So. A cross-Europe cyberwar simulation. Of ransomware

Cuddles
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Re: Cloud?

"it's easily dealt with by antibiotics"

For now. Viruses have been popular for epidemics in the last century because antibiotics have been so effective at treating bacterial diseases. With the rise of antibiotic resistance and not much progress coming up with new kinds to replace the ones that no longer work, it's entirely possible that the next major outbreak will be one of the traditional medieval bacterial diseases.

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Android 'forensic' app pulled from Google Play after vulnerability report

Cuddles
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Re: vulnerability?

"Its not a "vulnerability" if its intentional."

From the article:

"The app is vulnerable to remote code execution via a man-in-the-middle attack"

The app does what it is supposed to do, which is not what it claims to do. The app also contains vulnerabilities that would allow other people to comprise the phone.

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Constant work makes the kilo walk the Planck

Cuddles
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Re: Confused

"Many metric units work better in maths but poorer on a human scale."

Utter nonsense. Are you seriously suggesting that we still use miles instead of kilometres to measure distance because a factor of 5/8 somehow makes the numbers incomprehensible on a human scale? Having to drive 160 km instead of 100 miles, or weigh 80 kg instead of 176 lb somehow makes everyone's brain's explode from trying to deal with the crazy numbers? And it's somehow too difficult to read "100 g" instead of "3.25 oz" when cooking? As for litres being too small for petrol, you must really suffer when trying to fill your car up given that petrol has been sold by the litre for a few decades now.

No, some people still stick with stupid imperial measurements out of habit, nothing more. When you've been thinking in one system all your life, trying to change to a different system is a lot of effort and most people just don't have much incentive to actually make that effort. Of course, things like the change to kg for food show that it's not actually all that much effort at all and such changes can easily be done quickly and painlessly, but since people are fundamentally lazy creatures of habit here we are.

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Extreme trainspotting on Britain's highest (and windiest) railway

Cuddles
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Re: 1,097m (3,599ft)

"The weather in the Cairngorms is Oceanic rather than Continental, so the temperatures are slightly less extreme than in the US. I suspect there are actually more days of terrible weather in the Cairngorms than on Mount Washington, and they are spread throughout the year."

It depends exactly what you mean by "terrible", but I wouldn't bet on it. Mount Washington has hurricane force winds on nearly 1/3 of days throughout the year as well as having snow fall year-round, and being much taller obviously temperatures tend to be a lot lower. Scotland can have some fairly miserable weather at times, but it nowhere in Britain is in the same league as places that get the really extreme stuff.

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For all the chaos it sows, fewer than 1% of threats are actually ransomware

Cuddles
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"The overall number of malware exceeds 640 million

seven out of ten newly programmed malware programs targeted Windows.

= 192 million non windows"

Note the phrase "newly programmed". 640 million is the total ever written, while the 7/10 for Windows refers only to new stuff written (or at least released or detected) in the last year. In fact, the report notes that there are over 600 million known malware programs targetting Windows, which puts it at something like 94% overall. Unfortunately the report doesn't give enough detail to figure out exactly which OSes get exactly what proportion either overall or just for the new stuff.

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China pollutes ocean with bloody big rocket

Cuddles
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50% failure rate

It's doing better than Ariane 5 was by this point, so hopefully they'll sort out the problems before the more interesting Moon and Mars missions get going.

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Talk about cutting-edge technology! Boffins fire world's sharpest laser

Cuddles
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Re: No coherence! Please try harder.

"Given that by its nature a laser beam is monochromatic"

No it isn't, try actually reading the article:

"Lasers are, ideally, a concentrated stream of photons at a single frequency. But in reality the light isn't perfectly monochromatic, as components in the laser introduce flicker noise that disturbs the beam's frequency, causing it to fluctuate. Most kinds of lasers have a line width of a few kilohertz to a few megahertz."

Also, coherency has nothing whatsoever to do with power. A laser beam is not any more powerful than "a monochromatic sodium vapour bulb in front of a parabolic mirror" - if both light sources are 10W, for example, then both have exactly the same power.

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Cuddles
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"Paragraph 1: < 10 mHz "line width frequency" - whatever a line width frequency is.

Paragraph 8: the frequency can vary by less than 0.4 aHz

I'm confused."

El Reg is also confused. The line width frequency is essentially the variation in frequency within the laser pulse, which is correctly reported as <10 mHz (it actually says "as small as 5 mHz" in the abstract). The 4*10^-17 is not a frequency at all as El Reg suggests, it's what they call the "flicker noise floor", which is essentially the ratio of linespread to laser frequency, so ~5 mHz / 194 THz. Since it's a ratio, it has no units.

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It's the thought that counts: Illinois emits 'no location stalking' law

Cuddles
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Precise?

"sufficient to determine or infer the precise location of that device"

It seems tracking without permission is fine as long as it's not precise. Town, postcode, road, house number - at which point does it count as "precise" exactly? Presumably wherever the most expensive lawyer in the room says when it eventually makes it into court, but I'd be amazed if this actually covers anything other than GPS - it can't be difficult to argue that using things like wifi and phone masts to get location aren't actually all that precise.

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NASA tells Curiosity: Quit showing off, no 'wheelies' please

Cuddles
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Re: This is amazing. I doubt "Wheel wear" was even considered give their original life expectancy

"3 months at most?"

Their? I suspect you're confusing Curiosity with the Spirit and Opportunity rovers. Those two were solar powered and had a 90 day primary mission time. Curiosity is nuclear powered and had a 2 year primary mission time. It's already driven over twice the distance Spirit managed, although Opportunity is still some way ahead and is somehow still going.

Also, it's not "at most". The design lifespan isn't the most they expect to manage, it's, as the name suggests, what they're designed to manage. If the rovers had failed before those 90 days/2 years were up it would have been considered a serious failure.

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Did you know? Today is International Asteroid Day! Wouldn't it be amazing if one were to...

Cuddles
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Meteor

"Back then a suspected meteorite detonated over the Russian taiga"

It's only a meteorite if it hits the ground. Exploding in the air makes it a meteor.

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Ubuntu 'weaponised' to cure NHS of its addiction to Microsoft Windows

Cuddles
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How uncomfortable exactly?

"The reference to Windows XP is an uncomfortable reminder that the WannaCry attack that hit the NHS in May"

This would be the WannaCry attack that El Reg has several times noted didn't actually affect XP systems? And that would be the same Windows XP that had already been patched to fix the vulnerability exploited by Petya before the latest outbreak everyone's made a fuss about? As long as you're paying for support and patching in a timely manner, there doesn't appear to be anything particularly uncomfortable about sticking with XP, other than maybe the cost of said support.

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Fresh cotton underpants fix series of mysterious mainframe crashes

Cuddles
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Re: Don't give me no static ...

"By forcing you to hold onto the metal trigger, you're grounded through the process. Less sparks, less boom."

It also prevents the disturbingly common issue of people driving off with the pump still attached to their car. America is a funny place sometimes; in some parts it's considered such a terrible inconvenience to hold a trigger for a minute or so that no-one worries about the safety issues, while in others holding said trigger is so important that it's illegal to do it yourself and you have to employ someone for the sole purpose of doing it properly. Meanwhile pretty much all countries ban mobile phones around petrol stations despite there being no evidence of a single fire caused by one, and indeed plenty of research to show it's not actually possible (unless it's a Samsung of course). Sometimes it almost seems as though humans are really bad at assessing risk.

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Everything you need to know about the Petya, er, NotPetya nasty trashing PCs worldwide

Cuddles
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Re: The real blame goes to..

"Had they just found the exploits, and reported them to Microsoft (or whatever application developer has the bug) this would of been prevented years ago."

While I agree with the sentiment that hoarding vulnerabilities in the name of national security is rather stupid, the above isn't really true in this case since MS have patched the vulnerabilities in question. If this had happened last year when the NSA new about the bugs but MS didn't it might have been a good point, but when malware is exploiting bugs that were patched months ago it hardly makes sense to complain that they weren't patched even earlier - at this point if you don't have the patches it's neither the NSA's nor Microsoft's fault, it's yours.

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Blighty's first aircraft carrier in six years is set to take to the seas

Cuddles
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"Definition of nm

1 nanometer

2 nautical mile"

I don't understand why people are arguing about this. The correct notation is "13228.6508 linguine".

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UK Parliament hack: Really, a brute-force attack? Really?

Cuddles
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"Can I be the first to point out the stupidity of this hack.

So you brute force parliamentary passwords setting off an alarm in the process letting them know you are brute forcing passwords.

What's going to happen next?"

Not sure I'm seeing the stupidity here. What's already happened is they read and probably downloaded all the emails from the accounts they've managed to access. What happens next is they sell them to the highest bidder, hand them over to journalists and/or wikileaks, or just keep it to themselves for the next time their agency/diplomats need some leverage. What doesn't happen next is that the people who already stole a load of data care in the slightest that it might be harder for someone else to do the same thing. Changing passwords and upgrading the system isn't going to uncompromise the data that was already taken.

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

Cuddles
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Re: and recovering kit that's obsolete, that is, unsupported by the manufacturer anyhow

"I don't trust a random bunch of hippies scattered all over the planet to "fix" my OS."

And yet that's exactly how Linux works, as well as essentially all other open source software. Being a hippy is not mandatory, but having random people scattered all over the planet fixing things is kind of the whole point.

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Watchdog slaps NHS for failure to tackle correspondence backlog

Cuddles
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No it doesn't

"Watchdog slaps NHS"

No, as the article clearly states the watchdog has criticised "NHS Shared Business Services", which is not the NHS at all but rather an entirely separate company set up by the DoH and Sopra Steria. The NHS has no involvement at all other than as a customer, and even that is as individual trusts and not the NHS as a whole.

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India's Martian MOM clocks up 1,000 days circling the red planet

Cuddles
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Re: Nice problem

"Still got 32% of the fuel they had after orbital insertion, 3.5 years ago.

That barely even registers as 'low' to me."

There are two kinds of people - those who panic and start looking for a petrol station when the fuel metre gets close to halfway, and those who refuse to pay attention to the flashing light because there's easily at least 20 miles left in the tank so stop nagging me. I guess the ISRO is one of the former.

As for the 1000 days, I can't help wondering what kind of distribution you might see for expected vs. actual spacecraft (and lander) lifetimes. It seems most of them either have a lifetime of 0, or survive a couple of orders of magnitude longer than planned, with not much in between.

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European Commission chucks cash at UR – the universal language of mind your own biz

Cuddles
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Re: He's missing the point.

"All of which require you to go off, research and then install the appropriate plugins"

Sure. The alternative suggested here requires you to go off, research and then install the appropriate browser. How exactly is that any better? Anyone who knows this browser exists and is willing and unable to use it is also perfectly capable of setting up another browser to do exactly the same things.

Ultimately is all comes down to educating the end users. Producing ever more products that will supposedly do all the work and not require them to know what they're doing does help, it just adds to an ever growing list of products that most people don't know about and wouldn't know how to use anyway. Is it really easy to educate people about an entirely new browser and how to use it, rather than to educate them how to install a couple of plugins on the browser they're already using?

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Algorithmic pricing raises concerns for EU competition law enforcement

Cuddles
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"There were also cases of hotel booking sites charging more and offering more expensive rooms to Apple users."

As the AC in the second post notes, that's a completely different, unrelated thing. Setting personalised prices for customers is not the same as monitoring the prices of your competitors and/or resellers. The former can seem unfair from a customer's point of view (from the point of view of one seeing the higher prices at any rate), but is not generally illegal and is ultimately just capitalism in action - prices are whatever the market will bear, and if you can subdivide people into different markets each one can bear a different price.

The latter is a different animal entirely - if a retailer monitors competitors and sets prices to be the same as them, competition is removed and you effectively have a price fixing cartel. Similarly, if a manufacturer monitors prices and punishes retailers who don't adhere to a "recommended" price, again competition is removed. Essentially, algorithmic price monitoring can lead to companies accidentally forming a cartel without ever actually needing to agree to anything, or even talk to each other at all, while on a manufacturer's part it can force retailers into such a cartel in a similar way even if they'd prefer to avoid it themselves.

If anything, while people might not like personalised pricing it's actually a solution to this issue, since it means matching prices to what you think a given customer will pay rather than to the price other retailers are charging. Only if retailers used identical algorithms operating on identical data would you get the lack of competition that is the concern here. Any issues of such personalisation, privacy and data protection being the obvious big ones, are an entirely separate matter.

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Breaking news, literally: Newspaper's quakebot rumbled for fake story

Cuddles
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No it doesn't

"events like these remind us that robot journalists aren’t infallible and make mistakes – just like humans"

As the article makes clear, the "robot" journalist did exactly what it was supposed to do, the mistake was made by a human. In fact, there appear to have been two mistakes probably by two separate humans - the first being the human who failed to make a service with historical data going back over a century Y2K compliant, and the second being the human who edited the data but then failed to check that it was actually correct afterwards. At no point does a computer appear to have done anything other than exactly what it was told.

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Report estimates cost of disruption to GPS in UK would be £1bn per day

Cuddles
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"Errr, maybe its time for backup?"

You mean like the three other systems explicitly mentioned in the article? The ones already used by many so-called GPS devices, including plenty of commercially available phones, watches and so on? Yes, that would be a good idea.

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Samsung releases 49-inch desktop monitor with 32:9 aspect ratio

Cuddles
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Not that expensive

"The US$1,499 price tag will also be easier for business to swallow, more so when you consider the GPU needed to make the monitor look its best."

It's not so long ago that a decent 1920x1080 monitor would cost over £1000, and the GPU required to run a monitor with half the pixels of a 4K monitor really doesn't need to be that impressive. Hell, I've been using a 2560x1600 monitor with pretty much the same number of pixels for nearly a decade, and you can't even buy a GPU as wimpy as I had back then any more. It's not the cheapest monitor in the world, but even as a pure fashion statement it's not especially expensive, let alone for anyone who actually has a use for it.

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

Cuddles
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Bit of a non-sequitur

"The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates that value of global trade in counterfeit goods related to information and communication technology (ICT) was about $143bn in 2013."

The article is about the scanning and copying of physical objects, presumably mainly meaning things like plastic toys. How exactly are counterfeit ICT goods, meaning things like pirating software and DVDs, related to this? I'm pretty sure the market for counterfeit physical goods is much larger.

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Operators and vendors agree that Europe is falling behind in 5G

Cuddles
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Does 5G even exist?

3G coverage is still fairly poor in a lot of places. 4G is becoming more widespread, but is far from ubiquitous in coverage, in contracts or in phones (and still doesn't come close to matching the original definition of 4G). 5G is a vague name that doesn't even have a clearly defined target for them to fail to meet yet. It's a bit hard to fall behind when you don't know what race you're supposed to be running, and haven't actually finished the last one anyway.

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Don't touch that mail! London uni fears '0-day' used to cram network with ransomware

Cuddles
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"Mind you, I would have thought that "Copy of K9b Form assessed by : James Eley-Gaunt" would pretty much flag this as suspicious in most intelligent people's minds. Eggheads my arse."

To be fair, there doesn't appear to be any suggestion that it was actually anything to do with any "eggheads". Indeed, they specifically mention "students and staff", which means this could have been caused by literally any person on campus with an email account, including drunken teenagers and the janitorial staff. That said, the stereotype of the eccentric professor exists with good reason; just because someone is intelligent in some respects doesn't mean they're not a complete idiot in other ways. Given that many academic staff can be quite elderly and in non-technical disciplines, there's no reason to expect them to be any more competent with computers than the general population - if you struggle to explain these kinds of issues to your grandmother, why expect a 70 year old lecturer on Abyssinian pottery to be any different?

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Judge holds Uber's feet to the fire over alleged Waymo tech theft

Cuddles
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"I don't know why Uber doesn't just attempt to settle with Google for a billion or two"

Do they even have a billion or two? Not only have Uber never made a profit, they appear to be losing more and more money every year - nearly $3 billion in 2016. According to Wiki, they've raised a total of $11.5 billion over the course of 8 years; this isn't Apple or Google who can afford the odd billion dollar settlement without much issue, that kind of thing on top of their already massive losses could well wipe them out entirely.

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Ever wonder why those Apple iPhone updates take so damn long?

Cuddles
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Re: no no no no no no no, Apple

"There was no risk with what they did"

If there was no risk, then it didn't need testing. Being pretty confident you can make a change and then roll it back with no problems does not justify doing your testing on a live system - the whole point of testing is to change that "pretty confident" into "absolutely certain", at which point your testing is done and you can roll things out properly.

And of course running down batteries wasn't the only affect on users even where things went fine. Many people still have download limits on internet connections, on land lines as well as mobile. Forcing your customers to download a GB or two for no good reason can cause real inconvenience - a family with a few iDevices could easily find themselves using up half their monthly allowance, as well as being unable to make or receive calls and such for an hour or so. For most it will be just a mild inconvenience that they shouldn't have been forced to suffer, for some it could be a lot more than that, and in neither case is there any excuse for Apple to have caused it for no reason and with no warning.

14
2

Raspberry Pi sours thanks to mining malware

Cuddles
Silver badge

"Are there that many Raspberries out in the wild that, even assuming they are connected and still on their default settings, they could mine coin in a useful timeframe?"

A quick Google suggests an RPi gets somewhere from 50-200 MFLOPS single precision depending on version. That would mean at least 30,000 of them to hit 6 TFLOPS, around the equivalent of a decent GPU (GTX 1070 for example). With 12.5 million sold according to the article, if you took control of every RPi ever sold, you'd have the equivalent of around 400 relatively up-to-date but not particularly impressive PCs. Depending on how those total sales break down by version, it might be closer to 100 PCs.

So yeah, not particularly useful by the looks of it. Even if there are tens of thousands of vulnerable RPis out there, you only need to compromise one or two home PCs to get just as much computing power at your disposal.

0
0

I fought Ohm's Law and the law won: Drone crash takes out power to Silicon Valley homes

Cuddles
Silver badge

Interesting regulations

"any drone that is flown must remain clear of surrounding obstacles, per the FAA"

You wouldn't have thought "don't crash into things" is the kind of rule that actually needs to be explicitly stated.

3
0

Boeing preps pilotless passenger flights – once it has solved the Sully problem, of course

Cuddles
Silver badge

Bit of a vicious circle

"The industry is also facing a severe shortage of pilots"

If you're struggling to get enough pilots, telling everyone that you're working on a way to eliminate that career entirely might not be the best way to get more people to sign up. Who is going to spend several years and an awful lot of money to qualify for a job that might not exist by the time they're done?

5
0

Has riddle of the 1977 'Wow!' signal finally been cracked? Maybe...

Cuddles
Silver badge

Astronomers aren't buying it, it seems.

Really? The "not buying it" quote comes from someone claiming to be an astronomer on Reddit, of all places, who apparently doesn't even realise that the Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences actually is a perfectly respectable peer reviewed journal. Their entire argument, other than failing to recognise the journal, is that the paper doesn't give the exact specifications of the dish, which isn't actually relevant at all - if it's capable of picking up the frequencies under investigation, that's all that matters. If someone else tried to replicate the study they might get a stronger or weaker signal with a different dish, but it's the presence of a signal at all that is relevant to the study, and the information required to replicate that certainly is in the paper.

0
1

Who will save us from voice recog foolery from scumbags? Magnetometer!

Cuddles
Silver badge

Not sure the hate is deserved

There seems to be a lot of complaining that this is pointless because there are ways around it. Of course there are, but just because something isn't perfect doesn't mean it's no use at all. For essentially zero cost - a tiny bit of extra processing power on top of speech recognition, plus a very low power sensor - this can prevent by far the easiest way of spoofing speech recognition. Most bike locks are completely useless against someone equipped with a £20 set of bolt cutters, but they're still very good at preventing theft because most people aren't wandering around carrying bolt cutters and it's difficult to use them in public without being arrested. Similarly, if your phone has been physically taken and an attacker can mess with it at their leisure, there's not a lot you can do about it. But if they're trying to do something relatively publicly in a relatively subtle way, a measure that makes it at least a bit more difficult for them at essentially zero cost to legitimate users can only be a good thing.

6
5

Amazon pulls snouts from all-you-can-eat cloud storage buffet

Cuddles
Silver badge

Unliminited "photos"

So if I stick ".png" at the end of all my file names I can have unlimited storage?

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