* Posts by Cuddles

592 posts • joined 3 Nov 2011

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Give 'bots a chance: Driverless cars to be trialled between London and Oxford

Cuddles
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Re: There's a great deal

"Some may also wonder why the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority are piffling around with self driving cars."

The tiny number of nuclear plants that may eventually get built some time in the distant future are a mix of French and Chinese, while Trident is essentially American. In the absence of any UK involvement in actual nuclear stuff, I guess taking up cars as a hobby at least gives them something to do.

@Ian Emery:

"Gas is a fossil fuel, as (technically), is Uranium."

No, fossil fuels are the remains of living organisms, uranium is just an element. It's not a simple dichotomy between fossil fuels and renewables, it's entirely possible for an energy source to be neither.

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(You can't) buy one now! The flying car makes its perennial return

Cuddles
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Re: Calories (or whatever measure of energy expenditure you prefer)

"Surely the easiest AND most accurate measurement would be to use an electric generator connected to a variable load as the "friction" device."

No, all that does is measure the work done on the generator. The human body isn't 100% efficient, so that won't tell you how much energy you've used in total to do that work once you take waste into account. Since different bodies have different efficiencies, there's no easy way to convert between the two, and once you throw in things like wind, slopes, different surfaces, and so on, it all becomes rather complicated.

@DougS

"I can totally understand why the range for cycling varies so much - you have not only the distance traveled and weight of the rider, but elevation change, wind, riding position, rolling resistance, and weight of the bicycle."

That's all just as important for running though - try running up a mountain on a dirt trail on a windy day and compare that to running on a flat road in the calm. The only real difference between the two is that most people tend to stick to nice flat paths for running, while cyclists have the strange habit of deliberately finding the biggest hills possible. Cycling isn't really inherently more difficult to estimate energy use, it's just that the average cyclist is likely to see more varied conditions than the average runner; running gets just as tricky once you start looking at people like trail runners.

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Cuddles
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Re: Calories (or whatever measure of energy expenditure you prefer)

"Given the various fit bands will have accuracy levels of who know what... Why not just use the (probably also wildly inaccurate) calorie estimate the spin bike gives you"

Short of a lab setup monitoring oxygen intake, there isn't really a reliable way to measure calorie usage; even a heart rate and respiration monitor relies on all kinds of assumptions and calibration to tell you anything close to sensible. This means that the only sensible way to monitor your activity is to use the same monitor all the time - you're never going to get a really accurate measure, but at least you can compare what you're doing now with what you did last week. The monitors built in to gym equipment don't work for that; not only can you not take them with you when you're not at the gym, but even using the same make and model equipment in the same gym doesn't guarantee the same results if, for example, one has been greased more recently than the other.

Basically, unless you take it all really seriously and have proper monitors with good calibration and so on, you'll generally get just as accurate results from finding an old calculator and hitting the "rand" button as you will from using a variety of different cheap monitors.

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Qualcomm's schedule for Windows-capable silicon slips

Cuddles
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Where's the slip?

The fourth quarter is in the second half; all their statements are entirely consistent with each other. Some people may have assumed that "second half" actually meant "the start of the second half", but if that was actually the case they'd just have said "third quarter". Blaming Qualcomm for the unfounded assumptions of others seems a bit silly really.

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Not the droids you're looking for – worst handsets to resell

Cuddles
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Re: Cause or Effect?

"Are we certain we're not confusing cause and effect here? Users now hold on to their phones longer because manufacturers are raising the sticker price ... ?"

Or alternatively - users now hold on to their phones longer because it's mature technology and there's little benefit to upgrading regularly, while manufacturers are raising sticker price because it costs more to develop and build the things. There's not necessarily any cause and effect at all, it can simply be two unrelated things happening at around the same time for different reasons.

That said, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the original statement is the correct one. It's easier now than ever before to get a cheap low-to-mid-range phone that's more than good enough to do everything the average consumer wants, and do it better than any phone from a couple of years ago. So manufacturers raising prices at the top end will have no meaningful effect on how often people upgrade - those who worry about the price aren't buying those phones anyway. On the other hand, given that people upgrade less often, raising the prices of high-end products that are going to be bought by some people no matter the price is an obvious response on the manufacturers part.

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Qualcomm takes $1bn BlackBerry bite like a champ, struts away

Cuddles
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Accountancy maths?

"Revenues of $5bn

The QCT chip business reported revenues of $3.7bn, up 10 per cent from last year's quarter. The QTL licensing branch saw revenues of $2.25bn, up 5 per cent year-over-year."

3.676 + 2.249 = 5.0

Am I the only one who thinks that doesn't sound quite right? I guess it looks OK to the sort of people who can keep a straight face while saying "Aside from losing well over half our profits to the nearly $2 billion we've been fined in the last few months, we're doing really well.".

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SPY-tunes scandal: Bloke sues Bose after headphones app squeals on his playlist

Cuddles
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Re: you need to have both GPS and Bluetooth turned on to use it

"On android I believe location services have to be enabled in order to use bluetooth"

Your belief is wrong; Bluetooth and location services on Android are entirely separate things.

As for whether it needs location services to work, it seems a bit weird. I just tried installing it to check, and there was no mention of needing location services. Turning bluetooth off made ithe app immediately complain and refuse to do anything else until turned back on, but turning location on and off made no difference. However, there are reviews on the Play store going back to at least February which claim location services are needed to make it work.

In addition, the description of the app says this near the end:

"The Bose Connect app does NOT use GPS or your device's location for anything."

which seems to be protesting rather too much for an app that doesn't ask for permission to see your location or have any reason to want it. I've never seen an app feel the need to make this kind of declaration before. Given all this, I suspect that the lawsuit has been coming for a while, and El Reg did their test before the new version was released (on March 16th) which removed the need for location and goes out of its way to deny it would ever want something like that. The lawsuit has only just been filed, but could easily have been a month in the works with journalists lined up to publish once the filing is public. A flood of bad reviews on the Play store in the last couple of days suggests they've planned a bit of a media offensive to coincide with the filing.

Alternatively, maybe the app is just terribly written and forces you to turn location on once it's connected to something (I don't have a Bose speaker, so it never got past the connection stage) even though it doesn't actually have permission to access it.

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Mastercard launches card that replaces PIN with fingerprint sensor

Cuddles
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Not quite thought through

"When the biometric card is placed into a retailer's EMV terminal, the owner will be able to place their finger on the embedded sensor."

Except in the many terminals which don't leave that part of the card exposed.

@patrickstar

"Wasn't this exactly what PIN codes were supposed to prevent?"

Yes. PINs are actual two factor authentication - something you have and something you know are required for a transaction. Unfortunately many people seem to get stuck at the "two" part and think that just having any two things involved means it's 2FA. In this case, it's simply something you have and something else you have, which can therefore be compromised by taking them both at the same time.

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Ambient light sensors can steal data, says security researcher

Cuddles
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Re: Light Show

"This works, as noted, but in practice it would be very obvious that something strange was happening."

As with most of this sort of proof-of-principle attack, it's not the practicality that is important, but rather the fact that it is possible at all. If one guy working in his spare time can throw together a proof of concept in barely a month, what might someone with more time and resources manage? What about a few years down the line when hardware might have improved enough to turn something slow and impractical into a useful attack? It's similar to the case with encryption algorithms. SHA-1 didn't magically become breakable by everyone and their dog the instant a collision was demonstrated, but it did demonstrate that what was considered a hopelessly impractical theoretical attack back in 2005 is now entirely practical and well within the reach of regular criminals, let alone state-funded hackers and TLAs.

In addition, it's entirely possible to come up with ways the attack could work even now. To start with, phones generally spend a lot of time not being looked at - in pockets, in cases, turned upside-down, or simply at night when people are sleeping. Even if you can only see whatever was last on the screen, that can mean emails and other private information, and you could build up some sort of profile over weeks or months without anyone seeing anything. Still much less generally useful than most attacks, but if it can be done without the user needing to give out any permissions or install anything, that's a problem.

In the end, this may or may not turn up actual practical attacks at some point. But even if not, it serves as yet another cautionary tale that sensors are inherently a security risk, and blindly allowing anyone to access them can have consequences even if you can't immediately see what those might be. Even apparently trivial information has some value, and given the opportunity someone will almost certainly try to collect and profit from it. Opening up people's personal belongings to such issues without letting them have a say in the matter just isn't a good idea. And that remains the case even when we know that 99% of them will blindly click "yes" and install whatever malware comes knocking anyway.

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That apple.com link you clicked on? Yeah, it's actually Russian

Cuddles
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Seems a silly issue

"different but look almost identical"

A letter is just a symbol with a certain shape - if two letters look identical, they are identical. It doesn't matter if different languages use that shape in different ways to represent different sounds, the only thing a computer needs to do is display the shape when told to do so; there's absolutely no reason to come up with multiple codes to represent the same shape just because that shape is used in different alphabets.

And before objections that the letters aren't quite identical and the minor differences justify the different codes, that sort of minor change is a function of font. The difference between a Times New Roman "P", a Comic Sans "P" and a Wingdings "P" is far greater than the difference between an English and a Russian "P". If you want Cyrillic-looking letters you choose a Cyrillic font, if you want Latin letters you choose a Latin font. Defining multiple codes for effectively identical letters really doesn't help matters.

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Euro Patent Office reforms hit another stumbling block: Reality

Cuddles
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How close, exactly?

"From 54 per cent unhappiness to 7.7 per cent by, um, deciding that everyone that didn't answer failed to do so because they were 100 per cent happy with the EPO."

And even then it doesn't really help their case. 7.7% isn't "close" to 4%, it's close to double that number. Even after all those contortions, they still end up claiming that their policies have resulted in a 100% increase in unhappiness among their customers. That's well past the point where a normal business would be asking serious questions about what's gone so horribly wrong, and even if they try to spin it to not look so bad to the outside world they certainly wouldn't be crowing about it in internal communications. I've mainly viewed Battistelli as your run-of-the-mill power-mad dictator, but it's seeming more and more as though the entire management team has completely lost contact with reality. We've gone from regular Soviet-style propaganda to all out "Kim-Jong Benoit was born on a unicorn and invented rainbows".

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Troll it your way: Burger King ad tries to hijack Google Home gadgets

Cuddles
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Re: Computer Misuse Act?

"Let's translate that statement to other crimes and see how sensible it is:"

While it's true that those are still all crimes, it's worth noting that the consequences can be very different. If someone breaks into your house and steals stuff, that's burglary and your insurance will pay to replace everything. If you leave your door open and someone walks in and steals stuff, that's burglary and your insurance will laugh in your face if you try to claim for it. Just because something is illegal doesn't mean you don't need to take steps to prevent it, and the consequences of not doing so can range anywhere from simply not getting much sympathy to being criminally liable in some way yourself (leaving a child unattended can be criminal neglect, for example).

There are essentially three separate questions - is it illegal for someone else to do something, is it required for you to take steps to prevent that something, and is it a sensible idea for you to take said steps? When it comes to burglary, stealing your stuff is illegal, it's not legally required for you to lock your doors but probably is required by insurance, and regardless of any of that it's a good idea to lock your doors. When it comes to voice assistants, it's probably not illegal for other people to shout at your phone, it's not required for you to prevent them from doing so, but it's still a good idea to make it difficult for them and, as Grikath suggested, some of us may not have much sympathy for people who don't regardless of whether messing with their phones is actually a criminal act or not.

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Broadband providers almost double prices after deals end

Cuddles
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Not all that surprising

"The survey of 3,000 consumers finds broadband customers aged 65 or over are more than twice as likely than customers under 65 to have been in the same contract for more than 10 years."

People who are likely to have lived in the same place for well over 10 years are more than twice as likely not to have changed utility providers than people who may not have even had their own place for 10 years.

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Google fumes after US Dept of Labor accuses ad giant of lowballing pay for women

Cuddles
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Why are they in court?

"The DoL sued Google earlier this year seeking to get its hands on the details of the Chocolate Factory's salary structure to ensure compliance with federal laws on equal pay. Google countered by claiming not only is it in compliance with the laws"

If Google actually offers equal pay, it would be incredibly easy to prove it by just showing the DoL what they asked for. The fact that Goggle is willing to go to court, not to prove anything but in an attempt to avoid having anyone actually see any evidence, is fairly conclusive proof that they do not, in fact, do what they claim.

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Revealed: Blueprints to Google's AI FPU aka the Tensor Processing Unit

Cuddles
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Not so fast?

""The comparison doesn't look quite so rosy next to the current-gen Tesla P40 GPU, which advertises 47 INT8 TOP/s at 250W TDP; compared to the P40, the TPU is about 1.9x faster and 6.5x more energy-efficient," Johnson wrote."

Which is still a pretty decent margin really. Given that Google has been actually using these things since 2015, while the P40 was only announced a few months ago, that's still a pretty favourable comparison. Compared to contemporary competition, the TPU is way ahead; compared to modern competition, the TPU is still way ahead, just not by quite so much.

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Facebook's going to block revenge smut with AI. Or humans. Or both

Cuddles
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To be fair

"Zuckerberg said this laudable aim is going to be achieved by artificial intelligence; the head of global safety Antigone Davis says the heavy lifting will be done by “specially trained representatives from our community operations.”"

Maybe their community operations section is staffed by AIs? It would certainly explain their general lack of ability to do anything much at all.

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Startup remotely 'bricks' grumpy bloke's IoT car garage door – then hits reverse gear

Cuddles
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How could he tell?

The problem the guy had was that his phone wouldn't connect to a server and was therefore unable control his door. The company responded by preventing the phone from connecting to the server and therefore unable to control the door.

Obviously a stupid move in terms of both customer service and PR, but as far as the technical issue was concerned it doesn't seem they could have made anything worse. If they hadn't said anything, no-one would ever have known that they'd actually blocked anything since the whole issue was that it didn't work in the first place.

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US ATM fraud surges despite EMV

Cuddles
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"In 2004 US card fraud rate was 0.05 and Europe was 0.11, more than double. By 2010, EMV brought Europe down to a fraud rate of 0.06 while the US rose to 0.08."

Sure. But now it's 2017. As the article notes, the card fraud rate rose by 70% in 2015-16, while compromised ATM and PoS terminals rose by 546% in 2014-15. That would suggest that while Europe has managed to bring fraud down to levels around the same the US used to experience, the US has increased it's fraud levels way above where Europe used to be.

And that's assuming your quoted figures are accurate in the first place. I don't know exactly what you mean by "card fraud rate", but here are some other figures to ponder:

The USA accounted for 47% of the world's card fraud in 2015, despite only making up 24% of card transactions. 32 million Americans were victims of credit card fraud in 2015, three times higher than the previous year.

http://www.nasdaq.com/article/credit-card-fraud-and-id-theft-statistics-cm520388

The USA has third highest rate of card fraud in 2016 with 47% of consumers experiencing it, compared to a world average of 30%. It is the only country to remain in the top three for three years running.

http://uk.businessinsider.com/the-us-has-the-third-highest-card-fraud-rate-in-the-world-2016-7?r=US&IR=T

Interesting table halfway down this one - looked at per $1000 of transactions, chip&PIN has half the loss due to fraud, but also only just over half the profit for the issuing bank. Also worth noting is that this article gives the US 38.7% of card fraud for only 22.9% of card transaction volume for 2015, not quite as bad as the first article, but still not exactly great.

https://wallethub.com/edu/credit-debit-card-fraud-statistics/25725/

So sure, US card fraud may or may not have been relatively low back in 2004. It is now firmly one of the worst countries in the world for fraud, and only avoids remaining the worst for several years running due to huge increases in Mexico and Brazil. Every single report I've seen on the matter puts the blame squarely on the fairly to properly implement chip&PIN transactions. It may not be perfect, we do still have fraud here in Europe after all, but it's a hell of a lot better than either not having it at all or having the half-arsed approach the US has taken.

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Assange™ keeps his couch as Ecuador's president wins election

Cuddles
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Who retained what now?

"Ecuadorian president Lenín Moreno Garcés retained power."

No he didn't. Garces was elected to replace Rafael Correa who has been president for the last 9 years.

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Ofcom pressuring BT to slash wholesale prices for superfast broadband

Cuddles
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Re: When can I pay less for a data only line?

"I am currently forced to pay for a phone line that is little more than a scammer hotline. OFCOM need to sort their crap out."

People love to complain about line rental, but there's really no such thing. You pay for the infrastructure to provide you with the service you're paying for, plus some profit. It makes no difference whether they say that's £20 for internet and £17.50 line rental, or just say it's £37.50 for the whole thing, you're still going to be paying the same amount. The only reason line rental charges have come in for criticism recently is because most providers tried to hide it entirely to make it look like packages were cheaper than they actually were. As long as the full cost is shown up front, there's absolutely no reason to complain about how they may break it down.

As for a landline being a scammer hotline, there's a very easy way to deal with that - don't plug anything in to it. If you don't want the line in the first place, why would you bother actually using it?

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Forget robot overlords, humankind will get finished off by IoT

Cuddles
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Already a solution

"you'd only have to break into 1 per cent of the automated courier bots to rake in £325m of stolen goods per year."

You may be able to make a decent profit by stealing just 1/100 of robot deliveries, but as long as 1/30 of them actually contain bobcats instead of the expected contents, it's probably not worth the risk.

https://xkcd.com/325/

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As a shock to absolutely no one, Uber is mostly pasty, male at the top

Cuddles
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Re: Shockingly, the numbers were presented without context.

"So, whites are actually sharply under-represented (63% vs 49%), and Asians have SIX times the representation(4.8% vs 30.0%). Blacks are under represented by the smallest percentage difference (12% vs 8.8%)."

Can't help noticing you missed out a fairly significant segment there - Hispanics make up 16.3% of the US population, but only 5.6% of Uber.

Also, no, blacks are not under-represented by the smallest percentage difference - 8.8 compared to 12 is a 27% difference, while whites are only under-represented by 22%. What you may have meant was a percentage point difference, which is a very different thing and not particularly relevant for this kind of comparison since minorities will always have small numbers - if Uber had 0 black employees, that would still only be 12 percentage points off the national demographic, while whites already have a larger difference at 50% representation.

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ZX Spectrum Vega Plus backers complain of months-long refund delays

Cuddles
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Re: Stop bitching

"Crowdfunding is just a hipster term for an unsecured online loan. You took a gamble you'd get something earlier and cheaper than the masses and you lost."

While this may be true, it doesn't follow that everyone should just suck it up and stop complaining. If you lend £10 to a friend and they don't pay you back, you're well within your right to nag them about it even though there is no contract and no legal recourse. If you borrow from a loan shark, again there may be no legal contract but you shouldn't be surprised if they come around and threaten to break your kneecaps. Unsecured loans don't mean no complaints and no consequences. In this case, both the people who took the loans and the people who facilitated it are still active in communication (to at least some extent), so why should everyone who paid out money be expected to just pretend nothing ever happened?

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One in five mobile phones shipped abroad are phoney – report

Cuddles
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Re: Define abroad...

The data for the report is based on customs seizures (from 100ish countries in the WCO, EU and US). Abroad means it was shipped from outside the country doing the seizure.

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Cuddles
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Re: Whoa - bullshit detect

"Nearly one-fifth of mobile phones ... are fake"

Firstly, as usual it's important to read the actual report rather than just the crappy reporting surrounding it if you want the real news. The report does not say 20% of mobile phones are fake, it says that 20% of "mobile phones; parts and accessories" are counterfeit. However, it still only covers electronic goods (so not phone covers and the like), and chargers and cables get their own separate category so it really is phones and parts like screens that are counted here.

That said, another important point is that the majority of counterfeit goods are now shipped in small quantities by mail. Essentially, people buy something on Amazon and get shipped a fake, rather than container loads of fakes filling up warehouses in well known retailers. That means that while it may not be quite 20% of phones that are fake, a decent proportion of those bought on places like Amazon probably are (unsurprisingly Apple and Samsung being the biggest targets). This goes a long way to explaining the big increase - a large retailer can both spot fakes and do something about them, a lone customer can likely manage neither.

It's also worth noting that the report distinguishes between two different kinds of counterfeiting - full priced counterfeits sold with the intention of fooling the customer (ie. a full priced phone on Amazon), and cheap counterfeits that everyone involved knows are fake - if you buy a "Rolex" for £10 from a guy in the street, no-one involved is being fooled into think it's real. Unfortunately it doesn't actually break these down into proportion.

Finally, for the point about 20% of CPU sales being to unknown manufacturers, it's worth bearing in mind that most of these counterfeits are likely made in exactly the same factories as the genuine goods. Presumably there's some fudging of paper trails required along the line, but to external suppliers it won't generally look like there's anything dodgy going on.

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Your internet history on sale to highest bidder: US Congress votes to shred ISP privacy rules

Cuddles
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Use https

So, no more visiting El Reg then? It's all very well to complain about privacy problems, but actually practising what you preach might make it easier to take such complaints seriously.

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iPhone-havers think they're safe. But they're not

Cuddles
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Re: None are invulnerable

"No OS is completely safe or bug free. Security measures can be bypassed by users. All have bugs waiting to be found and exploited."

Indeed. It's all very well arguing about which OS has less bugs and which walled garden and update model is best, but the vast majority of compromised devices (including PCs and everything else, not just phones) are the result of tricking the user into installing something, with most of the rest coming from weak, reused and/or default passwords. Regardless of how many software bugs you do or don't have, users are by far the biggest vulnerability, and they're common to all systems.

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Green software blacked out Australian State

Cuddles
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Wait, what?

"The Research Center's people note that “the protection feature resulting in sustained power reduction of wind turbines is not generally implemented in simulation models provided to clients. Even if this feature was present, it is not customary to study multiple faults as occurred in the actual event.”

So the issue was that the people who build the turbines don't bother to tell the people using them how they actually work, and that even if they had, no-one had ever bothered to wonder what might happen if more than one thing goes wrong at a time, such as happens pretty much every time there's a storm. That's not the global industry learning something valuable from a major incident, it's a bunch of incompetent fuckwits learning the absolute basics of simulating a system.

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Ex-military and security firms oppose Home Sec in WhatsApp crypto row

Cuddles
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It's not complicated

The important question in any situation like this is - what would the proposals actually achieve? According to reports, the arsehole was using WhatsApp a few minutes before the attack. Would giving the government a way to access encrypted messages have done anything to prevent the attack or save lives in any way? No. Therefore, fuck off. If you're going to use an incident like this to try to drum up support for your Orwellian fantasies, have the decency to at least pretend it's in some way related. Just shouting "Waahhh, terrorism!" and then blurting out something completely unrelated to the events that actually happened is not a sensible way to have discussions on the internet, let alone to actually run a country.

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Astroboffins stunned by biggest brown dwarf ever seen – just a hop and a skip away (750 ly)

Cuddles
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Re: It's quite a small object

"I am assuming that a bigger population of "failed stars" like this one won't go anywhere near to explaining dark matter?"

No. Ignoring all the silly conspiracy theories that idiots start spouting every time someone mentions dark matter, the simple fact is that brown dwarfs were one of the first things considered as a candidate for dark matter, so they were one of the first things we looked for an eliminated as a possibility. Brown dwarfs would be one component of MACHOS (Massive Compact Halo Objects) - essentially big objects like stars and planets made of normal matter, but in forms that are difficult to see, such as brown dwarfs and old white dwarfs which don't undergo fusion and therefore don't give off much light. But even though they're difficult to observe directly, they still interact with light and their presence can be detected indirectly, such as through their effects on the cosmic microwave background and gravitational lensing. And when we looked for those expected effects, we found that MACHOS can only make up a tiny proportion of the missing mass, which is why recent theories look for more exotic non-baryonic matter instead.

This discovery could be interesting in terms of the balance of baryonic matter - maybe there are more big brown dwarfs and a bit less matter in gas clouds than we thought, or something like that - but its basically irrelevant as far as dark matter is concerned, since we've already eliminated this sort of object as a major factor through other observations.

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Bloke whose drone was blasted out of sky by angry dad loses another court battle for compo

Cuddles
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"The discussion really shouldn't be about the technology used to bring down the drone, it should be about... when bringing down such a drone is OK."

The problem is that the former is an important consideration for the latter. Merideth wasn't arrested for shooting a drone, he was simply arrested for shooting because firing guns in populated areas is generally considered a bad idea. As it happens he was cleared of the charge because the court decided the shooting was justified and not a danger to others - in this case. But the discussion of technology is an attempt to answer the question - what about other situations where it wouldn't be safe or acceptable to use a gun? If someone can come up with a safer and legaler solution to take out drones in places where use of firearms isn't acceptable, that's something worth looking at even if guns are overall better tested and more reliable.

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Our Sun's been using facial scrub: No spots for two weeks

Cuddles
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Re: Not As Usual

"when you've only got 200 years of data on an 11-year cycle, that's less than only 18 cycles of data"

Except we have proxy measurements of sunspots going back thousands of years, records of direct observations going back to 800BC or so, and proper observations with telescopes from the 1600s onwards. Obviously not quite up to the same level of detail as modern observations, but plenty to get an idea of general trends over far more than just 200 years.

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Cuddles
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Re: 2018 data

You mean the data with the e for "estimated" next to it? It's an estimate. As is all the data going back to September 2016.

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BT hit with £42m fine for Ethernet compensation delays to competitors

Cuddles
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aadvice

"broadband aadvice site Cable.co.uk"

An aadvice site for aardvarks, presumably?

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Good news, everyone! Two pints a day keep heart problems at bay

Cuddles
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Re: Reproducibility crisis in science.

"What this is here is not "a reproduction of previous studies". It's a regurgitation of previous studies. A metastudy does not reproduce the results of previous studies. It does no new research."

Well firstly, you clearly didn't actually look at the study, or even read the article properly. The study the article refers to absolutely is a new study that has just been published. In your desperation to find something to complain about, you've apparently got confused by the fact that the article also briefly refers to an entirely different metastudy published nearly a decade ago. In any case, while whining about metastudies is common when people don't like the results, simply saying something is a metastudy is in no way a valid reason to dismiss it.

"If the original studies are shit, guess what, so is the metastudy."

The key word there being "studies". As in plural. You originally complained that the problem was a lack of replication. Now it's been pointed out that there actually are lots of studies replicating the same results in this case you've moved the goalposts to complain that some of those multiple studies might not have been good ones. While that is also true, it's both irrelevant to your original point and entirely unsupported by any evidence. If you can point to actual problems with any of these studies, feel free to do so, but bringing up red herrings to divert from the original claim isn't going to help your case. Ironically, if you'd bothered to actually read the article properly and checked your sources, you'd have noticed that the link referring to the metastudy in question was actually a rather critical Reg article pointing to numerous potential issues with it. Not enough to dismiss it out of hand, but certainly enough that it probably should not, and indeed clearly has not, be taken as a final authoritative answer.

"So, one out of five didn't. Why's that then?"

Because that's how science works. Not all studies will always agree with each other in every respect, for a huge variety of reasons ranging from experimental error to biological variability to simple chance. That's precisely why replication is so important, which was supposed to be the thing you were worried about in the first place. We look at the same thing over and over again, hopefully in a variety of different ways, and then come to a conclusion based on the balance of evidence. As things stand, that balance currently suggests that moderate drinking has health benefits over not drinking at all. Jumping around from complaining that the results haven't been replicated to complaining that many replications over the course of decades hasn't given a perfectly proven unanimous result is just silly, and rather suggests an unwillingness to accept the result rather than any actual issue with the method of getting there.

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Cuddles
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Re: Reproducibility crisis in science.

While it's true that there are issues with reproduction of results in general, this is not really a good place to bring it up, since this is a reproduction of previous studies. Not drinking being less healthy than moderate drinking is something that has been seen over and over again for years, as was noted in the article. There have been various theories about how this might be due to something other than the drinking itself, teetotallers often having stopped drinking due to some health condition for example, but as studies like this one show, even taking that into account it seems to be less healthy not to drink at all. Complaining that studies on other subjects haven't been replicated is all very well, but not particularly relevant to one that has been replicated over and over again.

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Face down in a Shoreditch gutter: Attack of the kickstarting hipster

Cuddles
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Re: Hushme

"Duct tape actually makes for a terrible gag. It's pretty much impossible to silence someone in such a way they won't be able to work it loose in short order."

That just means you're not using enough duck tape.

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More Brits' IDs stolen than ever before

Cuddles
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Damned lies and...

"Cifas reports a growing numbers of young people are falling victim to identity theft. Last year brought in 25,000 ID theft victims under 30, and a 34 per cent increase in under 21s."

Firstly, percentages are meaningless without some absolute numbers for comparison. Sure, under-21s rose by 34% - from 1343 to 1803. Meanwhile, the 51-60 category rose from 28366 to 29818, an increase nearly as large as the total for under-21s. The under-21s category is so tiny that the whole category, let alone the small increase in it, is barely noise in the total data - trumpeting about a big percentage increase and going on about how young people are at risk is very close to outright lies given that the group has by far the smallest risk of any age group by more than an order of magnitude.

Secondly, that 25,000 number (actually 24,375 so it's been rounded the wrong way to make it sound more scary) includes two age brackets - the aforementioned under-21s, and 21-30. What isn't mentioned is that fraud in the 21-30 group actually dropped. Admittedly only by a small amount, but why is this advertised as "growing numbers at risk" when the opposite is actually the case?

It really is a bizarre bit of scaremongering. A large percentage change is played up, when it's actually due to a category being tiny in absolute terms so any change looks big as a proportion, and categories are combined to make things sound bad (along with misleading rounding) when half of the categories involved actually improved.

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Why is the Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega+ project so delayed?

Cuddles
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Re: Crowdfunding is just an unsecured loan

"My understanding is that credit card companies are equally liable to deliver the product, or refund you, as long as you spent over £100. But does that not apply to crowdfunded sites?"

The problem is essentially with the title of the post here - crowdfunding generally isn't a hard promise that you will receive and existing product, but rather an investment with the understanding that someone will do their best to produce a product. The Consumer Credit Act specifically says "any claim against the supplier in respect of a misrepresentation or breach of contract". If you pay for a product in a shop and then don't receive the product, there is a clear breach of contract and you can get your money back. If you invest in a crowdfunding campaign in the hope that there will be a product in the future, you would have to prove that the campaign misrepresented its chances of success or that there was deliberate fraud somewhere along the line in order to be entitled to anything. So the Act might protect you, but you're likely to have to go to court to prove it, at which point you may as well just take the offending party to court and not bother involving your credit card provider.

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Vodafone to bring 2,100 customer service jobs in-house

Cuddles
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In other news

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-39228698

Vodafone to fire hundreds of UK employees. It's an interesting way to demonstrate their commitment and confidence in the UK.

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Tesla, Atlassian told to go through front door in effort to save Australian industrial civilisation

Cuddles
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Not fixing the problem

"chose to black out South Australians rather than turn on a power station"

The problem is not that there isn't enough generation capacity, but rather that the operator refused to actually use the available capacity when necessary. Building a big pile of batteries and a small back-up plant isn't going to fix the problem, since the lack of back-up wasn't the issue in the first place. Proper oversight preventing the operator from blacking out 60,000 homes for no reason seems to be what's needed.

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New strategy to curb officials' drone, phone and CCTV snoop jollies

Cuddles
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Wait, what?

“I think people will see video surveillance as part of an integrated thing linked to... fridges"

Where on Earth did that come from? In a discussion about the privacy implications of widespread video surveillance, police records and NHS security, what the hell do fridges have to do with anything?

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MAC randomization: A massive failure that leaves iPhones, Android mobes open to tracking

Cuddles
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Re: off

"My thoughts exactly. Whose got a phone which has a battery that can support Wi-fi being left on all the time anyway?"

Indeed. I really don't understand people who leave wi-fi, bluetooth, GPS, NFC, and everything else they can find, permanently enabled, and then complain about their battery life. This is even one of the rare situations where convenience and security aren't pushing in opposite directions, and yet huge numbers of people still manage to get it wrong.

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Tesla 'API crashes' after update, angry rich bods complain

Cuddles
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Security feature

Presumably if the owners of Teslas couldn't use their phone to control the car, neither could anyone else. Given the endless stream of reports about how hilariously insecure pretty much everything is (not everything Tesla, literally everything involving the internet or computers in general), I'd say that's a net benefit.

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CIA hacking dossier leak reignites debate over vulnerability disclosure

Cuddles
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Not really news

While the details of exactly which exploits they're using at the moment, who they share them with, and so on might be interesting to some, surely no-one is remotely surprised that various TLAs use security flaws to hack computers? That's their job, and we knew about it well before Snowden came along. People can argue all they like about whether it should happen and/or the details of what should be allowed, but yet another confirmation that the same thing we've known has been going on for decades is still going on really isn't news.

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Look! Up in the sky! Is it a drone? Is it a car? It's both, crossed with Uber

Cuddles
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Re: And if you think about it for more than 10 minutes...

"a) It takes much more energy than a car as it needs to fly, so it's worse than a car."

No, it takes more energy to fly the same distance, all else being equal. If a ground car has to take a long, windy route and constantly gets stuck in traffic, while the flying one can do a direct route with no delays, it's no longer cut and dried. It's easy to come up with various scenarios in which one or the other is more efficient; the real question is which would be better in a given practical setting, and that can only be answered on an individual basis.

"b) Even if it manages to get around congestion, which is a typical argument for flying cars, experience has shown that this will just lead to even more (flying-)car traffic, eliminating all advantages."

Nonsense. Firstly, it's important to note that adding an extra dimension changes everything. You can only fit a certain number of cars on a limited 2D network of roads, and adding a new road or coming up with better routing can only ever give a small fractional increase each time. Flying gives you effectively unlimited extra space to use - just divide the atmosphere into 10m altitude bands and you quickly have tens or hundreds of times more capacity, and that's ignoring the effect of no longer being restricted to a road network which only uses a tiny fraction of available area in its single band.

And experience shows that this is how it actually works. Aircraft crashing in mid-air during a flight is almost unheard of; even the most dangerous near misses usually involve planes only being with a few hundred metres of each other. Congestion and collisions happen almost exclusively in the places where aircraft are effectively restricted to roads - around airports and in corridors where they are assigned limited space. And that only happens because we currently restrict aircraft to hubs rather than being able to travel to or from wherever they like.

There are plenty of real problems flying cars have, most of which come down to safety. Limited flying space causing congestion just as bad as on current roads is absolutely not one of them.

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Kodi-pocalypse Now? Actually, it's not quite here yet

Cuddles
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Re: Maybe just drop your prices and kill illegal streaming? Not likely though

"Greed drives streaming of illegal content through Kodi, people who can't justify the exorbitant costs of TV packages see it as a reasonable option."

Alternatively: "Greed drives streaming of illegal content through Kodi, people who don't want to pay for a product steal it instead."

People can whine all they like about a product being overpriced, but that has never been a justification to break the law by grabbing it for yourself anyway. Copyright infringement and theft may not be exactly equivalent, but the logic behind them are the same - I want something, I can't afford it, I'm going to take it anyway. Particularly hilarious are the people who complain that the people producing the product don't get paid enough, therefore taking it for free and ensuring they don't get anything is justified. There's plenty of greed involved here, but it's not the big media companies that have the lion's share of it.

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Watt the f... Dim smart meters caught simply making up readings

Cuddles
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Re: Meter accuracy

"or (b) the test is badly written, in which case it needs rewriting"

Presumably these would be similar to the tests for car emissions, or the tests for hoover efficiency; ie. completely useless when it comes to actual use in the real world. It's all very well to say that rewriting such tests is what standards bodies are for, but there are two problems with that. Firstly, the idea is that the body responsible for such tests should spot and fix problems like this long before they become visible as a major issue to the general public. And secondly, if you look at various other tests there seem to be very few cases where tests were fixed even after huge problems with them were found; in the case of hoovers, the standards body explicitly said that while they acknowledged the tests are useless, they can't be bothered to think of a better one solely because the people complaining didn't do their job for them.

So sure, in a perfect world this would be the kick up the backside some standards body needs to fix the issue. But in said perfect world they wouldn't have needed such a kick in the first place, and history suggests that in the less than perfect world we have this will be no-where near enough of a kick to actually get anything done.

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Cuddles
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Read the study

"Among the 10 models tested, the issue appears to be a component known as the Rogowski Coil"

"While the highest deviation between actual energy consumption and reported energy consumption was 582 per cent, some of the meters made errors in favor of the customer. Two reported about 32 per cent less usage than actually occurred."

From the actual study:

"the positive deviation for Rogowski coil current sensors and negative deviations for the Hall sensors"

"The fourth meter, with a current transformer"

So no, this isn't simply a problem with Rogowski coils, it's a problem with three different kinds of sensors that cause different kinds of errors - over-reading for Rogowski coils, under-reading for Hall sensors, and both for current transformers. In fact, it's actually a problem with four different sensors giving different readings, since the values quoted are relative to an electromechanical meter which is simply assumed to be accurate - while they may well be better than newer meters nothing is perfect, and it would be interesting to see what kind of errors they have themselves.

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RadioShack bankruptcy savior to file for, you guessed it, bankruptcy

Cuddles
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Re: Aw. Nothing like the smell of hot solder --

"Despite online vendors, you'd think they could survive off the impatience of people to finish their projects right now."

I can order something on Amazon in the evening and be guaranteed delivery the next day. I can't order anything from a physical shop in the evening because they're not open, and I'll be at work the next day so I can't even get it then. While physical retailers have their advantages, being able to get things on short notice isn't really one of them, especially for those of us who work the same 9-5 schedule as most shops.

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