* Posts by handleoclast

644 posts • joined 6 Jan 2012

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Debian package depicts 'Tux the penguin' with sheep in intimate ASCII

handleoclast
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Sheep should be obscene and not herd?

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AT&T insists it's not sweating US govt block of Time-Warner gobble

handleoclast
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CNN hurt Trump's feelings

That's the only reason the DoJ are blocking the deal.

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Cops jam a warrant into Apple to make it cough up Texas mass killer's iPhone, iCloud files

handleoclast
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Guns vs encryption

How many shootings (both individual and mass) will be prevented if gun control is tightened up? Comparative statistics (both between states in the US and between the US and other countries) says a lot.

How many shootings will be prevented if phones can be decrypted by law enforcement? Zero. Not individual shootings. Not mass shootings by a lone nutcase. And, these days now that terrorists know not to trust electronic communications for long-term planning, not mass shootings by terrorists. Yeah, you might find out that just before he went on a rampage, a terrorist messaged his buddies asking them to wish him luck, and that's about it.

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Uber slapped with $9m fine for letting dodgy drivers pick up punters

handleoclast
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I have this great idea for business model

What could possibly go wrong?

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Open-source defenders turn on each other in 'bizarre' trademark fight sparked by GPL fall out

handleoclast
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A plague o' both your houses!

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Massive US military social media spying archive left wide open in AWS S3 buckets

handleoclast
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Re: YABCSP

@kain preacher

That's getting of stupid not fixing stupid.

How else would you fix stupid? If you manage to educate the person, the stupid is no longer there. If you remove the person from situations where the stupid is not a problem, the stupid is no longer there (in the place where it caused you problems). I just gave you a quicker, and more certain, way of removing the problem, which fixes the problem.

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handleoclast
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Re: you can't fix stupid, even with duct tape

Are you sure about that?

Duct tape wrists behind back. Duct tape over mouth. Duct tape over nostrils.

Stupid fixed in minutes.

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Arecibo spared the axe: Iconic observatory vital to science lives on

handleoclast
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Re: Welcome to 21st Century USA - How about an unbiased source?

@Big John

This video appears to have been made with you in mind.

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Car tax evasion has soared since paper discs scrapped

handleoclast
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Re: No car tax?

Thats where the tax disc was brilliant as it was a visual reminder. Now we don't have it.

How hard would it be to cut out a paper disc of the same size, write a date on it, and slip it into a tax disc holder glued to your windscreen?

If you need a reminder and don't have a mobile phone with a calendar app on it, that low-tech trick would work.

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'It's back to the drawing board...' Innocent axions found not guilty of dark matter crimes

handleoclast
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Re: Modified Newtonian Dynamics

@michael cadoux

Same question. How do you know they're accurate?

You can demonstrate precision. You can even demonstrate they show relativistic effects (probably, unless they're sensitive to air pressure). Accuracy? Nope. Because to determine accuracy you have to compare them to a known standard or to a reference of greater or equal accuracy.

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handleoclast
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Re: Modified Newtonian Dynamics

Ah yes, those amazingly accurate caesium fountain clocks

What has always puzzled me when people make claims that caesium fountain clocks are amazingly accurate is how they know? Surely you'd have to measure them against an even more accurate clock to know that they're accurate.

It's Friday and I'm reaching for my phone with the GPS receiver in the pocket. If there are at least 4 satellites in view it's a very accurate clock. So people claim.

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handleoclast
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Re: Phlogiston

+Voyna i Mor

I'd go further in poking fun at it.

In the later stages, phlogiston had both positive and negative mass, for reasons, in order to account for observed behaviour (burn this and it gets heavier but burn that and it gets lighter).

It seems reasonable that a new boson, named phlogiston (it ends in "on" so it;'s a boson) can be responsible for both dark matter puling the universe together and dark energy pulling the universe apart.

Simples.

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Belgian court says Skype must provide interception facilities

handleoclast
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If they want the data...

...they can have the data.

No problem. No problem at all. Here you go. Oodles of data.

What's that?

You want it decrypted?

We don't know how to do that. But if you do, go ahead and decrypt it.

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Q: Why are you running in the office? A: This is my password for El Reg

handleoclast
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Dear Sir or Madam

We at Experian are sorry to inform you that some of your biometric information has been stolen. We therefore advise you to take the following steps:

1) Facial reconstruction surgery. This must include, at a minimum, breaking and resetting cheekbones in a different configuration.

2) Eye surgery to replace irises and retinas (it may be cheaper to replace the entire eyeball rather than modify an existing one).

3) Surgery to change your fingerprints.

4) Put pebbles in your shoes.

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US authorities swallow security-free script for pill that knows when you're off your meds

handleoclast
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Re: so what if

it would need to be quite strong HCl, weak stuff like CH3COOH shouldn't be enough

Depends how concentrated the HCl needs to be, because it's quite easy to make what is effectively contaminated, dilute HCl.

Take vinegar and add salt. The result is a mixture of sodium, acetate, hydrogen and chloride ions in water.

Fun trick. Take a tarnished coin. Dip your thumb in some of the mixture from above and rub the coin with your thumb. Note: do not do this with a valuable rare coin unless you want to make it a less-valuable rare coin.

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handleoclast
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Re: so what if

You'll need a smart glass with thermal management and an agitator.

Or a dog. Or a large cat.

Actually, many of them, because the medicine will probably kill them.

Note that I'm not advocating this, because I love cats (dogs are OK, but cats are better). I'm merely speculating on the approaches people might take to deal with this. People whose mental state is such that harm to animals is either unimportant or perhaps even enjoyable.

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576-megapixel 'Zwicky Transient Facility' telescope sees first light

handleoclast
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Re: Zwicky thought of it first

spherical bastards" . . . i might find a use for that

Have another one I picked up years ago (can't remember where, may have been an SF story, may have been Dilbert). Coprolite. Often applicable to manglement. It means a fossilized turd.

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It's 2017 – and your Windows PC can be forced to run malware-stuffed Excel macros

handleoclast
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Re: WTF?

@Lost all faith...

bob, the meds must be working

But not yet to the extent that he is capable of noticing that he has a silver badge and figuring out that he can therefore abuse italics and bold.

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Shut the front door: Jewson 'fesses up to data breach

handleoclast
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Re: Even using third parties, there are issues

Oh yeah. Big time.

Somewhere on Jewson's site is a link to the payment handler. Doesn't matter if it takes you to the payment handler's page decked out in Jewson finery, if it's an iFrame or some Web 2.0 thingummyjig. Somewhere there's a link. So if you hack into the Jewson site you can change that link and mount a MITM attack.

Which means you can't offload your security problems onto the third-party payment handler. You must ensure that your own site is secure. And periodically monitor that the link hasn't been tampered with (details left as an exercise for the reader, because a clever attacker will take steps to fool such monitoring, like detecting the IP address requests come from).

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MPs slam HMRC's 'deeply worrying' lack of post-Brexit customs system

handleoclast
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Re: Gah!

Both sides deserved to lose.

The way it's turned out, both sides did lose (one way or another). Sadly, so did the rest of the country.

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Think the US is alone? 18 countries had their elections hacked last year

handleoclast
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Re: Hacked?

@wolfetone

They have the transmission rates which could only be attained via local access.

If you make four assumptions:

1) An office with many people in a big city had only a crappy ADSL connection and not something better. This can be checked, but the analysis you quote did not do so.

2) Both machines were set to the same timezone. This cannot be checked.

3) Both machines had their timezones set correctly for their physical location. This can be checked for only the target machine, but the analysis you quote did not do so.

4) Both machines had their clocks set correctly. This can be checked only for the target machine, but the analysis you quote did not do so.

In any case, the guy didn't do a forensic analysis, because he was not part of any law-enforcement organization. He did a technical analysis and, to my mind, a rather sloppy one. I'm not saying his conclusions were wrong but that they cannot be guaranteed to be correct.

But let's assume it was purely a local hack by an insider. You still have not shown anything to exclude the guy doing it at the behest of the Russians. Or even that he did it for other reasons and later decided to give it to the Russians (so the Russians wouldn't have instigated it but still benefited from it).

The most you have in favour of saying Russia wasn't behind it is that the NSA won't commit to being absolutely certain it was Russia.

Oh, and if rsync was installed on the target machine (it's standard with good OSes and a bolt-on with Windows), then any estimate of transmission rate could be wildly off if this was a lengthy attack and the data in the analysis applies to a final catch-up rsync.

As I have said twice already, I remain unconvinced either way. But if somebody put a gun to my head and forced me to make a bet, my money would be on Russia.

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handleoclast
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Re: Hacked?

@wolfetone

You have to also remember that the NSA are the only security agency in the USA that said it couldn't be proved beyond doubt the "hack" originated from Russia.

I can't even prove beyond doubt that I'm me, but I'm fairly certain of it. There's a big difference between saying it can't be proved beyond doubt that it was Russia and saying that it wasn't Russia. The spectrum goes something like:

* It was definitely Russia

* It can't be proven beyond doubt that it was Russia (but it almost certainly was)

* We don't have a clue who did it

* It can't be proven beyond doubt that it wasn't Russia (but it almost certainly wasn't)

* It definitely wasn't Russia

The gulf between "we can't prove beyond doubt it was Russia" and "it was a local hack" is very wide. It gets even wider if you go for "it was a local hack and Russia wasn't involved in any way."

So I remain unconvinced it was a local hack, because the analysis made a couple of unstated assumptions that weren't justified. And I remain unconvinced that, whether local or remote, Russia wasn't behind it.

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handleoclast
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Re: Hacked?

@wolfetone

I read the guy's analysis and he made several assumptions without justification. A big one was assuming timezone settings accurately reflected location. Another big one was that an office of several people where internet access was important would have a domestic internet connection rather than one more appropriate to the size of the operation.

He also ignored the possibility of a local (ish) zombie machine being used as a transfer buffer.

I remain unconvinced either way.

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IBM asks remaining staff to take career advice from HR-bot

handleoclast
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Re: So basically, management are admiting IBM's failed as a company?

When firing people is a company's core competency, it's doomed.

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WikiLeaks is wiki-leaked. And it's still not even a proper wiki anyway

handleoclast
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Re: Shower of shites!

@Big John

You have just committed a tu quoque fallacy (and no, it's not Latin for "you cuck").

If there are grounds for investigating Hillary/Podesta/etc (I'm not convinced there are) then go for it. And if any of them have broken the law, throw the book at them. I don't want corrupt politicians of any flavour because they only encourage other politicians of both sides to do the same.

But going after Hillary (if there are grounds to do so, and I'm still not convinced of that) is no fucking excuse for ignoring Trump's behaviour. That's the tu quoque fallacy.: saying "Hillary did something bad so ignore the fact Trump did something bad." Go after both of the fuckers.

Your response to that is predictable: "But they're ignoring Hillary." The Congressional investigations didn't ignore her (they just couldn't prove anything). Republican congresscritters are now asking the justice department to go after her with a special prosecutor, and I'm fine with that. But she's not that important because Hillary is not the fucking president. Hillary cannot launch nuclear missiles. Hillary cannot crash the economy. Hillary can, but doesn't, make the US a laughingstock around the world. Deal with Trump first because Hillary can wait. Go after both of them, but Trump first because he can do more damage (and is doing so).

Answer me something honestly, John. Assume that Hillary won the election. Oh, wait, she did. So assume she won the electoral college. If Hillary had been accused (without evidence) of even a fraction of what Trump has done (and for which there is evidence) would you have ignored it (as you're ignoring the Trump evidence) or would you have gone apeshit?

I'm left-wing but I want Hillary prosecuted if she has done wrong. I'm left-wing but I really want to see Tony Blair on war crimes charges. Can you honestly say you're just as impartial, or are you merely exhibiting the blind tribalism common to most of Trump's base? It's an easy question to answer, if you're honest about it: swap Hillary for Donald and say if you'd be defending her as you are Trump or going totally apeshit.

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Mm, sacrilicious: Greggs advent calendar features sausage roll in a manger

handleoclast
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IT Angle

Re: Santa

I've no idea when folk myth added flying reindeer or the necessity for a large red truck.

The derivation of much Christmas symbolism is to be found here. Enjoy your glass of hallucinogenic reindeer piss.

Note: beware of Harvey Weinstein or Louis CK offering to decorate your tree with "tinsel substitute."

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Audio spy Alexa now has a little pal called Dox

handleoclast
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Re: Why portable?

Easy. For when you're in the toilet. "Alexa, order me some toilet roll. Express delivery."

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handleoclast
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Re: "and, worst of all, broadcast Dire Straits whenever asked to play a song"

I assumed the song was Money For Nothing. I can't imagine why that popped into my head.

[edit]

Bugger! Just scrolled down after posting and somebody got there before me.

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Stop your moaning, says maker of buggy Bluetooth sex toy

handleoclast
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Re: slime trails

You think slime trails are bad? Wait until you see stalactites under the tables.

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CopperheadOS stops updates to thwart knock-off phone floggers

handleoclast
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Re: Folks stealing their stuff?

@vagobondo

This is analogous to Red Hat being tolerant of Centos recompiling their source code and making it available under the original licences

Red Hat were so tolerant of CentOS they did a Victor Kiam and bought the company. Well, they actively support the CentOS project. I think I recall they actually hired the key CentOS developers to continue developing CentOS full time. Which takes "tolerance" to new levels.

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Greenhouse gas-sniffing satellite to be built and tested in Britain

handleoclast
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Re: handleoclast Changing Climate

@Jonathan Schwatrz

Yep, a hockey stick with zero demonstration of causation. It wasn't intended to demonstrate causation. It was intended to demonstrate a different point: rate and extent of fluctuation.

Your wealth, like mine, fluctuates. It increases when money is paid into your bank; it decreases when you purchase something. One day, somebody steals your identity, opens multiple bank accounts in your name, applies for multiple credit cards in your name and runs up tens, maybe even hundreds, of thousands in debt, and everybody is pounding on your door demanding payment. Oh, and for good measure the same guy burned your house down. You're bankrupt. You're worse than bankrupt. But don't worry about it, because your wealth has always fluctuated and this is just another fluctuation. Right?

The point the chart made is that previous fluctuations were neither as extreme nor as rapid. Therefore we ought to be worried whatever the cause.

As for causation, Svante Arrhenius showed that 120 years ago. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. This is a fact. Global average temperature is rising faster than it ever has. This is a fact. Global average temperature is higher than it has ever been (excluding the Hadean and Archeon periods). This is a fact. If global average temperature rises much higher, we will be in deep shit. This is a fact.

We can debate about the extent to which global warming is anthropogenic, although not to the degree you probably think (because most of the go-to arguments of the deniers have been debunked). We can debate about as-yet unknown feedback effects (both positive and negative) but, because they're unknown we can't draw reliable conclusions from hypothesising about them. But even if anthropogenic effects are not the main driver of global warming (all the evidence says they are), it's still a major fucking problem. Even if anthropogenic effects are not the main driver of global warming, minimising them will reduce the damage of global warming.

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handleoclast
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Changing Climate

@Ivan 4 (and others)

The globe has cooled and warmed many times

You are so right. Here's a chart of the changes.

In case you have difficulty understanding the point the chart is making, this might help put it in perspective.

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Computing in schools improved, but still needs major patching – report

handleoclast
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Steve Furber

Professor Steve Furber, chair of the report and designer of the BBC Micro

I'm glad you mentioned his most important contribution to IT rather than one of his trivial contributions, such as being co-designer of the ARM microprocessor.

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UK.gov: IT contracts should be no more than 7 years. (Not 18, Fujitsu)

handleoclast
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Black Helicopters

Supplier changeover

@DuchessofDukeStreet

I'm sure there are solutions to the problems of supplier changeover.

1) Arrange a covert cartel with your competitors.

2) Use contractors exclusively.

3) As your contract ends, drop all your contractors so your competitor can pick them up.

4) Pretend to the gov't that this hasn't happened and that you're going to spend the next two years fumbling along so please fork over extra dosh.

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Metal 3D printing at 100 times the speed and a twentieth of the cost

handleoclast
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Re: Hope the engineering is checked better than the marketing

The error could have originated in engineering. Or at least in the drawing office.

I remember the design spec for a piece of avionics that incorporated a "backwoods power detector." It was for use in the Multi Roll Combat Aircraft (obviously capable interestingly ineffective evasive manoeuvres).

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Alexa, please cause the cops to raid my home

handleoclast
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Re: IT happens

@JeffyPoooh

reliable as a wood burning stove

You mean they need a lot of preventive maintenance or they burn your house down? You have to clean the chimney very regularly if you burn wood or the build-up of creosote in the chimney leads to a chimney fire.

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Activists launch legal challenge against NHS patient data-sharing deal

handleoclast
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@downvoted AC

The reason I downvoted you is because you ignored what was stated in the article. Or maybe you just didn't understand it. So I'll clarify it for you.

If an illegal immigrant catches some highly infectious, serious disease, do you want that person to see a doctor and be cured (or perhaps quarantined) or do you want that person wandering around spreading the disease because that person is scared a doctor would pass details to law enforcement?

It's a simple question. I invite you to ponder it for a while before responding. You may find it useful to read this first (she wasn't an illegal immigrant but did try to evade law enforcement).

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IBM's next turnaround tool is ... a new open-source font?

handleoclast
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They're almost certainly screwed

That really is the end of IBM. They're banking on marketing to turn around the business. Rather than sell products and services that aren't shit, they;'re using marketing to try to convince people that the shit isn't really shit.

That approach never ends well (although it may take a long time to play out). And it's almost certainly irreversible, because once you're at the stage where manglement adopts magical thinking it's almost a certainty that they'll be unable to figure out how fucking stupid it is. Ask Marissa (she'll tell you that it works, because she got a golden parachute out of it).

Time to short IBM, if you have any stock.

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Quantum computers could crack Bitcoin, but fixes are available now

handleoclast
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Resistant to quantum resistance

Just have your quantum computer work out the state of the universe and then look for a universe where you've broken the encryption.

Simples.

Details left as an exercise for the reader.

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Mythbuster seeks cash for roller skates to wear in virtual reality

handleoclast
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Headcrash

Bruce Bethke came up with a similar idea in his novel Headcrash, a satirical cyberpunk novel.

Next up: the procto-prod.®

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Post-Brexit economy SAVED: Posh-nosh truffle thrives in Wales

handleoclast
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Wrong sort of mushroom for Wales

The Welsh are far more interested in mushrooms of the Psylocibe genus. Fortunately for the Welsh, these tend to grow profusely in sheep droppings. So recreational chemicals and animated sex toys can be found in close proximity.

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Pixel-style display woes on your shiny new X? Perfectly normal, says Apple

handleoclast
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Re: 'image persistence' or 'burn-in'

@Ejit

I'm old enough (just) to remember my parents having a car with a foot-operated headlight dip switch.

But if you want to bring in old tech, how about the spark advance/retard lever? :)

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OpenStack says its work is largely done. Now your hard work can fill in the blanks

handleoclast
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Re: More likely...

@Maventi

Even if Microsoft released flawless products every time (they come nowhere near) the lock-in is still the biggest problem. Lock-in is deep within Microsoft's genome. I'm not saying Google is better, just that Microsoft has been doing it longer.

Yes, Microsoft has open-sourced some development tools. But they sold them at a loss anyway, because without development tools nobody would use the associated product. And giving away the dev tools helps lock people in to the platform..

Everything Microsoft has ever done has had an eye on lock-in. Because the only alternative to lock-in would be to keep customers by producing good s/w, which is apparently an option they find financially undesirable. I don't see this changing in the future, except changing for the worse.

So even on those rare occasions when a Microsoft product is better than any alternative, I'd be a lot more likely to take an alternative. The alternative might improve, but Microsoft will never stop lock-in. If the team behind the alternative throw in the towel somebody else might take it on, but if Microsoft drop a product you're completely screwed.

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Over a million Android users fooled by fake WhatsApp app in official Google Play Store

handleoclast
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Re: Yawn

@Terry 6

We both over-reacted. But I over-reacted more bigly. So I win. Period.

You're right that context is hard. We remember our own posts better than those of others. I avoid looking at the poster's handle before reading a post to avoid bias, and don't look at the handle after I read the post unless the post was particularly good (or bad). And many times (as here) we're returning to a thread days later. So I didn't take your prior posts into account. I'm almost certainly guilty of occasionally posting assuming people had a better grasp of the context of my earlier posts than they actually did, and later wondering why I got so many downvotes.

We both missed something about this (or maybe you mentioned it in a post I didn't realize was yours). The users suffer, but so does whatsapp itself. Another commentard mentioned installing the BBC News App and it popped up adverts even when not in use (another fake?) so uninstalled it and probably told other people about it. So whatsapp will have suffered from people deleting it and word-of-mouth slagging it off.

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handleoclast
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Re: Yawn

@Terry 6

you're an idiot

I often am.

I was agreeing with you . Just going a bit further in my condemnation.

My apologies. I misinterpreted what you wrote. It is possible (if one is an idiot) to read your comment as meaning the scammer merely added adverts to the app, and that's no big deal.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

handleoclast
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Re: Yawn

The app is fraudulent. That alone makes it malicious.

The app takes something without adverts and adds advertising. Those adverts are annoying, eat into data limits (however slightly) and make the app more awkward to use. That is malicious

Yeah, the guy didn't have harm as his primary intention, his primary intention was to get money. The harm is a side-effect. But a predictable and obvious side-effect, so he would have known that the app would do harm and therefore he intended that harm to happen.

I wonder why I should bother reading comments from people with no grasp of reality or logic.

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handleoclast
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Re: store fakes and junk

If Google gave a shit about Android users (other than as ways of generating advertising revenue) the play store would let you set search filters that excluded one or more of advertising, non-free, or "freemium" apps. Or at least set an order of prioritization in the search results.

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handleoclast
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Re: 'two bytes at the end forming an invisible space'

I believe this is a better approach than the B Ark.

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Official Secrets Act alert went off after embassy hired local tech support

handleoclast
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Re: Too many stories like that one.

Sellotaping your confidential gateway ID to the top of your stapler is recognised as being ok to do.

It's not only OK to do, it's the only thing to do. You can't staple the ID to the top of the stapler, can you? So of course you have to sellotape it.

You IT types always miss the bleedin' obvious.

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