* Posts by LeeE

485 posts • joined 12 Apr 2012

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Mastercard launches card that replaces PIN with fingerprint sensor

LeeE
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Re: Really?

Also: "...since we leave our fingerprints everywhere they should not be considered secret..."

But those fingerprints won't be scanned and sent straight to GCHQ/NSA/ETC.

And fwiw, I think that, apart from my own possessions, I only leave my fingerprints on doors and beer glasses, which is hardly 'everywhere'.

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Trump's lips sealed on surveillance, complains EU privacy chief

LeeE
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Re: "they have extremely professional people still in the administration"...

That usage of the word 'still'...

Very subtle - I like it.

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Can you make a warzone delivery drone? UK.gov wants to give you cash

LeeE
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Re: My exact thought

"There is no way in hell you can even sketch out the designs for anything even remotely innovative with that amount of money."

Not only that... From the article:

"...autonomously predict resupply demands from frontline troops..."

How can a drone predict resupply demands without also being able to predict the duration and outcome of the battle?

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PACK YOUR BAGS! Boffins spot Earth-size planet most likeliest yet to harbor alien life

LeeE
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Re: Even if we could get there, somehow

"...but I'll take a guess that the planet is a little bigger and a little lighter than the given values..."

Yeah, those numbers don't seem plausible: 1.4 x size & 7 x mass means something more dense than an iron core, even if the core is relatively larger than Earth's. The problem is that you can fusion elements, from hydrogen upwards and still gain energy, until you reach iron but at that point further fusion, to produce heavier elements, costs energy and this only occurs at the end of a very large star's life and in relatively small amounts.

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Qualcommotion: Sueball return alleges Apple 'pay-to-play' deal

LeeE
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Re: @LeeE: @DougS

"It is like how MIcrosoft had the PC companies cowed about their anticompetitive contracts back in the 90s. They couldn't afford to piss them off and risk retaliation. Some were reluctant to speak on the record even during the FTC case."

Ah yes, I remember that, and seem to recall similar goings-on with Intel withholding subsidies to PC builders who also wanted to offer systems with CPUs from other suppliers.

Still doesn't make it right though.

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LeeE
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Re: @LeeE: @DougS

I wasn't thinking in terms of Apple's liability for violation of FRAND, just that I think that Apple must have known that they were agreeing to a deal in which FRAND was being violated because Qualcomm couldn't have priced on percentage without knowing the cost of the phones/tablets in which their products were being used, which in turn, they could only have got from Apple. Apple also would have looked at the prices being charged and realised that they were being charged on a percentage but did the deal anyway instead of reporting it.

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LeeE
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Re: What I don't understand... @BAG

'I've not read the contract, but I'm guessing "...withholding payments due..." would violate it.'

That accounts for only one of the three complaints in Apple's lawsuit.

The other two complaints are about charging royalties for unused IP and overcharging for IP that was used, to both of which Apple knowingly agreed.

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LeeE
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Re: @LeeE: @DougS

"What Apple is complaining about is that Qualcomm was charging for the patent licensing portion of the chip as a percentage of the phone's price. That is specifically not allowed for patents covered under FRAND, and has been held to be so in multiple courts in multiple countries all around the world."

If Qualcomm were charging on a percentage of the phone's price then Apple could not have been ignorant of that fact and so must have knowingly colluded in a deal that was in contravention of FRAND.

If this is really the basis of Apple's complaint then why have they waited until now to make their complaint when they could have legitimately done so before the deal was agreed?

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LeeE
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Re: What I don't understand...

I don't see mention of a breach of contract in the article. The main thrust seems to be that Apple agreed to purchase stuff from Qualcomm and then after the event decided that it wasn't happy with the price to which it had agreed.

Unless there was something in the sales contract limiting the profit that Qualcomm made from the deal, and it tuned out that Qualcomm exceeded that limit, then I can't quite see what Apple's complaining about; it knew what it was paying for and how much it would cost.

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LeeE
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Re: er Bribery?

It was the bribery aspect that first caught my attention, but is bribery actually illegal in business-to-business deals?

Whilst bribery is generally regarded as unethical, ethicality in business has only ever really been a PR factor because few people would willingly buy from a company who were blatantly unethical.

The effect of bribery within a deal is going to alter the the apparent costs/payments, so I it could lead to inaccurate financial reporting and subsequent taxation liabilities but that case would be between the government and the companies.

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LeeE
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What I don't understand...

...are the actual points of (civil/contract?) law that are being contested here.

Neither of the parties seem to be claiming that they were mislead or deceived; it seems to me that both sides had the competence and resources to perform due diligence and knew exactly to what they were both agreeing, warts and all, so where's the case?

Although it seems that both sides knowingly employed practices that were arguably unethical, are any of those practices actually illegal in business law?

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Embrace our cloud, damn you: Microsoft dangles 40% discount on Azure instances

LeeE
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Ads on TV?

I was a little surprised to see TV adverts for the MS Cloud and had to wonder who they were targeting. My first thought was that the ads were targeted at the management level that could authorise the purchase of such services but then realised that's going to be a tiny percentage of the people who have to view the adverts, so there's got to be more behind them.

Now though, I'm wondering if the real purpose behind these ads is actually subversion of internal IT departments.

With current business practices seemingly based upon the principle of take-the-piss & exploit every possibility, paranoia seems to be a reasonable point of view.

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Boeing-backed US upstart reckons it'll be building electric airliners

LeeE
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Re: Just a matter of timing

"Something *like* this is almost inevitable, since toy drones prove that existing batteries have the necessary power-to-weight ratio..."

This won't work, for the same reason that we don't get giant insects - as you increase all the dimensions the corresponding cross sections are squared but the corresponding volumes, and therefore mass, are cubed.

For example, a 1 x 1 cube has a face-area of 1 and a volume/mass of 1 whereas a 2 x 2 cube has a face-area of 4 but a volume/mass of 8.

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Riddle of cannibal black hole pairs solved ... nearly: Astroboffins explain all to El Reg

LeeE
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"If the two black holes start out as stars orbiting one another, wouldn't the first star to collapse into a black hole either destroy or suck in the second star?"

As Tom 7 points out, the gravitational gradient outside the Event Horizon wouldn't change just as a result of collapsing and as Justicesays says, the collapsing star would lose mass, so, from the gravitational point of view, the other star would see a reduction in the gravitational field strength. Moreover, that out-flowing mass from the collapsing star would tend to push the other star further away.

I'd expect that the majority of BHs will have formed from White Dwarves or Neutron stars though, via accretion, than directly from massive stars, simply because there're a lot more WDs & NSs around than there are massive stars.

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We know what you're thinking: Where the hell is all the antimatter?

LeeE
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Re: Mexit, of course

"We got back proper curved spacetime as God intended."

Heresy! Clapton intended space-time to be flat.

Anyway, even though it works, just about, the Standard Model is a botched, bloated mess. Wish I could think of an analogy to illustrate the point...

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WWW daddy Sir Tim Berners-Lee stands up for end-to-end crypto

LeeE
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Re: No, it's not settled

@Adam52:

"It's why, for example, the UK has historically had very low gun crime; we used to punish it harshly."

Punishment to deter crime doesn't work; it has been used for centuries but still hasn't stopped crime. But that's an entirely different kettle of fish.

I'm strongly inclined to believe that the UK's relatively low gun-crime rate has been more due to both cultural differences (the majority of people don't want to live in a society where personal ownership of guns is seen as a necessity to personal safety) and the relatively low numbers of guns in circulation.

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Oracle and Fujitsu SPARC up M12 big iron

LeeE
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Re: SpecCPU claims with nothing to back them up

@ST:

"> [ ... ]However Oracle has claimed SPECint and SPECfp benchmark records with the new system.

We would all love to see these alleged record-setting benchmarks published by Oracle."

Yes, and so would the Reg - from the article, immediately below the SPECxxx_rate, SPECjbb & STREAM table: "When we looked we couldn’t find them; presumably a simple update timing problem."

But then you go on to say:

"The first thing that pops out is that buying some monster SPARC space heater with 16 chips, for a king's ransom in USD $$$$, will achieve less than half the performance of a consumer-level Intel motherboard + chip that one can order online."

That comparison is akin to comparing a bus with a motorcycle and concluding that there's no point in buses, purely because they're slower and more expensive than motorcycles. However, if you need to transport 50 people and their luggage a couple of hundred miles across country then a motorcycle will not be a very good solution.

"Either publish the SpecCPU numbers, or stop making unsubstantiated and unverifiable claims."

To whom are you addressing this demand? It's obviously not the Reg, who has already said (see above) that it couldn't find the figures yet.

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Governments could introduce 'made by humans' tags - legal report

LeeE
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Illogical conclusion

If we take this to its illogical conclusion, where all jobs will be performed by machines, then there will be no consumers to generate demand for the products and services performed by those machines. Obviously, this doesn't make sense and isn't going to happen, at least whilst the motivation for producing goods and services is wealth.

Whilst wealth continues to be the motivation to providing goods and services then there must be a limit to the replacement of people by machines if consumers are going to be able to carry on purchasing.

So, at some point we'll either have to start not replacing people, even though, on the face of it, it might seem to be more economically sensible to do so, or entirely change the motivation and reasons for producing goods and services.

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Good Guy Comcast: We're not going to sell your data, trust us

LeeE
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Re: Did they also say that...

"...we do not sell our customers' individual web browsing information..."

There's their get-out.

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Microsoft wants screaming Windows fans, not just users

LeeE
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Re: "“Have you ever heard of a Microsoft user group?”"

So Microsoft wants fans - hmm...

The word 'fans' is a shortened form of 'fanatics'.

From Wikipedia: Fanaticism is a belief or behavior involving uncritical zeal or with an obsessive enthusiasm. Philosopher George Santayana defines fanaticism as "redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim". The fanatic displays very strict standards and little tolerance for contrary ideas or opinions.

From Dictionary.com: a person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal, as in religion or politics.

So yes, I guess I can see why Microsoft wants 'fans'.

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LeeE
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Re: Windows makes me scream too

@Danial Hall

"That is the only truth in your 'story'"

So because it hasn't happened to you it can't possibly have happened to anyone else?

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

LeeE
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Re: It's quite a small object (Far away - or not?)

Good point (if I've interpreted your post correctly).

Pisces is a bit spread out and extends between about -31 to -57 degrees from the Milky Way's galactic plane, the galactic disk is about 1000 ly thick in the vicinity of the Solar System and the Solar System itself is reckoned to be more or less in the middle of the disk's thickness...

...so using the mean average of -44 degrees for the angle to Pisces and a distance of 750 ly (for the distance between Earth and this BD)...

...then the distance of the BD above the galactic plane (in ly) will be 750 * SIN(44) = 520.9, which does put it more or less on the surface of the Milky Way's disk.

As to whether a point on a surface can be regarded as an 'edge' is another discussion but I guess it's a close enough definition for tabloid headlines.

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LeeE
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Re: It's quite a small object (Far away - or not?)

"Astronomers claim to have identified the largest and purest brown dwarf – measuring in at a record-breaking 90 times the mass of Jupiter – hovering around the edges of the Milky Way."

...and...

"Sitting in the constellation of Pisces 750 light years away..."

I suspect a little brain-fade or a typo.

Our Milky Way galaxy is reckoned to be between 100-180 thousand light years (kly) in diameter and our Solar system is somewhere between 25-28 kly from its center so if this brown dwarf is really at the edges of the Milky Way and we use the lower estimate of 100 kly for the Milky Way's diameter then it'll be about 75 kly away, not just 750 ly.

On the other hand, I'm not sure that the SDSS would be able to resolve such a small and cool object at 75 kly; the 750 ly distance seems more plausible, but in that case it won't be 'hovering' at the edges of the Milky Way.

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Manufacturers reject ‘no deal’ Brexit approach

LeeE
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"We have a manufacturing sector?"

Yes, I believe we do, but a significant proportion of it, if not the majority, is now owned outside the UK.

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Disney plotting 15 more years of Star Wars

LeeE
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Re: Who is Hans Solo?

"Iger also said the origin of Solo's name will be revealed."

Mrs. Solo: Let's call him Han.

Mr. Solo: Ok.

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Shine on, you crazy Eind minds: Boffins fire out 43Gbps infrared 'Wi-Fi'

LeeE
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Re: There's no consumer use case for this

"I wonder if an IR base station would drown out your ability to use the remote control for your TV?"

Have a quick think about how it's possible for many different radio stations to able to be broadcast and received simultaneously.

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LeeE
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Re: Er???? What about that thing in the sky?

"...that moves around and emits a whole shed load of IR through to UV and beyond?"

Seriously? Have you never wondered how IR remote controls manage to work in the daytime when there's that 'thing in the sky', even though you may not have closed your curtains or blinds?

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US military's latest toy set: Record-breaking laser death star, er, truck

LeeE
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Re: Just 2 mile range?

"A relatively slow missile travelling at 1,400 mph would travel 3.1 miles in that time. A Russian R37 missile is believed to reach mach 6, and in eight seconds would travel about ten miles."

Thanks to momentum, even if you do manage to disable the guidance system, or even compromise the airframe, leading to a break-up, the debris will still be a pretty effective kinetic weapon.

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LeeE
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"I can see problems with a ground based defense also... The Star Wars idea (lasers on satellites ) addressed this but military blimps w/ lasers might be more practical."

The lasers in Reagan's 'Star Wars' were one-shot X-Ray lasers, powered by fission bombs, so yes, not suitable for ground-based use. Not really suitable for blimp use either though.

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LeeE
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Re: Slow moving targets only

"...especially hypersonic which is actively maneuvering in its terminal phase" and "For high-maneuvering, high-speed targets"

High-speeds and manoeuvring, at least in terms of evasive manoeuvring, don't really go together. Anything travelling in the super/hypersonic realm isn't going to be doing much evasive manoeuvring due to the structural limits on the airframe and the high momentum of the vehicle.

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Google borks its Drive Windows app – after pushing out unfinished buggy version to public

LeeE
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Confidential UI?

I'm a bit troubled by that 'Confidential. Do not leak!' label.

It seems to suggest something more secretive than a simple WIP.

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National Insurance tax U-turn: Philip Hammond nixes NIC uptick

LeeE
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Re: There is another way to harmonise NI rates for employed / self-employed

"It's almost as if the government have to pay for stuff, rather than just taking money away from you out of spite."

No, it's not out of spite, but neither is it just about paying for stuff, which implies that all the stuff paid for is needed. What it's really about is spending taxation money.

The simple explanation of the idea behind taxation is that the government needs to collect money from all to pay for things used by all. The problem with this simplistic explanation is that it stops at the point where the taxation money is spent, almost as though the spent money no longer existed. Obviously, this is not the case; the spent money has just changed hands and now belongs to someone else.

What happens is this:

1. Government receives money in the form of taxation from everyone.

2. Government spends taxation money.

3. Someone receives taxation money spent by government.

4. That someone pays some of that received taxation money back to government as tax.

5. Go to 1.

So we have an unclosed money loop, with a constant stream of money from everyone going in, circling round the loop, but eventually ending up in the hands of a relatively small proportion of people.

The primary role/purpose of government has never really been about the management and administration of society for its own benefit but about the preservation of the concentration of wealth; the management and administration of society is needed to maintain the taxation system, for without it no one would pay any taxes.

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Facebook, Google slammed for 'commercial prostitution'

LeeE
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Pot calling kettle... You've got to laugh

So we now have politicians accusing others of "having no shame", engaging in "commercial prostitution" and claiming that "I would be ashamed, absolutely ashamed to earn my money in the way in which you three do."

What a staggering display of hypocrisy.

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If fast radio bursts really are revving up interstellar sailcraft, here's the maths

LeeE
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Re: Pointing problem

"I can't see a reason for transport beams to be swept at all, unless it's hard to turn them off."

Yeah, along with the point made by Tom7, fast bursts of energy don't seem to make much sense as a solar-sail propulsion system at all.

The issue is that no material is perfectly reflective and this limits the amount of energy that can be beamed at the sail and its probe; beam too much energy at it and you'll simply vaporise it. At the same time though, a single burst of energy, at a level safe enough for the sail and probe, wouldn't be sufficient to effectively power it.

Another problem with the propulsion system idea is that if the source is a laser then you'd expect the bursts to have a very narrow bandwidth, which doesn't seem to be the case.

Although most of the FRBs recorded to date seem to be one-off events FRB121102 appears to have been the source of a total of 17 (non-periodic) FRBs since 2012 but even this source really doesn't seem like a plausible candidate for a propulsion system.

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LeeE
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Re: Fast 'Radio' Bursts

"If the concept involves visible light and mega-lasers, why is the term 'radio' used?... (Nothing to do with EM spectrum radio waves etc)."

First of all, far from having 'Nothing to do with EM spectrum radio waves etc.' visible light and radio waves are both examples of Electromagnetic Radiation; the only difference between them [visible vs. radio] is the frequency.

The current consensus is that sources of Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) are extra-galactic in origin and typically several billions of light years away. This means that light emitted by these sources, especially at the lower end of the visible spectrum, will be red-shifted to the upper end of the radio spectrum by the time we receive it.

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New prison law will let UK mobile networks deploy IMSI catchers

LeeE
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Re: G-BVJT

Flightradar24 is based in Sweden - dunno if they'd accept a gagging order from the UK.

Would probably be easier to simply not broadcast their ADS-B data, as already seems to be the case for the police and military. Indeed, I was rather surprised that they actually were broadcasting on ADS-B.

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LeeE
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G-BVJT

Fwiw, the last recorded flight of G-BVJT on planefinder.net was on 02/08/2015. Flightradar24.com doesn't show any recorded flights (possibly because of inbuilt date-limits on search).

Seems possible that they're using a different aircraft now.

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The most l33t phone of MWC: DarkMatter's Katim

LeeE
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Re the customised microSD card - unless physical differences have been built in to the microSD card during manufacture, which I would expect to be very expensive due to the relatively low volume, then the 'customisation' might simply amount to using a non-FAT filesystem.

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Revealed: UK councils shrug at privacy worries, strap on body cams

LeeE
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Re: Monitoring

Re using cameras to gain evidence for issuing fines - can this really be cost-effective?

When one considers not just the cost of the cameras and the supporting infrastructure (the storage, the systems for storing & retrieval and the maintenance overhead for those systems) but also the man-hours of local government personnel using the system to view and then act upon what they've seen I find it very difficult to see how this could possibly result in a net income/saving.

If this scheme is not generating a net income/saving then one has to question the motives behind it.

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New UK laws address driverless cars insurance and liability

LeeE
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When is an insurer not an insurer?

"...if a vehicle is insured with an insurer, the insurer is responsible for the insured losses?"

Well, there's also this snippet from the article...

"Insurers would not be liable for damages stemming from accidents caused by 'automated vehicles' if the vehicle has not been insured."

...which seems like a rhetorical tautology.

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Finally, a use for your mobile phone: Snapping ALIEN signal blurts

LeeE
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"- wait the Universe is finite? Someone has been lying to me!"

I believe that the current consensus is that the Universe is finite but unbounded.

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LeeE
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Re: The universe is how big?

[re: referring to the observable universe] "Are you saying that IS the size of the universe..."

I explicitly qualified what I said to avoid ambiguity.

"And either way if positing a finite universe, what's outside it?"

The first definition of 'Universe' is usually along the lines of: "the totality of known or supposed objects and phenomena throughout space; the cosmos; macrocosm.". This can be slightly shortened to 'the totality of everything that exists or is thought to exist', so the idea of anything existing that it not part of the universe is an oxymoron.

In the context of that question, you really need to define 'outside' for any meaningful answer.

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LeeE
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Re: The universe is how big?

"...the size of the Milky Way is a million times smaller than the size of the Universe,"

This is about right if we use the lower bound for the estimated size of our Milky Way galaxy:

The diameter of our Milky Way galaxy is estimated to be 100-180 thousand light years = 1E5 ly (lower bound)

The diameter of the observable universe is estimated to be 93 billion light years (Gly) = 0.93E11 ly

...so the ratio is about 1:1E6, or 1 to 1 million.

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Commissioner kisses Met goodbye, says it's set to be 'best digital police force'

LeeE
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Re: Is that a tit on your head?

"a new website that will allow the public shortly..."

Who or what is this public shortly? Are there any private shortlies?

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Russia and China bombard Blighty with 188 cyberattacks in 3 months

LeeE
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Re: Source IP does not mean that's where the attack came from

"You can often tell the origins by the language of comments embedded in the attack code, for example."

And it would never, ever occur to a hacker who is trying to obfuscate their identity, to simply insert comments in a language other than their own?

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2009 IBM: Teleworking will save the WORLD! 2017 IBM: Get back to the office or else

LeeE
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Re: How does this work in the EU?

"...then just saying bugger off is actually not an option for them. They would at the least need to find a justified way of making you redundant."

It doesn't quite work like that. To make someone redundant, they need to show that your job no longer exists. This can be done by changing the job description to a sufficient degree that they can argue that it's now a different job and thus, you are no longer needed. If the reason they're doing this is to thin out their staff or just impose worse terms & conditions then they might tell you that as you have most of the skills to do the new job you can apply for the new job.

However, if they just change your contract and you refuse to accept the changes then they can simply give you your notice because you no longer meet the conditions of the new contract. Yes, there will be a clause in your contract that allows them to change it unilaterally.

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NORKS fires missile that India reckons it could shoot down in flight

LeeE
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Re: when will hated leaders realise

I think it has to be pointed out that just about everything any of us commentards think we know about NorK has been gained via western propaganda, and when NorK is being told that they are not allowed to do things that we are allowed to do [ICBMs etc.] then it's not too surprising that they start showing signs of paranoia.

I suspect that this current hoohaa is just normal rotation of threat propaganda, intended to keep us distracted from our own governments' incompetence and piss-taking. Next month it'll probably be back to terrorists or paedophiles.

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Biggest Kodi sweep: Brit cops nab five, bag some dodgy sticks

LeeE
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Re: This concerns me....

"Why is Copyright Infringement a criminal matter at all? It would seem to me to be the perfect case of a civil matter, and the various copyright holders should have to sue those they deem to be infringing."

You've answered your own question; copyright infringement has been made a criminal offence so that cost of prosecution is paid for by taxpayers and not the copyright holders.

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All of Blighty's attack submarines are out of action – report

LeeE
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Re: Ok, what's the Trident money really been spent on?

All of the Trident money has been spent of making shareholders wealthy and, from that point of view, it's been a very successful program. Whether any of this very expensive kit works very well, or is even really needed, is irrelevant.

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Planned Espionage Act could jail journos and whistleblowers as spies

LeeE
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If my reading of this article is correct then it seems that government will be able to claim that they've consulted media organisations and human rights groups, without actually having done anything of the sort, because those media organisations and human rights groups will not legally be able to report the lie.

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