* Posts by DrXym

4169 posts • joined 18 Jul 2007

Q. Why's Oracle so two-faced over open source? A. Moolah, wonga, dosh

DrXym
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Well that makes no sense

Let's also not forget that Oracle's experience with open source has been pretty toxic. Oracle straight up lifted RHEL to sell as their own. And their stewardship of OpenOffice, Hudson and Mysql was so moribund that the devs forked the code and decamped.

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Microsoft's foray into phones was a bumbling, half-hearted fiasco, and Nadella always knew it

DrXym
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Re: And yet

"Let's keep some perspective here. Windows 10 S turns into Windows 10 Pro with a mouse-click and reboot. "

Which more or less illustrates it is crippleware doesn't it?

Microsoft are crippling their own operating system under the guise of an "educational" version of Windows when the vastly more likely reason is they want to shove people into their store and through their browser whether they want it or not.

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DrXym
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And yet

Despite all this navel gazing, Microsoft are still engaging in dumb exercises such as Windows 10 S - shipping premium hardware at a premium price with crippled versions of the operating system.

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Lenovo spits out retro ThinkPads for iconic laptop's 25th birthday

DrXym
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Serviceability

I've used a few Thinkpads and the biggest attraction of them was the fact that if something broke you could order a replacement part. And aside from that they were quite rugged with nice lids that closed shut properly. The red nipple thing was and still is vastly easier to use for precision than a touchpad.

I wonder if this is true for the Thinkpad 25 or if it's going to break if you look at it sideways and the whole lot has to be junked.

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EasyJet: We'll have electric airliners within the next decade

DrXym
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"In the next decade"

I'm sure the smallprint says "where the next decade refers to 2020-2030 as opposed to 2027".

Even an extra 3 years is generous given we're talking about designing, prototyping, testing and building a large body passenger aircraft in an untested configuration. Not just the aircraft itself but all the construction facilities and all the infrastructure that airports would need to service and operate them.

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Shock: Brit capital strips Uber of its taxi licence

DrXym
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Boo hoo for Uber

For some reason they thought the rules and regulations only apply to other people. Turns out they were wrong.

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BlackBerry's QNX to run autonomous car software

DrXym
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The usability or lack thereof of a car's infotainment software is largely unrelated to the kernel underneath. Any modern kernel running on a decent SoC should be capable of delivering an excellent experience. It's a matter of supreme unimportance if there is a Linux, QNX, BSD or NT kernel under it all.

And if the car doesn't deliver an excellent experience, blame it on the software developers or the car manufacturer. I've seen a number of cars where the stingy buggers equipped their systems with resistive low res displays and sluggish SoCs and didn't even have the good grace to stick some physical buttons and knobs next to it for the common stuff. Hardly any surprise when the experience turns out to be awful.

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GNOME Foundation backs 'freedom-oriented' smartphone

DrXym
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Been down this road before

We've been down this road many times before with WebOS, FirefoxOS, MeeGo, Tizen etc.

People care about the general usability of the device as a phone, planner, messaging platform etc. as well as the availability of the apps they want to use on it - maps, Youtube, Netflix, Facebook, Twitter etc.

It's an issue of little importance if the kernel or the software over the top is free as in libre or not. What matters is that the device does the stuff they bought it for.

If this "freedom oriented" smartphone expects to go anywhere it had better remember that. Even in the absence of apps, the most important part is getting the user experience right. It's great that Debian is underneath it and all but if the gui sucks then it sucks regardless.

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Microsoft extends free Windows 10 S to Win 10 Pro upgrade offer

DrXym
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Great marketing by Microsoft

- Intel i7 processor

- 8GB RAM

- 256GB SSD

- Crippleware operating system

- Up to 14.5 hours of battery

- 2256 x 1504 pixel sense display

Wait, back up a bit...

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Well, whad'ya know? 'No evidence' that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower

DrXym
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Re: So much for that Russian collusion story...

"If there weren't any wiretaps, the whole thing goes down the drain."

Ho ho. No.

Manafort, Flynn, Trump sr, Trump's adult children, Kushner, Sessions, Pence, Guilliani, Bannon, Prince and DeVos, Rohrbacher plus a bunch of 2nd tier people like Stone, Cohen, Page et al all have Russian ties which have been extensively reported and are doubtless under investigation.

A lot of indictments are going to be handed down before all this is over with.

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DrXym
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Not surprising

As president, Trump would have the complete authority and power to declassify any wiretapping operation assuming there was one to begin with. Instead he took a cheap shot at his predecessor and didn't follow through with any evidence.

That said, intelligence agencies can and do gather intelligence on "agents of foreign powers" so if one of those were conversing with somebody in Trump's organisation, or talking to somebody else and mentioning their name, then it would be incidental collection. The agency wasn't monitoring Trump / associates / business directly but those things came up in things they were monitoring.

It may well be that such incidental collection contains some very damning conversations between Trump's cohorts and foreign agents. In which case that might explain his ranting.

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We experienced Windows Mixed Reality. Results: Well, mixed

DrXym
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Doomed to fail (again)

3 separate platforms have tried to launch VR platforms in the last few years and they've all flopped.

Turns out people don't like expensive, dorky, uncomfortable peripherals with a mess of cables and sensors especially when there is no "killer app" that justifies the effort. VR / AR have some niche uses (e.g. flight simulators in VR are awesome), but they're too much effort for the mainstream.

Microsoft's effort is likely to fail as hard as all the rest. It seems like they're aware of that too if they're getting 3rd parties to take the financial risk of selling headsets in competition with each other for the platform.

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Mazda and Toyota join forces on Linux-based connected car platform

DrXym
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Re: 3 years of supported apps?

It does seem odd that car manufacturers dance to Google and Apple's tune. It would make a lot of sense for vehicle manufacturers to form an alliance that lays down technical standards that phones must adhere to function in their cars and not the other way around.

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Atari shoots sueball at KitKat maker over use of 'Breakout' in ad

DrXym
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Can't see the video

The link doesn't work.

But from the description I doubt this lawsuit will go anywhere. Nestle will either pay Atari their fuck-off settlement fee, or it'll go through the courts and be ruled a parody and fair use. Either way it's a mercenary cash grab from Atari. I have to wonder what Atari even *is* these days.

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New Amiga to go on sale in late 2017

DrXym
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Is anyone keeping count?

The Amiga brand is like a Japanese horror movie curse.

Since Commodore went bust the brand has been passed through a multitude of owners. Each promises a new model "soon". And invariably the endeavour flops and the brand passes on to a new owner. Rinse and repeat for twenty years.

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Britons ambivalent about driverless car tech, survey finds

DrXym
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Hardly surprising

I bet most people encounters one or more problems in a daily commute that an automated vehicle would struggle to solve in a correct or even remotely acceptable way.

Automated cars are probably fine on a closed loop circuit, e.g. transferring people between airport terminals, or on certain stretches of roads like motorways. Standard urban commutes / city driving not so much.

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Automotive Grade Linux shops for hypervisor to accelerate smart cars

DrXym
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Re: Allow me to interrupt

I doubt the hypervisor adds much impact to file, messaging or network IO compared to actual activity itself. Biggest impact would be on graphics. Graphics necessarily runs against the hardware so you either abstract and badly degrade the performance or you let the software use the hardware and pray that there are no exploits (unlikely) in the driver or the hardware itself.

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DrXym
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Re: A hypervisor to do what?

A hypervisor in a car would serve the same purpose as a hypervisor in a games console - it allows code to run in its own little box with little or no access to code running with a higher privilege or in a different box. So that even if someone managed somehow to hack / root the infotainment system, it wouldn't provide them with access to other critical systems in the vehicle.

Given the number of stories about remotely hacked vehicles and the increasing use of over the air updates, phone apps etc., this would seem like a sensible thing to add.

That said, I could see how even hacking the infotainment system could screw with a car. Most systems would have control to functions like door / boot locks, fuel cap release, air conditioning, volume controls, bluetooth, gps etc. then there are still opportunities to grief the car, remotely open it, listen to conversations, track its location etc.

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Microsoft Surface laptop: Is this your MacBook Air replacement?

DrXym
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Thin end of the wedge

Windows 10 S is an attempt to normalize a crippled version of Windows that doesn't do half the stuff people might reasonably expect of it. It'd be bad enough in a budget PC, but this is a flagship device.

It is not acceptable.

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OnePlus cash equals 5: Rebel flagship joins upmarket Android crew

DrXym
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Re: I've got one

I've got one too and it's a good phone for the price although the "jelly" effect is noticeable on some apps. I'm also waiting for LineageOS to start supporting it because OxygenOS is a nice barebones Android, it still lacks additions I miss from Lineage such as privacy guard.

Still it's very responsive, the screen is bright, it charges fast, the battery has been excellent so far, the finger print reader is great. The phone isn't burdened with crapware and it has lots of storage and ram.

I like the camera but then again I come from a Oneplus One & Nexus 4 where the camera were so slow they were frustrating. Just taking a picture and seeing the picture in a split second is a novelty. Taking a picture which isn't a blurry mess is also a novelty.

One criticism I have is not of the phone but the official flip cover case. It has a very neat feature where closing it turns off the screen, but the the damned thing makes it hard to push the volume buttons. Maybe the volume controls should have been on the right side and the power somewhere else.

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Confessions of an ebook eater

DrXym
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The best way to acquire a programming skill

Is to program something non-trivial suited to that language / api / package. i.e. don't write some crappy hello world equivalent. Go all-in and write something which you estimate will take several weeks to write at the least and touches on 2 or 3 major features of the thing. Better yet, open source your efforts, put it up on github or somewhere and make sure to stick it on the CV.

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Currys PC World rapped after Knowhow Cloud ad ruled to be 'misleading'

DrXym
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As a rule of thumb

Any company bragging that their service is "military grade" without going into technically credible specifics is selling snake oil.

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Microsoft hits new low: Threatens to axe classic Paint from Windows 10

DrXym
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As long as MS supply a viable replacement

Tools like notepad, calc, paint, wordpad etc. have been woefully underdeveloped for years. Unacceptably so in some cases.

So I don't care if they go, but Microsoft should provide a replacement with equivalent or better functionality. And really it should be part of the OS, not something that has to be grabbed from the store - not everyone has access to the store, e.g. if the PC is disconnected, or in a broken state, or they're in an enterprise setting.

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Andy Rubin's overhyped and underdelivered Essential phone out 'in a few weeks'

DrXym
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Re: Not trying to shoot anything down

I don't think it necessarily matters is the unwashed masses recognize somebody's name. Rubin looks to be trying for a "boutique" style launch, akin to the OnePlus

You couldn't even buy the original OnePlus without an invitation and when they opened it up for general sale the order system crashed hard for 2 day. On top of that there was the clusterf**k issue with Cyanogen delivering the phone OS and they had to flip to their own Oxygen. They still managed to overcome these issues and become profitable.

If Rubin can deliver a handset that is slick and well designed then any initial delays or teething troubles will be soon forgotten about. Of course he might not do that at all and it all comes crashing down but it seems a little premature to pronounce it a failure yet.

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Disneyland to become wretched hive of scum and villainy

DrXym
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The important question

Will they have a "Disney cast member" dressed up in the Leia slave costume.

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Hot HoloLens models 'shafted by Microsoft'

DrXym
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Brand ambassadors

"Sir, these hololens devices are so dorky that even nerds won't wear them", "No problem hire a bunch of attractive models to wear them, that'll solve the problem!"

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Radiohead hides ZX Spectrum proggie in OK Computer re-release

DrXym
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Re: Only a British would use a ZX spectrum for music...

If the track was written for the C64 it would have been four times the length.

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Elon Musk reveals Mars colony rocket capable of bringing pizza joints to the red planet

DrXym
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Perspective

SpaceX has spent 5 years producing a version of their Dragon capsule capable of shuttling a handful of astronauts to the ISS. This will be an important milestone when it is completed but it demonstrates how unrealistic it would be to think a manned trip to Mars could be achieved in a decade. Let alone 100 people strapped to an enormous rocket.

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You'll soon be buying bulgur wheat salad* from Amazon, after it swallowed Whole Foods

DrXym
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Horrible store

Wholefoods Market for anyone who hasn't been one is like a giant health food shop. One where everything is horribly marked up and expensive. It appeals to the hipster demographic. It's a shame because some of the produce is reasonable, but not for that price.

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WikiLeaks emits CIA's Wi-Fi pwnage tool docs

DrXym
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All democracies have intelligence services that do shady shit to get a clear picture and the upper hand on their adversaries. This should not be a surprise to be anybody, nor the consequences when some of their methods are made public.

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

DrXym
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This is a great idea

Assuming the counterfeiters were trying to produce perfect copies of the original item. Unfortunately they're not trying to produce perfect copies so any measures designed to prevent that are a waste of time.

I *suppose* there might be a very small niche for authentic counterfeits - certain high value collectible items - but I don't see the material acting as a huge impediment. If someone has possession of the original they could just dust the thing in talc or similar, or just create a mould from the original and scan that. Nuisance value, nothing more.

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

DrXym
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Before you board

Just make sure they have adequate supply of lemon-soaked paper napkins or you might be there for a while.

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Silk Road boss Ross Ulbricht denied bid for new trial

DrXym
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Re: Sure, that activity is illegal

"And he gets off scott-free, for now."

"For now" being the operative word. He and his cohorts are subject of an active investigation into Russian interference in the US election as well as racketeering in the state of New York.

He'll end up being impeached, resigning for reasons of "ill-health", or section 25'd. Too slowly for most people's liking but he'll be gone. With him will go most of the shitshow that is his presidency. Whoever his successor is, e.g. Pence is probably going to follow a more traditional Republican agenda.

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‪WannaCry‬pt ransomware note likely written by Google Translate-using Chinese speakers

DrXym
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More to the point

If the authors used Google Translate then chances are Google has logs of those interactions which include IP address, potentially identity of the person using it. They might have used Tor but then again maybe they didn't.

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Industrial Light & Magic: 40 years of Lucas's pioneering FX-wing

DrXym
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Still didn't escape uncanny valley

The CG Peter Cushing / Moff Tarkin was surprisingly poor considering the budget. The lips and facial expressions were off, the performance lacked any nuance, the head bobbed around like a chicken and it simply didn't blend in.

This video demonstrates it all too well:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsuvXHGCVXE

The Carrie Fisher / Leia was somewhat better but perhaps only by virtue of the intense artificial lighting in the scene and the fact it was only there for a brief moment.

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Windows is now built on Git, but Microsoft has found some bottlenecks

DrXym
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Re: Monolithic

To add to other comments, I would not be surprised if a very large chunk of that is binary blobs, images, audio etc.

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DrXym
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Re: GVFS sounds super dumb

The achilles heel for Git is that you must pull ALL the repository in order to use any of the respository. Various ways exist to work around this issue - shallow clones, submodules, subtrees, repo etc. but nothing is very good.

I suppose the idea for GVFS is that when you do a clone of Windows, you don't transfer 300GB of crap to your machine before you even start. Instead you "clone" and the filesystem looks like the files were fetched but the fs only fetches a file's contents on first read. So if you're working on one DLL with 100 files you don't need to download the gazillion other files in the codebase.

Clearcase (contender for the worst source control system ever invented) did this too with a thing called a dynamic view. The difference in Clearcase's case was the dynamic view could change while you were using it if someone else committed files to the same view. Enjoy trying to debug problems when header and sources keep changing underneath you.

At least GVFS would behave like Git in that what you see isn't going to change unless you pull / fetch / merge. I'd like to see how MS intend to open this up outside of themselves though.

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How good are selfies these days? Good enough to fool Samsung Galaxy S8 biometrics

DrXym
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Re: Hardly a big deal

Yes it's possible all those things could happen AND you have iris enabled (don't forget that) AND you're prepared to put up with how crap the function works. Now think on the likelihood of all that actually happening in real life as opposed to some thought experiment and it's very slight.

If security researchers want to improve security they should stop doing these silly experiments on esoteric features and an improbable chain of events and think of ways a phone can be made more secure by default. Not such a headline grabber but vastly more useful.

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DrXym
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Hardly a big deal

Unless the thief happens to have a picture of you in the proper light and knows this is how you unlock the phone then it's not going to help them. And theft is the biggest threat by far.

I think the biggest problem with phones & security is one of usability and defaults. Some phones have "smart lock" functionality but it's very finnicky to set up and separate from the screen lock stuff.

It needs to be redesigned and consolidated into a single screen that summarises what security is set, and the conditions that the rules apply. e.g. idle time, location, proximity to other devices. The easier it is to set up the security, the more likely people are to use it. The more people who have security enabled by default, the less reason thieves will have to steal phones.

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Huawei Honor 8 Pro: Makes iPhone 7 Plus look a bit crap

DrXym
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Re: EMUI

I know how to install a different launcher. It doesn't mean I want a shit, superfluous launcher sitting in the firmware eating up space, one whose very existence means it takes Huawei longer to roll out firmware updates because of all the additional testing required. And even if I dump the launcher it doesn't make all the changes to settings, or all the other junk running in the device go away.

EMUI 5 might have undergone an exercise in turd polishing, but the proper solution would have been to dump it completely.

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DrXym
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EMUI

The hardware could be wonderful but while EMUI is a thing I will steer well clear of Huawei phones. Once bitten twice shy.

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The real battle of Android's future – who controls the updates

DrXym
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A LineageOS firmware for Android 7.1 weighs in about 350MB so no, it's not 6GB. It doesn't include Google Apps but you can download a 50GB nano GApps package.

I expect some firmware updates are larger depending on how much crapware they contain or other superfluous stuff like additional image resources, languages, videos etc.

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Samsung Galaxy S8+: Seriously. What were they thinking?

DrXym
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Recommending the S7 seems risky

All it takes is one firmware update and it suffers many of the same issues as the S8. I know the article covers it a bit, but Samsung's biggest problem is they pack their phone with half-assed apps and features that imitate the ones you can get from the Play store and there is no choice NOT to have this stuff.

Samsung could move a lot of the junk to a "showcase" app where you could pick and choose to install or (better than nothing) safely disable some of this stuff. But they don't. They're hoping somehow to gain marketshare through the power of the default. Bixby is there not because it is any damned good but because it suits Samsung's long term ambitions to ram it down user's throats. That might suit them, it sure as hell doesn't suit customers.

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HTC's 2017 flagship U11 woos audiophiles and bundles Alexa

DrXym
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"Bundled" software

If I want Alexa, Facebook, Twitter or whatever else then I can simply install it myself. HTC should not be baking this performance / space / privacy sapping crap into the firmware.

If they absolutely must install this shit, then at least do it in the writable user data partition where it can be permanently removed. Not hidden, deleted.

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Drugs, vodka, Volvo: The Scandinavian answer to Britain's future new border

DrXym
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Here's a better idea

Don't leave the customs union. It's stupid and self-defeating. It just causes extra red tape for government & businesses, delays at borders (even with "light touch" systems), increases smuggling, decreases trade & travel across land borders, and provides little to no benefit in return.

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Uber is a taxi company, not internet, European Court of Justice advised

DrXym
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Re: Finally some common sense

Yes clearly Uber is a taxi service. Their problem is they want to be a taxi service without abiding by any of the rules or regulations that govern being a taxi service - criminal background checks for drivers, fare tariffs, limits on number of licenced cars on the road, vehicle safety checks, adequate insurance, employment benefits, other regulations governing public transportation.

So they want to pretend they're basically just a hookup service between people who want a lift and people prepared to give them a lift.

I'm glad they're losing. They should abide by the rules laid down for taxis or gtfo.

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Just so we're all clear on this: Russia hacked the French elections, US Republicans and Dems

DrXym
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Re: Russia attacks!

I wouldn't be surprised if Le Pen and her party have been under surveillance for quite some time. Kissing up to Russia, recognizing their widely condemned appropriation of territory, receiving a loan from a Russian bank soon after...

She might well find herself arrested if there is any intel on that or tying her to the recent hack. She definitely faces a lawsuit about the allegations she made. Oh and embezzling money from the EU. Le Pen will have some interesting times.

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DrXym
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Re: Yup

As if to emphasize the shitstorm coming, just look what happened. Comey fired on a weak pretext, as if that will make the investigations and indictments disappear. Nixon had his own "Saturday Night Massacre" with as much success as Trump will have.

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DrXym
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Re: Landslide ?

"An overwhelming majority of the electorate in a two horse race did not back the winner."

A point of clarification. French elections are ALWAYS a two horse race. The primary round features all the candidates and then the second is between the top two from the first round.

Second, claiming the majority didn't vote for them could be said for many elections. UK MPs frequently don't enjoy the majority of votes in their constituency unless they're in a very safe seat.

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FBI boss James Comey was probing Trump's team for Russia links. You're fired, says Donald

DrXym
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Watch the leaks multiply

It's been clear for a couple of weeks that prosecutions were in the offing. Grand juries were being convened, subpoenas in progress.

That's the only reason Comey was sacked and everyone knows it. Sacking him on a flimsy pretext is just going ensure that the number of leaks in the intelligence services multiplies, massive pressure will be placed on congress to appoint a special prosecutor, existing charges won't be dropped, other RICO suits will press on regardless.

If Trump thought his problems were bad before, they've probably become far worse today and far more public.

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