* Posts by DrXym

4244 posts • joined 18 Jul 2007

Wearable hybrids prove the bloated smartwatch is one of Silly Valley's biggest mistakes

DrXym
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Re: Smart watches should be simple

I might have been interested in the Pebble but they looked so ugly and TBH they still had issues with proprietariness which is why when the store went they had their own issues.

When you think about it why are smart watches tethered to a specific phone, phone operating system or infrastructure at all. It shouldn't be hard to devise a number of open protocols that are able to cover 95% of the things people want to do in a smart watch - date & time config, audio / music streaming with trick play, timers/events/notifications, biometrics, voice control & input, location / directions, simple HTML+JS app framework.

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DrXym
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Smart watches should be simple

Produce a watch which lasts at least month on a charge, tells the time from an always-on, glare-free screen, doesn't requiring tethering to a proprietary app, phone operating system or app store / cloud service and we might be getting somewhere.

That doesn't prevent the watch from linking to a phone and streaming songs or showing messages / reminders over bluetooth. But the device itself itself should operate independently of the phone and when it does interact it should be over standardised profiles.

That's a smart watch.

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AR upstart Magic Leap reveals majorly late tech specs' tech specs

DrXym
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Should have been pretty obvious

The reality of AR is that even when it is equipped with multiple sensors it still struggles to overlay an image that moves convincingly with its environment and becomes easily confused. It certainly doesn't work on fine detail either or clip images properly to fit their environment. On top of that, the field of view is pretty lousy, the images look ghostly rather than solid, and visual cues such as lighting / shadows, sunlight etc. aren't incorporated either so the result looks weird.

And besides that, what the hell is the purpose of it? How many times do you shoot zombies in your same house before it becomes boring? How many times does an architect use AR to model a teeny tiny model of the building they're working on before they realise how little the tech is doing for them? How many people are going to be assaulted walking up the street in their dork goggles before they get a clue?

The only place I see AR having much of a future is in warehouse fulfillment and roles of that nature. Go to point X, pick up something and take it to point Y - here is a map, you have 2 minutes. AR would allow the system to work them harder than ever. So if you work in Sports Direct, or Amazon welcome to the future!

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We might be skimming the Surface, but it looks like Microsoft's readying a wallet-friendly device

DrXym
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Proper Windows 10

If it runs a gimped version of Windows that only runs apps from their store then they may as well have not bothered.

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IBM fired me because I'm not a millennial, says axed cloud sales star in age discrim court row

DrXym
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Unsurprised

IBM has been trying to get rid of people for years through increasingly petty measures. I wouldn't put it past them to try and get rid of one of their higher salary / bonus workers simply because it looks bad on the books even if he makes money for them.

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Smash-hit game Fortnite is dangerous... for cheaters: Tools found laced with malware

DrXym
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Happens all the time

People who google for cheats or free loot will likely see sites that:

a) Insist you complete a bunch of scammy links (often requiring credit card authorisation), to receive a code that doesn't work.

b) Malware

c) Both

Anything that requires you run special software, or fill in stuff is malicious. Sadly with a game like Fortnite, many of the players will be kids who are less likely to be security conscious that adults. Not that some adults are security conscious either.

Search engines and sites like YouTube could do a lot more to stop these kinds of sites. Even if they popup a prominent message about game scams and how to avoid them.

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Facebook, Google, Microsoft scolded for tricking people into spilling their private info

DrXym
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They've been doing this for years

These social media platforms default to the settings they *want* rather than what a new person might want and then bury the settings away in corners of the design where they are hard to find.

They certainly never help somebody lock it all down with a few clicks. No, all the settings are nested and individually applied. And usually the settings come with warnings that functionality or bad things will be crippled if you don't enable them.

I am quite certain that the likes of Facebook even run A+B testing where users are split into groups receiving a page designed one way vs another and the winner is the one which puts off the most people from changing their privacy settings.

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Uber's London licence appeal off to flying start: No, you cannot do driver eye tests via video link

DrXym
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Re: @Hamsternet

"Johnny Cabs are coming. Then drivers wont be needed."

I wouldn't hold your breath if I were you. If self driving cars make an appearance at all it will be on closed loops such as shuttling people between airport terminals & hotels. There are way too many variables and intractible problems on the open road that self driving cars aren't anywhere close to solving even with a human being acting as a backup.

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DrXym
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New York is probably the place that least needs them

Within Manhattan you merely have to stand out on a main street and within minutes you'll be able to hail a cab. It's a bit like central London really. Perhaps further afield the story for a ride hailing app becomes more compelling. That doesn't excuse Uber for skirting the law, but that's where their model should lie.

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DrXym
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Why is this so difficult?

Uber is a taxi service. They should be required to comply with all the regulations and rules that other taxi drivers must comply with.

That typically means - a police "good character" check, additional health certification, drivers who can speak English, adequate vehicle insurance, additional vehicle safety checks (since a taxi is considered a public vehicle) and a licence to drive a minicab (private hire).

And if they can't do that then they can GTFO.

And that's even before considering other Uber perennials such as their contract model, health & safety regs on shift patterns etc.

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Oracle Linux now supported on 64-bit Armv8 processors

DrXym
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Re: Don't trust it.

The catch is that Oracle basically filched Red Hat's code base and slapped Oracle and enormous fees on top of it. Somebody might say they're entitled to do it under the GPL but that doesn't make it any less skeezy.

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GDPR forgive us, it's been one month since you were enforced…

DrXym
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Kind of scary

These blocks have become a form of self censorship. I have to wonder why the legislation in the EU has any bearing or impact on websites operating in other jurisdictions.

And even if they have reasons to be compliant it makes you wonder what sort of scary crap were they doing before GDPR that means they have to block access afterwards.

I know that Yahoo! and other Oath properties (Huffington) et al pop up this warning now and there are literally hundreds if not thousands of companies that they sell usage data and deliver ads from.

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A pretty and helpful user interface? Nahhh. Is that really you, Samsung?

DrXym
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Vanilla android works perfectly well

If a handset maker wants to tweak the experience then do it lightly and deftly. When the likes of Samsung, HTC, Huawei et al goes in and guts it, the experience is usually cluttered with proprietary extensions and gratuitous change which is often detrimental.

Aside from that, all this modification reduces the chances of firmware updates because it's too much effort to merge it to a new version of Android or fix bugs for that matter.

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Linux literally loses its Lustre – HPC filesystem ditched in new kernel

DrXym
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Re: Uh-oh...

"Gonna make my job harder,"

But if the impl in the kernel is half baked, surely you need to patch it anyway? And if that's the case, what difference does it really make - the patch will change but it will still be a patch.

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Now Microsoft ports Windows 10, Linux to homegrown CPU design

DrXym
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Re: The processor really shouldn't matter to applications these days.

I don't mean built from source. I mean the rpm / deb contains compiled binary as LLVM bitcode and then during installation the binary is turned into a native executable. This is relatively quick step to perform and doesn't require an entire development toolchain.

<p>

From an app's perspective it means shipping a single package that could be used on any supported architecture. It means the product could be instrumented with additional security checks configured by the administrator, modified to run in a sandbox / virtual environment and other things of that nature.

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DrXym
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The processor really shouldn't matter to applications these days.

Operating systems are more than capable of compiling a portable application instruction set like LLVM bitcode into whatever the native instruction set is.

The article suggests MS might be doing that although it's unclear if devs have to do that last step as part of packaging or if the OS, or an intermediate packaging / app store does it. Come to think of it, I wonder why Linux dists like Red Hat & Ubuntu aren't doing this too - experimenting with building some of the higher level apps in a noarch format and compiling them to binary during installation.

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Indiegogo lawyer asks ZX Spectrum reboot firm: Where's the cash?

DrXym
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Kickstarter, Indiegogo et al are basically the casino in a poker game. They get their rake from each hand and aside from lip service they really don't care who wins or loses. And their rake is very substantial.

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DrXym
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I have a fabulous deal

Give me £15 and in 12-18 months I *might* deliver a bottle of wine to you.

But don't worry! Early backers like yourself will enjoy massive savings because the wine might retail for £17. Assuming I ever deliver it. And if I do I guarantee it will taste at least as good as the cheapest carton wine that some other unscrupulous person might have made by loading their van up with after a cross-channel run, and decanting it into a fancier bottle!

Buy 4 bottles for £65 and I will even write a personal message on the bottle thanking you for your very sensible, consequence free, mathematically challenged, forward thinking.

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Android users: Are you ready for the great unbundling?

DrXym
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A sea of crapware

If android handsets aren't obliged to use Google's apps then they're going to pack in even more crapware than they already do.

I would much prefer that Google obligate handset users NOT to install any superfluous apps (Google's or anyone else's) and if necessary present users the choice during setup which ones they want.

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Oddly enough, when a Tesla accelerates at a barrier, someone dies: Autopilot report lands

DrXym
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Re: When will people learn

Well that's the point I was making. If you don't keep the driver engaged and the car does something dumb, then there is no human intervention when the car piles into a truck / tree or whatever. An alert, attentive driver can hit the brakes even when the car is doing something dumb.

And if necessary that means the car has to force the driver to be alert. Force them to hold the wheel, monitor their face, reaction times, issue activities to perform, keep them engaged with drive. And start bleeping and slow down if they don't react.

The problem is Tesla didn't bother with any of that in the first instance and has only begrudgingly implemented it now.

They're not alone in this - all autonomous cars have the same issue.

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DrXym
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Re: NOT autopilot

It should have been called advanced lane keeping or similar. Autopilot is such a vague term that people obviously misinterpret what it does and the limits of such a system.

Not just Tesla however. No system is remotely close to full autonomy on the open road. It's not the normal that catches them out but the abnormal.

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DrXym
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When will people learn

It's not the normal events which confound automated driving systems, it's the abnormal ones.

The reality is unless a vehicle capable of handling all situations in the road safely, the driver must be compelled to pay attention. An alert driver combined with an autonomous vehicle is far safer than an autonomous vehicle by itself.

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Hear that? Of course it's Indiegogo's deadline for a Vega+ whooshing by

DrXym
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Re: It's almost as though crowdfunding is a terrible idea

"Downvoted, because it's a sweeping statement."

It's a sweeping statement because its generally true.

The majority of crowdfunding boils down to "pay me £10 and in a year I might give you a bottle of wine worth £11 and I'll throw in a signed sticker of all the gang here in Dodgy Wine Co.". So yay, I'm locked into this bottle of wine for a year which I may or may not get, may or may not be worth the money.

And if you're so concerned about stuff outside the "remit of contemporary capitalism" then you too agree too because the vast majority of kickstarters are exactly that.

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DrXym
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Re: It's almost as though crowdfunding is a terrible idea

"Isn't that what venture capitalists do on a much grander scale though? (Think Elon Musk / Tesla type funding)"

No it's not what venture capitalists do. Venture capitalists lend money for a share in the venture (hence the name). Yes they can lose their money and do but succeed by ensuring the hits pay for the misses.

And more to the point they' WILL send the auditors and lawyers in if the company or its directors are not doing what they're supposed to be doing. Crowdfunding has no such checks and balances - if a kickstarter decides to blow all your cash on their lifestyle and then proclaim failure - tough.

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DrXym
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It's almost as though crowdfunding is a terrible idea

Paying people years up front for something they may or may not deliver is an awful proposition. It's not even like these backers even get promised a split of the profits.

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Tor-forker Joshua Yabut cuffed for armoured personnel carrier joyride

DrXym
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My main takeaway from this

Is that Sky News doesn't know what the difference is between an APC and a tank, or simply doesn't care if the headline gets more hits.

As for Private Browsing, gotta wonder how he thought this was a good idea. The stream of tweets on his feed makes it appear premeditated even if they don't explain why he's doing it. I'm sure his defence representation will prominently reference drugs and mental issues.

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Linus Torvalds decides world isn’t ready for Linux 5.0

DrXym
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Re: Two scroll wheels?

I have a Logitech mouse on my desk right now with two scroll wheels. The normal uppy-downy one on top and a lefty-righty one by a thumb rest. Never used it.

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USA needs law 'a lot like GDPR' – says Salesforce supremo Marc Benioff

DrXym
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It already has a law a bit like it

HIPAA is a US law that protects medical records and the sharing / divulgence of that information. It is not inconceivable that such a law could be extended to cover other areas.

The problem of course is this is the United States we're talking about. If any lawmaker were to seriously try to go down this road, lobbiests would be muddying the waters with fearmongering and attack ads. They would cast the law in terms that it would prevent people from knowing if they were living opposite a child abuser or such nonsense.

The reality is that there is big money to be made from almost unfettered data collection and aggregation and EU style privacy laws would be seen as the apocalypse for companies that harvest and sell that info.

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Braking news: Tesla preps firmware fling to 'fix' Model 3's inability to stop in time

DrXym
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Re: The way I look at it

Tell that to the tree you were travelling into at 40mph instead of 30mph then.

Frankly it's stupid reductive argument to claim that a shorter braking distance isn't a good thing, or that it can't mean the difference between serious injuries or not.

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DrXym
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Re: The way I look at it

Tell that to the tree that you did or did not stop one foot in front of.

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DrXym
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The way I look at it

Even improving stopping distance by a single foot could mean the difference between your head going through the windscreen and not.

It seems incredible that braking would be so terrible in a Tesla but perhaps the disc brakes are not up to the task of stopping a heavier EV. Maybe if they threw regen on in an emergency situation it would slow the car faster.

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'Facebook takes data from my phone – but I don't have an account!'

DrXym
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Crapware

"best experience on Facebook right out of the box"

Except that never happens. The version of the app baked into the firmware is ALWAYS obsolete. So now your phone wastes space on a duff copy of the app and even more space replacing it with the current copy.

And if you never use Facebook you're stuck with it and whatever it's up to, e.g. stealing your contacts and usage info. At best you can disable this junk and pretend it doesn't exist. At worst you can't.

It's not just Facebook either but often other social media apps, antivirus software, dubious network/manufacturer services and so on. All cluttering the UI, draining the battery and reducing the chances of firmware updates.

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The future of radio may well be digital, but it won't survive on DAB

DrXym
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Simple answer

Sunset DAB. Give it a definite end-of-life, e.g. 5 years and shift onto something better. Frankly this should have been done a long time ago. Same now goes for MPEG2 on DVB-S/DVB-T.

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Microsoft returns to Valley of Death? Cheap Surface threatens the hardware show

DrXym
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Microsoft will go for the foot / bullet option

Any low cost Surface model will be crippled with Windows 10 S and other gimpage to differentiate them from their overpriced current models. And then they'll openly wonder why they're not selling.

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Git push origin undo-my-last-disaster

DrXym
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It's not just sticking the config into source control but also that the system responds to changes in the source control as soon as you push them.

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Real fake scam offers crypto-coin to replace frequent flier points

DrXym
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Yes but the important question

Can we still buy into this amazing ICO? Is there still time? After all it's backed by SEC so it must be a surefire money spinner.

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Google shoots Chrome 66's silencer after developer backlash

DrXym
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Re: Options

I'd quite like an option. Choose to autoplay or not autoplay by default. Thereafter, provide options to exempt websites out of the default option.

e.g. I want videos on Netflix / Youtube to autoplay. I absolutely do not want random-American-news-website's videos to autoplay ever.

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IBM bans all removable storage, for all staff, everywhere

DrXym
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Modern IBM

I think this is as insane as Marissa Meyer decreeing that no one is allowed "work from home".

Those kinds of decrees are designed to make work so onerous and horrible that people leave of their own accord. It's a cynical ploy to boost attrition because paying people to leave is expensive.

IBM is probably being awful for the same reasons. Put in all kinds of petty rules and restrictions and watch as people leave.

The problem for companies that do this is that all the skilled & upwardly mobile staff drain away, morale takes a dump and its only deadbeats and lifers who are left.

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DrXym
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Data smugglers, look at the back of the PC

If it has an eSata port, you're still good to go. Buy a small SSD and plug it in.

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T-Mobile owner sends in legal heavies to lean on small Brit biz over use of 'trademarked' magenta

DrXym
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Sounds like T-Mobile want their trademark rescinded

For being overly broad.

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Commodore 64 owners rejoice: The 1541 is BACK

DrXym
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Amiga disk drive

That's what I could do with an emulator for. A cable that plugs into a Raspberry Pi at one end and a standard PC floppy drive at the other and reads stuff off Amiga formatted disks. I have some old projects on floppies in the cupboard and it would nice to be able to salvage them.

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Petty PETA rapped by judges over monkey selfie copyright stunt

DrXym
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PETA should sue the monkey

Attention whoring is their job

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While Zuck squirmed, Reddit revealed it found and killed 944 Russian troll factory accounts

DrXym
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Re: A little bit too late to matter

"again.. not provable."

It's called the preponderance of evidence. In the French election for example, the opponent Marine le Pen's party was bankrolled by Russian banks and parroting Russian friendly rhetoric. And then lo and behold a few days before the election, a phony leaked document purports to show Macrons hidden offshore accounts and Le Pen slanders him by repeating it. And then you have a twitter army reinforcing this message.

In Catalonia you have swarms of twitter bots and prominent Russian fronts like RT and Assange pushing separatist messages.

In Brexit you have UKIP employing Cambridge Analytica (where have I heard that name before?), and another Putin lover Farage popping up. All lovingly accompanied by swarms of twitter bots pushing anti immigration and other divisive messages.

And then you have the US where the microscope has demonstrated beyond doubt that Russia was involved.

A reasonable person would conclude Russian interference. And no, the "you too" argument is not a reasonable defence.

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DrXym
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A little bit too late to matter

These online social media services should have had their eyes open during the election not afterwards. Not just the US election either, but any national election or referendum of import. For example there were strong suspicions of Russian interference in the French presidential election, Brexit and Catalonia's independence referendum.

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Airbus plans beds in passenger plane cargo holds

DrXym
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Re: The problem with this idea

"Hell, if that gives me an unterrupted night's sleep on a US-Europe flight I'm in!"

Sleep, or possibly a nightmare from which you can never awake.

The idea reminds me of a Steven King short story called The Jaunt. Somebody invented an instant teleportation device but you have to be unconscious before you can go through it, otherwise you experience eternity and go mad. I'm sure Ryanair are keenly examining how to monetize this service if it ever becomes a reality.

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DrXym
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The problem with this idea

If you have beds where the cargo should be then you have no space to put the cargo. That might mean bags but also any other freight that passenger aircraft routine carry when they have capacity.

Maybe the solution is to knock everyone out before they board and revive them on the other side. Then there is no need for toilets, food, entertainment, overhead luggage compartments, bins, or most of the flight crew. Stack them up on pallets 3 high and load/unload them up on a forklift. (joke)

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Huawei P20 Pro: Triple-lens shooter promises the Earth ...

DrXym
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EMUI

It could be the best hardware in the world but when it's running EMUI the phone may as well stink of fish. I really don't understand the obsession with modifying the vanilla Android experience so drastically and for such pointless reasons. Tweak the UI if you must, adding a few buttons, tweaking the taskbar's notch, make the camera app better etc. But reinventing the launcher, dialler and god knows what else for the sake of reinvention? Simply pointless.

EMUI is just a top heavy user interface filled with non-standard weirdness and duplicated functionality. And it means the phone gets less updates.

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Windows 10 to force you to use Edge, even if it isn't default browser

DrXym
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Re: I call fake news....

Microsoft wouldn't implement a feature unless they have a every intent of putting it into the final product. The only think likely to stop them doing it is if they think they'll get in legal trouble for doing it.

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DrXym
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Lawsuit time

Even today they're desperate to get people to use Edge.

I set up a new laptop yesterday, installing Firefox as one of the first acts. When I went to switch the default browser to Firefox in the settings, a popup appeared asking if I really wanted to not use Edge because it was great. No it isn't. It's kind of shit actually.

The EU really needs to kick Microsoft hard in the balls, or enormous fines (whichever is legally permissible) until they get the message and stop interfering with people's choice of browser.

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Hey girl, move a little closer. 'Cause you're too gun shy. Hush, hush, bye says Pai

DrXym
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Now we need an ISP to troll the NRA

Charge people $1 an hour to stream NRA TV or visit their doman. Why? Because no net neutrality is good right?

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