* Posts by DrXym

4269 posts • joined 18 Jul 2007

HP Ink should cough up $1.5m for bricking printers using unofficial cartridges – lawsuit

DrXym
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Re: Epson

I had an Epson printer which used chips and it would "randomly" brick 3rd party cartridges and refuse to read them again.

It was one and only time I used a printer with chipped carts and I will never repeat that mistake.

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Deliveroo to bike food to hungry fanbois queuing to buy iPhones

DrXym
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And after the food

I wonder if there is a gig economy company that delivers a bucket for them to crap in and takes it away afterwards.

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Flying to Mars will be so rad, dude: Year-long trip may dump 60% lifetime dose of radiation on you

DrXym
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Career != Lifetime

Headline says one thing, article says another.

However I expect for astronauts in space the "recommended" max dose is not reflective of the max dose that people on earth. Even people like flight crew probably wouldn't get anywhere close to it.

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Brits pay £490m extra for mobes they already own – Citizens Advice

DrXym
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SIM free

Buy a SIM free phone and a SIM only contract or PAYG. In return you get

- A phone that works on any network and does not need to be unlocked.

- A phone that doesn't have a bunch of network specific crapware / restrictions baked into it.

- A bill that doesn't cost any more over all than the locked in-version with the benefit that you don't have to alter it when the contract term completes.

- Gives you more choice of contract terms, plans and network operators

Of course the easiest option to stop consumers being ripped off is if the government were to simply ban phone bundling - require the phone and the contract to be separate purchases. Failing that, to force operators to drop the plan to the equivalent SIM only contract once the phone is paid for.

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First Boeing 777 (aged 24) makes its last flight – to a museum

DrXym
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Re: Still have the book

The engine stuff is ETOPS certification. Originally trans-Atlantic / trans-Pacific jets had to have 4 engines in case one flamed out but the 777 only has two but had to prove it could fly on just one engine for 120 minutes if there was a problem.

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DrXym
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Still have the book

21st century jet which was about its design. It was actually very interesting reading as was the accompanying TV series.

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What's Big and Blue – and makes its veteran staff sue? Yep, it's IBM

DrXym
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I am shocked

I am truly shocked to hear that IBM of all companies is trying to get rid of people on the flimsiest and potentially illegal of circumstances.

Let's hope we don't learn that IBM has been making life intolerable and shitty for its workforce in a cynical ploy to force as many of them leave as possible so they can avoid the cost of laying them off.

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No wonder Oracle exec Kurian legged it – sky darkens as cloudy tech does not make it rain

DrXym
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Re: The world has changed and Oracle hasn't.

"That's the problem with a lot of businesses - their beancounters who treat one of the most significant engines of the business as a cost to be minimised."

I suspect, more likely is that the beancounter discovers the business has signed some horrific contract to buy a site licence to software X for ever and ever, in perpetuity and nearly has a heart attack.

I know from bitter experience of being on the receiving end that if you want to enjoy the double benefits of bleeding cash and hamstringing your workers then a site license is the way to go. Guaranteed you'll end up with some shitty overfeatured, arcane, barely usable software for your money.

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DrXym
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Once bitten twice shy

I'd be amazed if anyone who had dealings with Oracle would ever, under any circumstances, want anything to do with them ever again.

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Probably for the best: Apple makes sure eSIMs won't nuke the operators

DrXym
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eSIMs make so much sense

With some provisos eSIMs some really interesting potential functionality falls out of being just software on a device.

The phone could intelligently choose the best SIM out of my collection for the location I'm in. I could "pin" the main SIM for incoming calls, but set data and outgoing calls through my roaming SIM. I could buy SIMs and have them sent to my phone. Phone networks could even allow me to connect and purchase a SIM when I roam their network for the first time. SIMs could have properties like expiring after 30 days or after the credit is used up etc.

The provisos I would see being necessary are the ability to transfer SIMs between devices, the ability to add any SIM, and limits on what operators can do to lock a phone to their network, restrict its functionality, or to prevent me removing their software SIM if I choose to switch.

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You'll never guess what you can do once you steal a laptop, reflash the BIOS, and reboot it

DrXym
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So in summary

If you happen to be running a device that runs a very specific BIOS, AND it was left in standby, AND it was encrypted, AND the device is easy to crack open (most ultrabooks aren't), AND it was stolen by technologically savvy hackers AND they have the exact custom firmware to flash that make and model, AND they know what they're looking for THEN you should be worried?

I can think of easier modes of attack.

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Apple in XS new sensation: Latest iPhone carries XS-sive price tag

DrXym
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Apple are really slipping

Dual sim is something many Android phones have sported for years. It's kind of embarassing for Apple to announce it as if its some big deal.

I'm still somewhat perplexed why they didn't go through with their software sim idea from a few years back. Then in theory a phone could hold multiple "sims" and you could flip between them at will.

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Microsoft: You don't want to use Edge? Are you sure? Really sure?

DrXym
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Edge: "What's my purpose?"

Everyone: "You download the better browser we want to use"

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Tesla's chief accounting officer drives off after just a month on the job

DrXym
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Re: Musk did get one thing right

The Guardian certainly has an insufferable side to it, particularly some of the columnists, but it is still one of the most trustworthy newspapers out there. Not least because it isn't controlled by tax dodging newspaper proprietors so it has a tendency to be more independent and free about what it reports.

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DrXym
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Musk's worst enemy

Is himself. There is no doubting he is a visionary and he has pushed his businesses further than anyone else would dare.

At the same time even a visionary needs a filter to stop the stupid from bubbling up to the top. On top of that he is clearly overworking himself and the pressure / ambien means the stupid has joined forces with impetuous and nasty. It's just one bad news story after another and the stock has taken a massive hit.

It's probably why Tesla announced a bunch of promotions on Friday. Hopefully it's the company stepping up (or intervening) to relieve Musk of some of his duties and hopefully impose some normality on their business. Musk is fine as a figure head and a visonary but he needs to step back and allow some of his subordinates to do what they're there to do.

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Official: Google Chrome 69 kills off the World Wide Web (in URLs)

DrXym
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The url is the enemy

All browsers are conflating the address bar and search into the one thing. The reason has less to do with usability and more to do with greed.

If the user types an unambiguous url then Google, Microsoft et al don't get an opportunity to deliver ads. So they'd rather users type a vague, ambiguous search term and then profit from ad keywords and ad impressions that appear in the results.

Thus the url is the enemy. Hiding the url or lopping bits off it is just an attempt to diminish its importance over time and increase the reliance on the search engine.

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Hello 'WOS': Windows on Arm now has a price

DrXym
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Strangely enough

If Microsoft want to get away from x86 then step 1 is change all the toolchains to emit platform neutral binaries. e.g. LLVM bitcode. When the user runs the exe for the first time the OS can compile it. If software is platform neutral then over time perhaps the hardware won't matter too much.

At present, a version of Windows for ARM will go as well as a lead balloon. Just like all the other times MS have tried to port away from x86 without laying the groundwork.

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ZX Spectrum reboot latest: Some Vega+s arrive, Sky pulls plug, Clive drops ball

DrXym
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The consolation prize

At least the rarity of these pieces of crap will probably become collectible in time and might actually sell for more than they were initially worth.

Still though, it highlights the folly of paying up front for a product that doesn't exist hoping it will appear at some unspecified point in the future in some form. Or not.

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Amazon, ditch us? But they can't do without us – Oracle

DrXym
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Eating its own dog food

Amazon is basically a database / storage company in their own right these days. There is no sense in paying a competitor to store data when they have their own software that should be capable of doing the job.

And honestly I really don't read of many deployments of Oracle where the expense and lock-in is remotely justified by the alleged benefits of the software itself.

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Ecuador's Prez talking to UK about Assange's six-year London Embassy stay – reports

DrXym
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Re: My Two Pence.

I think it's also noteworthy how Wikileaks almost exclusively targets the US and western democracies and constantly seeks to undermine them, e.g. by supporting separatist movements and other divisive issues.

And yet they have nary a bad thing to say about oppressive regimes or the people in them. It's also funny how they played a pivotal role during the US election, trying to pass emails stolen from the DNC and Hillary Clinton.

It's almost as though they've been a front for Russian intelligence for a very long time.

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Another German state plans switch back from Linux to Windows

DrXym
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The OS shouldn't matter

What matters is the document formats that people exchange with each other. If one person working from home wants to run Windows then fine, let them do it. But it should be on the proviso that all their submissions are PDF, web based, or open document standards.

I don't see why switching to Windows is a good idea for the council here. It certainly won't be easier to administer and it is virtually guaranteed that the time and cost required to buy new hardware, administer the machines, scan for viruses, fix malware, monitor for threats will sky rocket.

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Hooray: Google App Engine finally ready for Python 3 (and PHP 7.2)

DrXym
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Re: Being a python developer...

I couldn't care a less about whitespace - a code formatter will sort that out. I'm more referring to the equivocation over 2.x and 3.x and the subsequent wasting of time backporting stuff from 3 to 2, writing compatibility shims and other uncertainty that comes from not dumping 2.x a long time ago.

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DrXym
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Being a python developer...

... must feel like standing on two stools which are slowly sliding apart.

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Google Chrome: HTTPS or bust. Insecure HTTP D-Day is tomorrow, folks

DrXym
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Re: Now how about a way to get a hassle free cert

"So you want certificates that anyone can get, with no effort or being subject to stringent checks?"

Yes.

"What would be the point of those certs?"

They're better than plaintext is the point. They allow any website to encrypt their traffic so it is not visible or cached by proxies, sniffers etc. In addition if they are coupled with a service such as SSL lighthouse, the browser can check that the cert is the same one other visitors to the site see and warn the user if it is not.

It doesn't stop somebody buying a cert if they want. I'm quite certain that browsers could imbue a cert with "trust" on a scale based on who signed it or not.

"The cost results from maintaining a certificate authority that, theoretically, checks that someone actually is who they say they are. "

That's the point. Theoretically.

Browsers maintain a list of hundreds of CAs. It only takes a few bad actors and the whole concept collapses. Occasionally a CA gets delisted but not half as much as it probably should.

Besides that, many CAs barely do more than check a passport or government doc and hand out certs like candy. It's little more than an inconvenience of money / time sink to get the damned things. A tax on security.

The concept of signing with CA and becoming "trusted" is nonsensical. Maybe if I'm a bank I want to pay a CA to come around and audit how I store my key. Somebody running a gardening tips website just wants a cert that makes a scary browser icon go away.

Certs should be able to scale between these two cases.

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DrXym
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Now how about a way to get a hassle free cert

It's great that Google are doing this but it would have been even better if there were a simple, convenient way for sites to obtain a cert that:

a) Doesn't require any major effort to obtain. i.e. I should not have to pay money or submit government documentation, or undergo a rectal exam just for a cert.

b) Has an expiration period that I can choose. Maybe some people like their certs to expire every 12 months. Personally I'm happy for my cert to go years, decades unless I explicitly revoke it myself. IMO the main reason they expire so quick is repeat customers.

c) Doesn't cost any money. CAs are basically a tax on trust.

Things like Let's Encrypt have tried to make it easier to get a free key but it's still way too difficult. Just let me fill in a form, do a simple site ownership check (e.g. uploading a file to a path on the server) and get a key.

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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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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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